For years I would read the following verse in Sura 10 verse 10 with the understanding that the ultimate prayer of a person is “Praise be to God, Lord of the universe,” as in this is the best prayer one could make.
الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ
But the word “ultimate” has multiple meanings in English. One meaning of the word ultimate is: the best achievable or imaginable of its kind. If this was the correct interpretation of the verse then my understanding would have been correct. But the other meaning of the word ultimate is: being or happening at the end of a process; final. So which definition is the right definition to apply to this verse?
To understand this, let’s first look at the context of the verse. According to the previous verses, this is the series of events that take place for those who make it to Heaven.
[10:9] As for those who believe and lead a righteous life, their Lord guides them, by virtue of their belief. Rivers will flow beneath them in the gardens of bliss.
So now, let’s look at the Arabic of 10:10 to understand the meaning of ultimate. The first part of the verse states:
The word دَعْوَاهُمْ can be translated as “their prayer” but also as “as their invitation. Therefore, the person who makes it to Heaven will have an invitation that states: “Be You Glorified, our god.”
دَعْوَاهُمْ فِيهَا سُبْحَانَكَ اللَّهُمَّ
The second part of the verse states, that their life or greeting once they arrive to Heaven be will “Peace.” The word: وَتَحِيَّتُهُمْ which can be translated as both as “and their life” or “and their greeting”.
And then the last part of the verse states:
The word “وَآخِرُ” is in reference to ultimate as in last or final, such that their final call or prayer in Heaven is: “Praise be to God, Lord of the universe.”
Therefore according to 10:10 the people in Heaven are first invited, then they are greeted upon their arrival, and finally they say: