A tekbir is the repetition of the phrase “ALLAHU AKBAR.”
Although the meaning of all the tekbirs repeated in salat will be discussed in more detail under the section “Ezan-i Muhammedi,” we will briefly discuss the numerical facts of the total number of tekbirs we repeat.
Even though there are a total of 282 tekbirs in the five salats performed daily, the last one cannot be placed in the same category as the first 281 because the last tekbir of the day, known as Salat- Vitr, is different from the others.
This difference will be explained in further detail when the Salat-i Vitr is discussed, for now suffice it to say that it is unique and special since there is no substitute for it.
We will now make an attempt to understand the sequence of the first 281 tekbirs, as well as the last one. The sequence of salat is indeed so amazing that when one engages in it one becomes awestruck.
The last Vahiy, the encrypted messages Allah revealed to Hz Muhammad (sav), is ayat number 281 from the Sura Bakara. [An ayat is a part of any sura from the Holy Koran.]
“Vetteku yevmen turcaune fihi ilellahi summe tuveffa kullu nefsin ma kesebet ve hum la yuzlemun” means: “Be afraid of the day when you shall return to Allah and in which the results of your deeds shall be distributed to the worthy ones.” This reminds us that we need to perform every obligation from God correctly and continuously, including Salat.
Alternatively, if 1 is subtracted from 281, 280 remains, and if the 0 is subsequently discarded, then number 28 remains.
The number 28 is not only the number of prophets mentioned in the Koran, but it also denotes that we have to emulate and incorporate, in our lives, at least one attribute and characteristic from each prophet mentioned in the Koran. Furthermore, if we place the discarded 0 next to the 1, the one representing the unique and special tekbir, it results in 10; this is the number of experiences that we should analyze in every prophet’s life to be able to appreciate the reason why they underwent such experiences.
The traveler attempting to embark on the journey to Hakk commences with the prophet Hz Adam (as) until he reaches Hz Muhammad (sav), thus becoming an Insan-i Kamil; “Insan” means human and “kamil” means wise.
Every human being is responsible for taking this journey and trying to reach HAKK by discovering his or her own self.
These prophet’s names do not merely represent historical names, their names also epitomize some of the greatest human beings that have ever lived and the only truth we need to observe.
The special 1 is essentially one’s true self or essence and whoever reaches this Oneness experiences truth and becomes most peaceful.
During the course of a twenty-four hour period, we repeat “Allahu Akbar” 281 times without necessarily knowing its true meanings. May Mevla (Allah c.c.) forgive our ignorance.