Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Holy Qur'an (Summary): Chapter 1 Sūrah al-Fātiḥah (The Opener)

I have already mentioned in one of my earlier posts that The Holy Qur'an has divided into Thirty Parts, called Parah in Arabic and each part consists of either a single or number of Chapters, called Surah in Arabic. From this post onward, I intened providing summary of each chapter, while will give reference for its complete reading both in Arabic and English. Also where avaiable, will also share video of the chapter with English translation.

Today we begin with the First Part of the Holy Qur'an which contains only one chapter called Sūrah al-Fātiḥah. It has seven verses and leads all chapters of the Qur'an that follow it.

Sūrah al-Fātiḥah is considered as the Umm al Quran (Mother of the Holy Qur'an) or should we the substance of the Holy Quran. The word al-Fātiḥah الفاتحة came from the root word فتح which means to open, explain, disclose, keys of treasure etc. That means Sūrah al-Fātiḥah is the summary of the whole Qur'an.

Sūrah al-Fātiḥah is considered to be divided into three parts: In the first part, Allah speaks about Himself in the first three verses.
“All praise is due to Allah, Lord of all that exists. The Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful. Owner of the Day of Judgment.”
This implies that whenever we recite Sūrah al-Fātiḥah, we admit beyond any doubt that :
  • Allah alone is to be praised and there is no one else worth of praise. We thus take a solemn pledge right at the outset about the oneness of Allah,
  • All that exists in this Universe belongs to none but Allah. Perhaps in times of revelation of Qur'an and times before, people could not imagine the vastness of the inverse. It is now with the Hubble Telescope in the space that scientists and spacemen have started to explore the universe, but this seems a tip of the iceberg as the universe that Alla h has crated has no bounds and Allah alone is the master of what all that exists.
  • Allah is Beneficent, the generous and benevolent, and most Merciful. Unlike the notion that some people lament the wrath of Allah, the opposite is the true. He is Beneficent and Most Merciful beyond one's imagination. He let go many unpunished and gives them enough concessions to come back to the righteous path. It is only those who transgress beyond the tolerance limits that are finally punished,
  • And for such transgressors Allah has kept a Day of Judgment when all those who tested the limits of tolerance and violated His commandments will be punished, while those who asked for mercy and begged forgiveness will be rewarded abundantly.
The second part of Sūrah al-Fātiḥah is about all prophets including Prophet Muhammad and all those before him who prayed:
It is You Alone we worship and You Alone we ask for help, Guide us to the straight path
Reading all the holy scriptures, the Psalms, Torah, Bible and Qur'an, the scholars conclude that all prophets and messengers of Allah always worshiped one omnipotent Allah and sought help to put the people they were sent on the righteous path - the path of truth that straightaway leads to pleasing Allah.

Now a word about the "Ihdinā ṣ-ṣirāṭa al-mustaqīm" Show us the straight or the right path. Many scholars believe that  ṣirāṭa al-mustaqīm is the middle path - the path winch is pure from innovations or matter that create doubts in one's mind. Doubtful are the matters that are a gray area between right or wrong or good or evil. So a true believer prays that he be shown the ṣirāṭa al-mustaqīm so that he does not go astray and follow innovations which though look apparently good, have evils strings at the back.

The third par of Sūrah al-Fātiḥah is about Dos (Halal) and Donts (Haram):
The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor, not of those who have evoked (Your) anger or of those who are astray
This part needs a little elaboration and has many versions in its interpretation. The Holy Qur'an as a whole has three main portions, one third is about Allah, one third about all the prophets and the holy scriptures and the remaining about Halal and Haram. We speak of the greatness of Allah and His endless benevolence and forgiveness, we know too that the transgressors cannot be left free for what they did when the had time to do good but did otherwise and did not fear Allah. Thus the last of the two verses speak of three kind of people the prophets prayed either to be part of or otherwise.
  • The first part is amply clear that the "path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor
  • The second type of people one prays not to be of any part are the people who faced the wrath of Allah (not of those who have evoked (Your) anger) for their misdeeds and disobeying their Lord like people of Lut and children of Israel
  • And the third type of people who went astray (those who are astray) due to pollution of the holy scriptures
In nutshell, Sūrah al-Fātiḥah is a wholesome prayer that each Muslim recites in every cycle of the daily five prayers begging Allah to lead him to the path of the blessed and not the path upon whom the earth of the Lord of the Universe fell or those who digressed from the straight or right path and got astray.

Now video the video below which teaches Sūrah al-Fātiḥah in a very easy and repeated manner so that those new to Islam can memorize the Surah by heart as it is mandatory to be recited in every prayer (Salah) five times a day:
I hope this post adequately explains the opening chapter of the Holy Qur'an, its meaning and purpose and how to easily learn to recite it.

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