An Explanation to Sarah al-Fatibah

A summary of numerous classical commentaries of the Qur'an


at-Tabari, as-Sama'ani, al-Baghawi, az-Zamakhshari, ibn 'Atiyyah,

ibn al-jawzi, ar-R5.21, al-Qurtubi, ibn aJ-Qayyim, ibn Kathir, as-

Sup:4i, al-Allis', ash-Shawkani, as-Sa`di, ash-Shang'!"

and many others


Prepared and translated by Abu Rumaysah

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1. With the Name of Allah,

The All-Merciful, The Most Merciful


2. All Praises and thanks are due to Allah


3. The All-Merciful (ar-Rahrndn),

The Most Merciful (ar-rahim}


4. Master of the Day of Judgement


5. You Alone we worship, You Alone we ask for help


6. Guide us to the Straight Path,

The Path of those whom You have favored


7. Not [the path] of those who have earned [Your] anger, nor those who have gone astray


Sarah al-Fatihah is the greatest chapter of the Qur'an, its like is not found in the rest of the Book or in the previous scriptures. It is a light that was granted to Prophet Muhammad SAW which had not been granted to any other Prophet or Messenger before him; indeed some of the Salaf stated that when this chapter was revealed, Shaytan let out a great cry of lament. It holds a central position in the daily prayer and hence the daily life of the Muslim.


The underlying theme of al-fatihah is one of contemplation and serenity; pondering the Names and Attributes of Allah, pondering the creation, and acknowledging that He Alone deserves praise and worship, that He Alone should be asked for help, that He Alone should be feared and hoped in, that He Alone should be invoked, that there is indeed a Day of judgment, and that guidance has come to us and we are required to follow it. It calls us to carefully scrutinise our relationship with our Lord: are we living according to the dictates of 'none has the right to be worshipped save of Allah' or not?' This opening chapter, despite its brevity, calls man to fulfil the rights of Tawhid, the right that Allah has over us to worship Him Alone without any partners, in thirty places.'

This chapter summarises succinctly the message of the whole Qur'an.

Owing to the importance of this chapter, this commentary has been collated. It is a summary of numerous classical commentaries of the Qur'an, these being;


1.     at-Tabati (d. 310H), Abu Ja'far Muhammad bin Jarir, Jaimi al-Began fa Tajwil al Qur'an, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 1" ed., 1412/1992, 12 volumes


2.     as-Sama'ani (d. 489H), Abu al-Muzaffar Mansur bin Muhammad, Tafsir al-Qur'an, Dar al-Wayan, Riyad, 15' ed., 1418/1997, 6 vol­umes


3.         al-Baghawi (d. 516H), Abu Muhammad al-Husayn bin Masud, malim at-Tanzil, Dar at-Taybah, Riyad, 2'1' ed., 1414/1993, 8 volumes


4.     az-Zamakhshari (d. 538), Abu al-Qasim Mahmud bin Umar, al-Kashshaf /i1,

Dar Ihya at-Turath al-Arabi, Beirut, 15' ed., 1417/1197, with the notes of ibn al-Munayyir (d. 683H), 4 volumes


5.     ibn'Acuyyah (d. 546), Abu Muhammad (Abdu-l-Haq bin Ghalib,

al-Muharrar Tafsir  al Kitab Al Aziz   Maktabah Baz, Mecca, 1" ed., 1422/2001, 6 vols.

6.     ibn al-jawzi (d. 597), Abu al-Faraj jamalu-d-Din (Abdur-Rahman,

Zad al-Masir fi lim at-Tafsir, al-Maktab ed., 1407/1987, 9 volumes


7.     ar-Razi (d. 606H), Muhammad bin (Umar bin al-Husayn, at-Tafsir al-Kabir, Dar Ihya' at-Turath al-Arabi, Beirut, 1" ed., 1415/1997, 11 volumes


8.          al-Qurtubi (d. 671H), Abu 'Abdullah Muhammad bin Ahmad, al-jami, li'l Ahkam al-Quran Dan al-Kutub al-'Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 5th ed., 1417/1996, 20+1 volumes


9.          Abu Hayyan (d. 745H), Muhammad bin Yusuf, al-Bahr al-Muhit, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, is' ed., 1413/1993, 8 volumes


10.     ibn al-Qayyim (d. 751H), Shamsud-Din Muhammad bin Abu Bakr, Tafsir al-Quran, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, col­lated by M. an-Nadwi, 1 volume


11.     ibn Kathir (d. 774H), (Imadu-d-Din Abu al-Fija Ismail. Taftir al-Qur'an              Jam'iyyah Ihya at-Turath al-Islarni, Kuwait, is' ed, 1414/1994, 4 volumes

12.     al-Baydawi (d. 791), Nasir ad-Din Abu Sacid 'Abdullah Abu (Umar bin Muhammad, al-Anuitir at-Tanzil iva-l-Asrar at-Tdwil, Dar al­Fikr, Beirut, 1st ed., 1416/1996, with the explanation of al­KazrUni, 5 volumes


13.     ibn 'Adil (d. 880H),.Abu Hafs iUmar bin (Ali, al-Lubab fa (Uliim al-Kitab, Dar al-Kutub alifirniyyah, Beirut, 15' ed., 1419/1998, 20 volumes


14.     al-Baqa.`i (d. 885H), Burhan ad-Din Abu al-Hasan Ibrahim bin (Umar, Na7z ad-Durarfi Tancisub al-Ayat ula-s-Suwar, Dar al-Kutub al-(Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 1st ed., 1415/1995, 8 volumes


15.     as-Suyud (d. 911H), Jalalu-d-Din 'Abdur-Rahman bin Abu Bakr, ad-Durr, al-Manthfirfi-t-Tafsir al-Aid/bier, Dar al-Kutub al-'Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 15' ed., 1421/2000, 6+1 volumes


16.     al-Khazin (d. 725), 'Ala)u-d-Din 'Ali bin Muhammad, Lubdb at­Tanzil fi Maani at-Tanzil, Dar al-Fikr, Beirut, in the margin of which is an-Nasafi, Madarik at-Tan#1 Iva   at-TaVil, 4 volumes


17.     al-AlUsi (d. 1270H), Abu al-Fadl Shihab ad-Din Mahmal, Rilh al-Maanifi 74fsir al-Qur'an al-dam wa-s-Sabc al-Mathani, Dar Ibya) at-Turath al-Arabi, 1 s' ed., 1420/1999, 29 volumes

18.     ash-Shawkani (d. 1250H), Muhammad 'Ali bin Muhammad, Fath al-Qadir al-jamir b6nafannay ar-Riwaya (Alarn al-Kutub, 4 volumes

19.  Rida (d. 1865H), Muhammad Rashid, Tafsir al-Mandr, Dar al­Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 1" ed., 1420/1999, 12 volumes


al-Fatihah ; Its Name

This chapter has a great many names, each one indicating a different aspect of its meaning. In the eyes of the Arabs if a thing had many different names, this was an indication of its importance.

It is named al-Fatighth, the Opening - because it opens the Book and by it the recitation in prayer commences.

It is also named Ummu-l-Quran, the Mother of the Qur'an, and Ummu-l-Kitab, the Mother of the Book, according to the opinion of the majority. This was mentioned by Arias, however al-Hasan and ibn Sirin disliked this appellation reasoning that this was the most fitting description for the Preserved Tablet al-Hasan also said that the unequivocal verses of the Qur'an comprised the Mother of the Book. However, it is established in at-Tirmidhi on the authority of Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah (t) said,

{The chapter commencing with] "All praise and thanks

are due to Allah the Lord of the worlds" is the Mother

of the Qur'an, the Mother of the Book, the Seven Oft-Repeated Verses and the Great Qur'an.'


Bukhari said in the beginning of the Book of Tafsir in his Sahih,


It is named Ummu-l-Quran because it is the first chapter written in the Quranic texts and the recitation in prayer commences with it


Ibn Jarir at-Tabari said that it was named so because the meaning of the entire Qur'an is summarised therein. The Arabs named any­thing that concisely summarises something or comprises its most important part, Umm, or mother.

For similar reasons it is also named al-Qur'an al-Azim, the Great Qur'an.

It is also named Sabhan-ul-Mathani, the Seven Oft-Repeated Verses, because they are frequently recited and indeed recited in every rakah of the prayer.


It is also named al-I-Hamd, the Praise, because it contains mention of band just as al-Bagarah is named so because it contains mention of the cow. Some scholars also gave the reasoning that al-Ifamd com­prises heart of al-Fdtihah.


It is also named as-Salah, the Prayer, due to his (SAw) saying while reporting from his Lord,


I have divided the prayer between Myself and my servant equally. Therefore when the servant says, "All praise and thanks are due to Allah, the Lord of the worlds" Allah says, 'My servant has praised


It is named the Prayer because its recitation is a condition for the validity of the prayer.'

It is also named ash-Shifa, the Cure, due to what ad-Darimi reports on the authority of Abu Said that the Messenger of Allah (swt) said,


The Opening of the Book is a cure for every poison.


It is also named ar-Ruqya, the Spiritual Cure, due to the hadith of Abu Said recorded by Bukhari that after he had recited it to cure a person who had been bitten by a scorpion, the Messenger of Allah (swt) asked him,


...and what made you know it was a ruqua?'


ash-Sha`bi records on the authority of ibn 'Abbas that he named it Asasus-ul-Quran, the Foundation of the Qur'an, and that he said, 'the foundation of al-Fatihah is, "with the Name of Allah, the All-Merciful the Most Merciful." This is because just as al-Fatihah summarises within it the meaning of the whole Qur'an, the whole meaning of al-Fatihab is summarised by this statement' as will be shown later.


Sufyan bin Uyaynah named it al-wafilah, the Fulfillment, reasoning that it is not possible to apportion it into various parts when reciting, or to summarise it.

Yahya bin Abu Kathir named it al-Kifiyah, the Sufficient, because it suffices from everything other than it but anything else does not suffice it. The mursal hadith states,


The Mother of the Book suffices for other than it but nothing else suffices it.

It was revealed in Mecca as stated by ibn 'Abbas, Qatadah and Abu

It is also postulated that it was revealed in Madinah as stated by Abu Hurayrah, Mujahid, 'Ma) bin Yasar and az-Zuhri. It is also said that it was revealed on two separate occasions - once in Mecca and once in Madinah. However the first opinion is the most likely due to His saying,


«We have sent to you the Seven Oft Repeated Verses...» (All-Hijr-15; 87)


This verse was revealed in Mecca by agreement of the exegetes.


Abu al-Layth as-Samargandi relates that half of it was revealed in Mecca and the remaining half in Madinah as quoted from him by al­Qurtubi but this is an extremely strange position.

It is said that this chapter was the first thing revealed of the Qur'an as mentioned in the hadith reported by al-Bayhaqi, Dald'il an­Nubuniwa. al-Ba.qillani quoted this as one of three opinions. It is also said that the first revelation comprised the verses of Sarah al-Mudathir but the correct opinion is that the first revelation con­sisted of the beginning verses of Siirab al-Alaq


It consists of seven verses and there is no difference concerning this?' 'Arnr bin `Ubaid said that it consists of eight verses and Husayn al-julafi said that it consists of six verses but both of these opinions are irregular and rejected.

They have differed concerning the statement "with the Name of Alldh, the All-Merciful, the Most Merciful" The majority of the reciters of Kafa postulate that it comprises an independent verse of al­Fatihah and this is also the opinion of a group of the Sahabah, Tabi`in and a large group of the later scholars. However the reciters and jurists of Madinah regard it to be part of a verse, and not an independent verse, or not a verse at all.

Those who postulate that it is not a verse of al-Fatihah state that the seventh verse commences with the words, "not [the path) of those who have earned [Your, anger..."'

al-Fatihah consists of twenty-five words and one hundred and thir­teen letters.

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 " ibn 'At'iyyah, vol. 1, pg. 65; ibn Kathir vol. 1, pg. 26

al-Baghawi, vol. 1, pg. 51; al-Fairozabadi, vol. 1, pg. 128

al-Thalabi records this view from Abu Hurayrah as per as-Suyuti, vol. 1, pg. 42

al-Baghawi, vol. 1, pg. 51; al-Qurtubi, vol. 1, pg. 81; ihn Kathir, vol. 1, pg. 26; al­Fairozabadi, vol. 1, pg. 128

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There are a number of ahadith explaining to us the great virtue of this surah;


1.            Muslim records on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (raa) who said that the Messenger of Allah said,

Allah, the Glorious and Exalted said, "I have divided the prayer between Myself and My servant equally and My servant shall be granted what he asked for." Therefore when the servant says, 'All praises and thanks are due to Allah, the Lord of the worlds', Allah says, "My servant has praised Me." When he says, 'The All-Merciful, the Most Merciful,' Allah says, "My servant has ex­tolled Me." When he says, 'Master of the Day of Judgement,' Allah says, "My servant has glorified Me." When he says, 'You Alone we worship and Your aid Alone do we seek,' Allah says, "This is between Me and My servant and My servant shall have what he requested." When he says, 'Guide us to the Straight Path, the Path of those whom You have favoured, not [the path] of those who have earned [Your] anger, nor of those who have gone astray,' Allah says, "This is for My servant and My servant shall have what he asked for.'


2.       at-Tirmidhi records on the authority of Abu Hurayrah who said that the Messenger of Allah () said,

[The chapter commencing with], "All praise and thanks are due to Allah the Lord of the worlds" is the Mother of the Qur'an, the Mother of the Book, the Seven Oft Repeated Verses and the Great Qur'an."


3. Ahmad records on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (raa) who said,

The Prophet (*) called Ubayy bin Ka`b while he was praying in the Mosque saying, "0 Ubayy!" Ubayy turned his head towards him but did not reply. The Prophet (*) called him again saying, "0 Ubayy!" So Ubayy short­ened his prayer and turned towards the Prophet and said, "as-salamis 'alaikum 0 Messenger of Allah." The Prophet (*) replied, "wa (alaikum as-salam'''. What pre­vented you from replying to me when I called you?" Ubayy said, "0 Messenger of Allah I was praying!" He said, "Does Allah not say,


<<...Respond to Allah and the Messenger when he calls you to that which gives you life» [al-Anfal (8): 24]


Ubayy replied, "Yes 0 Messenger of Allah! I will not do so again." The Messenger of Allah (*) asked, "Would you like me to teach you a Surah which is not to be found in the Torah, Injil, Zabik, or the [rest of the] Qur'an?" He said, "Yes 0 Messenger of Allah." The Prophet (*) said, "I hope that I will not leave this door until you know it."

Ubayy said, "Then he took hold of my hand and talked to me while I slowed down fearing that we may reach the door before he finished talking. When we did reach it I asked him, 'What is the Surah you promised me, 0 Messenger of Allah?' He said, 'What is the Surah you recite in prayer?' So I recited the Mother of the Qur'an upon which he said, By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, Allah has not revealed the likes of it in the Torah, Injil, Zabar, or the [rest of the] Qur'an. It is the Seven Oft-Repeated verses."'


4. Ahmad records on the authority of Abu Sa`d ibn al-Mu'alla who said,

The Prophet called me while I was praying in the Masjid but I did not respond until I had completed the prayer. I went to him and he asked, 'What prevented you from coming to me [earlier]?" I replied, "I was pray­ing 0 Messenger of Allah." He said, "Does Allah not say,


«...Respond to Allah and the Messenger when he calls you to that which gives you life»[al-Artfill (8): 24]


He then said, "I will teach a Sarah which is the greatest Sarah in the Qur'an before you leave the Masjid" Then he took hold of my hand and when he intended to leave [the Masjid], I asked him, "Did you not say that you would teach me a Surah which is the greatest Stirah in the Qur'an?" He replied, "yes. It is [the Sarah commencing with], "All praise and thanks are due to Alkih." It is the Seven Oft-Repeated verses and the Great Qur'an that has been given to me."


5.         Muslim records on the authority of ibn 'Abbas (raa) who said,

While the Messenger of Allah was sitting with fibril he heard a creaking sound above him. fibril looked up and said, "This is [the sound of] a gate that has been opened in Paradise today and has never been previously opened." Then an Angel descended through it and came to the Prophet (*) and said, "Rejoice in the good news of two lights that have been given to you such as no Prophet before you has been given. [They are] Surah al­Fathih and the concluding [two] verses of Surah al­Bagarah. You will never recite a word from them without being given the blessings they contain.


This hadith has led some scholars to suggest that fibril did not convey the revelation of Surah al-Fathih and the last two verses of al-Bagarah, rather it was the Angel mentioned in this Hadith. However the correct opinion is that fibril did indeed convey the revelation of these verses as he was enjoined by Allah to convey the entire Qur'an to the Prophet (It. The Angel that descended as mentioned in this badith, descended only to convey the reward of these verses.

6.          an-Nara'i records on the authority of Arias that the Prophet said,

"Should I not inform you of the most noble and excellent part of the Qur'an.?" He then recited "All praise and thanks are due to Allah, the Lord of the worlds'

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Muslim Eng. Trans., vol. 2, pg. 586 #1759

al-Qurtubi, vol. 1, pp. 82-83

an-Nasa'i, al-Klibra #8011. It was declared sahih by ibn Hibban #774, and al­1:Ialcirn #2056, with adh-Dhahabt remaining silent

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The opinion of the mejority of the scholars, amongst them Malik, ash-Shain and Ahmad, is that it is obligatory to recite al-Fathih in the prayer and that the prayer is invalid without it. Their opinion is based upon many proofs; from amongst them, the sayings of the Prophet


There is no prayer for the one who does not recite the Opening of the Book'

Whosoever performs a prayer in which he does not recite the Mother of the Book then it is deficient, it is deficient, it is deficient, it is incomplete.

The prayer is not valid in which the Mother of the Qur'an is not recited.

However, according to Abu Hanifah, those of his companions who agreed with him, al-Awai and ath-Thawri, it is not obligatory to recite al-Fathih, rather any portion of the Qur'an would be sufficient. They based this upon the saying of Allah,


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as-Suyati, vol. 1, pg. 24

Bukhara Eng. Trans., vol. 1, pg. 404 #723; Muslim Eng. Trans., vol. 1, pg. 214 #771

Muslim Eng. Trans., vol. 1, pg. 215 #775 27 Muslim Eng. Trans., vol. 1, pg. 215 #772

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(Recite what is easy [for you] of the Qur'an) [al-Muzzammil (73): 20]


and the saying of the Prophet (t) to the man who prayed badly,


When you stand to pray, say the takbir and then recite what is easy for you of the Qur'an."


Moreover, according to ash-Shafi'i and a group of the People of Knowledge, it is obligatory to recite al-Fatiha in every rakah of the prayer. However, another group were of the opinion that it is sufficient to recite it in the majority of the rakfahs and yet another group, from amongst them al-Hasan and the majority of the scholars of Basrah, were of the opinion that it is sufficient just to recite it in one rakah. This latter group took to the literal sense of the hadith,

There is no prayer for the one who does not recite the Opening of the Book


In the case where one is a follower in a congregational prayer, the scholars fell into three opinions with regards to his reciting al­Fathih:

1.          It is obligatory upon him to recite it in all prayers.

2.          It is upon him not to recite it in all prayers.

3.          He should recite it in those prayers in which the recitation is silent, but not in those prayers in which the recitation is loud.

The point here is not to discuss which is the strongest opinion but to show that al-Fathih has specific rulings to it that are not shared by any other chapter of the Qur'an. Allah Knows best.'



2.1 The Enmity of Shaytan


Allah, Exalted is He says,



<<Show forgiveness, enjoin what is good and turn away from the foolish. And if an evil suggestion comes to you from Shaytan, seek refuge with Allah. Indeed He is All-Hearing, All-Knowing>>[al-A'af"' (7): 199-200]



<<Repel evil by means of what is best. We are best Acquainted with the things that they utter. And say, `My Lord! I take refuge with you from the whisperings of the devils and I take refuge with You my Lord lest they come near me.'» [al-Mg'mintin (23): 96-98]



<<...Repel [evil] with that which is better then indeed the one, between whom and you there was enmity, [will become] as though he was a devoted friend. But none is granted [this quality] except those who are patient and none is granted it save one who possesses a great portion [of high moral character]. And if an evil suggestion comes to you from Shaman, seek refuge with Allah, indeed He is All-Hearing, All-Knowing>>

{Fussilat (41): 34-46}


These verses command the servant of Allah to seek refuge with Him from the accursed Shayan due to the severe enmity he displays towards mankind and displayed towards their father, Adam (AS). Allah says,



<< Children of Adam! Let not Shaytan deceive you, as he removed your parents out of Paradises>> [al-A'raf (7): 27]


Ibn al-jawzi said,

Servants of Allah! Ponder the removal of your father, Adam, from Paradise, the abode of security, and his descent to the abode of disgrace and abasement. The reason for this was none other than the accursed Shaytan. Your Master has prohibited you from obeying him and ordered you to disobey him. Indeed in his obedience lies the displeasure of ar-Rahman and disobeying him necessitates residing in Paradise and the descent of divine pleasure. Allah, Glorified and Exalted said,

<<Shaytan threatens you with poverty and orders you to immorality>>

[al-Bagareth (2): 268]


So whoever obeys him, he forsakes him, diverts him from true guidance and opens the doors to misguidance and ignominy in his heart.'

Allah further explains to us the extreme enmity of Shaytan with His words,



«Indeed Shaytan is an open enemy to you so take him as an enemy. He invites his followers only that they may become the denizens of the blazing Fire >>[Fatir (35): 6]



«Will you then take him and his offspring as friends and protectors besides Him while they are open en­emies to you? Wretched it is as an exchange for the wrong-doers»[al-Kahf (18): 50]


Shaytan took an oath saying,



«By Your Might! I will surely misguide them all, except Your chosen slaves amongst them» [.Sad (38): 82-83]


It is for this reason that we have been encouraged to seek refuge with Allah from the accursed Shaytan.


2.2 Istiadbah for recitation


With regards reciting the Qur'an, Allah, Exalted is He says,



When you wish to read [lit: have read] the Qur'an, seek refuge with Allah from the accursed Shaytan Indeed he has no power over those who believe and put their trust only in their Lord. His power is only over those who follow him and join partners with Him

[an-Nahl (16): 99-100]


A group of the reciters and scholars, from amongst them Hamza, ibn Sirin, Ibrahim an-Nakha)I and Dawad adh-Dhahiri, were of the opinion that one seeks refuge after the completion of recitation, taking to the literal sense of this verse. They also stated that the reason for doing so would be to repress self-astonishment at the completion of an action of worship.

A second opinion voiced is that one seeks refuge before and after the recitation. However the famous, well-known opinion, which is the opinion of the majority is that one seeks refuge before recitation in order to safeguard oneself from the whisperings of Shaytan. This group understood the meaning of the verse to be, When you wish to read the Qur'an...' in the same sense as the verse,



<<...When you intend to stand for prayer [lit: have stood for prayer], wash your faces and forearms...>> [al-Maidah (5): 6]


The majority of scholars are of the opinion that istiadha is recommended and not obligatory. However it is reported from 'Ata' ibn Abi Rabah that it is obligatory to say it within the prayer and outside the prayer when one desires to recite the Book of Allah. ar-Razi stated that the proof for this opinion was that the verse, "seek refuge with Allah" is mentioned in the imperative, that the Messenger of Allah persisted in uttering it throughout his life, and that it serves as a protective barrier from Shaytan - therefore if an obligation can only be fulfilled by a particular means, that means also becomes an obligation.


2.3 The meaning of Isiti'adhah


Al-Hafiz ibn al-Qayyim, may Allah have mercy upon him, explained the meaning of a'uduh (I take refuge) in a beautiful way. He said,


Know that the verb adha and its derivatives carry the meaning of being careful and wary, guarding and fortifying, being rescued and victorious. Its essential meaning is to flee from that which you fear will harm you to that which will safeguard you from it. This is why the one you seek refuge with is named ma`adh and malja` (the source of refuge and recourse).

In the hadith there occurs, When the daughter of al­Jawn entered upon the Prophet [after their marriage] he moved his hand [to touch her] and she said, "I take refuge with Allah from you." He said, "Indeed you have sought refuge with the Ma'adh, return and rejoin your family."


Therefore the meaning of a'udhu: I take refuge, guard myself and take precaution. There are two opinions concerning the basis of this verb. The first is that it is derived from the meaning of as-satar, covering or protection, and the second is that it is derived from the meaning of Luzum al-mujawara, firmly adhering to that which adjoins it.' As for the first opinion then the Arabs used to say with regards to a house that is in the shade of a tree - uwwadh , Therefore when this house did adha with this tree by be­ing built under its shade the Arabs named it uwwadh. The same applies to the one who takes refuge for he seeks protection and cover from his enemy with the one he seeks refuge with. As for the second opinion, then the Arabs used to say regarding flesh that was stuck to a bone and could not be removed, uwwadh, because of its refusal to be dislodged from it. The same applies to the one taking refuge for he sticks firmly to the one he is seeking refuge with and refuses to be distanced. Both of these opinions are correct for seeking refuge includes both. The one taking refuge seeks protection with the one he is seeking refuge with and sticks firmly to him. His heart attaches itself to him and holds firm just as the child sticks close to its father when threatened by an enemy.


The same applies to the one taking refuge for he flees from his enemy who desires his destruction to his Lord, throwing himself between His hands, holding firmly to Him, sticking close to Him and resorting to Him. Now, know that the reality of seeking refuge that is established in the heart of the believer surpasses, and is beyond these descriptions, for these serve only as examples and representations. As for that which is established in the heart in its taking refuge, holding fast to, and its throwing itself before its Lord, its need of Him and its submission and humility before Him, then all of this is be­yond description. In a similar vein, love of Him and fear of Him can only be described in a deficient way for they cannot truly be understood except through experi­encing them. This is similar to the case of one trying to describe the pleasure of sexual intercourse to one who is impotent and feels no sexual urges. No matter how much you describe it and how many examples you give, never will he truly understand it. However if you were to describe it to one who does have these urges and has had intercourse then he will understand your descriptions completely. if it is asked: When one is commanded to take refuge with Allah why does the form of the command carry a sin and ta?

 For example in His saying,


«Seek protection (fasta'adh) with Allah from the accursed Shaytan

 [Al-Nahl (16):98]


Yet one says, take refuge' (a'udhu) and took refuge' (ta uwwadhtu) without including the sin and la?


The reply is: the sin and ta are grammatically used to denote a person's seeking something. Therefore when


one says, ‘Asta'idhu with Allah' he is saying, `I seek refuge with Him.' When he says, `Astaghfirullah' he is saying, `1 seek the forgiveness of Allah.' However, when the person says, 'I take refuge (a'udhu) with Allah' he is actually implementing and realising what he seeks because he sought refuge and protection with Allah. There is a clear difference between actually taking refuge and seeking refuge. Therefore, because the one who is seeking ref­uge is actually recoursing to Allah and holding firmly to Him, he says the verb that denotes this rather than saying the verb that denotes that he only seeks this.The opposite is true for the saying, `Astagbfurllah (I seek the forgiveness of Allah) for in this case the person is asking Allah to forgive him. Therefore when he says, `Astashfirullah' he is implementing what he desires be­cause the meaning of this statement is, '1 ask Allah that He forgive me.' This then is the best way of seeking refuge and it was for this reason that the Prophet used to say, "I take refuge with Allah from the accursed ,Shaytan" and, "I take refuge with Allah's perfect words" and, "I take refuge with the Might and Power of Allah" saying, 'a'udhu) rather than 'asta'idbu.' Indeed this is what Allah taught him to say with His words,


<<Say: I take refuge with the Lord of Daybreak>>[al-Falaq (113):1]

<<Say: I take refuge with the Lord of Mankind» [an-Nas (114):1]

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With the Name of Allah,

The All-Merciful, The Most Merciful


This statement is given the title basmAllah as an abbreviation. In the same way the statement, `La hawla wa la quwwata illa billah' is called the hawqala; `La. ildha illa Allah' is called the baylala; Al­hamdulilah' is called the hamdala; `SubhanAllah is called the sabhala;


3.1 The wisdom of the basmAllah

From the manners that Islam has taught us is to begin our actions by mentioning the Name of Allah.' The purpose behind this is far-reaching and manifold:

1. It brings Allah to mind before one does the action.