"VERILY, this Qur'an shows the way to all that is most upright; and gives the believers who do good deeds
the glad tiding that theirs will be a great reward"
[Al Qur'an: Chapter 17,Al Isra: Verse 9]

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Chapter 1, Surah Al Fatihah (The Opening) - Umm Al-Quran

أعوذبِاللَّـهِ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيمِ 
[I Seek refuge in ALLAH from Shaitan - the accursed one] 
بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ 
[In The Name of ALLAH, The MOST GRACIOUS - THE MOST MERCIFUL]



Before we embark on our journey to understand this surah verse by verse, there is an important topic of debate that needs to be brought to light, regarding Umm Al- Quran. There is consensus of majority of the scholars; from early generations that surah Al-Fatihah contains seven ayat. However, they disagree over whether Bismillah is a part of Al-Fatihah, and likewise every surah, or it is a separate ayah. The first opinion, that Bismillah is a part of every surah except surah Al-Tauba, is attributed to some Companions (May Allah be pleased with them all), Imam Az-Zuhri, Imam As-Shafi, and Abdullah bin Al-Mubarak. They state that Bismillah is a part of Al-Fatihah and the last ayat; “The Way of those whom You have favored” and “not of those who have earned Your wrath, or of those who have lost The Way.” are not separate ayat but a single ayah. On the other hand, Imam Malik, Imam Abu Hanifa and their followers say that Bismillah is not an ayah in Al-Fatihah or any other surah, and it is a separate ayah in the beginning of every ayah. But there is no disagreement over the matter that Al-Fatihah has seven ayat. Those who consider last two ayat as one ayah, include Bismillah in it, and those who consider the last two as separate say Bismillah is not a part of it.

بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
In The Name of ALLAH, The MOST GRACIOUS - THE MOST MERCIFUL
Listen to the Recitation
[1:1]

الْحَمْدُ لِلَّـهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ
Al-Ĥamdu Lillāhi Rabbi Al-`Ālamīna
[All] praise is [due] to Allah , Lord of the worlds 

الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
Ar-Raĥmāni Ar-Raĥīmi

The Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.
[1:3]

مَالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ
Māliki Yawmi Ad-Dīni

Sovereign of the Day of Recompense.
[1:4]

 إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ
'Īyāka Na`budu Wa 'Īyāka Nasta`īnu

It is You we worship and You we ask for help.
[1:5]

اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ
Ahdinā Aş-Şirāţa Al-Mustaqīma

Guide us to the straight path 
[1:6]

صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا الضَّالِّينَ
Şirāţa Al-Ladhīna 'An`amta `Alayhim Ghayri Al-Maghđūbi `Alayhim Wa Lā Ađ-Đāllīna

The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor, not (the way) of those who have evoked [Your] anger  (such as the Jews)or of those who are astray (such as the Christians) .
[1:7]




EXPLANATION OF SURAH AL FATIHAH:

Allah, the Exalted, said, `I have divided the prayer (Al-Fatihah) into two halves between Myself and My servant, and My servant shall have what he asks for.' 

If he says,
All praise and thanks be to Allah, the Lord of existence.
Allah says, 
`My servant has praised Me.'

When the servant says,

The Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
Allah says, 
`My servant has glorified Me.' 

When he says,
The Owner of the Day of Recompense.
 Allah says, 
`My servant has glorified Me,' or `My servant has related all matters to Me.' 

When he says,
You (alone) we worship, and You (alone) we ask for help.
 Allah says, 
`This is between Me and My servant, and My servant shall acquire what he sought.' 

When he says,
Guide us to the straight path. 
 The way of those on whom You have granted Your grace, not (the way) of those who earned Your anger, nor of those who went astray), 
Allah says, `
This is for My servant, and My servant shall acquire what he asked for.'.

These are the words of An-Nasa'i, while both Muslim and An-Nasa'i collected the following wording, "A half of it is for Me and a half for My servant, and My servant shall acquire what he asked for.''

EXPLANATION OF THE ABOVE HADITH:

The above Hadith used the word "Salah" - 'prayer' in reference to reciting the Qur'an, (Al-Fatihah in this case) just as Allah said in another Ayah,
And offer your Salah (prayer) neither aloud nor in a low voice, but follow a way between. meaning, with your recitation of the Qur'an, as the Sahih related from Ibn `Abbas. 

Also, in the above Hadith, Allah said, 
"I have divided the prayer between Myself and My servant into two halves, a half for Me and a half for My servant. My servant shall have what he asked for.'' 

Allah next explained the division that involves reciting Al-Fatihah, demonstrating the importance of reciting the Qur'an during the prayer, which is one of the prayer's greatest pillars. Hence, the word `prayer' was used here although only a part of it was actually being referred to, that is, reciting the Qur'an. Similarly, the word `recite' was used where prayer is meant, as demonstrated by Allah's statement,
And recite the Qur'an in the early dawn.Verily, the recitation of the Qur'an in the early dawn is ever witnessed. in reference to the Fajr prayer. 
The Two Sahihs recorded that the angels of the night and the day attend this prayer.

AL FATIHAH AND THE PRAYER:

Muslim recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Prophet said,

Whoever performs any prayer in which he did not read Umm Al-Qur'an, then his prayer is incomplete.
He said it thrice.
Abu Hurayrah was asked, "When we stand behind the Imam'' He said, "Read it to yourself, for I heard the Messenger of Allah say,
Allah, the Exalted, said, `I have divided the prayer (Al-Fatihah) into two halves between Myself and My servant, and My servant shall have what he asks for.'


Reciting Al-Fatihah is required in Every Rak`ah of the Prayer:

All of these facts testify to the requirement that reciting the Qur'an (Al-Fatihah) in the prayer is required, and there is a consensus between the scholars on this ruling. The Hadith that we mentioned also testifies to this fact, for the Prophet said,
Whoever performs any prayer in which he did not recite Umm Al-Qur'an, his prayer is incomplete.
Also, the Two Sahihs recorded that `Ubadah bin As-Samit said that the Messenger of Allah said,
There is no prayer for whoever does not recite the Opening of the Book.

Also, the Sahihs of Ibn Khuzaymah and Ibn Hibban recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,

The prayer during which Umm Al-Qur'an is not recited is invalid.

There are many other Hadiths on this subject. Therefore, reciting the Opening of the Book, during the prayer by the Imam and those praying behind him, is required in every prayer, and in every Rak`ah.




LESSONS LEARNT:
  • Our MOST COMPASSIONATE MASTER, ALLAH (SWT) has gifted us a wonderful prayer, i.e., HE has shown us the way and given us the words to ask HIM for ANYTHING lawful.
  • When we call upon HIM, HE answers us even more earnestly.
  • His pleasure lies in not just hearing HIS praises, but rewarding HIS slaves with much more than they can (have the ability to) ask for.
Whatever good comes from this post is from Allah alone and any mistakes therein are mine - if found, please inform, ASAP, Insha Allah.





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