Do you know to what extent the opening chapter of Quran (i.e the last divine message) is important?
Do know that The opening chapter in Quran has special place in muslims’ hearts?
Do you know that Muslims recite the opening chapter in each unit of Islamic prayer?
You know that every book has introduction, Quran has special introductory chapter that mainly focuses on the very essence of Islam. Abu Sa’id Ar-Rafi’ bin Al-Mu’alla (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of God said:
Shall I teach you the greatest chapter in the Qur’an before you leave the mosque?” Then he (peace be upon him), took me by the hand, and when we were about to step out, I reminded him of his promise to teach me the greatest chapter in the Qur’an. He said:
“It is ‘Alhamdu lillahi Rabbil ‘Alamin (i.e.,The opening chapter) which is As-Sab’ Al-Mathani (i.e., the seven oft- repeated Ayat) and the Great Qur’an which is given to me.” [Al-Bukhari].
Let’s see the translation of the meaning of the opening chapter and speak for some about each verse …
- In the name of Allah the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
It is the first verse in God’s Book (Quran), by which God’s approach starts. It is the best beginning ever, as you recite God’s words. You are aware that you need to seek the help of the true God (Allah). This verse is recommended to say it before intiating any action, such as eating, drinking, sleeping …etc. You are asking help from the Ever-powerful.
- [All] praise is [due] to Allah, Lord of the worlds
You are praising the Creator of this universe. The One who creates every single creature for the sake of human beings. He really deserves to be praised. Look around you, observing nature, asking and wandering who can create all these creations in such accurate and wonderful way. Let me give you examples of these creatures that will make you sure that God deserves praising and He is the Lord of the worlds .
- “Then do they not look at the camels -- how they are created? And at the sky -- how it is raised? And at the mountains -- how they are erected? And at the earth -- how it is spread out?” [Quran/ 88/17-20]. Did you ask yourself before about camels and their great benefits , about this wonderful heaven who grasps it, and the high mountains, or even about earth and gravity? [It is] the work of Allah, who perfected all things.
- “Indeed, within the heavens and earth are signs for the believers.And in the creation of yourselves and what He disperses of moving creatures are signs for people who are certain [in faith]. And [in] the alternation of night and day and [in] what Allah sends down from the sky of provision and gives life thereby to the earth after its lifelessness and [in His] directing of the winds are signs for a people who reason” [Quran/45/3-5]. After looking at all these creation and looking at yourself , you must be sure that God is the worthiest to be praised and worshiped.
- The Most Gracious,the Most Merciful
Do you know that God’s name “Alrhaman” (i.e The Most Gracious) is mentioned in Quran 57 times, and “Alraheem” (i.e the Most Merciful) is mentioned 114 times? This emphasizes to what extent God’s mercy, as God’s said:
My mercy prevails over my wrath” (Al-Bukhari).
“Al-rhaman” means the One who has comprehensive mercy for all creations in this life, and His mercy includes the believer and disbeliever. “Alraheem” is who will show mercy to believers in the day of judgement. God said in quran:
My mercy encompasses all things” [Quran.com/7/156].
- The Only Owner( and the Only Ruling judge) of the Day of Recompense
This verse emphasizes one of the fundamental of Islam, which is believing in the last day. The last day when the good will be rewarded for his/her goodness and the bad will be punished for his/her evil. That’s our final destination when someone like Hitler, or others who wiped out entire nations or races, they will get the severe punishment that they really deserve, as God said: “And the punishment of the Hereafter is more severe and more enduring” [Quran/20/127].
- It is You we worship and You we ask for help
The first part of the verse mainly focuses on the essence of Islam which is worship. The key question is why we should worship God? Simply because it’s our real purpose in life. Look! God said it clearly in Quran:
And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me” [Quran.com/51/56].
As God created us and bestowed a lot of favors upon us, so He is the One who worth to be worshiped. God doesn’t need our worshiping, but in fact we are in need to worship Him. God said in hadith qudsy:
O My servants, you will not attain harming Me so as to harm Me, and you will not attain benefiting Me so as to benefit Me.
O My servants, if the first of you and the last of you, and the humans of you and the jinn of you, were all as pious as the most pious heart of any individual amongst you, then this would not increase My Kingdom an iota.
O My servants, if the first of you and the last of you, and the humans of you and the jinn of you, were all as wicked as the most wicked heart of any individual amongst you, then this would not decrease My Kingdom an iota” (Muslim).
For the second part of the verse “You we ask for help”, it shows to what extent man is so weak and God is the all-powerful. When you ask for something from people, they may disappoint you. On the contrary, God never disappoint you, as He said: “And your Lord says, “Call upon Me; I will respond to you.” Indeed, those who disdain My worship will enter Hell [rendered] contemptible” [Quran /40/60].
- Guide us to the straight path
What is the straight path? It’s God’s path (worshiping Him alone and follows His orders and avoids His prohibitions) … God paves the way for human to reach the straight path by sending messengers to guide people to it, which must lead them to the real happiness. This verse includes a comprehensive invocation that must benefit you in your whole life, as you ask guidance from the one who create you, who knows what is the best for you .
- “The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor, not of those who have earned [Your] anger or of those who are astray”;
Do you know whom God have bestowed favor upon them? It was mentioned in another chapter in detail, as God said: “And whoever obeys Allah (i.e Creator of heavens and earth) and the Messenger -- those will be with the ones upon whom Allah has bestowed favor of the prophets, the steadfast affirms of truth, the martyrs and the righteous. And excellent are those as companions” [Quran/4/69]. Who are those have earned God’s anger? They are the people who know the truth and refuse to take action. Who are astray? They are the people who take actions but without knowledge. So who is the winners? They are who combine the two things knowing the truth and taking actions, so we ask God to be among them in each part of prayer.
To conclude, the opening chapter combines almost of the Islamic belief from believing in one God deserves to be worshiped, His great attributes, the Hereafter, the worshiping, asking for help, asking for guidance and to be among the winners. That ‘s about the opening chapter so how about the whole book … Read it by yourself and then judge.
For more about the opening chapter, watch:
Interpretation of Chapter al-Fatihhah
Secrets of Chapter al-Fatihhah