بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
And We have certainly given you, [O Muhammad], seven of the often repeated [verses] and the great Qur’an. (Surah Al-Hijr 15:87)
‘The seven of the oft-repeated verses’ refer to Surah Al-Fatiha,
The Mother of the Quran
It’s the Opener of the Quran, The Opener of Salaah, The Opener to the gates of Mercy, The Opener to our Hearts. The essence of this Surah and the sublime message hidden in the heart of this is so incredible; it can take an entire lifetime for one to truly understand this Surah alone. It is the chosen Surah to commence the Quran. Just that alone proves to us the virtue of this Surah. To understand it, is totally different to reading it without understanding it.
1:1 In the name of Allah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful
1:2 [All] praise is [due] to Allah, Lord of the Worlds
1:3 The Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful
1:4 Sovereign of the Day of Recompense
1:5 It is You we worship and You we ask for help
1:6 Guide us to the straight path
1:7 The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favour, not of those who have evoked [Your] anger or of those who are astray
Basics of Islam
The core message of Surah Fatiha represents the entire religion of Islam that Muslims follow:
- Remembering the benefits and endowments of Allah
- Remembering and reiterating the most beautiful names of Allah – the relationship between Allah and mankind is dependant upon mercy
- Reminding oneself that Allah is the Owner of the Day of Judgment and preparing for it
- Showing sincerity when we beseech for help (for each and everything).
- The unity of our Ummah, as the subject pronouns addressing the reader and the supplications are in plural… ‘we worship… we ask for help’
- The importance and the code of supplication – The Surah ends with a supplication
- We ask to follow the right path
- Seeking good and righteous company
- Warning us of bad company
The Opener of the Quran
It is the chosen Surah to commence Quran; the key to the Quran i.e. its meanings. It opens every Surah of the Quran, if we understand Al-Fatiha, we will understand all the Surahs that come after it because the Surahs are sequential in their meanings and objectives. Each Surah is related to the one preceding it according to the order of the Quran, 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 hence, we start our Salaah with Al-Fatiha followed by any Surah, without losing the coherence in meaning.
Teacher: What is the summary of the Quran in two sentences?
Nouman Ali Khan: (1) Accept that Allah is Master and accept yourself as a slave. (2) Accept that the Guidance is only beneficial to those who accept themselves as slave.
In summary – Iyyaka na budu wa iyyaka nasta in’ You (solely) do we worship, and You (solely) do we beseech for help.
The Arabic Language
The English language does not qualify to translate the Arabic language. For example, the word Salaah, we call that Prayer. But a prayer is dua; an act in which we raise our hands and supplicate. Salaah is an entire unit made up of words, actions, with an intention, a belief, together with so much spirituality. Starts with an intention ends with salaam (peace). That is a brief definition of Salaah.
الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ
Al-hamdu lillahi Rabbil ‘alamin
All Praise is due to Allah, Lord of the Worlds (i.e. mankind, jinns and all that exists)
‘Hamd’ is Haa, Meem, Daal د ح م – Used to mention the good attribute of a person; an attribute that reaches the level of perfection. It’s based on love and honour, not simply to please the person or without significance rather Hamd implies admiration, a true praise that one deserves.
‘Al’ is Alif and Laam ل ا – This includes all the different types of the nouns that is pronounced after it. It means that the entire praise, every single type of praise and at all times, is due to Allah. ‘Li’ لِ in ‘lillah’ (meaning, for Allah) implies limitation – Allah is the only One who deserves the Hamd.
All praise is for Allah. It means we are thankful to him, we know He is Praiseworthy. Realise how we say this term quite often when something good happens – Alhumdullilah, All Praise to Allah.
Notice the word ‘Rabb’, it does not have an English translation, it would take pages upon pages to explain literally what is meant by it. Some scholars say the word Rabb includes; Creator, The One who Nourishes, Cherishes, Provides for, Protects. The One who has Absolute Control of all aspects of existence is known as Rabb.
All Praise is due to Allah, The Creator, The Nourisher, The Cherisher, The Sustainer, The Provider, The Protector and The Curer of one and all.
Al-alamin and people
Mentioning the word al-alamin (man and jinn) in this context has a graceful meaning. Al-Fatiha starts with “Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the alamin (mankind, jinn and all that exists)”, whereas the last Surah of the Quran ends with ‘Naas’ meaning mankind, suggesting that this Quran was not just revealed for Muslims but to guide the entire humanity.
Why does Allah speak of his Mercy?
Islam is the religion based on Mercy. On Allahs Mercy. Notice how there is no form of punishment mentioned in this Surah at all. It is repeated so many times during the day to show us, He is Most Forgiving, The Most Merciful – He will forgive us for every single sin we have committed when we seek His forgiveness.
The Master of the Day of Judgement
Allah is the Master of everything but on the Day of Judgement it will be manifest.
That Day, everyone will follow [the call of] the Caller [with] no deviation therefrom, and [all] voices will be stilled before the Most Merciful, so you will not hear except a whisper [of footsteps]. (Surah Taha 20:108)
All the voices shall be silenced for the sake of Allahs voice to be heard, we will hear nothing but Allah and He permits who can talk. So in this verse we confirm he is the owner of all including The Day by declaring His Ownership and Dominion.
‘Day of Judgement’ The day when Allah will judge people and rule on peoples’ hearts… For that reason, when we find ourselves judging others, when we find ourselves ruling and judging peoples hearts we haven’t truly grasped or believed in this verse correctly. When we continue to say bad things about others our deeds are then passed on to them and in essence they may be better than you… Allah has set aside a whole day to judge people, to judge us, we have no right to start judging others on Earth.
We begin by praising Allah in the first three verses, the fourth is now between Allah and the worshipper ‘Iyyaka na budu wa iyyaka nasta in’ Allah reveals to us that He gives whatever we ask for, we then continue making our supplication, ‘Ihdina s-sirata l- mustaqim, siratal ladhina an amta alayhim ghayril-maghdubi alayhim wa la d-dallin’ We ask for guidance and steadfastness on the straight path because that is the most important gift that we can all have.
The description of the straight path: The path whom Allah has guided; Prophet Muhammed (pbuh), his companions and the previous Prophets (Adam, Abraham, Moses, Jesus – Peace be upon them all)… Allah knows who he has guided.
not of those whom erred Your are anger: Those who knew the scriptures and hid them intentionally. Those who knew the truth but they rejected it and did not follow it or they don’t want it.
nor of those who are astray: Neither did they know it or did they bother to know it. Those people who are not in search of the truth and at times know what is right but their weakness has led them far away.
The Opener of Salaah
This Surah is recited at least 17 times a day, with obligatory prayers even more then 17. There is no Salaah for one who does not read Surah Fatiha, it will become invalid. We open this Salaah by thanking Allah, every segment we read we acknowledge that He is the Owner. By declaring Allah is our creator we automatically become the worshipper. One of the names of Al-Fatiha is As-Salaah; The Surah that prayers are begun and reciting it is a condition for the precision of our Salaah. By understanding the true meaning when reciting this Surah in each rakaat (unit) we will notice how sharp our focus is and how our concentration levels will gradually increase. Insha’Allah.
Opening a dialogue with Allah
When we begin to pray this Surah we don’t realise that Allah hears us and is responding to us. If we felt that we would immediately take our time in Salaah. The Hadith Qudsi tells us how freely a believer can communicate with his Lord. Hadith Qudsi are sacred quotations sent directly from Allah through our beloved Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) but are not part of the Quran.
Hadith Qudsi No. 8 of 40
On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) from the Prophet (PBUH), who said:
‘A prayer performed by someone who has not recited the Essence of the Quran (1) during it is deficient (and he repeated the word three times), incomplete.’
Someone said to Abu Hurayrah: [Even though] we are behind the imam? (2)
He said: Recite it to yourself, for I have heard the Prophet (may the blessings and peace of Allah be up on him) say:
Allah (mighty and sublime be He), had said: I have divided prayer between Myself and My servant into two halves, and My servant shall have what he has asked for.
When the servant says: Al-hamdu lillahi rabbi l-alamin (3), Allah (mighty and sublime be He) says: My servant has praised Me. And when he says: Ar-rahmani r-rahim (4), Allah (mighty and sublime be He) says: My servant has extolled Me, and when he says: Maliki yawmi d-din (5), Allah says: My servant has glorified Me – and on one occasion He said: My servant has submitted to My power. And when he says: Iyyaka na budu wa iyyaka nasta in (6), He says: This is between Me and My servant, and My servant shall have what he has asked for. And when he says: Ihdina s-sirata l- mustaqim, siratal ladhina an amta alayhim ghayril-maghdubi alayhim wa la d-dallin (7), He says: This is for My servant, and My servant shall have what he has asked for.
(1) Surah al-Fatiha, the first chapter of the Qur’an.
(2) i.e. standing behind the Imam (leader) listening to him reciting Al-Fatiha.
(3) “Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds.”
(4) “The Merciful, the Compassionate”.
(5) “Master of the Day of Judgement”.
(6) “It is You we worship and it is You we ask for help”.
(7) “Guide us to the straight path, the path of those upon whom You have bestowed favors, not of those against whom You are angry, nor of those who are astray”.
It was related by Muslim (also by Malik, at-Tirmidhi, Abu-Dawud, an-Nasa’i and Ibn Majah).
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).’
Without doubt there is contentment in the certainty of Islam and Surah Al-Fatiha is a gateway to understanding the Quran; The book of Allah, The instruction manual for mankind, The complete guidance for humanity. After contemplating some of the great aspects of this Surah Insha’Allah my remembrance of Allah (swt) increases. He has the right over me, He controls every aspect of my life and I need to rectify myself in order to continue on a healthy path. The straight path. And I truly hope whoever has read this, wherever you are, through Allahs Mercy, may you also benefit from this just like I have. Ameen.