“When the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) stood up to offer Salaat, he raised his hands until they were level with his shoulders, then he said the Takbeer (Allahu Akbar).” [Sahih Muslim]
The first reality proclaimed in the prayer, and in the call to prayer, is Allah’s greatness: “Allahu Akbar.”
“Allah is the Greatest” is repeated six times in the Adhaan. If you hear the Adhaan five times a day and repeat after it as is the Sunnah, then you hear or say it sixty times a day. If you add to this the number of times you say “Allahu Akbar” in your five daily prayers and the recommended Tasbeeh of “Allahu Akbar” 34 times after each Fardh prayer, then you see that a Muslim who prays regularly repeats this statement 466 times at least in the course of a single day.
When going to bed we are recommended to do Tasbeeh again which includes saying “Allahu Akbar” 34 times. When any animal is slaughtered it is with the words “Allahu Akbar.” In Hajj “Allahu Akbar” is repeated more than any other Dhikr. The same goes for Eid. In Jihad again Takbeer is proclaimed. When climbing we are recommended to say “Allahu Akbar.” In a newborn’s ear the Adhaan and Iqaamat are said, so “Allahu Akbar” is the first sentence to go in its ears. In the Takbeer of funeral prayers, it is again “Allahu Akbar” that is repeated.
This Dhikr is repeated more than any other, while there are plenty of Adhkaar. Why?
The reason for this is that man is weak and his thinking is also weak. His history tells us that he gets easily impressed by material objects and begins to worship them in place of or along with Allah (subhana wa ta’ala): the sun, the moon, the stars, trees, cows, monkeys, snakes, nature, kings, leaders, scientists, money, even himself. Man is quick to get impressed by matter. The repetition of “Allah is the Greatest” is to keep reminding us to correct our false concepts of greatness and remember who is entitled to be considered “Al-Mutakabbir.”
“Al-Mutakabbir” means “the One to Whom greatness belongs.” It comes once in the Quran. Greatness does not belong to the created, only to the Creator. Whatever good is in the created is a gift of the Creator.
One day the son of the vizier (Khalifa’s adviser) Muhallib, passed by Maalik bin Dinar (rahimahullah). The vizier’s son was walking haughtily with a proud, affected gait. So Malik bin Dinar advised: “Oh son! How good it would be if you gave up arrogance!” The vizier’s son said: “Don’t you recognize me?” Malik bin Dinar replied: “Why not! I know you very well. Your beginning was an impure drop and your end is a stinking corpse and your intermediate condition is that you walk around with filth inside you.” On hearing this, the boy lowered his head and repented. [Al-Mustatraf]