Highlights On the meaning of Al-Fatiha

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  • Highlights On the meaning of Al-Fatiha


    Al -Qur'an, The Muslim's Glorious Book:

    lt is the book, which Allah revealed to the Prophet Muhammad as a guide
    for humanity. lt is described by Allah as

    هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ{البقرة/185}

    "Guidance for Mankind" (2: 185) and as the book that leads
    "Mankind out of darkness (of disbelief and polytheism) into light (of
    belief in the oneness of Allah and Islamic Monotheism)" (14: 1).

    الَر كِتَابٌ أَنزَلْنَاهُ إِلَيْكَ لِتُخْرِجَ
    النَّاسَ مِنَ الظُّلُمَاتِ إِلَى النُّورِ

    The Qur'an was communicated to the Prophet Muhammad through the angel
    Gabriel. The Qur'an covers almost all aspects of human life and includes so
    many historical facts, which enlighten readers about past nations. Mujahid said
    that Allah loves most those who are most knowledgeable and acquainted with His
    book Al-Qur'an. (Fat'hel-Qadir Vol.l:1). The Qur'an was revealed to the Prophet
    Muhammad in portions over a period of twenty- three years (Thirteen years in
    Mecca and ten years in Medina). The language of the Qur'an is beautiful and its
    wisdom is admirable. The verses revealed to the Prophet Muhammad in Mecca are
    known as Meccan verses and the ones revealed in Medina are known as Medani.
    Many of the Meccan verses and suras deal with the foundations of the religion
    whereas the Medani verses and suras deal with human relations, including
    social, political and economic aspects.

    Before reading the Qur'an a Muslim is recommended to seek refuge in the
    presence of Allah to protect him from the devil and other distractions. The reader
    of the Qur'an should purify his mind to receive Allah's words. A reader will then
    be able to understand some of the secrets of the divine words of Allah. He will
    be in the companionship of his creator. lt is mentioned in the Qur'an that the
    devil himself challenged Allah saying that he will delude people except those
    who are honest to Allah. It is known that the devil does not delude the sinners
    for they are already following him. He said that he will always be there to
    dissuade people from doing good. On the Day of Judgment, Satan and his
    followers will disavow their relationship to the sinners. They will dissociate
    themselves from their followers and will be concerned only with themselves.

    Man is empowered and protected when he takes refuge in Allah. Prophet
    Muhammad said that Allah will save whoever devotes himself to the service of
    his Lord (Ar-Razi Vol.l: l27). When the Prophet Muhammad and his companion Abu
    Bakr were in the cave on their way to Medina, Abu Bakr feared that the Meccans
    would catch them. The Prophet calmed Abu Bakr down and told him that they are
    in the protection and refuge of Allah and that Allah will not disappoint them.
    Allah saved them from the Meccans who did not notice their presence in the
    cave. This is the rule, which Allah applied to all the nations before Islam. He
    saved Noah and Jonah when they directed their faces to Allah seeking help.

    It is important to note that the Qur'an is miraculous on different
    levels. In sura 6, verse 38, Allah says:

    مَّا فَرَّطْنَا فِي الكِتَابِ مِن شَيْءٍ

    "We have neglected nothing in the book (The Qur'an)". It is
    the book, which Allah promises to "protect and guard from corruption"
    (Sura I5: 9).

    إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا
    لَهُ لَحَافِظُونَ {الحجر/9}

    Allah challenged non-believers to come up with a book similar to the Qur'an.
    Verse 88 of Sura I7 reads:

    قُل لَّئِنِ اجْتَمَعَتِ الإِنسُ وَالْجِنُّ
    عَلَى أَن يَأْتُواْ بِمِثْلِ هَذَا الْقُرْآنِ لاَ يَأْتُونَ بِمِثْلِهِ وَلَوْ كَانَ
    بَعْضُهُمْ لِبَعْضٍ ظَهِيرًا {الإسراء/88}

    "Say if the whole of Mankind and Jinn were to gather together to
    produce the like of this Qur'an, they could not produce the like thereof, even
    if they backed up each other with help and support". Allah challenged them
    to come up with ten suras equal in power, beauty and perfection to those of the
    Qur'an (Sura ll, verse I3).

    قُلْ فَأْتُواْ بِعَشْرِ سُوَرٍ مِّثْلِهِ
    مُفْتَرَيَاتٍ وَادْعُواْ مَنِ اسْتَطَعْتُم مِّن دُونِ اللّهِ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ

    When they failed to meet this challenge, Allah challenged them even to
    come up with one sura, equal to any of the suras of the Qur'an. In Sura Two of
    the Qur'an, Allah addresses non-believers saying:

    وَإِن كُنتُمْ فِي رَيْبٍ مِّمَّا نَزَّلْنَا
    عَلَى عَبْدِنَا فَأْتُواْ بِسُورَةٍ مِّن مِّثْلِهِ وَادْعُواْ شُهَدَاءكُم مِّن دُونِ
    اللّهِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ صَادِقِينَ {البقرة/23}

    "And if you are in doubt concerning that which we have sent down to
    Muhammad, then produce a sura of the like thereof and call your witnesses
    besides Allah, if you are truthful" (Verse 23). This challenge to come up
    with only one sura is repeated in Sura l0, Verse 38 of the Qur'an. The non-believers'
    failure to meet the challenge proves that the Qur'an is a great and an
    everlasting miracle from Allah to support his prophet Muhammad. In his book The
    Qur'an, the Miracle of Miracles, Ahmed Deedat quotes the words of R.
    Bosworth-Smith in his book Mohammad and Mohammadanism in which he describes the
    Qur'an as "a miracle of purity of style, of wisdom and of truth"

    On the scientific level, Deedat gives the example of the newly
    discovered theory of the 'Big Bang' to support the truthfulness of the Qur'an.
    Deedat points out the fact that this story of the 'Big Bang' is told fourteen
    hundred years ago in verses 30 and 33 of Sura 2l. The first verse reads

    أَوَلَمْ يَرَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا أَنَّ السَّمَاوَاتِ
    وَالْأَرْضَ كَانَتَا رَتْقًا فَفَتَقْنَاهُمَا وَجَعَلْنَا مِنَ الْمَاء كُلَّ شَيْءٍ
    حَيٍّ أَفَلَا يُؤْمِنُونَ {الأنبياء/30}

    "Do not the unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were
    joined together (as one unit of creation) before we clove them asu1ider".
    Verse 33 continues:

    وَهُوَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ اللَّيْلَ وَالنَّهَارَ
    وَالشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ كُلٌّ فِي فَلَكٍ يَسْبَحُونَ{الأنبياء/3

    "And it is He (Almighty Allah) who created the night and the day,
    and the sun and the moon: All (the celestial bodies) swim along, each in its
    bounded course".

    Deedat also refers to the newly discovered fact that life began to
    generate as a "protoplasm out of which came the amoeba and out of that
    mire in the sea came all living things. In one word all life came from the sea
    or Water" (20). This theory was mentioned in the Qur'an:

    {الأنبياء/30} وَجَعَلْنَا فِي الْأَرْضِ رَوَاسِيَ
    أَن تَمِيدَ بِهِمْ وَجَعَلْنَا فِيهَا فِجَاجًا سُبُلًا لَعَلَّهُمْ يَهْتَدُونَ

    "And we made from water
    every living thing. Will the atheists and the agnostics, then, not
    believe!" (21: 30). Verse 45 of Sura 24 reads:

    وَاللَّهُ خَلَقَ كُلَّ دَابَّةٍ مِن مَّاء{النور/45}

    "And Allah has created every animal from water`".

    Another writer, Professor Mansour Hassab el-Naby writes in detail about
    the most recent theories about human reproduction. He explains that the
    Glorious Qur'an presents these theories in the most accurate way (l42-l63).

    He refers to the fact that human reproduction is so miraculous that
    Allah speaks about it right in the second verse revealed to the prophet
    Muhammad. The first sura revealed to the prophet starts as follows:

    اقْرَأْ بِاسْمِ رَبِّكَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ {العلق/1} خَلَقَ الْإِنسَانَ مِنْ عَلَقٍ {العلق/2}

    "Read, in the name of thy Lord and Cherisher who created Man. He
    created Man out of something, which clings (96: 1-2). The Qur`an includes so many other scientific facts, which are
    discovered only in the last few decades. Tantawi Johary explains that the
    verses dealing with science in the Qur'an are more in number than the verses which
    deal with matters of religion. He points out that about seven hundred and fifty
    of the Qur'an's verses deal with scientific facts related to the different
    aspects of life (37). As a matter of fact, if we review the verses of the Qur'an,
    which speak about the creation of Man, we will notice remarkable accordance
    with the newly discovered facts. Verses 12 through 14 of Sura 23 for example,
    read as follows:

    وَلَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ مِن سُلَالَةٍ
    مِّن طِينٍ {المؤمنون/12} ثُمَّ جَعَلْنَاهُ نُطْفَةً
    فِي قَرَارٍ مَّكِينٍ {المؤمنون/13} ثُمَّ خَلَقْنَا
    النُّطْفَةَ عَلَقَةً فَخَلَقْنَا الْعَلَقَةَ مُضْغَةً فَخَلَقْنَا الْمُضْغَةَ عِظَامًا
    فَكَسَوْنَا الْعِظَامَ لَحْمًا ثُمَّ أَنشَأْنَاهُ خَلْقًا آخَرَ فَتَبَارَكَ اللَّهُ
    أَحْسَنُ الْخَالِقِينَ {المؤمنون/14}

    Anti indeed we created man out of an extract of clay (12). Thereafter, we
    made the offspring of Adain as a mixture of the drops of the male and female
    sexual discharge and lodged it in the woman's womb (13). Then we made this
    mixture a piece of thick coagulated blood. We, then, made this clot a little
    lump of flesh. Out of this lump of flesh, we made bones. Then, we clothed the
    bones with flesh. We, then, brought it forth as another creation. S0 blessed be
    Allah, the Great Creator (14).

    In his commentary on these three verses of Sura 23, Yusuf Ali points out
    that these verses are miraculous in their reference to the minute details of
    the process of the creation of a fetus, when an inorganic matter becomes a living
    matter. Ali wrote:

    The first change in the fertilized ovum is the conversion into a sort of
    clot of thickly congealed blood; the zygote cells grow by segmentation; then
    the mass gradually assumes shape in its growth as a fetus. From the lump
    develop bones and flesh and organs and a nervous system (2872).

    It is also remarkable that a saying of the Prophet Muhammad goes even
    into more details than those mentioned in the verses. lt gives the time of
    forty days as the period which each of the three stages takes before life develops
    into the fetus. According to the prophet's saying the three stages of
    developing the fetus, are:

    l) Nutfa, a mixture of the drops of the male and the female sexual

    2) Alaqa, a clot or a piece of thick coagulated blood.

    3) Mudgha, a lump of little flesh.

    The verses quoted above from Sura 23 also state the scientific fact that
    bones are created before flesh. These facts are scientifically discovered
    lately. These facts told in the Qur'an and in the sayings of the unlettered
    Prophet Muhammad attest to the fact that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.

    The Qur'an is also miraculous in its prophecies. It foretells many
    events, which happened after the revelation. The Muslims' defeat of the Romans is predicted in Sura 30 verse 2-5. The
    victory of Muslims in the Battle of Badr and the opening of Mecca are also
    foretold in the Qur'an. (Eiga; El-Qur'an Vol. 1: 3). Al-Qur'an includes stories
    about past nations and prophets about whom the Prophet Mohammad had no idea.
    The Qur'an is also miraculous in the way it is so rhetorically phrased. The prophet,
    who was himself illiterate, could not by any means compose a book so rhetorical
    as the Qur'an.

    The Qur'an played and continues to play a major role in the life of
    Muslims. Ali Ibn Abi Talib narrated that he had heard the Prophet Muhammad say:
    "There will be a time of seditions for Muslims". Ali asked the
    prophet: What is the way out of these seditions? The Prophet answered:

    The way out of the dilemmas of that hard time is a return to the Book of
    Allah, the Qur`an. It is the book that tells about the stories of past nations
    and the tidings tor the next ones as well as the right way for your own

    Whoever gets away from it will suffer, and whoever uses it as a guide,
    will prosper. lt is the strongest of attachments to Allah. lt is the book oi`
    wisdom and of truthfulness. It is an endless source o;` knowledge and miracles.
    It is not affected by whoever attacks it. It is the guide for all human beings
    and a source of truth for its readers. Whoever follows its instructions will be
    rewarded and whoever uses it as a guide will be always fair." (Shihata5).

    The Qur'an is not only a book to read, but an endless source of wisdom
    and instructions. Verse 24 of Sure 47 entitled "Muhammad" reads:

    أَفَلَا يَتَدَبَّرُونَ الْقُرْآنَ أَمْ عَلَى
    قُلُوبٍ أَقْفَالُهَا {محمد/24}

    "Do the unbelievers not then think deeply in the Qur'an or are
    their hearts locked up from understanding!'".
    The aim of this great book is to urge people think profoundly about life and
    act accordingly. The Qur'an is considered by Muslims as the main source of law
    and guidance in almost all aspects of life. Verse twenty-nine of Chapter
    thirty-eight describes the Qur'an as follows:

    كِتَابٌ أَنزَلْنَاهُ إِلَيْكَ مُبَارَكٌ لِّيَدَّبَّرُوا
    آيَاتِهِ وَلِيَتَذَكَّرَ أُوْلُوا الْأَلْبَابِ {ص/29}

    "This is a Book which we have set down to you (Muhammad). Full of the
    blessings that your people may ponder over its verses, and that man of understanding
    may remember its basics and rules". The whole Quran is an explanation of
    what the right way is. In the Qur'an Allah says:

    يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ قَدْ جَاءكُمْ رَسُولُنَا
    يُبَيِّنُ لَكُمْ كَثِيرًا مِّمَّا كُنتُمْ تُخْفُونَ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ وَيَعْفُو عَن
    كَثِيرٍ قَدْ جَاءكُم مِّنَ اللّهِ نُورٌ وَكِتَابٌ مُّبِينٌ {المائدة/15} يَهْدِي بِهِ اللّهُ مَنِ اتَّبَعَ رِضْوَانَهُ
    سُبُلَ السَّلاَمِ وَيُخْرِجُهُم مِّنِ الظُّلُمَاتِ إِلَى النُّورِ بِإِذْنِهِ وَيَهْدِيهِمْ
    إِلَى صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ {المائدة/16}

    Indeed, there has come to you from Allah a light (The Prophet Muhammad)
    and a plain Book (The Qur'an). It is the book that guides all those who seek
    Allah's Blessings and His ways of peace. Allah will bring them out of darkness
    by His Will unto light and will guide them to the Straight Way (5: 15, 16).

    In the Qur'an, Allah promises that he will protect this book from any
    change or alteration. He said

    إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا
    لَهُ لَحَافِظُونَ {الحجر/9}

    °'Verily, We have sent down the Qur'an and surely we will guard it from
    corruption" (15: 9).

    The first verses of the Qur'an (from Sura Al-Alaq, The C lot) were
    revealed to the Prophet Muhammad while he was performing his religious devotion
    in Cave Hiraa in Mecca. He was forty years of age at the time. Muhammad was so
    much confused and frightened at the time that he did not know what to do. He
    went t0 his wife, Khadija, who comforted him and took him to her relative,
    Waraqa Ibn Nawfal, the knowledgeable priest. Waraqa knew that Muhammad will be
    the prophet of Allah.

    The Prophet himself was very keen regarding putting the Qur'an into
    writing. He used to have the scribes of the Qur'an close to him so that they
    record whatever revelation he had. The prophet told the scribes about the exact
    position of every revealed part in the Qur'an (Al-Gioshi 5).

    Since the early days of the revelation, Muslims did their best to keep
    the Qur'an unchanged. They memorized it, studied it and recorded it in writing.
    During the life of

    The Prophet Muhammad, Muslims had copies of parts of the Qur'an both for
    reading and for study. Al-Gioshi gives the story of the early conversion of
    Omar Ibn El-Khattab, the second Caliph, as an undeniable proof of the writing
    of the Qur'an at the time of the Prophet's life. When Omar was told that his
    sister had converted to Islam, he went right away to her house where he heard
    her rehearsing Sura Taha (Chapter 20 of the Qur'an), which was put into writing.
    Omar asked his sister to hand him the leaf on which this sura of the Qur'an was
    written. She bravely refused to hand him the leaf unless he promises to revere
    it and to wash himself first. Omar read this part of the Qur'an and soon he
    converted to Islam (Al-Gioshi 5).

    The Qur’an is preserved in book-form since the days of Othman. the third
    caliph who collected it in what is known as the Othmanic Qur'an. Four of the
    seven copies sent by Othman to the different countries of the world are still
    available, one in each of the following cities: Medina in Saudi Arabia, Cairo
    in Egypt, Istanbul in Turkey and Tashkend, in Uzbakestan, as Professor Zaghloul
    An - Naggaar says in his lecture on the Miracle of the Qur'an. The Qur'an is also
    preserved at the hearts of millions of Muslims who recite it in their prayers
    and congregations as well as in their private devotions.

    In fact, so many situations, in the well-documented history of Islam,
    tell us that a good number of the Prophet's companions kept the whole Qur'an by
    heart. Many more companions memorized parts of it. Logically, those companions
    could not memorize the whole Qur'an or parts of it without written texts. At
    least four people from Medina had full copies of the Qur'an at the time of the
    Prophet's death (Al-Gioshi 7). The Prophet used to send copies of whatever
    revealed to him to the early migrants to Abyssinia (Al-Gioshi 6). Ahmed Von
    Denffer quotes Assyoti who pointed out that "the Qur'an had been written
    down in its entirety in the time of the prophet" (35). Denffer says that
    when some writers say that the Qur'an was collected and brought together in one
    book, they mean that they ordered its chapters or suras, and verses according
    to the instructions of the Prophet. Denffer explains that the prophet could not
    perform this project of bringing together the suras of the Qur'an during his
    life time because he died only "nine days after the last revelation and
    [he] was severely ill [at that time]" (36).

    The first collection of the verses and suras of the Qur`an occurred at
    the time of the first Caliph, Abu Bakr, who asked Zayd Ibn Thabit, a chief
    scribe to collect the Qur'an. Zayd collected the scattered fragments of the Qur'an
    recorded on palm leaves, stones, bones and animal skins. Abu Bakr, then gave
    this first collected text of the Qur'an to Hafsah, wife of the prophet. This
    first collection of the Qur'an remained with Hafsa, till the death of her father,
    Omar, the second caliph.

    The final collection of the Suras and verses of the Qur'an at the time
    of the third Caliph, Othman was a big and necessary project since war and old
    age have claimed the lives of many of those who kept the Qur'an by heart. Othman
    requested Zayd lbn Thabit to head a committee of scribes to edit and copy the
    collection kept by Hafsah. The committee produced the copy known as the Mus’haf
    of Othman which was sent to people around the Muslim world of that time. Othman
    ordered all other copies and fragments of the Qur'an to be destroyed.

    lt is important to note that this Othmanic copy of the Qur'an can be
    read in seven famous ways of reading, according to the dialects of seven famous
    Arab tribes. These seven ways of reading the Qur"an do not radically change the meanings of the
    verses read. They are different in some grammatical or dialectical variations.

    lt is also important to note that the Qur'an is intended to be read not
    just for the sake of reading, but also for pondering and meditation. Ali, the
    prophet's cousin, and the fourth Caliph said that it is not good to read the
    Qur'an without thinking about its meanings. lt is quoted by An-Nisaaii that the
    prophet kept reading and thinking about the verse "Ii` you punish them,
    they are your creation, and i1` You forgive them, verily You, only You, are the
    All-Mighty, the All Wise" (5: 118). It is narrated that Omar Ibn el-Khattab
    memorized the second chapter of the Qur'an in a year. When asked why it took
    him that much time to memorize this chapter, he said that he used to memorize
    some verses of the chapter and he would not move to the next part unless he
    puts this part he memorized into practice in his life. A Muslim is requested to
    think about the meanings of the Qur’an and act according to its rules.

    Ibn Ajiba tells us the story of Abi Sulaiman Ad- Darani who said that he
    used to read a verse and to spend four days thinking about it and he would go
    on thinking about it if he does not cut it short to move to the next verse.
    (88) lt is narrated that the Prophet Muhammad said that "the best worship
    is reading and thinking about the Qur'an" (Ibn Ajiba 130). It is also
    narrated that "whoever reads and thinks about the Qur'an is the best of
    human beings" (Ibn Ajiba 130). lbn Ajiba quotes many sayings of the
    Prophet Muhammad. Which indicate that whoever reads and keeps the Quran by
    heart will be rewarded bountifully on the Day of Judgment (131. 132).



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