The Quran

Commentaries for 1.3

Al Fatiha (The opening) - الفاتحة

1.3 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(The Beneficent) the Gentle. (The Merciful) the Gentle.
1.3 Asrar - Kashf Al-Asrar
The All-Merciful, the Ever-Merciful.
He is the All-Merciful inasmuch as He vivifies, the Ever-Merciful inasmuch as He displays. The
vivification is through acts of kindness, the display through lights.
He is the All-Merciful who eases the road of wage-earning, the Ever-Merciful who lights up the candle of friendship in the road of the friends. The wage-earner is always toiling in hope of houris and palaces, the friend is inundated by light in the sea of face-to-face vision.
The day I reach union with You
I will disdain the state of the paradise-dwellers.
He is the All-Merciful who gives the strivers the success of struggle, and the Ever-Merciful who gives the finders the realization of contemplation. The former is the state of the desirer, the latter the state of the desired. The desirer goes forth with the lamp of success and reaches contemplation, the desired goes forth with the candle of realization and reaches face-to-face vision. Contemplation is the lifting of the barriers between the servant and the Real, face-to-face vision seeing each other such that the servant does not become absent for a moment: He gazes at love with the eye of response, he gazes at the Present with the eye of presence, he gazes at the Solitary with the eye of solitude. Through distance from himself he becomes near to His nearness, through losing himself he becomes familiar with His apparentness, through absence from himself he becomes present with His generous presence. For He is not far from the strivers, nor lost by the seekers, nor absent from the desirers.
Have mercy on the creatures' hearts and come out from the veil so that the seventy-two creeds may end their disputes.
1.3 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
The Compassionate, the Merciful: that is to say, the One who possesses ‘mercy’, which means to want what is good for those who deserve it.
1.3 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
Allah said next,
الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ
(Ar-Rahman (the Most Gracious), Ar-Rahim (the Most Merciful)) We explained these Names in the Basmalah. Al-Qurtubi said, "Allah has described Himself by `Ar-Rahman, Ar-Rahim' after saying `the Lord of the Alamin', so His statement here includes a warning, and then an encouragement. Similarly, Allah said,
نَبِّىءْ عِبَادِى أَنِّى أَنَا الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ - وَأَنَّ عَذَابِى هُوَ الْعَذَابُ الاٌّلِيمُ
(Declare (O Muhammad ) unto My servants, that truly, I am the Oft-Forgiving, the Most Merciful. And that My torment is indeed the most painful torment.) (15:49-50) Allah said,
إِنَّ رَبَّكَ سَرِيعُ الْعِقَابِ وَإِنَّهُ لَغَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
(Surely, your Lord is swift in retribution, and certainly He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.) (6:165)
Hence, Rabb contains a warning while Ar-Rahman Ar-Rahim encourages. Further, Muslim recorded in his Sahih that the Messenger of Allah said,
«لَوْ يَعْلَمُ الْمُؤْمِنُ مَا عِنْدَ اللهِ مِنَ الْعُقُوبَةِ مَا طَمِعَ فِي جَنَّتِهِ أَحَدٌ، وَلَوْ يَعْلَمُ الْكَافِرُ مَا عِنْدَ اللهِ مِنَ الرَّحْمَةِ مَا قَنَطَ مِنْ رَحْمَتِهِ أَحَدٌ»
(If the believer knew what punishment Allah has, none would have hope in acquiring His Paradise, and if the disbeliever knew what mercy Allah has, none will lose hope of earning His earning.)
1.1-3 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
Islamic culture requires a man to commence everything with the name of Allah. If this is done consciously and sincerely, it will surely produce three good results. First, it will keep him away from evil, because the very name of Allah will impel him to consider whether he is justified in associating His name with a wrong deed or an evil intention. Secondly, the very mention of the name of Allah will create in him the right attitude of mind and direct him to the right direction. Thirdly,he will receive Allah's help and blessing and will be protected from the temptations of Satan, for Allah turns to a man when he turns to Him.
It has been stated in the Introduction to this Surah that AI-Fatihah is a prayer. It begins with the praise of Allah to Whom it is addressed in order to teach us the right way of making a supplication. We should not put forward our request bluntly and abruptly without an appropriate introduction. The right way is to acknowledge the excellences and the favors and the high position of the One to Whom we address our prayer. That is why we begin our prayer with the praise of Allah, for He is the perfection of all excellences also our Benefactor. We pay homage to Allah to show that we sincerely acknowledge His excellences and also are grateful to Him for His countless favours. It should also be noted that not only Praise is for Allah but also Praise is only for Allah. This distinction is very important because it cuts at the root of the worship of any of His creation. As none of them is worthy of praise, none is worthy of worship. No man, no angel, no prophet, no so-called god, no star, no idol, in short. none of His creation inherently possesses any good quality. If one has any, it is given by Allah. Hence the Creator of these qualities alone deserves devotion, worship, gratitude, and none of His creation.
The word Rab which has been translated into `Lord' stands for (a) Master and Owner, (b) Sustainer, Provider and Guardian, (c) Sovereign, Ruler, Administrator and Organizer. Allah is the Lord of the Universe in all these senses.
Although the Arabic word Rahman itself is in the superlative form and denotes the attributes of beneficence and mercy in the highest degree, even this word fails to express the boundless extent of these attributes of Allah. Hence another word Rahim of the same root has been added to make up for the deficiency.
After saying that Allah is Beneficent and Merciful, it has immediately been added that He is the Master of the Day of Judgment, so that the qualities of mercy and kindness might not mislead anyone into forgetting that on that Day He will gather together all human beings from the first to the last and require each and every one to give an account of all of one's acts to Him. A Muslim should, therefore, always keep in view the fact that Allah is not only Merciful, but He is also Just. He has, however, full authority to pardon or punish anyone He pleases, for He has complete power over everything. Therefore we should have full conviction that it lies absolutely in His power to make our end happy or sorrowful.
1.3 Qushairi - Al-Qushairi
The Compassionate the Merciful Both names are derived from [the word] mercy raḥma. Mercy is an eternal attribute and it is the [divine] desire for blessing irādat al-niʿma. According to the [scholarly] experts ahl al-taḥqīq these are two nouns denoting intensification with no distinction between the two [in terms of the recipients of the mercy]. [Others have] said the Compassionate al-raḥmān is the more emphatic and more complete in expressiveness. Nothing other than the Real سبحانه is called raḥmān without restriction whereas the Merciful al-raḥīm can be used to describe others. By means of His mercy the servant comes to know that He is the Compassionate. If not for His mercy no one would know that He is the Compassionate. Whether mercy is the desire for blessing or the blessing itself as some would have it the blessings themselves are varied and their degrees are different for one blessing is a blessing for bodily forms and outward circumstances al-ashbāḥ wa-l-ẓawāhir and the other blessing is a blessing for spirits and inner secrets of the heart al-arwāḥ wa-l-sarāÌir. In the system of those who distinguish between the two the compassionate raḥmān is a specific term with a general meaning while the merciful raḥīm is a general term with a specific meaning. As the Compassionate He provides comfort for all people in the circumstances of their external lives ẓawāhir whereas the Merciful grants success to the believers for the life found in the inner secrets of their hearts sarāÌir. He is the Compassionate by that which He gives in comfort rawwaḥa and the Merciful by that which He gives in glimmers lawwaḥa. Giving comfort tarwīḥ is through acts of beneficence mabārr and the giving of glimmers talwīḥ is through lights anwār. [He is] the Compassionate through the unveiling of His manifestation tajallī and the Merciful through the kindness of His being a friend and protector tawallī. [He is] the Compassionate through what He gives in faith īmān and the Merciful through what He confers in deep knowledge ʿirfān. Or [He is] the Compassionate through what He grants in deeper knowledge ʿirfān and the Merciful through what He undertakes in forgiveness ghufrān. Or [He is] the Compassionate through what He gives in blessing in forgiveness ghufrān and the Merciful through what He bestows in good pleasure riḌwān.
Or [He is] the Compassionate through what He honors in good pleasure riḌwān and the Merciful through what He gives in blessing in vision and eyewitnessing ʿiyān. Or [He is] the Compassionate through the success He gives and the Merciful through what has been realized. Granting success tawfīq is for transactions and behaviors muʿāmalāt while realization taḥqīq is for intimate communications muwāṣalāt. The transactions and behaviors are for those who seek qāṣidūn and the intimate communications are for those who find wājidūn. [He is] the Compassionate through what He bestows as a favor for them and the Merciful through what He deflects from them for the bestowal of favors ṣanʿ is beautiful caretaking riʿāya while defending daf ʿ is the best solicitude ʿināya.
1.1-7 Wahidi - Asbab Al-Nuzul by Al-Wahidi
There is some scholarly disagreement concerning this Surah [i.e. concerning where it was revealed]; the majority is however of the opinion that it was revealed in Mecca, one among the first Surahs of the Qur'an to be revealed. Abu 'Uthman Sa'id ibn Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Zahid informed us> his grandfather>Abu 'Amr al-Hiri> Ibrahim ibn al-Harith and 'Ali ibn Sahl ibn al-Mughirah who said: Yahya ibn Abi Bukayr informed us> Isra'il> Abu Ishaq> Abu Maysarah ['Amr ibn Shurahbil] who said: “The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, whenever he went out, used to hear someone calling him 'O Muhammad!' And whenever he heard this, he used to flee. Waraqah ibn Nawfal advised the Prophet to remain in his place when the caller calls him so that he hears what he has to tell him. And so when he went out, he heard the calling: 'O Muhammad!' He said: 'Here I am! At your service!' The caller said: 'Say: I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah'. Then he said: 'Say (Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, the Beneficent, the Merciful. Owner of the Day of Judgement…)' and he read until the end of the Opening of the Book”. This is also the opinion of 'Ali ibn Abi Talib. Abu Ishaq Ahmad ibn Muhammad, the Qur'anic commentator, informed us>al-Hasan ibn Ja'far, the commentator who said: Abu'l-Hasan ibn Muhammad ibn Mahmud al-Marwazi> 'Abd Allah ibn Mahmud al-Sa'di> Abu Yahya al-Qasri> Marwan ibn Mu'awiyah> al-'Ala' ibn al-Musayyab> al-Fudayl ibn 'Amr> 'Ali ibn Abi Talib who said: “The Opening of the Book was revealed in Mecca from a treasure beneath the divine Throne”. And through the same chain of transmission> al-Sa'di who said: 'Amr ibn Salih informed us> his father> al-Kalbi> Abu Salih> ibn 'Abbas who said: “The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, stood up once in Mecca and said: 'In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds'. The people of Quraysh said: 'May Allah strike your mouth' or something to this effect”. This was related by al-Hasan and Qatadah. But according to Mujahid, the Opening of the Book was revealed in Medina. About this opinion al-Husayn ibn al-Fadl said: “Every scholar has a lapse, and this is one lapse from Mujahid, since he is the only scholar who holds this opinion while all the other scholars disagree with him”. What makes the Opening of the Book categorically a Meccan Surah is the saying of Allah, exalted is He: (We have given thee seven of the oft-repeated (verses) and the great Qur'an), i.e. the Opening of the Book. Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Rahman al-Nahwi informed us> Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn 'Ali al-Hiri> Ahmad ibn 'Ali ibn al-Muthanna> Yahya ibn Ayyub> Isma'il ibn Ja'far> al-'Ala'> his father> Abu Hurayrah who said: “When Ubayy ibn Ka'b finished reading the Opening of the Book to him, the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: 'By Him in Whose Hand is my soul, Allah has not revealed the like of it in the Torah, the Gospel, the Psalm or in the Qur'an. Verily, I was given the seven oft-repeated [i.e. al-Fatihah] and the great Qur'an' ”. Furthermore, there is no disagreement that Surah al-Hijr was revealed in Mecca. It follows therefore that Allah would not mention His bounty on the Prophet for giving him the Opening of the Book while in Mecca and then reveal this to him in Medina. Again, one cannot possibly say that Allah's Messenger, Allah bless him and give him peace, stayed over ten years in Mecca and prayed during this time without the Opening of the Book. This is inconceivable.