Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Surah Fatiha

This talk is transcribed by me: Not that great an effort, but see if you can get some meaning out of the very informal way this Surah has been explained. Simple, yet profound!


1. Alhamdulillah --> praise + gratitude (BOTH).
Understand the difference between praising Allah SWT, and thanking Allah SWT. Someone you praise, isn't necessarily someone you thank, and someone you thank, isn't necessarily somone you praise.

e.g if you see a cool cell phone, you're not going to THANK the cell phone, you're going to PRAISE the cell phone. Next example: We all have to be grateful to our parents. And Ibrahim AS is supposed to do that too. But does he PRAISE Azar? (No, he just thanks him, but never praises him)

So when we say Alhamdulillah - we are thanking Allah for everything that He has Done and Created, and at the same time, we are praising Allah for everything He has Done and Created. For everything we know about Allah, we thank AND praise Him for it.

There are people who don't have both these aspects. Think about those who commonly say 'Oh you know, if there is a God, where is He when the poor die on the streets, when there is so much hunger, so much pain... How can He Let this happen?'
--> These people then acknowledge Allah, but they do not fall in the category of those who say Alhamdulillah with true meaning. And its a test of faith, that whatever Allah SWT Does, whether we understand it or not, we praise Him for it, and we also thank Him for it. Its part of Imaan.

What we are seeing, is the world in front of our eyes. Not the hidden things. So how can we understand the logic of everything? Hence, its part of imaan to praise+thank Allah SWT for everything that happens.

Another point. We don't use any other name of Allah in Alhamdulillah, not Alhamdulil-Maalik...etc. Why?
Because Allah incorporates all qualities of Allah... Maalik, Khaalik will have specific meanings. That would be like, praising + thanking ALL qualities of Allah, not just ONE.

Another point. See the ayah. This is passive, not active. We're saying 'All praise & gratitude belongs to Allah.' not 'I praise & thank Allah'
IF we say that WE praise Allah, then see, we have not always been around. Nor will we be around forever. But the praise of Allah, has been around forever... before us, during our lives, and will be there afterwards. So the ayah is structured in such a way that it automatically covers this fact. Second reason: If we say 'I praise Allah' then this automatically excludes all the other creation that praises Allah (like trees, birds etc). And when we say 'All praise belongs to Allah' then all creations' praise is included in this statement. See how much carefully crafted this one Ayah is! This is Allah's introduction to Himself, in Surah Fatiha!

Usually in English, it is translated to 'Lord' - but nowadays, the word 'Lord' isn't much used anymore in English, except maybe 'Lord of the Rings' but the real meaning of Rabb, in English is more suited to 'Master' - because 'Abd' is a slave, and Rabb is Master. So when Allah SWT calls himself the Master, what does that make us? The slave!

so there is a difference between a worshipper, and a slave. Worship is what Muslims do when they are offering salah, Christians do on Sundays, Jews do on Saturdays... Hindus do in their temples, Monks do in their monasteries. But worship is what's done on a certain time, at a certain place. Like, fasting is done in a specific month, for a specific time duration.

Slavery is not limited by time, or by day. A slave continues being a slave ALL THE TIME. A slave isn't a slave from 3 - 5pm, or during Ramadan... a slave remains so on Eid day too!

Slavery is also different from service. Service is like limited to a particular work type - and there is pay involved. A slave does not have a job description. A slave is supposed to do = whatever the Master says.

Slave and Master are not pretty words in English. Slaves (normal) usually hated their masters. They would never be slaves if they had a choice. They would escape at first chance. And they would also not (never!) praise their masters.
But here in the Holy Quran, Allah SWT talks about praise BEFORE mentioning the Rabb thing. So note = this is a different kind of slavery.

We declare in this Surah that we are slaves (later on in the surah, when we say Iyyaka naabudu wa iyyaka nastaeen).

But right now, we're at Alhamdulillahe rabb il Aalameen. Next Ayah:

We never associate mercy with a Master (normal English). A master is usually oppressive, punishing creully etc. But here, the immediately next ayah is Arrahman-ir-Raheem.

Rahman = someone who is being extremely merciful right now. Unimaginably merciful.
Not only is Allah extremely Merciful, but He is being Merciful right this moment. As we speak.

E.g: You are the owner of your laptop. If it hangs up on you, you have the right to punch it, throw it, take it for repair, and if it doesn't do what its supposed to do, you have the right to replace it.
Now, Allah SWT is our Master. Do we go about our lives, not doing what we are supposed to do MANY MANY times??? What about humanity in general? Crimes, etc. Can you now imagine how EXTREMELY merciful He is? That He is not doing away with us, He is Still Giving us everything we are used to, our lives and all. And not punishing us, right now?
This is Rahman ar Raheem

Next Ayah: 
Maalik-i Yaum id Deen
The polar opposite of Mercy is Punishment - but Allah SWT next Talks about justice. Not punishment. -> Judgement
So the lesson here: You do not have to fear the punishment of Allah, but the Justice of Allah! Because right now, its all Mercy. Not justice. If its justice, then we're all punished right now. Caught, now! So this is one other lesson from this Surah.

In a Hadith: If one is asked even ONE question on the Day of Judgement, he is destroyed. If the questioning begins, we're done for.

Also, if one believes in Allah, it is impossible not to believe in the Afterlife. Why? Because if you believe in God, He Has to be Perfect in every way! And if you attribute ANY fault in Allah, then he is not God! So when Allah Created this world, and we SEE with our own eyes that there is blatant injustice in this world. Killers live in palaces, and innocent people die in drone attacks. Even if justice is meted out, if a guy kills 100 people, you can only kill him once... he will only pay with one life, and not for 100, so is that justice? No. So the world of the unseen is the BALANCE... the credit. Today the world we live in, is the debit...

When the books are balanced, they can only be balanced in the Afterlife, on the Day of Judgement. This is another basic lesson from Surah Fatiha.

Today, there is NO judge, who is neutral. There are biases... based on gender, based on religion, politics, ... anything. The ONLY neutral judge, is Allah SWT.

Middle 3 Ayahs
Sirat al Mustaqeem
Balanced path -- and thus we ask for this path, from Allah. Quest for Hidayah. Guidance is something beyond just getting right things... its also the balance.

Another thing. The Surah begins with knowledge, and When we shift to 'we' in the Surah, its ACTIONS. Everything starts with knowledge, and has to end with action!

Like Bani Israel, had a load of knowledge, but didn't act accordingly.

Last Ayah: 
Gair il Magdhoobi Alaihim --> people who have knowledge, but no actions!
Wa ladaaaleen --> people who are lost! No knowledge, may have many actions! [when you act without knowledge, you're lost!]

So the Surah, is completely balanced!

So these are the profound lessons embedded in this Surah we recite every day!


majworld said...

nice lessons..this surah always appeals one if one read with meaning and imp to understand as it is read in all rakats of every namaz. thanks for gud share.

Uni said...

Yea, its an amazing Surah. I never knew about the perfect balance it has. There is also this something which says the Surah is divided into 63 + 63 letters - one half is for the banda, and the other half is for Allah SWT... perfect balance.

But I don't know the exact detail of this 63 + 63 thing.

Most welcome. Thanks for dropping by!

Anonymous said...

good effort..still u could add a lot more to it. as for praise section it is to be understood that all praise is due to HIM and HIM alone. so its not a matter of our praising HIM SWT as HE is pretty be-nayaz of our extols but that whatever is to be praised is HIS praise in actuality. and u must also have said some words on the word ALAMEEN. overall nice effort :)

Uni said...

Hey this isn't my words theek? :).. this is transcribed from a talk called 'Important Lessons from Surah Fatiha' - by Noman Ali Khan. I er, am not a scholar to actually write out an explanation. But the lesson which I heard on the video were really great and made me think a lot!

JazakAllah for reading!

Noor said...

Mashallah, it was a great and enlightning explanation. jazakillah!!!! :)

Uni said...

The credit goes to the speaker (Noman Ali Khan) - I only shared it :)


Anonymous said...

thanks for summarizing the lecture was very useful