Al-Fatihah, 04-06: Crossroads, dilemmas and the Magic Words.

From the very beginning of surah Al-Fatihah, the notes of humility are coming clear. We start off by praising Allah (swt) and when we come to the part about accepting Him as the Master of the Day of Judgement, we can’t help but stop to think about the horrors of that day, the humiliation if we fail, and the eternal joy if we pass through!

So how do we save ourselves from the torments of this day? The answer is in the upcoming verse, the tagline of our life:

إِيَّاكَ نَعۡبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسۡتَعِينُ (٥)

“You (Allah) do we worship, and Your aid we seek.”

The solution is to worship Allah and Allah alone. This is the purpose of our creation. The very reason behind our living. This is how we are to spend our life-credit. But worship does not only include our obligations (salah, fast, zakah and hajj), it encompasses EVERYTHING that we do to please Allah. Yep, the most important part of worship is the sincerity of the heart. The intention should be to please Allah only, and not the people.

If I help out a person only to please the Creator, my act would be recorded as worship. But if my intention gets mixed up with these thoughts: ‘I’m helping her ’cause she would return the favour someday..’ or ‘I have to help her, what will she think of me…?’ or ‘I’m doing it to make an impression on the people and get myself accepted…’ then this would not secure a reward for me in the hereafter no matter how many worldly gains cross my way.

Just tell yourself,  ‘I’m doing it ’cause Allah likes it!’ and let that be your trademark! 🙂

It all seems too overwhelming, right? The whole thinking-before-acting part. That’s why ‘iyyaka na’budu’ is followed by ‘wa iyyaka nasta’een’ ( and Your aid we seek). These are the magic words. When Allah’s help is on your side, nothing can stand in your way, nothing can bring you down. And your path to sincerity and steadfastness will just become easier and blissful in a way no words can explain. You will feel the sweetness of imaan in your heart that people can kill for. A feeling of peace and tranquility that no anti-depressant can get you. 🙂

Yet still, sometimes when we face a dilemma, it’s confusing to prioritize. A friend of mine very rightly phrased it: ‘You always have two roads in front of you, the one you like and the one that is right.’ Now how do we fight with ourselves to let go of the wrong one?

You’ll get the answer in the upcoming verse.

Meanwhile, we can work on our intentions. Before doing anything good, cross-check.
And make sure it does not contradict the prophetic way (sunnah). That’s probably why we’ve got so many suicide bombings. The oh-so sincerity of the heart might be in it, but suicide itself is highly disapproved (with red) according to the Quran and the Sunnah. You get the point, right?
Okay, so we do not really go by the suicide bombing pattern (:PP) but some of us do stick by this ‘lying for a good cause is okay’ rule. Right. Wrong. I can argue that my intention is pure, the results would be good…so what if I have to lie to get it done? The thing is, no good cause remains a good cause for long when it’s built on a shaky foundation; lying, deception or anything disapproved by Islamic ethics. People who read Sweet Valley and Full house- Michelle/Stephanie at some point in their lives would see the point better. No right can be can be done through a wrong. It just further messes things up.

So what do we do in such sticky spots? This too will be cleared up in the next verses. 🙂

Dilemmas, dilemmas and dilemmas. Probably the hardest thing in life is to ‘decide which bridge to cross and which to burn.’ Allah (swt) solves this problem by teaching us the most comprehensive du’a in the Qur’an.

ٱهۡدِنَا ٱلصِّرَٲطَ ٱلۡمُسۡتَقِيمَ (٦)

“Show us the straight way.”

It doesn’t matter if it’s a religious problem or a worldly one, we can always invoke Allah with these words. When we ask Allah to guide us, He does show us the correct option. At times we follow it, and at times we do not have the will-power to do so. And even when we do follow it, we fail to be steadfast on it. So, do you see how desperate  we all are for Allah’s help at every step?

Now there are two siraat (path). 1) One in this life : the path of righteousness 2) and the one in the Hereafter: the path that runs over the Hell-fire, dangerously thin with a sword’s edge sharpness.

If we manage to stay firm on the siraat of life, then insha Allah we would be pass the second. The righteous good deeds that we carry out while being on the first siraat will be the guiding light of our terrifying journey on the second.

“The day you shall see the believing men and the believing women, their light running forward before them and on their right..” (57:12)

Allah (swt) now further defines this du’a.

صِرَٲطَ ٱلَّذِينَ أَنۡعَمۡتَ عَلَيۡهِمۡ غَيۡرِ ٱلۡمَغۡضُوبِ عَلَيۡهِمۡ وَلَا ٱلضَّآلِّينَ (٧)

“Show us the straight way. The way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, Those whose (portion) is not wrath and who go not astray.” [Al-Fatihah, 01:5-7]

Read this again and you’ll notice that our priorities are being set straight here. Our role models should be the ones with whom Allah was pleased. We should look up to those on whom Allah bestowed countless blessings and favours. These are the prophets, the steadfast affirmers of truth, the martyrs and the righteous. Likewise, it is equally expected of us to stop being in awe of those who incurred Allah’s wrath upon themselves. Our idols should not be the ones with twisted beliefs who knowingly went astray, or are blundering in the dark.

Why is this check important? Because we subconsciously copy those who inspire us. Like, if a child grows up watching football, in no time will he start copying his favourite player; the hair cut, the body language, the signature moves, vocab, etc. And if he grows up reading the biography of the Prophet (pbuh), you would notice that reflecting off in his personality. Of course, the point is not to cut off yourself from the outside world. Striking a balance is necessary. The point is to be clear about right and wrong before you dive into it all.

‘Cause no one can meddle with mud without getting some on himself. So, it works both ways. Idealizing the righteous will make you blend in their colours. 🙂 It will ease your journey towards the right path.

Even the prophets used to pray for good company. Here’s an invocation of Hazrat Ibrahim a.s:

“My Lord! Bestow Hukm (religious knowledge, right judgement of the affairs and Prophethood) on me, and join me with the righteous,” (26:83)

Thus ends the beautiful Surah Al-Fatihah which is an essence of our purpose of life as well as a prayer for the beginning of our journey through Quran. May Allah accept our prayer…….Ameen.The next time you recite surah Al-Fatihah in your prayers, concentrate on the meanings and spell the words from your heart. 🙂
Implement these verses: 

  • Keep the company of the righteous.
  • Trust Allah with your problems, even the smallest of them.
  • Remember the Day of Judgement, account yourself before going to sleep every night.



10 thoughts on “Al-Fatihah, 04-06: Crossroads, dilemmas and the Magic Words.

  1. Zaimal Nisar says:

    yes its very true if we understand what actually this line means show us the straight path all of our problems will be solved and we wont be left wandering around looking for answers

  2. Mariam Mustafa Rizvi says:

    Saadia! Thank you for sharing your note. I don’t know how to tell you how beautifully it is written. If you write more of such stuff, please share that too. JazakAllah.

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