Surah Al-Fatihah

According to the prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), Surah Al-Fatihah is considered as “the greatest Surah” of the Quran. The following provides information about this great Surah along with its many benefits and virtues including its use in healing.

The many names of Surah Al-Fatihah

This chapter has a great many names, each one indicating a different aspect of its meaning. In the eyes of Arabs if a thing had many different names, this was an indication of its importance.

The popular names of this Surah are the following:

  • Al-Fatihah (The Opening) – It is named Al-Fatihah, the Opening – because it opens the Book and by it the recitation in prayer commences.

  • Umm al-Quran (Mother of the Quran) – According to At-Tirmidhi on the authority of Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “The chapter commencing with] “All praises and thanks are due to Allah the Lord of the Worlds” is the Mother of the Quran, the Mother of the Book, the Seven Oft Repeated Verses and the Great Quran.” Ibn Jarir at-Tabari said that it was named so because the meaning of the entire Quran is summarized therein. The Arabs named anything that concisely summarizes something or comprises its most important part, Umm, or Mother.

  • Umm al-Kitab (Mother of the Book) – Al-Bukhari said in the beginning of the Book of Tafsir in his Sahih: “It is named Umm al-Quran because it is the first chapter written in the Quranic texts and the recitation in prayer commences with it.”

  • Sab’ul-Mathani (The Seven Oft Repeated Verses) – It is also named Sab’ul-Mathani, the Seven Oft Repeated Verses, because they are frequently recited and indeed recited in every rakaah of the prayer. Allah says in the Quran:

 

islam on Surah Al Fatihah   The ‘Greatest Surah’ in the Quran

And indeed, We have bestowed upon you seven of Al-Mathani (the seven repeatedly recited Verses), (i.e. Surat Al-Fatiha) and the Grand Quran. [Quran: Surah Al-Hijr (87)]”

  • Al-Hamd (Praises to Allah) – It is also named Al-Hamd, the Praise, because it contains mention of hamd just as Al-Baqarah is named so because it contains mention of the cow. Some scholars also gave the reasoning that Al-Hamd comprises heart of Al-Fatihah.
  • As-Salah (The Prayer) – It is named the Prayer because its recitation is a condition for the validity of the prayer.
  • Ash-Shifa – It is also named Ash-Shifa’, the Cure, due to what Ad-Darimi reports on the authority of Abu Sa’id that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “The Opening of the Book is a cure to every poison.”
  • Ar-Ruqyah – It is also named Ar-Ruqya, the Spiritual Cure due to the hadith of Abu Sa’id reported by Bukhari that after he had recited it to cure a person who had been bitten by a scorpion, the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) asked him, “…And what made you to know that it was a ruqya.”
  • Asas al-Quran (the Foundation of the Quran) – Ash-Sha’bi records on the authority of Ibn Abbas that he named it , and that he said, “The foundation of Al-Fatihah is, “Bismillah…” (with the Name of Allah, the All-Merciful, the Most Merciful.)

Other scholars have also named it as Al-Kanz (the Treasure), Ash-Shukr (Gratitude), ad-Dua (Supplication), Ash-Shafiyah (the sufficient), Al-Kafiyah (the Sufficient), Al-Wafiyah, the Fulfillment and more.

Revelation of Surah Al-Fatihah

It was revealed in Mecca as stated by Ibn Abbas, Qatadah and Abu’l-Aliyah.

It is also postulated that it was revealed in Madinah as stated by Abu Hurayrah, Mujahid, ‘Ata ibn Yasar and Az-Zuhri. It is also said that it was revealed on two separate occasions – once in Makkah and once in Madinah. However the first opinion is the most likely due to Allah’s saying,

“We have sent to you the Seven Oft Repeated Verses.” [Al-Hijr 15:87]

This verse was revealed in Makkah by agreement of the exegeses.

The Ruling of Reciting Al-Fatihah in Prayer

The opinion of the majority of the scholars, amongst them Malik, Ash-Shafi’i and Ahmad, is that it is obligatory to recite Al-Fatihah in the prayer and that the prayer is invalid without it. Their opinion is based upon many proofs; from amongst them, the sayings of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), who said that “There is no prayer for the one who does not recite the Opening of the Book.”

Narrated ‘Ubâdah bin As-Sâmit Allâh’s Messenger said,

“Whoever does not recite Sûrat Al-Fâtihah in his prayer, his prayer is invalid. (Sahih Al-Bukhâri, Vol.1, Hadîth No. 723).

However, Abu Hanifa and some others had differing opinions on this.

In the case where one is a follower in a congregational prayer then the scholars fell into three opinions with regards to his reciting Al-Fatiha,:

1. It is obligatory upon him to recite it in all prayers.

2. It is upon him not to recite it in all prayers.

3. He should recite it in those prayers in which the recitation is silent, but not in those prayers in which the recitation is loud.

Composition of Surah Al-Fatihah

It consists of seven verses and there is no difference of opinions concerning this.

Scholars have differed concerning the statement Bismillah-ir-Rahman-ir-Raheem” (with the Name of Allah, the All-Merciful, the Most Merciful.” The majority of the reciters of Kufa postulate that the “verse of Bismillah” comprises an independent verse of Al-Fatihah and this is also the opinion of a group of the Sahabah, Tabi’in and a large group of the later scholars. However the reciters and jurists of Madinah regard it to be part of a verse, and not an independent verse, or not a verse at all.

Those who postulate that “Bismillah” is not a verse of Al-Fatihah state that the seventh verse commences with the words, “not [the path] of those who have earned [Your] Anger … ” (This is because there is no disagreement that Surah Al-Fatihah has seven verses.)

The Virtues of Surah Al-Fatihah

There are a number of ahadith explaining to us the great virtue of this surah. They are summarized as follows:

Allah responds to the believer when he recites Surah Al-Fatiah

Sahih Muslim records on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (R) who said that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said,

“Allah, the Glorious and Exalted said, “I have divided the prayer between Myself and my servant equally and My servant shall be granted what he asked for.” Therefore, when the servant says, ‘All praises and thanks are due to Allah, the Lord of the worlds’, Allah says, ‘My servant has praised Me.’ When he says,’The All-Merciful, the Most Merciful,’Allah says, ‘My servant has extolled Me.’ When he says, ‘Master of the Day of Judgment,’ Allah says, ‘My servant has glorified Me.’ When he says, ‘You Alone we worship and Your aid Alone do we seek,’ Allah says, ‘this is between Me and My servant and My servant shall have what he requested.’ When he says, ‘Guide us to the Straight Path, the Path of those whom You have favored, not [the path] of those who have earned [Your] anger, nor of those who have gone astray,’ Allah says, ‘this is for My servant and My servant shall have what he asked for.’ “

“Mother of the Quran”

At-Tirmidhi records on the authority of Abu Hurayrah who said that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said,

[The chapter commencing with],”All praises and thanks are due to Allah the Lord of the worlds” is the Mother of the Quran, the Mother of the Book, the Seven Oft Repeated Verses and the Great Qur’an.

Unlike other revelations

Ahmad records on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (radiyAllahu’anhu) who said (in part of the hadith) that “The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) called Ubayy ibn Ka’b and told him that,

“…Would you like me to teach you a Surah the likes of which is not to be found in the Tawrah, Injil, Zabur or the [rest of the] Quran?” He said, “Yes O Messenger of Allah”‘ The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, ‘I hope that I will not leave this door until you know it.’

“Ubayy said, ‘Then he took hold of my hand and talked to me while I slowed down fearing that we may reach the door before he finished talking. When we did reach it I asked him, ‘What is the Surah you promised me, O Messenger of Allah?’ He said, “What is the Surah you recite in prayer?” So I recited the Mother of the Quran upon which he said, ‘By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, Allah has not revealed the likes of it in the Torah, Injil, Zabur or the [rest of the] Quran. It is the Seven Oft-Repeated verses.’ “

Greatest Surah of the Quran

Ahmad records on the authority of Abu Sa’ad ibn Al-Mu’alla who said (in part of the hadith) that the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said,

“…I will teach a Surah which is the greatest Surah in the Quran before you leave the Masjid.’ Then he took hold of my hand and when he intended to leave [the Masjid], I asked him, “Did you not say that you would teach me a Surah which is the greatest Surah in the Qur’an?” He replied, ‘Yes. It is [the Surah commencing with], “All praise and thanks are due to Allah.” It is the Seven Oft-Repeated verses and the Great Qur’an that has been given to me.’ “

Surah Al-Fatehah part of the two lights given to the prophet (s)

Sahih Muslim records on the authority of Ibn Abbas (radiy Allahu ‘anhu) who said,

“While the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was sitting with Jibril he heard a creaking sound above him. Jibril looked up and said, “This is [the sound of] a gate that has been opened in heaven today and has never been previously opened.” Then an Angel descended through it and came to the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and said, ‘Rejoice in the good news of two lights that have been given to you such as no prophet before you has been given. [They are] Surah Al-Fatihah and the concluding [two] verses of Surah Al-Baqarah. You will never recite a word from them without being given the blessings they contain.’ “

The Most Noble and excellent part of the Quran

An-Nisai records on the authority of Anas that the prophet said,

“Should I not inform you of the most noble and excellent part of the Quran?” He then recited “All praise and thanks are due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds”

 

Mujahid said, ‘When this chapter was revealed it bore down heavily upon iblis and he let out a loud wail in lament…’

The Surah appears below in its entirety.

islam on Surah Al Fatihah   The ‘Greatest Surah’ in the Quran

1 In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.

2 All the praises and thanks be to Allah, the Lord of the Alameen (mankind, jinns and all that exists).

3 The Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.

4 The Only Owner (and the Only Ruling Judge) of the Day of Recompense (i.e. the Day of Resurrection)

5 You (Alone) we worship, and You (Alone) we ask for help (for each and everything).

6 Guide us to the Straight Way

7 The Way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, not (the way) of those who earned Your Anger, nor of those who went astray. [Quran, Surah Al-Fatihah]

– End

 

source: iqrasense.com

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“Invite to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious..”
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One Response to Surah Al-Fatihah

  1. theCall says:

    Surat Al-Fatiha is a Makkan surah. It is the fifth surah in the order of revelation and comprises of seven ayahs.

    To start with, there are many questions to be raised. What is the secret of surat Al-Fatiha? Why does it inaugurate the Holy Qur’an? Why is it called ‘the mother of the Holy Qur’an’? Why do we recite it at least 17 times daily? Why is our prayer invalidated if we do not recite surat Al-Fatiha in it?

    Significance of Al-Fatiha

    Narrated by Abu Said Ibn Al-Mu’alla: ‘While I was praying in the mosque, the Prophet (SAWS[5]) called me but I did not answer him. Later I said, “O Allah’s Messenger! I was just praying (when you called me).” He said, “Did not Allah say, “Give your response to Allah (by obeying Him) and to His apostle when he calls you.” (TMQ 8:24)?” He then said to me, “I will teach you a surah which is the greatest surah in the Qur’an, before you leave the mosque.” Then the Prophet (SAWS) took hold of my hand, and when he intended to leave (the mosque), I said to him, “Didn’t you say to me, ‘I will teach you a surah which is the greatest surah in the Qur’an?’” He said, “(Yes, ) Al-hamdu-lillah Rabb il-alamin (praise be to Allah, the Lord of the alamin) which is al-Sab’a al-mathani (the seven repeatedly-recited verses) and the Grand Qur’an which has been given to me.” [6]

    Allah (SWT) demonstrates to us in surat Al-Hijr (The Rocky Tract) the sublimity of the Qur’an by saying what can be translated as, “ And indeed We have already brought you seven of the oft-repeated (i.e., the Opening Sûrah “ Al-Fatiha”, as it includes praise and laudation in seven verses) and the magnificent Qur’an.”(TMQ 15:87) ‘The seven of the oft-repeated verses’ refer to Al-Fatiha for being repeatedly recited.

    The Prophet (SAWS) says, “By Him in whose hands my soul lies, Allah did not reveal in the Torah, in the New Testament, in the Book of Psalms nor in the Qur’an anything like it; it is the seven oft-repeated verses.”[7]

    Hence, this surah has been given many attributes like: ‘the mother of the Holy Book’, ‘the seven oft-repeated verses’, and ‘the comprehensive’ and ‘self-consistent (Surah)’, owing to its all-inclusive meaning, and blessings other surahs draw from it.

    This surah inundates the believer’s life with its sublime lights. It is a divine grace that blocks the ways of temptations and leads the believer to the gates of mercy.

    What secret lies within it? What is the sublimity hidden in the heart of this marvelous surah; the surah that many Muslims recite without understanding its meanings and messages?

    Comprising the objectives of the Qur’an

    Surat Al-Fatiha comprises all the meanings of the Qur’an. This is the inherent secret. Every meaning included in the Qur’an has been found in Al-Fatiha, and all the meanings and denotations of the Qur’an have been summed up in these seven ayahs. Let us savor together, and explore, the sublimity of the first surah of the Qur’an.

    The core ideas of the Qur’an

    The content of the Holy Qur’an revolves around three pivots presented to those who believe in or recite it:

    1- Beliefs (to believe in Allah)

    2- Acts of Worship (to know how we manage to worship our Lord in Whom we believe)

    3- Way of life (The way chosen for us by Allah (SWT))

    First and foremost, the Qur’an teaches us righteous beliefs, i.e. believing in Allah (SWT) in the most appropriate way and on the basis of proper principles.

    Secondly, it promotes proper acts of worship (rituals). However, acts of worship are not adequate on its own, because Islam is an all-inclusive way of life.

    Surat Al-Fatiha includes these three objectives. Concerning faith, one recites Allah’s words, which can be translated as, “1- In The Name of Allah, the All-Merciful, the Ever-Merciful. 2- Praise be to Allah, the Lord of al-alamin (mankind, jinn and all that exists) 3-The All-Merciful, the Ever-Merciful. 4-The Possessor of the Day of Doom.”(TMQ1:2-3). Monotheism and the belief in the Day of Judgment are the essences of the Islamic belief. Concerning the acts of worship, we recite what can be translated as “5-You (solely) do we worship, and You (solely) do we beseech for help (for each and every thing).”

    Concerning the Muslim’s way of life Allah (SWT) says what can be translated as,

    “Guide us to the straight path. The Path of the ones whom You have favored, other than that of the ones against whom You are angered, and not (that of) the erring. (It is customary to say “amîn” “amen” at the end of this surah). (TMQ 1:5-7).

    All the Qur’anic surahs that follow Al-Fatiha either clarify the beliefs or explain the meaning of “Praise be to Allah, the Lord of al-alamin (mankind, jinn and all that exists)” and the meaning of “3-The All-Merciful, the Ever-Merciful” and that of “4-The only Owner (and the only ruling judge) of the Day of Doom”. Moreover, they show us how to worship Allah (SWT) “5-You (solely) do we worship, and You (solely) do we beseech for help (for each and every thing)” Moreover, they relate the principles to be followed in this life, as well as the deeds of the tyrants, the fate of the desperate people, and the ways of the saved souls; hence we find many ayahs explaining the meaning of “6-Guide us to the straight path.”

    Basics of Islam

    Surat Al-Fatiha reminds us of the basics of our faith, its great meanings and denotations:

    1- Remembering the boons and endowments of Allah (SWT): “Praise be to Allah, the Lord of al-alamin (mankind, jinn and all that exists)”.

    2- Showing sincerity when reciting, “You (solely) do we worship”. This means we worship You and no one else, our Lord. You alone we worship and You alone we ask for assistance, “and You (solely) do we beseech for help (for each and every thing).

    3- Seeking good and righteous company, “Guide us to the straight path. Guide us to the straight path. The Path of the ones whom You have favored,”

    4- Warning us of bad company, (other than that of the ones against whom You are angered, and not (that of) the erring.)” (TMQ 1:5-7).

    5- Remembering and reiterating the most beautiful names of Allah, with the emphasis on ‘The All-Merciful, the Ever-Merciful’, because the relationship between Allah (SWT) and mankind is dependant upon mercy. This is the reason why ‘The All-Merciful, the Ever-Merciful’ is repeated twice.

    6- Following the right path, “Guide us to the straight path”

    7- The Day of Judgment and the believer’s preparation for it, “

    8- The importance and the code of supplication (the surah ends with a supplication).

    9- The unity of our ummah, as you will find that all the subject pronouns addressing the reader and the supplications in Al-Fatiha are in plural. If a man is praying alone in his room, his prayers will not be accepted if he says, “You alone I worship, and You alone I ask for help” or “guide me to the right path”. We have to say, “guide us”, “You (solely) do we worship” and “You (solely) do we beseech for help” all in the plural. It makes you feel that you belong to one ummah and that you are not alone in this universe.

    The worshipper’s delicacy with Allah

    In addition to what we have underscored so far, this surah teaches the worshippers of Allah how to show Him respect, because it is divided into two parts. The first part is a tribute to Allah and the second is a supplication addressed to Him. We can see the praising in the following ayaat, “Praise be to Allah, the Lord of al-alamin (mankind, jinn and all that exists). The All-Merciful, the Ever-Merciful. The only Owner (and the only ruling judge) of the Day of Doom.” (TMQ, 1:1-4).

    The following half is a supplication, “Guide us to the straight Path. The Path of the ones whom You have favored, other than that of the ones against whom You are angered, and not (that of) the erring”. The number of the letters of praise in the first half of Al-Fatiha is exactly equal to the number of the letters of supplications in the second half!

    Hence, the surah teaches the individual how to address Allah. If he wishes to supplicate, it is preferable to start with words of praise first (so he starts by praising and glorifying Allah, then greeting the Prophet Muhammad (SAWS). Afterwards, he can supplicate and ask for anything, and Allah will grant him his du’aa (supplication) if Allah wills.

    Holding a dialogue with Allah

    Reciting Al-Fatiha bestows upon you the greatest honor: to enter into a dialogue with Allah (SWT), as explained in the following Hadith Qudsi: “Abu-Huraira reported: The Prophet of Allah (SAWS) said, “If anyone observes prayer in which he does not recite umm al-Qur’an, it is deficient [he said this three times] and not complete.” It was said to Abu-Huraira, “At times we are behind the imam.” He said, “Recite it to yourself”, for he had heard the Messenger of Allah (SAWS) declare that Allah said, “I have divided the prayer into two shares between Me and My worshipper, and My worshipper will be endowed with whatever he asks. When the worshipper says, “Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the alamin”, Allah says, “My worshipper has praised Me”. When he says, “the All-Merciful, the Ever-Merciful”, Allah says, “My worshipper has lauded Me”. When he (the worshipper) says, “The Possessor of the Day of Doom”, He says, “My worshipper has glorified Me”. And sometimes He would say, “My worshipper entrusted (his affairs) to Me.” And when he (the worshipper) says, “You (solely) do we worship and you (solely) do we beseech for help”, He (Allah) says, “This (faith) is between Me and My worshipper, and My worshipper will be endowed with whatever he asks”. Then, when he (the worshipper) says, “Guide us to the straight path, the path of the ones whom You have favored, other than that of the ones against whom You are angered, and not (that of) the erring”, He (Allah) says, “This is for My worshipper, and My worshipper will be endowed with whatever he asks.”

    Thus you feel every time you recite Al-Fatiha, Allah (SWT) answers you. What a great honor it is for you to be mentioned by Allah although we just utter Allah’s words. He, glorified be He, is worthy of all praises the way eligible to Him.

    Omar’s sensitivity

    Omar Ibn-Abdul-Aziz (RA) used to recite Al-Fatiha, one ayah after the other, with a pause between each ayah. When he was asked for the reason of these silent pauses he answered, “To enjoy Allah’s reply (to my supplication).”

    If every heart were to feel Allah’s reply when reciting this surah, it would have flown from happiness.

    The compiler of graces of all times

    Do you now feel the significance of this surah? Ibn-Al-Qayyem says on this subject, “Allah (SWT) revealed 104 books; he summed up their meanings in three books: the Torah, the New Testament and the Qur’an. And He summed up these three books in the Qur’an; and He summed up the Qur’an in Al-Fatiha; and He summed up all the meaning of Al-Fatiha in “You (solely) do we worship, and You (solely) do we beseech for help”.

    This ayah is divided into two halves, and both are essential in Islam, worshiping Allah (SWT) i.e. practicing His rituals, “You (solely) do we worship”, relying on what Allah has created on this earth and using it to achieve success in life in order to rule earth according to His methodology (as we are going to see in surat Al-Baqara). The companions of the Prophet (SAWS) comprehended this ayah very well and applied its two parts in their lives, thus achieving success in this life and in the hereafter.

    Today, we see some Muslims applying one half only, “You (solely) do we worship”, restricting their understanding of Islam to mere religious practice. Meanwhile, the West applies the second half “You (solely) do we beseech for help”, and goes about using the earth’s resources to rule it and replenish it. Islam however preaches a balance between the two, and this is what surat Al-Fatiha shows clearly.

    The key to the Qur’an

    So why was it called Al-Fatiha (the Opener)?

    There are two interpretations. First, it is the opening surah of the Qur’an that is why it is called Al-Fatiha (as this word is derived from the Arabic word ‘fataha’ which means ‘to open’). However, a less conspicuous reason is that it holds the key to the Qur’an (i.e. its meanings). Its first ayah opens every surah of the Qur’an. This surah holds all the treasures of the Qur’an. If you understand Al-Fatiha, you will understand all the surahs of the Qur’an that come after it.

    One of the great things about the Qur’an is that all its surahs are sequential in their meanings and objectives. Each surah is related to the one preceding it according to the order of the Holy Qur’an, and it can only be related to the surah that precedes it; except Al-Fatiha. If you recite Al-Fatiha before any surah, you will find a related or complementing meaning within them both. Therefore, we start our prayer with Al-Fatiha followed by any surah, without losing the coherence in meaning.

    Two surahs to explain two words

    I would like to draw your attention to the interconnection between Al-Fatiha and the two surahs that come after it according to their order in the Holy Qur’an: they are Al-Baqara and Al-‘Imran. One recites ayah six in Al-Fatiha, which can be translated as, “Guide us to the right path”.

    While surat Al-Baqara begins with what can be translated as, “This is the Book (the Qur’an), there is no suspicion about it, a guidance to the pious” refers to Allah’s words in surat Al-Fatiha, which can be translated as, “Guide us to the right path”, to say that these words will be explained in surat Al-Baqara.

    How? Allah (SWT) says what can be translated as, “Guide us to the straight Path, the Path of the ones whom You have favored, other than that of the ones against whom You are angered, and not (that of) the erring.” Those who have earned Allah’s anger and those who went astray are attributes of people who deservedly incurred Allah’s wrath upon themselves, or who have strayed from His path. Surat Al-Baqara explains “other than that of the ones against whom You are angered,” while Al-‘Imran explains, “and not (that of) the erring.”

    .

    A whole surah (i.e. Surat Al-Baqara), composed of 286 ayahs, explains one expression in Al-Fatiha, “other than that of the ones against whom You are angered” and a whole surah, Al-‘Imran, sheds light on “not (that of) the erring.”

    There is great consistency in terms of objectives and topics, which will become clearer and more tangible as we look into the two surahs in detail.

    Mercy upon all creatures

    We notice that “the All-Merciful, the Ever-Merciful” was repeated twice in the surah: “In the name of Allah, the All-Merciful, the Ever-Merciful” and “the All- Merciful, the Ever-Merciful”. We can feel from this accentuated meaning that Allah’s mercy encompasses this life and the hereafter.

    The first time it came after “Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the alamin (mankind, jinn and all that exists)”. Therefore, the alamin and everything in this life functions by virtue of Allah’s grace or mercy. After “the All-Merciful, the Ever-Merciful” came “The Possessor of the Day of Doom” to point out that the Day of Judgment shall take place only by virtue of Allah’s Omnipotence and graces. This surah appeases our fears and reminds us that the origin of this universe is Allah’s grace, and that the basis of the relationship between Allah and His worshippers is mercy.

    Al-alamin and people

    Mentioning the word al-alamin (man and jinn) in this context has a graceful meaning. Al-Fatiha – which is the first surah of the Qur’an – starts with “Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the alamin (mankind, jinn and all that exists)”, whereas the last surah of the Qur’an ends with “of jinn and men”. Hence the Holy Qur’an starts with the word “al-alamin” and ends with the word “men” (meaning mankind), suggesting that this Qur’an was not just revealed for Muslims but to guide the entire humanity.

    Gratuitous graces

    Surat Al-Fatiha has an unmatched feature, as it does not require any of the difficult rules of tajwid[8]. It is easy for anyone to recite this surah, even those who do not speak the Arabic language.

    Verily, Al-Fatiha is your gateway to understanding the Qur’an and holding an intimate conversation with Allah. How can we achieve this total submissiveness in our prayers and feel all the invoked meanings?

    The balance of submissiveness

    The Prophet (SAWS) says, “The worshipper only earns for his prayer as much as he has been concentrating on it.”

    How would you feel then, if you were only rewarded for half, or a quarter, or an eighth of your prayer? Let us recite surat Al-Fatiha together and contemplate its ayahs and their meanings.

    If you feel one day that you were not quite submissive in your prayer, then you should know that there is a divine endowment that you have forgotten. If you had said, “Praise be to Allah” thoughtfully, you would have felt more and more subdued in your prayer and would have felt wholeheartedly every endowment and grace that Allah has bestowed upon you. Designate for each raka’a an endowment or a grace to reflect upon and to praise Allah for. Can you enumerate Allah’s endowments? Try. Starting from Islam and faith, to the grace of the revelation of the Holy Qur’an and sending of Prophet Muhammad (SAWS), all the wealth and health you are enjoying, your senses; sight and hearing etc… “…in case you number the favor (s) of Allah, you (cannot) enumerate them. Surely man is indeed constantly unjust, most disbelieving.”(TMQ 14:34).

    When you recite, “the All-Merciful, the Ever-Merciful” you remember Allah’s mercy on his creations, which extends from this life to the hereafter – then eventually you will be submissive in your prayer. Likewise, when you read what can be translated as, “The Possessor of the Day of Doom”, it will remind you of the Day of Judgment and its terrors. You will ask Allah to have mercy on you on that day. Eventually, you will feel total submissiveness in your prayer.

    As for the fifth ayah of Al-Fatiha, which can be translated as, “You (solely) do we worship, and You (solely) do we beseech for help”, the mere utterance of the words “You alone” renews in you your devotion to Allah every single day, and you become more aware that He alone is to be worshiped and that He alone is the one who can help you. This will make you submissive in your prayer.

    This ayah, as I said before, encompasses all the meanings in the revealed holy books.

    Therefore do not skim through it – make it your motto in life and renew its meaning in your heart every time you read it.

    Furthermore, when reciting the sixth ayah, which can be translated as, “Guide us to the right path”, you must feel that no one else, save Allah, can guide you to the right path in life and keep you firmly on it. There is absolutely no one, but Him, who can guide you through the sirat so that you can cross it to reach Him. This belief augments your hope in Allah’s mercy, grace, and your fear of His punishment. Bearing all that in mind, you will then be submissive in your prayer.

    Share with them felicity

    When reciting the seventh ayah, which can be translated as, “The path of the ones whom You have favored” it should invoke in your mind all those on whom Allah has bestowed his grace before you. For example, in the first raka’a, remember Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) (AS), Adam (AS), Nuh (Noah) (AS) and the Seal (last) of the Prophets Muhammad (SAWS) and ask Allah to guide you to their path. Then try in the second raka’a to reflect on great men like Abu-Bakr, Omar Ibnul-Khattab and the rest of the companions, may Allah be pleased with them. In the third raka’a remember Salahu-deen (Saladin) and the other heroes of Islam. Finally, in the fourth raka’a contemplate the Muslims living around you and your virtuous companions, and pray that Allah maintain these righteous ties. This is how to keep this ayah before your eyes at all times.

    When you recite the second half of this ayah, which can be translated as, “other than that of the ones against whom You are angered, and not (that of) the erring)”, it should remind you of the enemies of Islam, and the non-believers throughout ages; those who strayed from the right way or lost their way and earned Allah’s wrath.

    All these meanings, repeated at the end of the surah, leave thousands of good and bad role models from the past and present, to give the reader of the Qur’an an overall feeling of submissiveness and closeness to Allah, and a firmer pledge to follow His decrees, prayer after prayer, thus reviving our prayer.

    The key to understanding the Qur’an

    This is surat Al-Fatiha, the personal identity of every Muslim, and his or her gateway to understanding the Qur’an.

    After contemplating some of the great aspects of this surah, and understanding the key to entering the realm of the Qur’anic meanings, let us embark on a journey of enlightenment, delve into and analyze His ayahs and decrees, exerting strenuous efforts to learn from the correlations between the surahs.

    Amr Khaled
    http://daraltarjama.com/dt/block.php?item_id=327&name=articles

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