Muslim and Ibn Maajah and others narrated from Juwayriyah, raDiyallaahu ^anha, that the Messenger of Allaah, Sallallaahu ^alayhi wa sallam, passed by her when he prayed in the morning, or after he prayed, and she was making dhikr (mentioning Allaah) until the day time came in (until it set it). So he said to her:
“لَقَدْ قُلْتُ مُنْذُ قُمْتُ عِنْدَكِ كَلِمَاتٍ ثَلاَثَ مَرَّاتٍ هُنَّ أَكْثَرُ أَوْ أَرْجَحُ أَوْ أَوْزَنُ مِمَّا قُلْتِ: سُبْحَانَ اللهِ عَدَدَ خَلْقِهِ، سُبْحَانَ اللهِ رِضَى نَفْسِهِ، سُبْحَانَ اللهِ زِنَةَ عَرْشِهِ، سُبْحَانَ اللهِ مِدَادَ كَلِمَاتِهِ”
which means: “I have said three times, since I have encountered you now, words that are greater than all of what you said (they are): “SubHaanallaahi ^adada khalqih, subHaanallaahi riDaa nafsih, subHaanallaahi zinata ^arshih, subHaanallaahi midaada kalimaatih”.”
“SubHaanallaah” means “I exalt (or) I glorify God the glorification,” i.e., “I clear Him from resembling the creation”.
SubHaanallaahi ^adada khalqih means “subHaanallaah by the number of His creation”. In one moment creations that are beyond our comprehension come into existence – in a single moment. And how many grains of sand are there? How many leaves and how many angels – whom are the most numerous?
SubHaanallaahi riDaa nafsih means “subHaanallaahi as Allaah accepts”.
SubHaanallaahi zinata ^arshih means “subHaanallaah by the heaviness of the ^arsh; by the weight of the ^arsh”. And the ^Arsh (Throne) is the greatest creation in size. It is the largest body that Allaah created. Al-Imaam ^Aliyy Ibn Abi Taalib said, “Surely, Allaah the Exalted created the Throne as a sign of His Power and not to take as a place for Himself”. Allaah did not create the Throne to sit on it because “sitting” is an attribute of bodies; it is an attribute of the creation and is impossible to be an attribute of the Creator. The Creed of Ahlus Sunnah is that Allaah exists without a place. Allaah is not in need of any of His creations.
SubHaanallaahi midaada kalimaatih means “subHaanallaah by the ink that writes the Speech of Allaah”. And had the ocean been ink for the kalimaat of Allaah, then it would dry up. The speech of Allaah is not a letter, sound, or a language. It is an eternal and everlasting attribute that does not have pauses or interruptions like the speech of the creations, and it does not change. The Eternal Speech of Allaah is not -in any way- like the speech of His creation. It does not resemble the way we humans speak at all.