Tafsir Surah al-Fatiha

al-Fātihah

The Opening

Abū’l-Muẓaffar al-Samaʿānī (d. 489),

with additional notes from Abū Muḥammad al-Baghawī (d. 516)

[Italics indicate an alternative, accurate translation. Normal font indicates a variant reading which is mutawātir, recurrent. The smaller, blue font indicates a reading which is shādh, irregular (but with an authentic chain). It should be noted that all shādh readings mentioned here should be considered explanations to the verse in question.]

This Sūrah has four names: The Opening of the Book (Fātiḥatu’l-Kitāb), The Mother of the Qurʾān (Umm al-Qurʾān), The Seven Oft-Recited Verses (Sabʿ al-Mathānī) and Seven of the Oft-Recited Verses (Sabʿ min al-Mathānī).[1]

The Opening of the Book: this title is given because the Sūrah acts as an exordium to the Book, i.e. the Qurʾān.

The Mother of the Qurʾān: this title is given because it is the essence of the Qurʾān, and it starts the Book. The Mother of something is the core and foundation of that thing. This is why Mecca is called The Mother of Cities because it is the foundation of all cities.[2]

The Seven Oft-Recited Verses: this title is given because the Sūrah comprises seven verses by agreement of the Imāms, although a shādh narration has it as eight verses. It is called Oft-Recited because it is frequently repeated in prayer, indeed it is recited in every cycle of the prayer. Mujāhid said, ‘It was called Mathānī because Allāh exclusively chose it for this nation. He did not give a Sūrah like it to any other nation.’

Seven of the Oft-Recited Verses: There are two opinions concerning this title. 1) They are seven specific verses of the Mathānī, which is the Qurʾān. Allāh says, “A scripture that is consistent and oft-recited (or: paired).”[3]

The Qurʾān is referred to as something paired because promise is paired with threat, command is paired with prohibition and so on. 2) The title has the same meaning as Sabʿ al-Mathānī, with the preposition min acting as a conjunctive. This difference arose as a result of divergent understandings of the āyah, “We have given you the seven oft-recited verses.”[4]

In the view of ibn ʿAbbās, this Sūrah was Meccan. Mujāhid, on the other hand, was of the view that it was Medinan. Another view has that it was revealed twice, once in Mecca and once in Medina. The proponents of the latter view said that this is why it was called Mathānī in that it was revealed twice, but this is an odd view.[5]

1/0   With the Name of Allāh, the All-Merciful, the Most Merciful.[6]
        With the Name of Allāh, the Lord of Mercy, the Bestower of Mercy.[7]
        With the Name of Allāh, Merciful to all, Compassionate to each.[8]

Some scholars viewed this āyah to be an āyah of al-Fātiḥah itself, and this view is related from ibn ʿAbbas and Umm Salamah. Others held the view that this was not an āyah of the Sūrah, and the evidences for and against these positions are detailed in the works of Fiqh.[9]

Bismillāh

The ba in bismillāh is a preposition and the full meaning imparted by its usage is given by context: ‘I begin with Allāh’s Name,’ or ‘I began with Allāh’s Name.’

There is a difference of opinion concerning the derivation of the word ism. Mubarrad and other Basran linguists held the view that it is derived from the word sumuww, or elevation and prominence because the name gives prominence to the named and elevates him. Amongst the Kufān linguists, Thaʿlab said the word was derived from wasam or simah (sign), meaning that it acts as a signpost pointing to the named. The first opinion is more likely because the diminutive form of the latter would be wusaym like wuṣayl is the diminutive of waṣl and wuʿayd is the diminutive of waʿd.[10]

Allāh

Khalīl and Ibn Kaysān said that this word was Allāh’s proper Name, and a unique designation for Him. They said that it is not derived from any other word, as such it is like proper names used for humans such as Zayd and ʿAmr and so on. This was the view preferred by Qaffāl al-Shāshī and a group of the people of knowledge. Others said that it was a word that was derived from another (mushtaqq), but then went on to hold two positions concerning what it was actually derived from:

1) aliha ilāha, which means ʿabada ʿibādah (worship),

Ibn ʿAbbās recited, “…and abandon you and your ilāha?”[11]

and said, “i.e. and your worship.” Therefore, the meaning is that He alone is deserving of worship and all acts of worship should be directed to Him. He alone is the object of worship and none else must be worshipped.

It is also postulated that the ilāh is one who created all creation, provides for them, regulates their affairs and determines their destiny.

2) wilāh which derives from al-walah (devotion). Therefore, it is as if the servants are devoted to Allāh, resorting to Him, submitting to Him, and taking refuge with Him at times of hardship.[12]

al-Raḥmān al-Raḥīm

Ibn ʿAbbās said, ‘They are two names indicating tenderness, one moreso than the other.’ It is also related that he said, ‘al-Raḥmān: the One who is gentle to His servants. al-Raḥīm: the One who is compassionate to them.’

Some scholars said that al-Raḥmān has a meaning not to be found in al-Raḥīm, while others said that both Names carry the same meaning. Those who said that the meanings were different said that al-Raḥmān had a general meaning while al-Raḥīm had a specific meaning. al-Raḥmān is the One who provides in this worldly life, to both the believer and the disbeliever. al-Raḥīm is the One who forgives and pardons in the Hereafter, specifically the believers. This is why it is mentioned in the duʿā, ‘O One who is Raḥmān in this world and Raḥīm in the Hereafter.’[13] So al-Raḥmān is One who shows mercy to the entirety of creation whereas al-Raḥīm is One who shows mercy to a specific section of creation. It is for this reason that a person can be named Raḥīm but not Raḥmān because it is only Allāh’s mercy that can extend to the entirety of creation as He Himself says, “My mercy extends to all things.”[14] Those besides Allāh can only show mercy to some things, as such they can be raḥīm (but not raḥmān).

As regards those who said that the meanings were the same, Quṭrub said that the second Name was mentioned to emphasise the first just as one would say lahfān and lahīf, nadmān and nadīm. Mubarrad said, ‘This is an example of perfection after completion (itmām baʿd tamām), grace on top of grace, encouragement to the hearts of those desiring (Allāh), and a promise that will not fail the one who hopes in it.’

The meaning is that He possesses mercy, and mercy is to grace and bless.’

2/1  All praise (and thanks) belong to Allāh, the Lord of the worlds,
       All praise (and thanks) are due to Allāh, the Sustainer of all beings.
                                                  , (O) Lord of the worlds,[15]
                                                  , (who is) the Lord of the worlds,[16]

All praise (and thanks) belong to Allāh

Praise, ḥamd, can occur in response to a favour received. It can also occur by extolling and lauding praiseworthy qualities.[17] A person can say, ‘I praised so-and-so for the favours he lavished on me.’ And a person can also say, ‘I praised so-and-so for his courage and knowledge.’ Gratitude, shukr, on the other hand is only ever said in response to a favour received. Therefore, praise has a wider meaning than gratitude. Everyone who praises also expresses gratitude, but not everyone who expresses gratitude, praises. A person would say, ‘I praised so-and-so for his courage,’ but he would not say, ‘I expressed gratitude for the courage of so-and-so.’[18]

Moreover, we should know that Allāh’s praising Himself is something good but that this does not hold true for an object of creation praising himself. A human being praising himself will always be false praise since man by nature is deficient and flawed. Therefore, it is repugnant for such a person to praise himself. Allāh, on the other hand, is absolved of fault and deficiency, as such His praising Himself is good.

When Allāh says, “All praise (and thanks) belong to Allāh,” either He is informing us of this truth, or He is teaching us to say this. He is either informing us that He alone is deserving of praise, and that all forms of praise are due to Him. Or He is teaching us that just as He praised Himself, so too should we praise Him; as such it is as if He is saying, ‘Say: All praise (and thanks) belong to Allāh.

When Allāh says, “to Allāh,” the lām is either used to indicate possession or to indicate deservingness. It is the latter meaning that is meant here. The one who is truly deserving of all praise is Allāh.

Lord of the Worlds

The word lord, rabb can have the meaning of nurturing and correcting and it can have the meaning of ownership. In this āyah, both meanings are meant. Allāh is the One who nurtures creation and He is the owner of creation.[19]

With regards to al-ʿālamūn, ibn ʿAbbās said that it means, ‘the Jinn and mankind,’[20] whereas Ḥasan, Qatādah and Abū ʿUbaydah said that it refers to all of creation.[21] It is said that the first opinion is more likely since the address is directed to legally responsible individuals, those who were the primary purpose of creation: the Jinn and man.[22] It is said that the Jinn constitute one ʿālam and man constitutes another ʿālam.[23] Allāh has four corners of the earth and in each one there are fifteen hundred ʿālams.[24]

3/2   The All-Merciful, the Most Merciful,[25]
         The Lord of Mercy, the Bestower of Mercy,
         Merciful to all, Compassionate to each,

This āyah is mentioned again by way of emphasis.

4/3   Master of the Day of Judgement.[26]
        King of the Day of Judgement.[27]

             (O) Master of[28]

             (O) King of[29]

             (who is) the King[30]

             Proprietor of[31]

             (who is the) Proprietor of[32]

             Owner of[33]

             He has sovereignty of the Day of Judgement.[34]

This āyah is recited in two ways: as Mālik (Master and Owner) and as Malik (King).[35] Abū Ḥātim al-Sijistānī said that recitation of Mālik was to be given precedence reasoning that the meaning is wider and more comprehensive. You would say, Mālik al-Dār, Mālik al-Ṭayr, Mālik al-ʿAbd but would not say these phrases using the word, Malik.[36] On the other hand, Abū ʿUbaydah and Mubarrad said that the recitation of Malik was to be given precedence because, they argued, its meaning was more comprehensive. Malik incorporates the meaning of Mālik but not vice-versa. They also stated that this recitation is more in tune with the rest of the Qurʾān where Allāh says, “Exalted be Allāh! The true King.”[37] and “Whose is the kingdom this Day?”[38] and so on. Mālik is derived from the word, milk and milka or ownership, whereas Malik is derived from mulk and mulka or dominion. Allāh is both Mālik and Malik.[39]

Day

This a noun referring to a known period of time.

Day of Judgement

What is referred to here is the Day of Rising (Yawm al-Qiyāmah). The meaning of Day of Dīn is the Day of Reckoning (Ḥisāb) and Recompense (Jazāʾ). The word dīn can carry the meaning of obedience and is used in numerous other senses, but it is the one mentioned previously that is meant here.[40]

If someone were to ask why the Day of Judgement has been specifically mentioned in this āyah when it is known that Allāh is the Mālik of all days without exception, the response would be that all command on that Day will solely and exclusively be His. Allāh says, “On that Day, command will belong to Allāh.”[41] In this world, on the other hand, kings have a say, Muslims have a say, and Prophets have a say etc.[42]

5/4   You (alone) we worship and to You (alone) we turn for help.

              You (alone) are worshipped[43]

You (alone) we worship

Meaning: we worship You. The term ʿibādah, worship means obedience combined with submission and humility.[44] One says, ‘Ṭarīq muʿabbad,’ to refer to a well-trodden, beaten path. So the meaning of the āyah is that we worship you with submission.[45]

To You (alone) we turn for help

Meaning: we seek aid and assistance from You.[46]

If someone were to ask why is worship mentioned before seeking help in this āyah when it is Allāh’s help that is needed for a person to worship? And why is iyyāka repeated twice when just once would have sufficed? In response to the first question we would say this question is only really relevant if a person believes that seeking help comes before an act, whereas we believe – and all praise belongs to Allāh – that seeking help and divine accord go hand-in-hand with the action. Therefore, mentioning it before or after does not really matter. Or we could say that seeking help is actually an example of worship, so Allāh mentioned ʿibādah in general first, followed by a specific instance of it.

As regards the repetition of iyyāka, this was done to emphasise that He alone is the one who is to be worshipped and that He alone is the who is turned to for help. This is a rhetorical device well known to the Arabs and is used to emphasise and intensify the meaning or impart to it a sense of exclusivity. It is not a faulty use of the language.[47]

6/5  Guide us (to and on) the Straight Path,

             Guide us (to and on) a Straight Path,[48]

             Direct us to the[49]

             Show us the[50]      

Guide us (to and on) the Straight Path

Direct us to it and keep us firm on it.[51] The word hidāyah is used in a number of different senses in the Qurʾān: inspiration, direction, explanation and calling.

Inspiration: “Our Lord is He who gave everything its form then gave it guidance,”[52] i.e. inspired it.

Direction: “…and guide us to the right path.”[53]

Explanation: “As for the Thamūd, we gave them guidance,”[54] i.e. We explained it to them.

Calling: “Each community had their guide,”[55] i.e. someone who would call them and proselytise.

The meaning here is guide, but if someone were to ask, ‘The believer is already guided, so why does he need to ask for guidance?’ We would say this question really arises from someone who thinks that Allāh’s grace to a person has a specific limit. The position of Ahlu’l-Sunnah, on the other hand, is that Allāh’s grace and guidance has no such limit. So the meaning of “Guide us” is actually requesting an increase in said guidance. It is also a request to remain firm on the Straight Path;[56] it is in this sense that a person would say, ‘Qum ḥattā aʿūdu ilayk,’ i.e. keep standing until I return.

The Straight Path

ʿAlī and Ibn Masʿūd said that the Straight Path was Islām, and Jābir said that it was the Qurʾān.[57]

Lexically, al-Ṣirāṭ al-Mustaqīm means a clear road. Islām is a clear road, and the Qurʾān is a clear road.[58]

7/6   The Path of those You have blessed,
        The Path of those upon whom Your grace abounds,[59]

The Path of the ones You have blessed[60]

ʿUmar recited this as, ‘The Path of the ones You have blessed, not of those upon whom there is anger, and not of those who are astray,’ but this is a shādh recitation. It is said that the ones who are blessed are the Prophets. It is also said those who are blessed are the ones that Allāh has made firm in their faith which would then include the Prophets and all the believers.[61] Abū’l-ʿĀliyah said that they were the Messenger, Abū Bakr and ʿUmar.[62]

7/7  not of those upon whom there is anger, nor of those who are astray.

(whose state is) not of those[63]

(who are) not those who[64]

                                                          , and not of those who are astray.[65]

The ones upon whom there is anger are the Jews and the ones who are astray[66] are the Christians.[67]

It is narrated that ʿAdī b. Ḥātim came to Allāh’s Messenger (SAW) to accept Islām, and asked, ‘Messenger of Allāh? Who are those upon whom is anger?’ He replied, “The Jews.” He asked, ‘Who are those who are astray?’ He replied, “They are the Christians.” ʿAdī said, ‘I bear witness that I am a Ḥanīf and a Muslim.’ ʿAdī said, ‘I saw the Messenger of Allāh’s face light up as he smiled out of joy at my accepting Islām.’[68]

As regards saying, ‘Āmīn,’ then we should know that this word is not part of the Qurʾān. The Sunnah is for the person to pause a little before saying it. There are two ways of saying it: ‘Āmīn’ elongating the first letter and ‘Amīn’ without elongating it. It means, ‘Allāh, accept my supplication,’ and it is said that it is like a seal on the supplication.[69]

ENDNOTES

[1] Tirmidhī #3124, Abū Dāwūd #1457, Aḥmad #9788-9790 record from Abū Hurayrah that Allāh’s Messenger (SAW) said, “[The Sūrah beginning with] ‘All praise (and thanks) belong to Allāh, the Lord of the worlds’ is the Mother of the Qurʾān, the Mother of the Book, the Seven Oft-Recited Verses, and the Great Qurʾān.”

Tirmidhī said it was ḥasan ṣaḥīḥ, it was ruled ḥasan by Suyūṭī, al-Jāmiʿ al-Ṣaghīr #3833, and ṣaḥīḥ by Albānī, Ṣaḥīḥ al-Jāmiʿ #3184.

[2] Ṭabarī said that it was given this name because the meaning of the entire Qurʾān is summarised therein. The Arabs named anything that concisely summarises something or comprises its most important part, Umm, or mother.

[3] al-Zumar 39:23

[4] al-Ḥijr 15:87

[5] Baghawī: The first opinion is most correct. This is because Allāh states, “We have given you the Seven Oft-Recited verses,” (al-Ḥijr 15:87) which is a reference to al-Fātiḥah. Sūrah al-Ḥijr is a Meccan Sūrah and Allāh would not recount this as a favour (to His Messenger) had He not already given it.

[6] Ibn Kathīr, ʿĀṣim and Kasāʾī have this as the first verse, the remaining seven do not. shādh recitation: bi suma’Allāhi…

[7] M.A.S. Abdel Halim

[8] T. Khalidi

[9] Baghawī: They have agreed that the Sūrah comprises seven verses. Those who held the position that the basmallāh was an āyah of al-Fātiḥah stated that the seventh verse began with “The Path of those You have blessed…” Those who held the position that it was not an āyah of al-Fātiḥah stated that the seventh verse was, “Not of those upon whom there is anger, nor of those who are astray.”

[10] Baghawī: whereas the diminutive of ism is sumayy. Also the morphology is different, one says sammaytu (I named), but were it derived from wasm, one would have said, wasamtu.

[11] al-Aʿrāf 7:127

i.e. ibn ʿAbbās and Mujāhid read it with the reading ilāha as opposed to the more standard āliha. The full verse reads, “The ruling circle of Pharaoh’s people said, ‘Are you going to leave Mūsā and his people to cause corruption in the earth and abandon you and your āliha?’”

[12] Baghawī: or it is from al-walah which means to be bewildered, to lose ones intellect when trying to ponder something whose reality is beyond comprehension.

[13] Ṭabarī 1:126 records from Ibn Masʿūd and Abū Saʿīd that Allāh’s Messenger (SAW) said, “al-Raḥmān: the One who shows mercy in this world and the Hereafter. al-Raḥīm: the One who shows mercy in the Hereafter.” Ibn Abī Shaybah 10:441 records from ʿAbdu’l-Raḥmān b. Sābiṭ that Allāh’s Messenger (SAW) said, “The Raḥmān of this world and the next, and the Raḥīm of them.” Ḥākim 1:515 records from Abū Bakr that Allāh’s Messenger (SAW) said, “The Raḥmān of this world and the next, and the Raḥīm of them,” and Suyūṭī, al-Durr 1:15 said the isnād was ḍaʿīf.

[14] al-Aʿrāf 7:156

[15] rabbaʾl-ʿālamīn: Kasāʾī

[16] rabbuʾl-ʿālamīn: Abū Jaʿfar

[17] The meaning of amd is to praise and laud out of one’s own volition. It arises from love and veneration of the praised. It also carries the meaning of riḍā, or contentment, and is the opposite of dhamm, or blame.

[18] Baghawī: It is also said that ḥamd is done on the tongue whereas shukr is done on the limbs, in action. Allāh says, “Say: Praise belongs to Allāh, who has no child nor partner in His rule” (al-Isrāʾ 17:111) and “Work thankfully, family of Dāwūd.” (Sabaʾ 34:13)

[19] Baghawī: A created being cannot be referred to as al-Rabb with the definite article prefix, however the term rabb can be used in a possessive structure to refer to an object of creation. This is because the definite article prefix lends to the meaning of generality and a created being does not own everything.

[20] As did ʿAlī, recorded by ibn Abī Ḥātim 1:27

[21] This opinion is also stated by ibn ʿAbbās who said, ‘To Him belongs the creation in its entirety: all the heavens and whoever is in them, all the earths and whoever is in them, and whoever is between them, that which is known and unknown.’ (Ṭabarī 1:145)

Baghawī: because Allāh says, “Pharaoh said, ‘What is the Lord of the Worlds?’ Mūsā replied, ‘Lord of the heavens and earth and what is between them.’” (al-Shuʿarā 26:23-24) The word comes from al-ʿallāmah (sign) since the evidence of a creator therein is plain for all to see. Abū ʿUbaydah said that al-ʿālamūn were four groups: the Angels, man, the Jinn and the devils since the word was derived from ʿilm or knowledge. Animals cannot be said to have knowledge since they do not have an intellect.

[22] Since Allāh says, “I created Jinn and mankind only to worship Me.” (al-Dhāriyāt 51:56) and “Exalted is He who sent down the Criterion to His servant that he may give warning to the worlds.” (al-Furqān 25:1) and he was not a warner to the animal kingdom but he was a warner to man and Jinn.

[23] Since some linguists said that the word ʿālam designates only those who have understanding.

[24] Ṭabarī 1:49 from Abū’l-ʿĀliyah. Ibn Kathir 1:208 said, ‘These are strange words, the likes of which require authentic evidence.’

[25] The majority read the verse with khafḍ. Abūʾl-ʿĀliyah and others read it with naṣb (shādh). Abū Razīn and others read it with rafʿ (shādh).

[26] Mālik (Master): ʿĀṣim, Kasāʾī, Yaʿqūb, Khalaf

[27] Malik (King): the remaining six

[28] Mālika: Abū Hurayrah, al-Aʿmash (shādh)

[29] Malika: Anas ibn Mālik, Shaʿbī (shādh)

[30] Maliku: Saʿd ibn Abī Waqqāṣ, ʿĀʾishah (shādh)

[31] Malīki: Ubayy, Abū Hurayrah (shādh)

[32] Malīku: ʿAmr ibn al-ʿĀṣ (shādh)

[33] Mallāki: ʿAlī (shādh)

[34] Malaka yawmaʾl-dīn: Anas, ʿAlī (shādh)

[35] Baghawī: Some said that the meaning of both Mālik and Malik was one and the same and that meaning was al-Rabb. One would say: Rabb al-Dār and, equally, Mālik al-Dār. It is also postulated that the meaning is that He is the one able to create things from nothing, and none besides Allāh can do this.

[36] Baghawī: (He also said), and because you can only be a Mālik of something if you own it, but you can be a Malik of something without actually owning it.

[37] al-Muʾminūn 23:116

[38] Ghāfir 40:16

[39] Shawkānī and ibn ʿAṭiyyah argue that both Names carry a meaning that is not found in the other. The mālik of property is able to dispose of his property as he wills whereas the malik will only be able to dispose of the mālik’s property in a limited fashion. The malik is able to command the mālik to dispose of his property in a particular way that promotes the benefit of his kingdom, but the mālik is not able to command another mālik with the same.

[40] Baghawī: Mujāhid said that al-Dīn meant reckoning (al-ḥisāb). Allāh says, “this is the correct reckoning (dīn)” (al-Tawbah 9:36), i.e. the proper calculation. Ibn ʿAbbās, Maqātil, and Suddī said that the meaning of Malik Yawm al-Dīn was the Judge of the Day of Reckoning (Qāḍī Yawm al-Ḥisāb). Qatādah said that al-Dīn meant recompense (jazāʾ), be it good or bad; in this sense it is said: As you judge so shall you be judged (kamā tadīnu tudān). Muḥammad b. Kaʿb al-Quraẓī said that the āyah means that (He is) the King of the Day where nothing will benefit except for the Dīn, i.e. religion. Yamān b. Rabāb said that Dīn means overpowering and subjugating (qahr), just as someone would say: I overpowered him and he submitted (dintuhu fa dāna). It is also said that Dīn means obedience (ṭāʿah), i.e. the Day of Obedience.

[41] al-Infiṭār 82:19

[42] Ṭabari 1:98 records that Ibn ʿAbbās said in explanation of the words yawmi’l-dīn, ‘The Day on which the creations are judged – the Day of Rising. He will recompense them for their actions: if they were good then it will be good, if they were bad then it will be bad except for that which He forgives for the only command on that Day will be His command, “Unquestionably to Him belongs the creation and the Command.” (al-Aʿrāf 7:54)’

Allāh says, “And what will make you comprehend what the Day of Dīn is? Again what will make you comprehend what the Day of Dīn is? It is the Day when no person shall have power [to do] anything for another. The command that Day will be Allāh’s alone” (al-Infiṭār 82:17-19)

[43] iyyāka yuʿbad, iyyāka tuʿbad: al-Ḥasan (shādh)

[44] Baghawī: The servant, ʿabd is called so because of his humility and submission.

[45] Ibn ʿAbbās explained this portion of the āyah to mean, ‘You alone we single out for worship, fear and hope; You and no one else.’ (Ṭabarī 1:99)

[46] Baghawī: Meaning: we seek Your help in worshipping You and in all of our affairs.

[47] Ibn ʿAbbās explained this āyah, ‘Our Lord! It is You alone that we single out for belief, fear and hope. It is Your aid alone that we seek in order to obey You and indeed in all of our affairs.’ (Ibn Kathīr)

Ibn Taymiyyah said, ‘I pondered the most beneficial supplication and I found it to be asking Allāh to help us in doing that which pleases Him; this I found in the verse, “You (alone) we worship and to You (alone) we turn to for help.”’ It is for this reason that some of the Salaf would say, ‘The secret of the Qurʾān lies in al-Fātiḥah and its secret is contained in the verse, “You (alone) we worship and to You (alone) we turn to for help.”

[48] ihdinā Ṣirāṭan Mustaqīman: al-Ḥasan (shādh)

[49] Arshidnā: ibn Masʿūd (shādh)

[50] Baṣṣirnā: Thābit al-Bunānī (shādh)

[51] Ibn al-Qayyim, Badāʾi al-Fawāʾid 1:262 said, ‘The verse “Guide us to the Straight Path,” has been mentioned without the verb “Guide,” being adjoined to the particle, ilā or li, rather it is linked directly to the object. When the verb ‘Guide’ is adjoined to ilā, it lends the meaning of reaching the goal, when the verb is linked to li, it lends to the meaning of pointing out something and specifying it. When it is mentioned with neither of the two, it lends to the meaning of both. Hence the meaning of the verse would be: define this Path to us, explain it to us, direct us to it, and grant us the accord to follow it.’

[52] Ṭa Ha 20:50

[53] Ṣād 38:22

[54] Fuṣṣilat 41:18

[55] al-Raʿd 13:7

[56] Baghawī: as stated by ʿAlī and Ubayy b. Kaʿb

[57] Baghawī: It is reported that ʿAlī said it was Allāh’s Book. Saʿīd b. Jubayr said that it was the road to Paradise. Sahl b. ʿAbdullāh said that it was the way of (Ahlu’l)-Sunnah wa’l-Jamāʿah. Bakr b. ʿAbdullāh al-Muzanī said that it was the way of Allāh’s Messenger (SAW). Abū’l-ʿĀliyah and Ḥasan said that it Allāh’s Messenger, his family and his two Companions.

[58] Ibn ʿAbbās explained this verse by saying, ‘Inspire us towards Your true religion,’ and again, ‘Inspire us towards the right road which is the religion of Allāh containing no crookedness.’(Suyūṭī 1:75)

Ibn al-Qayyim, Madārij al-Sālikīn 1:16 said, ‘A road, ṭarīq, cannot be regarded to be a path, ṣirāt, unless five conditions are met: that it is straight, that it leads to the intended goal, that it is close to the objective, that it is expansive enough to accommodate those traversing it, and that it has been sign-posted as being the actual route to the goal.

The fact that this Path is straight proves that it is close for the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. The fact that is straight proves that it leads to the object. The fact that it has been appointed for all those who would traverse it shows that it is wide enough to accommodate them. The fact that the Path has been adjoined to the One who has blessed them shows that it has been so sign-posted.’

[59] T. Khalidi

[60] Ṣirāṭa man: Ibn Masʿūd, ʿUmar, ʿAli (shādh)

[61] Baghawī: ʿIkrimah said, ‘Those you have graced with firmness of faith and steadfastness, and they are the Prophets.’ Ibn ʿAbbās said, ‘They are the people of Mūsā and ʿĪsā before they altered their religion.’ ʿAbdu’l-Raḥmān b. Zayd said, ‘They are the Prophet (SAW) and those with him.’ Abū’l-ʿĀliyah said, ‘They are the family of Allāh’s Messenger, Abū Bakr, ʿUmar and his household.’ Shahr b. Ḥawshab said, ‘They are the Companions of Allāh’s Messenger and his household.’

[62] Ibn ʿAbbās summarised the meaning of this verse with his words, ‘[Those you have blessed] by making them obedient to You and worship You including the Angels, the Prophets, the sincerely truthful, the martyrs and the righteous. This is like what our Lord says, “They will be in the company of those upon whom Allāh has bestowed His favour: …” (al-Nisā 4:59)’

[63] Ghayraʾl- : ʿUmar, ʿAlī and a lesser known narration from ibn Kathīr (shādh)

[64] Ghayruʾl-: ʿUmar (shādh)

[65] Ghayriʾl-Ḍāllīn: ʿUmar, ʿAlī, Ubayy, Abū Bakr (shādh)

[66] Baghawī: The essential meaning of ḍalāl is disintegration and dissolution, as such it is said, ‘The milk ḍalla in the water,’ when it is mixed such that it disappears.

[67] Baghawī: Allāh has stated that the Jews have anger on them in His words, “…those who incurred Allāh’s curse and His anger” (al-Māʾidah 5:60), and He has stated that the Christians are astray in His words, “and do not follow the vain desires of people who went astray in times gone by.” (al-Māʾidah 5:60). Sahl b. ʿAbdullāh said that those who have anger on them are the ones who commit innovation, bidʿah. Those who are astray refers to those who have left the Sunnah.

[68] Tirmidhī #2953, 2954, Aḥmad #19381, Saʿīd b. Manṣūr #179, Ṭabarī 1:61, Ibn Abī Ḥātim #40. It was declared ṣaḥīḥ by ibn Ḥibbān #6246, 7206, 7365 and Albānī #8202

[69] Muslim records on the authority of Abū Mūsā al-Ashʿarī who said, ‘The Messenger of Allāh (SAW) addressed us and explained to us our Sunnah [that we should follow] and explained to us [the method of performing] our prayer. He said, “When you pray, straighten your rows and let one of you lead you. When he says the takbīr then say the takbīr. When he says, “Not of those upon whom is anger nor of those who are astray” then say āmīn and Allāh will respond to you.”’

Muslim records on the authority of Abū Hurayrah  that the Messenger of Allāh (SAW) said, “When the Imām says āmīn then say āmīn for indeed the one whose āmīn coincides with the āmīn of the Angels will have his previous [minor] sins forgiven.”

Ibn Mājah #856 records on the authority of ʿĀʾishah (RA) that the Messenger of Allāh (SAW) said, “The Jews do not envy you for anything as much as they envy you for saying the salām and āmīn.”

Posted in Articles.