Nouman Ali Khan of Al Bayyinah Institute write:
Quoted from “Alhamdulillah” - A Linguistic Miracle of the Quran
A Variety of Ways to Make Hamd of Allah
Arabic offers great flexibility in communication. There are varying degrees of emphasis with which a statement can be made. There are multiple options that can be manipulated in sentence structure. Similar statements can be made such as :
“I praise Allah.”
“We praise Allah.”
1. All of the above are Jumal Fi’liyyah. This sentence structure necessarily implies the occurrence of an act bound by time. Alhamdu Lillah is Jumlah Ismiyyah which, for one, is a far more emphatic form of declaration in Classical Arabic by comparison. Secondly, it implies continuity, stability and permanence. Another unique feature of the Ismiyyah structure is that it communicates a decisive statement.
2. Jumlah Fi’liyyah exclusively attributes an act to a specific subject. In the suggested alternatives above, ‘I’, ‘we’ and ‘you all’ are the specific subjects respectively. الحمد لله , being a Jumlah Ismiyyah, doesn’t identify the subject which makes it a universal declaration. I, we, you, they, people, animals, rocks, trees, rather all of creation can be understood as the subject! There is another beautiful subtlety here. Whether anyone or anything makes حمد of Allah or not, الحمد is still for Allah!
3. The Jumlah Fi’liyyah renditions above are limited by time and applicability. The original statement is timeless and has universal applicability. Through الحمد للهِ the way in which the praise is made is kept unspecified while in the Fi’liyyah format the praise would be by the tongue.
وَإنْ مِنْ شَيْئٍ إلا يُسَبِّحُ بِحَمْدِهِ ولكِنْ لا تَفْقَهُوْنَ تَسْبِيْحَهُمْ
4. In Jumlah Fi’liyyah there is the possibility of doing an act for an object that isn’t worthy of it. For instance, ‘I paid him’. It may be that ‘he’ didn’t deserve to get paid. In Jumlah Ismiyyah the necessary implication that this praise is actually rightfully placed is naturally implied, ALHAMDULILLAH!5. In saying الحمد لله , we are also acknowledging that حمد is the property of Allah while this is not implied in alternative fi’liyyah renditions. When using the command form, ’Praise Allah’ instead of Alhamdulillah, there are a number of shortcomings. Firstly, there is the sense that this praise is being asked of the audience. By comparison الحمد لله declares the existence of حمد without dependence on an audience responding to an imperative. The imperative may also imply a response that may or may not be voluntary while Alhamdulillah is an observation of the voluntary praise done by all forms of creation.