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The word Amen (Tiberian Hebrew אמן ’Āmēn "So be it; truly", Standard Hebrew אמן Amen, Arabic آمين ’Āmīn) is a declaration of affirmation found in the Hebrew Bible and in the Qur'an. It has always been in use within Judaism. It has been generally adopted in Christian worship as a concluding formula for prayers and hymns. In Islam, it is the standard ending to surat al-Fatiha. Common English translations of the word amen include: "Verily", "Truly", "So be it", and "Let it be".
Three distinct Biblical usages may be noted:
- Initial Amen, referring back to words of another speaker, e.g. 1 Kings i. 36; Revelations xxii. 20.
- Detached Amen, the complementary sentence being suppressed, e.g. Neh. v. 13; Revelations v. 14 (cf. 1 Corinthians xiv. 16).
- Final Amen, with no change of speaker, as in the subscription to the first three divisions of the Psalter and in the frequent doxologies of the New Testament Epistles.
Amen in Judaism
In Judaism, it is taught that the word Amen is an acronym for A[l] (or El), Me[lech], N[e'eman] meaning "Lord (or God), King, [who is] Trustworthy." It is related to the Hebrew word emuna or "faith" with the same lingiustic root, implying that one is affirming with, and of, "the faith" of Judaism (and its belief in Monotheism).
Amen in Christianity
The uses of amen ("verily") in the Gospels form a peculiar class; they are initial, but often lack any backward reference. Jesus used the word to affirm his own utterances, not those of another person, and this usage was adopted by the church. The liturgical use of the word in apostolic times is attested by the passage from 1 Corinthians cited above, and Justin Martyr (c. 150) describes the congregation as responding "amen," to the benediction after the celebration of the Eucharist. Its introduction into the baptismal formula (in the Greek Orthodox Church it is pronounced after the name of each person of the Trinity) is probably later. Among certain Gnostic sects Amen became the name of an angel.
In some Christian churches, the amen corner or amen section is any subset of the congregation likely to call out "Amen!" in response to points in a preacher's sermon. Metaphorically, the term can refer to any group of heartfelt traditionalists or supporters of an authority figure.
Amen in Islam
The Muslims not only add it after reciting the first Sura of the Koran, but also when writing letters, &c., and repeat it three times, often with the word qimtir, as a kind of talisman.
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