Exemplifying Benefits from Sūrah al-Fātiḥah

Imām Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah

A collection of benefits exemplifying the virtues of Sūrah al-Fātiḥah as a cure for many ailments.
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The following collection of benefits illustrate the powerful guidance of Sūrah al-Fātiḥah (The Opening).

For, truly, all of the sicknesses that affect the heart and poison it are centred around two foundations: corrupt knowledge and corrupt intentions. These two corruptions lead further towards two types of lethal ailments. They are misguidance and anger. Misguidance being the inevitable result of corrupt knowledge, and anger the result of corrupt intentions. These two illnesses are at the very root of every conceivable sickness that affects the hearts of man. Thus, guidance to the straight path stipulates seeking a cure from the sickness of misguidance.

Imām Ibn al-Qayyim [d. 751 AH]

Exemplifying Benefits from Sūrah al-Fātiḥāh:

  1. Sūrah al-Fātiḥah Is a Cure for Ailments of the Heart
  2. Sūrah al-Fātiḥah Is a Cure for the Illnesses of Arrogance and Showing Off
  3. Sūrah Al-Fātiḥah and Its Exhortation to Those with Evil Intentions
  4. Sūrah al-Fatiḥah as a Cure for Bidʿah
  5. Sūrah Al-Fātiḥah as a Refutation Against All Other Religions, Ways of Life, and the People of Innovation

Sūrah al-Fātiḥah Is a Cure for Ailments of the Heart

Sūrah al-Fātiḥah contains two kinds of remedies. A remedy for the sicknesses of the heart, and a cure for the sicknesses that plagues the body. As for its cure for the heart, it comprises and fulfils it to the highest degree. For, truly, all of the sicknesses that affect the heart and poison it are centred around two foundations: corrupt knowledge and corrupt intentions. These two corruptions lead further towards two types of lethal ailments. They are misguidance and anger. Misguidance being the inevitable result of corrupt knowledge, and anger the result of corrupt intentions. These two illnesses are at the very root of every conceivable sickness that affects the hearts of man. Thus, guidance to the straight path stipulates seeking a cure from the sickness of misguidance. It is for this reason that requesting this guidance is the most compulsory and dire invocation conceivable for every single slave [of Allāh]. Moreover, it is the most obligatory [invocation] on that slave every day and night, in every ṣalāh, due to the absolute reliance and dire need [a slave of Allāh possesses] for the guidance being sought. Furthermore, no invocation could ever take its place.1

Sūrah al-Fātiḥah Is a Cure for the Illnesses of Arrogance and Showing Off

The heart is subject to two forms of major sickness. If they are not recognised and treated imminently, without a doubt they will cast [the heart] itself into ruin. They are: showing off and arrogance.

The cure for showing off is in:

إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ ﴿٥﴾

‘It is You alone (O Allāh) that we worship…’
[al-Fātiḥah, 1:5]

And the cure for arrogance is in:

وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ ﴿٥﴾

‘…and it is You alone that we ask for help (in Your obedience and in all of our affairs).’
[al-Fātiḥah, 1:5]

For I used to frequently hear Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allāh purify his soul) say that:

‘It is You alone (O Allāh) that we worship’ that prevents one from showing off ‘and it is ‘You alone that we ask for help (in Your obedience and in all our affairs)’ that prevents one from being arrogant.

So if one is able to cure oneself from the sickness of showing off with ‘It is You alone (O Allāh) that we worship’ and from the sickness of arrogance and self adulation with ‘and it is You alone that we ask for help (in Your obedience and in all of our affairs)’ and from the sickness of misguidance and ignorance with:

اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ ﴿٦﴾

‘Guide us to the straight path (of beneficial knowledge coupled with righteous action),’
[al-Fātiḥah, 1:6]

he will find his [heart] completely free from illnesses and that which is harmful to it. He will drape himself in the cloth of true wellness, and [he will find] the bounties [of Allāh] complete in relation to himself. For he will be among the ones whom Allāh has bestowed favour [as in the verse], not from those who have earned Allāh’s anger. They are the ones whose intentions are evil, who know the truth but choose to turn away from it. [He will also] not be from among those who have gone astray. They are the ones with corrupt knowledge who are ignorant of the truth and remain dubious concerning it. It is most appropriate for a sūrah that comprises these two cures that it be sought as a means of recovery for every sickness. For there is nothing better and more wholesome for the health of hearts than true knowledge of Allāh and His words, and the [ability] to understand them in an increasingly specific context, as explicitly stated [here] from among the meanings of this sūrah.2

Sūrah Al-Fātiḥah and Its Exhortation to Those with Evil Intentions

The actualization of [the saying of Allāh]: 

إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ ﴿٥﴾

‘It is You alone (O Allāh) that we worship and it is You alone that we ask for help (in Your obedience and in all of our affairs),’
[al-Fātiḥah, 1:5]

in terms of knowledge and implementation, stipulates a remedy from the ailment of a corrupt heart and evil intentions. For evil intentions relate directly to the end goals [a person sets] and the ways he intends to achieve those aims. Whomsoever chooses a transient, inconsequential, discontinuous goal, and attempts to reach it through every avenue set before him [should know] that truly both parts of his ultimate intention are corrupt. For such is the state of every single individual whose goal is anything besides Allāh and His worship. This is inclusive of the mushrikīn [the ones who associate partners with Allāh in worship], the ones who follow only their desires and possess no other goals besides what they pursue concerning [achieving their desires], and those who have been given a station of command over the people that traverse every conceivable path without discretion between truth and falsehood in so long as they retain their position of power. If truth stands in the way of their order over the populace, they obstinately reject and stomp it out with their feet. If they lack the ability to carry out such an objection, they resort to fending it off through oppression [of their subjects]. If they are not able, they attempt to imprison [the truth] in its path, and find an alternative path around it. All the while remaining steadfast to defend themselves [from the truth] to the best of their ability. If, at last, they find no way to fend off the truth, they resort to the installation of puppet regimes, ensuring the truth is never actualised, or used to give judgements or implemented. If truth should ever coincidentally agree with their position, they pounce on it and are keen to announce it. They come towards it in prompt obedience, not because it is the truth. Rather, for its congruency and agreeableness with their own goals and desires.

 وَإِذَا دُعُوا إِلَى اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ لِيَحْكُمَ بَيْنَهُمْ إِذَا فَرِيقٌ مِّنْهُم مُّعْرِضُونَ ﴿٤٨﴾ وَإِن يَكُن لَّهُمُ الْحَقُّ يَأْتُوا إِلَيْهِ مُذْعِنِينَ ﴿٤٩﴾ أَفِي قُلُوبِهِم مَّرَضٌ أَمِ ارْتَابُوا أَمْ يَخَافُونَ أَن يَحِيفَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ وَرَسُولُهُ ۚ بَلْ أُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الظَّالِمُونَ ﴿٥٠﴾

‘And when they are called to [the words of] Allah and His Messenger to judge between them, at once a party of them turns aside [in refusal].  But if the right is theirs, they come to him in prompt obedience. Is there disease in their hearts? Or have they doubted? Or do they fear that Allah will be unjust to them, or His Messenger? Rather, it is they who are the wrongdoers.’
[Al-Nūr, 24:48-50]
3

Sūrah al-Fatiḥah as a Cure for Bidʿah

As for the one who seeks the loftiest of goals and the highest of conquests [al-jannah], but does not seek it through the correct channels, instead, he seeks it through channels [bidʿah] he thinks will allow him to reach it , while they are from among the greatest preventers [on that path], his condition is similar to the condition [of the corrupt ruler]. For both of them possess corrupt intentions. There exists no recovery for such an ailment except through the cure [that comes with]:

إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ ﴿٥﴾

‘It is You alone (O Allāh) that we worship and it is You alone that we ask for help (in Your obedience and in all of our affairs),’
[al-Fātiḥah, 1:5]

This cure is composed of six parts:

  1. worshipping Allāh alone and none other than Him
  2. according to His command and legislation
  3. not according to one’s own desire
  4. or the opinions of men, or their suggestions, artistic musings or ideas
  5. while seeking aid from Him in order to worship Him
  6. and not [relying on] the slave [of Allāh]’s own power or strength or anyone else besides Him.

These are the components of ‘It is You alone (O Allāh) that we worship and it is You alone that we ask for help (in Your obedience and in all of our affairs).’ So if they are used by a physician who is both skilled and knowledgeable concerning the sickness [of evil intentions], and the sick one is able to utilise this medicine, he will make a full recovery. His rehabilitation is only deficient when he is mindless of one, two or more components [of the cure].4

Sūrah Al-Fātiḥah as a Refutation Against All Other Religions, Ways of Life, and the People of Innovation

Concerning Sūrah al-Fātiḥah and it comprising a refutation against every falsifier from among the people of every religion and way, and against the people of innovation and misguidance from this ummah: This is clarified in a general and more elaborate sense.

As for the general sense: It is that the Straight Path [as in the verse]:

 اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ ﴿٦﴾

‘Guide us to the Straight Way.’
[al-Fātiḥah, 1:6]

stipulates knowledge of the truth, allowing it to:

  • take effect,
  • to where it is kept at the forefront before anything else,
  • to have love for it,
  • to submit wholly towards it,
  • to call others towards it,
  • and to strive against its enemies as much as possible.

The truth: is only what the Messenger of Allāh [ﷺ] and his companions were on. All that he has brought to us from knowledge and actions concerning the characteristics of our Lord the Exalted, His names, and Oneness, His commands and prohibitions, His promise of reward and torment, His rights over us in relation to our īmān in Him, that ultimately clarify the levels of the traversers on the path towards Him.

All of these aspects are completely and wholly dependent on [what has been brought] by the Messenger of Allāh [ﷺ], not on the opinions of men, or the laws they have set for themselves, or their ideas, or jargon. Every piece of knowledge or action or statement of fact, or condition or station, that has reached us from the sphere of his prophethood, upon which the seal of Muḥammad [ﷺ] exists, as signified by that which comes from Madīnah [the place of his death], then it is from the straight path. Whatever comes from other than him, it is indeed from the path of the people who have earned the Anger [of Allāh] or those who are misguided.

صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا الضَّالِّينَ ﴿٧﴾

‘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.’
[al-Fātiḥah, 1:7]

There is no path outside of these three ways:

  1. The path of the Messenger [may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him] and all that he has come with.
  2. The path of those who have earned [Allāh’s’] Anger and they are the ones who know the truth but turn away from it in stubbornness.
  3. And the path of the people of misguidance, whom Allāh has allowed to be ignorant [of the truth].

It is for this reason that ʿAbdullāh ibn ʿAbbās and Jābir ibn ʿAbdullah [may Allāh be pleased with them] said: ‘The straight path is Islam’,

and ʿAbdullāh ibn Masʿūd and ʿAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib [may Allāh be pleased with them] said: ‘It is the Qurʾān’,

and [concerning this] there is a ḥadīth marfūʿ [ascribed to the Prophet [ﷺ]] related be al-Tirmidhī and others, and Sahl ibn Sʿad [may Allāh be pleased with him] said: ‘It is the way of the sunnah and the jamāʿah.’

And Bakr ibn ʿAbdullah al-Muzanī said: ‘[It is the] path of the Messenger of Allāh [ﷺ].’

There can be no doubt at all that what the Messenger of Allāh [ﷺ] and his companions were on in terms of their knowledge and actions was to have knowledge of the truth and place it at the forefront before anything else. This is the straight path. All of the opinions expressed [here] guide to this same path, providing a more complete description of it. Thus, in this general sense we can appreciate that any path that contradicts this one in any way is completely false and is from the path of the two groups: those who earned the anger [of Allāh], and those who are misguided.5

 

Endnotes: 
1. Tafsīr al-Qayyim: 46
2. Tafsīr al-Qayyim: 48
3. Tafsīr al-Qayyim: 46-47
4. Tafsīr al-Qayyim: 47-48
5. Tafsīr al-Qayyim: 49-50

Translated by: Riyāḍ al-Kanadī

Published: April 4, 2022
Edited: September 8, 2022

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