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Transcription of the Lecture
Sureh Hamd (Fatihatul Ketab)

Translation by: Ahmad K.

When you examine the Quran, you will notice that it has started off with long Surahs (Chapters). Surah Baqara, Aal- `Imran, Nisaa, Ma`ideh, An`aam, A`araaf, Anfaal, Tawba, Yunus, Hud, Yusuf. When we reach the end of the Quran, on the other hand, there are small surahs. The Quran ends with surah Naas and surah Falaq. They are not more than one or two lines. So we see that in general the Quran is organized so that it starts with the longest surah, and the surahs gradually decrease in size until we reach the shorter surahs at the end of the Quran.

Now the first surah of the Quran, Surah Fatiha, is placed before surah Baqara. Why was this smaller Surah placed first? It is causing a disruption in this order we see of starting with the longer surahs and ending with the shorter ones. One needs to ponder upon the question “What is the difference between this surah and the other surahs of the Quran?”

The name of this surah is Fatihatol Ketaab (فاتحة الكتاب), which means opening of the book. The Quran opens with this surah. It is similar to what we know as an introduction in most books. In the introduction one learns about the content that will be in the book. And Surah Fatiha is that surah; it is the introduction of the Quran and it summarizes the contents of the Quran. Everyday, we recite this surah at least ten times. For any Muslim who prays five times a day, in the 17 Rakahs that they pray, ten of them have Surah Al-Fatiha in them. So it would be valuable to make an effort to become more familiar with this surah, since we are reciting it ten times a day. In any kind of prayer that you do, obligatory, or non-obligatory, there is always without question Surah Al-Fatiha. You can choose the second surah that you read, but Surah Al-Fatiha is the one you recite every time. So it seems that God has differentiated this surah from the rest. It is as if He has given us two gifts. One is the Quran, (as the whole book) and the other is this Surah Al-Fatiha. Obviously this surah is still part of the Quran. But there is so much importance given to this surah that God has mentioned it separately.

He says to the prophet: وَلَقَدْ آتَيْنَاكَ سَبْعًا مِّنَ الْمَثَانِي وَالْقُرْآنَ الْعَظِيمَ. We gave you the seven related verses and the Quran. So He is putting a lot of emphasis on the seven ayahs in this surah, which are all related to one another. In fact, not only this surah, but throughout the whole Quran you will find full coherence. The surahs are all dependent on each other to make the Quran, and they are all part of this greater whole. It is similar to the body of a human being, in which all parts of its anatomy work together, they collaborate with one another. The different parts of our anatomy are not independent. The whole Quran, in fact, explains itself: القرآن الكريم يفسر بعضه بعضا. Every section ((جزء explains the other sections. So the best way to understand the Quran is by utilizing the Quran itself. But even independently, the ayahs in this surah are much related to one another. In truth, it is similar to a conclusion or summary of the Quran.

All of the contents of the Quran have been stated in this surah in a general senses, even though it is only a few lines long. In this surah we see the topic of praise, God, the fact that He is Rab` (ربّ العالمين), the mercy of God, the forgivingness of God, the Royalty of God, the Day of Judgment. The subject of prayer and submitting to God (اياك نعبد), seeking help from God (اياك نستعين) and the topic of guidance (صراط المستقيم). Those who have benefited from the bounties of God (صراط الذين انعمت عليهم). (غير المغضوب عليهم) are simply those past nations or peoples who became or occupied with Anger (غضب), and those that displease God. Basically these are the main points which are made in this surah. Although there are some more general points in it, this surah has seven ayahs. Seven actually has a special meaning throughout the Quran. The Quran says the seven heavens or the seven skies several times, or it says that if you plant a grain of wheat in the ground it will give bloom to seven branches and in each one of those 100 seeds, which becomes 700 seeds. In the dream that Yusuf has, he says he saw seven skinny cows and seven fat cows. Or it says that if you sinned during your pilgrimage to Mecca, you need to fast for seven days. The word seven is repeated in many places throughout the Quran. It has a significant and symbolic meaning throughout the Quran. So just the number of ayahs is an interesting quantity.

“In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful” (بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم). The only place that this is an actual Ayah is in this surah. There is no other place in the Quran where this verse has been accounted for as an Ayah. This is the only time you will see the number one after the ayah (as number of the ayah), but this does not happen in other surahs. This is the surah that (بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم) was revealed with and as a result it has been put at the beginning of all the other surahs. This was the only surah in which this prelude came down in the form of revelation to the prophet. You may have heard that بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم has 19 letters. Components of this sentence, parts of this sentence are each found in the Quran a multiples of 19. When you take the words of this ayah apart you have “Ism”, “Allah,” “Rahman” and “Rahim”. The word “ism”(اسم) is found in the Quran 57 times (19x3). “Allah” (الله) occurs in the Quran 2698 times, which is just 19x142. “Rahman” (رحمن) is found in the Quran 57 times 19x3. “Rahim”(رحيم) is found in the Quran 114 times which is 19x6.

There are also 114 surahs in the Quran, which is 19x6. So the sentence بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم has 19 letters, and also each of these words occurs in the Quran as a multiple of 19. These are observations that Reshad Khalifeh made 30-40 years ago. Now the significance of the number 19 itself is a completely different topic. If we look at the rest of the surah, there are four other ayahs, in which the number of letters in the ayah add up to 19. “Alhamdulilahi Rabbil Alamin” (الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ), “AlRahmanel Rahim” (الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ) ; “Iyyakana’bodo va Iyyakal Nastaien” (إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ) , “Ehdena Seratal Mostaghim ” (اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ) are 5 ayahs. Now it’s also interesting that there are 144 letters in the whole surah. And 144 is 16x9. There is a very miraculous relationship with numbers in this surah. For example the word “sirat” occurs 38 times in the Quran, 19x2; the term “alhamd” also shows up 38 times, 19x2. Even “Ehdena Seratal Mostaghim” this plea for guidance which means “lead us to the path of righteousness,” shows up exactly 19 times in the Quran. Or the concept of “Ghazab” (غضب) from the word “maghzoob” shows up exactly 19 times, when it is in regards to God in the Quran. A few times we see “Ghazab” in relation to humans but in relation to God it shows up exactly 19 times.
Another interesting area to look at is the words in this Surah that are antonyms to one another; they show up in the Quran exactly the same number of times. For example the root “Zalal” (ضلال) which means the path of misguidance and the opposite of it “Seratal Mostaghim” (the path of righteousness). These antonyms have each shown up 31 times in the Quran. Also “Zalalan” has shows up 6 times and “Mostaghiman” shows up 6 times. So there are special relationships between the number 19 and this surah, and those antonyms that show up in the Quran the same number of times. These miraculous relationships in this surah happen more than in other places in the Quran. These are not in the Quran as a form of guidance, but they just show us that these words are not the words of the Prophet (peace be upon him). You will never be able to find mathematical relationships in the words of a human being. Aside from the fact that this is beyond the capability of our human brains to do; God, whose creation has a certain organization and orderliness, the words that he reveals to the prophet, just as every other aspect of his creation, holds this organization and discipline within it. This surah holds only a small example of this miraculous design that can be found throughout the whole Quran by those who pursue the knowledge.
Looking at the content itself there are three main Quranic principles that can be found in this one Surah. The most important concept of the Quran can be summarized in a triangle. “Tawhid”(توحيد) , “Nobovvat”(نبوّت) , and “Akherat”(آخرت) . These are the basis of the religion. Knowledge and acquaintance with God is “Tawhid” (Acceptance of a creator) and then belief in the fact that other than this world there exists something else; “Akherat” which has many different names throughout the Quran. And finally that in order for us to live the right path, God has given us some guidance, and this falls under the concept of “Nobovvat”. So, (1) The existence of a creator of the world; (2) there is an “akherat” in which we will return to God; and (3) now what do we have to do? So there are three main concepts that are discussed in this Surah. So we have been given a brief, yet clear, overview of these three concepts in this short surah. Let’s start from the beginning:

“In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful” (بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم) and this ayah is specific to only this surah as we mentioned: “In the name of Allah.” “Allah” simply means God. All of the other names of God that are mentioned in the Quran, are characteristics of Allah. You see, we each have a name, the name on our birth certificate. Now people may say that so and so person is brave, so and so can manage well, so and so is very generous, and these come to be known as the characteristics of that individual, but they have a specified name. God’s name is Allah, and Allah has different names according to his characteristics.

So the surah starts in the pure and natural name of God. Most people accept Allah, as the God and creator. They know that we didn’t just come to be. Someone must have created us. But the important thing is how they accept God. Here is an analogy: someone could believe that there exist many galaxies. But you’re just accepting it; you don’t have anything to do with them and they don’t have anything to do with you. It is a part of creation that has nothing to do with us. One type of acquaintance with God can be explained in this same way. Those people think God simply exists and we are living our own lives. God and we have nothing to do with each other. But the surah starts, بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم . We need to understand and accept that Allah, he who created, has Mercy. He is not indifferent towards us. The sun exists, but we are benefiting from its light, and from its heat. So therefore we have a beneficial relationship with the sun. If the sun seizes to exist, then we seize to exist. God is the sun of creation, and He is merciful to all creation. If there is light, then Allah is the light of creation (الله نور السموات و الارض) (If there is no light, then everything will be in darkness). If it weren’t for his warmth there would be no life. And at the same time there can be many galaxies and stars that have nothing to do with us. They do not have any affect in our lives.

Our relationship with God is a very close one. Every moment we are exposed to His Mercy. And Allah has granted two types of mercy. One is “Rahman”, and the other is “Rahim.” “Rahman” is universal; it is a characteristic that describes God’s mercy to all of his creation. The sun gives its benefits to the whole world, not just one part of the world: mountains, valleys, deserts, and the seas. The sun is shining every where equally. But to any place that is more absorbent of sunlight it will draw energy from the sun indefinitely. When the sun hits deserts, or rock, its energy is not absorbed, but water does absorb this energy, the jungle does absorb this energy. And the more they absorb, the more energy they will obtain. So God has a universal mercy, and He also has specific mercy. So as believers absorb more of his light, He will give those more, which is why He is “Rahim.” You see, in a college class, the professor is teaching the whole class. And some universities provide online classes where students can take advantage of the class but they will not have any relationship with the teacher… and the teacher may not even see those students. And as the teacher is teaching the whole class, they keep an eye out for who is listening and how attentive they are. The more passionate they are about learning and receiving guidance from the teacher, the more enthusiastic the teacher is to help those kids, and the more she will help them. The professor will provide more books and practices to those students who are more attentive to enhance them more. So there are two types of mercy here. The first is a one-way relationship, as the professor teaches the curriculum to the whole class. This can be compared to how God is “Al-Rahman”. The professor is unconditionally providing the curriculum to the whole class, just as God unconditionally shines his light on all of creation. But when we see in the Quran that God is “Al-Rahim,” it means there are some for whom he shines his light more, just as the teacher provided more for the students who showed an interest for learning. So He is Rahman to all of his servants, and Rahim to the believers, the mu’meneen(مؤمنين) . Because the Mumeneen, with their piousness and with their faith, place themselves in the greatest depths of the rays of Divine Guidance.

In the Quran it is repeated many times that the Pagans didn’t accept the fact that God is “Al-Rahman.” It says that when they are told to prostrate to Al-Rahman they say: “What is Al-Rahman? What does Rahman mean?”(و ما الرحمن) The problem of the prophet with the pagans of his time was not heir acceptance of God. They all accepted Allah. It says in the Quran that they even prayed to God saying, “If this is your messenger, then rain stones towards us from the sky.” (Anfaal: 32) How could an orphan, and someone who has nothing be your messenger, they would say. But they believed in Allah. That was not the problem. The problem was that they didn’t accept God as Al-Rahman, or that He was Rab-il Aalameen(ربّ العالمين) .

The whole concept of Tawhid, acquainting oneself with God, involves accepting these two things. The only argument between the messengers of God and the pagans of their times was regarding this.

In the Quran the conversation between Abraham and Nimrod is only concerning the fact that Allah is Rab-il-Aalamin. The conversation in the Quran between Prophet Moses and Pharaoh is concerning the same matter. None of them denied the existence of God. More or less, everyone accepts God, and accept that there is some higher power that created… it’s only today where we see the atheists who deny God’s existence. When we say Allah is Al-Rahman means He is the primary source of infinite rays of mercy and love and kindness. We have a symbiotic relationship with him. It really makes a big difference in ones life, to be living with God, be in love with God, and having a relationship with God, a sincere relationship from the soul. It says in the Quran, some people love other people in the same way that they should love God. (Baqareh: 165) It says that a real Mu’men (مؤمن) intense love is only for God.

“Alhamdo lel-Lah”, we praise, now what is his next characteristic? “Rab`-el- Aalamin” Lord of the worlds. God is the superior. Some people simply accept, and that’s it. Just like simply accepting the laws of chemistry and physics. They say he has nothing to do with us. They might even accept that God is Al-Rahman and say “yes, God is so kind and loving.” But they don’t feel the truth that “He is my master”! He is the one that is keeping my world going, keeping my heart beating every second. It makes a big difference when you believe that someone is your sustainer and that you need him to live. That you must strive every second to please Him. He is the one who hired you; he is the one who pays you. He is on top… he does everything. He gives nature its laws, and He keeps everything going.

Every breath we take is provided by him. It’s not like we can say “I only would like to seek God when I feel like it.” So we see that the beginning of the surah is introducing characteristics of God in three dimensions. He is “Al- Rahman”, “Al-Rahim”, and he is “Rab-il Aalamin.” “Al hamd”… to explain it further, is the feeling of praise we find in regards to anything that is good.

When you see a beautiful flower you get a feeling of gratitude and love for the gardener. A magnificent perfume reaches your senses and you get to enjoy nice scenery. We see all these beautiful and magnificent things in the world. Who does the credit go to? Who created these things? We constantly show praise and gratitude to fellow humans, but what about our creator?

There is a Persian poem that says (اى دوست، شكر خوشتر، يا آنكه شكر سازد), which means “Oh friend is sugar sweeter or the one who created it?” By sugar, the poem means, anything that brings sweetness to our hearts. Most of our attention is toward these sweet tastes in life. But which one is better? Sugar!? Or the one who created it!? The one who gave you the ability to enjoy those things. So much of our attention goes to the sweets, the beautiful things that there are in this world. Should it be these things that we approach? Or the one who created them? He created the beauty, and he created our ability to perceive beauty.

If we didn’t comprehend these beauties what would be the point? Every creature can understand certain beauties. How does our brain have this ability to be exhilarated at the things we love and feel disgust toward the things we don’t love? So much attention is given to flowers, to the splendors, the perfumes, the colors of nature. Should we fall in love with these things or the one who created them? And then there are also those who are solely after intelligence and IQ and knowledge. But who created this brain to start with? This organ that we call our own brain and our own knowledge and we take pride when we achieve something through our intelligence; who created this incredible organ in our head?

There’s a tale of Rumi about a few ants that found there way to a painting that someone was in the process of drawing. The first ant says look at these flowers and the colors and the Narcissuses, what a beautiful painting. The second ant says look at the fingers that drew these things so beautifully. The third one says these skinny fingers aren’t doing anything; all of the movement in the fingers is coming from the wrist. So as they argued another ant said “No, look at the whole arm, the arm is letting the wrist move. Finally the best of the ants said: “No, it is the brain that is giving orders. The brain is doing all the work.” If for one second, God’s Mercy seizes what would be left of us? We would have nothing. If one has a generous mother or a generous father, if one has a certain talent, if one is intelligent, if one has anything good from this world, if one finds the love within themselves to help others and to give… where is all this coming from? It is all rooting from Almighty God. So “Alhamdu Lellah Rabel Aalamin.” All praise is His, the master, the boss, the cherisher, and sustainer of all creation. “Al-Rahmane Rahim.”

So we see this again, but this is different than how “Al-Rahmane Rahim” was in the first ayah. It follows “Rab`-il-Aalamin”, the statement that God is the only who sustains. Sometimes you will find that someone is naturally very kind. God is both Rahmane Rahim in all of his existence and personality and in his position as “Rab-il Aalamin.” His sustaining of all creation is not because he needs to be sustaining us; it is again out of His mercy.
Third ayah: “Malekeh Yaom ed deen” (مالك يوم الدين). Malek, the lord who holds all sovereign power. Then we have the word Yaom (يوم), which is translated as day, but Yaom does not mean the 24 hour day that we are used to talking about. Yaom ed deen. Deen means what? It does not mean deen like it is used to say “our deen is Islam.” We all have a whole life worth of time. However long that may be: 40, 50, 80, 100 years, and in those years we put in some efforts.

There will be another stage where we are compensated for our actions. Similar to school, where we put efforts into our studies for sometime, and eventually we will see the result of all our efforts. It may be in the form of paperwork, or it may just play out in our lives day by day which will lead us to see the results. Who is the monarch on that day when we will be compensated for our actions? Who decides on that day? It is important to understand that not only in this world are we dependent on Him, but also in the next stage. Our future is dependent on Him too.

So now that our future is in his hands, “Iyaaka na’bodo” (اياك نعبد) we see the subject of “Ibada”(عبادة) . The translation we usually are shown when it comes to Ibada is worship. This is wrong! Ibada does not mean worship. Rather, Ibada is a state of “taslim” and submission towards something that a human experiences. Dr. Shariati says, Ibada means smoothing and flatting the path, paving of the road so that one can go through it easily. (طريق معبد) means a road that is “Abd,” a road that is abd means it is smooth, there are no bumps or obstacles. In Saudi Arabia they write Abed (عابد) on the trucks which pave roads. This is what is making the path smooth. We need to make our existence empty of obstacles, empty of distractions, so that God’s car will be able to drive us through our lives, with no obstacles or dams in the path of our souls. So that when He tells us to forgive, to be giving, to be generous, to be patient, to strive for Him: these will automatically become part of our existence if we have made our hearts smooth and clear of distractions. But sometimes, one resists, there is a barrier there. It is like a car trying to drive through a mountain rather than a smooth road. We want to make that road, our existence, simple, so that God’s will becomes the dominant force within us. So because God is “Maleke Yaom ed Deen,” we say that we only want to make our existence pure for you, and not for Shaytan. What is Shaytan anyway? Arrogance, worry, greed, anger. I am only giving the green light to you, Oh God. Only your praise will be with me. Only you and nothing else! I have borders and these borders will not let anyone or anything but you enter my existence.

This is the meaning of Ebada. But is this enough? No, it is not enough; God must help us, too. We are trying, but we want the followings from God, “Wa Iyyaaka Nas-Taeen” (اياك نستعين) and in life, we only seek your help. You are the only one who can be of aid to us, and no one else can help us. In the worldly tasks, we all help each other but that is not the meaning of the help in this Ayah.

Regarding those who are in relationship with God: to our purity, our piety, our devotion, we only ask him for help. “Iyyakaa” (اياك): Only You. Help in guidance on His path can only come from Him. So we see that every one of these Ayahs covers different aspects which each have been expanded throughout the Quran with hundreds of Ayahs. So we had the first two parts of the triangle, Tawhid, and Akherat, and the third part… “Hedayat” (هدايت). “Ihdena Siratal Mostaghim.” (اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ) What is Hedayat? It is not only the giving of direction, but the leading of someone in that direction. You see there may be a time when someone is lost and wants an address, so you give them the directions. Go straight, take a left, pass two intersections, take a right and so on. And there is another time when you tell the person, “Just Follow Me.” You lead the way and take them to their destination. This is the meaning of Hedayat.

Even before Islam, the person they would call Hadi (هادى) was someone who would stay in front of the caravan and lead them to the destination. You all know that Saudi Arabia is a very hot and burning place, which made it so that people could not journey during the day… they would have died of heat. Therefore they would travel at night, when it was dark and there were no lights. How did they go? They would rely on the person or people who navigated by the stars, and these people were called Hadi. He knew the strategy of navigating with the stars and would simply lead the way himself.

In Surah Baqara we are told (Ayah 2) “Hodan lil Motaghin” (هُدًى لِلْمُتَّقِينَ) those who have self control (تقوى), it doesn’t say “Hodan lil AlEmin,” those who are knowledgeable. It is possible for people to know the Quran like the back of their hands, but they might not have Hedayat. It is only a Hedayat for those who have Taqwa, those who have control of their emotions, those who have patience in the way of God, Motaghin.

There was a man who was Hafiz-ul-Quran; he had memorized the Quran, but he was notorious for his murderous personality. Someone who goes around ordering for people to be killed has not seen Hedayat, it is not enough simply to know the Quran.

Hedayat, means actually taking the path, “Ihdena Seratal Mostaghim” (اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ), Oh God take me with you. Oh God give me the ability to come after you, not only just to know. We all know many things that are good deeds and beneficial. But this is not Hedayat. The important part is to act on what we know, to live using the knowledge we have for getting to a destination. “Ihdena” (اهْدِنَا) It is not saying help me, it is saying help us. We are used to saying God help me, but here, it is saying give us. There is no “me” in this Surah, it is all “us”. We pray Jama’ah together; our lives are connected to the lives of others. Oh God, take all of our hands, and give us the opportunity to receive your Hedayat and get to the destination.
But what is the destination? “Serat”, “The path” in Arabic basically means freeway or highway. It is like the main road. Now for this path to be straight is more specific, sometimes you can have a path that has curvatures and turns. So what exactly is Serat Mostaghim. It is a path of purity and submission, basically the definition of the word Islam.

Three times in the Quran we see Prophet Jesus saying, إِنَّ اللَّـهَ رَبِّي وَرَبُّكُمْ فَاعْبُدُوهُ هَـٰذَا صِرَاطٌ مُّسْتَقِيمٌ .What is he trying to say? All of the Christians are clinging on to Jesus, but Jesus was constantly saying to the people, “Why do you keep clinging to me as if I am God?” (إِنَّ اللَّـهَ هُوَ رَبِّي وَرَبُّكُمْ فَاعْبُدُوهُ) Verily He is my Rab`, and He is your Rab`. “Fa’bodoo,” (فَاعْبُدُوهُ) so give Him your “Ebada” (give Him your submission). Many of them say, “Have the love for Jesus Christ in your heart and you will be saved;” this is not the case. Three times Jesus says in the Quran, it is only God, you need to fall in love with, submit to Him. “Hazaa Seraten Mostaghim;” (هذا صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ) this is the Serat, the path which is straight. God tells the prophet Mohammad: قُلْ إِنَّنِي هَدَانِي رَبِّي إِلَىٰ صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ He tells him to tell the people, “Allah has guided me to the Serat Mostaghim.” What is “Serat Mostaghim?” دِينًا قِيَمًا This Serat is a method, which gives a human being, growth and enlightenment. Where did this religion come from? مِّلَّةَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ The life that Abraham lived, the ways, the methods, the path of Abraham.

مِّلَّةَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ مِّلَّةَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ حَنِيفًا ۚ وَمَا كَانَ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ Abraham who was a cherisher of the truth, he was pure; he had no desires in life that were aside from serving God. Everything that was in his mind and heart was untainted and full of “Taqwa.” The Quran is calling this as “Serat Mostaghim”.

When God tells Eblis to make Sojood to Adam, he doesn’t, and then he says now just give me a chance to exist until Judgment Day. And then when he was granted this wish, he said now that you gave me this chance, I will misguide all of your servants. إِلَّا عِبَادَكَ مِنْهُمُ الْمُخْلَصِينَ وَلَأُغْوِيَنَّهُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ Save those who are truly devoted and submitted to you. And Allah is saying قَالَ هَـٰذَا صِرَاطٌ عَلَيَّ مُسْتَقِيمٌ .This is exactly Serat Mostaghim, being purely devoted to Me.

We call upon God ten times a day to guide us through the Serat Mostaghim. If we don’t know the meaning of Serat Mostaghim, then what is the point? It means constantly asking God every day; please purify me from all my impurities that keep me from being unconditionally devoted to you. It is not like you can say I want you God, but I also want myself! I also want this and that!

Serat Mostaghim is a path where your devotion to God is completely undivided. When this path is divided to subjects other than Allah, then this is Sherk (شرك) .Those who are giving themselves to help humanity, whose only intentions are to make it clear to everyone on what they are doing, and to be showing off, results in Shirk. This is not a pure intention. The pure intention is for the self to be completely forgotten. Whenever the self is forgotten, that is when we are guaranteed entrance to the garden of Allah, enshAllah.

صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا الضَّالِّينَ. Here we are explaining to God, that which wish for. And by the way, this whole Quran is God’s words being directed at us; and this one surah is one in which we are addressing God. This is why it is set aside from the other surahs. God has given us this surah; he is telling us that if you want to invoke me, do it like it’s done in this surah. Everything has been laid down for us. All we need to do now is to use it. So we are saying we want the Serat Mostaghim, but what is that exactly? (صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ) We are saying oh God, by Serat Mostaghim, I mean the Serat, the path of those whom you have blessed. Again, the meaning of blessing is not the blessings with which we live everyday that without them we would seize to exist.

اللهم ما بنا من نعمه فمنک Oh Allah, all the blessings we have are from you. But the meaning here is those special blessings. We are told in other parts of the Quran to whom God has given his blessing. It says in the Quran َأُولَـٰئِكَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمَ اللَّـهُ عَلَيْهِم God has given these people blessings: النَّبِيِّينَ (The messengers), وَالصِّدِّيقِينَ (Those who took to acceptance the prophets, and were their companions), وَالشُّهَدَاءِ (The witnesses), وَالصَّالِحِينَ (Those who are pious and competent). وَحَسُنَ أُولَـٰئِكَ رَفِيقًا: What good people these are to make your companions and friends. So when we say guide us through the path of those whom you have blessed, one should be reminded of those people. Oh God I want the way of the prophet Mohammad, I want the path of Jesus, Moses, the way of Abraham. And then we should remember people who are in our society, people whom we know Allah has blessed in our community. In this way we are making it clear in our minds and hearts, what it is that we want, it is the path of these role models.

غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا الضَّالِّينَ But I don’t want to fall on the path of those who have been misguided, those who angered you. So in this surah, first we open our eyes. We see that God is almighty, He is Al-Rahman, that God is the Rab` of all things Rab`el Aalamin (رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ), we open our eyes to who God is. And then we look towards the future, and we are reminded that the Final Judgment is only in His hand, which leads us to submit; and say you are the only one whom I will submit, you are the only one I ask for help, and I only ask one wish from you. To be my Guide on this journey. Lead the way so that I can follow your path. Give me this chance; give me this privilege of being led. Ten times per day we are saying just this and making a covenant with God.

And the question that Allah will ask us on Judgment Day is regarding this. He says: أَلَمْ أَعْهَدْ إِلَيْكُمْ يَا بَنِي آدَمَ Oh children of Adam, (أَلَمْ أَعْهَدْ إِلَيْكُمْ), did I not make a bond with you? أَن لَّا تَعْبُدُوا الشَّيْطَانَ Not to make your existence, one that attracts Shaytan? وَأَنِ اعْبُدُونِي Only make your existence welcoming to me, هَٰذَا صِرَاطٌ مُسْتَقِيمٌ The is Seratal Mostaghim.

As we conclude this surah, we pray that God gives us all the privilege, of making our ibada purely to Him, only asking for His help. For Him to Guide us along the same path of His prophets and those of His most devoted servants. And for Him to grant us the ability to keep ourselves far away from a path of misguidance and those deeds and thoughts which displease Allah

صدق الله العلي العظيم