By: Salah Ed-Din A. Nefeily

Al-Fatiha, the Opening chapter of the muslims' glorious book Al -Quran.
Sura "Al-Fatiha"
Introduction to 'Al-Fatiha':
Al -Qur'an, The Muslim's Glorious Book:
Interpretation of the Qur'an (Tafsir)
Translating the meanings of the Qur'an
Sura Al-Fatiha Verse One
Verse Two
Verse Three
Verse Four
Verse Five
Verse six
Verse Seven
Translations of the meanings of the Quran are used in this book
The following interpretations 0f the Quran were used in the book

Islambasics Library: Highlights On the meaning of Al-Fatiha

Verse Five:

إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ {الفاتحة/5}

"Y0u only do we worship, and you only do we beseech for help."

Here is a change of the grammatical case from the third person case in the last four verses to the second person case in the remaining three verses. This implies a realization of the propinquity and nearness of Allah that a person feels his presence. The reader, thus, addresses Allah directly saying: "You only do we worship ....” The sentence starts with the object "You" rather than with the subject 'we' because of the superiority of the pronoun 'You', which refers to Allah. Inversion here, is a rhetorical device in Arabic, which implies confinement, meaning that Muslims worship Allah and none else. -

From an Islamic point of view, Man is created mainly for the purpose of worshipping Allah, which implies correction of his life. The word worship in Arabic /naabudu/ implies not just the performance of certain rites, but this performance has to have some effect on the personality of the individual. It purities his character and negates all aspects of arrogance in his personality. Sensations of fear, love, hope, submission and humility are all included in the Arabic word /naabudu/ which is translated into آ°worship.' Verse 56 of Sura 51 reads:

وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ {الذاريات/56}

"And in no way did I create the jinn and humankind except to worship me". A Muslim's relationship to Allah is not that of enslavement in the common sense of the word. It is, rather, a relationship of love. It is a relationship, which leaves Man with more freedom than restraint. He frees himself from enslavement to all other aspects of life except that of attachment to Allah. However, this attachment to Allah does not mean hermitage. A Muslim is requested to be an active member of his society. When Omar Ibn El-Khattab saw a man praying most of the day in the mosque, he asked about the person who pays for his living. When Omar was told that the man's brother supports him, the Caliph said: 'His brother is closer to Allah than this man is' It is also narrated that three men came to the Prophet Muhammad and the first of them said to the prophet 'I pray all night' The second man said: 'I fast all day' The third man said: 'I keep aloof from women' The Prophet Muhammad finally said: 'I am the most pious of you and I pray and sleep during the night. I fast and break my fast. I marry women. Whoever takes things to extremes does not follow my way.

When a Muslim knows some of the qualities and attributes of Allah, he then comes to the conclusion that Allah alone is worthy of worship and He is the One to ask for help.

The second part of the verse is necessary for the completion of the idea mentioned in the first pan. The fact that we have decided to worship Allah may imply that we have become so good. This may inflate man's feelings of pride and self-conceit. The second part implies that a Muslim's devoutness and piety is a gift from Allah. We can do our prayers properly only when Allah helps us. We beseech Allah to help us worship Him because it is for our own good. This attachment to Allah is completely ~ different from an attachment to a boss at work or to a landlord. Enslavement to a human being brings the benefits of the relationship to the master or the owner. On the other hand, enslavement to Allah brings the benefits of the relationship to human beings. Attachment to Allah brings confidence and freedom to man. He starts to realize that Allah is the Almighty and the most powerful Being. Ash-shaarawi points out that it is a unique relationship in which the master presents Himself to the slave. It is a master-slave relationship in which the tables are turned. It is a relationship in which the master attends willingly to the needs of his slaves (74). Allah says in the Qur'an:

وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ فَلْيَسْتَجِيبُواْ لِي وَلْيُؤْمِنُواْ بِي لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْشُدُونَ {البقرة/186}

"I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor)" (2: 186). This state of slavery to Allah is a sublime state. Allah speaks of the Prophet Muhammad as his 'slave' in the sublime situation of the prophet's ascendance to heaven. Allah says in the Qur'an:

سُبْحَانَ الَّذِي أَسْرَى بِعَبْدِهِ لَيْلاً مِّنَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ إِلَى الْمَسْجِدِ الأَقْصَى{الإسراء/1}

"Glorified be Allah who took His slave (Muhammad) for a journey by night from Al-Masjid-al-Haram (in Mecca) to Al-Aqsa mosque (in Jerusalem)" (17; l). The first words of Jesus as a baby, according to the Qur'an were

قَالَ إِنِّي عَبْدُ اللَّهِ آتَانِيَ الْكِتَابَ وَجَعَلَنِي نَبِيًّا {مريم/30}

"l am a slave of Allah, He has given me the Scripture and made me a Prophet" (19: 30).

It is important to notice that Allah preceded asking for help with the actual worship to point out that we need to start with the actual worship before we ask for help. A person needs to take action first then he asks for support.


It is also worthnoting here that the pronoun used in the verse is "we" not "I". This observation implies reference to the fact that most of Muslim religious rites are collective works of worship. Muslims are told that people who loved each other in life will be in company of each other in the After-life. Hence, they are requested to be in company of good people so that they accompany them in Paradise. Besides, the companionship of good people will help us be good. Birds of one feather, as the saying goes, flock together. A Muslim, according to the verse, is supposed to supplicate to Allah for the good of his companions as well as for all others. Allah's blessings fall upon all who are gathered in a good spiritual and sacred meeting. When a Muslim prays for others, he actually protects himself against other members of society. When all the members of a society are good, individuals feel safe and pleased.

In his interpretation of Sura Al-Fatiha, Ar-Razi explains that we should worship Allah for His being our merciful Lord, not for aspiration to go to paradise or for fear of hell. If we worship Allah, only in order to go to paradise, we actually use our worship of Allah as a medium to gain pleasure in paradise. We would actually. Be worshippers of paradise. In such a case, a person would take any way, which will lead him to paradise if he would find it.

A Muslim asks Allah for help to be able to properly worship Him. This indicates that worshipping Allah is for the benefit of the worshipper. It is not for the benefit of Allah. A Muslim is held responsible for his deeds. His own work redeems him and saves him the punishment on the Day of Judgment.


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