Posted by: mjaga | January 7, 2015

Qur’aanic Chapter 1


Chapter 1: Al-Fatiha (The Opening)

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  • 1. Bismi Allahi alrrahmani alrraheemi
  • 1. In the name of Allah1, the Gracious2, the Merciful2.

Chapter Notes:

1, I have retained here the original Arabic word. The English near-equivalent God does not convey the same significance or uniqueness that the word implies. Non-Muslim readers are requested not to get the wrong impression that Muslims have a separate god called Allah. Allah is the sole Creator and Sustainer of the entire Universe and of all things, animate or inanimate, therein.

  2. Root letters for both the Arabic words, in the original text, are the same: ra, ha, ma. The root word denotes compassion, mercy, or, more comprehensively, grace. It is by Allah’s grace that we receive from Him even unmerited favours. The epithet Rahmaan signifies possession of grace, and the epithet Raheem, active manifestation of that grace upon all Creation. Allah not only possesses grace, but actively bestows it upon His creatures. Both these words are prefixed by the definite article al (the). It signifies that it is Allah who is the real possessor and bestower of grace. It is only the reflection of this divine quality that we see in His creatures.

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  • 2. Alhamdu lillahi rabbi alAAalameena
  • 2. The praise3 is for Allah, Lord4 of the worlds5,

    • 3. Prefix of the definite article here, too, is significant. It is only Allah, who is really praiseworthy. When we praise a person for his/her beauty, intelligence, work etc., our praise is, in fact, misdirected! We should really be praising the Creator who made the person beautiful or intelligent, or gave him the capacity to produce the good work. That is why Muslims, whenever they see anything praiseworthy, utter this phrase in Arabic, alhamdulillah!
    •   4. The original Arabic word is Rabb. It is a very comprehensive word, covering the meanings of Master, Owner, Nourisher, Developer, Guide, Provider et al. For want of a befitting corresponding word in English, the word “Lord” is used, although it does not convey the same comprehensive meaning. For the purpose of this translation, therefore, “Lord” is redefined to have the comprehensive meaning of the Arabic word Rabb.
    •   5. This is the dictionary meaning of the Arabic word aalameen. It is in plural: worlds, and not world. In most of the places where this word has been used in the Qur’aan, it is accompanied by the word Rabb, as in this place. But there are a few places where it isn’t, as in Verses 2:47, 3:97, 6:86, 6:90, 21:107 and 29:6. A close study of these latter Verses would show that the word is used in the same sense as in the sentence, “My world is different from yours.” Every individual life is one’s own individual world in the sense that his/her environment, conditions of living, circle of contacts etc. are different from others’. One’s own world is, in other words, one’s own individual life. It is to these millions of individual worlds that the Qur’aan refers to as aalameen. Allah thus declares that He is the Rabb of every individual life. If every individual would but submit completely to His will and obey His commands as given in the Qur’aan, the Lord will surely nourish and lead the individual’s life to Success and Salvation! In the phrase Rabbulaalameen, however, Aalameen would include jinns, angels, all living things (besides human) and all inanimate things in the entire universe as well. Refer in this context Moses’ reply to Pharaoh in Verses 24, 26 and 28 of Chapter 32 (Manzil V). Rabbulaalameen could as well be translated as the Lord of the Universe.
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  • 3. Alrrahmani alrraheemi
  • 3. The Gracious, the Merciful,

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  • 4. Maliki yawmi alddeeni
  • 4. Master of the Judgement Day6!

    • 6. Judgement Day mentioned here has been described in the Qur’aan as, “The Day when no person shall be able to do anything for another. And the Authority, that Day, shall be with Allah!” [82:19] The Day obviously will not be any day of this world in which we are living now. It has got to be of another world, after our deaths! That Day, Allah will judge every person, strictly on merit. No influence, no recommendation!
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  • 5. Iyyaka naAAbudu wa-iyyaka nastaAAeenu
  • 5. You, we worship, and, you, we ask for help.

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  • 6. Ihdina alssirata almustaqeema
  • 6. Guide us to the Straight Path –

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  • 7. Sirata allatheena anAAamta AAalayhim ghayri almaghdoobi AAalayhim wala alddalleena
  • 7. Path of those upon whom You have bestowed favours7, not of those who have incurred Your wrath8, nor of those who have gone astray9!

    • 7. The Qur’aan elsewhere declares, “And whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger, shall be with those on whom Allah has bestowed favours – the Prophets, the truthful, the martyrs, the reformers and doers of good. And good, indeed, are such companions!” [4:69]
    •  8, Explaining why or how people incurred Allah’s wrath, the Qur’aan says, “…That was because they disobeyed and exceeded all limits!” [2:61] and [3:112]
    • 9. The Qur’aan says elsewhere, “Surely, in the matter of those who have suppressed the Truth after attaining to belief therein, and who have gone on to suppress it further, their repentance shall not be accepted. And those are the ones who have gone astray!” [3:90]

This Chapter is obviously in the form of a prayer from mankind. The rest of the Qur’aan is Allah’s response thereto.


Translations & study notes by:

Mohammad Shafi

Download entire QUR’AANIC STUDIES


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