Dr. Jamal Badi : Libyan Prodemocracy Fighters Chanting “Allahu Akbar”: a Clarification for Outside Observers

Many seemed concerned with the chanting of “Allahu akbar” by the Libyan protestors. At least partly, it is because Qaddafi himself has desperately tried to tell the world that his opponents chanting “Allahu akbar” are from al-Qaeda, thereby justifying his own atrocious acts. However, for Libyans and many other Muslims, to use the slogan for motivation while defending against aggression is a very much cultural expression – that should not be hastily judged as a manifestation of radicalism. It can be verified from numerous YouTube videos and other 
sources that Libyans would chant “Allahu akbar” in any of the following situations: 

- A threatening enemy attack, especially when the defender is less in capabilities 

- A reaction to unexpected aggression or oppression or pending death 

- As a sign of joy upon accomplishment of a difficult task, even when the achievement is of others, e.g. NATO forces 

- As a sign of happiness and appreciation e.g. when a person is told an impressive story 

- To express grief and distress over a disturbing incidence, as done by those who are wounded in Qaddafi’s brutal aggression 

- To express confidence and pride in what one is doing – fighting back Qaddafi’s aggression in the present case; (look at the prodemocracy Libyans, for example, when TV cameras are directed at them) 

- As a prayer and an expression of support, as in the rhyming of “Allahu akbar” by senior citizens in a sad tune from the loud speakers of mosques; (this might as well explain why Qaddafi fully or partially destroyed a number of mosques in various Libyan cities, especially Zawiyyah and Misurata) 

“Allahu akbar” is part and parcel of many other frequent as well as occasional religious practices of all Muslims regardless of their school of thought or ideology. It is exclaimed from the loud speakers six times in each call to the daily prayers. It also marks every single move in prayers. Besides, it is part of a Muslim’s everyday remembrance of Allah. Needless to say that it is collectively chanted countless number of times during the first few days following the two Eids. This spiritual practice is so powerful and influential that once “Allahu akbar” is initiated by one, others will spontaneously follow.


  1. Even When I miss the bus I say Allahu Akbar it is as common among Muslims As th Word Je does every Christian who say Je is a Radical one word is glorifying ALLLAH one word is Shirk

  2. بارك الله فيك ، اذا كان بالامكان ارسال هذه التوضيح الي المواقع الاجنبية ومراسلتها بهذا الخصوص . سوف يكون هنالك فهم اكبر لمعن التكبير ومدلوله لدي المسلمين .


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