Highlights On the meaning of Al-Fatiha

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  • Highlights On the meaning of Al-Fatiha


    Verse Two:

    الْحَمْدُ للّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ {الفاتحة/2}

    "All praise and thanks be to Allah, the Lord of all beings."

    The word /hamdu/ is derived from the verb /hamada/ which implies
    thanking combined with praise. Az-Zamakhshari explains that the word /hamada/
    includes both praise which is a verbal expression of gratitude and thanking
    which is more general. It can be verbal or otherwise (Voll: 45). On knowing
    that Allah is merciful and loving, a Muslim praises Allah and thanks him for being
    so kind to him. Prophet Muhammad explains that a Muslim's situation is unique.
    lf he is debilitated, he puts up with it and if he is pleased, he thanks Allah.
    Allah rewards such a Muslim in both cases. A Muslim's praise of Allah is a
    source of great mercy for those who pronounce it with sincerity. The word
    /hamdu/ is preceded with the definitive article /al/ to mean that all praise is
    due to Allah, for He is the real and original benefactor in life. Johary
    explains that it was a common habit among Arabs, especially poets, to praise
    kings and chiefs of tribes. This habit resulted in so many wars and led to
    hypocrisy and to prejudice. The verse explains that all praise is due to Allah for
    he is the real originator of all graces. Islam frees Man from enslavement to
    his fellowmen (33-35). A Muslim believes that all blessings are from Allah. He
    is the One to praise for all the graces we enjoy. However, Allah requests that
    a person should thank whoever does him a favor. The prophet narrates that Allah
    says: 'He did not thank me who does not thank the person who does him a favor' this
    person is the means through which Allah sent His blessing.

    According to Al-Kalbi, a good Muslim should thank Allah not only for the
    blessings he enjoys, but also for the general blessings Allah bestows on human
    beings at large. Al-Kalbi explains that thanking Allah for His graces can be
    divided into three kinds: The first kind is thanking Allah for His favors. The
    second kind is thanking Allah for the graces and for the hardships of life. If
    a Muslim bears well the sufferings of this life, he will be bountifully rewarded
    by Allah in the After-life. The third kind of thanking Allah, from Al-Kalbi's
    point of view, is that for helping a person reach the condition of absorption
    in the love of Allah. He then becomes aware of nothing but the companionship of
    his Creator. He feels this companionship as the blessing of all blessings. A
    person who reaches this high stage of thanking Allah becomes more of a
    condition or a state than of a being (Vol. l: 32).

    To praise Allah sincerely, a Muslim needs to know about the power of
    Allah through studying His creation. Johary explains that a Muslim should know
    about the different aspects of human life to be really able to appreciate Allah's
    power and mercy. He points out that unless Muslims study the natural phenomena,
    they will not be able to value Allah's creation. Without real appreciation of
    Allah's power and magnificence, a Muslim's belief will be incomplete.

    According to Sura Al-Fatiha, a person praises and thanks Allah mainly
    for two major kinds of blessings. The first is that of creating the world
    around him, which makes him aware of Allah's power. Sura 6 starts with:

    الْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ الَّذِي خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ
    وَالأَرْضَ وَجَعَلَ الظُّلُمَاتِ وَالنُّورَ{الأنعام/1}

    "All Praise and thanks be to Allah, Who (Alone) created the heavens
    and the earth, and originated the darkness and the light". Sura 35 also
    starts with:

    الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ فَاطِرِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ{فاطر/1}

    "All praise and thanks be to Allah, the (only) originator (or creator)
    of the heavens and the earth".
    The other major kind of blessings mentioned in Sura Al-Fatiha, is Allah's revelation
    of Himself to us through telling us about His attributes and qualities. The
    last verse of Sura 17 reads:

    وَقُلِ الْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ الَّذِي لَمْ يَتَّخِذْ وَلَدًا
    وَلَم يَكُن لَّهُ شَرِيكٌ فِي الْمُلْكِ وَلَمْ يَكُن لَّهُ وَلِيٌّ مِّنَ
    الذُّلَّ وَكَبِّرْهُ تَكْبِيرًا {الإسراء/111}


    "And Say: 'All the praises and thanks be to Allah, Who has not
    begotten a son (nor an offspring), and Who has no partner in His Dominion, nor
    is He low to have a helper or supporter. Glorify Him with all the
    magnificence". The next verse, which starts Sura l8 reads:

    الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِي أَنزَلَ عَلَى عَبْدِهِ
    الْكِتَابَ وَلَمْ يَجْعَل لَّهُ عِوَجَا {الكهف/1}

    "All the praise and thanks be to Allah, Who has revealed His
    uncomplicated Book, the Qur'an to His Prophet Muhammad". The Qur'an is the
    medium through which Allah revealed Himself
    to us.

    رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

    Which is translated as "the Lord of all beings"' has the implications of
    being the Creator, Owner, Sustainer, and Provider of the world. However, the
    word /1ubb/ in Arabic has more implications than the word 'Lord' in English. Lt
    implies reference to the one who takes care of his family both morally and
    financially. in his remarkable interpretation of Sura Al-Fatiha, Johary points
    out the relationship between the word /rabb/ and the verb /rabba/ which means 'develop',
    'breed', 'bring up' and 'grow'This relationship between the two words shows connotations
    of mercy in the word /rubb/ (42). Johary gives the examples of wheat, corn and
    dates to explain how Allah magnificently puts life into the seeds and cultivates
    them into whole plants (43). The same power applies to all kinds of creation.
    Johary also gives the growth of a human being as a manifestation of Allah's power,
    which develops and brings up a human being from a sperm and an egg to a grown
    up being.

    Ash-Sharawi explains that the word /rubb/ or Lord implies power and
    authority. Hence, Allah followed this verse with the two attributes, 'All and
    Ever-Merciful' and °Compassionate',
    which imply mercy and love (SO). lt is narrated that the Prophet Muhammad said
    Allah will greatly reward whoever says: 'All praise be to Allah, the Lord of
    all beings' with sincerity. He will even be more rewarded for saying this
    statement than for pronouncing the statement of monotheism. The statement of
    praise and thanks implies admission of the statement of monotheism. lt includes
    praise and thanks in addition to the monotheistic statement (Tbn Ajiba 624). ln
    his presentation of Abil-Kalam Aazad's Urdu interpretation of Sura Al-Fatiha
    lhab H. Ezzel-Arab points out that the phrase /rabbil-Aalamin/, Lord of all
    beings, indicates that Allah is fair to All. He treats people equally. A Muslim
    does not believe in the idea of a chosen people. Muslims believe that Allah
    does not favor any race or nation more than another. (l685).

    In his discussion of this verse, Sayyid Qutb compares this Islamic
    conception of the word 'Allah' with the Aristotelian conception of God.
    Aristotle, according to Qutb, says that the Supreme God created the world,
    then, left it alone. This Supreme Being thought that he should not care about
    things below his own being (23). The Qur'an, on the other hand, starts with
    describing Allah as a loving and merciful Supreme Being, so that a reader will willingly
    accept Allah's instructions in the Qur"an.
    A Muslim thanks Allah for enlightening him about His Being and for freeing him
    of the confusing ideas about God. Which dominated the world before Islam. It
    frees him of the mythological and illusionary conceptions of terrifying and revengeful
    gods. Which were common in the Greek and Roman cultures.

    A Muslim's conception of a loving and merciful Supreme Being makes him
    aware of Allah's subjugation of the natural elements for the benefit of Man. A
    Muslim does not fear such natural elements and phenomena, as did the Greeks and
    the Romans. He loves these elements, as they are the creation of the same
    loving Super Being who created him. A Muslim considers these natural elements as
    blessings from Allah. Sura l4 speaks about the subjugation of these natural
    elements for the service of Man. Verses 32 and 33 of the same sura go as

    اللّهُ الَّذِي خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضَ
    وَأَنزَلَ مِنَ السَّمَاء مَاء فَأَخْرَجَ بِهِ مِنَ الثَّمَرَاتِ رِزْقًا لَّكُمْ
    وَسَخَّرَ لَكُمُ الْفُلْكَ لِتَجْرِيَ فِي الْبَحْرِ بِأَمْرِهِ وَسَخَّرَ لَكُمُ
    {إبراهيم/32} وَسَخَّر لَكُمُ الشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ
    دَآئِبَينَ وَسَخَّرَ لَكُمُ اللَّيْلَ وَالنَّهَارَ


    Allah is He Who created the heavens and the earth and sent water down
    from heaven, so He brought out with it so many products for your provision. And
    to you He subjugated ships to run in the sea at His command and He subjugated
    the rivers to you (32). And He subjugated the sun and the moon, both in a
    steadfast manner, and to you He subjugated the night and the day (33).

    Allah speaks of the subjugation of these natural phenomena as a blessing
    to Man. Verse 34 of the same sura reads:

    وَآتَاكُم مِّن كُلِّ مَا سَأَلْتُمُوهُ وَإِن
    تَعُدُّواْ نِعْمَتَ اللّهِ لاَ تُحْصُوهَا إِنَّ الإِنسَانَ لَظَلُومٌ كَفَّارٌ {إبراهيم/34}

    "And he gave you all that you asked Him for, and if you count the
    blessings of Allah, never will you be able to comprehend them". Sayyid
    Qutb quotes the Prophet Muhammad's words, which refer to Mount Ohud in Mecca when
    he says: "This is a mountain that loves us and that we love" (24). It
    is a loving relationship, which brings peace and security to human life.



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