Asalamalaikum!bayyaniah

Last weekend, I attended this seminar series by brother Nouman Ali Khan. No doubt, the experience of attending it is far better than listening to anything while driving or eating junk food.. far better, & alhamdolillah I was blessed to be a part of it. 🙂

In this post, I have tried to recollect all the gems I could jot down and that I could remember by now. Inshallah, please correct me if I am mistaken in anyway. More importantly, it is not easy for me to organize this in accordance to the flow of the actual seminars delivered, like I said, the best experience was being a part of it. Here it goes:

Quran is a speech by Allah SWT, and speech is different than written text. Speech doesn’t go through editorial process, so there is a high chance of saying things that you didn’t intend to. Written text goes through this editorial process, and there is always plenty of time and resources to make it perfect. So, mistakes in speech are fatal as we know from the examples of many politicians, and celebritites around us. But, at the same time, Quran’s speech is impeccable in its truest sense, SubhanAllah. 🙂

ٱلۡحَمۡدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the ‘Âlamîn.

This is the first verse of Surah Al-Fatiha. Some scholars believe that it’s the second (first being بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ), but for the purpose of this session, we adhere to the previous stance. The word Alhamdolillah is an all inclusive word. Thanking someone doesn’t imply that we are also praising him. Ibraheem A.S. thanked his father (because Allah SWT commanded us to do so), but didn’t praise him. Allah SWT is worthy of being praised and thanked at the same time. And, in the word hamd, praise and thankfulness are simultaneous.

Then the translation of Alhamdolillah is “Praise be to Allah”. The word praise here is a noun, not a verb. One question that we can raise is that why can’t it be “Praise Allah” and not what it is. This is because if the verb form of praise is used, it implies a time factor. But, praise of Allah is timeless, it was there before we were here, it is here, and it will remain here. So when we say Alhamdolillah, we are admitting that Praise is for Allah SWT even if are here or not, and even if we do it or not.

So, in sum, Allah SWT didn’t throw the ball in our court, everything Allah does is praiseworthy, and even if are not grateful for that, praise is for Allah.

Rab-il-Aa’lameen

Closest meaning of the word rab in english is Master. But, Allah SWT is not like a typical master because in general, no other master is praised or thanked for anything. The word rab here is more related to Huda which means guidance. Your first act as a slave is to ask the master for guidance. Huda is related to Hadiya which means gift. To arabs, guidance was also a gift. For a bedouin lost in desert, nothing’s more worthy for him than guidance.

Then, why Rab-il-Aa’lamin, why not anything else? Because again, it encompasses the mastery of Allah SWT in space and time simultaneously.

ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Rehmaan and Raheem are derived from the word Rahma. Why two words here if they are essentially from the same root? what’s the difference?

In Rehmaan, “aan” relates to Transience, Occurence, and Hyperbole-extreme. Whereas, in Raheem, “eem” relates to permanence. In short, Rehmaan covers immediate mercy of Allah SWT, and Raheem covers long-term mercy. So why this order? why not Raheem then Rehmaan? that’s an easy one. Human being in general hasten, so we are more interested in knowing about something that’s of immediate interest to us, then, we want to ensure the long-term interest. :>

Christianity is primarily about hope, and little about fear. Islam is balanced in this regard. Quran’s all about glad tidings and warnings, and it maintains the balance. Surah Al-Fatiha is sort of proof-of-concept in this regard. The first three verses are describing Allah SWT. Then there is a shift, and the middle part is where we are addressing Allah SWT and conveying our state of submission. Finally, we seek help in desperation, where the prayer implies everything we need help for.

ٱهۡدِنَا ٱلصِّرَٲطَ ٱلۡمُسۡتَقِيمَ Guide us to straight path!

One argument might be that why is it Siraat, why not the word Sabeel or Tareeq. Sabeel means a small path and Tareeq means a long path. However, Siraat relates to a path that’s unique, long, wide, straight, and dangerous – i.e. you need protection! So sabeel and and tareeq lead to siraat, but essentially, we are interested in passing through siraat with Allah SWT’s protection.

Then, why the word mustaqeem appears again, which is also a manifestation of the word path (?!). Mustaqeem comes from Qama (remember Istaqama?) i.e. to stand. So, it doesn’t only mean straight, it means vertically straight. Think of a weight balance, it’s supposed to be straight vertically, but if you want to cheat, you add hidden weights to tilt it – no longer vertically straight!

So, you are seeking Allah’s guidance along a path that’s vertically straight. When you move along such a path, what is it that you leave underneath yourself? it’s Dunya and the temptations of it. At the same time, the higher you get, the dangerous it gets if you fall. 😉

We can notice one thing here that everything that follows this surah in the Quran is essentially Allah SWT’s response to this plea of ours. The response, where we are informed about ways to travel along this path!

صِرَٲطَ ٱلَّذِينَ أَنۡعَمۡتَ عَلَيۡهِمۡ غَيۡرِ ٱلۡمَغۡضُوبِ عَلَيۡهِمۡ وَلَا ٱلضَّآلِّينَ

– The Way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, not (the way) of those who earned Your Anger, nor of those who went astray.

For some, the path was made easier by the grace of Allah SWT, we seek the same. On the other hand, Allah SWT distanced himself from some, and they received His rage – we seek His refuge from such a destiny. They had knowledge, but they didn’t use it. In the same way, we have knowledge, so we seek refuge from His punishment after we know about such people.

Finally, this is a surah of balance – about master and slave, about praise and thankfulness, and about knowledge and action.

That’s it. Again, I take all the responsibility for anything that I’ve misquoted here, may Allah make it easy on us, ameen.

Advertisements