Rabbi Zidnee Ilman
“My Lord! Increase me in knowledge.”
1) With the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.
2) All the Praises and thanks are for Allah the Lord of the Universe.
3) The Most Beneficent, The Most Merciful.
4) Master of the Day of Recompense.
5) You Alone we worship, and You Alone we ask for help.
6) Guide us to the Straight Path.
7) The Path of those on whom You have bestowed your grace, not the Path of those who earned your Anger, nor of those that went astray.
Just like for many of us, I think my ‘actual’ journey with the book of Allah “The Quran” must have started with this particular surah, which has always been a part of my life since the time I can remember. I do not remember exactly how I had memorized it and who made me do so. But there was never a day in my life even during the days of my ‘Jahiliya’ (when I was far away from the Quran) that I had spent without reciting it sincerely. I always felt much attached to this ‘special’ surah for unknown reasons. Whenever I felt pain, I would automatically start reciting Al Fatiha and the pain would go as if it was never there.
Today many years later when I actually began to study the Qur’an with meanings I realized how al Fatiha has been affecting me since my early days of childhood. No doubt these are the words of the Creator who is the sole Master of the whole Universe and whatever is in it. No wonder that these words worked like medicine to a pained heart like mine. Who would know His creation better than the Creator Himself! It’s evident from the following:
“Al-Fatihah is actually a prayer that Allah teaches to all who embark upon the study of His Book. Its position at the beginning signifies that anyone who wants to benefit from the Book should first offer this prayer to the Lord of the Universe.
Man naturally prays only for what his heart desires and only when he feels that the object of his desire is at the disposal of the One to Whom his prayer is addressed. The placing of this Surah at the head of the Qur’an is a sign that Allah urges man to read this Book with the aim of discovering the right course in life i.e. the Straight Way, to study it with the earnestness of a seeker after Truth, and never to forget that the real source of true knowledge is Allah Himself. The student of the Book should therefore begin by making a humble petition to Him for true guidance.
Once this is grasped, it becomes self-evident that in relation to the Qur’an this opening Surah, al-Fatihah is not just an introduction or foreword; the relationship is really one of prayer and response. Al-Fatihah is a prayer from man and the rest of the Qur’an is Allah’s response to this prayer. Man prays to Allah that He may show him the Straight Way and in response to this prayer, Allah offers the Qur’an as the true guidance, the Straight Way which man has sought and prayed for.”
[Abul A`la Mawdudi, ‘Towards Understanding the Qur`an’ [pp. 33-34]
Alhamdullilah! Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala in His infinite mercy has given us this beautiful surah so that we will know Him (by His attributes) and is also reminding us that in our times of need, He is the only One to Whom we should always turn to. For every human being, even the ones close to us (like parents, spouse and siblings) are a weak creation of His, who will never benefit us in anyway, like Allah can. So touching isn’t it? This makes me feel the warmth of His love and blessings which He has bestowed on His creation. Imagine that you have a best friend who is with you all the time, the one who listens, sees, understands whatever you are going through in life, when people closest to you never will. Who else could have done this for us but the One who really cares for us?
Our beloved Lord is giving us a chance to ask for the best path which is the path of our beloved Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasalam, all the previous prophets (Peace be upon all), the Sahabas (May Allah be pleased with them), the Martyrs and the path of the pious ones. All of these great people are the “People of Jannah”. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has given us the opportunity to ask for the same path of those pious people which will eventually lead us back to our place of origin that is “Jannah”, we were first created in Jannah remember!
At the same time, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala in His infinite mercy has warned us about the path of the people who had made Allah angry while living a luxurious life, like Pharoah, Nimrood, Qaroon and many others who went astray in this world, who will definitely find themselves in a much worse situation in the hereafter!
I know now that no matter what happens in life, Allah’s mercy will always be with me in the form of al Fatiha. Even Though I have been reciting it many times before, somehow I feel that each time I recite it in prayer now, it gives me a new strength to walk confidently on the straight path our Creator has chosen for us. It feels like Allah is holding my hand and leading me to the path of salvation which He has chosen for His true slaves.
May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala always keep each and every one of us on the “Straight Path”. Ameen!