The Quran

Commentaries for 1.7

Al Fatiha (The opening) - الفاتحة

1.7 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
We mentioned the Hadith in which the servant proclaims,
اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ
(Guide us to the straight way) and Allah says, "This is for My servant, and My servant shall acquire what he asks for.'' Allah's statement.
صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ
(The way of those upon whom You have bestowed Your grace) defines the path. `Those upon whom Allah has bestowed His grace' are those mentioned in Surat An-Nisa' (chapter 4), when Allah said,
وَمَن يُطِعِ اللَّهَ وَالرَّسُولَ فَأُوْلَـئِكَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِم مِّنَ النَّبِيِّينَ وَالصِّدِّيقِينَ وَالشُّهَدَآءِ وَالصَّـلِحِينَ وَحَسُنَ أُولَـئِكَ رَفِيقاً - ذلِكَ الْفَضْلُ مِنَ اللَّهِ وَكَفَى بِاللَّهِ عَلِيماً
(And whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger (Muhammad ), then they will be in the company of those on whom Allah has bestowed His grace, the Prophets, the Siddiqin (the truly faithful), the martyrs, and the righteous. And how excellent these companions are! Such is the bounty from Allah, and Allah is sufficient to know) (4:69-70).
Allah's statement,
غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلاَ الضَّآلِّينَ
(Not (the way) of those who earned Your anger, nor of those who went astray) meaning guide us to the straight path, the path of those upon whom you have bestowed Your grace, that is, the people of guidance, sincerity and obedience to Allah and His Messengers. They are the people who adhere to Allah's commandments and refrain from committing what He has prohibited. But, help us to avoid the path of those whom Allah is angry with, whose intentions are corrupt, who know the truth, yet deviate from it. Also, help us avoid the path of those who were led astray, who lost the true knowledge and, as a result, are wandering in misguidance, unable to find the correct path. Allah asserted that the two paths He described here are both misguided when He repeated the negation `not'. These two paths are the paths of the Christians and Jews, a fact that the believer should beware of so that he avoids them. The path of the believers is knowledge of the truth and abiding by it. In comparison, the Jews abandoned practicing the religion, while the Christians lost the true knowledge. This is why `anger' descended upon the Jews, while being described as `led astray' is more appropriate of the Christians. Those who know, but avoid implementing the truth, deserve the anger, unlike those who are ignorant. The Christians want to seek the true knowledge, but are unable to find it because they did not seek it from its proper resources.
This is why they were led astray. We should also mention that both the Christians and the Jews have earned the anger and are led astray, but the anger is one of the attributes more particular of the Jews. Allah said about the Jews,
مَن لَّعَنَهُ اللَّهُ وَغَضِبَ عَلَيْهِ
(Those (Jews) who incurred the curse of Allah and His wrath) (5:60).
The attribute that the Christians deserve most is that of being led astray, just as Allah said about them,
قَدْ ضَلُّواْ مِن قَبْلُ وَأَضَلُّواْ كَثِيراً وَضَلُّواْ عَن سَوَآءِ السَّبِيلِ
(Who went astray before and who misled many, and strayed (themselves) from the right path) (5:77).
There are several Hadiths and reports from the Salaf on this subject. Imam Ahmad recorded that `Adi bin Hatim said, "The horsemen of the Messenger of Allah seized my paternal aunt and some other people. When they brought them to the Messenger of Allah, they were made to stand in line before him. My aunt said, `O Messenger of Allah! The supporter is far away, the offspring have stopped coming and I am an old woman, unable to serve. Grant me your favor, may Allah grant you His favor.' He said, `Who is your supporter' She said, `Adi bin Hatim.' He said, `The one who ran away from Allah and His Messenger' She said, `So, the Prophet freed me.' When the Prophet came back, there was a man next to him, I think that he was `Ali, who said to her, `Ask him for a means of transportation.' She asked the Prophet, and he ordered that she be given an animal.
'' `Adi then said, "Later on, she came to me and said, `He (Muhammad ) has done a favor that your father (who was a generous man) would never have done. So and-so person came to him and he granted him his favor, and so-and-so came to him and he granted him his favor.' So I went to the Prophet and found that some women and children were gathering with him, so close that I knew that he was not a king like Kisra (King of Persia) or Caesar. He said, `O `Adi! What made you run away, so that La ilaha illallah is not proclaimed Is there a deity worthy of worship except Allah What made you run away, so that Allahu Akbar (Allah is the Greater) is not proclaimed Is there anything Greater than Allah' I proclaimed my Islam and I saw his face radiate with pleasure and he said:
«إِنَّ الْمَغْضُوبَ عَلَيْهِمُ الْيَهُودُ وَ إِنَّ الضَّالِينَ النَّصَارَى»
(Those who have earned the anger are the Jews and those who are led astray are the Christians.)''
This Hadith was also collected by At-Tirmidhi who said that it is Hasan Gharib.
Also, when Zayd bin `Amr bin Nufayl went with some of his friends - before Islam - to Ash-Sham seeking the true religion, the Jews said to him, "You will not become a Jew unless you carry a share of the anger of Allah that we have earned.'' He said, "I am seeking to escape Allah's anger.'' Also, the Christians said to him, "If you become one of us you will carry a share in Allah's discontent.'' He said, "I cannot bear it.'' So he remained in his pure nature and avoided worshipping the idols and the polytheistic practices. He became neither a Jew, nor Christian. As for his companions, they became Christians because they found it more pure than Judaism. Waraqah bin Nawfal was among these people until Allah guided him by the hand of His Prophet, when he was sent as Prophet, and Waraqah believed in the revelation that was sent to the Prophet may Allah be pleased with him.
The Summary of Al-Fatihah
The honorable Surah Al-Fatihah contains seven Ayat including the praise and thanks of Allah, glorifying Him and praising Him by mentioning His most Beautiful Names and most high Attributes. It also mentions the Hereafter, which is the Day of Resurrection, and directs Allah's servants to ask of Him, invoking Him and declaring that all power and strength comes from Him. It also calls to the sincerity of the worship of Allah alone, singling Him out in His divinity, believing in His perfection, being free from the need of any partners, having no rivals nor equals. Al-Fatihah directs the believers to invoke Allah to guide them to the straight path, which is the true religion, and to help them remain on that path in this life, and to pass over the actual Sirat (bridge over hell that everyone must pass over) on the Day of Judgment. On that Day, the believers will be directed to the gardens of comfort in the company of the Prophets, the truthful ones, the martyrs and the righteous. Al-Fatihah also encourages performing good deeds, so that the believers will be in the company of the good-doers on the Day of Resurrection. The Surah also warns against following the paths of misguidance, so that one does not end up being gathered with those who indulge in sin, on the Day of Resurrection, including those who have earned the anger and those who were led astray.
The Bounties are because of Allah, not the Deviations
Allah said,
صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ
(The way of those upon whom you have bestowed Your grace), when He mentioned His favor. On mentioning anger, Allah said,
غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ
(Not (that) of those who earned Your anger), without mentioning the subject, although it is He Who has sent down the anger on them, just as Allah stated in another Ayah,
أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ تَوَلَّوْاْ قَوْماً غَضِبَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِم
(Have you (O Muhammad ) not seen those (hypocrites) who take as friends a people upon whom is the wrath of Allah (i.e. Jews)) (58:14).
Also, Allah relates the misguidance of those who indulged in it, although they were justly misguided according to Allah's appointed destiny. For instance, Allah said,
مَن يَهْدِ اللَّهُ فَهُوَ الْمُهْتَدِ وَمَن يُضْلِلْ فَلَن تَجِدَ لَهُ وَلِيًّا مُّرْشِدًا
(He whom Allah guides, he is the rightly-guided; but he whom He sends astray, for him you will find no Wali (guiding friend) to lead him (to the right path)) (18:17)
and,
مَن يُضْلِلِ اللَّهُ فَلاَ هَادِيَ لَهُ وَيَذَرُهُمْ فِى طُغْيَـنِهِمْ يَعْمَهُونَ
(Whomsoever Allah sends astray, none can guide him; and He lets them wander blindly in their transgression) (7:186).
These and several other Ayat testify to the fact that Allah alone is the One Who guides and misguides, contrary to the belief of the Qadariyyah sect, who claimed that the servants choose and create their own destiny. They rely on some unclear Ayat avoiding what is clear and contradicts their desires. Theirs, is the method of the people who follow their lust, desire and wickedness. An authentic Hadith narrated,
«إِذَا رَأَيْتُمُ الَّذِينَ يَتَّبِعُونَ مَا تَشَابَهَ مِنْهُ فَأُولئِكَ الَّذِينَ سَمَّى اللهُ فَاحْذَرُوهُمْ»
(When you see those who follow what is not so clear in it (the Qur'an), then they are those whom Allah has mentioned (refer to 3:7). Hence, avoid them.)
The Prophet was referring to Allah's statement,
فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ فى قُلُوبِهِمْ زَيْغٌ فَيَتَّبِعُونَ مَا تَشَـبَهَ مِنْهُ ابْتِغَآءَ الْفِتْنَةِ وَابْتِغَآءَ تَأْوِيلِهِ
(So as for those in whose hearts there is a deviation (from the truth) they follow that which is not entirely clear thereof, seeking Al-Fitnah (polytheism and trials), and seeking for its hidden meanings)(3:7).
Verily, no innovator in the religion could ever rely on any authentic evidence in the Qur'an that testifies to his innovation. The Qur'an came to distinguish between truth and falsehood, and guidance and misguidance. The Qur'an does not contain any discrepancies or contradictions, because it is a revelation from the Most Wise, Worthy of all praise.
Saying Amin
It is recommended to say Amin after finishing the recitation of Al-Fatihah. Amin means, "O Allah! Accept our invocation.'' The evidence that saying Amin is recommended is contained in what Imams Ahmad, Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi recorded, that Wa'il bin Hujr said, "I heard the Messenger of Allah recite,
غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلاَ الضَّآلِّينَ
(Not (that) of those who earned Your anger, nor of those who went astray), and he said `Amin' extending it with his voice.''
Abu Dawud's narration added, "Raising his voice with it.'' At-Tirmidhi then commented that this Hadith is Hasan and was also narrated from `Ali and Ibn Mas`ud. Also, Abu Hurayrah narrated that whenever the Messenger of Allah would recite,
غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلاَ الضَّآلِّينَ
(Not (the way) of those who earned Your anger, nor of those who went astray), He would say Amin until those who were behind him in the first line could hear him.
Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah recorded this Hadith with the addition, "Then the Masjid would shake because of (those behind the Prophet ) reciting Amin.'' Also, Ad-Daraqutni recorded this Hadith and commented that it is Hasan.
Further, Bilal narrated that he said, "O Messenger of Allah! Do not finish saying Amin before I can join you.'' This was recorded by Abu Dawud.
In addition, Abu Nasr Al-Qushayri narrated that Al-Hasan and Ja`far As-Sadiq stressed the `m' in Amin.
Saying Amin is recommended for those who are not praying (when reciting Al-Fatihah) and is strongly recommended for those who are praying, whether alone or behind the Imam. The Two Sahihs recorded that the Messenger of Allah said,
«إِذَا أَمَّنَ الْإِمَامُ فَأَمِّنُوا، فَإِنَّهُ مَنْ وَافَقَ تَأْمِينُهُ تَأْمِينَ الْمَلَائِكَةِ غُفِرَ لَهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِنْ ذَنْبِهِ»
(When the Imam says, ' Amin', then say, 'Amin', because whoever says, Amin' with the angels, his previous sins will be forgiven.)
Muslim recorded that the Messenger of Allah said,
«إِذَا قَالَ أَحَدُكُمْ فِي الصَّلَاةِ: آمِينَ، وَالْمَلَائِكَةُ فِي السَّمَاءِ: آمِينَ، فَوَافَقَتْ إِحْدَاهُمَا الْأُخْرَى غُفِرَ لَهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِنْ ذَنْبِهِ»
(When any of you says in the prayer, 'Amin ` and the angels in heaven say, `Amin', in unison, his previous sins will be forgiven.)
It was said that the Hadith talks about both the angels and the Muslims saying Amin at the same time. The Hadith also refers to when the Amins said by the angels and the Muslims are equally sincere (thus bringing about forgiveness).
Further, it is recorded in Sahih Muslim that Abu Musa related to the Prophet that he said,
«إِذَا قَالَ يَعنِي الْإِمَامَ : وَلَا الضَّالِّينَ، فَقُولُوا: آمِينَ، يُجِبْكُمُ اللهُ»
(When the Imam says, `Walad-dallin', say, `Amin' and Allah will answer your invocation.)
In addition, At-Tirmidhi said that `Amin' means, "Do not disappoint our hope'', while the majority of scholars said that it means. "Answer our invocation.''
Also, in his Musnad, Imam Ahmad recorded that `A'ishah said that when the Jews were mentioned to him, the Messenger of Allah said,
«إِنَّهُم لَنْ يَحْسُدُونَا عَلَى شَيْءٍ كَمَا يَحْسُدُونَا عَلَى الْجُمُعَةِ الَّتِي هَدَانَا اللهُ لَهَا وَضَلُّوا عَنْهَا، وَعَلَى الْقِبْلَةِ الَّتِي هَدَانَا اللهُ لَهَا وَضَلُّوا عَنْهَا وَعَلَى قَوْلِنَا خَلْفَ الْإِمَامِ: آمِينَ»
(They will not envy us for anything more than they envy us for Friday which we have been guided to, while they were led astray from it, and for the Qiblah which we were guided to, while they were led astray from it, and for our saying `Amin' behind the Imam.)
Also, Ibn Majah recorded this Hadith with the wording,
«مَا حَسَدَتْكُمُ الْيَهُودُ عَلَى شَيْءٍ مَا حَسَدَتْكُمْ عَلَى السَّلَامِ وَالتَّأْمِينِ»
(The Jews have never envied you more than for your saying the Salam (Islamic greeting) and for saying Amin.) rgiveness). veneooA ? Further, it is recorded in Sahih Muslim that Abu Musa related to the Prophet that he said,
«إِذَا قَالَ يَعنِي الْإِمَامَ : وَلَا الضَّالِّينَ، فَقُولُوا: آمِينَ، يُجِبْكُمُ اللهُ»
(When the Imam says, `Walad-dallin', say, `Amin' and Allah will answer your invocation.)
In addition, At-Tirmidhi said that `Amin' means, "Do not disappoint our hope'', while the majority of scholars said that it means. "Answer our invocation.''
Also, in his Musnad, Imam Ahmad recorded that `A'ishah said that when the Jews were mentioned to him, the Messenger of Allah said,
«إِنَّهُم لَنْ يَحْسُدُونَا عَلَى شَيْءٍ كَمَا يَحْسُدُونَا عَلَى الْجُمُعَةِ الَّتِي هَدَانَا اللهُ لَهَا وَضَلُّوا عَنْهَا، وَعَلَى الْقِبْلَةِ الَّتِي هَدَانَا اللهُ لَهَا وَضَلُّوا عَنْهَا وَعَلَى قَوْلِنَا خَلْفَ الْإِمَامِ: آمِينَ»
(They will not envy us for anything more than they envy us for Friday which we have been guided to, while they were led astray from it, and for the Qiblah which we were guided to, while they were led astray from it, and for our saying `Amin' behind the Imam.)
Also, Ibn Majah recorded this Hadith with the wording,
«مَا حَسَدَتْكُمُ الْيَهُودُ عَلَى شَيْءٍ مَا حَسَدَتْكُمْ عَلَى السَّلَامِ وَالتَّأْمِينِ»
(The Jews have never envied you more than for your saying the Salam (Islamic greeting) and for saying Amin.)
1.4-7 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.
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.