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Surah Al-Fatihah

Verse 1
Bismi-Llah Ir-Rahman Ir-Raheem.
In - or With or By - The Name Of Allah
The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful

The first Verse of the first Surah of Al-Qur'an begins with this invocation. In it The Creator's Greatest Name - the one by which HE makes Himself known - is introduced: Al-Llah - The God.

The Ayah concludes with the Names Ar-Rahman and Ar-Raheem. These are the two Attributes most closely associated with Allah SWT. Thus, the Final Revelations are to be understood and viewed as an act of all-encompassing Grace on the part of The Creator. Each Surah of Kitaab-Allah begins in similar fashion, except Surah 9 At-Tawbah. All acts of worship, and indeed every deed of the pious believer, begins with this supplication.

The following Verses as well as the entirety of Al-Kitaab are to be comprehended in the light of the Grace and Mercy of Allah SWT. Surah 6 Al-An'am, Verses 12 and 54 inform readers that The Creator has "prescribed Mercy" for, or upon, Himself.

Since Allah SWT only reveals of Himself that which HE believes to be sufficient, Ar-Rahman and Ar-Raheem may be termed as those Names which best define or describe the nature and quality of HIS actions as well as their effects.

Verse 2
Al-Hamdu Li-Llahi Rabbi-L-'Alameen
Praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds.

Praise - in all its infinite forms - is the exclusive preserve of Allah SWT, Al-Hadi. HE is The Creator - Al-Khaaliq - of beauty, but it is transient. HE is the Giver of ability - Al-Qadir - but this is limited. HE is the Bestower of an abundance of blessings - Al-Wahhab - but these are the means by which HE puts humankind to the test. No-thing and no-one is possessed of power - that belongs to none but Al-Muqtadir, The Powerful.

When humans acknowledge that all praise is due to their Creator - from whom they have come and to whom they are returning - they cease elevating other humans or concepts, or indeed anything, to the status of semi or complete divinity.

Many individuals seek undue praise by drawing attention to themselves and their doings. Still others, fearful of the inevitability of death, strive to create a persona the means by which they hope always to be "remembered". However, those who believe recognize their own faults, failings and flaws - they also realize that as "Everything is bound to perish except HIS Face" - 28:88 - praising people or things is both unreasonable and illogical. Expressing appreciation as well as manifesting gratitude are different forms of praise for Allah SWT.

The designation "Lord of the Worlds" - Rabbi-L-'Alameen - comprises the notion of a Soveriegn of all realms, both known and unknown, visible as well as invisible. So it is, whilst that which is seen and sensed may provide a degree of knowledge into the mysteries of creation, it is the unseen which holds the key to the ultimate reality. Thus, as things proceed from the unseen - from non-existence, non-being - into the seen - existence, being - they are returning to the former. Revelation has its origins in the Realm beyond the Visible, for The Creator remains out of sight and sound - but nevertheless is Owner of sight, sound, sense and all else. The material world may then be regarded as a garment or cloth which conceals the spiritual realm.

Praising The One Who prefers not to reveal Himself in the physical sense, necessarily means belief in a Realm which cannot be grasped by the physical aspect of being.

Verse 3
Ar-Rahman Ar-Raheem
The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful

To emphasize Allah SWT's innate qualities of tenderness, gentleness and kindness, the Names Ar-Rahman and Ar-Raheem are repeated. Such a reiteration is indicative of the supreme importance attaching to these two Attributes of The Creator.

Verse 4
Maliki Yaumi-D-Deen
Owner of the Day of Judgment.

This Ayah introduces the concept of time being of limited duration - and that the Soveriegn of creation will judge humankind on a Day appointed for that specific purpose. Whilst Man may not be able to conceive of a time-frame in which his existence may cease, his Creator informs him in no uncertain terms that his actions will meet with their true consequences.

Thus, Allah SWT is Soveriegn of a Day the like of which none have ever witnessed or experienced. This truth lends compelling force to the idea that each succeeding day - composed of the infinite deeds of humankind in the collective sense - is leading into and upto a Day in which these very deeds will be examined and judged for what they really were.

Everything has a term set for it - time itself is not everlasting - and all things have a definite purpose. The inner meaning of life, then, is to work towards that promised Day - where recompense, retribution or reward awaits.

Verse 5
Iyyaka Na'budu Wa Iyyaka Nasta'een
You Alone we worship and You Alone we ask for help.

The usual order in the construction of an Arabic sentence is: Verb, Subject, Object. In the above Ayah, the Object precedes the Verb and Subject for the purposes of emphasis. Therefore, The One Who is being worshipped is far more important than the worshippers. To expand upon this notion, the Verse continues on to stress that not only do Believers worship Allah SWT in the prescribed manner, they also actively and consciously seek HIS Help. This absolute reliance and dependance upon The Creator is, in itself, an act of worship. It is also an expression of humility - nothing can be nor is ever accomplished or achieved except through the unceasing Help of Allah SWT.

Seeking the Aid and Assistance of The Creator is a willing recognition of HIS All-Embracing Presence - a realization that whenever HE is called upon to help HE Responds, 2:186. Such an acknowledgement on the part of those who believe reveals an inner certainty and trust which is rooted in real faith.

Verse 6
Guide us to the Straight Way.

This Ayah is a call for guidance - believers know that only Allah SWT is able to Guide them to the Right Path. In order to live in accordance with the Will of Allah SWT, real submission is manifested in seeking The Creator as The Guide - Al-Hadi. HE Who created all things, Who brought humankind into being, causing believers to emerge from the darkness of ignorance into the light of faith, Who has Ordained a Day in which the doings of Man will be laid bare - is the only One possessed of the Knowledge and Wisdom by which to Guide believers. When this Guidance is recieved, believers always strive to adopt the right means to achieve the right ends.

Nothing and no-one can be relied or depended upon other than The Creator to enlighten and illuminate the True Way. The proper direction for success, then, has been mapped out for those who believe - the ultimate destination is the Promised Day.

Verse 7
Siraat-Al-Ladhina An'amta 'Alayhim, Ghayr-Il-Maghdoobi 'Alayhim Wa La-D-Daalleen.
The Way of those upon whom You bestowed Your blessings, not (the way) of those who incurrred Your Wrath, nor of those who went astray.

There are a myriad ways to live - and Verse 7 clearly expresses that idea. However, whilst many paths do obviously exist, only the Way Ordained by Allah SWT is the correct one. Diverging from the Straight Way necessarily means abandoning, rejecting or denying its existence.

Thus, believers, in and of themselves, are incapable of finding the Right Way unless and until they recieve Guidance which flows from Allah SWT. Without such guidance, there is a very real possibility that they will lose their way - and become entirely lost. As always, stress is laid upon complete and utter reliance on The Creator. HE Who Knows the weaknesses inherent in Man - 4:28 - is the Only One well able to equip believers with the necessary knowledge, wherewith they may avoid the ways of those described in the last Ayah of this Surah.

There is no specific mention as to exactly which people are those who incurred the Wrath of Allah SWT, nor any detailed description of those who are astray from the Straight Way. The very absence of such explicit information reveals that finding and following the Right Way is of more relevance and importance than those who lost sight of it.

The last three Verses are expressed in the plural - this reveals the supreme importance of bearing the collective community of believers in mind. That is, whenever one is engaged upon worship, prayers are made for all believers. This prevents an individualistic approach to matters relating to religion and faith.

In summary:

1) Surah Al-Fatihah begins with the Beauty of the Great Name of The Creator - Al-Llah. This Chapter and the entirety of Al-Qur'an is to be read in HIS Name - for the Revelations belong to HIM. In them, HIS Word, Will and Way are manifest, explained and elaborated upon.

2) Praise belongs only The Praiseworthy - Al-Hamid.

3) The Beautiful Attributes of Grace and Mercy, Ar-Rahman and Ar-Raheem, are repeated - highlighting the elegant and gracious manner in which Allah SWT conducts HIS Affairs.

4) Allah SWT Is The Creator of time, and Soveriegn of the Day Of Judgment - Maliki Yaumi-D-Deen - in which the actions of all humankind shall be judged.

5) Allah SWT Is the only One worthy of worship - and the only One Whose Help is to be sought. Nothing and no-one can proffer real assistance during good and bad times except The Creator, thus HE Alone is The Helper - An-Nasir.

6) Allah SWT is The Guide, Al-Hadi - believers implore HIM to guide them to the Straight Path.

7) Allah SWT, whilst being The Most Gracious and The Most Merciful, is also One Whose Anger is to be avoided. Seeking refuge from Allah SWT's Wrath means actively striving after HIS Pleasure. This is best attained by continuously praying for HIS Guidance and Help. Many have fallen away - but the Path of those upon Whom is Allah SWT's Grace can only be adhered to through HIS intervention and active participation.

During every single unit of prayer - As-Salaat - Surah Al-Fatihah is recited. It is thus described by Allah SWT:

Surah 15 Al-Hijr, Verse 87
Wa Laqad Aataynaaka Sab'an Min-Al-Mathaani Wa-L-Qur'an-Al-'Adheem.

And indeed, WE have bestowed upon you the Seven-Oft-Repeated Verses and the Tremendous Qur'an.

Al-Qur'an explains in detail and eloborates upon the concepts introduced in Surah Al-Fatihah. In other words, Allah SWT grants insight to those who accept and believe in the Realm beyond Vision, Al-Ghayb - 2:3. However, the attainment of greater, broader and deeper comprehension of Kitaab-Allah always begins with Surah Al-Fatihah.


Allahu 'Alam

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