06-18-2006, 07:23 PM
Four Central Lessons of Surat al-Fatiha
Based on Shaykh Nur al-Din `Itr’s detailed commentary on Surat al-Fatiha
In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate
May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon His Messenger Muhammad, his folk, companions, and followers
1. This Sura contains the essence, the maqasid, or central guidance of the Qur’an. It is the call of humanity to Allah.
Hasan al-Basri, the greatest scholar in the generation after the companions, has said, “Allah has placed the knowledge of all the past books in the Qur’an, and the knowledge of the Qur’an is encompassed in the Fatiha. Thus, one who understands the Fatiha, has understood all the past revealed books.”
The maqasid have been explained through five central goals: absolute affirmation of the Oneness of Allah, the Oneness of His being, His entity, His deity, and the Oneness of His actions.
a. The affirmation of all praises of Allah that are contained in the Qur’an is expressed by "al-hamdu lillah." The divine and the greatest name "Allah" encompasses the meanings of all other names and attributes by which He is characterized. Saying
al-hamdu lillah for His oneness and entity and actions is the most eloquent praise of Allah.
b. Complete submission to Allah alone is expressed in "iyyaka na'budu wa iyyaka nasta'in", which means, You alone we worship and You alone we seek for protection.
c. Affirmation of belief in the next life, in the saying of "maliki yawmiddin", Master of the Day of Judgement.
d. The promises and threats from Allah, encouragement in doing good, and being aware of the evil, in seeking His protection.
e. It has within it an affirmation of both the right of Allah, and the slave's position in seeking the good. The right of Allah is in the affirmation of His oneness, being in a state of absolute slavehood, and expressing an absolute neediness for Him. The servant’s share is in seeking the good and receiving guidance.
Ibn Ata Allah says in his Hikam, “The best of what you seek from Allah is that which He has sought from you, i.e., guidance.”
2. This Sura is the most eloquent of calls for praising Allah and expressing longing for Him. It contains the most expressive of all thanks for Allah. It is the most expressive of calls seeking the way of drawing close to Allah. It is the purest of expressions of asking Allah for all good, in the most concise and sincere of ways.
3. The style of the Fatiha is very unique among all other Suras, in that it is a calling from the servants to their Lord. The rest of the Qur’an is a response of Allah to this call . Thus it is the affirmation of the need of slavehood for Allah.
4. Thus one should recite this Surah with the utmost reflection and understanding, and a sense of slavehood and neediness for Allah.
*~One who knows Allah does
not really know Allah until he becomes like the earth; the feet of the righteous and
the unrighteous tread upon him. And (until he becomes) like the rain, it waters what
it likes and what it doesn’t like.~*
Imaam Junayd (RA)
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