Shaykh Ibrahim Niyas (q.s.) on Surah al-Fatihah

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is extracted from the Garden of Tafsir by Shaykh al-Islam Ibrahim Niyas (q.s.). This section is about Surah al-Fatihah.

Surah al-Fatihah comprises the totality of the Qur’an.  The Qur’an has nine subject matters.  On the subject of Praise, al-Hamd, in the Qur’an, there are many, many verses that praise Allah (s.w.t.) and laud Him.  There are the subjects of the Promise and the Threat.  Also found in the Qur’an are the sacred law, shari’ah, and the Reality, Haqiqah.  There is supplication, du’a, and also storytelling, qiswswah, the stories of those before us.  Also found in it are sermons, al-mawa’izh; reminders, at-tadzkir; reports, al-khabar; and monotheism, at-tawhid.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
Praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the Worlds, Most Gracious, Most Merciful, Master of the, Day of Judgment.  Thee do we worship, and Thine Aid we seek.  Show us the straight way.  The way of those on whom Thou hast Bestowed Thy Grace, Those whose (portion) is not wrath and who go not astray. (Surah al-Fatihah:1-7)

Going through by line, it works out as follows.

Praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the Worlds (Surah al-Fatihah:2)

“Praise be to Allah,” “al-Hamdulillah,” comprises all that belongs to Allah (s.w.t.) in the Qur’an of laudation, ats-tsana’; of praise, al-hamd; and gratitude, ash-shukr.  All that is in the Qur’an of laudation for Allah (s.w.t.) and praise, al-mada’ih, “al-Hamdulillah,” has completely encompassed it.  “Lord of all of the worlds,” “Rabb al-‘Alamin,” is monotheism, at-tawhid.

Most Gracious, Most Merciful (Surah al-Fatihah:3)

“The Beneficent, the Merciful,” “ar-Rahman ar-Rahim,” is the Promise, al-Waʼd.

Master of the, Day of Judgment. (Surah al-Fatihah:4)

“The Sovereign of the Day of Judgement,” “Maliki Yawm ad-Din,” is the Threat, al-Waʼid.

Thee do we worship, and Thine Aid we seek. (Surah al-Fatihah:5)

 “You Only do we worship,” “Iyyaka na’budu,” is the sacred law, shariʼah; “from You Alone we seek Help,” “Iyyaka nasta’in,” is Reality, Haqiqah.

Show us the straight way. (Surah al-Fatihah:6)

 “Guide us to the Straight Path,” “Ihdina asw-swirath al-mustaqim,” is supplication, duʼa.

The way of those on whom Thou hast Bestowed Thy Grace, Those whose (portion) is not wrath and who go not astray. (Surah al-Fatihah:7)

“The Path of those whom You have Blessed,” “Swirath al-ladzina an’amta ‘alayhim,” is storytelling, qiswswah, “Other than the those upon whom is wrath, nor those who go astray,” “Ghayr al-maghdhubi ‘alayhim wa laa adh-dhalin,” is sermons, al-mawʼizhah; and reminders, at-tadzkir.

Allah (s.w.t.) Mentioned in Surah al-Fatihah, five of His Own Names, Blessed and Exalted.  In “Praise be to Allah,” ‘Allah’ is a Name.  In “Lord of all the worlds,” ‘ar-Rabb,’ which is normally translated as ‘Lord,’ is a Name.  ‘The Beneficent,’ ‘ar-Rahman’; and ‘the Merciful,’ ‘ar-Rahim,’ are His Names.  And “Sovereign of the Day of Judgement” is a Name.  This is the source of the Five Pillars of Islam.

Islam is built upon five.  The first being bearing witness that there is nothing worthy of worship except Allah.  The meaning of this is ‘Allah.’ And the second, establishing the prayer, swalah, is ar-Rabb, with the meaning of ‘the One Who Rectifies,’ ‘al-Muswlih’ and ‘the One Who Educates and Brings to Maturity,’ al-Murabbi.  The swalah of the slave brings his Islam to maturity and rectifies it.  ‘The Beneficent,’ ar-Rahman,’ the emphatic form of Mercy, ar-Rahmah, is fasting, swiyam.  The slave reaches the limit of His Mercy for the destitute when he tastes for himself the hunger that afflicts the destitute person so that he will give him charity.  This is the pillar of fasting, rukn asw-swiyam.  ‘The Merciful.’ ‘ar-Rahim,’ is the pillar of almsgiving, zakat.  The slave has mercy on the destitute person, so he separates for him a part of his wealth.  ‘The Sovereign of the Day of Judgement,’ Malik Yawm ad-Din,’ is the pillar of pilgrimage, hajj.  Just as mankind will be gathered to the Gathering Place, coming to baqʼah alone, pilgrimage is similar to this.


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