Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(Guide us to the straight path) guide us to the established Religion that You are pleased with, i.e. Islam. It is also said that this means: make us firm in holding fast to it. It is also said that the straight path refers to Allah's Book, and guidance to this means guidance to that which it prescribes as lawful or unlawful and to the exposition of its content.
This is the wellspring of worship and the marrow of obedience. It is the supplication, asking, pleading, and imploring of the faithful. It is seeking straightness and firm fixity in the religion. It means: “Lead us to this path, make us travel upon it, and make us firm in it.”
The faithful are saying, “O God, show us Your road, then make us go forth on the road, then take us from traveling to being pulled.” These are the three great roots: first showing, then traveling, then being pulled.
Showing is what the Exalted Lord says in “He it is who shows you His signs” [40:13]. Traveling is what He says in “You shall surely ride stage after stage” [84:19]. Being pulled is what He says in “We brought him near as a confidant” [19:52].
MuṣṬafā asked God for showing. He said, “O God, show us things as they are.” About traveling he said, “Travel! The solitary will be the preceders.” About being pulled he said, “One attraction of the Real is equivalent to all the deeds of jinn and men.”
In this verse, the faithful ask for all three of these from God, for not everyone who sees the road travels the road, and not everyone who travels the road reaches the destination. Many there are who hear but do not see, many there are who see but do not recognize, and many there are who recognize but do not find.
Many a prayerful shaykh has fallen from his steed!
Many a tavern-goer has saddled up a lion! [DS 110]
Concerning His words, “Guide us,” it has been said, “Cut off our secret cores from witnessing the others, display in our hearts the dawning lights, isolate our intentions from the defilement of traces, take us beyond the way stations of seeking and inference to the courtyards of proximity and union, prevent us from taking repose in likenesses and shapes by treating us with the gentleness of finding union, and unveil to us thereby the witnessing of majesty and beauty.”
Guide us to the straight path, in other words, fix us upon [the path of] guidance and empower us to remain upright along the path of oneness, that is, the path of those favoured [by You] with the special favour pertaining to [Your] Mercifulness (raḥīmiyya), which is gnosis, love and guidance, such as the prophets, the martyrs, the truthful and the friends (awliyāÌ) who have witnessed Him as the First and the Last, and as the Manifest and the Hidden, and who through the witnessing of the rise of His abiding countenance, became absent from the existence of ephemeral shadow.
The guidance mentioned in the Surah implies being directed and guided to success. Allah said,
اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ
(Guide us to the straight path) meaning guide, direct, lead and grant us the correct guidance. Also,
(And shown him the two ways (good and evil)) (90:10), means, `We explained to him the paths of good and evil.' Also, Allah said,
اجْتَبَـهُ وَهَدَاهُ إِلَى صِرَطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ
(He (Allah) chose him (as an intimate friend) and guided him to a straight path) (16:121), and,
فَاهْدُوهُمْ إِلَى صِرَطِ الْجَحِيمِ
(And lead them on to the way of flaming Fire (Hell)) (37:23). Similarly, Allah said,
وَإِنَّكَ لَتَهْدِى إِلَى صِرَطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ
(And verily, you (O Muhammad ) are indeed guiding (mankind) to the straight path) (42:52), and,
الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِى هَدَانَا لِهَـذَا
(All praise and thanks be to Allah, Who has guided us to this) (7:43), meaning, guided us and directed us and qualified us for this end - Paradise.
The Meaning of As-Sirat Al-Mustaqim, the Straight Path.
As for the meaning of As-Sirat Al-Mustaqim, Imam Abu Ja`far At-Tabari said, "The Ummah agreed that Sirat Al-Mustaqim, is the clear path without branches, according to the language of the Arabs. For instance, Jarir bin `Atiyah Al-Khatafi said in a poem, `The Leader of the faithful is on a path that will remain straight even though the other paths are crooked.'' At-Tabari also stated that, "There are many evidences to this fact.'' At-Tabari then proceeded, "The Arabs use the term, Sirat in reference to every deed and statement whether righteous or wicked. Hence the Arabs would describe the honest person as being straight and the wicked person as being crooked. The straight path mentioned in the Qur'an refers to Islam.
Imam Ahmad recorded in his Musnad that An-Nawwas bin Sam`an said that the Prophet said,
(Allah has set an example: a Sirat (straight path) that is surrounded by two walls on both sides, with several open doors within the walls covered with curtains. There is a caller on the gate of the Sirat who heralds, 'O people! Stay on the path and do not deviate from it.' Meanwhile, a caller from above the path is also warning any person who wants to open any of these doors, 'Woe unto you! Do not open it, for if you open it you will pass through.' The straight path is Islam, the two walls are Allah's set limits, while the doors resemble what Allah has prohibited. The caller on the gate of the Sirat is the Book of Allah, while the caller above the Sirat is Allah's admonishment in the heart of every Muslim.)
The Faithful ask for and abide by Guidance
If someone asks, "Why does the believer ask Allah for guidance during every prayer and at other times, while he is already properly guided Has he not already acquired guidance''
The answer to these questions is that if it were not a fact that the believer needs to keep asking for guidance day and night, Allah would not have directed him to invoke Him to acquire the guidance. The servant needs Allah the Exalted every hour of his life to help him remain firm on the path of guidance and to make him even more firm and persistent on it. The servant does not have the power to benefit or harm himself, except by Allah's permission. Therefore, Allah directed the servant to invoke Him constantly, so that He provides him with His aid and with firmness and success. Indeed, the happy person is he whom Allah guides to ask of Him. This is especially the case if a person urgently needs Allah's help day or night. Allah said,
(O you who believe! Believe in Allah, and His Messenger (Muhammad ), and the Book (the Qur'an) which He has sent down to His Messenger, and the Scripture which He sent down to those before (him)) (4:16).
Therefore, in this Ayah Allah commanded the believers to believe, and this command is not redundant since what is sought here is firmness and continuity of performing the deeds that help one remain on the path of faith. Also, Allah commanded His believing servants to proclaim,
(Our Lord! Let not our hearts deviate (from the truth) after You have guided us, and grant us mercy from You. Truly, You are the Bestower.) (3:8). Hence,
اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ
(Guide us to the straight way) means, "Make us firm on the path of guidance and do not allow us to deviate from it.''
Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
The Arabic word ibadat is used in three senses: (a)worship and devotion, (b) submission and obedience, (c) subjection and servitude. Here it implies all the three, that is, We are Thy worshipers, Thy subjects and Thy slaves and We keep these relations with Thee and Thee alone and "We make none else the object of our worship in all the three senses."
It means, We ask for Thy help because we know that Thou art the Lord of the whole Universe and Thou hast all powers and Thou art the Master of every thing. Therefore we turn to Thee for help for the fulfillment of our needs and requirements.
That is, "Show us that way which may lead us aright in every walk of life and keep us absolutely free from errors and evil consequences and bring us success in the end.", This is the request which the servant of Allah makes to Him when he begins the study of the Qur'an. He prays to Him to guide him in every walk of life and save him from the labyrinths of doubt and uncertainty, which result from the lack of true knowledge. The servant also requests the Master to show him the right and the straight way of life from among the many by-paths and crooked ways.
The straight way for which we are praying is the way which has always been followed by the people favored by Thee and which has always brought Thy favors and blessings.
This is to show that the favored people are not those who go astray and incur the wrath of Allah, though apparently they might be enjoying the transitory good things of life. The really favored people are those who receive blessings on account of their righteous living. From this it also becomes clear that by favors are meant those real and permanent rewards, which result from righteous living and from winning the pleasure of Allah, and not those transitory good things of life which have been enjoyed even by the tyrants and worshipers of mammon and which are being enjoyed even today by all sorts of evildoers who have gone astray from the straight way.
Guide us to the straight path Guidance hidāya is direction irshād and its basic meaning is to influence someone's inclinations. The one who is guided is one who is aware of the Real سبحانه and prefers His good pleasure and has faith in Him. The command in this verse is elided for the meaning is “Say: Guide us.” The believers are already being rightly guided in the present moment so the meaning is to petition for ongoing and ever increasing [guidance]. The straight path is the true path upon which are the people who declare God's oneness. The meaning of guide us is “cause us to incline to You” “take us as Yours” “be our guide dalīl to You” “facilitate our way to You” “arouse our aspiration for You” and “bring our concerns together through You.” “Prevent our innermost selves from witnessing all others aghyār. Show in our hearts the rising of lights anwār. Keep our seeking of You from the blemish of traces or effects āthār. And cause us to rise from the waystations of studying and reasoning to gather jamʿ [together] on the plains of nearness and communion.” “Take away our comfort with simulacra amthāl and outward appearances ashkāl through the intimate kindnesses and secrets you share with us [as we] find communion and witness the sublime and beautiful.” “Direct us to the Real so that we will not put our trust in the intermediaries of [our] deeds and so that the dust of vain opinions and suppositions will not fall upon the intent to profess divine unity.” Guide us to the straight path that is “Remove from us the darkness of our states so that we may be illuminated by the lights of Your holiness from the shadows of our own seeking. And lift from us the shadow of our effort so that we may gain insight by the stars of Your liberality and find You through You.” “Guide us to the straight path so that no associate from Satan's insinuations and whisperings and no friend from the inclinations and murmurings of the lower selves become our companions. Let not any stay in the familiar territories of blind following taqlīd keep us from the communion [of lovers]. Do not let reliance on routine instruction come between us and insight.
Do not let any harm from drunkenness or indulgence seduce us nor any conjecture or habit laziness or weak desire or coveting of wealth or increase.” The straight path is that to which the Book and the sunna are a guide dalīl and there is no authority for innovation concerning it and no other way sabīl to it. The straight path possesses a soundness to which the guideposts of divine unity dalāÌil al-tawḥīd bear witness and the testimonies of realization shawāhid al-taḥqīq pay heed. The straight path is that upon which the pious forefathers salaf of the community tread and of its rightness the guideposts of admonition speak. The straight path is that which separates the traveler sālik from his worldly fortunes and concerns ḥuẓūẓ and the seeker qāṣid from his rights ḥuqūq. The straight path is that which brings its traveler to the courtyard of unity. It calls its follower to witness the trace and effect of solicitude and liberality jūd so that he will not think it the result of [his own] endeavor majhūd.
Guide us to the straight path. He [Sahl] was asked, ‘Has not God already guided us to the straight path?’ He replied:That is so, but this refers to seeking more from Him, as He has said: and with Us there is yet more [50:35]. [Thus] what is meant by His words Guide us is: ‘Support us with Your aid (maʿūna) and empowerment (tamkīn)’.On another occasion he said that Guide us (ihdinā) means:Guide us (arshidnā) to the religion of Islam, which is the way to You, through assistance from You, which is insight (baṣīra), for we cannot be guided except through You, just as he [Moses] said: ‘Perhaps my Lord will show me the right way’ [28:22], that is, ‘Guide me to pursue the path that leads to Him’.I heard Sahl relate on the authority of Muḥammad b. Sawwār from Sufyān, who heard it from Salīm, who was told by Abū al-Jaʿd from Thawbān, who narrated that the Messenger of God said:God says: ‘I have divided the prayer between Me and My servant into two halves. Half of it is for Me and the other half is for My servant, and My servant gets what he asks for.’ Thus, when the servant says, Praise be to God, Lord of the Worlds, God, Exalted is He, says, ‘My servant has praised and thanked Me.’ When he says, the Merciful, the Compassionate, [God says], ‘My servant has extolled Me’. And when he says, Master of the Day of Judgement, [God says], ‘My servant has glorified Me. These verses are for Me and for My servant is what he asks for [in the verses that come] after, as when he says, You [alone] we worship, and You [alone] do we ask for help.! Guide us to the straight path, until the end of the sūra.’ God, Mighty and Majestic is He, says: ‘These verses are for My servant and My servant shall receive what he asks for.’ Sahl said:The meaning of ‘My servant has glorified Me’ here is: ‘He has attributed abundant beneficence (iḥsān) and munificence (inʿām) to Me’.Sahl related on the authority of Mujāhid:Āmīn is one of the names of God, Exalted is He. Ibn ʿAbbās y said, ‘The Christians have never envied you anything as much as your saying Āmīn.
’Muḥammad b. Sawwār related from Ibn ʿUyayna from ʿAmr b. Dīnār on the authority of Jābir b. ʿAbd Allāh, who related that the Messenger of God said, ‘Keep to the straight path, [though] you will not be able to encompass [all good actions]. Know that the best of your actions is prayer, and [indeed] only a believer observes ablution carefully. Whenever the imam says, Nor [the path] of those who go astray [1:7], you should say, ‘Āmīn’, for God is pleased with the one who says it, and He accepts his prayer and responds to his supplication.’Al-Zuhrī related from Ibn al-Musayyab on the authority of Abū Hurayra that the Prophet said, ‘When the imam says, Nor [the path] of those who go astray, say ‘Āmīn’, for truly the angels say ‘Āmīn’, and the one whose pronouncement of ‘Āmīn’ is simultaneous with that of the angels will be forgiven for all his previous sins.’
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.