We say it every day. At least 17 times at the end of each Surah Al-Fâtiḥah, and that is just without praying the sunnah prayers, which would put it at roughly 43 times. Something so frequently repeated finds a way into the magnificent set up of our brains such that it remembers itself, almost without feeling this happen. That is, until you learn the power behind it, and then our remarkable hearts take heed. SubhanAllah.
Let us start by talking about the presence of ameen in Arabic and in other Semitic languages from the past. As it is a part of Godly revelations, it is not a surprise that all three monotheistic religions, Christianity, Judaism and Islam, share in its usage. In Jewish religious practices, it is articulated as, emunah. The root of amen, ameen, and emunah finds itself buried deep in religious revelations, from the Biblical scriptures. It culminated its growth, extending its roots until the last of the Prophets brought with him his blessings to the world and with them the word ameen. Peace be upon them.
Naturally, this is a word whose exact origin can never really be placed, as it is older and has been in the human lexicon for far longer than things have been recorded and preserved.
Arabic is one and the same. ‘Ameen’ is something between a prayer and a command, due to it’s grammatical structure in Arabic. When I first heard that ameen is described as an ‘order’, I was startled. How do we give an order to the All-High? Subhanahu. In fact it is not quite an ‘order’ as much as it is a certified plea. It is an imperative verb that means: ‘Oh Allah, answer my prayer.” (Ahmad Zaki Hammad, THE OPENING TO THE QURAN, Commentary & Vocabulary Reference of al-Fâtiḥa (1996) Quranic Literacy Institute, p. 30)
The notion of ameen being a community shared ending to a prayer is almost romantic. But ameen for this ummah of Muhammad, peace be upon him, the final bearer of this final message of this true religion, has been granted to us in a way given to no previous community. The Prophet (ﷺ) said,
“The Jews do not envy you for any matter as much as they envy you for Ameen, and for giving Salâm to one another,” (Al-Adab Al-Mufrad of Al-Bukhari 988).
After some thought, I realized it makes sense. We are asking of Allah, the Most High. He, glory be to Him, loves it when we ask Him for our needs and wants. Asking Allah shows that we know that He can provide: He has all the power to answer our requests and He hears every plea. We are His servants, and He is our Creator; none can respond like Him. We are humbly acknowledging His perogative to do as He Wills, aware that only Allah can provide the answer to our supplications.
Let us read what our Prophet (ﷺ) told us of ameen:
On the authority of Abu Hurairah,
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “When (after reciting Surah Al-Fâtiḥah) the imam says ameen, you too say ameen [because the angels also say it]. So, if anyone’s ameen coincides with the angel’s, then all his past sins are forgiven,” (Ahmad, Saḥίḥ Al-Bukhari 6402, Sunan Abi Dawud 936, Sunan Al-Nasa’i 925, Sunan Ibn Majah 5/49, Muwatta Malik 3/47).
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Angels keep on descending from, and ascending to, the heavens in turn, some at night and some by daytime, and all of them assemble together at the time of the Fajr and CAsr prayers. Then those who have stayed with you overnight, ascend unto Allah, who asks them —and He knows the answer better than they— ‘How have you left My slaves?’ They reply, ‘We have left them praying as we found them praying.’ If anyone of you says ameen (during the Prayer at the end of the recitation of Surah Al-Fâtiḥah), and the angels in Heaven say the same such that the two sayings coincide, all his past sins will be forgiven. (Saḥîḥ al-Bukhari 3223)
Abu Al-Darda’ said:
I heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) say: When a Muslim supplicates for his absent brother the angels say: Ameen, and may you receive the like.” (Sunan Abi Dawud 1534)
Narrated Wa’il ibn Hujr:
When the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) recited the verse “Nor of those who go astray” (Q 1:7), he would say ameen; and he raised his voice (while uttering this word). (Sunan Abi Dawud 932)
It was narrated that Abu Hurairah said:
“The people stopped saying ameen, but when the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said ‘Not (the way) of those who earned Your anger, nor of those who went astray’ [Q 1:7] he would say ameen, until the people in the first row could hear it, and the mosque would shake with it.” (Sunan Ibn Majah 5/51)
Narrated Abu Zuhayr Al-Numayri:
“Abu Misbah Al-Muqra’i said: We used to sit in the company of Abu Zuhayr Al-Numayri. He was a companion of the Prophet (ﷺ), and he used to narrate good traditions. Once a man from among us made a supplication. He said: ‘End it with the utterance of ameen, for ameen is like a seal on the book.
Abu Zuhayr said: I shall tell you about that. We went out with the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) one night and came upon a man who made supplication with persistence. The Prophet (ﷺ) waited to hear him. The Prophet (ﷺ) said: ‘He will have done something which guarantees (Paradise for him) if he puts a seal to it.’ One of the people asked: ‘What should he use as a seal?’ He replied: ‘”Ameen, for if he ends it with ameen, he will do something which guarantees [Paradise for him].
Then the man who questioned the Prophet (ﷺ) came to the man who was supplicating, and said to him: ‘So-and-so, end it with ameen and receive the good news.’ These are the words of Mahmud.
Abu Dawud said: Al-Muqra’i is a clan of Himyar.” (Sunan Abi Dawud 938)
It was narrated from Shaddad bin Aws that:
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “When you come to your dead ones, close their eyes, for the sight follows the soul. And say good things, for the Angels say ameen to what the members of the household say.” (Sunan Ibn Majah 1455)
Umm Salamah narrated:
“The Messenger of Allah said to us: ‘When you attend to the sick or dying then say only good, for indeed the angels say ameen to what you say.’ She said: ‘When Abu Salamah died, I went to the Prophet and said: “O Messenger of Allah! Abu Salamah has died.” He said: ‘Then say: “O Allah forgive me and him and give me a good replacement for him.” She said: ‘I said that, and Allah gave a replacement that was better than him: The Messenger of Allah.’ ” (JamîC Al-Tirmidhi 977)
It was narrated from Safwan bin CAbdullah bin Safwan who said that he was married to a daughter of Abu Darda’. He came to her and found Umm Darda’ there, but he did not find Abu Darda’. She said to him:
“Do you intend to perform Hajj this year?” He said: “Yes.” She said: “Pray to Allah for us to grant us goodness, for the Prophet (ﷺ) used to say: ‘The supplication of a man for his brother in his absence will be answered. By his head there is an angel who says ameen to his supplication, and every time he prays for his brother, he says: Ameen, and the same for you.’ “He said: “Then I went out to the marketplace where I met Abu Darda’, and he told me something similar from the Prophet (ﷺ).” (Sunan Ibn Majah 2895)
Ameen is a blessèd term. Let us take to heart the blessing of ameen, as well as the blessing of salâm. May we keep in mind that ameen seals a supplication and leads us to do something which guarantees the best outcome. Ameen.