سَبِّحِ اسْمَ رَبِّكَ الْأَعْلَى
Glorify the name of your Lord, the Most High. (The Glorious Quran, 87:01)
The verse literally means: "Purify the name of your Lord, the Highest."
Given below are some aspects of the meanings of this verse:
(1) Allah (s.w.t.) should be remembered by the names which fit Him. No such name should be used for His exalted Being which, with regard to its meaning and sense, does not fit Him, or which reflects some aspect of deficiency, lack of reverence, polytheism about Him, or which refers to some wrong belief in respect of His Being, attributes, or works. For this purpose, the safest way is that only such names be used for Allah, which He himself has mentioned in the Qur'an, or which are a correct translation of these names in other languages.
(2) Allah (s.w.t.) should not be remembered by the names as are generally used for the created beings. For example, father is a human attribute. It should not be used for Allah (s.w.t.).
(3) The created beings should not be called by names as are specifically meant for Allah (s.w.t.). For example, He alone is the all-Knowing and no one else.
(4) If there are some attributive names which are not specifically meant for Allah (s.w.t.), but may also be used for the created beings, such as Ra'uf (Kind), Rahim (Compassionate), Karim (Generous), Sami` (Hearing), Basir (Seeing), etc., one should exercise due care not to use them for a person in a manner as they are used for Allah T'ala.
(5) Allah (s.w.t.) should not be mentioned in a way or in a state which reflects lack of respect for Him. For example, to mention His name when engaged in mockery or jest, or when in the lavatory, or while committing a sinful act, or before the people who might behave insolently in response or in assemblies where people are engaged in absurd things and might laugh off His mention, or on an occasion when it is feared that the hearer will hear it disdainfully.
It is related about Imam Malik that when a beggar came to him asking something and he did not have anything to give, he would not turn away the beggar by saying that may Allah T'ala help him, as is commonly done by the people. Instead, he would excuse himself in some other way. When asked why he did so, he replied: "When the beggar is not given anything and one makes an excuse, it inevitably displeases him. On such an occasion, I do not like to mention Allah's name, as I do not like that somebody should hear His name in a state of annoyance and displeasure."
In a Hadith, it has been reported from Hadrat `Uqbah bin `Amir Juhani that the Prophet (upon whom be Allah's peace) had enjoined recitation of Subhana Rabbi yal-Ala in the sajdah on the basis of this very verse, and the recitation of Subhana Rabbi yal-'Azim in ruku on the basis of the last verse of Surah Al-Waqi'ah, viz. "Fa-sabhih bi-ismi-Rabbi-kal-Azim." (Musnad Ahmad, Abu Da'ud, Ibn Majah, Ibn Hibban, Hakim, Ibn al-Mundhir).
(Taken from Tafheemul Quran, edited by Dr. Ishaq Zahid)