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    Commentary Of SURAH AL-FATIHA

    [Part 1 - more to follow InshaAllah]

    (Written by `Ali al-`Iraqi)

    The literal meaning of the Arabic word “Fatiha” is “the one that opens”
    and this is because it opens the Book of Allah. It has got twenty names.
    From among these names are the following: Opener of the Book
    (Fatihatu-l-Kitab), Essence of the Quran (Umm al-Qur’an), Treasure (al-
    Kanz), the Sufficient one (al-Kafia), the Cure (ash-Shafia), etc.

    It is a Meccan sura, i.e. revealed in Mecca. However there are scholars
    who say that it is Medinese, i.e. reveled in Medina. Some other
    commentators are of the opinion that it was reveled twice: once in Mecca
    when the prayer was made obligatory, and another time in Medina when
    the qibla was changed. Nevertheless, the first opinion is the strongest.
    The number of its ayats is seven by consensus, but there is a difference of
    opinion as far as how to count these ayats dependent upon the taking or
    not taking the basmala (bismi-l-lahi-r-ahmani-r-rahim) as one of its ayats.
    If the basmala be considered one of the Fatiha ayats, then the seventh
    ayat will be the one which starts with the words “the path of those on
    whom You have favored”. Otherwise the seventh ayat will be the one that
    says “Not (the path) of those who earn the anger” up to the end.

    In the name of Allah, The Compassionate, The Merciful

    The basmala is not an ayat of the Fatiha according to Malik, that is why
    he considers makruh its recitation during the compulsory prayer. As for
    ash-Shafi’i, he considers the basmala an ayat of the Fatiha, therefore he
    considers compulsory to recite it out loud in the loud prayer and silently
    in the silent prayer. As for Abu Hanifa, he does not consider the basmala
    an ayat of the Fatiha but it has to be recited silently in both the silent and
    the loud prayer.

    The word “say” is presupposed by some commentators at the beginning
    of the sura in order to consider the whole of it as said by the slaves.
    Otherwise the three first verses are then considered as said by Allah in
    praise of Himself and the rest is therefore said by the slaves.
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    [Part 2 - more to come InshaAllah]

    1. Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds,

    Al-hamdu lillah can also be translated as “the praise is Allah’s”. Both are
    predicative sentences intended to praise Allah since He is 1st: the only one
    who deserves to be praised; or 2nd: the owner of the praises of all

    “Allah” is the proper noun of the only being deserving to be worshiped.

    “Rabb”, translated here by “Lord”, means also “Owner”, “God”,
    “Reformer”, among other meanings. Therefore, “Lord of the Worlds”
    means that Allah is the owner of all creatures, whether they are humans,
    jinns, angels, animals, plants or other inert beings. Each kind of creature
    is therefore called “world”. Nevertheless, Allah has chosen the sound
    masculine plural “alamiin” instead of the broken plural “a’laam”, due to
    the prevalent use of the sound plural for intelligent beings.

    As for “alamiin” it is the plural of “alam”, a word that contains in it self
    the meaning of “alama” or sign. Essentially because the worlds are
    nothing but signs pointing to their Maker.
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      2. The Compassionate, the Merciful

      The adjectives “ar-rahmaan” and “ar-rahim” are in a superlative form.
      Both come from the root R H M which contains the meaning of doing or
      wanting good for somebody. From the same root is derived the word
      “rahm” – uterus – the place where the human being is kept protected and
      fed with maternal warmth during the first phases of his existence. That is
      why the woman, in her maternal dimension, is considered the highest
      manifestation of the divine attribute of mercy. Its meaning is to have
      “rahma” – mercy or compassion – in a superlative degree.

      Take notice that before describing Allah Himself as Compassionate and
      Merciful, He describes Himself as Lord of the Worlds. This establishes
      that sovereignty and absolute lordship are only Allah’s, Who exerts His
      power as He wants without having to account for it before anybody, but
      all of us will have to give account before Him. Nevertheless, Allah lets us
      know that the exertion of His power is made with mercy and compassion
      with all His creatures in general (ar-rahman) and as well as with the
      believers in particular (ar-rahim).

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        3. King of the Day of Judgment.

        Although the kingdom of Allah is eternal, there is here a specific allusion
        to the Day of Judgement because that day the kingdom, which is and has
        always been Allah’s, will be thus confirmed by all creatures. When the
        veils that cover our certainty will be removed, it will be clearly seen that
        the kingdom does not belong, and it has never belonged, to anyone but
        Allah. Then everybody, the believer and the unbeliever, will see with a
        sure knowledge that the King is Allah. Meanwhile, in this life the
        unbelievers persist in negating Allah’s kingdom and in attributing it to

        We have to add that according to other lectures instead of “malik” (king)
        it is read “maalik” (owner), being therefore the meaning of the ayat:
        “Owner of the Day of Judgement”.
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          4. You (alone) we worship and You (alone) we ask for help.

          After mentioning the Divinity’s attributes, Hes greatness and praise, the
          relationship between Him and His slaves is established. The ontological
          order is put in place by first establishing the reality of the Absolute Being,
          to come afterwards with the deontological order setting up the relation
          between the Creator and Absolute Lord and the human being.

          On the other hand, a progress from absence to presence takes place, from
          the distance to intimate dialogue. Allah teaches His slaves how the fact of
          praising Him with the tongue and the heart and of reflecting on the
          infinite power of His sovereignty provokes in the slave an impulse that
          rises him up to a station of intimacy and interlocution called ihsan by
          which the presence of Allah becomes patent in his heart.

          Notice also how the word “worship” (na’budu) and “ask for help”
          (nasta’in) are in plural, which gives a strong communal connotation to
          the act of worshipping.

          The existing order in mentioning first the worshipping of Allah and then
          the asking of His help makes clear that in order to deserve His help we
          have first to worship Him and only Him.
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            5. Guide us along the straight path,

            The meaning of ihdina-s-sirata-l-mustaqim is “guide us to the straight
            path” as well as “guide us along the straight path”. The second meaning
            is, in this case, the most appropriate since is said by the believers who
            already are in the straight path, i.e. Islam, but who want to remain in it
            and to ascend throughout it.
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              6. The path of those whom You have favored;

              It is referred to the believers. According to another opinion, it is referred
              to the prophets, the truthful ones, the ones who die in the way of Allah
              (shuhada) and the righteous ones (salihin). According to another opinion
              it is referred to the followers of Moses and Jesus before they tampered
              their respective messages and become abrogated.

              It is not specified how have they been favored due to the greatness and
              immensity of the divine favor.
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                7. Not (the path) of those who earn the anger nor of those
                who go astray.

                What is really meant here is the anger of Allah, which in His case is His
                revenge. Nevertheless, notice that when it is goodness Allah ascribes it to
                Him; whereas when it is badness – as earning the anger or going astray –
                Allah does not ascribe it directly to Him. This does not mean that badness
                has not been created by Him, it rather means that the courtesy to Him is
                to ascribe to Him only goodness.

                All the commentators agree that “those who earn the anger” are the Jews;
                and that “those who go astray” are the Christians.


                And Allah is the One Who knows what is correct. May Allah bless and
                grant peace to our Master Muhammad and to his Family and
                Companions. We have enough with Allah and in Him we put our trust.
                There is no strength nor power but by Allah, the Great, the Sublime.

                Ali Laraki
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                  Dear Sunni your translation is very surfacial-verbal and lacks in depth any indication of what has been said about this wonderful surah.
                  Your interpretation of some of the words is too little in depth and meaning.
                  Your reference to only two schools of sunnah shows your limited knowledge of all others.
                  my comments and queries:
                  1-Rab - why not Allah - we know that qoran is extremly sensetive about selection of words- your definition was trivial.
                  2-Alamin - why not one universe? the choice of plural form is not accidental or what you said.
                  Islam and kingdom have no relationship at all so please stop using kingdom of allah- again. the correct one is MAAlek-totally inclusive form.
                  as you can see I can go on so I wait to here from you.
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                    actually there is differnt style for reciting, in Warsh style they say malik not maalik, so you need to understand this about different qiraat before attacking brother sunni post.

                    thank you.
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                      Assalamu alaykum,

                      Actually eqdam, I disagree with what you have said above except that the surah is indeed a wonderful Surah.

                      A lengthier discussion can, of course, be found elsewhere and may be to your liking but I personally did find the above very useful.

                      As for the issue of malik or maalik then as Abdul Rahman mentioned this is to do with the different styles of qiraat of the Qur'an.

                      Perhaps others eg. abdulhakeem or perhaps you can provide a tafsir more to your liking.

                      I would also suggest for Ibn Kathir's discussion on this wonderful surah.

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                        Well Sunni this is where you are fataly wrong.
                        Arabic pronounciation is very very much case sensetive.
                        If you want to say Maalek as exclusive owner-then it is Maalek and nothing else.
                        Malik (King) is totally a misfit in this surah.
                        and for your info-I have seen the clear Kufi style of this surah which one can see the word Maalek very clearly.
                        Most importan is not to change Qoran by reciting it differently.
                        if some Qaare`a for the sake of tuning and beautification of recitation use it, well sorry they too are wrong.
                        I try to get hold of the picture of the surah in kufi style and paste it hear.
                        More over nobody is allowed to change a complete A (alef) to smal a (vocal) in Qoran.
                        and remember it is clear in laws of Tajwid (Recitation laws).
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                          Assalamu alaykum akhi eqdam,

                          I am afraid it is painfully clear that you are unfamiliar with the ten Qir'aat of the Qur'an - all of which have authentic chains of narration to the Prophet salallahu alayhi wasalam (seven being mutawatir and three being mashur in narration).

                          Akhi, there are still scholars of Tajweed that have ijazah in all these Qir'aat - I suggest you contact them and discuss this issue with them as I am not an expert of Tajweed myself.

                          I would, however, once more like to point out to you that the reading of Malik as opposed to Maalik is a valid reading in some of the different schools of qiraat - so please seek knowledge on this issue before proclaiming that I am "fatally wrong". Perhaps you have only heard the Hafs qiraat and are therefore getting a bit sensitive regarding this point?

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                            The Message of the Qur’an
                            Translated and explained by Muhammad Asad


                            Introduction: THIS SURAH is also called Fatihat al-Kitab ("The Opening of the
                            Divine Writ"), Umm al-Kitab ("The Essence of the Divine Writ"), Surat al-Hamd
                            ("The Surah of Praise"), Asas-al-Qur'an ("The Foundation of the Qur'an"), and
                            is known by several other names as well. It is mentioned elsewhere in the
                            Qur'an as As-Sab al-Mathani ("The Seven Oft-Repeated [Verses]") because it is
                            repeated several times in the course of each of the five daily prayers.
                            According to Bukhari, the designation Umm al-Kitab was given to it by the
                            Prophet himself, and this in view of the fact that it contains, in a
                            condensed form, all the fundamental principles laid down in the Qur'an: the
                            principle of God's oneness and uniqueness, of His being the originator and
                            fosterer of the universe, the fount of all life-giving grace, the One to whom
                            man is ultimately responsible, the only power that can really guide and help;
                            the call to righteous action in the life of this world ("guide us the
                            straight way"); the principle of life after death and of the organic
                            consequences of man's actions and behaviour (expressed in the term "Day of
                            Judgment"); the principle of guidance through God's message-bearers (evident
                            in the reference to "those upon whom God has bestowed His blessings") and,
                            flowing from it, the principle of the continuity of all true religions
                            (implied in the allusion to people who have lived - and erred - in the past);
                            and, finally, the need for voluntary self-surrender to the will of the
                            Supreme Being and, thus, for worshipping Him alone. It is for this reason
                            that this surah has been formulated as a prayer, to be constantly repeated
                            and reflected upon by the believer.

                            "The Opening" was one of the earliest revelations bestowed upon the Prophet.
                            Some authorities (for instance, Ali ibn Abi Talib) were even of the opinion
                            that it was the very first revelation; but this view is contradicted by
                            authentic Traditions quoted by both Bukhari and Muslim, which unmistakably
                            show that the first five verses of surah 96 ("The Germ-Cell") constituted the
                            beginning of revelation. It is probable, however, that whereas the earlier
                            revelations consisted of only a few verses each, "The Opening" was the first
                            surah revealed to the Prophet in its entirety at one time: and this would
                            explain the view held by Ali.

                            (1) IN THE NAME OF GOD, THE MOST GRACIOUS, THE DISPENSER OF GRACE: [1]
                            (2) ALL PRAISE is due to God alone, the Sustainer of all the worlds, [2]
                            (3) the Most Gracious, the Dispenser of Grace,
                            (4) Lord of the Day of Judgment!
                            (5) Thee alone do we worship; and unto Thee alone do we turn for aid.
                            (6) Guide us the straight way –
                            (7) the way of those upon whom Thou hast bestowed Thy blessings, [3] not of
                            those who have been condemned [by Thee], nor of those who go astray! [4]

                            [1] According to most of the authorities, this invocation (which occurs at
                            the beginning of every surah with the exception of surah 9) constitutes an
                            integral part of "The Opening" and is, therefore, numbered as verse 1. In all
                            other instances, the invocation "in the name of God" precedes the surah as
                            such, and is not counted among its verses. - Both the divine epithets rahman
                            and rahim are derived from the noun rahmah, which
                            signifies "mercy", "compassion", "loving tenderness" and, more
                            comprehensively, "grace". From the very earliest times, Islamic scholars have
                            endeavoured to define the exact shades of meaning which differentiate the two
                            terms. The best and simplest of these explanations is undoubtedly the one
                            advanced by Ibn al-Qayyim (as quoted in Manar I, 48): the term rahman
                            circumscribes the quality of abounding grace inherent in, and inseparable
                            from, the concept of God's Being, whereas rahim expresses the manifestation
                            of that grace in, and its effect upon, His creation - in other words, an
                            aspect of His activity.

                            [2] In this instance, the term "worlds" denotes all categories of existence
                            both in the physical and the spiritual sense. The Arabic expression rabb -
                            rendered by me as "Sustainer" - embraces a wide complex of meanings not
                            easily expressed by a single term in another language. It comprises the ideas
                            of having a just claim to the possession of anything and, consequently,
                            authority over it, as well as of rearing, sustaining and fostering anything
                            from its inception to its final completion. Thus, the head of a family is
                            called rabb ad-dar ("master of the house") because he has authority over it
                            and is responsible for its maintenance; similarly, his wife is called rabbat
                            ad-dar ("mistress of the house"). Preceded by the definite article al, the
                            designation rabb is applied, in the Qur'an, exclusively to God as the sole
                            fosterer and sustainer of all creation - objective as well as conceptual- and
                            therefore the ultimate source of all authority.

                            [3] I.e., by vouchsafing to them prophetic guidance and enabling them to
                            avail themselves thereof.

                            [4] According to almost all the commentators, God's "condemnation" (ghadab,
                            lit., "wrath") is synonymous with the evil consequences which man brings upon
                            himself by wilfully rejecting God's guidance and acting contrary to His
                            injunctions. Some commentators (e.g., Zamakhshari) interpret this passage as
                            follows: ". . . the way of those upon whom Thou hast bestowed Thy blessings -
                            those who have not been condemned [by Thee], and who do not go astray": in
                            other words, they regard the last two expressions as defining "those upon
                            whom Thou hast bestowed Thy blessings". Other commentators (e.g., Baghawi and
                            Ibn Kathir) do not subscribe to this interpretation - which would imply the
                            use of negative definitions - and understand the last verse of the surah in
                            the manner rendered by me above. As regards the two categories of people
                            following a wrong course, some of the greatest Islamic thinkers (e.g., Al-
                            Ghazali or, in recent times, Muhammad Abduh) held the view that the people
                            described as having incurred "God's condemnation" - that is, having deprived
                            themselves of His grace - are those who have become fully cognizant of God's
                            message and, having understood it, have rejected it; while by "those who go
                            astray" are meant people whom the truth has either not reached at all, or to
                            whom it has come in so garbled and corrupted a form as to make it difficult
                            for them to recognize it as the truth (see Abduh in Manar I, 68 ff.).

                            .لا نريد زعيما يخاف البيت الإبيض
                            نريد زعيما يخاف الواحد الأحد
                            دولة الإسلامية باقية