At some point in our lives, we have all experienced the feeling of having a block in every part of our path. It could be as small as not understanding a complicated concept in a class or as significant as continuously applying to jobs and just not getting a call back. It could be as slight as trying to get a hold of someone or as immense as being stuck in a downward spiral of depression. It feels like every door in your path is locked, sealed and bolted with the heaviest, most key-proof material to ever exist.
Now, you have two choices. One, you could keep banging your head on the door, end up with a bruised forehead, still stuck behind the door. Or two, you can turn to Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He), who is خير الفاتحين, the Best of Openers. It is through knowing Allah, al-Fattah (the Opener), that you can finally find the key to opening that locked door in your path.
The Opener of Hearts
Allah is the Opener of hearts, even after the heart has resisted and fought and refused. Remember the story of Omar Ibn Al-Khattab radi Allahu ‘anhu (may Allah be pleased with him), one of the strongest and most faithful Companions of the Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him). Remember that he wasn’t always so—in fact, he was one of the biggest opponents of the message of Islam and he used to harm the early Muslims. Remember that the same day Omar intended to kill the Prophet of Islam ﷺ was the same day he converted to Islam, after the words of Allah were planted in his heart. One of the strongest men of the Quraysh—a man so large and strong his legs used to touch the dirt as he rode his horse—fell to the ground, prostrating in fear of Allah (swt) and announcing his faith in Him. Allah is the Opener of hearts, the changer of hearts. He opens the doors of guidance to His path.
There are so many ways this meaning of al-Fattah as the Opener of hearts applies to our lives. First, when you find yourself acting on your judgments of someone for actions that seem to be far away from Islam, remember Allah’s characteristic as the Opener of hearts. If Omar Ibn Al Khattab’s heart was opened by Allah (swt), then anyone’s heart can be opened. Second, there are times in our lives when we have an iman (faith) low, when our خشعوع (concentration) in prayer might not be the strongest, and we simply feel a loss of connection to Allah (swt). Remember that Allah is the Opener of hearts, and call on Him by his name al-Fattah, to open your heart to Him, for it is in His attributes to do so. He is al-Fattah, the Opener of hearts.
The Remover of Hardships
Allah al-Fattah is also the One who shows us and opens for us the way out of misery and distress. It is He who opens the door to His blessings and mercy. The nature of life is that we fall into difficult times, but the night is darkest before dawn. Allah is al-Fattah, and this characteristic of His means that he opens the way out of hardship for His creation. For as Allah (swt) says,
“For indeed, with hardship [will be] ease,” (Qur’an, 94:5).
Remember this fact and apply this attribute to your life. When hardship befalls you, whether it is significant or insignificant, remember that one of Allah’s attributes is to be al-Fattah—the Opener of the doors out of distress. Call on Allah (swt) with this name to open your way out of suffering.
The Opener and Giver of Knowledge
Allah is also the Opener and Giver of knowledge. This attribute can be seen directly in your life: The Qur’an. Allah (swt) opens knowledge and wisdom to you through the Qur’an, as He says in Surat an-Nahl (the Chapter of the Bee):
“And [mention] the day when We will resurrect among every nation a witness over them from themselves. And We will bring you [O Muhammad], as a witness over your nation. And we have sent down to you the Book as clarification for all things and as guidance and mercy and good tidings for the Muslims,” (Qur’an, 16:89).
Allah al-Fattah, the Opener, has already opened to us the knowledge of everything in His book. Yet, how many of us actually open the Qur’an, the Book of Knowledge, on a regular basis? How many of us actually access the knowledge that Allah has already opened to us? So apply this name to your life right now: pick up the Qur’an, reflect on its meaning, contemplate its words. Directly experience Allah’s beautiful attribute as the Opener of Knowledge with your own two hands.
Opener of What is Good
Another characteristic of al-Fattah, the Opener is that He opens to His slaves what is best for their lives and what will straighten their path. And don’t think that what is best for us is this big hidden secret; it is actually right in front of us. All we need to do is reflect upon our originality and creativity to discover and inform ourselves, as He says in Surat al-Jathiya,
“He has subjected to you whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth—all from Him. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought,” (Qur’an, 45:13).
Allah (swt) has already provided for us. He has subjected for us all that is in the earth and the heavens, all for OUR benefit! He has already opened for us what is good. All we have to do is go out and seek it creatively.
Plan of Action
Apply Allah’s name, Al-Fattah, to your life right now with these five steps!
- Ask Allah to open your heart to His path, for He is the Opener of hearts.
- Don’t judge—if Allah can open the heart of a man who once terrorized the Muslims, He can open anyone’s heart.
- When you find yourself in a pickle, big or small, ask Allah to open your way out of it.
- Go out and seek all the knowledge and wisdom by reading and reflecting on the Qur’an, even if it is only one verse a day!
- Go out and seek what is good for your life, for Allah (swt) has already opened what is for your benefit.