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Surah Al-Fatihah

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In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Merciful Introduction All praise and glory is only for Allah (swt). The First and the Last. The Manifest and the Hidden. The One Who has Power over all things. The Creator and the Sustainer of all that exists. The Manager and the Director over all affairs. The One True Sovereign and King Whom all of creation must obey and submit to for every second of their existence. The One True God Who has the right to be worshipped and sanctified by all of the creation. Praise and thanks be to Allah (swt) who has favored us the children of Adam (as) by giving us a mind and senses with which we can realize His (swt)’s Existence from the signs in the universe around us. Praise and thanks be to Allah (swt) again who sent to us the prophets and the messengers with clear proofs and undeniable arguments to guide us to Him (swt) and to teach us how to worship and serve Him (swt). I praise and thank Allah (swt) for all of His bounties and I humbly ask Him (swt) to continue to bless and bestow upon us from His (swt)’s Grace, Bounty, and Mercy. I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah (swt), the One and Only, Who has no partner or equal, the Generous and the Forgiving. I bear witness that our leader Prophet Muhammad (saw) is His (swt)’s servant and Messenger, the beloved of Allah (swt) and the very best of all of the creation of Allah (swt). Allah (swt) honored the Prophet (saw) by giving him (saw) the Glorious Quran. Every prophet was given a Miracle by Allah (swt) to prove to the people that he was truly sent from Allah (swt). The Prophet (saw) was sent as the Final Messenger to all of mankind until the Last Day. So he (saw) was given an enduring Miracle that lasted throughout the ages. That Miracle is the Quran, perhaps the greatest Miracle that was given to any prophet. Allah (swt) says, “I have not created the jinn and the men except that they should worship and serve Me” (51:57), this means that the reason why we exist is only to worship and serve Allah (swt). Allah (swt) has made the Quran a complete guidance for mankind until the Day Judgment of. Allah (swt) says “We have not omitted anything from the Book”(6:39), the meaning

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of this ayah is that everything that the human being needs for guidance is in the Quran. There is nothing that has been omitted from the Quran on how to guide the human being to fulfill the purpose of his creation. So for us to know how to fulfill our role of worshipping and serving Allah (swt), the role for which we have been created, the Quran is the source of guidance to which we have to look. Could then there be anything that is more valuable to us? Not only is the Quran the greatest bounty that Allah (swt) has given us because it is an enduring miracle and a complete guidance for mankind but yet another gift that Allah (swt) has given us is that He (swt) has given our hearts the ability to bear the Quran. Allah (swt) says “Had We sent down this Quran onto a mountain, you would have seen it humbled, crushed into pieces out of fear of Allah” (59:21). It is only because of Mercy from Allah (swt) that He (swt) has given our hearts the ability to bear the strength and the power of meaning that is contained in the Quran. The words of the Quran can destroy mountains but Allah (swt) has given us the ability to learn it, to reflect on it, to implement what it contains of our duties to Allah (swt) and to propagate it to others. What is the strength of the heart of humans when compared to that of a mountain? So we have to show gratefulness to Allah (swt) for sending us the Quran and for giving us the ability and the strength to understand it. The way to show this gratefulness is to always be attached to the Quran and to let it be a constant source of guidance in our life. There are also many hadith from the Prophet (saw) where he (saw) has told us the great importance of the Quran. He (saw) has told us again and again to learn, teach and be attached to the Quran throughout of our lives. The Prophet (saw) has said in a hadith recorded by Muslim that “The Quran is either an argument for you or against you”. On the Day of Judgment when all of mankind is brought before Allah (swt) the Quran will be brought forth also. It will be an argument in support for those who believed in it as the revelation from Allah (swt) and those who followed its commandments and those who taught it to others. For those who neglected it or for those who learned it and did not follow it and did not live by it, it will be a source of punishment for them. May Allah (swt) save us from that! The Prophet (saw) also said in a hadith recorded by alBukhari that “The best of you is he who learns Quran and teaches it”, meaning Allah (swt) will be well pleased by the one who learns His (swt)’s Book and teaches it to others. Not only is Allah

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(swt) well pleased with such a person, but also Allah (swt) considers that person to be the best of the believers. What could be better than that? So by attaching yourself to this Quran, by learning it and by teaching it to others you could be the best of the Muslims. In other words you would be the most pleasing to Allah (swt), what could be better than that? The Prophet (saw) also said in a hadith qudsi that Allah (swt) declared “If anyone is distracted from asking of Me by the Quran and remembering Me (with it), I will give him better than what I give the askers”. This means that for the one who occupies himself with the Quran, Allah (swt) will give him better than what He (swt) gives those who are asking of Him (swt), the ones who are always making duaa to Him (swt). So if you occupy yourself with this Quran then Allah (swt) will give you what is even better than what He (swt) gives to those who are asking of Him (swt). The Prophet (saw) also said “The Excellence of the words of Allah over all other words is like the Excellence of Allah over his creation”. Could there be any comparison between Allah (swt) and the creation? Similarly there is no comparing the Words of Allah (swt) over all other words. So from these hadith can we even begin to comprehend how important the Quran must be in our lives? In another hadith recorded in At-Tirmidhi the Prophet (saw) said “There will be trials like patches of dark night”. When he (saw) was asked how the Muslim community could escape these trials, he (saw) said “The Book of Allah, Blessed and Exalted, contains your history, news about what came before you, news about what will come after you, and correct judgment between you. It is decisive and not a joke. Allah will destroy any oppressor who abandons it and Allah will misguide whoever looks for guidance from other than it. It is the Firm Rope of Allah, His Clear Light and the Wise Reminder. It is the Straight Path. Passions are not misguided by it, tongues do not become sated with it, and the ones that fear Allah do not become bored with it. It does not wear out when it is repeated a lot and its wonders never cease”. Look at all the descriptions that the Prophet (saw) gives for the Quran in this hadith. It is clear that the Muslim Ummah today is going through such trials that the Prophet (saw) described in this hadith as “patches of dark night”. He (saw) said this to emphasize and describe the difficulty and the evil of such times. Then he (saw) \ said that they only way for us to survive such times of trial is with the Quran. How frequently then should you be turning to this Book?

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These ayahs and these ahadith are the reasons that have inspired us to start this project called “Quran-Tafsir.org” to explain some of the meanings of the Quran. This is a web site where we plan to post Quran Tafsir PDF Books for everyone to come and read for free. First of all you should know that this is a work in progress. There are a few Surahs available now, but Insha Allah with the Permission and Support of Allah (swt), we plan to add more Surahs in the future. Insha Allah, with the Help and Support of Allah (swt), we plan to complete the entire Quran. We only ask for your duaa to achieve that objective. These books are completely free for you to download, keep and give it to whomever you wish. We only ask you for your prayers for us and our family. Allah (swt) gave us the Quran in the Arabic language, and anything that is not in Arabic is not Quran. Now it is true that you need to be an expert in the Arabic language to learn the deep and profound meanings of the Quran and it is a duty upon every Muslim to make their best effort to learn the Arabic language. But until we get there, there is still a large part of this Ummah who do not have the Arabic language and so have no access whatsoever to the Book of Allah (swt). Not only is the Quran itself in Arabic but the vast majority of the Tafsirs of Quran that explain the Quran are also in Arabic. So for those Muslims who do not have the Arabic language, they have very little access to what their Creator and Master is telling them. We do not feel that the current translations available do justice to the meaning of the Quran. This predicament is what we seek to correct with this endeavor. Insha Allah through these books we hope to give those in the Ummah who do not have the Arabic language a small understanding of the deep and profound meanings that are in the Quran. This work by no means replaces the Arabic Tafsirs that our scholars have written, but rather it simply seeks to explain some of the meanings of the Quran for those who do not have the Arabic language. We encourage every one of our readers to make an effort to learn the Arabic language so that they can understand Quran as it was revealed from Allah (swt), and also so that they can read the classical Tafsir books that our scholars have written. In the meantime we hope that our work gives you a small taste of the depth of meaning that is in the Book of Allah (swt). All that you will get here is a small taste. To truly understand the Quran you need to know the classical Arabic.

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We are by no means scholars, and there is nothing here that is from our own opinion. What we have done is that we have taken the works of both contemporary and classical scholars of Tafsir and summarized it into one work. Among the sources we have referred to are the works of scholars such as Sayyid Abul Ala Mawdudi, Sayyid Qutb, Imam Qurtubi, Imam Ibn Kathir, Imam Shawkani, Mufti Shafi Uthmani, and others (may Allah (swt) be pleased with all of them). These men are all great scholars who have contributed a great deal for this Ummah. The life of this Ummah depends solely on the ink of its scholars and the blood of its martyrs. So we should respect and honor our scholars simply for the fact that they are scholars and because they have produced works that help us to better understand our Din. We must not reject any scholar completely simply because they may not be part of our group or movement, nor must we reject them if there is one statement that they may have made that we do not agree with. If we find what they are saying to be consistent with the Quran and Sunnah then we can accept what they say but if they say something that contradicts Quran and Sunnah then we leave it. Because even though they are scholars they are still men and men make mistakes. So if we see something from them that is good then we take it, otherwise we leave it. Our sincerity and our loyalty must only be for Allah (swt) and His Messenger (saw). So blindly following scholars without asking for their evidence from the Quran and Sunnah is wrong. But at the same time we must not discard what the scholars say simply because we may not always agree with them. We should listen to what each scholar says and ultimately our only loyalty must be to Book of Allah (swt) and the Sunnah of His Messenger (saw). So please do not discard everything that is in this Tafsir only because you do not agree with one of the scholars we mentioned. Simply listen to what they say, if you are convinced that they are giving you the correct meaning that is in the Quran then you can accept it, otherwise you can leave it. As always Allah (swt) Knows best and what is important for us is that we make the effort to understand what is in His (swt)’s Book to the best of our ability. This striving to understand the meanings of the Quran is the action for which we seek the reward from our Creator in the Hereafter, in that eternal life after this one. We are all weak and we all make mistakes. All that we can do is try our best to understand what our Creator is saying. May Allah (swt) guide us!

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As we mentioned when compiling this Tafsir we have always tried our best to stick to the meaning of the words that Allah (swt) gives in the ayah and we tried our best not to add anything of our own opinion. So we can assure you that as you read this Tafsir you will not find anything that is not given in the language of the ayah or anything that is not supported by another ayah in the Quran or in a hadith of the Prophet (saw). The only thing we have done in addition to quoting the opinions of scholars is to try and connect the meaning of the ayah to the present situation that our Ummah is facing. Because the Quran is a Book of guidance, and we all need guidance from Allah (swt). So for every ayah we try to get the guidance that Allah (swt) is giving for our present day situation. But we never took any meaning that is not given in the language in the ayah, or supported by another ayah or a hadith of the Prophet (saw), or given by one of the scholars of Tafsir. Thus we strove to ensure that every single idea that is presented here is in conformity with this Message that Allah (swt) has sent. But we are not perfect and that is why we say that if there is anything here that is correct and good then it is from Allah (swt) and if there is anything here that is wrong then it is from us and we seek forgiveness of Allah (swt) for any misinterpretation we may have unintentionally done of His (swt)’s Book. Since these are the words of Allah (swt) we do not intend by this Tafsir any kind of comprehensive explanation of the Quran’s meanings. As we said that what we have given here only scratches the surface of the meaning that is in Allah (swt)’s Book. Allah (swt) has told us in Quran that if the trees of the world were pens and if the oceans of the world were ink this still would not be enough to write His (swt)’s words. Ali (ra) is reported to have said ‘If I wished I could load seventy camels only with the Tafsir of Surah Fatihah’. This shows the extent of knowledge and meaning that is contained in the Quran. So our humble project is by no means an extensive explanation of the meanings of the Quran. You can think of each ayah as an iceberg and the meaning that we give in this Tafsir as only the tip of the iceberg. There is still a wealth of knowledge and guidance in each ayah that we cannot even touch upon here. So do not allow this tafsir to be the only one that you read, rather you should read more and more so that you can discover more and more of the meanings in the Book of your Lord. Your life is nothing but a journey to your Lord and the Quran is your guide, should it not then be your everything?

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The one rule that we have to always keep in mind when we read any ayah of the Quran is that we must always be asking ourselves how that ayah can be a source of guidance for us. We have already said how the Quran is the manual or the guidebook for us to know how to worship and serve our Creator. Allah (swt) created us for the noble purpose of worshipping and serving Him (swt) and the Quran is the manual on how to accomplish that purpose. So as we read each ayah of the Quran, Insha Allah, we should try to learn it’s meaning and we should ask ourselves how the meaning of this ayah can help us to better worship and serve our Creator. We have to always remember that our intention in approaching the Quran is for Allah (swt). So we have to try and use every ayah that we learn to bring our close to our Lord. We have to always be looking for the practical implementation of that ayah in our day to day life. If we keep this rule in mind then Insha Allah for every ayah that we learn we would be fulfilling the purpose for which the Quran was sent down, and that is to be a light and guidance for those who believe. To show us how to worship and serve Allah (swt) so that we can earn His (swt)’s Pleasure. It is only when we get the Pleasure of Allah (swt) that we will get the Mercy of Allah (swt) and it is only when we get the Mercy of Allah (swt) that any of us have a chance to enter the Garden. Nothing matters in this life except that we strive to please our Lord. That is why we have written our tafsir in such a way that we try to get the benefit and the guidance in each ayah. We try to look for what it is in that ayah that will bring us closer to our Lord. We ourselves are not part of any group or movement. Neither are we affiliated with any organization or government. We are just trying to learn the Book of Allah (swt) and teach it to others as the Prophet (saw) has commanded us to do. That is the only objective that we hoped to achieve when we wrote this tafsir. So we strove to ensure that any idea or thought that you get from this tafsir is an idea or thought that comes from the ayahs of the Quran and not from ourselves. We had no ulterior motives whatsoever in writing this work. We only want to explain the Book of Allah (swt) and call to Allah (swt) with it. This tafsir does not in any way call to acts of unjustified violence or terrorism. We do not want anyone to harm others or harm themselves as a result of reading these books. Insha Allah if you read this tafsir we will show you how all acts of terrorism directed against civilians and non-combatants is wrong and is not permitted in the Law

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of Allah (swt). Insha Allah we will show how Islam is a religion of peace and how it was only sent for the betterment of mankind. Even when it comes to jihad and fighting this Din has specific rules on how combat should take place. Insha Allah we will show how jihad can only be used as a last resort and even then according to the rules specified in the Law of Allah (swt). We personally are not against any government or nation. We believe that all people are the children of Adam and so all people are our brethren in humanity. We believe that all people are good unless they do something to prove otherwise. So we have nothing against anyone whatsoever. All that we say in this tafsir is what Allah (swt) Himself has said. All that we do is explain and elaborate on what is already there in the text. If you think that we have inadvertently said something against someone that is not supported by the Quran or Sunnah please e-mail us and bring it to our attention. We want nothing but good for all mankind to come from this work. We pray to Allah (swt) to accept this humble work of ours and to forgive it’s many weaknesses and shortcomings. We know that there are many shortcomings in this work. We ask Allah (swt) to allow these books to facilitate a greater understanding of the Quran by our brothers and sisters in the Muslim Ummah. We ask Allah (swt) to allow these books to allow non-Muslims to gain insight into the knowledge and wisdom that the Quran contains. If Allah (swt) guides even one person through our books then we believe that all of our efforts were worth what we did. You are welcome to print out these books and use them for dawah. You can distribute them to anyone whom you feel will benefit from them. We hope that these books will allow the Quran to be a source of guidance and a comfort for all who read it like just it has been for us. There is healing and mercy in this Quran just as there is light and guidance, we only have to look for it. We pray to Allah (swt) to let this Quran be a light for all those of His (swt)’s slaves who search for Him (swt) with it. A beacon that guides to His (swt)’s Pleasure and His (swt)’s Paradise. We beg Allah (swt) to allow this work to be even the smallest of help for the Muslim Ummah on the great mission that He (swt) has given us on this earth. Ameen!

Ebad ur-Rahman Quran-Tafsir.org October 2007

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The following abbreviations are used in this Tafsir. (swt) – Subahana Wa Ta’ala , “Perfect and Pure and the Most High” This is used whenever we mention the Name of Allah (swt), our Lord and Master.

(saw)- Sallahu Allahi wa Salam, “Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him” This is used whenever we mention the Prophet (saw), our Messenger and Leader.

(as) – Allahi Salam - “On him be peace” This is used whenever we mention a previous prophet or an angel. (ra) – Radi Allahu an – “May Allah be pleased with him” This is used whenever we mention a companion of the Prophet (saw). These have only been used for the sake of brevity and we do not intend to diminish the meaning of them in any way. When you read these you should try to pronounce them out loud to show your respect for your Creator and His Messenger and those whom He (swt) is pleased with.

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Surah Al-Fatihah

1. In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Merciful.

The first ayah of every Surah in the Quran with the exception of Surah Tawbah is this collection of words that are known as the Basmallah. So this is the first ayah in one hundred and thirteen out of the one hundred and fourteen Surahs in the Quran. The fact that Allah (swt) in His infinite Knowledge and Wisdom has decided to repeat this ayah so many times in the Quran should show us what an important ayah it is. The scholars have said that all of the previous revelations can be summarized in the Quran, and all of the Quran can be summarized in Surah Fatihah, and all of Surah Fatihah can be summarized in the Basmallah. So in reality these five words summarize all of the revelations that were ever sent down from Allah (swt) to mankind. Can you then even begin to understand the importance of this ayah? Let us now look into each word of this ayah in the hope that Insha Allah we can derive some of the tremendous meaning and benefit that it contains. As always we ask Allah (swt) to guide us and we ask Allah (swt) to open up for us the knowledge and benefit that is in His (swt)’s Book. The first word in this ayah is the Arabic word Ba. This word means “with” or “in”. So in the first part of the ayah Allah (swt) is saying “with the name of Allah” or “in the name of Allah”. This type of sentence is what is known in English as an ellipses or a sentence in which a portion of the words has been purposely left out. This is clear because we can see that in the ayah Allah (swt) is teaching us to say “In the name of Allah” or “with the name of Allah” but He (swt) is not telling us what is in His (swt)’s Name. The scholars say that the reason why Allah (swt) has left out a portion of the sentence is so that in it’s place we can put any action that we do. This way any action that we do we can do in the Name of Allah (swt). That is why when we make ablution for prayer we say the Basmallah, when we have our meal or drink water we say the Basmallah, when we perform our jobs or drive our cars we say the Basmallah. In other words for every single

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action that we do from the time we wake up to the time we go to bed we can say these words. This way every single action that we do is an action in the Name of our Lord and Master. The scholars point out at least five benefits that we can derive from saying these words at the beginning of every single action. The first benefit is that it helps us to remember Allah (swt). Allah (swt) has told us in other ayahs of the Quran that only in His (swt)’s remembrance do the hearts find solace. Although Allah (swt) is sustaining us for every second of our existence, we cannot directly sense Him (swt). So saying the Basmallah before each of our actions will help us to remember Him (swt). The next benefit that we can derive by saying these words is that it reminds us of the purpose of our existence. We know that Allah (swt) created us to worship Him (swt) and to serve Him (swt) and when we constantly say these words before each of our actions and we think about the meaning of these words, then Insha Allah it should remind us of this fact that we are on this earth to worship and serve Allah (swt). The third benefit of mentioning the Name of Allah (swt) before every action is that doing so turns that action into a way of worshipping Allah (swt). Every action that we do can be considered part of our worship of Allah (swt) if we perform that action with the hope of drawing closer to Him (swt) and with the intention of abiding by His (swt)’s Law in that action. So by saying the Basmallah before every action, we are turning that action into an act of worship to Allah (swt). With that action we can seek to get closer to Allah (swt) and we hope that action will be a source of reward for us on the Day of Judgment. The fourth benefit of saying these words before our actions is that we can get Allah (swt)’s help and support in that action. The scholars of language have pointed out that the word Ba in this ayah is the Ba of Istiyanna, which means “to seek help”. So every time we say these words before any one of our actions not only are we seeking to closer to Allah (swt) with that action but we are also seeking Allah (swt)’s help in that action. The fifth benefit of saying these words before all of our actions is that it prevents us from doing the forbidden actions. If we are in the habit of saying these words before every single one of our actions no matter how mundane that action might be, then whenever our desires might prompt us to do an evil action, Insha Allah we would say these words and then immediately remember Allah (swt). Insha Allah this should prevent us from doing that action. These five are only a few of the many benefits that we can

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receive by making it a habit of saying the Basmallah before all of our actions. How beautiful is that then? How beautiful is it to do each and every one of our actions for Allah (swt)? Allah (swt) is the One Who created us and He (swt) is the One Who is sustaining us for every moment of our lives. Do we not then owe it to Him (swt) to dedicate each and every one of our actions for Him (swt)? This could be one of the reasons why Allah (swt) has made the words of Basmallah an incomplete sentence, it is so that in the place of the words that are missing we can put any action that we are going to do. Although we should say the Basmallah at the beginning of every action, one of the most important times to say it is before we start to read the Quran. Since we are turning to the Quran as a source of guidance for us, could there be any time in which need Allah (swt)’s help more and seek Allah (swt)’s Pleasure more than at the time when we read and study His (swt)’s Book? Allah (swt) wants us to mention His (swt)’s Name and call on Him (swt) as we approach His (swt)’s Book and that may be another reason as to why He (swt) has made this ayah as the first ayah in almost every Surah. So by making the Basmallah as the first ayah of the Surah, Allah (swt) is telling us that as we read that Surah we should seek His (swt)’s Help and we should consider that act of turning to the Quran for guidance and reading that Surah as an act of worship and submission to Him (swt). When we have Allah (swt) to guide us then we have a hope that we will get the benefit and guidance from that ayah for our lives, and since this is His (swt)’s Book we hope to draw closer and closer to Him (swt) by our reading of it. Another important reason why Allah (swt) begins Surahs of the Quran with the Basmallah is to declare a promise in His (swt) Name that everything in that Surah is the Truth. Allah (swt) speaks only the Truth, but in the Quran He (swt) makes an oath in His (swt)’s own Name to testify to the Truth of what He (swt) says in the Quran. So by placing the Basmallah before a Surah Allah (swt) is swearing by His (swt)’s Own Name that everything the Surah is the Truth. Everything that Surah has in terms of news must be believed in without a doubt and everything that Surah has in terms of laws must be followed without question. So if anything that the Quran says is hard for you to accept it then remember that the Lord and Master of this entire universe has taken oath in His (swt)’s own Name to what in this Book.

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However as we mentioned perhaps the greatest benefit for us in this ayah is that it helps us to remember our Lord. There is nothing more important in our worldly existence than remembering Allah (swt). So when we do an action in the Name of Allah (swt) it is very important that we bring Allah (swt) to the forefront of our minds while we are doing that action. When we think about Allah (swt) and all of His (swt)’s Perfect Names as well as remembering all that He (swt) has done for us, Insha Allah this will make us love Him (swt) and fear Him (swt) and we would do that action willingly for Him (swt) as part of our total submission to Him (swt). So it is not enough that we do every action for Allah (swt) but we must also do that action with the recognition of Who Allah (swt) IS, and why it is that He (swt) needs to be the purpose for all of our actions. We should always think to ourselves that not only are we doing all of our actions only for Allah (swt) but also we must remind ourselves that we are willingly and lovingly doing that action for Allah (swt). Allah (swt) is the Perfect One and He (swt) is the Source of all good in our life. Insha Allah when we think about Allah (swt) in our minds in this way it will make us want to do all of our actions for Allah (swt) Alone because no one else deserves our actions be for them except He (swt). Our actions should not even by for ourselves instead of Allah (swt) because we are weak and worthless creatures. Our bodies are nothing more than a container of contaminated things and we do not provide any real good for anyone. The only good that we can do is in being a slave of Allah (swt) and doing all our actions for Him (swt). This may seem difficult but when you think about who you are and what you have done and you think about Allah (swt) and what He (swt) has done then you will realize Who is more deserving of being the purpose your actions. We should also note here that the language gives the meaning that not only is the action done for Allah (swt) but it done only for Allah (swt). This means that when we say these words before an action then we are doing that action in the Name of Allah (swt) and only in the Name of Allah (swt). We are doing that action for Allah (swt) and for no one else. So we cannot say these words before an action and then intend by that action anything but the Pleasure of Allah (swt). This is a very important concept for all Muslims to remember because it prevents pride and arrogance from surfacing in any of our actions. It is very important that we always strive to protect ourselves from pride. We as Muslims currently live in an Ummah where although a large portion

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of the community is not known for piety, those who are pious are still held in high regard and looked up to by the community. So when a Muslim does an action of piety in a community that is not so pious then a small sense of pride and arrogance may also try to come in to the intention of that action. The Muslim may be doing that action to make himself or herself feel better than the rest of the community instead of doing that action for Allah (swt). But when the Muslim says the Basmallah, and remembers that part of the meaning of these words is that the action can only be for Allah (swt), Insha Allah that should prevent him or her from having any other motive besides the Pleasure of Allah (swt) in that action. Insha Allah it will ensure that the sincerity is present in all actions. We all know the terrible punishment in the Hereafter that Allah (swt) has reserved for those who do righteous and pious acts with the intention of showing off in front of the people. By always saying the Basmallah before every action and always reminding ourselves that we are doing that action for Allah (swt) and Allah (swt) Alone, this should Insha Allah help us to correct our intention before all of our actions and make the goal of our actions only the Pleasure of Allah (swt) and nothing else. So the first part of this ayah gives the meaning that we are doing each and every one of our actions in “the Name of Allah”. We know from authentic hadith that Allah (swt) has over ninety-nine Names and that each Name describes our Lord and Master in a different way. Each Name is a different way for us to know our Creator. But the Name “Allah” is most likely the greatest Name of Allah (swt). It is not the Arabic word for “god” but rather it is a proper Name. So unlike the English word “god”, this Name does not have a plural or feminine equivalent. While you can say “gods” and “goddess” nothing like this can be done with the Name “Allah”. Allah (swt) is One and Only and He (swt) is above differentiation between masculine and feminine. Is this not how the Creator should be? Can you imagine the Creator and Sustainer of this universe to be limited in any way or to have partners or equals? “Allah” means the One Who is Perfect in every way and that is how we should know the Creator to be. So we see how the Quran matches the reality perfectly, it is said that the Quran is a mirror for the universe and the universe is a mirror for the Quran because they are both from the same Source. So while we know the Creator to be without partner and to be above the limitation of being male and female, this is also how the

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Quran describes Him (swt) to be. The Quran matches what we see from the universe perfectly. So the meaning here is that we are doing all of our actions in the Name of the Perfect One. The One without weakness or flaw. The One Who deserves that all our actions be for Him (swt). The One Who deserves to be worshipped and served by all creation. So the meaning of the Name “Allah” is “The One Who possesses Who all of the attributes of perfection". Allah (swt) is the One Who is Perfect in every way and because of that He (swt) deserves that everything be for Him (swt). He (swt) deserves to be the illah for all creation. Now we know that Allah (swt) has several Names that describe His (swt)’s Perfection, all of these Names are contained in the Name “Allah”. So for example we know that Allah (swt) is AllPowerful in that He (swt) can do anything and everything that He (swt) does is easy for Him (swt). Allah (swt) does not even need to make any effort whatsoever to accomplish anything, He (swt) only says “Be” and it is. So when we refer to Him (swt) as “Allah” we are also referring to Him (swt) as the All-Powerful. We also know that Allah (swt) is All Knowing in that everything is in the Knowledge of Allah (swt). There is not one iota of knowledge that it outside the Knowledge of Allah (swt) because He (swt) Knows everything. He (swt) knows the past, present and future. He (swt) Knows what is, what was, what will be and what could have been. He (swt) Knows what is in the deepest ocean, and what is in the farthest galaxy as He (swt) Knows what is in the deepest recesses of our hearts. Allah (swt) is also the All Seeing and the All Hearing. There is no sight that is hidden from Allah (swt). Allah (swt) Sees everything, even that which is hidden in layers upon layers of darkness. Similarly there is no sound that does not reach Allah (swt), even the faintest whisper reaches Him (swt). These are only a few of the Perfect Names of Allah (swt) and all of these Names are in the Name “Allah”. This is why it is said that it is the greatest Name of Allah (swt). It is the Name that best describes Him (swt). So the Name “Allah” is the greatest Name of Allah (swt) because it also includes all of the other Perfect Names of Allah (swt) within it. When you call on Allah (swt) by this Name you are in essence calling on Him (swt) by all of His Names. This is something that is special only for the name of “Allah”, when you call upon Allah (swt) by this Name it encompasses all of the other Perfect Names of Allah (swt). So where the other Names of Allah (swt) describe only that particular attribute of Allah (swt), the Name “Allah”

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describes all of His (swt)’s perfect attributes. It is the most comprehensive and the most complete of the Names of Allah (swt) and that is why it is the greatest Name of Allah (swt). The Name “Allah” is said to be derived from the words “Al” and “illah”. The word “Al” is similar to the English word “the” and it is used for identifying the definite article in a sentence. So for example when you say “a book” you could be referring to any book but when you say “The book” there is the specific and definite book that you are referring to. The word illah literally means “god” or an “object of worship”. However in reality it means more than simply an object of worship, it means that which the heart of a person is attached to. The illah is what fills the persons thoughts day and night and is the object of his actions. In other words a person’s illah is the most important thing in that person’s life. Throughout the centuries, people have taken as their illah various idols, celestial objects, fire, and even other human beings. In reality however an illah does not need to be an idol or some other physical object but it can be almost anything. For some it is their wealth, for others it is their family or tribe and for others it is their status or image in the eyes of the people, and for others it is their desires and lusts. All of these are things that preoccupy a person’s time because their heart is attached to it and so it is their illah. Sometimes a person can have more than one illah and they all compete for being the purpose behind this persons actions. But when the word al and the word illah are combined it forms the Name “Allah” and it gives the meaning that only Allah (swt) deserves to be illah because He (swt) is “the illah”. So we can see that even in the linguistic derivation of the Name “Allah” it gives the meaning that only Allah (swt) deserves to be the object of all of our actions and the centerpiece of all our thoughts. He (swt) is the true illah and everything else is a false illah. Some may say that to make Allah (swt) as the purpose for all of our actions and the centerpiece of all our thoughts is an ideal that is difficult for us to live up to. They might bring the argument that we as Muslims today are so distracted by the life of this world that we are not able to remember Allah (swt) all of the time and to make the Pleasure of Allah (swt) the objective behind all of our actions. The response to such an argument is that no one ever said this would be easy. The worldly life is always in front of our senses and Allah (swt) is hidden from us. Although the signs of Allah (swt) are in the universe all around us, we still have to make a

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conscious effort to look for those signs and ponder and reflect on them. We still have to make a conscious effort to remember our Lord. Meanwhile the worldly life is simply there right in front of our senses and there will always be something there to capture our attention and distract us away from Allah (swt). So it is understandable if it is difficult for Muslims to live up to the meaning of the Basmallah that they are saying. But even though it is difficult we still have to try. Even if we never reach that state where all of our actions are purely for Allah (swt) we still have to try. We have to remember Allah (swt) and all that He (swt) has done for us. We have to remember that every second of our existence in this worldly life is a test from Allah (swt). For every second of our life Allah (swt) is the One Who is keeping us alive and sustaining us. Every breath that we take is only from Allah (swt). That is why we have to find it within ourselves to make the effort to remember Allah (swt) constantly and make everything that we do and even everything that we think and feel only for Him (swt). If we remember Who Allah (swt) IS, all that He (swt) has given us, and the great reward that He (swt) has prepared for us in the Hereafter then Insha Allah it will not seem all that difficult anymore to remember Him (swt) at every moment of our life. May Allah (swt) grant that ability to all of the sincere Muslims in this Ummah! Since the Name “Allah” captures all of the other Perfect Names of Allah (swt) within it, this is one of the reasons why Allah (swt) is One True illah Who deserves all of our worship and all of our obedience. When we call on Allah (swt), we are also calling on the All Powerful, the All Knowing, the Most Merciful, the Most Patient, we are calling on Him (swt) with all of His (swt)’s Perfect Names. Since only Allah (swt) has these Perfect Names it is only He (swt) Who deserves all of our worship and obedience. When we know these Perfect Names that describe Allah (swt), how can we ever call on anyone besides Him (swt)? How can we not be terrified and humbled by the awesome Power and Majesty that this Name denotes? How can we not be overflowing with love, adoration and respect for Him (swt)? There is nothing else and no one else that can have the name of “Allah” because this Name denotes perfection and the lack of any weakness. Everything else is weak or imperfect in some way and so cannot have this Name. So it is a Name that cannot be given to anyone or anything except Allah (swt). Some of the enemies of Islam have said that it is the name of an idol

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that the pagan Arabs used to worship, but there is no evidence for this whatsoever. In fact if we study the history it clearly shows that even when the pagans used this Name they used it to refer only to Allah (swt). Much like other polytheists they believed in Allah (swt), and they knew that the idols that they worshipped were not able to create the heavens and the earth. But they used these idols as intercessors between them and Allah (swt) hoping that they can get closer to Allah (swt) through these idols. They had names for their idols such as Hubal and Uzza but when they mentioned the Name of Allah (swt), they knew it was only the Creator and Sustainer of the universe that they were referring to. Now that we have a little bit of an understanding of what the Name “Allah” means, we can think about how fortunate we are that we know our Creator and our Sustainer in this way. Every religion has a concept of there being a Supreme Being, One Who has created everything and the One Who is the originator of everything. Even the simplest of minds can fathom that there has to be a source for everything, a source from which the universe originated. Anyone can see that a universe where everything is in some way limited could not have come into being on its own. Thus every religion accepts the idea of a Supreme Being that was the first cause for all things. Another reason why every religion has this idea of a Supreme Being is because Allah (swt) has sent many prophets and messengers. Every nation has had a prophet or messenger that was sent to it. Today there is no nation or people that has not received a messenger who was sent to them from Allah (swt). At some point in their history everyone has received a prophet or messenger. All of these prophets and messengers always preached the very same message. That was to believe in the Oneness of Allah (swt) and as a consequence of that belief to dedicate one’s life in worship and servitude only to Allah (swt). So there were still some remnants of the teachings of these prophets among all people, and so they still had some idea of Allah (swt). But the problem was that almost all of the messages became corrupted over time. The people turned away from the teachings of their prophet and they started to worship others besides Allah (swt). Over time the idea that they had of this Supreme Being became corrupted and perverted in almost all religions. So for example the pagans would set up idols as partners with Allah (swt), they would worship them along with Allah (swt). They believed that these idols also had a share

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in the control of universe. Similarly the Christians would attribute to Allah (swt) the idea of Him (swt) having a son and that the son having a share in the divinity of Allah (swt). The Jews would also put limitations on Allah (swt) and they would say that He (swt) can make mistakes and that His (swt)’s Power was limited. When we look at these corrupt beliefs that have been propagated by the people over the years, we have to remember how fortunate we are as Muslims in how we believe in Allah (swt). We believe in Allah (swt) to be One and Only, without any partner or equal. No one has a share in the Power or Divinity of Allah (swt). There is nothing that is like Him (swt) whatsoever. He (swt) is the Creator and everything else is the creation. All of creation is imperfect and weak, and Allah (swt) is Perfect and Able. Allah (swt) can do all things and there is nothing that is beyond Him (swt), and everything that He (swt) does is easy for Him (swt). We also say that Allah (swt) has Knowledge of every single thing and that He (swt) has the Perfect Wisdom, thus He (swt) does not make mistakes in anything that He (swt) does. There is no other religion or thought that has such a pure understanding of the Supreme Being and Creator of all things. So we should always be grateful to Allah (swt) for giving us the correct understanding of Him (swt). In the second part of the Basmallah Allah (swt) begins to tell us about Himself (swt) by describing two of His (swt)’s most important Names. The Names Ar-Rahman and Ar-Raheem are both derived from the word rahma. The meanings of this word include “mercy”, “compassion” and “tenderness”. So the two Names of His that Allah (swt) first tells us about are the two Names that describe His (swt)’s Mercy. We could ask ourselves that of all of the many Names of Allah (swt), why did He (swt) choose to mention these two Names in this ayah that is repeated so many times in the Quran? Why did He (swt) choose to begin His Book by mentioning these two Names? What is so important about the Mercy of Allah (swt) that it deserves to be mentioned more than the other Names of Allah (swt)? Is it not also important to mention that Allah (swt) is the All Knowing, the All Seeing, the All Powerful? The fact that Allah (swt) has described Himself with the Name of Mercy in this ayah that is repeated so many times in the Quran and in this ayah that begins the Quran shows us how important the Mercy of Allah (swt) is. It shows us how Allah (swt) is constantly reminding us of His (swt)’s Mercy. Why is this so? What is so special about the Mercy of Allah (swt)? More than any other Name Allah (swt) wants Him to be known for Mercy.

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Allah (swt) is Merciful in so many ways and His (swt)’s Mercy is unlike any other.The first aspect of the Mercy of Allah (swt) that is so special is that the Mercy of Allah (swt) extends to all of the creation. All of the creation is experiencing the Mercy of Allah (swt) for every second of its existence. The first way in which everything in the universe is experiencing the Mercy of Allah (swt) is simply from the fact that it exists. Allah (swt) is not in need of anything so Allah (swt) does not need the creation. Rather every single thing that exists in the universe is only a manifestation of the Mercy of Allah (swt) because Allah (swt) created everything only out of His (swt)’s Mercy. So all of the rocks, plants, animals, stars and everything else in the universe have only been created as part of the Mercy of Allah (swt). Their very existence is a manifestation of the Mercy of Allah (swt). Not only has everything in the universe been created only as part of the Mercy of Allah (swt) but also everything is being sustained only by the Mercy of Allah (swt). So everything that exists in the universe needs Allah (swt) for every moment of its existence. If Allah (swt) were to neglect the universe for even a single moment then the entire universe would be completely destroyed. So one way in which we can see why Allah (swt)’s Mercy is one of His most important Names is because the entire universe needs Allah (swt)’s Mercy both to be brought into existence and for that existence to be maintained. Some scholars have even said that Allah (swt) created the entire universe and continues to maintain this universe only to make manifest His (swt)’s Mercy. This entire universe is nothing but a manifestation of the Mercy of Allah (swt). Just the fact that so Powerful and Tremendous a Being has chosen to be so Merciful shows us how Sublime and Magnificent He (swt) IS. This Mercy of Allah (swt) extends to every single thing. There is not a single thing except that it is tasting of the Mercy of Allah (swt) for every single moment of its existence. For example in the Quran Allah (swt) tells us to look at the birds in flight and how they spread their wings. Allah (swt) says that nothing keeps them from falling except He (swt). Similarly it is only Allah (swt) that provides the sustenance for every living thing. Even at this moment He (swt) is providing for the smallest of ants that walk on the earth and for the fish in deepest of seas. There is nothing in existence except that it has Allah (swt) as it’s only Provider and Sustainer. Everything in this universe constantly needs the Mercy of Allah (swt).

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While the Mercy of Allah (swt) extends to even the rocks and the trees, there is nothing that has received more of Allah (swt)’s Mercy than human beings. Allah (swt) says in the Quran that He (swt) has created everything on the earth for the human being. Allah (swt) has subjugated every single thing in this planet for the benefit of the human being. So all of the animals, plants and inanimate objects of this planet have been created only for the human being. The human is free to use the animals of this world for food and transportation, to use the trees of this world to build houses and to use the plants in his garden, and to use whatever else is on this earth for any purpose he may please. The only condition is that he should not use these things in disobedience to Allah (swt). Everything on this earth has been made only for the human being. This is an honor and privilege that has not been given to any other creature. The subjugation of this planet is part of the Mercy of Allah (swt) for the human being for which the human has done nothing on his own to deserve. It is only a gift and blessing from the Mercy of Allah (swt). However the greatest manifestation of Allah (swt)’s Mercy for the human being is the mind of the human. With this mind that Allah (swt) has given us we can communicate with other human beings, we can learn about the world around us and we can come up with material advancements and technology to benefit our stay on this planet. Simply look at all of the comforts and conveniences that you have because Allah (swt) has given the human being this mind. From the warm meal that you eat, to the shelter your roof provides, to the transportation your car gives you, to the information you find on the Internet. All of these are accomplishments of the human being but they are from the resources that Allah (swt) gave the human being and most importantly they were devised from the mind that Allah (swt) Alone gave to the human. Yet despite all that we as a human race have accomplished with our minds and all of the technological advancements that we have made, the greatest blessing of this mind that Allah (swt) has given us is that it enables to realize and know Him (swt). With our minds we can study the universe around us and realize the Existence of Allah (swt) through the signs that are present in the universe. All the other creatures of this planet are already aware of Allah (swt) and they are always in a complete state of submission to Him (swt). But as for humans, Allah (swt) has given us the ability to study the world around us, reflect on it and realize that it could not have come into

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existence without Him (swt). This is only possible with our minds. So the greatest blessing of our minds is that our minds allow us to know Allah (swt). What greater Mercy can Allah (swt) show to a creation other than allowing that creation to know Him (swt)? But how many humans in today’s world use their mind for this purpose? Humans have used their minds to learn about everything in this world that will benefit them while on this earth, but how many humans use their minds to think about why they are on this earth? How many humans reflect on what is the purpose of their existence on this planet? If they did they would realize that they have been created by Allah (swt) and their purpose in life is to worship and serve their Creator. This is the reason why we have been given our mind, it so that we can know our Creator. So human beings have experienced the Mercy of Allah (swt) more than any other creature by the fact that Allah (swt) has given them their minds and Allah (swt) has given them the potential to know Him (swt). But how many humans are aware of that Mercy, how many humans are thankful to Allah (swt) for that Mercy by using their minds to reflect on Allah (swt) and to glorify Him (swt)? Despite the fact that there are so many people who refuse to use their minds to think about Allah (swt) and to think about the purpose of their existence, the Mercy of Allah (swt) still extends to these people as well. These are the ones who do not thank Allah (swt) for all of the bounties that He (swt) has bestowed upon them and some of them even refuse to acknowledge the Existence of Allah (swt). But still the Mercy of Allah (swt) extends to them. Even for these ungrateful and evil people Allah (swt) still continues to provide for them the air that they breathe, the food that they eat, and Allah (swt) even allows their very bodies to function as He (swt) keep them alive. These people continue to be ungrateful and unjust to Allah (swt) even though they need Him (swt) and Allah (swt) continues to be Merciful to them even though He (swt) does not need them. So despite all the evil and injustice that the people have done to Allah (swt), their Creator and Sustainer, He (swt) continues to Sustain and Nurture them. Allah (swt) provides for them everything that they need. Can you then realize how Sublime and Magnificent your Lord is in that He (swt) would provide for these people even though they do not even acknowledge Him (swt) let alone worship and serve Him (swt) like they should? Everything that the disbelievers

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have is from Allah (swt) and they have done nothing for Him (swt) to deserve it. However despite the fact that Allah (swt) has given them all of this, the greatest Mercy of Allah (swt) for these people is the time that He (swt) gives them to change their ways, to repent and to return to the worship and servitude of Allah (swt) for which they were created. Allah (swt) gives them time and even their time is a mercy for them. Every moment that passes them by is a ‘Mercy for them. In all of these ways the Mercy of Allah (swt) extends to all people, even those who refuse to acknowledge and worship Him (swt). However there is no one to whom the Mercy of Allah (swt) extends more to than the righteous believers. The Mercy of Allah (swt) reaches the believers more than any other of His (swt)’s creation. Here in actually is the difference between the two Names of Ar-Rahman and ArRaheem. Where Ar-Rahman is the Mercy of Allah (swt) that is present for all of the creation, ArRaheem is a Mercy that is specifically for the righteous believers. The ones who believe in Allah (swt) and willingly submit to Him (swt) by living their lives in worship and servitude to Him (swt). So this Name Ar-Raheem describes that special Mercy of Allah (swt) that is only for the righteous believers. In addition to what Allah (swt) does for all of the creation as described in His Name ArRahman, Allah (swt) does even more for the believers and this is described by His (swt)’s Name Ar-Raheem. So what is it that Allah (swt) does for the believers that is described by His Name ArRaheem? The first and foremost of what Allah (swt) has done for the believers is that He (swt) puts the light of guidance in their hearts. He (swt) facilitates for them to believe in Him (swt) and in the Message that He (swt) sends. Allah (swt) has told us that He (swt) will guide those who seek guidance from Him (swt). So for those who sincerely search for the Signs of Allah (swt), He (swt) will guide them to the Truth of His (swt)’s Existence and He (swt) will put in their hearts the sweetness of Faith that is far better than anything that this worldly life has to offer. The next Mercy that Allah (swt) gives specifically for the believers is the tranquility that they feel in their hearts that comes from this Faith. For the ones who truly recognize Allah (swt) and have the firmest of belief in Him (swt), would they ever feel any sorrow or any fear from anything of this world? They would not because they know that everything comes from Allah (swt) and that He

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(swt) has Power over all things and that He (swt) Sees and Hears everything. Allah (swt) is aware of any trial or difficulty that they go through in this world and this trial is either a test for them for which they will be rewarded in the Hereafter or it is a means by which some of their sins are removed. Even the way of life that Allah (swt) has given the believers, this way of life called Islam is a Mercy for them. It shows them how to live their lives so that they can achieve true peace and tranquility in the life of this world. It shows them how they can fulfill the purpose for which they were created. Islam does this both for the society as a whole and for the people in that society. Despite all of this Mercy that Allah (swt) has given the believers in the life of this world we know that the greatest Mercy that Allah (swt) gives specifically for the believers is in the Hereafter. We know the hadith where the Prophet (saw) has told us how Allah (swt) has divided Mercy into one hundred pieces and of those ninety nine pieces He (swt) has kept with Himself and only one piece did He (swt) send down to this world. So any Mercy that we find in this worldly life, including the mercy of all mothers for their young, is part of this one piece of Mercy. The remaining ninety-nine pieces of Mercy that Allah (swt) has kept with Himself He (swt) has reserved specifically for the believers in the Hereafter. So although Allah (swt) showers Mercy for all of the creation, we can see that this is only a small portion of the total Mercy that Allah (swt) has. The largest portion of this Mercy is what has been kept for the believers in the Hereafter. When you see how much Mercy the creation today is experiencing, can you then even begin to imagine how much Mercy Allah (swt) is saving for the believers in the Hereafter? It is even beyond our imagination and comprehension. This shows us how wonderful and joyous the Hereafter will be for the righteous believers and how much Allah (swt) loves them that He (swt) will grant them such a reward. This shows us the true value of Iman and the true value of being a member of this community. May Allah (swt) join us in that company! So we can see from this ayah that the greatest share of the Mercy of Allah (swt) has been kept only for the believers in the Hereafter. But we must realize that we are not guaranteed this Mercy simply by being born into a Muslim family and having a Muslim name. There is no guarantee that says that you will go straight to Paradise if all that you do is believe and you do not act on that belief. Rather you must remember that Allah (swt) says in the Quran “Obey Allah and

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obey the Messenger in order that you may be shown Mercy” (3:132). The meaning of this ayah is that we will only be guaranteed the Mercy of Allah (swt) in the Hereafter if we do our best to obey the commands of Allah (swt). We obey Allah (swt) by following the Prophet (saw) in all of our actions. The Prophet (saw) is the role model that Allah (swt) has given us so that we can know how to worship and serve Him (swt). So we see that the Mercy of Allah (swt) for the believers in the Hereafter is conditional on obedience to Allah (swt) by following the Prophet (saw). Thus the only way that we can hope for this Mercy is to sincerely submit to Allah (swt) alone. We submit to Allah (swt) by trying to follow the Prophet (saw) in everything that we do. May Allah (swt) give us all the ability to do that! So what is the Mercy of Allah (swt) for the righteous believers in the Hereafter? The Mercy of Allah (swt) for the righteous believers in the Hereafter includes saving them from the punishment of the grave. We know that there is punishment for the sinful in the grave, even in the grave they will be subjected to a punishment because they chose to turn away from their Lord and Master. The Mercy of Allah (swt) saves the believers from this punishment. The Mercy of Allah (swt) in the Hereafter also includes saving them from the fear, anxiety and terrors of the Last Day. We know that the Day of Judgment is a Day on which this world as we know it will be completely destroyed. Those who do not have the Mercy of Allah (swt) on them will be gripped with fear and apprehension on that Day. They will see the world around them being destroyed and their hearts will be seized with terror. So we ask Allah (swt) for His (swt)’s Mercy on that Day. Most importantly however the Mercy of Allah (swt) for the believers is His (swt) saving them from the torment of the Hellfire. No one can have patience on the Fire, not even for one moment, and the greatest of the Mercy of Allah (swt) is to be kept away from that awful place. May Allah (swt), in His (swt)’s Infinite and unending Mercy keep us all far away from that place! As bad as your life may be at this moment, just the fact that you are not in that terrible place at this moment is a Mercy from Allah (swt) for which you should be constantly thanking Him (swt)! In addition to this salvation, the Mercy of Allah (swt) for the believers in the Hereafter also includes allowing them to enter the eternal bliss and tranquility of Paradise. To partake in all of the pleasures and joys therein. The true pleasure, bliss, and contentment of the Garden is

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beyond our limited words so we will not even try. You just have to think that if the Lord and Master of the universe wanted to make you happy then in how many different ways can He (swt) make you happy? Allah (swt) created you for a test. Just imagine how He (swt) could reward if you passed this test? But the greatest part of the Mercy that Allah (swt) gives the believers in the Hereafter is that He (swt) gives them His (swt)’s contentment and that He (swt) allows the believers to behold Him (swt). Insha Allah if we can get this Mercy of Allah (swt) then it would be the very best thing that could ever happen to us. First Allah (swt) will tell us that He (swt) is pleased with us, and that He (swt) will never be displeased with us after that. Could there be anything better than that? To know that your Creator is pleased with you. The only thing that will be better than that is to actually behold Allah (swt). We do not know how we will see Allah (swt), we just know that we will and it will the greatest of experiences, something that cannot be described in words. This is what we must always be thinking about in the life of this world, and all of our actions should be to strive to attain this. May Allah (swt) give us that determination and ability! Truly we cannot do it unless Allah (swt) gives us His (swt)’s enabling grace! In addition to knowing that the greatest portion of the Mercy of Allah (swt) is reserved for us only if we give obedience to all of the Laws of Allah (swt), we must also realize that Allah (swt) is pleased with us when we show mercy to others. The Prophet (saw) said “Allah will not show Mercy to the one who does not show mercy to the people”. This hadith shows us that it is obligatory upon Muslims to show mercy for the people. It is obligatory upon us to want nothing but the best for all people. This is because the Prophet (saw) linked the action of us showing mercy to the people with the reward of Allah (swt) giving Mercy to us. This is what indicates in this hadith that such an action is not merely a recommended act but it is an obligation. In other words if we do not do this action of showing mercy to the people then we will not receive the Mercy of Allah (swt) in the Hereafter. Think about it, how can you invoke Allah (swt) by calling on Him (swt) as the Most Merciful over seventeen times every day of your life and then not show mercy to His (swt)’s creation. Showing mercy to the people includes being kind to the people and always speaking and interacting with them in a pleasant manner. It includes being just and fair with them

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and always fulfilling you oaths and obligations to them. Most importantly however it includes inviting them to Allah (swt). The most important way in which we can show mercy to the people is to work in the dawah following the example of the Prophet (saw), to invite the people to Islam by reminding them of their obligations to Allah (swt), their Creator and Sustainer. To be merciful to the people is to want what is best for them, and what could be better for them than this Din? Both in this life and the Hereafter? So since the true Mercy of Allah (swt) is in the Hereafter we would be inviting the people to that Mercy and at the same time we would be securing that Mercy for ourselves. How wonderful is that? Praise be to Allah (swt) for giving us the opportunity to do this. How Merciful is He (swt)! Some ignorant people may bring the argument that if Allah (swt) is so Merciful then why is it that we see so much suffering and misery in the world today. They would say that even the righteous believers in the world today are being oppressed and are suffering, they ask why this is happening if Allah (swt) is so Merciful. The ones who ask questions such as these are truly ignorant as to the reality of this universe and how it operates. They have to be reminded that Allah (swt) created us only so that we may worship and serve Him (swt). Part of this worship of Allah (swt) is having patience and steadfastness through the different trials and hardships that we have to go through in life. Allah (swt) says “Do you think that you will enter Paradise before Allah tests those of you who fought (in His Cause) and (also) tests those who are As- Sabirin (the patient ones, the steadfast.)?”(3:142). This ayah clearly shows that our entering the Garden is conditional upon our being patient through times of sorrow and hardship, and also on us being steadfast in completing all of the obligations and responsibilities that we have. So the hardships and sorrows that the believers have to face in this worldly life is a test for them, if they are patient and steadfast through these trials then they will be rewarded beyond measure in the Hereafter for their patience and steadfastness. In addition to being a source of reward in the Hereafter trials and difficulties in this world can also be a way in which Allah (swt) removes the sins of the believers. There is no believer outside of the prophets who is completely without sin. It is part of the nature of the son of Adam that he commits sins and only the prophets have been excluded from this rule. Yet it is a Mercy from Allah (swt) that He (swt) gives the believers some trial in this

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world so that their sins can be removed. Then after being cleansed of their wrong actions through the trials and difficulties that they face they can enter Paradise being purified of all the evil that they did in this world. Some scholars have even said that while it is an obligation for the believers to be patient through times of sorrow and adversity, it is actually recommended that they be pleased with such trials because of the knowledge that either they are being tested and rewarded or their sins are being removed because of their patience. So we see that those who question as to why the believers are made to suffer in this world are only thinking in terms of the temporary and fleeting life of this world. They do not realize that once this short life is over, the believers will be rewarded in full for their patience through all of the suffering and hardship that they had endure. When they see the Fire that they have been saved from and they see how many of their sins their Lord has forgiven them then they will realize how Merciful He (swt) has been even in the trials and sorrows that He (swt) gave to them. Allah (swt) loves those who believe in Him (swt) and those who serve Him (swt), so everything that He (swt) does for them is what is best for them. There is the Mercy of Allah (swt) in everything that He (swt) does, we just sometimes do not realize it. These same ignorant people may also bring the argument as to why it is that disbelievers are suffering in this world. Similar to the question that has been asked above, a question such as this can only be posed by someone who is truly ignorant of the universe and how it works. Someone whose thinking is limited only to the narrow existence of this world. How can you expect a people who deny their Creator and Sustainer, who will not even acknowledge the One that brought them into existence and the One that is maintaining their existence for every moment of their lives, to be shown Mercy by Allah (swt)? Their suffering is actually a way of making them realize the error of their ways and return to the worship and servitude of Allah (swt). These people are actually suffering more than we can ever imagine. Most of their suffering is from the void in their hearts that they feel after abandoning Allah (swt). That is why they are so materialistic and many of them have deep physiological problems. They have another illah in their hearts in place of Allah (swt), be it their wealth or their desires or some trivial pastime of this world. This illah leads them to misery because despite the fact that it occupies their hearts for the duration of their

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lives, they know deep down inside that it cannot answer their prayers in times of need and it cannot save them from death. For them death is an unknown and they know they are heading closer to it with each second of their lives that passes them by. So they live a meaningless existence in total misery pursuing after the trivial things of this world, even if they themselves are not aware of this misery. Still this misery that they suffer is also a Mercy from Allah (swt) because the pain that they feel is a way in which Allah (swt) is telling them to wake up from their slumber and intoxication and return to the worship and servitude of their Creator. Those who are sincere from among them Insha Allah will realize the Truth of Allah (swt) and Insha Allah will try to find the Messenger (saw) that leads to Allah (swt). Once they enter into this Din they will realize the darkness that they used to be living in. But today most of the people are living in darkness and they do not even realize it. Often times the reason for their misery is because Allah (swt) is absent from their lives. If they would find Islam and know their Creator then like the true Muslims they would find peace and solace with whatever difficulty that they have to face in life. In whatever happens to them in life they would find the Mercy of Allah (swt). It is truly the fault of us Muslims that the Message of the Prophet (saw) is not present for them. That is why we must return to the dawah following the way of the Prophet (saw). Then Insha Allah we can invite the people to this special Mercy of Allah (swt) that comes only from Islam. So whenever Shaitan makes us think as to where is the Mercy of Allah (swt) after seeing all of the oppression and injustice in this world, we have to always remind ourselves that this world is not the end of existence for any human soul. Allah (swt) created every single human soul to live forever. The short and temporal existence in the life of this world is only the smallest fraction in the existence of that soul. This world is only a place of testing. A temporary and fleeting existence that will be over before we even know it. The real life for every single soul begins only in the Hereafter. In the Hereafter if there any souls that are deserving of the Mercy of Allah (swt), you can be certain that they will be shown that Mercy. Allah (swt) is the All Knowing, the Most Wise, and the Most Just. The only ones who will be far away from the Mercy of Allah (swt) are those who have willingly chosen to turn away from Him (swt). The only ones who are truly undeserving of this Mercy. May Allah (swt) save us from ever being among such people!

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So we see that in this first ayah of the Surah Allah (swt) calls on us to begin all of our actions in His (swt)’s Name. We have seen the many benefits that come from starting all of our actions in the Name of our Lord. Among these benefits is that it makes that action a way of worshipping Allah (swt) and we get the help of Allah (swt) in that action. So we read the Quran and we do our actions in the greatest Name of our Lord and Master. It is a Name that cannot be given to anyone besides Allah (swt). It is also the Name that has all of the perfect attributes of Allah (swt) because it has all of the other Names of Allah (swt) in it. Of those Names, the two that Allah (swt) mentions in this very ayah describe how Merciful He (swt) is. So from the fact that Allah (swt) has chosen to mention these two Names we can say that Allah (swt) wants to be known for His (swt)’s Mercy more than anything else. This then is how Allah (swt) begins Surah Fatihah, by mentioning over it His (swt)’s Name. This tells us the enormity and importance of this Surah because the Name of Allah (swt) is over it. The same can be said for the Quran as a whole because the Name of Allah (swt) is over almost all of the Surahs of the Quran. The Quran’s words are a miracle the like of which no human mind has ever been able to reproduce. The news that it gives us is the Truth with absolutely no doubt in it. Of all of the Mercy that Allah (swt) has sent down for mankind there is nothing greater than the Quran because these are the Words of Allah (swt) that lead to Him (swt). It is a guidance that will guide us on how to fulfill the purpose of our existence and it will guide us on how to serve Our Creator. Could there then be any greater treasure that a human beings possesses then this? We should approach this Surah and all of the Surahs having this in mind. Always remembering that we have been created to be the slaves of Allah (swt) and to dedicate our lives to Him (swt). We will be rewarded for this effort in the life that comes after this one, and the greatest pleasure and happiness in that life is knowing that Allah (swt) is pleased with us and to be given the chance to see Allah (swt). The only thing that guides to that pleasure is this Quran. So how valuable is this Quran? May Allah (swt) make us worthy this Quran! May Allah (swt) make every ayah that we read a source of light for us in this world of darkness in which we live! May Allah (swt) make us realize the importance of the Quran! Now that the Prophet (saw) has passed away, the Quran is

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the only link that we have with Allah (swt). You can see that our community is very different today than it was at the time of the Prophet (saw). Today our situation has deteriorated into a far worse condition than how we were when the Prophet (saw) was with us. We cannot say the reason why we have come into this terrible condition is because the Prophet (saw) is no longer with us when he (saw) clearly told us that Allah (swt) has left us this Quran and his (saw)’s Sunnah in his (saw)’s place. So the reason why we have gone astray and come into this terrible situation is because we have abandoned this guidance that our Lord has sent us. May Allah (swt) forgive us for that and make us worthy to carry this Message once again! The method on how to carry this Message is in the Sunnah of the Prophet (saw) and in this Quran. Only by following that can we attain happiness and tranquility in this life and salvation in the next. May Allah (swt) grant us that!

2. The Hamd is Only for Allah, the Rabb of al-Alaimin. Surah Fatihah is a prayer that we read every day of our lives. If we make the minimum obligatory Salah that we are supposed to do then we would be making this prayer at least seventeen times a day. The fact that Allah (swt) has obligated us to make this prayer at least seventeen times a day should show us how important it is. How important then must it be for you to learn this Surah and always reflect on this Surah since your Lord has commanded you to recite it at least seventeen times a day? This Surah is the gateway to your Lord if only you would realize the meanings that it contains. So Insha Allah we must strive to learn as much of the meanings of this Surah as we possibly can. In the previous ayah we saw how Allah (swt) told us to begin this Surah in His (swt)’s Name. Allah (swt) also told us of two of His (swt)’s Most Beautiful Names and we saw how they both described His (swt)’s unending Mercy. In this ayah Allah (swt) teaches us that before we ask anything of Him (swt) we first have to praise Him (swt) and we first have to thank Him (swt) for all that He (swt) has given us. In this ayah alone Allah (swt) tells us both Who He (swt) IS and what our relationship with Him (swt) should be.

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Allah (swt) begins this second ayah of Surah Fatihah by telling us that all of the Hamd is only for Him (swt). The word Hamd means “praise” and it also means “thankfulness and appreciation”. Both of these meanings are present in this word. Allah (swt) is the One who deserves all of the praise just as He (swt) deserves all of the thanks and appreciation. How can we not thank Allah (swt) when we think about all that He (swt) has given us? How can we not praise Allah (swt) when we realize Who He (swt) IS? What we are going to give here is only a few examples of why Allah (swt) deserves all of the praise and all of the thanks. But if you were to think about it, you will find many more reasons as to why Allah (swt) deserves all of the praise and all of the thanks. You will find that the words of this ayah are truer than the heavens and the earth. Allah (swt) is the One Who should always constantly be thanked and He (swt) is the One Who should always constantly be praised. First of all Allah (swt) deserves the praise because He (swt) has all of Perfect Names. How can you not praise Allah (swt) when you see that He (swt) is Perfect in every way? You would praise someone when you see something in that person that is commendable. You would praise a warrior for being brave, a woman for being beautiful, a scholar for being intelligent, a judge for being wise and so forth. But now think about Allah (swt) and think about all of His (swt)’s Perfect Names. He (swt) is the All-Powerful in that He (swt) can do anything. He (swt) is the AllKnowing in that He (swt) Knows about every single thing. He (swt) is the All-Seeing in that nothing escapes His (swt) Vision and He (swt) is the All-Hearing in that He (swt) hears every single sound. He (swt) is also the Most Wise and the Most Kind and He (swt) is the Most Merciful and the Most Just. So because Allah (swt) has all of the Perfect Names that is why He (swt) deserves all of the praise. The creation is nothing when compared to the Creator. Who is there in this entire universe that can see everything or hear everything? Is there anyone in this world who knows everything or can do all things? So we see that the Perfect Names of Allah (swt) make Him (swt) the most Praiseworthy, to the point that nothing else in the creation deserves any praise when compared to Him (swt). Even if you want to praise the creation you really have to praise Allah (swt). All praise that is given to the creation must actually go to the Creator. For example if you want to praise a

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warrior for being brave or a woman for being beautiful, you have to ask yourself Who is that created that warrior and that woman? Who is that gave them their bravery, their beauty, their intelligence, their wisdom? So ask yourself now who really deserves the praise? Then realize that any praise that is given to the creation should really be given to Allah (swt). He (swt) is the One Who created that person and He (swt) is the One Who gave that person that ability or attribute about them which we praise. So instead of praising the creation we should praise Allah (swt). The next time that you want to praise anyone for anything, remember the One Who gave them everything that they have. Even when Shaitan comes and makes you praise yourself and tries to make you arrogant, you have to remember the One Who gave you everything that you have. So instead of praising yourself and becoming arrogant and proud, you should praise your Creator and your Sustainer and you should dedicate yourself to worshipping and serving Him (swt). The other meaning that the word Hamd gives is gratefulness and appreciation. So when you say that the Hamd belongs to Allah (swt), you also giving thanks and appreciating to Allah (swt) for all that He (swt) has given you. Allah (swt) is the One Who created you and He (swt) is the One keeping you alive at every second of your life. Everything that you have in your life is from Him (swt). From the air that your breathe to food that you eat to the water that you drink to the clothes that you wear to the homes that shelter you to the transportation that carries you. Even your family is something that Allah (swt) has given you. Your parents that looked after you when you were young, and your wives that you take comfort in and the children that delight you in are all from Allah (swt). Your hearing, your sight and your mind are all from Allah (swt). For all these that your Creator has given you when you say “Al-Hamd is only for Allah” you are thanking Him (swt) for giving it to you. We can also notice that the Arabic word lam that Allah (swt) uses in this ayah is what is known as the “lam of possession and exclusiveness”. This word gives the meaning that both the praise and the thanks are only for Allah (swt). All praise and thanks are for Allah (swt) and for no one else. No one and nothing in this world deserves to be praised and no one and nothing in this world deserves to be thanked except Allah (swt). When you truly realize Allah (swt) and when you truly know Him (swt) then can you ever praise or show gratitude to anyone besides Him (swt)?

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The lesson that we can take from this first part of the ayah is that we must always be repeating these words to ourselves to express the gratefulness that we must have to Allah (swt). Not only should we say these words in our Salah, but even outside the Salah during the course of our lives. When we are walking, when we are waiting, when we are working. Imam Muslim records from Abu Musa Al-Ashari (ra) that the Prophet (saw) said “Al-Hamdulillah fills the scales”. The meaning of this hadith is that if we simply say that the hamd is only for Allah with sincerity, then our scale of good deeds will be filled with reward only from the utterances of these words and our understanding of their meaning in our hearts. How Merciful is Allah (swt) in that He (swt) has made it so easy for us to earn good deeds for ourselves in the Hereafter? In another hadith the Prophet (saw) said “Allah does not grant a servant a favor for which he says al-Hamdulillah except that what offered (of praise and thanks) is better than what he took (of the favor)”. This means that if something good happens in your life and you say al-Hamdulillah, then your praising and giving thanks to Allah (swt) is better for you than that favor you received. This is because you will only get the benefit of that favor in this world but your praise of Allah (swt) and your appreciation of the fact that only Allah (swt) gave it to you will be a source of reward for you in the Hereafter. Every believer knows that what is in the Hereafter is much better than what is in the life of this world. Furthermore if Allah (swt) grants us something and we do not thank Him (swt) for that blessing or that favor, then there are at least two dangers. First is that Allah (swt) might take that blessing or favor away from us, and second is that we will be questioned on the Last Day as to why we were ungrateful to Allah (swt) for that favor that He (swt) conferred on us. In order to save ourselves from that we have to try our best to express our gratitude to Allah (swt) for everything that He (swt) has given us. So just like you are in the habit of saying the Basmallah before any action that you take, you should say al-Hamdulillah for any blessing or favor that you receive in this world. Since your whole life is a great blessing from Allah (swt) you should be in the habit of saying al-Hamdulillah all of the time. Try to think of all of the good that Allah (swt) has given you and try to constantly praise Him (swt) for it. You will find that it is not hard to find much good in your life if only you would think about. Know that your praising of Allah (swt) is beloved to

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Him (swt) and know that you can draw closer to Him (swt) with it. May Allah (swt) give us all the enabling grace to even try and thank Him (swt) for all that He (swt) has given us! The way to show your gratitude to Allah (swt) for all that He (swt) has given you is to first acknowledge that it was Allah (swt) and Allah (swt) Alone Who has given you all that you have. The first part of gratitude has to be this realization in the heart. Realize that everything that you have is only from Allah (swt). After this realization in your heart, you then say al-Hamdulillah with your tounge. Acknowledge with your tongue that every blessing you have in your life is only from Allah (swt). After that you must strive with your limbs to do all the actions that are pleasing to Allah (swt) and to stay away from all the actions that are displeasing to Him (swt). You show thanks to Allah (swt) with your body by using it in a way that is pleasing to Him (swt). So we see how our heart, our tounge and our limbs must all express gratitude to Allah (swt). Thus we realize that our giving of thanks to Allah (swt) is something that is comprehensive and covers every facet of our selves. So we see that these few words of praising and thanking Allah (swt) that make the first part of this ayah have great blessing and reward. You say these words by remembering all that Allah (swt) has given you and also by knowing that He (swt) deserves all of the praise and all of the thanks because of what He (swt) has given you. You also say al-Hamdulilah by remembering all of the Perfect Names of Allah (swt) and how He (swt) deserves all of the praise because of this Perfection. You realize how everything else in the universe is weak and dependent in some way, and so you realize how nothing in the universe deserves any praise. Rather all praise must be for Allah (swt) Who is Perfect and Independent of all of the creation. When you realize the absolute Perfection of Allah (swt) then you see why He (swt) is deserving of all praise. You also remember all of the favors and bounties that Allah (swt) has bestowed on you, you remember how every single thing that you have is a blessing from Allah (swt), every moment in your life is a gift from Allah (swt), and so you realize that all thanks and gratitude must be only for Allah (swt). As we mentioned we could go on for pages and pages as to why Allah (swt) is the only One Who deserves all of the praise and all of the thanks. But you yourself should think about this fact and reflect on it. You yourself will find many more reasons as to why He (swt) deserves the hamd.

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In the second part of this ayah Allah (swt) describes Himself as Rabb al-Alamin. The word Rabb cannot be translated into a single English word because it encompasses so much meaning. When it used without the definite article simply as “rabb” it could mean the master or owner of something. However when it used with the definite article as “Ar-Rabb” it could only refer to Allah (swt). One of the meanings it gives is the One Who creates everything and the One Who sustains and nurtures everything. Allah (swt) is the One Who brought everything into existence and He (swt) is the One Who is constantly maintaining the existence of all things. So not only are you alive at this moment because Allah (swt) created you but He (swt) is also the One Who is sustaining you at this very moment. Allah (swt) is giving you the air that you breathe and He (swt) is making your environment suitable for you to live in and He (swt) is the One that is allowing your body to function. Allah (swt) is the One Who is making the blood flow through your veins at this moment and He (swt) is the One Who is digesting the food in your stomach. So Allah (swt) is the One Who gave you life and He (swt) is the One Who is keeping you alive. This is not only true for you but it is true for all of the creation. He (swt) is the One Who is constantly maintaining all of the creation. The entire universe is more in need of Allah (swt) than an infant is of its mother. This dependence that we all have on Allah (swt) is captured by this Name Ar-Rabb. So a few of the meanings that are captured with the Name Ar-Rabb are the “Creator”, the “Sustainer” and the “Nurturer”. This is because Allah (swt) is all of these for every single thing in this universe. In addition to giving the meaning of “Creator” , “Sustainer” and “Nurturer”, Ar-Rabb also gives the meaning of the “Owner” and “Master” of all things. Because Allah (swt) is the Creator and Sustainer of this universe, everything in it belongs to Him (swt) Alone. The Ownership and Mastership that Allah (swt) has over the creation is a right that belongs to Him (swt) on the account of Him (swt) being the Creator and Sustainer of it. There is nothing in this world that belongs to any human being, everything belongs to Allah (swt). Allah (swt) gives to human beings a small portion of this world to be under their care. How much Allah (swt) gives to each person is up to Him (swt). Furthermore whatever Allah (swt) gives to human beings is only a temporary ownership on the part of human beings, in reality everything still belongs to Allah (swt). Everything belongs to Allah (swt) and so He (swt) is free to do with all things as He (swt) pleases.

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One of the lessons that we can take from this fact is that we must learn to be content with whatever Allah (swt) has given us. This contentment is also part of our worship and servitude to Allah (swt). We know that everything really belongs to Allah (swt), so with whatever He (swt) has given us we are content. We should never question why Allah (swt) has given others more than He (swt) has given us. Everything belongs to Allah (swt) and He (swt) gives to whomever He (swt) pleases as He (swt) pleases. As His (swt)’s humble slaves we submit to whatever Allah (swt) chooses to give to His (swt)’s creation. Another lesson that we can take from the fact that everything belongs to Allah (swt) is that we must never become too attached to the things of this world. Not only does everything here belong to Allah (swt), but also sometime soon we will have to return everything that we have back to their real Owner. So we must always remember the temporary and fleeting nature of this world. How everything that we have will leave us soon. As the Prophet (saw) said “the most truthful word ever uttered by a poet is when he said ‘Verily everything apart from Allah is falsehood’”. Here the Prophet (saw) is showing us how everything in this universe that does not help us to attain the Pleasure of Allah (swt) is falsehood and must be abandoned. As we remember the worthlessness of this world we must also remember the permanence and the everlastingness of the Hereafter. The scholars have said that this will make our hearts leave this world and go to the Hereafter even if our bodies are still in this world. Thus we see that one of the benefits in remembering how all things belong to Allah (swt) is that it prevents us from becoming attached to the things of this world. May Allah (swt) save us from the lure of material things of this world and may He (swt) always keep our hearts attached to Him (swt)! The title Ar-Rabb also gives the meaning that Allah (swt) is the Lord, King and Ruler of all things. He (swt) is the Authority that needs to be obeyed and the King that needs to be served. So when Allah (swt) sends you a messenger who tells you to do certain actions and who tells you to refrain from certain actions then you have to follow that messenger and do everything that he says. This is true for all human beings and it is true in all aspects of life because Allah (swt) is the Lord of all people and Allah (swt) is always Lord over all aspects of life. So all of humanity must be obedient to Allah (swt) and Allah (swt) Alone. This is true for all spheres of life; both the

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individual laws that we apply for ourselves and the societal laws that the government applies over the society. In everything that we do, we must listen to Allah (swt) and Allah (swt) Alone. This is because Allah (swt) is the true Lord and King for all creation, the One that needs to be obeyed without question. This also is a right that belongs exclusively to Allah (swt) on the account of Him (swt) being the Creator and the Sustainer. So for more than any of His (swt)’s other Names, the Name of Ar-Rabb brings out the fact that Allah (swt) is our Creator Who brought us into existence, our Sustainer Who is keeping us alive, our Master Who owns us, and our Lord Who we must obey. All of these meanings are given by the Name of Ar-Rabb. When we call on Allah (swt) by this Name we are acknowledging how He (swt) has all of the Power and Control and how we are completely dependent on Him (swt). This is why you will see many prayers in the Quran where the prophets and the true believers call on Allah (swt) with this Name. When you call on Allah (swt) with this Name, you are demonstrating your complete weakness and inability and you are acknowledging the complete Power and Ability of Allah (swt). How He (swt) is the only One Who completely controls all good and all evil that comes to you. As we have hinted the word ‘alamin means “everything in the heavens and the earth”. So when we say that Allah (swt) is the Rabb of ‘alamin it means that He (swt) is the only Rabb for all creation. The word alamin is derived from the word aalama, which means “sign”. So in addition to the word alamin meaning everything in the heavens and the earth, it also means that everything in the heavens and the earth is a sign for Allah (swt). Anyone who takes only a moment to reflect on the universe will realize that this entire universe is only a creation. This is because everything that we can sense is limited in so many ways. First everything is limited for the time in which it exists. Anything that you can sense in this universe, there was a time when it did not exist and there will be a time in the future when it did will exist anymore. All things in the universe exist only for a certain length of time, so that clearly shows that they are created. Look at the universe around you, can you find even one thing for which this rule does not hold true? Human beings live for a certain number of years, there was a time when we did not exist and there will be a time when our bodies are no more. The same is true for all forms of life such as animals and plants.

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The same is true for inanimate objects such as rocks and mountains. Where is the scientist that can find a rock that has existed forever or will continue to exist forever? The same is true for the planets and the stars; they only exist for a certain period of time. What is there to the universe beyond these things that we have mentioned? Is not the entire universe simply a collection of stars and planets and whatever is in them? Is there anything here that has existed forever? Of course not, because in the end this entire universe is only a collection of limited things and the sum of all limited things is still limited. There may be many drops of water in the ocean but each drop is still limited, so similarly even though there are many stars and planets in this universe since we can show that some them are limited we can be sure that they are all limited. So the fact that everything in this universe is limited shows us that there was a Creator Who initiated their creation. A limited thing cannot come into existence on its own so a limited universe cannot come into existence on its on as well. The only way that we can explain the existence of a limited universe is to say that it has been created by an Unlimited Creator. A Creator Who does not have any of the limitations of the creation. In addition to being limited for the time in which it exists, everything in this universe is also limited in what it can do. This fact also demonstrates how everything in this universe has been created. So for example if you look at yourself you can walk but you cannot fly. The bird can fly but it cannot drive a car. A car can cross land but it cannot cross the ocean. The fish in the ocean cannot live in the land just like the animal on the land cannot live in the ocean. Everything in this universe has some limitation or some weakness to it, thus clearly showing that it is a creation. Can you find one thing in this universe that does not have some weakness or limitation? Even the sun has a limit to how hot it can burn. So we see that everything in the universe has some limitation to it and this clearly demonstrates that it is a creation. So everything in the heavens and the earth has some limitation and so everything is a creation and so everything is a sign for Allah (swt). Yet another way in which everything in the universe is a sign for Allah (swt) is that everything in this universe is being constantly controlled and governed. The sun always rises in the east. The night always follows the day. The fire always burns the wood. The water always quenches the thirst. Your eyes will not see in the dark no matter how much you want them to.

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These are laws that have been fixed into on all of creation. They must behave in this way and they have no choice in the matter. The fact that these laws are controlling everything in the universe demonstrates that a Higher Power that we cannot directly perceive is operating this universe. Who else can this Higher Power be but Allah (swt), the Controller Who controls all things? So we see that the word alamin which Allah (swt) uses in this ayah means everything in this universe, and it also means sign. It means that everything in the universe is a sign for the One Who created it and the One Who is controlling and maintaining it. Allah (swt) is constantly controlling and maintaining everything in this universe for every second of its existence and it doing so everything in this universe is pointing to Him (swt). We should also note that when you say that Allah (swt) is the Rabb al-alamin you are saying that He (swt) is the Lord, Master and Owner of all things. You are saying that obedience must be only for Allah (swt). You are saying that this whole universe belongs only to Allah (swt). When you as a Muslim are aware of this fact and when you believe in this fact how then can you set up a government where men rule instead of Allah (swt)? How can you live contently in a country where Sovereignty to rule belongs to other than Allah (swt)? Right here in the very second ayah of the Quran Allah (swt) is telling you that Only He (swt) is the One to be obeyed in all spheres of life. He (swt) is telling you that He (swt) is the Master and King of all things. All Authority has to be Only for Allah (swt). We challenge you to find even one scholar who is worth his knowledge that says this ayah does not give the meaning that total obedience in all spheres of life must be only for Allah (swt). Any scholar that does not say that the laws for the land can only come from Allah (swt). Rather it is absolutely clear from this ayah that one of the meanings of Rabb is Sovereign, so only Allah (swt) should be the One to legislate the laws for the land. So how is it today that we see so many Muslim countries, and in these countries Muslims recite this Surah every day in Salah, but not one of these nations rule completely by the Law of Allah (swt)? What we see is that these countries either deny the Law of Allah (swt) completely and implement a secular government or they take a few laws from the Quran and Sunnah but the vast majority of the laws and even the system of government itself is from kufr. Where is the country today that

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has a righteous Khalifah like existed as the time of Abu Bakr (ra) and Umar (ra)? Where is the country today that Muslims can go to and give the Bayah to the Khalifah to as the Prophet (saw) told all Muslims to do? Where is the Muslim country that is inviting all Muslims to come and be its citizens? Where is the country that will stand up against the West and order them to leave the Muslim lands they are now occupying and exploiting? So what we see is Muslims have forgotten this fundamental fact that total Sovereignty in all the lands must be for Allah (swt) and Allah (swt) Alone. He (swt) must be the One to legislate the laws. The only system of government that gives Sovereignty completely to Allah (swt) is the Islamic State that was established by the Prophet (saw) in Madinah. This was the government that was carried on by the righteous Khulafah like Abu Bakr (ra) and Umar (ra). Our scholars say that this system of government did exist in the Ummah till 1924 when it was destroyed by the West. This is the only system of government that is recognized by the Shariah. It is the only system of government where Allah (swt) legislates all the laws. The Khalifah only implements the Law of Allah (swt) on the people, he does not bring any laws from his own mind. The laws in the Islamic State come only from the Book of Allah (swt) and the Sunnah of the Prophet (saw). It is the only system of government that is acceptable to Allah (swt) because it is the only system that allows Him (swt) to be the Lord, Master and Sovereign. So we have to work in whatever capacity that we can to bring about it’s restoration Insha Allah. Even if you are not part of a movement that is actively working to restore the Islamic State, at the very least you should carry to other Muslims the idea of the State. You should tell them that we cannot live except under the banner of the Khalifah and that we all have a responsibility to work towards this goal. So when we call on Allah (swt) as Rabb al-alamin we have to implement with our actions what we say with our mouths. When we read Surah Fatihah everyday in our salah we are saying that only Allah (swt) deserves the obedience because only He (swt) is the King and Lord of our lands. So we have to work to establish the Law of Allah (swt) in our land. Then instead of obeying some parliament or president or king, we will be obeying the One who is worthy of our obedience. May Allah (swt) give us the enabling grace to bring about the restoration of the Islamic State!

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3. The Most Merciful, the Merciful. In this ayah Allah (swt) repeats these two of His (swt)’s Names. Insha Allah we have already given a brief explanation of these Names when we discussed the Basmallah. If you do not recall what we said then please refer to that ayah to find out what we discussed about these two Names. But now the question needs to be asked as to why Allah (swt) repeats these two Names in this ayah. Why does not Allah (swt) tell us about some of His (swt)’s other Names, why does He (swt) repeat these two Names? There are at least three reasons that the scholars have identified as to why Allah (swt) repeats His (swt)’s Names of Ar-Rahman and Ar-Raheem in this ayah. One reason is to once again emphasize His (swt)’s Mercy. How Merciful Allah (swt) is to all of creation with His (swt)’s Name Ar-Rahman? How Merciful is Allah (swt) to the disbelievers, He (swt) created them, He (swt) maintains them for every second of their existence, He (swt) gives them everything they have in this world, and He (swt) gives them time to repent and come back to the purpose for which they were created? How especially Merciful Is Allah (swt) to the believers with His (swt)’s Name Ar-Raheem? In the life of this world, He (swt) has given them the peace and tranquility of this Din of Al-Islam and in the Hereafter He (swt) has promised them Forgiveness and the eternal gardens of Paradise. So the first reason why Allah (swt) repeats these two Names of His (swt) is to remind us how Merciful He (swt) Is! To stress and emphasize His (swt)’s Mercy. No matter how many times we are reminded and no matter how hard we try, we will never fully realize how Merciful Allah (swt) has been with us. Another reason that the scholars have identified as to why Allah (swt) repeats His (swt)’s Names of Ar-Rahman and Ar-Raheem is because of what was in the previous ayah. Recall from the previous ayah how Allah (swt) told us that He (swt) was Rabb Al-Alamin. Among the many meanings that this title gives is that Allah (swt) is the complete Lord and Master over all that exists. Now most kings and rulers who have any kind of power usually become corrupted by that power. This power leads a king to think that he can do whatever he wants. He can abuse or exploit the people as he wants and no one can question him. The more power he has, the more

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corrupt and evil he becomes. The more the power and authority that he has, the more he thinks about serving himself and the less he think about others. This can be said to be the general case with the vast majority of human beings. But is that the case with Allah (swt)? Allah (swt) has more Power and Authority than anyone of us can ever imagine. But would Allah (swt) ever abuse that Power to do injustice to the creation? Would Allah (swt) ever harm any of the creation for no reason? He (swt) could if He (swt) wanted to. But since Allah (swt) has already told us that He (swt) is the Most Merciful we know that He (swt) would not do any injustice or any harm to the creation even though He (swt) could. If Allah (swt) does not remind us in this ayah that He (swt) is the Most Merciful then we would become terrified of His (swt)’s Power and what He (swt) can do to us. We would be paralyzed with fear and not be able to do anything. So in this ayah Allah (swt) reminds us that He (swt) is the Most Merciful and despite all of the Power that He (swt) has. Even though He (swt) is the All-Powerful He (swt) will not use that Power for evil. He (swt) will not, even though He (swt) could. Such is the Mercy and Love of this Majestic and Sublime Being. We know that Allah (swt) will not do any injustice even in the least to any of His (swt)’s creation. Even though Allah (swt) will not be questioned by anyone, He (swt) will still not do injustice to anyone. On the contrary everything that Allah (swt) does is part of His (swt)’s Mercy. Even the trials that Allah (swt) gives the believers is part of His (swt)’s Mercy, it wipes away their sins and the patience that they demonstrate from such trials is a source of reward for them in the Hereafter. Even the punishment that Allah (swt) gives the disbelievers is part of His (swt)’s Justice and Mercy. If a people receive a clear communication from their Creator and their Lord, a Message that tells them why they were created, what is their purpose in this life, and even tells them what will be their fate if they fail to follow this Message, then what should be the fate of a people who willfully turn away from this communication? After they have received the clear Message and the clear Warning, they still turned away. Instead of worshipping and serving their Creator and their Sustainer they have chosen to serve themselves and follow their desires. The punishment of Allah (swt) is His (swt)’s Justice and the Justice of Allah (swt) is His (swt)’s Mercy. Thus we see that another reason why Allah (swt) reminds us of His (swt)’s Mercy in this ayah is to show us that despite all of the Power and Control that He (swt) has, He (swt) will not be in the least unjust.

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So Merciful is Allah (swt) that even the disbelievers cannot give up on this Mercy. Allah (swt) will never punish a people for no reason. Before Allah (swt) sends His (swt)’s punishment, He (swt) always sends a clear Message. Anyone who does not receive the Message correctly will not be held responsible in the Hereafter. That is yet another manifestation of the Mercy of Allah (swt) in that He (swt) will not punish any people until He (swt) first sends them a messenger with a Message. Even for the disbelievers who turn away from this Message after receiving it clearly, Allah (swt) still does not punish them immediately. He (swt) gives them time to repent from all of their sins, He (swt) gives them time to accept the Message and return to worship and serving Him (swt) as they were created to do. The Prophet (saw) has told us “if the disbelievers knew of the Mercy of Allah, no one would despair of His Garden”. Thus we see that even people who are as evil as this still have a chance to make amends and come back to Allah (swt). Despite all of His (swt)’s Power, He (swt) is still Merciful to them. Yet another reason why Allah (swt) repeats His (swt)’s Name of Ar-Rahman and ArRaheem is because of what comes in the next ayah. In the next ayah Allah (swt) tells us about the Day of Judgment. That Day in which this entire world will be destroyed and we will all return to Allah (swt). That Day when our fate for all of eternity will be determined. Allah (swt) is the Only One Who will determine our fate on that Day. Allah (swt) is the Only One Who can save us. Now is there anyway that you would like to know Allah (swt) on that Day except as Ar-Rahman and ArRaheem? If there were only two of His Names that you would want to remember on that Day it would be these two Names. So before telling us about the Last Day, Allah (swt) reminds us that He (swt) is the Most Merciful. Thus we must all have a great hope for the Mercy of Allah (swt) on that Day. Recall how we said that since Allah (swt) is Rabb al-alamin that means that only He (swt) has the authority to legislate all of the laws according to which humanity should live. Now in this ayah Allah (swt) is repeating how He (swt) is the Most Merciful. Can we then expect anything less from the Law of Allah (swt) other than Mercy for all mankind? If we only look back to our history to see how the Islamic State was correctly implemented we can see how it brought mercy for all of it’s citizens. Everyone who lived in the Islamic State tasted of this Mercy.

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For example the Islamic economic system was based on the principle that all of the wealth and all of the resources of the earth belonged only to Allah (swt) and that mankind were only the caretakers of this wealth. This foundational thought lead to a system where no one was allowed to abuse wealth and no one was allowed to hoard wealth. You would never be faced with a situation where all of the wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few and the masses are in poverty. There is also the hadith of the Prophet (saw) where he (saw) said that every son of Adam (as) was entitled to food, shelter and clothing. So every person living in the Islamic State, both Muslim and non-Muslim, was guaranteed food, shelter and clothing from the Islamic State. Allah (swt) also obligated the Muslims to give Zakat and encouraged them to give charity by telling them how it purified their wealth and how it was a source of reward in the Hereafter. What resulted was a country in which poverty was unheard of. There were no children starving from hunger, no elderly shivering out in the cold, and no family without a home. Then there was the Islamic social system where the men and women were properly separated. There was no free mixing between the sexes. All the people, both men and women were required to cover themselves and dress modestly. Foul and obscene images were not marketed out in the open and the body of the woman was respected and protected. As a result of this many social crimes such as rape and incest were unheard of. The people had their hearts attached to Allah (swt) rather than to their desires. How different is this from the world today? How corrupted and how much in darkness is the world today compared to that ideal? But then what do you expect when mankind turns away from a Message that has been sent by the Lord and Master of the universe and a Message that He (swt) has described as “Mercy for all people”? So yet another reason why Allah (swt) reminds us of His (swt)’s Mercy in this ayah is to show us that as a Legislator and as a Sovereign He (swt) will only bring the laws and the system of life that is a Mercy for all creation. May Allah (swt) give us the guidance and the ability to reestablish the Islamic State once again so that all of mankind may receive it’s mercy!

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4. Malik of the Day of Din. We can see that throughout this Surah Allah (swt) is teaching us about Himself. The Quran is nothing but a Book about Allah (swt). The primary goal of the Quran is to tell us about our Creator. It tells us about Him (swt), what is pleasing to Him (swt) and what is not pleasing to Him (swt). Thus it is a means by which we can draw closer to Him (swt). Do you then realize how precious this Book is? So far Allah (swt) has told us that He (swt) is the Perfect One, the One with all of the Perfect Names. The One Who deserves to be worshipped and served by all of creation. Allah (swt) has also told us that He (swt) is the Most Merciful. The amount of Mercy that Allah (swt) has for the creation cannot even be described in words. Then Allah (swt) told us how He (swt) was the One deserving of all praise and the One deserving of all thanks and gratitude. There should not be any praise or any gratitude except that it should be for Allah (swt). Finally Allah (swt) told us that He (swt) was the Creator and Sustainer, as well as the Lord and Master for every single thing in the universe. So we can see that in the first two ayahs alone Allah (swt) has told us a lot about Himself. In this ayah tells us more. As you read these ayahs, remember that this is Who your Lord is. Think about the meanings of these ayahs and try to draw closer to Him (swt) with it. In this ayah Allah (swt) tells us that He (swt) is the Malik of the Day of Din. Insha Allah the key to understanding this ayah is in understanding these two words. There are two meanings of the word Malik in this ayah depending on the way that it is read. Both readings of this word have strong evidence and so they are both correct. One meaning is “King” and the other meaning is “Owner”. So in this ayah Allah (swt) is telling us that He (swt) is the King of the Day of Din and He (swt) is telling us that He (swt) is also the Owner of the Day of Din. The word Din also has multiple meanings. One meaning is “repayment” or “recompense”, and another meaning is “a complete way of life”. This latter definition of the word Din is also what Islam is. Islam is a Din in the fact that it is a complete way of life. This Din of Islam has two components, one is the tenets of faith that must be believed in with conviction and the other is the

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law that most be followed without question or hesitation. This belief that Islam gives us answers our most fundamental questions such as where did we come from, why are we where, where are we going after we die. Allah (swt) has told us that we are from Him (swt) and He (swt) has also told us that one Day soon we will return to Him (swt). Allah (swt) has also told us that we are in this world to know Him (swt) and to serve Him (swt). We are here in this world to live our life by the Law of Allah (swt) and this Law is the second component of Islam. The Law of Allah (swt) is a guide for us to follow for every moment of our lives. From the time we open our eyes in the morning to the time we go to sleep at night, the Law of Allah (swt) addresses each and every single action that we can take. Islam is not simply the “five pillars” as some Muslims believe, but rather every single action that a Muslim can take is addressed in the Quran and Sunnah. The Quran and Sunnah have outlined for us what are the actions that Allah (swt) is pleased with and what are the actions that He (swt) is displeased with. Our purpose in this life is to seek Allah (swt)’s Pleasure by performing those actions that He (swt) is pleased with and staying away from the actions that He (swt) is displeased with. This fact then brings us back to the other meaning of the word Din that means “recompense” and “repayment”. This is this definition of the word Din that Allah (swt) uses in this ayah. Din in this ayah refers to the repayment or reward for actions in the life of this world. Allah (swt) uses this word Din to tell us about the Day in which we will be repaid based on how well we followed this Law that Allah (swt) has sent us. A Day in which we will be judged according to how well we lived our lives by this Law that Allah (swt) sent us. So we see that in this ayah Allah (swt) is bringing our attention to a Day that will come very soon. Allah (swt) refers to that Day in this ayah as the “Day of repayment”. The Day when all of mankind will be rewarded according to how well they lived according to this Din that Allah (swt) has sent. Allah (swt) sent mankind this Message of Islam through the Prophet (saw). It consists of articles of faith that we must believe in, obligations that we must fulfill and prohibitions that we must avoid. It also consists of actions that are recommended for us to perform and actions that are not prohibited but disapproved. The purpose of the creation of the human being is to see how well he lives according to this way of life that his Creator has sent to him. One Day soon mankind will all return to Allah (swt) and He (swt) will judge us for how well we lived according this Din.

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So this ayah also serves to remind us that this life is a test. Actually there is not one but two tests that Allah (swt) has given us. The first is the test of belief and the second is the test of action. Allah (swt) created the human being and He (swt) sustains and nurtures the human being. But Allah (swt) did not simply leave the human being in this world to play and amuse himself. Rather Allah (swt) sent the human being messengers and through these messengers Allah (swt) gave the human being two tests. The purpose of the creation of the human being is to see how well he would fare on both of these tests. The first test is to see whether or not the human being believes in this Message that was sent to him. The human being already knows from the signs in the universe around him that there is a Creator and Controller for this universe. However even though he knows that there is a Creator for the universe he does not what know what should be his relationship with that Creator. He does not know why his Creator created him and why his Creator continues to sustain and maintain him. This is why Allah (swt) has sent him a messenger. Allah (swt) gives each messenger a clear miracle to show the truthfulness of the messenger. Through this miracle the human being can know without a doubt that the messenger has indeed been sent by Allah (swt). The people know that if they follow this messenger then they would have to live a life of serving Allah (swt) rather than serving themselves, but they also know that to follow this messenger and dedicate their life in servitude to Allah (swt) was the reason why they were created. The ones who are sincere in their hearts and who can control their desires, they make the decision to follow the messenger. These are the ones who have passed the first test. The ones who have a corruption in their hearts and who would rather serve their desires than follow the Truth that has come to them from their Creator have failed the first test. They find some excuse for themselves as to why they should reject this Message. Thus by refusing to believe in this Message they have failed the first of these tests that their Creator has given them. Now as for the people who pass the first test and become Muslim, there is still the second test that they must face. They have to face this test every day of their lives. Even though they know that their belief mandates them to follow the Law that Allah (swt) has sent down, they have to be firm and constant in always following this Law. They have to be steadfast in obedience to this Law even if it is difficult for them and even if their desires prompt them to disobey this Law.

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So the second test for those who pass the first test is to see if they can remain obedient to the Law of Allah (swt) by fulfilling all of it’s obligations and avoiding all it’s prohibitions. These then are the two tests that Allah (swt) has given for all of mankind. On the Day of Repayment, Allah (swt) will reward or punish every single human being on how well they fared on these two tests. So in this ayah Allah (swt) describes Himself (swt) as the King and Owner of that Day. Allah (swt) is the King of that Day because all must listen and obey Him (swt) on that Day. There is no one who can do anything or say anything without His (swt)’s permission. Only that which pleases Allah (swt) will occur on that Day. This is because He (swt) is the complete King of that Day. Allah (swt) is already the King as that is One of His (swt)’s Names, but today there are others who can claim to be king and there are those who can claim that they need to be obeyed. Allah (swt) may even give these fools some temporary authority in the life of this world. But on that Day, no one will have any power or any authority except Allah (swt). On that Day, He (swt) will be the only One Who all of creation must obey, including the angels and the prophets. Since Allah (swt) is the King of that Day no one else will be listened to expect Him (swt). No one will even be allowed to speak except with His (swt)’s permission. So if you want to prepare for that Day, Who should you be thinking about? Who should you be trying to please? If you want to be saved on that Day who else can save you but He (swt)? In addition to being the King, Allah (swt) is also the Master and Owner of the Day of Din. He (swt) is the complete Owner on that Day in that He (swt) can do whatever He (swt) wants. Allah (swt) can punish whom He (swt) wants and He (swt) can forgive whom He (swt) wants. Allah (swt) can subject some people to a difficult reckoning where each and every one of their actions are judged and other people He (swt) can send straight to Paradise. Allah (swt) can give shade on that Day to whom He (swt) pleases and He (swt) can leave in the burning sun whom He (swt) pleases. There are no conditions on the Ownership of Allah (swt) for that Day, He (swt) can do whatever He (swt) pleases and all must obey Him (swt). So if you want to prepare yourself for this Day, this most important Day of your life, Who should you always be thinking about? Who should you always be trying to please? Know that this Day does not belong to anyone else but Allah (swt) and so only He (swt) can save you on it.

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So the first lesson that we can take from this ayah is to see how we must dedicate our lives to Allah (swt) and Allah (swt) Alone. No one else but He (swt) can save us on that Day. No one else but He (swt) can determine our fate for all eternity. So we should not keep our hope in any but He (swt). Do not expect any from the creation to be there for you on that Day. Not a saint or a righteous forefather or a pious child or even an angel. Even the Prophet (saw) himself (saw) will not be able to make intercession for us on that Day except with the permission of Allah (swt). So how then can you dedicate your life to any but He (swt)? How can you keep your hopes in any but He (swt)? Another lesson that we can take from this ayah is to see how important it is to believe in the Day of Judgment. There are several things that are in the unseen world which Allah (swt) requires us to believe in as part of our Din. Examples of these include the belief in the angels, the belief in the jinn, and the belief in the stories of the previous nations and prophets. All of these are in the unseen and we are required to believe in all of them. Of all of these beliefs of the unseen that we are required to believe in why does Allah (swt) choose to mention only the Day of Judgment in this Surah? What is so important about this Day that we need to remind ourselves about at least seventeen times a day in our salah? Why is this Day repeated so many times in other ayahs of the Quran? It is because after our belief in Allah (swt) and after our belief in the Prophet (saw), our belief in the Day of Judgment is the most important part of our Iman. Because it is such an important part of our faith Allah (swt) mentions it here in Surah Fatihah, a Surah that we repeat at least seventeen times a day. This is why we have to believe in this Day with utmost certainty. Not only do we have to believe in it but we also have to always think about it and we have to always bring it to the forefront of our minds. Before we do any action or say any word we have to think about what will be the ramifications of that action or that word on this great Day. We should always remind ourselves that we will be questioned about even the smallest of actions on that Day. So we should be striving to do everything in our power to prepare for this Day. We know from other ayahs of the Quran that this is a Day on which one soul cannot do anything for any other soul and this is a Day on which you will see the mother running from her child and the husband running from his wife, such is the terror and the horror of that Day. We know that it is a

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Day on which we will see even the smallest of good deeds that we did and we will see even the smallest of evil deeds that we did. That is why the Muslim needs to have this Day at the forefront of his or her mind all of the time. Whenever you become lazy and are about to miss an obligation remember this Day, whenever your desires prompt you and you are about to commit an action that is forbidden in the Law of Allah (swt), remember this Day. Picture yourself now about to do an action that might be displeasing to Allah (swt). Before you do that action, remember that you will be standing naked in front of Allah (swt), how then will you answer for that action when your Rabb questions you about it on that Day? So we see that the reason why Allah (swt) has mentioned this Day in this Surah that we repeat so often, and also in so many other Surahs of the Quran is because this is a Day that every Muslim should always be thinking about. This is a Day that should always be on our minds and that is why our Creator, in His (swt)’s Mercy for us, reminds of it again and again. Now we have no excuse whatsoever if we find ourselves on this Day without have prepared for it. No excuse whatsoever. The belief in the Day of Judgment and the Hereafter is what many people find hard to accept. Most people believe in the Creator for this universe. They cannot explain how a universe that is filled with limited and dependent things can come into existence on its own. They cannot explain how all of this can exist without a Creator. So the vast majority of mankind today does believe in Allah (swt) in one way or another. But what many people refuse to believe in is this Day of Judgment. This Day when we will all return to Allah (swt) and be questioned for every single action that we have ever done. Many people want to follow their desires and do whatever it is that their desires prompt them to do. This is why they refuse to believe in a Day such as this. We have to save ourselves from becoming like such people. The true believer in believes in this Day. This is why he always checks himself before every single action that he does. He always asks himself as to what will be the consequences of this action on the Day that he returns to his Lord. That is why he does not do any action except that which is pleasing to his Lord.

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5. You Alone do we ‘abudu, and You Alone do we seek help from. In this ayah we see the tone of the Surah change. Surah Fatihah is actually a duaa or a prayer that Allah (swt) is teaching the believers to make. In this ayah it becomes clear that this is so. After praising Allah (swt) we now ask Him (swt) of what we need. Here we see Allah (swt) changes the speaker from the third person to the first person plural. The fact that Allah (swt) changed the speaker to the first person shows us that these words are something that Allah (swt) is teaching us to say. Allah (swt) wants us to say the words in this ayah to Him (swt) and these words are our prayer. As we read more of the Surah it will become clear to us that these words are actually a prayer for guidance. The believers have accepted Islam. They bear witness that there is only Allah (swt) Who created them and Who created everything else in the heavens and the earth, and they bear witness that the Prophet (saw) is the Messenger of Allah (swt). Now they want to know how to worship Allah (swt) and how to serve Allah (swt). They want to be guided on how to gain the Pleasure of Allah (swt). This Surah is that prayer for guidance. The remainder of the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet (saw) is the answer to that prayer. We do not need to look for guidance in anywhere else but in these two sources of light. The scholars have put forward several reasons as to why Allah (swt) suddenly shifts the speaker in this ayah. Why Allah (swt) changes from speaking in the first person in the previous ayahs to the first person in this ayah. The most convincing reason is that if we think about the meaning of the ayahs that preceded this one, it becomes clear that this ayah must be in the third person. In the previous ayahs Allah (swt) was describing Himself to us. First Allah (swt) told us that He (swt) is the Perfect One. He (swt) is Allah, the Perfect One, the One with all of the Perfect Names and with all the attributes of perfection. The One Who does not have any weaknesses or shortcomings. The One worthy of all of the worship and all of the sanctification. Then Allah (swt) told us that He (swt) is the Most Merciful. The One with an overflowing Mercy that reaches every single creation. In addition to that He (swt) is the One with a special Mercy that is reserved only

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for the righteous believers. Then Allah (swt) told us that all praise and all glorification as well as all thanks and gratitude should only be for Him (swt). He (swt) is the only One deserving of all praise and deserving of all thanks. Then Allah (swt) told us that He (swt) is the Creator and Sustainer of every single thing in this universe as well as its Lord and Master. Then Allah (swt) told us that He (swt) is the One True King and the One True Owner for all that exists. Everything must serve Allah (swt) and He (swt) is the Sovereign for all creation. Not only is Allah (swt) the King and the Owner but He (swt) is especially the King and the Owner of the Day of Judgment. The Day on which it will be decided where we will all abide in for all eternity. Only Allah (swt) controls that Day and Only Allah (swt) must be obeyed on that Day. After saying all of this about Allah (swt) what then should be our reaction towards Him (swt)? How should we want to behave towards Allah (swt)? If we really understood the meaning of what we said the in the first four ayahs of Surah Fatihah then in this ayah we would want nothing than to submit to Allah (swt) completely. This is what we should want. This is the result of what we realized about our Creator in the first four ayahs. We should want to submit to Him (swt) completely. To worship and serve Him (swt) with all of souls. After declaring that Allah (swt) is the Rabb of al-alamin, and ArRahman and Ar-Raheem, and Malik of the Day of the Din, we then declare that we want to worship and serve Allah (swt). That is why the tone of the Surah changes from where we are describing Allah (swt) to where we are turning to Him (swt) and seeking to worship and serve Him (swt). It is the natural reaction that comes from within us after we realize Who Allah (swt) IS. This then brings us to the meaning of the word ‘abudu in this ayah. Most translations say this word means “to worship”. But if we think about what worship means in the Western society, which is simply going to Church on Sunday and performing a few rituals, then this is not what ‘abudu means at all. To understand the real meaning of this word abudu we have to look at the root word from which it is derived. That root word is the word ‘abd. This word simply means “slave”. This is the meaning of the word abd. So then the word abudu means to serve Allah (swt) with willful submission. Thus we should realize that when we say that we abudu Allah (swt), it is something far more comprehensive and far reaching than simply the five pillars. Now of course when we pray to Allah (swt) and fast for Him (swt) and make pilgrimage for Him (swt) this is part

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of our servitude of Allah (swt) as well. But our servitude to Allah (swt) is so much more than these ritual acts of worship that we perform. In fact every action that we do from the time we wake up at Fajr to the time we go to sleep after ‘Isha is part of our servitude to Allah (swt). So for example when we rise in the morning and go to work or go to school it is part of our servitude to Allah (swt) because we are going out into the world and seeking of His (swt)’s sustenance as He (swt) has commanded us to do. When we are kind to our parents we are serving Him (swt). When we maintain relationships with our family we are serving Him (swt). When we fulfill our contracts and our obligations we are serving Him (swt). When we stay away from what Allah (swt) has forbidden we are also serving Him (swt). When we lower our gaze we are serving Allah (swt) and when we control our tongues from speaking evil we are serving Allah (swt). When we smile for our brother and speak kinds words with him we are serving Allah (swt). When we forgive and pardon others the wrong that they have done to us we are serving Allah (swt). When we do our work in the perfect and best way possible we are serving Allah (swt). So everything that we do for every moment of our lives is part of our servitude to Allah (swt). Every single action that we do can be a part of our servitude to our Lord and Master. Even our emotions and our feelings are part of our servitude. For example when we love Allah (swt) it is part of our servitude to Him (swt). When we love the Prophet (saw) and we love our parents, it is part of our servitude to Him (swt). When we love the righteous and we love doing acts of good, that is part of our servitude to Him (swt) as well. In fact the scholars have said that to realize the true meaning of what we say when we say “You Alone we ‘abada” we have to love only Allah (swt), and our love of everything else must come only because of our love of Him (swt). So for example we love the Prophet (saw), we love the messengers and prophets, we love the Sahabah, we love our parents, we love our family, we love our Muslim brothers and sisters, all of this has to only be because of our love for Allah (swt). Either Allah (swt) loves these people or He (swt) has told us to love these people and that is why we love them. Similarly when we have fear of only Allah (swt), when we have hope only in Allah (swt), and we put our trust only in Allah (swt). These feelings and emotions are part of our servitude of Allah (swt). Other actions of our heart that are part of our servitude to Allah (swt) are patience with the Decree of Allah (swt),

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gratefulness for the bounties of Allah (swt), and contentment with whatever Allah (swt) has given us. All of these emotions and feelings are part of our servitude to Allah (swt) as well. Even our cleansing our hearts of all diseases like jealousy, arrogance and miserliness is part of our servitude of Allah (swt). Now look here at this Din, so much is our complete submission and servitude to Allah (swt) that even our emotions and feelings are part of that servitude and submission. Is this not something far greater than a few worship rituals? So we see that the first part of this ayah is a promise that we make to Allah (swt) where we say that our entire life will be an act of worship and servitude for Him (swt) Alone. In the second part of this ayah we say “You Alone do we seek help from”. Allah (swt) is telling us to seek help from Him (swt). To understand what exactly we are asking help from Allah (swt) for we have to go back to the first part of the ayah where we said that we are serving and worshipping only Allah (swt). The first part of the ayah gives the meaning that our only goal in life is the servitude of Allah (swt). The only hope that we have is attaining His (swt)’s Pleasure through our acts of servitude to Him (swt). This should be all that matters for us. So when we seek help of Allah (swt) we are asking Allah (swt) to help us to worship and serve Him (swt). Just like we worship and serve Allah (swt) and Allah (swt) Alone we seek help and assistance in Allah (swt) and Allah (swt) Alone. We know that our purpose in this life is the worship and servitude to Allah (swt), but we do not know how to do it ourselves and we cannot do it by ourselves, so we humbly beg and beseech Allah (swt) to help us. We ask Allah (swt) to guide us to the correct way in which to worship and serve Him (swt). We ask Allah (swt) to show us what pleases Him (swt) and then to give us the willpower and the determination to do what pleases Him (swt). We also ask Allah (swt) to show us what is displeasing to Him (swt) and we ask Him (swt) for the willpower and the patience to stay away from it. So we worship and serve Allah (swt) and we ask Him (swt) for help in doing that. That is in essence the meaning of this ayah. We should also note that even when we ask help of Allah (swt) we are in effect of worshipping Him (swt). As the Prophet (saw) told us “There is nothing Allah (swt) considers more noble than supplication”. So just by asking Allah (swt) we are showing how we are weak and how He (swt) is Powerful, how we are unable and we need His (swt)’s help and support. This in itself

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is part of our worship of Allah (swt) and it is an action that He (swt) is pleased with. How beautiful is Surah Fatihah then where we are not only asking of Allah (swt), but we are asking Him (swt) to guide us on how to worship and serve Him (swt) so that we can gain His (swt)’s Pleasure and His (swt)’s Paradise. Then even our asking of Him (swt) is an action that He (swt) likes, and it is an action for which we will be rewarded! How pleased would Allah (swt) be then every time we make this prayer! How beautiful then is this Surah! So we see from this ayah that when we say to Allah (swt) that You Alone do we abudu we are telling Him (swt) that we dedicate our entire lives to Him (swt). When we realize the meaning of this then even the most mundane of our actions such as our eating and drinking, our sleeping and our private time with our wives are part of our servitude to Allah (swt). We do all of these actions with the knowledge that Allah (swt) has made these actions permissible in His (swt)’s Law and so it becomes part of our servitude to Allah (swt). For every moment of our lives we have to think to ourselves as to what is the most pleasing of actions to Allah (swt) at that moment, and then we have to rush to do that action. Our life becomes nothing but a quest to find out what is the most pleasing of actions to Allah (swt) at a particular moment and then rushing to do that action. What this action is will be different for a particular person and for a particular time and place. Sometimes this action could be salah, sometimes this action could be fasting, sometimes this action could be working or studying, sometimes it could be reading Quran, sometimes it could be spending time with family or with good Muslim brother or sisters, sometimes it could be learning Islam, sometimes it could be carrying dawah, sometimes it could be fighting jihad, sometimes it could be contemplating on the signs of Allah (swt), sometimes it could be eating or sleeping. So we do not know for a particular moment in time which action will please Allah (swt) the most and that is why we ask His (swt)’s help. We ask Allah (swt)’s help to show us what is the action that He (swt) is pleased with for every moment of our lives. Then Insha Allah we can know which action will count as a good deed for us on the scale when we return to Allah (swt) on the Day of Judgment. Then Insha Allah we can hope to pass the test for which Allah (swt) created us. What then could be more beautiful than this Surah? We are asking our Creator how to fulfill the purpose of our creation.

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But the beauty of Surah Fatihah is that not only as we being asked to be shown what is pleasing to Allah (swt) but we are also asking Allah (swt) for the strength and the determination to do it. Sometimes we may know what is right for us to do but we still might not do it. Sometimes we may know that a certain action is wrong but we might still do it. Why is that today so many people smoke even though they know that smoking is so unhealthy? So knowledge by itself is not enough. We also need to strength and the willpower to do what we know is right. This is also what we are praying to our Lord for in this ayah. We ask Allah (swt) to show us what is pleasing to Him (swt) and then to give us the strength to do it. We cannot do even a single good deed or refrain ourselves from a single evil unless Allah (swt) gives us His enabling grace. For every second of our existence we ask Allah (swt) to guide us to that path, to those actions that lead us to His (swt)’s Pleasure and His (swt)’s Paradise. To show us the way and then to give us the strength to follow it. This thought then naturally brings us to the next ayah of this Surah.

6. Guide us to As-Siratul Mustaqeem. In the previous ayah we gave a promise to Allah (swt) that we will live our lives to worship and serve Him (swt). We declared that for Him (swt) and for Him (swt) Alone would we live our lives. We also asked Allah (swt) to show us the way in which to worship and serve Him (swt) and we asked Him (swt) for His (swt) enabling grace to live that life of worship and servitude. This life of worship and servitude is a path that we traverse over the entirety of our lives. We hope that this path ends with the Pleasure of Allah (swt) and His (swt)’s Garden. But to reach that goal we need the help of Allah (swt). So we ask Allah (swt) to guide us to that path on how to worship and serve Him (swt) in the way that He (swt) is pleased with. To guide us to the actions that He (swt) likes us to do for every moment of our lives. We ask Allah (swt) to show us what He (swt) likes and then we ask Him (swt) to give us the willpower and the determination to do what He (swt) likes. This is the Straight Path with no deviations in it and we are asking Allah (swt) to guide us to it.

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This then is the meaning of this ayah because As-Siratul Mustaqeem means “the Straight Path”. We are asking Allah (swt) to guide us to that Straight Path. We are asking Allah (swt to show us the actions that He (swt) is pleased with and we are asking Him (swt) to give us the enabling grace to do those actions. When we say this ayah not only are we asking Allah (swt) to guide to that Straight Path but we are asking Him (swt) to keep us on it as well. We are asking Allah (swt) to help us do the actions that are pleasing to Him (swt) and to allow us to be constant in those actions. We are asking Allah (swt) to give us the firm and certain belief and to allow us to keep that belief. So we seek to be close to our Lord not only in the month of Ramadan but throughout our lives. It is only He (swt) that can grant us this nearness. It is not that difficult to do the actions that are pleasing to Allah (swt) for a particular point in time. But to be constant in performing those good deeds and to be constant in staying away from those evil deeds. To have the steadfastness and the patience to serve Allah (swt) continuously throughout our lives. This is what is truly difficult so there is where we need Allah (swt)’s help. You may be able to lower your gaze the first time that you see that beautiful woman, but can you do it the second time and the third time and for all the times after that? Can you wake up for Fajr for every morning of our your life? Can you be constant in your worship and servitude of Allah (swt)? This is where you need Allah (swt)’s help and that is what you are asking here. So we see that Siratul Mustaqeem is Islam. It is everything that Allah (swt) is pleased with from us. It is the beliefs that Allah (swt) is pleased with us believing, it is the actions that Allah (swt) is pleased with us doing and it is the emotions that Allah (swt) is pleased with us feeling. In this ayah we are asking Allah (swt) to guide us to this Straight Path. For the moments of our lives when our belief is strong, and when we are doing the actions that Allah (swt) is pleased with and we have the emotions and feelings that He (swt) is pleased with, then for those moments we are on the Siratul Mustaqeem. Whenever our belief weakens or we are not doing the actions that Allah (swt) likes or when we have some emotions that He (swt) may not be pleased with, that is when we are starting to deviate from this path. So for example when you hear the alarm clock ring or you hear the Muahadin for Salatul Fajr and you purposely make a

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choice to continue sleeping then for that moment you have taken yourself off the Siratul Mustaqeem. If you see a beautiful woman on the street and you do not lower your gaze then for that moment you have taken yourself off Siratul Mustaqeem. If some calamity befalls you and you do not have patience with the Decree of Allah (swt) you have taken yourself off Siratul Mustaqeem, and if some fortune reaches you and you do not thank Allah (swt) then you have taken yourself off Siratul Mustaqeem. But as long as you are doing the actions that Allah (swt) is pleased with, sincerely for the sake of Allah (swt), then Insha Allah you will be on Siratul Mustaqeem. May Allah (swt) guide us to this Straight Path and may He (swt) keep us on it! Now the question may arise among some ignorant people that if it is Allah (swt) Who keeps us on the Siratul Mustaqeem, then why do we need to make any effort at all? Why do we need to do anything at all if it is Allah (swt) Who keeps on Siratul Mustaqeem? This kind of thinking is only present in hypocrites who have no sincerity to their Lord at all. They are only looking for an excuse to escape following the Law of Allah (swt). We know that the Sahabah (ra) made this prayer every day in their Salah, and they still made every effort to abide by the Law of Allah (swt). We also know that Allah (swt) has told us in the authentic hadith qudsi “O my servants, all of you are astray except those whom I have guided, so seek guidance of me and I will guide you”. So the guidance comes from Allah (swt) but our responsibility is to seek it from Him (swt). We ourselves have to make our best effort to keep ourselves on the Siratul Mustaqeem with our emotions and our actions and at the same time we have to pray to Allah (swt) to keep us on this path. We must make the effort and then we pray to Allah (swt). We take the first step and then Allah (swt) places us on this path. We must never think that we are on Siratul Mustaqeem only because of own our efforts and at the same time we must never become lazy and think we can do whatever we want and only rely on Allah (swt) to keep us on the Siratul Mustaqeem. We must make our best efforts and at the same time we must ask Allah (swt) to guide us. Allah (swt) knows best and we ask Allah (swt) to guide us!

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7. The Path of those whom you have blessed and not the path of those who earn your anger nor of those who go astray. In this last ayah of this most important Surah we see that Allah (swt) describes to us the Path that we are asking Him (swt) to guide us to. In the previous ayah we asked Allah (swt) to guide us to the Straight Path, that path of the beliefs, actions and emotions that are pleasing to Him (swt). In this ayah Allah (swt) describes for us what that path is. It is very important that we learn as much about this path as we can. Only this Path leads to the Garden and to the Pleasure of Allah (swt). All other paths lead to the Fire and to distance from Him (swt). Can you then even begin to understand how important this path must be? Should you not want to know everything that you can about this path so that you can walk on it and so that you can stay on it? The first description of the Straight Path that Allah (swt) gives us is that it is the path of those whom He (swt) has “blessed”. The Straight Path is the path that is walked by those whom Allah (swt) has blessed. But who are the people whom Allah (swt) has blessed? To find that out we have to go to another ayah of the Quran. In Surah An-Nisa Allah (swt) describes to us those whom He (swt) has blessed when He (swt) says “Whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger will be with those whom Allah has blessed: the Prophets, the Siddqiuin, the Martyrs, and the Saliheen”. These are the people whom Allah (swt) has blessed. They are the ones who have walked on the path that leads to the Pleasure of Allah (swt) and the Paradise of Allah (swt). They are the ones have walked on this path before us. They are the prophets and the messengers of Allah (swt), the Siddqiuin, the martyrs, and the Saliheen. So this is a path that has been walked on by those who came before us. Thus it is a path that Allah (swt) has made very easy for us to follow. All that we have to do is look at the example of those who came before us and try our best to follow in their way. If we want to tread this path in their footsteps then we will find many examples and role models to follow in the Quran and in the lives of the Prophet (saw) and the Sahabah (raa). Our job then is to study their lives and implement their example in our own lives.

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So when we look at the ayah in Surah An-Nisa, we see that there are four categories of people whom Allah (swt) has described as those whom He (swt) has blessed. The first of these categories is the prophets. So we should study the lives of all of the prophets and messengers of Allah (swt) and try to emulate them in our lives. Of all the prophets and messengers, the best example for us of course is the Prophet (saw), may Allah (swt) bless him (saw) and raise him (saw) to the highest station in Paradise! For us to know how to fulfill the role of our existence, for us to know how to worship and serve Allah (swt), the best role model for us to follow is our own Prophet (saw). We have to study his (saw)’s life to the best of our ability, and try to model everything that he (saw) did in his (saw)’s life in our own lives. Everything that the Prophet (saw) did is an example for us to follow. He (saw) has walked the path and our task is only to follow it. Now there are few laws that Allah (swt) gave which were specific to the Prophet (saw) such as the obligation to make the late night prayer and the permissibility to marry than four wives. There were also some things that he (saw) did which were specific to him (saw) as a human such as the food that he (saw) liked to eat and the kind of clothes that he (saw) used to wear. Aside from these laws that were specific for him (saw) and aside from those actions that he (saw) did simply as a human, we must try to follow him (saw) in everything else that he (saw) did. The entirety of his (saw)’s life is a model for us to follow. From the way in which he (saw) carried dawah, to the way he (saw) dealt with his (saw)’s family, to the way he (saw) treated his guests to the way he (saw) raised his children to the way he (saw) behaved towards his friends and the way he (swt) behaved towards his enemies, to the way he (saw) conducted himself as a head of state and military commander to the way in which he (saw) expressed gratitude and to the way that he (saw) dealt with calamities. We have to follow him (saw) in everything that he (saw) did. We have to make it a point to study his (saw)’s life to the best of our ability and try to implement his (saw)’s way of life in our own lives. May Allah (swt) give us the ability to do that! Since he (saw) became the Messenger of Allah (swt), the Prophet (saw) had many duties and responsibilities. But there was no job that he (saw) had that was more important than teaching the Quran. The Prophet (saw) is the one who has taught us the Quran, that was the main task that he (saw) did. He (saw) explained to us the Book that our Creator has sent to us.

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So if you want to follow in the footsteps of the Prophet (saw), then make it a point to study the Quran and teach it to others. We should all know the hadith where the Prophet (saw) has told us that the best of us is the one who learns the Quran and teaches it. Thus we should make it a point to study the Quran and teach it to others. If we do then we would be continuing the mission of our beloved (saw). In addition to the Prophet (saw), the previous prophets and messengers whom Allah (swt) sent, the brothers in prophethood of our Prophet (saw), are also are an example for us to follow. ‘Aisha (ra) once said about the Prophet (saw) that his (saw)’s life was the Quran. He (saw) was a walking Quran. If we look in the Quran we will find many examples of the previous prophets and messengers. They also have tread the path that leads to the Pleasure of Allah (swt), the path that Allah (swt) has blessed, so they also are an example for us to follow. So for example we have to persevere through times of difficulty like Yunus (as), we have to resist powerful temptations like Yusuf (as), we have to be strong and brave like Musa (as), we have to always search for the truth like Ibrahim (as), we have to keep our responsibilities to our families like Luqman (as), and we have to be kind and humble towards the people like ‘Isa (as). In all of these stories of the previous prophets that Allah (swt) tells us, we have the most excellent of examples. The prophets are the foremost on this path that leads to the Pleasure of Allah (swt), so if we want to tread this path then we have to study their lives and follow their examples. May Allah (swt) give us the enabling grace to study about the prophets and messengers that He (swt) tells us in His (swt)’s Book and to emulate them in our lives! After the prophets Allah (swt) then tells us that we have to look to the example of the Siddqiuin. The Siddqiuin are the ones who are always true and sincere in everything that they did. They are the ones who have the firmest belief in this Message with the deepest conviction. As a result of this belief they are the ones who sacrifice and strive the most for the sake of Allah (swt). The best example we have of this kind of person is Abu Bakr As-Siddiq (ra). He (ra) was the one who had the deepest conviction in the truth of this Message and he (ra) was the one who sacrificed the most for this Message. There are many examples of Abu Bakr (ra)’s life that we can follow, but perhaps the most salient feature of his life and it was how he (ra) earned the title

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of As-Siddiq was because he was so sincere and true to the pledge that he (ra) made when he (ra) said he believed in the Prophet (saw). This is the best way in which we can follow him (ra). Abu Bakr (ra) demonstrated better than anyone else what it truly means to believe with all of one’s heart. There was not one sacrifice that Abu Bakr (ra) was not willing to make for Allah (swt) and His Messenger (saw). There was no effort to which Abu Bakr (ra) was not willing to strive to please his Creator. Just a few examples of this are when he (ra) gave away all of his wealth and said that he (ra) left for his family only Allah (swt) and His Messenger (saw). Can you imagine giving away every single thing that you have only to please Allah (swt)? Most of us are not even close to being at this level but this is where Abu Bakr (ra) was. However even though we are not at his level we can see that the path that he (ra) walked is the path that we want to follow. So we also must be in the habit of giving away more and more of what we have only to please Allah (swt). Another example of the great striving and sacrifice of Abu Bakr (ra) was when he (ra) swore that he (ra) would even have killed his own son in the battle of Badr. Do you love Allah (swt) so much that you would even kill your own son or father if you knew that he was an enemy of Allah (swt)? Even if you are not at this level you must strive to bring yourself to this level. Remind yourself that Allah (swt) is the One Who you love more than anyone else, and do not allow anyone to come between you and your Lord. Yet another example of the strength and courage of Abu Bakr (ra) was when he (ra) insisted that the army of Osama be sent even though he (ra) was opposed by all of the Sahabah in this decision. When it comes to doing what Allah (swt) and the Prophet (saw) want him (ra) to do, Abu Bakr (ra) did not care about the opinion of others. He (ra) did what he (ra) knew that the Prophet (saw) would have done, what was pleasing to Allah (swt). Can you also always do what Allah (swt) is pleased with, even if others may not like it? So we see that in every one of his actions, Abu Bakr (ra) demonstrated his complete sincerity to the iman that he (ra) had in his heart. How then can you not strive to emulate this man? How then can you not love him (ra) and pray for him (ra)? Just like the Prophet (saw), and the prophets before him (saw), Abu Bakr (ra) was also one who walked on this path and he (ra) was also one that Allah (swt) blessed. If we want to walk on Siratul Mustaqeem also we have to study his (ra)’s life as well and try to follow in his example.

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The next group of believers whom Allah (swt) has told us that He (swt) has blessed and so we know that they are on Siratul Mustaqeem are the martyrs. Similar to Abu Bakr (ra), these were believers who had such certainty of belief in Allah (swt) and such sincerity in their belief and such total trust in Allah (swt) that they were willing to make the ultimate of sacrifices only to seek the Pleasure of Allah (swt). We know that the first of martyrs in the dawah of the Prophet (saw) and his party was Sumeyah (ra) who died at the hands of the tyrant Abu Jahl. Despite the extreme pain and humiliation that she (ra) had to suffer during the time she was tortured in Makkah, she did not give in to the enemies of this Message. She believed with utmost certainty the words of the Prophet (saw) when he (saw) told her that Paradise was waiting for her as a reward for her efforts and sacrifices for Allah (swt). We know that just as the Prophet (saw) promised, she (ra) is with her Rabb now in the highest levels of Paradise while the tyrant Abu Jahl is burning in the depths of the fire of hell. So if we want to walk on Siratul Mustaqeem we have to build within ourselves this same certainty of faith and this same complete reliance on Allah (swt) that she had. We must strive with out utmost and be willing to make any sacrifice for the sake of our Rabb. If we are faced with some fear or some difficulty in this dawah then we must not let it stop us in our mission. We have to keep going and keep striving no matter how difficult the road becomes and no matter how many obstacles are in our way. Remember that this is the path that leads to Allah (swt). So do not expect it to be an easy path that is always flat. Rather it is a rocky path that leads up, so you have to make the effort to climb this path. But remember that if you can reach the top then the reward is much better than you can ever imagine. Just like Sumeyah (ra) you will be with your Lord. Both in this life and in the Hereafter. The last category of people whom Allah (swt) has blessed and who are on Siratul Mustaqeem are the Saliheen. These are the righteous, the ones who always do the actions that Allah (swt) is pleased with. To be among them is to always do the actions that are in accordance with the Law of Allah (swt). So for every moment of your life and for every action that you do, you must always check yourself and see if that action is permitted in Law of Allah (swt). You only do that action if Allah (swt) is pleased with you doing it. If a certain action is not permissible in the Law of Allah (swt) then you do not do it no matter how much your desires might prompt you to do

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it. Similarly if an action is obligatory in the Law of Allah (swt) then you do it no matter how difficult it may be for you to do it. For every moment of your life you restrict your actions according to the Law of Allah (swt). This is what it means to be among the Saliheen. So we see that for you to walk on Siratul Mustaqeem then for every moment of your life, for every action that you can take, you must always refer that action to the Law of Allah (swt). Is that action permissible or not, is that an action that Allah (swt) will be pleased with or not? These are the questions that you must always be asking yourself for every second of your life. For every moment of your life you should be striving to learn more about Islam, trying to find out what are the actions that Allah (swt) likes for you to do and then striving to do those actions. Even if those actions sometimes entail hardships and difficulty. All that should matter for you is gaining the Pleasure of Allah (swt). As long as you make your best effort to walk on this Path, and you sincerely pray to Allah (swt) to keep you on this Path, then you can have to have the trust and the hope that He (swt) will keep you on this Path and give you the reward that you are seeking. Now that we know what Siratul Mustaqeem is we also need to know what it is not. We see from the ayah that we ask Allah (swt) to guide us to the path of those whom He (swt) has blessed, and not the path of those who have earned His (swt)’s Wrath nor of those who go astray. So the path that is not Siratul Mustaqeem is the path of those who have earned the Wrath of Allah (swt) and the path of those who go astray. But what does it mean to be among those who have earned the Wrath of Allah (swt) and those who have gone astray? Allah (swt) has already told us in this ayah who are the ones who walk on the Straight Path that lead to His (swt)’s Pleasure, but who are the ones who go astray from this path? Who are the ones whom Allah (swt) is displeased with? There is an authentic hadith of the Prophet (saw) where he (saw) has told us that the people who have earned the Wrath of Allah (swt) are the Jews and the people who have gone astray are the Christians. The Siratul Mustaqeem is a straight path and it is one. The deviations from this Path are many. In fact everything that is not Siratul Mustaqeem is a deviation from this path. So all of the false religions and the false ways of life are deviations from Siratul Mustaqeem. However in this hadith Allah (swt) brings our attention to two of the deviations that we need to be

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especially careful of. This is the path of the Jews and the path of the Christians. Both were a people who had deviated from the path that their respective prophets had put them on. The reason why Allah (swt) brings our attention to these deviant paths is because these are most dangerous paths for us. Of all the paths that are not Siratul Mustaqeem, these two paths are the deviant paths that this Muslim Ummah will most likely will fall into. This is because just like us, these were a people who also had revelation from Allah (swt). Like us they also once believed in this revelation that Allah (swt) sent them. They were also once on this Straight Path that we are struggling to stay on. But eventually they deviated from this Message that Allah (swt) sent them, they went away from the Siratul Mustaqeem. So in this ayah we ask Allah (swt) to keep us on the Siratul Mustaqeem and to keep us away from the paths of these people who went astray. Foremost among the people who have gone astray are the Jews and Christians. As we pray to Allah (swt) to protect us from becoming like them, we also have to study their lives to see where they went astray. We have to see what were the mistakes that they made that took them away from Siratul Mustaqeem, Insha Allah this is how we can save ourselves from making the same mistakes. We do not need to look past the Quran to find out what were the mistakes that were made by these people. Much of Surah Baqarah is the history of the Jews. Allah (swt) tells us how they were once the nation who were charged with the responsibility of carrying this dawah to mankind before us. Allah (swt) tells us how they clearly saw the miracles of their prophets in front of them, how they knew for certain that this Message was the truth, and how they turned away from this Message. First they stop carrying this Message to mankind. They refused to fight in jihad for the sake of Allah (swt). They preferred to chase after the life of this world rather than to strive and sacrifice to seek the Pleasure of Allah (swt). After they gave up the path of dawah and jihad, they even stopped applying the Law of Allah (swt) on themselves. They changed the Book of Allah (swt) with their own hands to make what was haram into halal and to turn what was halal into haram. Soon they failed to rule their lands by the Law of Allah (swt) altogether and instead they ruled by laws that they made up with their minds. Laws that suit their whims and their desires. But worst of all was the arrogance and the pride they had in their hearts for their nation. They thought they were the best of mankind, and they saw the rest of mankind as

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far below them. We are not saying that all Jews behaved in this way. There were some Jews who recognized the Truth of the Message that the Prophet (saw) brought to them from Allah (swt), and they became among the best of Muslims, much better than you and me. Among these were Saffiya (ra) who was the wife of the Prophet (saw) and a mother of the believers, there was also the Jewish youth who took the Shahada at the hand of the Prophet (saw) on his deathbed despite his parents’ objections, and there was also Jewish man who accepted Islam and was martyred shortly after in the Battle of Uhud. The Prophet (saw) promised him paradise even though he had never made a single prayer or fasted a single day as a Muslim. However even though among the Jews were those who were sincere and who submitted to the Truth, as a whole their people had this arrogance where they thought themselves better than others and they thought themselves above having to submit to the Truth. This then is the thinking and the behavior that we have to avoid if we want to save ourselves from becoming like them. To save ourselves from going astray from the Siratul Mustaqeem and falling into the path of a people who had the Wrath of Allah (swt) on them. So much was the arrogance of these people and their refusal to submit to the Truth that they became the people who earned the Wrath of Allah (swt). How evil and corrupt do a people have to be to earn the Wrath of the One Who is the Most Merciful? To see the error of all of their ways, we have to dedicate ourselves to study Surah Baqarah and other Surahs of the Quran that tell us of their history. May Allah (swt) give us the ability to do that! Just like we can see in the Quran how the Jews became a people who had the Wrath of Allah (swt) on them, we can also see in the Quran why the Christians are the people who went astray. The word that Allah (swt) uses to describe them in this ayah is dalal which means “misguidance” or “lost”. So they are a people who have lost the way and are misguided from the Truth. The scholars have said that the Jews were a people who had the Message and had the Truth with them, but they willfully turned away from this Truth. In other words they had the Law of Allah (swt) in their books but they chose not to follow it. The Christians on the other hand were a people who completely deviated from the Truth that they lost all of their guidance. They did not even have the Truth with them. So where the Jews had the guidance and refused to follow it, the Christians went astray and became lost so that they had no guidance whatsoever.

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This misguidance of the Christians began with the corruption in their Aqeedah when they started ascribing divinity to ‘Isa (as) and even to his mother Maryam (as). They did not do this based on any knowledge or revelation but rather only on their whims and conjectures. They mixed ideas and concepts from the pagan beliefs into the their creed and so they ascribed divinity to the creation. They could see that ‘Isa (as) and his mother were only humans just like they were. They could see that they were created beings with all of the limitations of the creation. Still they ascribed divinity to them and they even said that ‘Isa (as) indeed was the “creator”. This corruption in belief grew further until many of them started believing that if you would only accept ‘Isa (as) as a savior then all of your sins would be removed. They believed that the salvation of a person depends on them accepting ‘Isa (as) their savior. They could not explain what would be the fate of those righteous people who lived before ‘Isa (as) or of those who never heard of him (as). They even believed that you were free to commit whatever evil you wanted if only you accept ‘Isa (as) as your savior. Others of them believed that their Pope received revelation and guidance from Allah (swt). So they simply believed whatever he said as being from Allah (swt). All of this corruption began when they imagined false beliefs about ‘Isa (as) that he (as) himself had never claimed. They took stories from their pagan religions and applied it to the pure religion of monotheism that ‘Isa (as) brought them. We know that ‘Isa (as) never claimed any divinity for himself or for his mother; these were all thoughts that they made up in their own minds or they took from their pagan beliefs. This corruption in belief of a few of their priests is what caused their whole people to go astray. Completely lost from the guidance of Allah (swt), and living in total darkness and error. To save ourselves from being like these Christians we have to be careful of corruptions in our belief. Something that starts very small could grow over time and turn into the worst form of shirk, much like it did with the Christians. That is how Shaitan works, he will not come from the beginning and tell you to worship an idol. First he will make you to go the graves of pious people and tell you to pray to them or ask them for help. Shaitan will say that since they were pious they were closer to Allah (swt) than you. Then he will tell you to worship them alongside Allah (swt). Finally he will tell you to worship them instead of Allah (swt). Even the Prophet (saw) stressed

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again and again that he (saw) was only a messenger from Allah (swt) and he (saw) told the Sahabah not to do to him (saw) what the Christians did to ‘Isa (as). Allah (swt) Himself said in the Quran that the Prophet (saw) was only a man and that all prophets and messengers were only men. If the Prophet (saw) was only a man, then who are we to claim divinity for someone from the Prophet (saw)’s family or for some so called saint or pious person? No rather we must know that all divinity belongs to Allah (swt) Alone and only Allah (swt) deserves all of our worship. Surah Fatihah and all of the Quran testifies to this fact. Just like we can find a history of the Jews and all the mistakes that they made in the Quran, we can also find all the corruptions the Christians had in their Aqeedah in the Quran as well. For example the first half of Surah Imran presents many arguments against the Aqeedah of the Christians. Allah (swt) shows us how foolish they were in worshipping other than Him (swt). So in order to learn where the Christians went astray we have to study the Quran and look to how Allah (swt) speaks of them. Allah (swt) describes them as a people who did not follow the knowledge and revelation that they had but rather they followed their whims and conjectures. To save ourselves from becoming like them we have to always hold on to the Quran and Sunnah. We have to make certain that our worship of Allah (swt) is based on what is in the Quran and Sunnah and not on any innovations. The Straight Path that leads to the Pleasure of Allah (swt) is the path outlined in the Quran and Sunnah, all other paths are paths of error and misguidance. May Allah (swt) help all in this Ummah to realize this fact! Another way in which we can save ourselves from becoming like the Christians is that we need to always remind ourselves that only Allah (swt) deserves our worship and servitude. Only Allah (swt) and Allah (swt) deserves all of the worship and the sanctification. No one else deserves this because everyone else and everything else besides Him (swt) is only a creation. Not the Prophet (saw), not the saints, not the kings, and not the Imams. They are all creation and they are all in need of Allah (swt). Only Allah (swt) deserves to be worshipped, glorified and obeyed. We put our faces on the floor for Allah (swt) more than thirty times a day, but we would never do this for anyone else or anything else, not even for all the wealth in the world. Allah (swt) is our purpose in life so we dedicate our life to Him (swt)!

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So we have seen that Surah Fatihah is a prayer for guidance. We believe in Allah (swt) and we recognize that the purpose of our existence is to worship and serve Him (swt). In this Surah we are asking Allah (swt) to guide us on how we can fulfill that purpose of our existence. We began this Surah by telling Allah (swt) that we are doing everything in our lives in His (swt)’s Name. For every action that we do we are dedicating it to Him (swt) and we are seeking His (swt)’s help and blessing in that action. Then we praise and thank Allah (swt) for all of the blessings and gifts that He (swt) has bestowed on us. We praise Allah (swt) by realizing that only He (swt) deserves the praise and we thank Allah (swt) by realizing that everything we have is only from Him (swt). We then acknowledge Allah (swt) as our Creator and Sustainer, and our Lord and Master, both for us as individuals and for the society in which we live. We also remind ourselves that Allah (swt) is the complete King and Owner of the Day of Repayment. The Day on which we will be judged on whether we accepted this Message that He (swt) sent us, and how well we lived our lives to act in accordance with this Message. Then we ask Allah (swt) to guide us to what pleases Him (swt) and to keep us away from what displeases Him (swt). This was the essence of this Surah. May Allah (swt) guide all of the people in this world who sincerely search for the Truth of His (swt)’s Message! May Allah (swt) keep us all on the Straight Path that leads to His (swt)’s Pleasure and His (swt)’s Paradise!

All praise and thanks belongs to Allah (swt), our tafsir of Surah Fatihah end here.

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