By Dr Muzammil H. Siddiqi

 

 

Al-Fatihah: The Prayer and the Message

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ ا لرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ

الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ(1)الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ(2)مَالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ(3)إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ(4)

اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ(5)صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ (6) غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا الضَّالِّينَ(7)

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

Praise belong to Allah, the Lord of the worlds. 2. Most Gracious, Most Merciful. 3. Master of the Day of Judgment. 4. It is You we worship, and it is You we ask for help, 5. Guide us to the straight path, 6. The path of those you have blessed. 7.Those who incurred no anger, and who have not gone astray. ( al-Fatihah 1:1-7)

 

Surah al-Fatihah is the first Surah of the Qur’an. According to most of the authorities this was the first Surah that was revealed to Prophet Muhammad –peace be upon him- when he was in Makkah. Before this he received some verses of Surah al-‘Alaq, Surah al-Muzammil and Surah al-Muddathir, but as a complete Surah, al-Fatihah was the first one. The word al-Fatihah means “opener”. So this Surah is the opener of the Qur’an. It has seven verses that are repeated by every Muslim many times during the course of his/her daily prayers. Thus the Surah is also called the “al-Sab’ al-Mathani” (al-Hijr 15:87) that is “the Seven Oft-repeated.” This Surah has many other names: Umm al-Qur’an (the Essence of the Qur’an), Al-Asas (the Foundation), Al-Shafiyah (the Healer), Al-Kafiyah (the Sufficient) etc. In Al-Bukhari it is mentioned that the Prophet –peace be upon him- said that this was “the greatest Surah in the Qur’an”

أعظم سورة في القرآن (al-Bukhari 4114) It is also reported:

 

عَنْ أُبَيِّ بْنِ كَعْبٍ قَالَ قَالَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ مَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ فِي التَّوْرَاةِ وَلَا فِي الْإِنْجِيلِ مِثْلَ أُمِّ الْقُرْآنِ وَهِيَ السَّبْعُ الْمَثَانِي وَهِيَ مَقْسُومَةٌ بَيْنِي وَبَيْنَ عَبْدِي وَلِعَبْدِي مَا سَأَلَ (الترمذي 3050)

Ubayy ibn Ka’b reported that the Prophet –peace be upon him- said, “Allah did not reveal in the Torah, nor Injil like Umm al-Qur’an and this is the Seven Oft-repeated and it is (the one about which Allah said) ‘it is divided between Me and My servant and for My servant is whatever he asks.’ (al-Tirmidhi 3050)

 

Surah al-Fatihah is both a prayer and a full introduction to the message of the Qur’an.

As a prayer it contains the praise and glorification of Allah and the human request for Allah’s guidance, direction and blessings. According to a Hadith:

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ قال... إِنِّي سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَقُولُ قَالَ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى قَسَمْتُ الصَّلَاةَ بَيْنِي وَبَيْنَ عَبْدِي نِصْفَيْنِ وَلِعَبْدِي مَا سَأَلَ فَإِذَا قَالَ الْعَبْدُ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ قَالَ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى حَمِدَنِي عَبْدِي وَإِذَا قَالَ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ قَالَ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى أَثْنَى عَلَيَّ عَبْدِي وَإِذَا قَالَ مَالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ قَالَ مَجَّدَنِي عَبْدِي وَقَالَ مَرَّةً فَوَّضَ إِلَيَّ عَبْدِي فَإِذَا قَالَ إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ قَالَ هَذَا بَيْنِي وَبَيْنَ عَبْدِي وَلِعَبْدِي مَا سَأَلَ فَإِذَا قَالَ اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا الضَّالِّينَ قَالَ هَذَا لِعَبْدِي وَلِعَبْدِي مَا سَأَلَ (مسلم 598)

Abu Hurairah says, “I heard the Messenger of Allah says, ‘Allah says, I have divided the prayer between Me and My servant in two halves and for My servant is whatever He asks for. When the Servant says, ‘Praise be to Allah the Lord of the worlds,’ Allah says, ‘My servant has thanked Me.’ When he says,’ the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate’ Allah says, ‘My servant has praised Me.’ When he says, ‘Master of the Day of Judgment’ Allah says, ‘My servant has glorified Me.’ And He says, “My servant has submitted to Me.’ When he says, ‘You we worship and You we ask for help.’ Allah says, ‘This is between Me and My servant and for My servant is whatever he asks.’ When he says, ‘Guide us to the straight path…’ Allah says, ‘This is for My servant and for My servant is whatever he asks.’ (Muslim 598)

As an introduction to the Qur’an it contains all the basic principles that are given in detail in the Qur’an. It tells us that we are surrounded by Allah’s grace and favors. He is the Source of all love and mercy. We should be thankful to Him. Our life is not permanent. We shall die one day and He will judge us. He alone is the Master of that Day. We must worship Him and Him alone. We must seek His help and He has all the power to give us whatever we need. It reminds that Allah is the only one who can really guide to the straight path. It calls for righteous actions in this life. It speaks about life after death and of the consequences of human action and behavior. It tells that the true guidance comes through God’s Prophets and Messengers. They were the people who were truly guided and they received Allah’s grace and mercy. Those who turned away from that path were those who went astray and they incurred the wrath of God and His punishment.

The Surah tells us:

  • The essence of religion is thankfulness to Allah.
  • Allah is the Lord and Sustainer of the whole universe.
  • Allah is very kind, loving and merciful.
  • Allah is also the Judge and He does not tolerate injustice, evil and sin.
  • The Day of Judgment will come.
  • Worship should be only to Allah and all prayerful requests should be directed to Him alone.
  • One should continuously seek Allah’s guidance and remain on the path of truth and righteousness.
  • True righteousness comes when we follow the example of those who were righteous and who were under Allah’s grace: the Prophets, Messengers, and pious and devoted people of Allah.
  • One should always be careful not to make the most Merciful angry with him.
  • One should never ignore the path of guidance and should always be careful not to go astray.

 

After this introduction comes the whole Qur’an. Al-Fatihah is the prayer and the Qur’an is the answer to our prayers. Al-Fatihah is the introduction to the Qur’an and then we have the whole Qur’an.

(Khutbah at ISOC – Dhul Qi’dah 1, 1421/ January 26, 2001)

 

PREVIOUSLY

Hajj Akbar, Qurbani, Taharah and Zakat
Islamic Names for New Muslims, Mother’s Inheritance
Seven Great Characters
Woman Imam Leading Men and Women in Salat
Questions of Life and Death
Hajj During Íddah, Marriage without Financial Obligations, Urinating in Standing Position

Issues and Questions
Prayers with Pictures in the Room, Madhahib and Unity

Prophet Muhammad as a Humanitarian Leader
Du'a after the Fard Prayers, Fasting in Shawal, Nikah through E-mail
Zakat, Umra, Settlement Money in Car Accidents
Ten Principles of Success in the Light of Sirah

Prophet Muhammad: Allah’s Mercy to the Worlds and Favor to the Faithful
Zakat, Tattoos, and Movies
Zakat and Ramadan Issues
Wudu, Shab-e-Barat and Observance of Ramadan
Sajdah, Meaning of Makruh, Women and Jannah
Culture in Islam
Prenuptial Agreements, Non-practicing Parents, Zakat
Facial Plastic Surgery, Bell, Feet Covering, Fasting
Terrorism: A Crime against Allah and Humanity
Partition for Women inside the Masjid
Distribution of Sadqah Money, Non-Muslims Relatives, Wudu
Martial Arts, Court Marriages, He for Allah
Issues and Questions
Are Marriages Made in Heaven? Nawafil Prayers
Number of Prophets, Qada Prayer, Women in Cemetery
How to Welcome the Month of Ramadan
Wudu, Salah, and Dawah
Preparing for Death, Marriage, Wearing T-Shirts in Masjid
Hands in Salat, Translation of Qur’an, and Student Loans
Areas of Cooperation between the Muslims in America and the Muslim World
Issues and Questions
Thanksgiving in Islam
The Natural and Man-made Disasters and Our Response: The Message of Eidul Fitr 1426
Importance of Islamic Environment
The Makkah Declaration of Muslim Heads of State
Disability Insurance, Madhahib and Migration
Husband and Wife Fighting, Hijra & Muharram
14 things to remember for Eid day
Engagement, Poetry, and Qada' Prayers
Women Imams, Circumcision, Non-Muslims in the Masjid
Islamic Worldview: An Invitation to Proper Thought and Action
New Year of Hijrah 1427: A Time of Reflection and Renewal
Freedom of Expression or Freedom to Abuse
Natural Disasters: Punishment or Test from Allah (SWT)?
Al-Istihza’bi al-Din: Mockery or Making Fun of Religion
Sad and Painful News from Iraq Relations between Sunnis and Shi‘is
Love of Prophet Muhammad – peace be upon him
Burial, Visiting Spouse's Relatives

The Last Sermon of the Prophet
Working for Peace in This World
True Wisdom: The Source of Abundant Fortune
Prophet ‘Isa (Jesus) –peace be upon him - and the Controversy around the Da Vinci Code
Truth, Honesty and Good Relations
Workers Justice in Islam
A Clash of Civilizations or A Civilization of Clashes?
Is there Fascism in Islam?

The Spiritual and Moral Health of the Heart
Respect of Nature and Natural Resources
From Ignorance to Enlightenment: The Achievement of Prophet Muhammad – Peace be upon him
Working Together: A Human Necessity and an Islamic Mandate
Ihsan: The Art of Living in Islam
Ethical Judgment in Islam
The Role of Masajid and Islamic Schools in Muslim Life
Pure Faith and Righteous Actions: Muslim Character
Building Alliances: Promoting Goodness in the World
Metamorphosis of a Culture: Being Muslim Americans
Salat: The Key to Good Life

The Makkah Appeal for Interfaith Dialogue
Bridging the Generation Gap
Avoid Corruption, Seek Mercy and Be Merciful
Concept of Human Dignity: Its Implications and Applications
Independence Day: A Day of Celebration and a Day of Responsibility
Dealing with the Financial Crisis
Marriage and Family Life in Islam
Some Comments on Proposition 8 and Domestic Violence

Participation in the Society and Voting for Muslims in America
Domestic Violence: A Crime and a Sin
The Ten Commandments: Allah’s Universal Message
Fatwa and Its Importance in Islam
Ummah: Characteristics of a Model Community
Brotherhood and Sisterhood in Islam
Faith and Morality: Two Interconnected Aspects of Islam
Welcoming the Month of Ramadan
The Pillars of Islam: The Shahadah and Its Affects
Dealing with Others: The Islamic Perspective

Prophet Muhammad: A Rahmah for the Worlds
Sources of Dynamism in Islam

Prophet Muhammad: A Rahmah for the Worlds
Prophet Muhammad: The Good News
Basic Commitments of Muslims
What It Means to Be a Muslim Today?

Basic Philosophy and Objectives of the Shari'ah
Can Muslims Be Good Americans?
Prophet Isa (Jesus) - Peace Be Upon Him: His Mission and Message
Righteous Actions and Righteous Activism
'You Are the Best Community'
9/11 – Some Reflections
Tazkiyah: Purifying Our Souls
Islamic Values in Action

Dealing with Mockery, Ridicule and Hate: The Prophet’s Way
Newtown Tragedy: A Wakeup Call
Time: A Blessing and a Trust
Prophet Muhammad’s Message: Common, Unique and Relevant

1999
1998
1997
1996

Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
2004 pakistanlink.com . All Rights Reserved.