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Newsletter for January 2015
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A brief explanation of "Surah Al-Hamd"
The Holy Prophet(s) told one of his companions, Jaber Ibne Abdullah Ansari, “Sura Al-Hamd is the foundation of Qur’an and it is shifaa (cure) for every disease except death.
This sura encircles the three stages of faith:
Firm conviction of faith
Affirmation by tongue
Performance by body limbs
The summary of Qur’an is faith and deeds and both of them are in Sura al-Hamd.
In one of the tradition, the Holy Prophet(s) said that reciting of sura Al-Hamd is equivalent to the recitation of two-third of Holy Qur’an. Allah has exalted the Holy Prophet in Sura Al-Hijr verse 87 which says” (Muhammad), we have given you the seven most repeated (verses) and the Great Qur’an”. It is reported that this sura was revealed twice.
The Commander of the faithful, Imam Ali (a.s.) narrated from Holy Prophet(s) “Allah has shown special favor to me by giving this Sura and making it equivalent to Holy Qur’an and it is one of the noblest treasures of “Arsh”.
Imam Jaffer al-Sadiq (a.s.) said “Shaitan had cried four times. First when he was thrown out on refusing to prostrate (respectable) to Adam, second time when he was sent down to earth, third time when the Holy Prophet(s) was assigned prophet hood and last time when Sura Al-Hamd was revealed.
Sura al-Hamd can be divided in to two parts; one part relates to the praise of Allah and the other part relates to the needs and prayers of His servants.
This Sura is also called Sura-e-Fateha. Fateha means“beginning”. This also confirms that the Holy Qur’an was already collected and put in the present form during the life time of the Holy Prophet(s). Moreover, it is otherwise confirmed by the famous tradition of “Thaaqalain” which means two heavy things i.e. the Holy Qur’an and his Pure Progeny.
Sura al-Hamd reads as follows:
Bismillah hir Rahmaan nir Raheem
AlHamdo lillahe Rabbil Aalameen. Ar-Rahmaan nir Raheem. Malike Youmeddin
Iyyaka nabudo wa Iyyaka Nastaeen. Ehdinas Siraatal Mustaqeema, Siraatal Lazeena
Anamta Alaihim Ghairil Maghzoobe Alaihim Walazzalleen.
All praise belongs to Allah, Lord of the Universe, the Beneficent, the Merciful and
Master of the Day of Judgment. (Lord), you alone do we worship and from You
Alone do we seek assistance. (Lord), guide us to the right path, the path of those to
Whom You have granted blessings, who are neither subject to (Your) anger nor
Have gone astray.
When anyone praises any creatures of Allah, whether a living thing or non-living, every praise is directly or indirectly refers to Allah. Nothing is praise-worthy except Allah.
It is customary to start any important work with a respectable person hence it is better to start the mission with the Everlasting being which is Allah. There is a tradition that any work started without Allah’s name is doomed to be a failure. That is the reason that when the first Revelation started, Allah says in Sura al-Alaq verse 1 “(Muhammad), read in the name of your Lord who created (all things). Sura al-Hud verse 41 “(Noah) said, Embark in it. It will sail in the name of Allah, in His name it will sail and in His name it will cast anchor….” Sura al-Namal verse 30 “It reads, ‘From Soloman: In the name of Allah, the Beneficent and the Merciful”. Hence every sura of Holy Qur’an starts with Bismillah so that the Divine mission of guidance of humanity is accomplished without any loss. Only Sura al-Tauba does not start with Bismillah because it starts with a declaration of war with the criminals of Meccahence Allah’s names of Rahmaan and Raheem is improper.
The name Allah includes his other attributes.
The attribute of al-Rahman is available to the humanity at large whether Muslim or non-Muslim but the attribute of al-Raheem is especially for pious and obedient faithful. Allah repeatedly reminds His servants that if they repent sincerely for their sins then He will forgive them as it is mentioned in Sura al-Zumr verse 53 “(Muhammad), tell my servants who have committed injustice to themselves, do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Allah certainly forgives all sins. He is All-forgiving and All-merciful”
Rabb means the master or owner, responsible for the sustenance of His creation. Aalameen means the universe. Hence “Rabb ul Aalameen” means the Master who manages the affairs of the universe. It includes all of His creation whether having life or otherwise.
Malik is derived from al-milk which means possession, sovereign or king. In any meaning it shows the total control of affairs. “Youmeddin” means the Day of Judgement. So Allah is the controller of the Day of Judgment. Day of Judgment is the pivoting factor for all individual and social deeds for the betterment of human society. It is said that on the Day of Judgment the servants will be questioned first about namaaz, if namaaz is accepted then other deeds will also be accepted. That is why we should pray namaaz punctually which in turn will remind us of the Day of Judgment preventing us from committing sins. The literal meaning of “Deen” is reward or compensation and the purpose of Day of Judgment is the reward for good deeds and punishment for the sins.
“Iyyaka Nabudo Wa Iyyaka Nastaeen” means we only worship You and seek assistance from You only. When we ask for help, Allah will cause to arrange for our help as He is “Musabebul Asbaab”
When we completely and thoroughly understand the foregoing verses that Allah is Beneficent and Merciful, He is the sustainer and the absolute controller of the Day of Judgment, then we become pure servant of Allah released from the clutches of wordly distractions and solicit His help and guidance.
“Ehdinas Siraatal Mustaqeem”: We are praying Allah to guide us to the Straight Path.
Straight Path is the path of piety, justice and faith. It is recommended to pray for the continued guidance from Allah at least ten times a day. Our connection with Allah is like a light bulb which gives light as long as it is connected with the power station. The moment this connection is severed, we are in the darkness.
Every person is at different level of faith. Even the Holy Prophet (s) used to pray “Rabbe Zidni Ilma” meaning “O Allah, increase my knowledge”. Allah says in Holy Qur’an Sura al-Mariyam verse 76 “Allah further enlightens those who seek guidance…..”. Imam Ali (a.s.) says “ O Allah, continue the favors You bestowed on us in the past by which we submitted to You so that we may continue to pray”. Put it differently, Straight Path is the path of worship of Allah and following His commandments.
Sura al-Anaam verse 161 “(Muhammad), tell them ‘My Lord has guided me to the right path, a well-established religion and the upright tradition of Abraham, who was not a pagan”. Sura al-Yaseen verse 60, 61 “Children of Adam, Did We not command you not to worship Satan? He was your sworn enemy. Did We not command you to worship Me and tell you that this is the Straight Path”. Imam Jaffer al-Sadiq said “By God, we are the Straight Path”
“Anamta Alaihim Ghairil Maghzoobe Alaihim Wallazzalleen”:
Sura al-Nisa verse 69 “ One who obeys Allah and the Messenger is a friend of the Prophets, saints, martyrs, and the righteous ones to whom Allah has granted His favors.”
Sura al-Nahal verse 106 “No one verbally denounces his faith in Allah-unless he is forced-while his heart is confident about his faith. But those whose breasts have become open to disbelief will be subject to the wrath of Allah and will suffer a great torment”Sura al-Fath verse 6 “He will punish the hypocrites and the pagans who have evil suspicions about Allah. It is they who are surrounded by evil and have become subject to the wrath and condemnation of Allah. He has prepared for them Hell, a terrible place to live”Sura al-Aale Imran verse 112 “…..They have incurred the wrath of Allah unto themselves and have been struck with destitution for their rejection of the revelations of Allah and for unjustly murdering the prophets. It is all because of their transgressions and rebellion”.
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