Home / Friday Sermons / February 10th, 2012

Al Fatihah, the Essence of Quranic Teachings

Summary of Friday Sermon delivered by Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(at)

Hudhur said Surah Fatiha is a Surah that is read in every Salat. Ahadith relate many names given to this Surah, one of which is Surah Salat. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) said that God states that He has divided Surah Fatiha half and half between Him and His servants. The first half cites God’s attributes and the second half is comprised of prayers for His servants. Hudhur said each person offering Salat should ponder and reflect on the Divine attributes cited in the Surah to gain greater benefit and should also say the prayers therein with concentration to gain beneficence in every unit of every Prayer.

It should also be remembered that this Surah has a great significance with reference to the current age as cited in old scriptures, indicating its benefits in the time of the Promised Messiah and its safeguards against being misguided. In this respect, today it should have vast importance for the Muslims, but unfortunately the so-called religious leaders have influenced them to such an extent that they have lost the capacity to ponder and the majority is not prepared to reflect and deliberate. With the grace of God there are also a number of people who do reflect and understand the need of a Messiah. While those who are influenced by the mullah are heading towards evil and errability, those Muslims who genuinely care say that in this time of wickedness, shirk (associating partners with Allah) and errability a special person of God is needed to put an end to it. They should go ahead and search for this person, for he has indeed come. That special person of God has come but due to their fear of the mullah, people are not prepared to accept him. They should seek guidance from God and give up their obstinacy. Hudhur said our task is to take the message and we shall continue to do that. Likewise, those of us who associate ourselves to this true and ardent devotee of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) should try and increase our awareness and spiritual knowledge. We should try and seek the beneficence of the subject of Surah Al Fatiha. In light of the way the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) has elucidated this subject, it is our responsibility to try and understand it so that we can inculcate it in ourselves and seek its beneficence.

Hudhur said today he will expound the second verse of the Surah: ‘All praise belongs to Allah, Lord of all the worlds.’ (1:2) The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) has elucidated different subjects inherent in this verse in different ways and Hudhur said he would present a few aspects from the spiritual treasure. Without doubt reading and listening to them increases one’s spiritual knowledge but one cannot reach the profound meanings of these writings by listening to them once. It is also important to study them. Then alone will we acquire a correct insight into the writings of the Imam of the age and will be able to benefit from them.

The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) briefly explains the verse ‘All praise belongs to Allah, Lord of all the worlds’ as follows:

‘All praise is due to the Rightfully Worshipped Being, Who combines in Himself the aggregate of all Perfect excellences and whose name is Allah. All perfect excellence belongs to Allah.

In the language of the Noble Quran, Allah is that Perfect Being Who is rightfully adored, combining in Himself all perfect attributes, and free from every defect, the One without associate and the Source of all beneficence; for, Allah, the Exalted, has, in His Holy word, the Noble Quran, made His name Allah comprehensive of all His other names and attributes and has not accorded that status to any other name. Therefore, the name Allah has primacy over all the other names of which it is comprehensive. Since it is the aggregate of all names and attributes, it combines in itself all the Perfect qualities. The meaning of Alhamdu lillahe then is that every type of praise, whether relating to external aspects or internal realities, whether relating to inherent excellences or as manifested in natural phenomena, is due exclusively to Allah. No other shares in it. Whatever true praise or perfect excellence the wisdom of the wise can imagine or the minds of thinkers can contemplate belong to Allah the Supreme. There is no excellence of which sane reason can contemplate the possibility but which Allah lacks. In other words, reason is not able to conceive of any excellence which is not comprehended among Divine attributes. He has all the excellences that any one can imagine and He is Perfect in His Being, in His attributes and qualities, in every respect and is totally free from every defect and shortcoming.’ (Baraheen Ahmadiyyah, Vol. IV, pp. 364-365, Footnote 11 – The Commentary on the Holy Qur’an, Vol. I, Page 71)

Hudhur explained that the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) has indeed taught a prayer on the lines of seeking refuge from the good effect of all the names and attributes of God that we are aware of as well as those which we are not aware of.

Explaining the meanings of Al Hamd, the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) wrote:

‘Hamd is praise which is offered in appreciation of commendable action of one worthy of praise: it also means lauding one who has done a favour of his own volition and according to his own choice. The true reality of hamd is the due only of the Being Who is the source of all grace and light and exercises beneficence deliberately and not in ignorance or under compulsion. All this is found only in Allah, the All-Knowing, the All-Seeing. Indeed He is the true Benefactor and from Him proceed all benefits from beginning to end, and for Him is all glorification, in this world and in the hereafter and all praise that is bestowed on others reverts to Him.’ (Karamatus Sadiqeen - The Commentary on the Holy Qur’an, Vol. I, pp. 71 – 72)

Explaining, Hudhur said the foundation of everything that a person does is God-given ability, thus all praise reverts to Him.

The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) wrote:

‘Hamd is verbal praise which is offered to honour a mighty and noble being for His acts of beneficence. Perfect praise is the exclusive prerogative of the Lord of Majesty. The ultimate goal of every kind of glorification, be it in a small or a large measure, is our Lord Who guides the misguided and exalts the lowly and is the object of praise of all who are praiseworthy.’ (Karamatus Sadiqeen - The Commentary on the Holy Qur’an, Vol. I, p 72)

Hudhur explained that as in earlier times when Prophets of God were scorned, in the current age some hold contemptuous views about our Jama’at. For one, God manifests His support for us as we carry on, but a time will come when these people will be finished. Hudhur said in summary ‘Hamd’ also indicates that perfect praise belongs to God and He also gives perfect praise and it is the task of a Momin to seek insight of God’s ‘Hamd’ and come in His refuge.

Explaining why the Holy Qur’an starts with ‘Hamd’ of God, the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) wrote:

‘According to many scholars shukr (gratitude) differs from hamd in the sense that its application is restricted to beneficent qualities and madh differs from hamd in the sense that it applies to involuntary beneficence also. This is fully appreciated by rhetoricians and men of letters. Allah commenced His Book with hamd (glorification) and not with shukr (gratitude) or madh (praise) for hamd comprises the sense of the other two and is their substitute par excellence, in that it also comprehends correction, adornment and beautification. Since the idolators used to praise their idols without any justification, preferring the use of the word hamd for them, believing them to be sources of favours and bounties, and their mourning females vied with one another in boastful enumeration of the valorous deeds of their dead in battlefields and at banquets and praised them in the manner in which Allah, the Bestower, the Guardian, the Guarantor should be praised, the Fatiha is their rebuttal, and, of all who associate partners with Allah, and furnishes an admonition for those who use their judgment. In these words Allah reproaches the idol-worshippers, the Jews, the Christians and all those who associate partners with Allah, as if He was saying: Why do you glorify your associate-gods and why do you magnify your ancestors? Are they your lords who sustain you and your children? Or are they the compassionate ones who treat you mercifully, ward off calamities and avert evil and affliction, safeguard the good that has been your lot, or wash off the dirt of your sufferings and cure you of your diseases? Or are they the lords of the Day of Judgment? Nay, Allah alone sustains and shows mercy by granting happiness in full measure and by the grant of means of guidance and by answering prayers and by deliverance from enemies and He shall certainly reward those who work righteousness.’ (Karamatus Sadiqeen - The Commentary on the Holy Qur’an, Vol. I, pp. 72 – 73)

The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) further wrote:

‘The Fatiha also warns that whoso perishes for lack of his cognition of Allah, the Supreme, through his misconduct or by taking some other than Him as his god, in truth perishes because of his disregard of His excellences, his failure to contemplate His wonders and his neglect of all that is His due, as is the way of those who are the devotees of falsehood. Have you not considered that the Christians were invited to the Unity of God, but it was this distemper that brought about their ruin? Their erring selves and their beguiling passions drew them to the worship of a servant of Allah as their god. They drank deep of misguidance and ignorance and forgetting the excellences of Allah, the Supreme, and His attributes they invented for Him sons and daughters. Had they pondered the attributes of Allah, the Supreme, and the excellences that are worthy of Him, their insight would not have failed them and they would not have perished. That is why Allah, the Supreme, has warned us here that to safeguard ourselves against error in respect of a true concept of Him we must ponder His excellences and should seek out His appropriate attributes and should remind ourselves constantly of them, for they are far superior to every material gift and far more helpful than every kind of succour. We should reflect particularly over those attributes of His which have been manifested in His works, that is to say, His might, His power, His dominance and His bounteousness. Then be mindful of it and neglect it not. Be sure that all Providence belongs to Allah and all Rahmaniyyat belongs to Allah and all Rahimiyyat belongs to Allah and all sovereignty belongs to Allah on the Day of Judgment. Withhold not, therefore, your obedience from your Sustainer and be of those who submit themselves wholly to the One Lord. This verse also connotes that Allah, the Supreme, is far above every suspicion of weakness or shortcoming, such as the assumption of a new attribute on the decline of another attribute, or a change in His status or dignity, or developing a defect, or any kind of renewal or rehabilitation. On the contrary, to Him belongs all worthiness of praise in the beginning and in the end, manifestly and covertly, for ever and evermore. Whoever says aught contrary to this repudiates the Truth and is a disbeliever.’ (Karamatus Sadiqeen - The Commentary on the Holy Qur’an, Vol. I, pp.75 - 76)

Hudhur explained that the earlier people were destroyed because they did not recognise the Divine attributes, or they forgot them and became embroiled in shirk. As regards the teaching given to Muslims, the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) wrote:

‘In the phrase Alhamdu lillahe, Muslims have been taught that when they are asked: Who is your Lord? Each one of them must say: My Lord is the One to Whom all praise is due and there is no excellence or power but is found in Him in perfection. Be not, therefore, of those who are apt to forget.’ (Karamatus Sadiqeen - The Commentary on the Holy Qur’an, Vol. I, pp 76 )

Hudhur explained that one should be ever inclined to God, that He is our God and we worship Him. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) wrote:

‘This chapter begins with Alhamdu lillahe which means that all praise and all glorification belongs to the Being named Allah. This is inspired by the purpose that the worship of Allah, the Supreme, must be characterized by the fervour of the soul and a strong inclination, animated by love and ardour, which cannot well up, unless it is established that the object of worship is a Being, possessing all perfect excellences that inspire the heart spontaneously with admiration. It is obvious that comprehensive praise is inspired by two qualities, the perfection of beauty and the perfection of beneficence. If a being combines both these excellences, the heart melts and yearns for him with fervent devotion. The Holy Quran aims at impressing these two excellences of the Supreme Being upon the seekers after Truth, so that mankind may be drawn to that peerless and unique Being, and worship Him with fervent devotion and yearning. That is why in the very opening chapter, this charming description has been set forth to demonstrate the wonderful excellences of the Divine Being to whom the Quran invites mankind. Thus this surah begins with Alhamdulillahe, which means that all praise belongs to the Being called Allah.’ (Ayyamus Solh, p. 18 - The Commentary on the Holy Qur’an, Vol. I, p 77)

Hudhur explained that the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) has expounded the perfection of beauty and the perfection of beneficence of God in great detail, but it is a subject in itself. His perfection of beauty is because in Him all excellences are found as well as the aggregate of all perfect attributes. For the perfection of beneficence of God the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) has expounded four main principles, which Hudhur said he will briefly explain. His first beneficence is that He is Rabb (Lord), He creates and He sustains. His second beneficence is His quality of Rahmaniyyat by virtue of which He grants capacities to every living thing and makes arrangements for their survival, among these mankind has been given the largest share. His third beneficence is His quality of Raheemiyyat through which He accepts prayers and good works and keeps one protected from calamities. His fourth beneficence is that He is Master of the Day of Judgement by virtue of which He dispenses His grace and dispenses it as He pleases.

The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) illustrates below that there is an indication towards light after darkness in the term ‘Rabbil Aalameen’ (Lord of all the worlds):

‘The word alalameen encompasses all that is found in the world, of the groups of the guided as well as the parties of the misguided and the lost. At times, the alam (realm) of misguidance and disbelief and transgression and excess flourishes until the earth becomes full of injustice and tyranny and people abandon the ways of Allah, the Lord of Majesty. They appreciate not the true nature of the relationship subsisting between the Creator and His creatures and do not render that which is due to Him as Provider and Sustainer. The world becomes dark like the blackest night and faith is pulverized under this affliction. Then Allah initiates another alam (realm) and the earth is replaced with another earth and a fresh decree descends from heaven and men are granted perceiving hearts and eloquent tongues to render thanks to Allah for His bounties. Then they make their selves lowly like frequented paths, before the Lord of Greatness and run to Him in fear and hope, their eyes downcast with modesty and their faces turning wistfully to the Provider of all needs with a resolve in submissiveness that knocks at the very top of the heights. Such people are needed most when the nadir of misguidance has been reached and through degradation of their condition people turn into beasts and animals. It is at this moment that Divine compassion and His eternal favour urge that a person be raised in heaven, who should dispel darkness and demolish that which Satan has built and raised up. Then an Imam (leader) descends from the Rahman (the Gracious One) to fight the armies of Satan and these two forces join battle - only those perceive them who are gifted with insight - until falsehood is fettered and its mirage-like reasoning is obliterated. That Imam dominates the enemy and lends constant support to the rightly guided, raising aloft the banners of guidance, reviving the seasons and gatherings of piety, until people come to realize that he has succeeded in capturing the ringleaders of disbelief, fastening hard their fetters and has rounded up the beasts of falsehood and has placed halters round their necks and has destroyed the structures of innovations, dismantling their domes and has consolidated the word of Faith, and strengthened its organisation and has reinforced the dominion of heaven and has closed every breach.’ (Ijazul Masih – The Commentary on the Holy Qur’an, Vol. I, pp. 91 – 92)

Hudhur explained that in order to pay the dues of being servants of God we need to avail of the elucidations of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) and shun all harmful innovations in religion and thus strengthen our faith. Hudhur said when a person truly recognises God, he or she then attains an insight of Rabbil Aalameen. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) wrote:

‘Allah, the Holiest, has indicated in His word Lord of the worlds (Rabbil Aalameen) that He is the Creator of everything and is praised highly in the heavens and in the earth and that His praise is celebrated constantly by His servants who are ever occupied with His remembrance. There is not a thing but celebrates His praise and glorifies Him all the time. When one of His servants discards his own desires, is emptied of his passions, is wholly centered in Allah, His ways and His worship, and knows His Lord Who nurtured him by His favour, he glorifies Him all the time loving Him with all his heart, even with all the particles of his body.’ (Ijazul Masih – The Commentary on the Holy Qur’an, Vol. I, p 93)

Hudhur said of the Aalameen (realms), one alam (realm) was in which the advent of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) took place. Then another group of people was created who were the followers of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). As we have associated ourselves to this group we should focus on our preferences to be solely for the sake of God. Expounding what is included in ‘Aalameen’, the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) wrote:

‘Aalameen covers, with the exception of the Creator Himself, every existing thing, whether in the realm of spirits or in the realm of bodies, whether of earthly creation or like the sun, the moon or other celestial objects, all of them being aalameen abiding under the providence of the Lord.’ (Ijazul Masih – The Commentary on the Holy Qur’an, Vol. I, p 94)

Hudhur said we know that it is God alone Who sustains us, nurtures us, but at times man begins to consider man everything. In such instances a Momin should promptly self-reflect, repent and seek forgiveness from God and once again turn to Rabbil Aalameen. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) explains below that God also fulfils spiritual needs:

‘God is the Lord of the entire universe. He is Rabbilaalameen, the Lord of the Universe and as He has provided all the material means for the physical requirements of all kinds of creatures collectively, without discrimination, like food-grains, air, water, light and other things, so has He raised, time and again, reformers for every people, to warn and guide. The Holy Quran says: There has not been a people to whom a Warner has not been sent’ (35:25) (Al-Hakam, Aug. 10, 1902 - The Commentary on the Holy Qur’an, Vol. I, pp. 94 – 95)

‘Surah Fatiha begins with Al-hamdulillahe-Rabbil-aalameen which means that all holy and perfect attributes are exclusively possessed by God who is the Lord-Sustainer of the Universe. The word aalameen (worlds) covers all nations, all ages and all lands. This initial verse of the Holy Quran constitutes a refutation of those who seek to confine the Providence and grace of God to their own people, believing that other communities were not created by God, or that after creating them God had rejected them or had forgotten them.’ (Jang-i-Muqaddas - The Commentary on the Holy Qur’an, Vol. I, p. 96)

‘There is yet another direction in the word hamd, and that is that Allah, the Exalted and Lord of blessings, says: O My servants, know Me through My attributes and recognise Me through My excellences. I certainly do not suffer from any defect or shortcoming. Nay, My Praiseworthiness far exceeds the highest limits of praise rendered by those who praise Me. You will not find in the heavens or in the earth any praiseworthy feature that is not to be found in My countenance. If you tried to count My excellences you would not be able to number them, even if you exerted yourselves hard and took pains like the dedicated. Search well then if you can light upon a praiseworthy merit that you do not find in Me or can discover an excellence that is beyond Me and My Presence. If you feel that way then you have no knowledge of Me and are bereft of vision. I am known through My glories and excellences and the heavy clouds saturated with My blessings indicate the plenitude of My bounties. Those who believe in Me as comprehending all perfect attributes and all excellences and attribute to Me whatever perfection they observe anywhere and whatever glory they can conceive of in the highest flights of their imagination and ascribe to Me every grandeur that their minds and vision may observe and every power that is reflected in the mirror of their thoughts, are indeed the people who are treading the paths that lead to true recognition of Me. They have grasped the Truth and they will be successful. Be up then (may Allah keep watch over you) and seek earnestly for the attributes of Allah, the Glorious, and reflect over them like deep thinkers. Seek diligently and ponder every aspect of perfection searching for it in every overt and covert manifestation of this universe as a greedy person occupies himself incessantly with the pursuit of the object of his desires. When you arrive at the comprehension of the fullness of His perfection and begin to perceive His fragrance, it is then that you have found Him. This is a mystery that is unveiled only to those who are earnest seekers of guidance.

This then is your Lord, your Master, Perfect in Himself, comprehending all perfect excellences and worthy of all praise. He alone can know Him who deliberates deeply over the Fatiha, seeking His help with a pining heart. For those who make a covenant with Allah in perfect sincerity, binding themselves fast in perpetual obedience to Him, and cleanse their minds of all rancour and ill-will, are admitted through the portals of this Surah and are endowed with inner sight.’ (Karamatus Sadiqeen – The Commentary on the Holy Qur’an, Vol. I, pp. 73 -75)

Hudhur said having taken the Bai’at of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) this is the station we should try and look for. Ways to deliberate on Surah Fatiha and deliberate on the Holy Qur’an can indeed be attained through the guiding principles of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). May God enable us to attain insight of Divine attributes in accordance to the wishes of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) so that we may mould our lives in line with God’s commandments.

Next Hudhur announced two funeral Prayers in absentia:

Fateh Begum sahiba, wife of the late Maulana Ahmad Khan Naseem who was the additional Nazim Islah O Irshad in Rabwah. She passed away on 3 February. She was a very pious, prayerful lady who was regular in her Salat and Tahajjud. She had a most sincere connection with Khilafat and was a Moosia. She was a most caring person who gave whatever she had to the needy and deprived. She leaves behind three daughters and three sons. One of her sons is Naseem Mahdi sahib, our missionary in USA. Certainly his mother’s prayers had worked for him, may he continue to be the bearer of her prayers. May God elevate her station.

Hakim Bibi sahiba, wife of Maulwi Ghulam Rasool sahib, mu’allim Islah O Irshad, Pakistan. She passed away on 9 February. She was a very pious and prayerful lady who lived a life of dignity in spite of financial adversity. She was very self-respecting person who was well dressed and who did not ever ask for financial help. She leaves behind three sons and two daughters, one of her sons is Mubarak Ahmad Zafar sahib, additional Vakeel ul Maal in London.

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