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The Opening chapter

The holy Quran Exegesis

Commentary on The opening chapter ( Al-Fatah )

By Magdy Abd Al-shafy

Al-Fatihah was called the Salah, because reciting it is a condition for the correctness of Salah - the prayer. Al-Fatihah was also called Ash-Shifa' (the Cure).

It is also called Ar-Ruqyah (remedy), since in the Sahih, there is the narration of Abu Sa`id telling the the story of the Companion who used Al-Fatihah as a remedy for the tribal chief who was poisoned. Later, the Messenger of Allah said to a Companion, (How did you know that it is a Ruqyah)

Al-Fatihah was revealed in Makkah as Ibn `Abbas, Qatadah and Abu Al-`Aliyah stated. Allah said, (And indeed, We have bestowed upon you the seven Mathani) (seven repeatedly recited verses), (i.e. Surat Al-Fatihah) (15:87). Allah knows best.

The Meaning of Al-Fatihah and its Various Names This Surah is called Al-Fatihah, that is, the Opener of the Book, the Surah with which prayers are begun. It is also called, Umm Al-Kitab (the Mother of the Book), according to the majority of the scholars. In an authentic Hadith recorded by At-Tirmidhi, who graded it Sahih, Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said, Al-Hamdu lillahi Rabbil-`Alamin is the Mother of the Qur-an, the Mother of the Book, and the seven repeated Ayat of the Glorious Qur-an .

It is incumbent on every Moslem to recite this sura in his prayer . without reciting this Sura ,the Moslem prayer will be invalid. The Arabic word Salah (in English prayer ) means the strong contact to Allah .So when you are in prayer you are in contact with Allah , so it is incumbent on every Moslem to recite this Sura in his prayer as it includes all the meanings of the Holy Quran . Prayer in Islam implies two important elements : praise and supplication and these are what this generous Sura implies.

The comment :

(1) Praise be to God, The Cherisher and Sustainer of the Worlds

This sura is very profound as it has summed up all the meanings of the holy Quran .Allah , the creator of the universe and the creator of the seen and the unseen , before creating you from what you know , has made the whole of the universe suitable for you and honored you with countless bounties . The most important of All , though you may not notice , is that His manifestation to all of us. Allah says in another verse what means " We have honored the sons of Adam; provided them with transport on land and sea; given them for sustenance things good and pure; and conferred on them special favours, above a great part of our creation. When man became helpless as to how to praise Allah for his open bounties , God revealed this Sura in which Allah teaches man how to begin his supplication .

This verse implies all kinds of praise, the word employed in the qu'ranic verse is more expressive and comprehensive than any other equivalents , the verse confirms the infinite praise and thanks to Allah .

This short verse means ascribing all the meanings of praise , thanks , gratitude to Allah , it is a verse that expresses  gratitude to Allah for his countless gifts . Though they are many to be counted , yet only with two words you can express your gratitude to Allah , it is an overture followed by praising Allah by two of His fine names .

" The merciful and compassionate "

" The Merciful and Compassionate " , these two words arouse a feeling of ecstasy , once you repeat these two words you feel something unspeakable ; Allah's mercy is beyond human description . In a traditional saying , prophet Mohummed says " God has made mercy one hundred parts , He has kept ninety-nine parts to lavish his creatures with and he sent just only one part to the earth by which all the creatures, , including the mute animal when raising its feet lest it should harm its baby, lavish mercy on one another .How much you feel when you are being lavished with His mercy , nothing to ail you if you trust Allah's mercy . God , thus , introduce Himself in this holy Sura as " the most Merciful and the most Compassionate " ; this fills the human souls with ecstasy and trust that he is not alone ; the word Al-Rahman , according to Qu'ran scientists, is confined to this life while the word compassionate is confined to His mercy on the day of recompense , on the day of recompense only those who believed in Him and only those who did righteousness while they were Moslems will gain this limitless mercy , The word ( Al-Rhaman- Merciful ) is repeated in the holy Quran 57 times while the word Al-Raheem is repeated 114 times . In reciting this holy Sura you will mention Allah by these two fine names four times , Indeed , you are helpless and you seek Allah's mercy – all people are in need to this mercy . In another Sura , God reveals something that is really arouses passion.

God says what means " The seven heavens and the earth, and all beings therein, declare his glory: there is not a thing but celebrates his praise; and yet ye understand not how they declare his glory verily he is oft forbearing, most forgiving "

(:4) The Master of the Day of Recompense

A diligent sedulous believer holds that day within the sphere of his mind and act , by mentioning this fine name , he also supplicates Allah for mercy on that day ; it is the day of ultimate justice , it is the day when there is nothing else but paradise or hellfire . Prophet Mohammed said none will enter the paradise by his righteous act ; whatever you do will fall short , just remember what you have done since you were Moslem till now . Be sure Allah will lavish on you His mercy as we will show .

(5) You alone do we worship (6) and You alone do we turn for help

Then comes the confession from man of his deep belief in Allah , you ascribe to Allah the Divinity and Deity ; a holy verse that lays emphasis on the fact that there is no god save Him , a verse that confines all the meaning of deity to Allah , these words reflect how you are in need to Him to foster and give you succour. These words reflect how much you are helpless and you confess that it is Allah who helps .

As long as you say (that you worship Him alone and seeks His help , you can go on supplicating Allah to guide you to his straight path. The way to Allah is straight , sometimes ,on that way , you may be lost . You may be faced with the temptations of the devil , you may be faced with temptations of your self …Prophet Mohummed used to repeat " Oh , Allah we seek refuge with You against the evils of our selves , you may be faced with the allurement of this vain world , so you should supplicate Allah to guide you to the straight way . It is the way that leads you to ecstasy and happiness . Nothing could give happiness more than the straight way. Nothing could make you feel the importance of yourself but the straight path, Nothing could arouse the peace of your soul but the straight path ; all the transient joys in this world can't last ,nothing to remove the heavy burden on your shoulder but the straight path , so much could be written on this point , what made those early Moslems bear the torture and suffering ?!!! It is the straight path . Once you are on the straight path , you will not care about the hardships of life , It is a thrust that animates your soul . The straight path is the guidance and understanding of the Holy Quran as some scholars say ; it is the way that takes you to the pleasure of Allah .

(7) The way of those whom You have favoured , who did not incur Your wrath, who are not astray .

This defines the 'straight way' which we ask God to open to us. It is the way which has always been followed by those who have enjoyed God's favours and blessings. This is the way which has been trodden from the beginning of time by all those individuals and communities that have unfailingly enjoyed God's favours and blessings. This makes it clear that the recipients of God's favour are not those who appear, briefly, to enjoy worldly prosperity and success; all too often, these people are among those whom God has condemned because they have lost sight of the true path of salvation and happiness. This negative explanation makes it quite clear that in'am (favour) denotes all those real and abiding favours and blessings which one receives in reward for righteous conduct through God's approval and pleasure, rather than those apparent and fleeting favours which the Pharaohs, Nimrods and Korahs (Qaruns) used to receive in the past, and which are enjoyed even today by people notorious for oppression, evil and corruption.

The reward

Prophet Mohummed said that Allah said ""I have divided the prayer into two halves between Me and My slave. One half of it is for Me and one half of it is for IVly slave, and My slave has what he asks." ' The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Recite." The slave says, 'Praise be to Allah , the Lord of the Worlds.' Allah the Blessed, the Exalted, says, 'My slave has praised Me.' The slave says, 'The Merciful, the Compassionate.' Allah says, 'My slave has spoken well of Me.' The slave says, 'Master of the Day of the Deen.' Allah says, 'My slave has glorified Me.' The slave says, 'You alone we worship and You alone we ask for help. 'Allah says ,'This ayat is between Me and My slave, and for My slave is what he asks. 'The slave says, 'Guide us in the straight Path, the Path of those whom You have blessed, not of those with whom You are angry, nor those who are in error. ' Allah says, 'These are for My slaves, and for my slave is what he asks . ' " ' "