Class Notes & Audio

  January 12th, 2018

al-Fatihah #1 (The Opening)

“The Opening” — Early Meccan Period
Some of the Mufassirun we’ll be looking at and when they lived:

  • al-Tabari (923);
  • al-Baghawi (1122);
  • Ibn Juzayy (1340);
  • Ibn Kathir (1373);
  • al-Shawkani (1839);
  • al-Sa’di (1937);

And so the Qur’an opens with a condensed summary of its entire message. Thus, following good essay writing format, the opening paragraph of the Qur’an provides a brief summary of what its message was all about:

  • Everything begins and ends with God;
  • Who is in control;
  • God is ready to provide healing, guidance and direction for any who ask;

It has been said that if the entire Qur’an were lost and only this chapter remained, it would be sufficient guidance for humanity for all time.

al-Fatihah is also the first complete chapter of the Qur’an revealed to the Prophet, as only partial verses from chapters 96 (al-’Alaq), 73 (al-Muzzammil), 68 (al-Qalam), and 74 (al-Muddaththir) preceded it. This chapter can be dated to the early part of the year 611.

Ibn Juzayy

وتسمى سورة الحمد لله، وفاتحة الكتاب، والواقية، والشافية، والسبع المثاني

وفيها عشرون فائدة، سوى ما تقدّم في اللغات من تفسير ألفاظها

واختُلف هل هي مكية أو مدنية

ولا خلاف أن الفاتحة سبع آيات إلاّ أن الشافعي يعدّ البسملة آية منها

والمالكيّ يسقطها، ويعدّ أنعمت عليهم آية

  • “It has been called ‘the chapter of Praise’, ‘the Opening of the Book’, ‘The Protection’, ‘The Cure’ and ‘the Seven Extolled Verses’.”
  • “It contains no less the twenty benefits and moral lessons.”
  • “There has been disagreement as to whether it is a Makkan or a Madinan chapter though most place it in Makkah.”
  • “All save Imam al-Shafi’ agree that it is comprised of seven verses, who counts the basmalah as one of its verses.”
  • “Those of Imam Malik’s opinion ommitt (the basmalah) it (from salah) as well as counting the passage (“the Path of those You have blessed”/صِراطَ الَّذينَ أَنعَمتَ عَلَيهِم) as a verse by itself.”

مَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ فِي التَّوْرَاةِ وَلاَ فِي الإِنْجِيلِ مِثْلَ أُمِّ الْقُرْآنِ وَهِيَ السَّبْعُ الْمَثَانِي وَهِيَ مَقْسُومَةٌ بَيْنِي وَبَيْنَ عَبْدِي وَلِعَبْدِي مَا سَأَلَ

“Narrated by Ubayy bin Ka’b that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, ‘Allah, the Mighty and Sublime, did not reveal in the Torah or the Gospel anything like the Mother of the Qur’an, which are The Seven Extolled Verses, and they are ‘divided between Myself, My slave, and what My slave asks for’.”Sunan al-Nasa’i #914, Hasan

  January 26th, 2018

al-Fatihah #1 (The Opening) Part II

“The Opening” — Early Meccan Period
Some of the Mufassirun we’ll be looking at and when they lived:

    • al-Tabari (923);
    • al-Baghawi (1122);
    • al-Qurtubi (1273);
    • Ibn Juzayy (1340);
    • Ibn Kathir (1373);
    • al-Shawkani (1839);
    • al-Sa’di (1937);
    • al-Shanqiti (1972);

And so the Qur’an opens with a condensed summary of its entire message. Thus, following good essay writing format, the opening paragraph of the Qur’an provides a brief summary of what its message was all about:

  al-Sa’di

أبتدئ بكل اسم الله تعالى لأن لفظ اسم مفرد مضاف فيعم جميع الأسماء الحسنى الله هو المألوه المعبود المستحق لإفراده بالعبادة

Every name of God the Exalted is preceded and begins its mention – ‘name’ is singular and possessor. Hence, it in a universal capacity combines [the meaning] of all the of Beautiful Names of God, He is That Which is Deified and That Which is Worshipped, Deserving of That Right, singularly, regarding worship.

وهي صفات الكمال الرحمن الرحيم اسمان دالان على أنه تعالى ذو الرحمة الواسعة العظيمة التي وسعت كل شيء

It is also the Complete Attributes, al-Rahman/al-Rahim: two name that signify that He, Exalted, possesses a wide, magnanimous, encompassing mercy which envelops everything.

  al-Shanqiti

لَمْ يَذْكُرْ لِحَمْدِهِ هُنَا ظَرْفًا مَكَانِيًّا وَلَا زَمَانِيًّا، وَذَكَرَ فِي سُورَةِ الرُّومِ أَنَّ مِنْ ظُرُوفِهِ الْمَكَانِيَّةِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ فِي قَوْلِهِ

[Allah] did not mention here, regarding the praise of Him, a spatial or temporal condition regarding it. [An example of this is] He mentioned in Surah al-Rum a spatial condition regarding His praise (the heavens and the earth) in his statement,

وَلَهُ الْحَمْدُ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَعَشِيًّا وَحِينَ تُظْهِرُونَ

“Praise be to Him in the heavens and the earth, in the afternoon and when you reach midday”Qur’an 30: 18

وَذَكَرَ فِي سُورَةِ الْقَصَصِ أَنَّ مِنْ ظُرُوفِهِ الزَّمَانِيَّةِ: الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةَ فِي قَوْلِهِ

Likewise He mentioned in Surah al-Qasas a temporal context,

وَهُوَ اللَّهُ لا إِلٰهَ إِلّا هُوَ ۖ لَهُ الحَمدُ فِي الأولىٰ وَالآخِرَةِ ۖ وَلَهُ الحُكمُ وَإِلَيهِ تُرجَعونَ

“He is Allah. There is no god but Him. Praise be to Him in the This Life and The Next. Judgement belongs to Him. You will be returned to Him”Qur’an, 28: 70

وَقَالَ فِي أَوَّلِ سُورَةِ سَبَأٍ

And similarly at the beginning of Surah Saba’,

وَلَهُ الْحَمْدُ فِي الْآخِرَةِ وَهُوَ الْحَكِيمُ الْخَبِيرُ

And praise be to Him in the Next World. He is the All-Wise, the All-Aware”Qur’an, 34: 1

وَالْأَلِفُ وَاللَّامُ فِي: {الْحَمْدُ} لِاسْتِغْرَاقِ جَمِيعِ الْمَحَامِدِ. وَهُوَ ثَنَاءٌ أَثْنَى بِهِ تَعَالَى عَلَى نَفْسِهِ وَفِي ضِمْنِهِ أَمَرَ عِبَادَهُ أَنْ يُثْنُوا عَلَيْهِ بِهِ

The letters ‘alif and lam’ in ‘al-hamdu’ completely encompasses all aspects/forms of praise. It is also a praise of Himself, tacitly commanding His slaves to praise Him by the phrase itself.