The Salah Series
Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V | Part VI | Part VII | Part VIII | Part IX | Part X | Part XI | Part XII | Part XIII | Part XIV | Part XV | Part XVI | Part XVII | Part XVIII | Part XIX | Part XX | Part XXI | Part XXII | Part XXIII | Part XXIV | Part XXV | Part XXVI | Part XXVII | Part XXVIII
We have now arrived at a beautiful place, where we recite the most beautiful name – the basmala (beginning one’s prayer by saying bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Raheem – in the name of Allah, the most Merciful the Most Compassionate). Reciting this majestic Name should invoke within us a sense of peace and safety in all places and at all times – does the heart find rest except with His remembrance? His Name is the most incredible thing to be in the heart of a Muslim, as His Name is not mentioned on anything small except that it increases it and not on anything great except that it blesses it. His Name is magnificent, as it removed the harms of all places and in all times. The Prophet ﷺ said:
Whoever dismounts to rest in a place should say: “I seek refuge with the complete words of Allah from the evil of what He created,” and nothing will harm him until he remounts.” (Muwatta)
If you say this, Allah (subhana wa ta`ala – glory be unto Him) will protect you wherever you are, insha’Allah (God willing). As for removing the harm at all times, the Prophet ﷺ said that whoever says:
من قالها ثلاثاً إذا أصبح وثلاثاً إذا أمسى لم يضره شيء
“In the name of Allah with whose name there can be no harm in the earth or in the heavens and He is the Hearer the Knower” whoever says it three times in the morning and three times in the evening, nothing will harm him.” (Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, Ahmad)
Ibn Al-Qayyim asks that if this is the greatness of the name, then what of the named? A person who truly loves someone, loves to mention the name of the beloved. In the famous story of Qays and Layla, the former was called “Majnoon Layla,” because he went mad out of his love for her. Qays’s father decided to take him to Hajj so that he could be cured of his love-sickness. As they performed the rituals, it seemed that Qays was becoming better. But during one of the last days, when they were in Mina, a man who had lost one of his female relatives started calling out “Layla! Layla!”. Every time that man called out for his lost one, Qays’s heart would bleed just from listening to that name, and his love-sickness returned with more intensity. Would that we would all have that kind of love for the Creator!
In this verse of the Qur’an, Allah (swt) says:
“O you who have believed, when you encounter a company [from the enemy forces], stand firm and remember Allah much that you may be successful.” (Qur’an, 8:45)
In his commentary, Ibn Taymiyyah stated that the believers love to remember Allah (swt), their beloved, even in this state. Antara, a pre-Islamic warrior and poet, wrote a poem on how he remembered Abla, the woman he loved, as the arrows hit him. Just like those people remember their loved ones in battle, Allah (swt) has told us to remember Him in battle.
Ibn Al-Qayyim stated that the delight of the one who loves is being in isolation with his or her beloved. He stated that Ibn Taymiyya would leave the city to the desert and enjoy that isolation with Allah (swt). Just like those past poets would feel peace when remembering their beloved, we should feel an even greater sense of tranquility when remembering Allah (swt). Do we have anyone but Allah (swt)? Who else answers the du’a (supplication) but Him? Who else is more merciful towards us?
Thus, when you see “Bismillah Ar-Rahmah Ar-Raheem,” it is signifies the beginning of the conversation you are about to have with Allah (swt). When you start reciting the beginning chapter of the Quran, surat Al-Fatiha, Allah (swt) responds to you. Ibn Jareer said that he was amazed at people who recited the Qur’an without understanding; how could they taste its sweetness? Al-Fatiha is the only surah that we know of where Allah (swt) responds to us. What secrets does it hold?
The first verse that we recite after the basmala is:
“In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful” (Qur’an, 1:1)
Al-Hamd is both praising and thanking Allah, and Hamd is based on both love (mahabbah) and honor (ta’dheem). It is a very deep phrase, and insha’Allah will be looked into with detail in the coming articles. This phrase is so great that the Prophet ﷺ said:
“Alhamdulillah fills the scales.” (Muslim)
We have to say alhamdulillah for all the blessings we have, knowing that the fact that we are saying alhamdulillah is also a blessing – because there are many others who ignore the gifts of Allah (swt).
This verse means the “Lord of the worlds.” The Lord is the One who has authority, the Sustainer and the Owner of everyone and everything. “The worlds” refers to all of creation, including humans, jinn, angels, animals and others, each of which may be referred to as a ‘world.’ One says ‘the world of angels,’ ‘the animal world,’ ‘the human world’ or the ‘world of the jinn.’ This extends to everything big and small; even the bacteria and the cells are their own worlds. Most of the time we do not even realize the greatness of Allah’s creation making us ignorant of Allah’s Power over all His creation.
To demonstrate the intricacy of one world, take the inside of a white blood cell for example. One drop of blood can contain anywhere from 7,000 to 25,000 white blood cells at a time.
The only thing remaining to be said is:
[All] praise is [due] to Allah, Lord of the worlds. (1:2)
Insha’Allah next week, we will continue with exploring the meanings of Surat Al-Fatiha.