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Tafsir of Surah Fatiha

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In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.


Surah Fatiha comprises of seven verses, of these; the first three are in praise of Allah, while the last three contains a request or a prayer on the part of a man, which Allah himself has taught. The verse in between the two sets has both the features, there is an aspect of praise and another of prayer.

Saaiduna Abu Hurarirah Radiallahu Anhu reports from the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam:

“The salah (Surah al Fatiha) is equally divided between me and my servant. And my servant shall be given what he prays for. The Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam continued; “when the servant says; ‘Alhamdullilahi Rabil Alamin.’ Allah says; “My servant has paid his homage to me; “when he says ‘Ar Rahmanir Rahim’ Allah says; “My servant has praised Me.” when the servant says ‘Maliki yaw middin’ Allah says; “My servant has proclaimed my greatness.” When the servant says; ‘Iyaknabudu wa iyakanastaeen’, Allah says “ This verse is common to me and my servant he shall be given what he prays for.” (Sahih Muslim)

The surah begins with the words Al hamdulillah, signifying that all praise belongs to Allah. Whosoever praises anything anywhere in the world is praising all mighty Allah.

The next phase to follow in the surah speaks of an attribute of Allah-Lord of the worlds. The word Rabb is exclusive to the sacred being of Allah. Al alamin is the plural of alam (world, universe, kingdom). The worlds include all possible forms of existence, the sky, the earth, the sun, the moon, the angels, the jinns, animals and of course men. So, ‘The Lord of all the worlds’ means that Allah alone gives nurture to all forms of existence that are to be found in this universe, or in the millions of universes there may lie beyond our own universe in the outer space.

The second verse speaks of the Divine quality of mercy, employing two adjectives Rahman and Rahim. The reference to this particular attribute in this situation is perhaps intended to be a reminder of the fact that it is not through any external compulsion or inner need or any kind of necessity that Allah has assumed responsibility of nurturing the whole of his creation, but in response to the demand of his own quality of mercy.

The third verse pays homage to Allah as the master of the Day of Judgement or Requital. The word malik has been derived from the root, ‘milk’, which signifies possessing a thing in such a manner that one has the power to dispose of it as one likes. The word ‘din’ signifies requitals implying that total mastery and the Day of Judgement or requital belongs to Allah (SWA).

The fourth verse has a double aspect. One of praise and another of prayer. A man’s life is subject to three states of time- past, present and future.

The first two verses of the surah remind man that as far as his past and present are concerned he owes everything to Allah for it is Allah who created him out of nothing, endowed him with the best form in the universe. The third verse tells him he will have to depend on Allah (SWA) on the day of Judgement (in the future) as well. These three verses make it clear that man is totally and absolutely dependant of Allah in all the three states of life. It logically leads to the conclusion that Allah alone is worthy of being worshipped, so the fourth verse expresses this very natural and logical conclusion.

The last three verses of the surah consist of a prayer on the part of a man in other words Allah himself, in his great mercy has taught man what to pray for.

“Guide us in the straight path, the path of those on whom you have bestowed your grace, not of those who have incurred your wrath nor of those who have gone astray.”

(Extracted from Maariful Quran pp.62-71 v.1)

Only Allah Knows Best

Mohammed Tosir Miah

Darul Ifta Birmingham

This answer was collected from DarulIftaBirmingham.co.uk, which is run under the supervision of Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah from the United Kingdom.

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