Answered by Shaykh Yūsuf Badāt
I am a new Muslim and wanted to know why many Muslims use the word Jazākum Allāh Khayran? Is it a prayer? Are we supposed to say something after hearing it? A clarification will be appreciated.
May Allāh continue to shower His blessings upon you. Your desire to learn the correct teachings and meanings of Islamic practices is admirable.
This is the Islamic term of expressing thanks or saying thank you. The translation of ‘Jazākum Allāh Khayran’(جَزَاكُمُ اللَّهُ خَيْرًا) is “May Allāh reward you [in] goodness.”
The Prophet Muḥammad (peace and blessings upon him) said,
“If good is done to someone and then they say “Jazāk Allāh Khayran” to the one who did the good, they have indeed praised them well.” (Tirmidhī).
By saying ‘Jazākum Allāh Khayran’, one is appreciating someone’s favour, is making a prayer for them, and is also attaining rewards for oneself from Allāh, by uttering this term.
Some learned linguistics have also stated that it is important to add the words “Khayran” meaning ‘goodness’ after “Jazākum Allāh” as we want the one who favoured us to receive a good return, not any form of a return.
There are numerous ways of responding to one who says ‘Jazākum Allāh Khayran’. The two most common terms used to respond are, either “Wa Iyyākum (وإياكم)” meaning “And goodness to you also” or “Wa antum Fa Jazākum Allāh Khayran” (وَأَنْتُمْ فَجَزَاكُمُ اللَّهُ خَيْرًا) meaning “And in fact to you, may Allāh reward you [in] goodness also.” (See Kanz Al ‘Ummāl)
Note: ‘Jazāk Allāh’ is singular and ‘Jazākum Allāh’ is plural.
And Allāh Knows Best