SHAIKH MIR ASEDULLAH QUADRI
سُوْرَةُ اَلْفَاتِحَةِ مَكِّيَةٌ وَهِيَ سَبَعُ ايَاتٍ
Al-Fatiha | Sura #1| 7 verses | Makkah
It is in Quran - فَإِذَا قَرَأْتَ الْقُرْآنَ فَاسْتَعِذْ بِاللَّهِ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيمِ [When you read Quran, seek protection of Allah (سبحانه و تعالی) from the evil of Satan] (An-Nahl - 98). Thus, it is a commandment of Allah (سبحانه و تعالی).After seeking refuge from Satan, we come under Allah’s (سبحانه و تعالی) protection. Now He will safeguard us from Santan's insinuations.To recite بِسْمِ اللَّهِ [ In the name of Allah (سبحانه و تعالی)], is also necessary before starting the recitation of Quran.
(1) In the name of Allah, the Compassionate and the Merciful
Makkan Pagans used to say بِسْمِ اللَّاتِ وَالْعُزَّي [I begin in the name of Lat and Uzza – names of their deities). Allah taught us to say بِسْمِ الله [ I begin in the name of Allah (سبحانه و تعالی)].
The verse (بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ) has come 114 times in Quran, 113 times at the beginning of every Surah, except Sura At-Tauba, and once in the middle of the Sura al-Nahl as mentioned above. The people who follow Shaf’ii School of thought consider it as part of Sura Al Fatiha. This is the reason they recite it loudly. The people who follow Hanafi school of thought, do not consider it part of Sura Al-Fatiha. Therefore like A’oodhu, they recite Bismillaahi also quietly (to themselves). Similarly they recite Aameen quietly (to themselves) as that is also not a part of Surah Al Fatiha.
Rahman and Rahim (رَحْمَانٌ وَ رَحِيمٌ) meaning Compassionate and Merciful are the divine epithets [names of Allah (سبحانه و تعالی)].
Rahm (رَحَمْ) is to turn towards someone with mercy. Ar-Rahmaan (الرَّحْمَـٰنِ), in comparison with Ar-Raheem (الرَّحِيمِ), is generalization of beneficence. To bring into being all the things from non-existence is called compassion (رحمانیت). It is in Quran - هُوَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ لَكُم مَّا فِي الْأَرْضِ جَمِيعًا [He is the one who created everything, whatever is there on Earth for you.] (Al-Baqara - 29). Compassion of Allah (رحمانیت) provides sustenance to everyone, believers and non-believers alike.
When Muslims with Sahih Iman do good deeds, the reward for their good deeds is ‘Mercifulness’ (رحیمیت). ‘Mercifulness’ (رحیمیت) will manifest special bounties for believers in the Hereafter (آخرت) in which non-believers will not be included.
It is a general rule. If you work with reference to your life in this world, you will be rewarded accordingly. If you work with reference to your life in Hereafter, you will be awarded accordingly. But if you work as per the commandments of Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) under the guidance of Prophet Mohammad (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) without any wish in your heart, you will be rewarded abundantly in both the worlds.
Alhamdu lillah (الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ) 'all praise is for Allah (سبحانه و تعالی)'. People say that the Laam (ل) in the Arabic word (الْحَمْدُ) is of absorption (اِسْتِغْرَاقْ) kind, meaning all praise rests only in Allah (سبحانه و تعالی) and is exclusive for Him.The Arabic word (الله) is made-up of two syllables. "Al" and "Ilaah". "Al" means "The" and "Ilah" means "God". When these two syllables, which are the two units of the pronunciation, are combined, the letter "I" becomes silent and Al-Ilah, becomes Allah. And the meaning of Al-Ilaah is, Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) is the only one God who is the creator of this Cosmos.
Why all praise is only for Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) and not for anyone else? It is because, Allah's (سبحانه و تعالى) existence is independent, of His own, and our existence is dependent upon Him. He created us as per His grand plan of creation. We were not there a hundred years ago and we will not be there a hundred years later. Our life and existence is contingent/temporary. What praise can be associated with a temporary/contingent thing. However, it does not mean that we will not recognize or appreciate the good deeds of human beings. Indeed, we will also praise the good work of individuals knowing well that all laudable qualities (محامد) and all eulogies (مدائح) are absolute for Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) and the goodness of human beings is the result of His bestowal on them.It is in Quran - مَّا أَصَابَكَ مِنْ حَسَنَةٍ فَمِنَ اللَّهِ ۖ وَمَا أَصَابَكَ مِن سَيِّئَةٍ فَمِن نَّفْسِكَ [Meaning - Evil is from servant and virtue is from Allah (سبحانه و تعالى)".] (An-Nisa - 79).Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) is absolutely virtuous (خیرِ محض). Evil cannot be associated with His pious exalted divinity. Since our existence is contingent and we are born with specific individual characteristics, sometimes virtue and sometimes evil appear from us.
The meaning of the Arabic word Rab ( رَب ) are to bring up, to cherish and to carry the thing gradually to its excellence. You, we and everything in this Cosmos are creatures, every moment dependent upon Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) for our survival.
The Arabic word (عَوَالِمْ) is plural of عالَم. This is a generalized term for all worlds, like the world of human beings, the world of angels, the world of Jinns, the world of animals, the world of vegetation, inorganic world, etc.
The word عَالَمِينَ is different from عَوَالِمْ as it denotes the worlds belonging to 'sensible creatures'. Why Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) has used the word (عَالَمِينَ) in this verse? It is because, Quran addresses human beings and Jinns who are sensible creatures and are answerable for their deeds in Hereafter.
The word رَبُّ الْعَالَمِينَ denotes that there is only one Sustainer of all the worlds. People who consider planets, stars, humans and other creatures as God or partners of God or associated with God in divinity, are lost in the darkness of polytheism. Similarly, those who consider prophets ‘Uzayr (عليه السلا م) or Isa (عليه السلا م) as sons of God are also lost in darkness.
Some people consider everything as God and refuse to accept facts of things and their distinctive features in the Cosmos. However, when they are subjected to deal with these things, they do exactly what everyone does. They do not jump off a cliff because they think they could fly. They do all kinds of evil in the world and claim it to be from God. When someone behaves with them rudely, they quarrel with him and do not enjoy its acceptance considering it from God. These are confused people.
Some people consider certain individuals/Godmen as 'a reflection or manifestation of divinity (جلوہ گاہِ اُلوہیت) or phenomenon of Divinity (مظہرِ اُلوہیت). Remember, there is no phenomenon or manifestation of divinity in this cosmos. Everything in this cosmos, including human beings are creatures as per their individual characteristics. Our primordial (factual) Creator and Sustainer is the real worshipable God. We worship this Almighty.
It is in Quran - لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيْءٌ [There is nothing like Him.] (Ash-shura - 11), and لَّا تُدْرِكُهُ الْأَبْصَارُ [No eyes can encircle Him.] (Al-An'aam - 103).
Other than Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), all references of divinity/god-ship associated with creatures/human beings are spurious. The simile of these misguided people is described in Quran - أَوْ كَظُلُمَاتٍ فِي بَحْرٍ لُّجِّيٍّ [ (The example of these infidels is like ) the darkness which is in the depths of oceans.] (Al-Noor - 40).
Rahman and Rahim (رَحْمَانٌ وَ رَحِيمٌ) meaning Compassionate and Merciful are the divine epithets [names of Allah (سبحانه و تعالی)]. We have discussed briefly about it in the exegesis of verse (بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ).
The meanings of Arabic word دِينٌ are judgment, religion, obedience, society, requital, retribution, etc. The word يَوْمٌ means day. The meaning of (مَالِكْ) is King, Owner, Lord.Why Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) is emphasizing that while He is Rahman and Rahim, He is also the Lord of the Day of Judgement?It is to remind that all human beings will be resurrected and on the day of Judgment they will be questioned about their deeds. The obedient servants will receive recompense/reward and tyrants and sinners will receive torment for their bad deeds.It is in Quran - يَوْمَئِذٍ يَصْدُرُ النَّاسُ أَشْتَاتًا لِّيُرَوْا أَعْمَالَهُمْ - فَمَن يَعْمَلْ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ خَيْرًا يَرَهُ - وَمَن يَعْمَلْ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ شَرًّا يَرَهُ [That Day, people will depart separated (into groups) to be shown (the result of) their deeds. So whoever does an atom's weight of good, will see it, And whoever does an atom's weight of evil, will see it. ] (Az-Zalzala - 6-8)People should know that there is an efficient justice system of Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) in the cosmos and no one can get away with it in any manner whatsoever. Allah's (سبحانه و تعالى) appointed law enforcers (angels) are spread all over the place doing their jobs extremely well. You cannot influence them or manipulate the system to get away with your evil deeds. We should not make the mistake of assuming that Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) has created this cosmos and left it to fend for itself. Remember, all day and night, everyday of your life, you are being watched. From here everyone of us will be relocated to another place, another world (عالَم). The date of relocation is known as the date of death. Our bodies which were given to us for use on this planet will remain here to be buried on Earth for their disposal. Unfortunately, most of us tend to stay oblivious to our reality. We should spend more time in the pursuit of opening our spiritual eyes.Allah"s (سبحانه و تعالى) justice system is well defined and the job of every angel is clearly scripted. The system is completely automated. People should also know that for certain evil deeds, punishment is given instantanioustly here in this world itself. So is the case with some good deeds. After their relocation/death, wrongdoers will be subjected to punishment for their bad deeds.
(5) We worship You (our servitude is only for You) and we seek help from You only.Iyyaaka (إِيَّاكَ) 'to you only', Na’abudu (نَعْبُدُ) 'We worship, we show our devotion', Nasta’een (نَسْتَعِينُ) 'We seek assistance'.What is polytheism? To believe in Allah’s (سبحانه و تعالی) exclusive attributes to be existing in a servant/creature is 'polytheism' (شرک).What is apostasy? To deny Allah’s (سبحانه و تعالی) exclusive attributes or not to believe in Allah (سبحانه و تعالی) is 'apostasy' (کُفر).No practicing Muslim denies Allah’s (سبحانه و تعالی) existence or associates His exclusive attributes with any creature. Allah's (سبحانه و تعالى) existence (وجود) is independent and our existence is dependent upon Him. When the Servant's existence is not his own, then all his attributes are also not his own. For Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), everything is absolute and for Servant, everything is contingent, relative and bestowal of Allah (سبحانه و تعالى). This is the Iman of every practicing Muslim in the world. With this belief, all types of polytheism and apostasy is rooted out.Makkan pagans believed in a specific deity/God for a specific work. When they were told that there is only one God, absolutely Powerful (قادِرِ مطلق), is creator (خلّاق) and living (محي) and Obliterator (مميت), they said - أَجَعَلَ الْآلِهَةَ إِلَـٰهًا وَاحِدًا [What! (the Prophet - صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) has made all deities/gods into one God. This definitely is an astonishing thing.] (Saad - 5).
Ihdina (اِهْدِنَا) 'Guide us'. Sirat (الصِّرَاطَ) 'the way'. Mustaqeem (مُسْتَقِيْمٌ) 'straight'.
Prophet Mohammad (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) has shown us the straight path of Islam and all Muslims follow this straight path. Then why this prayer?
It is because Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knew that after the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) and his rightly guided Caliphs (خلفائے راشدین), many new sects will emerge who will misguide Muslims led them astray. Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) also knew that individual Muslims and Muslim Ummah, as a whole, may face difficulties, and infliction may befall on them from several directions. This is the reason we are commanded to supplicate O'our Lord, guide us always to the straight path of Islam. The supplication looks abstract, but it is a very comprehensive supplication.
(7) The path of those on whom you have awarded your bestowal; and not the path of those who have been subjected to Your Wrath and the path of those who have gone astray.
The above Quranic verse indicates that there are two major paths, one is the straight path that belongs to the people on whom Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) has showered His bounties. The other is the deviated path which belongs to the people who have have been subjected to Allah's (سبحانه و تعالى) wrath and who have gone astray.
(i) Who are the people who have been referred to in verse الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ [ On whom Allah has showered His bounties]?
Quran answers this question.
It is in Quran - فَأُولَـٰئِكَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِم مِّنَ النَّبِيِّينَ وَالصِّدِّيقِينَ وَالشُّهَدَاءِ وَالصَّالِحِينَ ۚ وَحَسُنَ أُولَـٰئِكَ رَفِيقًا [These are the people upon whom Allah has bestowed favors. They are from among the prophets, and the truthful people, and the martyrs, and the righteous, and what a majestic company they are.] (An-Nisa - 69)
The above is a straight forward commandment and is important that, if we want to be on the straight path of Islam, we need to follow and be in the company of the people described in the verse.
(i) Prophets (النَّبِيِّينَ). We follow Prophet Mohammad (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم).
(ii) Truthful people (الصِّدِّيقِينَ). We follow Hadhrat Abu Bakr Siddique (رضئ الله تعالى عنه) who is the most truthful of all in Muslim Ummah.
(iii) Martyrs (الشُّهَدَاءِ). We follow Hadhrat Umar, Hadhrat Usman and Hadhrat Ali (رضي الله تعالى عنهم اجمعين) as they were rightly guided Caliphs (خلفائے راشدین) Khulafa-e-Rashideen martyred in the way of Islam.
We also follow the other truthful people (الصِّدِّيقِينَ) and Martyrs (الشُّهَدَاءِ) like Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Shafa’ii, Imam Malik, and Imam Ahmad bin Hambal (رضي الله تعالى عنهم اجمعين).
(iv) Righteous people (الصَّالِحِينَ) We follow Shaikh Abdul Qader Jeelani, Khaja Moinuddin Chishti, Ahmad Kabir Rafaa’i, Bahauddin Naqshand, Abul Hasan Ali Shazli and others (رحمة لله عليهم اجمعين). Our teachers/Shuyookh in religion are also included among the righteous people referred in أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ.Since the supreme evidences of the verse (أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ) are the Companions of Prophet Mohammad (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) and his pupils, no one is allowed to downgrade or disrespect them and claim that they were apostates. There are some deviant sects like Deobandis who claim that if a person says all Sahabah were Kafir, he still remains a Muslims. Shias also claim that after Prophet Mohammad (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم), most of the Sahabah deviated from the path of Islam. (استغفرُالله العظيم)Quran reached us from whom? It reached us in a continuous narration from the Companions of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم); particularly from Hadhrat Uthman (رضئ الله تعالی عنه), Hadhrat ‘Ali (رضئ الله تعالی عنه), Hadhrat Zayd bin Thabit (رضئ الله تعالی عنه), Hadhrat Abdullah bin Mas’ud (رضئ الله تعالی عنه), Hadhrat Ubay bin Ka’ab (رضئ الله تعالی عنه), etc. If you discredit them, call them outside the fold of Islam, then how the holy Quran will remain a continuous narration (متواتر)?
(ii) Who are the people who have been referred in verse غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا الضَّالِّينَ [and not the path of those who have been subjected to Your Wrath and the path of those who have gone astray] ?
The meanings of wrath (غَضَبٌ) is the state of boiling of blood of heart for vengeance. When we use this word for Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), it means 'to punish and impose penalty on the wrongdoers'.
The meaning of (الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ) is 'those who are sinful and guilty'.
The meaning of (الضَّالِّينَ) is 'disbelievers and ignorant people'.
Allah (سبحانه و تعالی) has joined (الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ) with (غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ) in this verse in consideration of the fact that both the scales of fear and mercy are balanced. Balancing between fear and mercy is the completion of faith.