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It was a custom in the Age of Ignorance (Jahiliyyah) before the advent of Islam that people began everything they did with the names of their idols or gods. It was to eradicate this practice that the first verse of the Holy Qur'an which the Archangel (AS) brought down to the Holy Prophet(SAW) commanded him to begin the Qur'an with the name of Allah – Iqra bismi Rubbik – Read with the name of your Lord.
By instructing man to begin everything with the name of Allah, Islam has given to the whole of his life an orientation towards Allah so that he may, with each step he takes, renew his allegiance to the covenant with Allah that nothing he does, not even his very being can come into existence without the will and the help of Allah. Thus, all the economic and worldly activities of man, each movement and gesture becomes transformed into an act of worship.
The letter "Baa" in the basmala itself has many meanings, including:
Allah(SWT) teaches us in the Qur'an to: “Recite the Qur'an seeking protection of Allah against Satan, the rejected one” and this Sunnah practise applies only to the recitation of the Qur’an so you start all other acts with just the Basmala.
It is reported from Abdullah bin Mas’ood that: “Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem” has 19 letters, and the angels of Jahannam are 19. Anyone who says Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem will be protected against the angels of Jahannam.” (Tafseer Qurtubi)
God has subjected the entire universe for our benefit. Sadly, we are often under the misconception that we have power or true autonomy in this world. Moreover, and due to the reliability and monotony by which everything functions for us, we fall under the false impression that the physical laws of cause and effect, action and reaction are naturally inherent, and independent of their Creator. However, the truth is that it is the will of God that allows these laws to function, and if He wills, He stops them. For example, a domesticated camel or an enormous elephant can be led by a child. But even a strong man cannot domesticate a small snake. If taming an animal was done through our own powers -such as our physical and intellectual advantages- then we should easily be able to domesticate a small snake or an insect.
Similarly, a perfectly healthy married couple may not conceive children despite continually trying. This man and woman may have all the required health attributes to conceive, and all the physical conditions have been met for pregnancy. However, conditions do not create a human being, God does. If He wills he allows the laws to function and if He wills He stops their function. The lesson to take is, while we live our lives through causes and effects, and the laws of the universe, we should always keep in mind that these laws do not govern God, rather it is Him who creates and governs them at all time. Hence, everything and every action should begin with God’s name.
When you begin all your affairs with God’s name, it is as though you have chosen God to be on your side supporting you. Any action you take requires many qualities. For example, when you start a physical activity, such as running, you require eyesight, physical health, and strength. Thus, if God Almighty had not informed us of the all-inclusive name for all his attributes, you would have needed to specify the help that you required. You would have needed to say 'in the name of the All-Powerful, in the name of the Sustainer, in the name of the Responder to prayers, in the name of the Creator' and so on. But God taught us his name that is inclusive of all of attributes of perfection: This name is "Allah". Now you can begin all of our actions with "in the name of Allah"
When you begin every action with God's name, it will prevent you from doing any deed that displeases Him. You cannot begin a task that will bring God's displeasure when you start with His name. If you intend to commit theft or drink alcohol, and then you start with God's name, you will surely abstain from it. You will feel ashamed of beginning a deed that angers God in His name. Therefore, all your actions will be according to what God has made lawful.
When you begin reciting the Quran with God's name, it is a pledge that you will follow what He has ordered, abstain from what he has prohibited, and respect all that you read in this book. It is he who gives life and death and to Him belongs the authority in this world and in the hereafter. Before whom you will stand on the Day of Resurrection when He will call you to account for your good deeds and for your transgressions.
You may question, how then can you begin reciting with the name of God, while you have at one time or another disobeyed and opposed Him? The answer is simple, God is the one who taught us how to approach the recitation of the Quran with His name, and more importantly, to start with the "The Most Merciful, the Most Benevolent". God does not desert the disobedient; rather He opens the doors of repentance for him or her, and forgives all sin because he is the Most Merciful. God is constantly calling every disobedient person to return to the enclosure of faith. So begin reading the Quran with the name of God the Most Merciful the Most Benevolent because his mercy forgives all sin big and small, near and far.
This Surah comprises seven verses. Of these, the first three are in praise of Allah, while the last three contain a request or a prayer on the part of man, which Allah himself has, in His infinite mercy, taught him. The verse in between the two sets has both the features -- there is an aspect of praise, and another of prayer.
Alhamdulillah - means perfect, most beautiful praise and thanks is only for Allah. We say ‘alhamdulillah’ out of love, honor, with humility, complete submission and sincere gratitude to Allah azza wa jal.
Whereas hamd means praise, the ‘al’ in al-hamd makes the praise definite and implies exclusivity. Al-hamd means all types of praise and every manner of thanks at all times is due to Allah ‘azza wa jall. Abu Ja`far bin Jarir said: The meaning of alhamdulillah is: all thanks are due purely to Allah, alone, not any of the objects that are being worshipped instead of Him, nor any of His creation. [Tafseer ibn Katheer]
Whosoever praises anything anywhere in the world is ultimately praising Allah because that praiseworthy quality relies wholly on Allah(SWT), regardless if it is genius intellect, immense physical ability or an outstanding feature.
Shukr is only expressed as a response to a favour whereas hamd is expressed both as a response to a favour as well as a spontaneous action of dhikr. It is in this respect that Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said, "Alhamdulillah is the statement of every thankful [servant]."
Some of the scholars said that shukr is more encompassing than hamd because praise is expressed by the tongue whereas thanks can be expressed by the tongue, heart and limbs. Thanks with the tongue is done by praising the Bestower of Blessings. Thanks by the limbs is done by acting in obedience to Him and abandoning actions of disobedience. Thanks in the heart is done by recognising the magnitude of the blessing and knowing that it has been given by the grace of Allah and not by the servants own merit.
Linguistically, the word Alhamduillah is an Ism and therefore does not require a time or doer. Its not an imperative command (Amr e.g. ihmadullah) as it does not require anyone and praise of Him happens with you in without you.
The Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: When He breathed into Adam and the soul reached his head, he sneezed and said: ‘Alhamdu lillahi Rubbil-‘Alamin.’ Allah answered him by saying: ‘Yarhamuk-Allah (Allah bestows His mercy upon you).’ [Saheeh Muslim]
In the Qur’an we learn that ‘alhamdulillah’ will be the last call of the believers, thanking Allah(SWT) for guiding them to Jannah, And the last of their call will be, Praise to Allah, Lord of the worlds! [Quran,10:10]
1) Al-Hasan said, "There is no blessing except that [saying] Alhamdulillah is better and more virtuous than it."
Al-Bayhaqi commented saying: "This is because the servant does not attain [the station] of praising and thanking Allah except by His tawfiq. Therefore the greater excellence [of his praising Allah as compared to the initial blessing that Allah bestowed upon him] is by virtue of his being blessed with the [ability to] praise Allah and extol him and this did not exist in the initial blessing."
2) Muslim reports from Abu Musa al-Ash'ari that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "Purity is half of faith. (The statement) Alhamdulillah fills the scales and (the statement) subhanallah wa'l-hamdulillah fills what is between the heaven and the earth." (Muslim)
Surah Al-Fatihah is Allah (SWT) introducing Himself by name, without any confusion about other names eg. Rubb, Raheem - Firown considered himself a lord.
The Grand Name: Allah. This is Allah’s Personal Name and this word has neither a plural nor a dual nor feminine form, for Allah is One and has no associate. This Name belongs only to Allah, no one else can have besides Allah and it is the Name, of the One True Ilaah. It appears more than 3,000 times in the Qur’an and no other name captures all of His name's and characteristics.
When we mention the Name “Allah” linguistically, we don’t say “the word Allah” or “the Name Allah” because it is not appropriate. It is only for Allah ta’ala, so we say: Lafdhul Jalaalah, the word that is Grand.
The letters of the Arabic alphabet are split between the letters which are dependent (and therefore weak) on dots to distinguish them vs those letters that do not have a dot. The word Allah has no dots, neither does the kalima, nor Muhammad or Rasoolullah.
There are 4 opinions regarding the linguistic meaning of lafdhul Jalaalah:
We also learn from this that Allah is the Only One we should show humbleness too, we should be ‘ebaad, servants, to Allah. In surah Furqaan ayah 43, Allah tells us: ara ayta man ittakhatha ilaahahu hawaahu, have you seen the one who takes his desires as his ilaah? This ayah shows us the meaning of taking something as your ilaah, God. It meant that they gave their desires the utmost priority and everything else became unimportant and secondary. Their ilaah is the one whom the person never turns down. It became what they loved and feared the most. Allah is the One we should love most, fear most and give the most importance too. According to some linguists (ibn Manthoor of Sibawyh) this opinion is the strongest. Furthermore, when you attach ‘al’ with aliha and alaha, it becomes al-Ilaah, and that becomes Allah. According to this definition this translation would be: Allah is the Only One worthy of worship. Notice: even His Name has tawheed in it, so how can there be other beings attached to Allah?
The Prophet (SAW) said: “To Allah(SWT) belongs a Grand Name (Ismul A’dham), that, if you make du’a with it, it will be responded to. And if you plead or request with it, it shall be answered.” [Recorded in Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi]
The scholars say there are two very strong opinions on what the Grand Name is:
So, use both of them and His (SWT) other names when making dua.
The first way that Allah(SWT) describes Himself is as Rubbil aalimeen so this is very significant. The word Rubb establishes a connecting relationship with Allah(SWT) and means:
By recognising Him(SWT) as Rubb, we accept ourselves as slaves and indeed, the best type of slavery is to Allah(SWT) for all other enslavement is false and unworthy – fashion, culture, policy, people, desire.
Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “The womb is derived from the Merciful, and Allah said: I will keep good relations with one who keeps good relations with your relatives, and I will sever relations with one who severs relations with your relatives.” Source: Sahih Bukhari 5642
Buraydah ibn Al-Husayb reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, heard a man supplicating, saying, “O Allah, I ask you by my testimony that you are Allah, there is no God but you, the One, the Eternal Refuge who does not give birth and was not born and to whom no one is equal.” The Prophet said, “By him in whose hand is my soul, he has asked Allah by his greatest name for which he answers when called upon and he gives when asked.” Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 3745
Al-Fara' and Abu Ubaydah said al-‘alam is a term referring to anything that possesses an intellect and these fall into four categories: Mankind, Jinn, Angels and Satans. Qatadah and At-Tabari said that it refers to every race or species of creation and to each generation of that race.
In Arabic language, the plural of the word ‘alam is ‘awaalim. This would include all possible forms of existence: the sky, the earth, the sun, the moon, stars, wind and rain, the angels, the jinns, animals, plants, minerals, and, of course, men. The universe is all of the galaxies – billions of them! According to the well-known commentator Muqatil, the number of worlds is eighty thousand. And, man is dependant on Allah(SWT) putting thousands of forces of the sky and the earth together to produce it. The universal order is there for man to contemplate, and to realize that, if Allah has put millions of His creatures in the service of man, man in his turn cannot be worthless or purposeless or meaningless.
Ibn Abbas said al-‘Aalameen refers to everything possessing a soul that walks on the earth. Qatadah said al-Alameen refers to everything in existence besides Allah. However, ‘Aalameen is usually used when specifically referring to those with intellect. This is significant as it shows how this reference is singling out mankind.
Our Solar System consists of our star, the Sun, and its orbiting planets (including Earth), along with numerous moons, asteroids, comet material, rocks, and dust. Our Sun is just one star among the hundreds of billions of stars in our Milky Way Galaxy. The Milky Way is big, but some galaxies, like our Andromeda Galaxy neighbor, are much larger.
Respectively connote the superabundance and perfection of Divine mercy. Derived from rahma - if this whole universe did not exist, He would suffer no loss; if it does exist, it is no burden to Him.
In English, mercy tends to indicate forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one's power to punish or harm. This is not the case with the Arabic meaning – the root word Rahm refers to the womb of a mother where you were all taken care of without any worry about food, drink, rent or anything – a place without any problems. We are just as ignorant as the baby in the womb while He (SWT) provides for us – blood, air around our bodies. Love and care is probably a more appropriate understanding. In fact, the child almost kills their own mother at the point of childbirth but does she hate her child for it or instead, continue going to work immediately suckling and caring. Similarly, a baby knows its dependence on its mother and keeps returning back to its mother. So too, we must return to the One (SWT) we are entirely dependant on.
'Rahmaan' one whose mercy is common to all, and extends to the whole universe, to everything that will be created in the future. – Aan at the end of a word means:
Ibn Abbas said: It’s for the people of this world
On the other hand, Raheem, signifies One whose mercy is perfect in all possible ways.
And Raheem is for the people of the Hereafter
Zamakshari said an ocean with extreme, powerful waves and a calm ocean like the constant. You cant have both realities in one but Allah(SWT) is both.
That is why 'Rahmaan' is the exclusive attribute of Allah and the word is employed only when one is referring to Him. It is not permissible to qualify any created being as 'Rahmaan', for there cannot possibly be anyone else, beside Allah, whose mercy should be all-embracing and all-inclusive. Just like the word 'Allah', there is no dual or plural for the word “Rahmaan” too, because these words are in their signification exclusive to the One and Absolute Being which does not permit the existence of a second or a third. (Tafsir al-Qurtubi).
The signification of the word 'Rahim', on the contrary, does not contain anything which it should be impossible to find in a created being, for a man may be perfectly merciful in his dealings with another man. It is used in the Quran in relation to the Prophet (SAW) – bil mu’mineen ra’oof ur raheem – He is very gentle and very merciful to the Believers.
It is narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "None of you will enter Paradise by his deeds alone unless God showers you with Mercy." The companions asked, "Not even you, Messenger of God?" He replied, "Not even me." And in another narration, the prophet said "All children of Adam make mistakes,and the best of those who make mistakesare thosewho repent."
If you take a moment to think about God's favors, you will quickly realize that they cannot be counted or comprehended. So no matter how much eloquence any person may have, he or she cannot compile expressions of praise that befit God's grandeur and bounties. Then how can we praise him while we cannot count His favors, or encompass His mercy? The Messenger (peace be upon him) portrayed this picture for us in this statement: ‘Dear lord, I am unable to find sufficient words of praise that befit You. All I can say is: You are as You have praised Yourself.’ Therefore, one of God's greatest bounties is that He taught us to express our gratitude to Him in these simple words: (All praise is due to God)
Ali ibn Abi Talib -the prophet's cousin- (may God be pleased with him) said: "When a believer dies two places weep over him, one on earth and another in the heavens. The place on earth where he used to pray weeps for him, and so does the place where his good deeds used to ascend to in Heaven."
Praise & thanks belongs to Allah(SWT) because He is Rubb-al aalimeen, Ar-Rahmaan, Ar-Raheem and Maalik Yawmid deen
Derived from the root, 'milk' (signifies possessing a thing in such a manner that one has the right and power to dispose of it as one likes (See Qamus). The other reading is Malik (King) – you control big picture but don’t control the detail (Owner/Sayyid). Maalik means both macro and micro in complete control.
Can you own time? No, only material things in this world. He owns it and can make it 50,000 years.
The word Deen – Daana, Yudeenu (how you deal with someone) here means something given in return/repayment/requital. Absolute justice does not exist in this Dunya. Rahma = positive and Punishment = negative but balance = neutral.
A warning to man reeling in his forgetfulness and self-conceit, and an intimation that all his possessions, all his relationships with things and men are only short-lived, and that there shall come a Day when masters will no more be masters and slaves no more slaves, when no one will own anything even in appearance, and the ownership and mastery, apparent as well as real, of the whole universe will be seen to belong to none but Allah, the Exalted.
Alhamdulillah = present Rahma = past This ayah = future
As you recite "The Opening" and say "All praise is due to God", you recall all God’s favors that obligate praise. And when you say "Lord of the worlds", you recall the blessings of Lordship to all His creations causing the universe to serve humans; and when you recite "The Most Merciful, the Most Benevolent" you remember God's compassion and mercy that meets your sins with forgiveness when you repent. And when you read "The Owner of the Day of Recompense", it brings to mind the Day that you will stand before The Lord so he may reward you for your deeds. At that moment, having recalled all that obligates worship upon you, you recite
The previous aayaat are you talking about Allah(SWT) and now there is your own statement – “you alone we worship…” showing that you don’t have to go through anyone, rather you MUST have a relationship with Him(SWT). Even to his own daughter, Yaa Faatimah Ittiqillah fa innee laa amliku laki minAllahi shay’an – you must have your own relationship. Messengers weren’t an intermediary to Allah, they were a reminder about connecting to Him(SWT)
It teaches man not to worship anyone except Allah, not to consider anyone else as being really capable of satisfying his needs, and not to beg anyone else to satisfy these needs.
In this ayah, the order is switched – you, we worshipped. This is odd like “a burger, I ate”. It is only to you that we give ourselves in slavery and worship. Every Al-Faatihah is like you restarting – revisiting why you believe in Allah(SWT).
‘Abd = enslave, we willingly enslave ourselves to you.
Isti’aana = asking for help when you are exhausted yourself. Put in effort and you will reap reward. Its extreme to blame failure on Allahs help not coming or to think you have done it all yourself. Rather because you made effort, results came.
Not mentioning what you want help in means help in everything – the longest list possible. Similarly, when you’re desperate for help, you don’t go into details – any and all help is required.
When we make this commitment to worship, we definitely need help hence the second statement. For all of us in need of tawbah but lacking in fulfilling it, we don’t need anything else except this statement – it kills procrastination.
Our purpose in life is to become a slave. It’s a benefit to get help. Good manners to give first and then take.
In the first four verses of Al Fatiha, ‘God’ is unseen, ‘the Lord of the Worlds’ is unseen, ‘the Most Merciful the Most Gracious’ is unseen and ‘the Owner of the Day of Recompense’ is also unseen. Therefore, the grammar of the next verse requires the use of third person pronoun and should logically say: (He alone we worship, and from him alone we seek help). But God changed the context and used the second person pronoun. He said (You alone we worship, and from you alone we seek help.)This shows that the spiritual vision of the believer is as certain as what is in front of him or her at the present.
One day the Prophet (peace be upon him) saw one of his companions named Harith bn Malik. He asked him: 'Harith, How are you?' Harith replied, 'I woke up with my heart filled with true faith.' He (peace be upon him) said, 'Harith! Reflect on what you say. What is the true essence of your faith?" Harith replied: "I have detached myself from the love of this world; I spend my nights up in worship, and my days in fasting. It is as if I can look up and see God's Divine Throne; and as if I can see the inhabitants of Paradise visit one another and the inhabitants of hellfire shout at one another.' The Prophet said, ' Harith, you have been enlightened with true knowledge. Now retain it firmly.'
If you make a choice to turn to your creator out of love, and if you choose to exercise your freedom according to his guidance, then you would avoid that which displeases Him, and do what He asks of you. At that moment you attain worship and became one of God's servants, not God's slaves. We are all slaves of God, in that we are all compelled to do certain things in life whether we choose to or not. But God's servants are those who willingly surrender their freedom of choice to God’s will.
Why would the Prophet(SAW) make this dua when he (SAW) is upon this guidance? Imam Raghib al-Asfahiini in his Mufradat al-Qur7an, which can be summed up thus: Hidayah signifies leading someone towards his destination, gently and kindly; while guidance, in the real sense, issues forth from Allah alone, and it has several degrees:
The one thing you will only get if you don’t ask is guidance.
Its not something you get to keep or you can give it to your child. Its not found in a university or memorisation alone. Its constantly slipping away, hence the need to ask again and again.
If you are truly a slave, the first logical step is to ask for guidance.
When are you lost on a journey, what are you desperate for? More than water? Guidance to the correct destination.
Knowledge can be increased but guidance is only from Allah(SWT). How do you know if you’re guided? Emotional attachment to Allah(SWT) in your salaah – when you’re in conversation or engaged in something e.g. drama
In this life, your destination is the road, not the goal. I have to continuoyusly make progress. Once you reach a destination, you stop, however, if you want to be put on a track, you just keep moving forward. This is life is not about reaching perfect, rather its about continuously making progress.
Don’t compare yourself to others, compare yourself to yourself from yesterday. Seek knowledge, but don’t forget why you’re seeking knowledge … for guidance. Rather knowledge can make one arrogant and therefore misguidance.
Sirat is a straight path, so why need mustaqeem. Istiqaama from the word qiyaam means standing straight up. When you travel on this path, you are travelling upwards, in levels. Going upwards even slightly requires effort. Similarly, when you are going up, gravity is always pulling you down like the Dunya. If you stop making effort what happens, you will decline. The higher it gets, the more dangerous it gets so the one who realises they are at a real height becomes more aware. And if you fall, the deeper they fall and this is very dangerous.
You want to be on a path that others are on.
An’aam are the cattle going on an easy path with all the time in the world.
Show us the path which of those YOU showered on them. They made the effort but Allah(SWT) gave them ease so it was like an escalator.
Who do you take advice from – graduates, professionals who made it. You don’t ask your peer students, you look for role models.
Ghayrill maghdoobi alayhim: Not those who were recipients of rage
Ad-Dhaaleen: The lost, not misguided (mudhall) – they are the ones who got lost of their own volition.
Why not mention the Jews and Christians specifically? They are the ones who were at the time of the Prophet(SAW), not today’s Jews or Christians.