بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Surah al-Fātihah, from an Ilkhanid-Era Mushaf (1328CE/732AH) [Yahuda.Ms.Ar.902]All praise is due to Allah, the One with whose praise should be the opening of every book. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon our master Muhammad, the opener of the doors of Divine Mercy, and upon his blessed family and companions until end of time.
The centrality of Sūrah al-Fātiḥah in Islam cannot be understated. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ called it the Mother of the Book (Umm al-Kitāb). Numerous scholars have explained that the sūrah encompasses all the meanings of the Qur’an in just seven short verses. For scholars of literature and Qur’anic Inimitability, it is the greatest example of Barā’ah al-Istihlāl (The Skillful Opening). Imam al-Ghazālī in his masterpiece Jawāhir al-Qur’ān, on the methodology of understanding the Qur’an, explains how the sūrah covers the all of the primary objectives of the Qur’anic message. In short, understanding al-Fātiḥah is key to the understanding the Qur’an.
This work is an adapted translation of a lecture given by Shaykh Aḥmad Ma’zūz al-Bilqā’idī in Ramadan 1428 AH/2007 CE at the Bilqā’idī Zāwiyah in Algeria. When I first heard the lecture online, I was struck by the depth of the commentary in spite of its brevity. Beyond a mere translation and explanation of the words of the sūrah, the meanings drawn from each verse were easy to remember and conducive to bringing about a state of (reverence) within prayer. I soon committed to transcribing and translating it, adapting it to make it suitable for reading, added references and some of my own additions throughout the text, and some explanations in the footnotes.
It is my hope that this short commentary, despite only touching the surface of the profound meanings contained within Surah al-Fatihah, is of benefit to all who read it. I pray that Allah accepts this work from me in this blessed month, making it an expiation for my sins, through the rank of His Beloved, our Master Muhammad ﷺ.
Friday, 4 Ramaḍān 1440 AH / 10 May 2019 CE