بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ {1}

[Pooya/Ali Commentary 1:1]

BISMILLAHIR-RAHMANIR-RAHIM, as the first verse, is the part and parcel of al Fatihah.

Aqa Mahdi Puya says:

The Holy Prophet said:

LA SALATA ILLA BIFATIHATUL KITAB WA BISMILLAHIR RAHMANIR RAHIM MIN AYATIHA

There is no prayer (salat) without al Fatihah, and bismillahir rahmanir rahim is one of its verses. The Ahl ul Bayt (the thoroughly purified members of the family of the Holy Prophet), and the scholars, who follow their teachings, time and again, had verified this saying of the Holy Prophet. So according to Muhammad and ali Muhammadbismillahir rahmanir rahim is a verse by itself, which, if not recited as a part of al Fatihah, the prayer is rendered null and void. It is not only the component of al Fatihah but also of every surah except al Bara-at.

In the light of the clear decisions and evidences of the practical acts of the Holy Prophet and his Ahl ul Bayt, the arguments of the dissenting scholars carry no weight. According to the Holy Prophet and his divinely chosen Ahl ul Bayt bismillahir rahmanir rahim is the first of the seven verses of al Fatihah. And when Muhammad andali Muhammad have said so, there remains no doubt whatsoever. Any opinion contrary to the verdict of Muhammad and ali Muhammad is pure conjecture.

Abu Hanifa, founder of the Hanafi school, gave permission to his followers to recite bismillahir rahmanir rahim quietly, with al Fatihah, in prayers, because the Holy Prophet used to recite al Fatihah with bismillahir rahmanir rahim in his prayers, yet in his (Abu Hanifa’s) opinion it was not a part of the surah. (Tafsir Kabir – Abdul Hayy) There are some scholars who admit that al Fatihah consists of seven verses but to insist on their misconceived notion that bismillahir rahmanir rahim is not included in it they split the last verse into two separate verses, although the meaning and the construction of the verse does not justify it.

According to the Holy Prophet any deed begun without reciting bismillah goes bad and lacks effectiveness. As al salat is known as the best deed (khayrul amal) and al Fatihah is the inaugurator of the book it is logical that bismillahir rahmanir rahim is the first verse of al Fatihah.

Once a man offered prayers in presence of the Holy Prophet without saying bismillahir rahmanir rahim in his recitation of al Fatihah. The Holy Prophet told him:

You have rendered your prayer null and void by omitting bismillah from Fatihah. Do you not know that bismillah is the part of al Fatihah? (Durrul Manthur by Suyuti)

On one occasion, Mu-awiyah, while leading a prayer in Madina, recited al Fatihah without bismillah. At the end the participating pray-ers, made a hue and cry. To pacify the protestations he prayed the same prayer again and recited al Fatihah with bismillah. This event bears out the fact that those who saw and heard the Holy Prophet, prior to the influx of alterations, knew that if in any prayer al Fatihah is recited without bismillah, it is rendered null and void. (Fakhruddin Razi and Kanzul Ummal)

Bismillahir rahmanir rahim, in addition to al Fatihah, is also the part of al Naml:

Verily, it is from Sulayman; and it is ‘In the name of Allah, the beneficent, the merciful’. This is the beginning of the letter prophet Sulayman wrote to the queen of Shiba.

Whatever be the point of view of the dissenting scholars, it has been decisively established that the Holy Prophet always recited bismillahir rahmanir rahim as the part of al Fatihah, therefore, we all should follow him.

BISMILLAH

To start any good deed with “(I begin) in the name of Allah, the beneficent, the merciful” means a supplication unto Allah for successful completion of the work. It also means that the supplicant undertakes the job in the name of and on behalf of Allah to serve the good in the work as well as achieve his own legitimate purpose. In other words he dedicates his life to Allah and employs his self-interest-oriented activity in the service of overall goodness. He admits his helplessness and relies on the truth that ability to make any work fruitful is exclusively with Allah, and with no one else. By invoking Allah in the name of His beneficence and mercy he prays for His aid to achieve success in his undertaking. It is quite logical to believe that the divine beneficence and mercy would bless such a faithful. It does.

It is a fact that nothing exists or takes effect outside the course of Allah’s will. The will of Allah governs the scope of every activity but does not determine the desires and methods of any created being. Anything that happens or exists without seeking Allah’s pleasure, is covered by the will of Allah, but is not blessed with His grace. Should an individual begin any work without saying bismillah, it may be completed but without earning the divine pleasure. The desires and actions of an individual shall be blessed only when he surrenders them to Allah’s pleasure. The Holy Prophet has made it known that anything done without invoking the divine grace by reciting bismillah is not approved by Allah.

As said earlier anyone can begin any work, without invoking Allah with bismillah, and it will be executed, if the divine will allows it. However, in this event, it does not earn the divine pleasure, but on the contrary is liable to be punished according to the degree of evil involved, the intention of the individual, the nature and the effect of the work. Even if it is not evil in its nature, disciplinary action can be taken because the individual has relied upon his ability and will which is as bad as setting oneself against the almighty Lord.

The very act of any one starting his work in the name of Allah whom he remembers as beneficent and merciful, eloquently speaks of the individual’s obedience to the supreme being, who in return would automatically be reciprocal to the devotee’s expectation in seeking His pleasure and mercy. In starting a work in the name of Allah, the reciter demonstrates the undernoted aspects of fundamental importance :

1. Acknowledgement of the supreme being as his Lord master.

2. Confession of his own helplessness.

3. Belief in Allah as the ever-living and all-knowing – almighty.

4. Reliance on the supreme being, seeking His pleasure and mercy, and invoking Him with His mercy-invoking attributes.

5. Conviction at heart and confidence that if called, the beneficent and the merciful Allah will certainly not deny him His mercy.

The words of bismillah i.e., in the name of Allah, have wide and discernible implications. The words may mean not only ‘in the name of’ but also:

1. For the sake of

2. To the service of

These and many other implications will serve the supplicant when he sincerely turns to Allah for obtaining His mercy and blessings.

One of the many unique features and distinguishing factors about the originality of Islam is bismillah which was never before used by or known to any of the other corrupted or falsified creeds of the world. Rodwell, wrongly informed, states that bismillah, in its Quranic form, was taught to the Quraysh for the first time by the poet Umayya (of Tayf). This claim of Rodwell is contradicted by unimpeachable evidence of historic authenticity that the term was totally unknown to the Quraysh to such an extent that they even resented the use of it (see verse 60 of al Furqan). Besides, even till as late as in the 6th year of Hijra, the Quraysh did not allow the term bismillah, as used in the Quran, to be used in the treaty drawn between the Muslims and the Makkans at Hudaybiyah. At the use of the term bismillahir rahmanir rahim Suhayl bin Amru, the delegate of the Quraysh, objected that he did not know what it meant. Ultimately the term used was bis-mika-allahumma which was then current among the Quraysh. There is no evidence in the usage of the people of other creeds to show that this term was borrowed by the Holy Prophet. Moreover, Islam does not claim to be a new religion preached for the first time to mankind. Islam’s claim is that the truth was revealed to mankind, one and all, in various stages, in many languages; the difference is in the presentation of the truth in its fullness, in all its details.

We never sent a messenger save with the language of his people. (IBRAHIM: 4)

ALLAH

Aqa Mahdi Puya says:

There is no fitting equivalent, in the English or any other language, to convey and express the essential essence of the word ALLAH. In the earlier times the idea of a “supreme being” was conveyed to man by the prophets of Allah, but due to the general low level of knowledge, a single word, containing the all-embracing sense and significance of the supreme, universal and absolute being, was not made known.

“Father” may imply creativeness but, in no way, refers to compassion, beneficence and mercy. The word father implies that the father of the universe had a father and a mother who gave birth to him, because it does not indicate that the father of the heaven and the earth had no father or mother to bring him into being. It also fails to establish his uncreated self-existing eternity, unless explanatory words are added. The word Allah is a compound of the definite article al and the noun ilah, meaning “that God”. The literal meaning of ilah is “puzzling” if waliha is the source, and “referred to” if it is derived from aliha; in either sense, it can be used for the supreme being unto whom man must surrender.

Known to every one, there is only one universal ultimate whom all human beings devotedly worship; and upon whom they depend and rely. He is undefinable, beyond the reach of human intelligence, unknowable to knowledge, unimaginable, yet recognised by one and all.

Imam Jafar bin Muhammad al Sadiq pointed to the spirit and vision of the word Allah to an atheist, in the course of a discussion. He said:

“When you are in a ship, sailing in the middle of an ocean, and a wind-storm comes on from every side, and there is no conceivable means of rescue, yet, in this hopeless situation, you make efforts, in hope of deliverance; this ultimate faith is Allah, referred to by Allah in verse 22 of Yunus.”

Aqa Mahdi Puya says:

The word Allah points to that which is already in the consciousness, but cannot be arrested by comprehension, or conceived mentally. It is universal, because it is connected with the whole as well as with the part. Whether the word Allah is a proper noun or a common noun, because of the article al, is a solvable controversy. The common noun ilah, appropriating definite sense with the definite article al, referring to that which is universally known and recognised by every conscious being, unconfinable to form or concept, never to be two or more save one, becomes a proper noun.

So it is concised in the word Allah, giving it the unique unity of the sense of a proper noun. It must be noted that as the absolute can never be perceived by consciousness, so it cannot be defined by any name. One can refer to Him by personal pronouns, of which “He” (huwa) is the most suitable. The word Allah stands for the absolute self, the greatest name (ism azam), the one perfect total of all good and excellence with no defect.

In contemporary commentaries it is speculated that the word Allah might have been derived from the Hebrew uluhim. Allahumma is closer to uluhim than Allah, because the infidels, very intimate associates of the Jews, were more familiar with Allahumma than Allah, which was a new development. At any event what has been said earlier is further substantiated by the argument put forward to indicate the etymological development of the word.

In the process of evolution, the intellect of man began to make adjustments in the man-god relationship. He had been bowing in adoration to the powerful, useful, harmful, or unintelligible manifestations of nature which, step by step, developed into worship of imaginary deities. As the pantheon of man-made gods grew, man, in desperation, began to seek a supreme being, over the heads of the mini-gods, serving the chief to administer the destiny of man, in one way or other. So gradually man started to seek a supreme being with all comprehensive authority. The word Allah, more suitable than the other words, became popular among the people.

The two possible words ilah is derived from, are alaha and walah meaning astonishment and wonder. The word Allah is formed by adding the definite article al to alah,which means the one who is beyond the reach of conception, or even imagination, and out of the range of knowledge.

The quest for knowledge about Allah comes to a close when the seeker in astonishment confesses that with all his sincere efforts supported by intellect and insight he cannot know Him.

Imam Muhammad bin Ali al Baqir said:

Observe and examine the creation of Allah, do not pry into the being of Allah because no one knows what He is except He.

Imam Ali ibn abi Talib said:

He! O He whom none knows what He is, nor how He is, nor where He is, nor in what respect He is, but He. (Al Mashlul)

The name Allah stands for the supreme one who encompasses everything in the universe but nothing can encompass Him. He is the ever-living allknowing almighty. He has no equal. There is none comparable to Him. He has no associate or partner. All goodly names and ideal attributes belong to Him. He owns and controls that which is in the heavens and that which is in the earth and that which is in between them, the kingdom of the universe. It is only His will that is done. He is the all-seeing, all-hearing, all-just, all-merciful. He is eternal, in

الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ {2}

[Pooya/Ali Commentary 1:2]

AL HAMDU

Alhamdu means that (all) praise, thanks, gratitude, be to Allah alone, not to any one else, from the beginning of the universe to its end, not under compulsion, but because He alone, and none else, deserves to be praised, not only for the fulfilment of his particular desires but also, mainly, for all the bounties and blessings made available to man in his existence.

The love of the merciful for His creation is so deep and fulfilling that no compensation, even in the form of gratitude, can be offered to Him. In fact He needs no return. The divine mercy is independent of gratitude. It reaches and covers all the created beings whether the creatures show gratitude or not for the benefits and bounties they make use of and enjoy. The smallest bounty is an unconditional favour. Man does not deserve it, nor has he any right to claim any favour from the Lord. It is the all-embracing mercy of the merciful Lord which reaches one and all, whether any creature asks for it or not, whether the recipient acknowledges it or not.

A person likes to be praised if he accomplishes or acquires something extraordinary, novel or very important, after investing his best efforts, but the good in Allah is with Him. He has not acquired it.

He is goodness itself in its fullness and perfection. He is not in need of praise. In a prayer, He is praised, only to make the pray-er love and cherish the attributes which are praised, because as a matter of course, he would like to possess the attributes which he is praising.

The all-knowing Lord-nourisher is fully aware of the needs and wants of all His creatures more than they themselves know. He bestows His favours and bounties without receiving petitions from them, yet to educate, train and discipline the mankind, prayer, in which He is praised, is necessary, so that man remains attached with the merciful creator, while enjoying the divine bounties, conscious of the absolute sovereignty of the Lord of bounties and grace.

Aqa Mahdi Puya says:

To find out the truth in connection with the praise and the praising (hamd) the question as to who praises whom, must be answered. Man can praise Allah if his existence is presumed to be as eternal as Allah, whereas, in fact, it is Allah who created man and taught him how to praise. Truly, the praise as well as the praising both belong to Allah. Allah is the hamid, the praiser, and also the mahmud, the praised. There is none else other than Allah who is the subject as well as the object of the praise, and in this sense no one can share His praise. This is implied in the preposition li (for), which signifies the exclusive authorisation.

Hamd, adoration through praise, takes the place of gratitude to be expressed for getting favours and bounties. Man, by nature, shows his readiness to yield to love and compassion, even to the extent of unconditional surrender. To depend upon the co-operation and help of others is human. When he finds that someone, attached to him, is taking interest in his well-being, he is automatically drawn to him. His desire for a happy life makes him go after that which helps and protects, and avoid that which he finds harmful to his existence and welfare. By realising that praise, in any form or content, must be for Allah, and for no one else, and that Allah alone deserves every praise and adoration, man is freed from the fear of awesome tyranny, corruption and servitude which he presumed that the dreadful and false gods would inflict upon him. On the contrary now he knows that his real master is the Lord of beneficence and mercy whom he approaches through His praise . He is free to get as near to Him as he likes in order to earn more and more from the bountiful benefactor who Himself is ready to bestow favours and bounties, in abundance, on the sincere seeker and on those on whose behalf He is beseeched.

The Arabic word shukr implies gratitude for some particular favour, whereas hamd, without reference to any particular quality, is an objective gratitude, for all that is good and gracious, profitable and advantageous. It may also involve the idea of free, unrestricted and unqualified admiration. But, again, admiration refers to the Arabic wordmadh which is used both for the animate as well as the inanimate objects, without necessarily implying that existence of the qualities admired depends on the conscious will of the object, in which case admiration will relate to the qualities admired, not to the possessor of those qualities. Allah is never praised in this sense. The prefix al confirms that hamd is for no one but Allah who alone, not merely on account of the manifestations of the divine attributes, but because He is the sole owner of those glorious qualities, deserves to be praised; identifying His self-existent absolute self. The qualities belong only to Him alone, to none else, and it is so for all times since eternity, and will be so till eternity. So, in this sense the English word “praise” should be understood and used as a translation of hamd.

Hamd (the praise) is Allah’s. It has no beginning and no end. We, the created beings, do our best, within our limitations, to give expression to the “real praise” (hamd). Hishamd, as His grace, is unlimited and continuous. No one can praise the merciful even for a whole life-time and say that justice has been done, because every time one gives thanks to Allah he inhales and also exhales, drawing in the good life-giving air and exhaling the bad air, two bounties he is receiving for which only once can he say “I thank the bountiful Lord”. It is impossible to thank Allah for the innumerable bounties He has put at the disposal of man, right inside his body, and in the world where he lives as an individual as well as a member of the community. Even the thanks and praises he offers to the bountiful have been taught to him by the Lord of the worlds. Therefore, every creature is, all the time under the obligation of the bountiful grace of Allah.

By praising, we reach the stage where the infinite goodness of our Lord purges out of us the taste for evil and creates in us the eagerness to get nearer and nearer to Him to earn His mercy which purifies us and reflects in us the divine attributes.

RABBUL ALAMIN

Rabb in Arabic stands for nourisher, cherisher, and sustainer. According to Raghib, an Arab lexicologist, the word rabb signifies “the fostering of a thing in such a manner as to make it attain one condition after another until its goal of completion”.

Our Lord is He who gave unto everything its form, and then guided it aright. (TAHA; 50)

This is rahmah, mercy, from the rabbul alamin.

The love and mercy of Allah towards His creatures surpasses, in quantity and quality, the love of both the father and mother put together. From the birth to the last breath everything in the universe depends upon the rububiyat, the nourishing, cherishing, sustaining and protecting aspect of the mercy of the Lord of the worlds. No single English word to give the meaning of the word rabb could be found, but “Lord” seems to be the only alternative if readers remember the above noted description whenever the word “Lord” appears in our text.

RUBUBIYAT

Aqa Mahdi Puya says:

Rububiyat speaks of another attribute – lutf , meaning tenderness and refinement in diffusing through every one’s mind and feelings to know the needs and make available the necessary means of satisfaction. This position gives authority to exercise legislative powers which, in fact, justifies the establishment of the office of nabuwat andimamat.

By making Allah known as the rabbul alamin, Islam has disclosed the truth to mankind that He is the Lord of everything in the universe, be that human, animal, vegetable, mineral, perceptible or imperceptible, visible or invisible, near or far, in the earth or in the heavens, or in between them. With infinite power, able to do all things, the all-wise almighty creator of matter and meaning is a supreme sovereign in every aspect of His absolute authority. His independent will extends to and covers all kinds of the worlds created by Him.

The five “mystic” classifications of the worlds are as under:

  • Material or physical NASUT
  • Metaphysical MALAKUT

or supernatural

  • Spiritual JABARUT
  • Divine LAHUT
  • Imperceptible and GHAYBUL GHAYUB

unknowable

The rububiyat begins to operate as early as the will to create a being takes effect, and continues to nurture the created being with love, care and never-ceasing vigilance, providing all its needs according to the changes it goes through. It is like a self-imposed duty to guide the creature to make conscious efforts to avoid harm and avail profit.

“Verily, We have created everything by (the right) measure”. (QAMAR: 49)

Things necessary for the living beings, all over the universe, in all times, are available to satisfy various wants and needs. The quality and quantity of the “resources” have been determined according to the collective requirements of all that which has been created. Some things are rare, some things are plentiful, but at all events nothing is less or more. A thoughtful study of the complex of “things” brings the obvious fact to light that there is only one single owner master who has set the wonderfully harmonious working of the universe in motion, allowed life to be created, and in addition, enabled each and every creation to put into effect the aim of its being brought into existence.

The heat of the sun changes the water into a mass of fog and the wind takes it to the sky in the shape of rolling clouds and drives them over various parts of the earth; and when the stored water in the clouds melts on account of the solar glow, it rains all over the earth. The earth receives the water and grows “food” for all the living beings. Every being finds, all that which serves to maintain life on earth, ready, as soon as it comes into being, duly provided and arranged in the required quantity and quality. The milk, a new-born baby feeds on, is ready in the mother’s breasts well in advance of its birth.

The merciful rabbul alamin has provided manifold bounties for the survival and happiness of the incomprehensibly large number of the members of each of the innumerable species in the universe. There is perfect harmony and undisturbable control in the continuous working of nature. Each creature, perfectly formed and fully equipped, has an inherent capacity to make use of the available “resources of the bounties”, and obtain its own means of sustenance from one complete regular system. This orderly arrangement, according to the Quran, takes effect by means of taqdir and hidayat.

Taqdir means “consider a thing well; fix in measure and quantity, render possible”.

Imam Ali ibn abi Talib had said:

Allah had conditioned and circumstanced the operation of all that has been created under precise (self) regulating laws, in the sphere of time and space, made their unlike, complex and diverse dispositions agree and fit well together, implanted and infused rhythm and balance and co-ordination in their nature, to give them the inbuilt discipline that follows an orderly system. (NAHJ AL BALAGHA)

The appropriate assignment of a prescribed condition is taqdir, a precise system of laws which cannot be tampered with or led astray outside its logical course by any force except by almighty Allah, who is omnipotent and able to do all things. The perfect working of the well defined plan under definite laws depends upon His justice. As the 26th verse of Ale Imran says: “In Thy hand is all good”, the almighty Lord through these precise laws, governing the operation of creation, has provided the living beings all the opportunities to make effort and win success by relying upon them.

The whole complex of the immeasurable universe is working in perfect harmony, keeping the living beings inhabiting it, and the living conditions and circumstances provided for them, in co-operative accord. No one can make the slightest attempt to disturb the “predestined nature of creation”. The law of cause and effect can never be made to stop its inevitable function. The various elements can never do otherwise than as they have been directed under the divine laws of the nature. In this sense the meaning of the word taqdir should be understood.

Hidayat means “right guidance”. All the living beings, all over the universe, are motivated to exercise their free choice and do that which is meaningful and profitable, and avoid that which is absurd and harmful, by discovering, understanding and making use of the “controlled by precise laws” environment.

Taqdir governs every natural phenomenon and hidayat directs all the activities of the living beings. Their combined application is universal. Every being in the universe is so perfectly designed that each fulfils its own individual needs from one and the same environment. But in order to refer to the particular aspect of sustenance and preservation which the nourishing and preserving Lord justly and mercifully supplies for the benefit of His creatures, a few typical examples are sufficient.

A newly born child at once sucks the mother’s breast. The roots of the plants and trees absorb from the earth only that which helps their growth, leaving out the unessential, notwithstanding its presence in the soil. As soon as a fish is born it swims. Every creature functions under the divine guidance.

Glorify the name of your Rabb (the Lord) the most high;

He who creates then fashions in the proportion.

And He who has planned, then guided, (A’LA: 1, 2, 3)

The whole universe has been designed, created and guided (to function according to the divine laws) by one single authority who is eternal., almighty, all-knowing, all-just, benevolent and merciful.

The perfect u

الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ {3}

[Pooya/Ali Commentary 1:3]

RAHMANIR RAHIM

[See previous commentary]

مَالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ {4}

[Pooya/Ali Commentary 1:4]

MALIKI YAWMID DIN

Allah is the master of the day of faith, or the day of the final judgement.

He who sits in judgement is known as a judge. The Arabic word is qadi. Here the word qadi is not used because qadi is not the law-giver or lawmaker, but only an executor of the law made and enforced by some other authority, and therefore, is restricted by the judicial system in force. The malik or the master is the law-maker as well as the executor of His own laws. With the supreme powers of a law-maker He uses His discretion not only in passing the judgement but also in carrying it out, according to the merits of each individual case and in view of His own satisfaction, in the light of explanations given by the accused. When an accused is proved guilty, theqadi cannot grant pardon or remission of punishment but the malik can grant amnesty to the petitioner at His own independent discretion which cannot be challenged.

A master, who is also the beneficent, the merciful and the Lord-nourisher, would naturally be just as well as kind and compassionate when He sits in judgement over His own created, nourished and protected creatures. The justice, strict application of law to requite according to the deeds, will be modified by blending mercy with it. Only those, found unpardonable, not deserving to receive the benefit of His benevolence, will suffer the penalty. This aspect of the nature of the master of the day of final judgement has been revealed through the holy name rabb, to keep man alert against the strict justice and at the same time keep him hopefully expectant of the divine mercy.

The maliki yawmiddin gives fair warning to mankind to anticipate strict justice, the rahmanir rahim rabbul alamin gives hope to expect mercy. So Islam prevents terror and cruelty and give currency to love and sympathy in order to change man’s conduct for the better. The divine plan had been set in motion through the Holy Prophet as the “mercy unto the worlds”.

“Say: O My servants who have been inordinately immoderate in their actions to hurt themselves, despair not of the mercy of Allah. Verily Allah forgives all sins. Verily He is the oft-forgiving, the merciful.” (ZUMAR: 53)

Ali, the first holy Imam, has composed several prayers, masterpieces of literature, to be recited to invoke the merciful Lord. One such masterpiece is the well-known Dua al Kumayl.

O my Allah, my master, my RABB!

Can Thou really see that I am thrown into the fire, notwithstanding my belief in Thy unity; inspite of Thy awareness thoughtfully perceived by me,

Thy praise eloquently pronounced by me, my soul abounding with Thy love; and despite my sincere confession and invocation, stooping low before Thy Lordship? Far be it from Thee!

Thou art too generous to abandon him whom Thou has nourished. (AL KUMAYL)

Aqa Mahdi Puya says:

The actual malik (master) is He who exercises absolute authority over everything in His possession. Everything owes its existence to Him He is the absolute. Therefore, the use of the term “master” for the possession and the right of possession (malikiyyat), or power and authority (mulukiyyit) is true and real in the case of Allah only. For others it would be only figurative and unreal. This is also strictly applicable to all His other attributes.

YAWMIDDIN

What man today, in this life, believes and disbelieves, will be laid bare on the day of faith. The believers and the disbelievers will witness the truth manifested before them. His reward to the righteous believers and His punishment to the wicked disbelievers will be announced. Both will thereafter live through the recompense requited by themaliki yawmiddin. Therefore, the day of faith, in fact, is the day of judgement, or the day of reckoning.

There will be a day of judgement or requital, but it does not exclude Allah’s authority to reward and punish while life, prior to the promised day, goes on. It is one of the aspects of the infinite mercy that the act of judging is continuous. This aspect serves as a warning to keep man on the right path, or to encourage him to return to it if he drifts or goes astray. The day of judgement is the day of final requital.

The life after death is the continuation of the life in this world, to be lived in paradise or hell, in view of the good or evil done here. As you sow so shall you reap. At every stage of existence the divine judgement stays operative.

The Holy Prophet advised his followers:

Keep on judging your conduct to make yourself ready for the (final) judgement and assess your deeds continuously ahead of the (final) assessment.

Aqa Mahdi Puya says:

Yawm (day), mentioned in the Quran, is not, on every occasion, the day of the earth, from sunrise to sunset. It can be a moment or a period of time extending even to fifty thousand years as per verse 4 of al Ma-arij.

Therefore, according to the context in which it is used, the day may be of an indefinitely small or long period of time, not what we understand in terms of the orbit of the earth around the sun.

A thorough study of the Quran shows that whenever movement is mentioned, the downward course, or things descending from Allah to the terrestrial realm, are described as “night”; and the upward course, or things ascending towards Allah, are described as “day”. The descending course is also described as nuzul.

The blowing of the trumpet (nufkhus sur; will breathe (spirits) into forms. All the creatures will take their final shape. The influence of time and space which separate one creature from the other will be removed. All will be brought together. It was He from whom everyone had come forth and unto Him every one shall return through the agency of the grace and guidance of (His) rububiyat. Each shall take up the position he or she is entitled on merit. Din is stipulated as such with reference to the yawmid din. Thus the masterdom of the malik assumes complete manifestation.

O man! Verily you are striving unto your Lord (with) a striving and are about to meet Him. (INSHIQAQ: 6)

And what will make you know what yawmiddin shall be?

And what will make you know what yawmiddin is?

(It is) a day on which no soul shall own anything (helpful) for any (other) soul; the absolute (supreme) command on that day shall be Allah’s. (INFITAR: 17 – 19)

The ultimate, absolute and real authority belongs to Allah who is the first as well as the final cause of all creation. All the other authorities are unreal and imaginary. Therefore, the normal course to be adopted by man is that which has been stated above – striving unto the Lord.

This is the day when people will stand before Allah, the Lord cherisher of the worlds (TATFIF: 6).

This day cannot be taken as a day of any duration. It shall be a day which will not be followed by any night.

The human beings would discard virtue and indulge in evil, employing immorality and tyranny to perpetrate all kinds of heinous crimes and destroy peace and harmony, essential for a normal and orderly life in this world, if they do not know and believe that there is an all-just authority to question, judge and punish the evil-doers. Therefore belief in the life after death and the yawmiddin is rooted in the basis of Islamic teachings.

What! Do those who commit evil suppose that We shall make them as those who believe and do good, that equal shall be their life and their death? Bad is their judgement. And Allah created the heavens and the earth with truth, and that every soul shall be recompensed (according to) what it has earned. And they will not be unjustly treated. (JATHIYAH: 21, 22)

إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ {5}

[Pooya/Ali Commentary 1:5]

IYYAKA

Aqa Mahdi Puya says:

All creatures, irrespective of social position or authority, in like manner, must submit to His will, and obey and worship Him. They have to seek His help in every activity. No one, not being equal to Him, is left out or exempted from His service. All are His servants. He is the original creator and the supreme law-giver. Every thing is created by Him, therefore, it has to abide by the laws He has made. No finite being can claim the rank of a god nor anyone can worship any finite being as a god, and also there is no room for ta-addud, the numeration of the infinite. The infinite is absolute and the finite is composite (a creature).

NA-BUDU

Worship is not mere carrying out some ritual. In thought and action “Thee alone we worship” is an unconditional commitment to the service of Allah, and none else, in order to live and die as it would please the Lord-master. The devotee puts an obligation upon himself to serve only Allah and none else. It creates an essential spirit of faithfulness to the only real master, and sets him free from the fear and subjugation of all the false authorities. The faithful servant, consequently, invokes the master’s pleasure to obtain the fulfilment of his needs and wants, because he expects nothing from anyone else except from the real master whom he serves exclusively. This declaration is also a source of total satisfaction, as the devotee vows to live and die as Allah wills, and not as he himself prefers.

Aqa Mahdi Puya says:

Man owes loyalty to none but Allah, and true loyalty demonstrates itself by making him do nothing but carry out the will and command of the master, abide by His instructions, and represent His pleasure. To pay homage to or bow down before even a stone by His order, or to seek help through the means approved and established by Him is, in fact, His worship, because it is in conformity with the loyalty a servant owes to his master. To employ ways and means, in contravention to His orders, even to worship Him, is disloyalty.

So far Allah has been referred to as He, His, and Him, third person singular pronouns. Now one feels that one is standing in the presence of the absolute, so it is time to address Him in the second person singular by using the word iyyaka which means “Thee alone” and none else, the negation of everything else other than Him and the assertion of the Only One. The created being, as an individual, disappears, and makes an appearance as a member of the community of the fellow creatures, a unique characteristic of the religion of Islam which unites individual and collective behaviour in perfect harmony to promote the cause of humanity.

No community or society of individuals can serve the Lord-master without an Imam (guide). It is also true that no one can be installed in this position except the person who represents His universal grace. Therefore the almighty Allah had sent the Holy Prophet as the “mercy unto the worlds”. The reach and scope of the Holy Prophet’s mission is as all-inclusive as Allah’s rububiyat, which, of course, had established his finality (khatamiyat). According to some authentic traditions, the Holy Prophet, during the ascension (mi-raj), led the prayers attended by all the prophets and messengers of Allah, who had been sent, before him, as the representatives of the almighty Lord to guide mankind, together with the angels, which, again, had instituted his supreme leadership (imamat kubra). The institution of a supreme leader, to guide mankind in its collective obedience to and worship of the Lord of the worlds, is the basis of the essential Islamic form of government, approved by Allah. It means that absolute sovereignty is in the hands of Allah and it cannot be delegated to any one but to the person who represents His universal will and grace, who is in communion with Him, and who knows the relation of the infinite to the finite and the interrelationship between the finite beings.

Seek they other than the religion of Allah, when unto Him submits whosoever is in the heavens and the earth, willingly or unwillingly, and unto Him they shall be returned. (ALI IMRAN: 83)

He is Allah, the creator, the master, the fashioner. His are the most beautiful names. All that is in the heavens and the earth glorifies Him, and He is the mighty, the wise. (HASHR: 24)

There is none in the heavens and the earth but must come unto the beneficent as a servant. (MARYAM: 93)

Keeping to the norm of the universal submission, man must also submit and surrender his will to Allah’s will, and seek help from no one but Him. The Quran, in view of the execution and regulation of Allah’s will, in the operation of creation, guides mankind to learn from the “book of creation”.

This verse throws light on the doctrines of determinism and free-will, a controversial issue in philosophy, theology, ethics and jurisprudence. The act of obedience and seeking help prove that human being exercise freedom of choice, and, therefore, are responsible for their actions, because they are not passive targets of Allah’s activity, but have been given free-will by Allah to make their own decisions and act upon them. Their free-will and its outcome are conditioned by Allah’s will, order and providence. The will of Allah does not directly determine the deeds of creatures, making the creatures’ will entirely ineffective, in which case they would not be responsible for their actions, as the determinists say. It is true that the creatures cannot exercise absolute free-will because their actions and judgements have to abide by the laws created and enforced by the will of Allah as explained earlier while making clear the meaning of the word taqdir. As Imam Muhammad bin Ali al Baqir has said there is no predetermination as far as the activity of the created beings is concerned but every action is conditioned by the laws, made by Allah, operating the creation, so there can be no unbridled use of freedom. It is a conciliation between freedom of action and complying with the will of Allah.

In the Quran the predominance of Allah’s will is mentioned to point out the overall supremacy of the laws made and enforced by Allah; and also the freedom of choice granted to man is confirmed to make it clear that although living beings have the freedom to do what they will, shouldering the responsibility of their actions, they cannot do away with the will of Allah. In common terminology it is a via media. Allah’s activity can be described as “action”, and the activity of the creature as “reaction”. There cannot be a “reaction” without an “action”. And if there is no “reaction” the action would be considered unproductive. In this sense Allah’s action operates in the realm of creation to which the creatures, consciously or unconsciously, willingly or unwillingly, react. The action is conditioned by the nature of the “actor”. The divine action, the outcome of Allah’s boundless grace, can be nothing but pure good, but the reaction of the finite creature may take a different course and produce evil for which the bad receptivity of the finite creature should be held responsible. The Quran says:

Whatever good befalls you (O man) it is from Allah, and whatever of evil befalls you, it is from yourself; (NISA: 79)

It is logical as well as profitable to seek help only from Allah whom the supplicant has accepted as his rabb, and has undertaken to serve Him only, because the infinite mercy of the merciful Lord will be available to the seeker of help in proportion to the sincerity of his commitment. Through this prayer, the pray-er, in all his prayers, invokes the divine mercy, and even if the desired relief is apparently delayed or withheld, he gets the satisfaction that petition has been put forward to the proper authority who alone knows what is best for the invoker, in his own interest. As only light, not darkness comes forth from the light, so the withholding of mercy of the merciful Lord should never be misunderstood as indifference or pitilessness, because inadequate and faulty conjectures cannot comprehend the infinite wisdom of the all-wise Lord.

اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ {6}

[Pooya/Ali Commentary 1:6]

IHDINAS SIRATAL MUSTAQIM

A true believer in the truth, however learned and wise he may be, has to pray for this blessing from the all-knowing and all-wise Lord. Man needs guidance not only to have knowledge of the theory and practice of the doctrine he believes in, but also to perceive the extraordinary truths which open up new spiritual horizons.

The right path, mentioned here, is neither any particular path nor the doctrines of the religion. There are several angles of human life in this world. The physical, mental, moral and spiritual aspects of living, together with its many divisions, need guidance to find the right path. The guidance to the right path mentioned in the Quran encompasses all aspects of the various paths open to the human soul in this life. To fulfil the purpose of his creation, which is the ultimate purpose of man’s existence in this world, he prays to the creator for spiritual assistance to keep him on the right path.

Aqa Mahdi Puya says:

llyyaka na-budu wa iyyaka nasta-in is the norm of human activity. Man must obey Allah’s will, and seek His help, which also is obedience to Him. Human life is a striving to reach the absolute perfection, Allah. However perfect man’s attainment be in this direction, it will still be finite. Only the infinite is absolute perfection. The distance between the infinite and the finite is infinite. Man’s effort and strive in the way to perfection, by perpetual obedience and quest for help and guidance, should be continuous, then alone he can keep to the right path which leads to Allah.

صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا الضَّالِّينَ {7}

[Pooya/Ali Commentary 1:7]

SIRATAL LADHINA AN-AMTA ALAYHIM

The right path has been clearly defined, unmistakable in meaning, positive in application. Any path, fancied and chosen by man, individually or collectively, according to this verse, is not the right path. The right guidance, identified beyond doubt, has been made available to mankind. To follow the path of the divinely guided guides, on whom Allah has bestowed His bounties, is the right guidance. Their path leads to the divine grace. It satisfies the essential fulfilment of those who desire to always remain rightly guided. Attached with the rightly guided guides, man must rely upon their model righteousness to give form and meaning to the life spent in this world. The rightly guided guides are only those whom Allah Himself has thoroughly purified:

Verily, Allah intends but to keep off from you uncleanness O you Ahl ul Bayt, and purify you with a thorough purification. (AHZAB: 33)

The essential prerequisite for following the path of an ideal, worthy of imitation, is to love the cherished model with heart and soul. To serve this necessity the almighty Allah and His Holy Prophet have enjoined the love of the Ahl ul Bayt, the thoroughly purified and divinely chosen guides, who show the right path.

Say you (O Muhammad): “I ask of you no recompense therefor, save love of (my) relatives (Ahl ul Bayt).” And who earns good, We increase for him (more) good therein, verily Allah is oft-forgiving, thankful. (SHURA: 23)

Love and attachment with the chosen guides, the Ahl ul Bayt, is known, in the religious doctrines of the original Islam, Shi’ism, as tawalla.

Aqa Mahdi Puya says:

Wherever you turn you shall find (only) His manifestation. (BAQARAH; 115)

Therefore, it may be said that all paths lead to Him, whether the path is straight or curved. Though it is true that every creation, in some way or the other, is His manifestation, yet that which is closer to His essence in comprehensiveness and gives a better vision of His unity, absoluteness and omnipotence, is more effective in making clear His supreme being. To follow the track of such manifestations is, in fact, itself the right path, which has been instituted by the almighty Allah as the true guidance.

A sure and clear view of the straight path is possible when there is a model or a guiding example. The Quran identifies it as the path of those on whom Allah has bestowed His bounties.

Who so obeys Allah and the messenger (Muhammad), they are with those upon whom Allah has bestowed favours, of the prophets, and the truthful, and the witnesses, and the righteous; and the best are they as companions!

(NISA: 69)

Whereby Allah guides him who follows His pleasure, into the ways of peace, and brings them out of darkness unto light by His grace (will), and guides them to the right path. (MA-IDAH: 16)

Though His bounties are the outcome of His universal grace (rahmaniyat), encompassing all His creatures,

“My grace (mercy) embraces all things”, (ARAF: 156),

yet out of His rahimiyat He has chosen the prophets, the truthful, the witnesses, the righteous, and those who follow their footsteps, in letter and spirit, as His friends. Even those who had been thoroughly purified by Allah and whose path has been described as an ideal for the whole mankind, had always turned to Allah because the (two bows’ length or nearer) distance, between theirs and the infinite beings’ perfection, was visible to them only. So man must aspire to rise higher and higher, then only he becomes aware of the distance and submits unconditionally to the supreme being.

The gift of mental, moral and spiritual perfection, the real favour and true bounty, which enables man to avoid sin, is indicated in this verse. It also identifies the perfect beings whose purity had never been corrupted by any evil of any kind, from the beginning to the end of their life on this earth. Such men of ideal purity, who knew why and how the universe was created by Allah and the laws which govern its operation, therefore, did not commit any mistake, in thought and action, are called ma-sumin(infallible). They are only fourteen in Islam- the Holy Prophet and his divinely chosen twelve successors, and Fatimah, the daughter of the Holy Prophet. In addition, the prophets and the messengers of Allah, who had been sent before the Holy Prophet, are also ma-sum (infallible).

When Allah asks mankind to necessarily follow the path of those upon whom He has bestowed His bounties, it is a must that there always should be, till the end of the world, people on whom He bestows His bounties, who are destined to be the ideal, testified models of righteousness, on the earth. These men cannot be but those who should, of course, be like and comparable to the Holy Prophet in purity, wisdom and that which made the Holy Prophet the khayrul bashr, the best among mankind; otherwise without the availability of the model, the command to follow in its footsteps would be an injustice. This verse proves, beyond doubt, the existence of an Imam in every age, uptil the day of judgement.

To know about whom the Quran says “he who is the best in knowledge and wisdom”, the divinely guided guide, read the following verses:

VERSE 269 IN BAQARAH.

VERSE 55 IN MA-IDAH.

VERSE 35 IN YUNUS.

VERSE 16 IN RA’D.

VERSE 9 IN ZUMAR.

VERSE 26 IN MULK.

These verses guide the seeker of truth to find out the essential qualities a religious leader or a spiritual guide must possess, and then to select his leader, without fear or favour, because,

“there is no compulsion in religion” (BAQARAH: 256).

Freedom of choice has been given to man as a test and a trial, after revealing the truth which teaches to distinguish between good and evil. The Quran does not mention names but only describes qualities in order to give the seeker of truth an open opportunity to exercise his freedom of choice.

He to whom wisdom is given, he truly has received abundant good. (BAQARAH: 269)

Besides, “I and Ali are of the ‘one and the same’ light”, and “I am the city of knowledge and Ali is its gate”, there are several traditions (see “Essentials for the readers of the Holy Quran” from page 1 to 7) which clearly make known the unique position of Ali in Islam. Through these traditions Muhammad and Ali have been proved to be the same in physical and spiritual purity. The meaning of this verse, in the light of other verses, is that to be guided aright, one should, in the absence of the Holy Prophet, follow Ali, and the divinely chosen genuine guides among his progeny, because while departing from this world the Holy Prophet gave his last and final guidance to all his followers, for all times:

I will soon be called back, so I will have to go away from you, but I leave behind, among you, the thaqalayn (two weighty indispensable influential authorities), the book of Allah and my Ahl ul Bayt. Should you be attached to these two, never, never shall you go astray, after me, for verily these two will never be separated from each other; and, joined together, they shall meet me at kawthar.

The Holy Prophet and the Holy Imams are the models. Their personal purity, according to verse 33 of al Ahzab, from the moment of their arrival in this physical world to their departure, had been the unquestionable manifestation of the glory of the divine purity. Through verse 177 of al Baqarah, man is directed to follow the path of those whose piety has been described therein. They are the Ahl ul Bayt.

“My Ahl ul Bayt are like the ark of Nuh. Who so gets into it is saved; and who so stays away is drowned and lost,” said the Holy Prophet.

The privilege of receiving direction by means of wahi, or revelation, a special medium of communicating the divine will, through the agency of an angel-messenger (Jibra-il) to the prophets and messengers of Allah, who had to convey the divine message in verbatim, was brought to an end after the Holy Prophet, the last of Allah’s messengers. No angel did ever come to any one after the last prophet, Muhammad, with any message whatsoever from Allah.

Wahi, through the messenger-angel, had been sent only to a messenger of Allah, endowed with a thorough purity, which alone could sustain, carry and convey it. No human being, who does not possess the essential cleanliness, is in a condition to bear the divine revelation conveyed through angelic agency, unless Allah Himself purifies him with a thorough purification. Only that substance which is inherently pure in its innate genesis and particularly moulded, with a purpose in view, can hold up the energy and reproduce it in the same tone. All the prophets were the true messengers of Allah but each had a different receiving capacity, therefore, the Holy Prophet was not only the last of the prophets of Allah but also stood high and distinguished amongst the divinely chosen messengers, because in purity, strength and wisdom he was the ultimate model designed by Allah.

These messengers, We have exalted some of them above some others; of them are some unto whom Allah has spoken, and some He raised many degrees, (BAQARAH: 253)

Now, a new school of thought, in an attempt to make up an excuse for the continuation of prophethood, puts forward several untenable arguments based upon conjectures. It is said that the divine favours of guiding a human soul, through wahi, can be bestowed on any one upto the day of judgement. No one can deny that the divine guidance through revelation may continue as long as Allah wills. The word wahi literally means a mental awakening to an idea. Also any one may conceive any idea but this wahi cannot be said to have been revealed to him from Allah.

And verily satans do inspire (yuwhuna) their friends to dispute with you. (AN-AM: 122)

So Shaytan also, through his own methods, “inspires” his friends, but the confused simpletons are led to believe that the wahi is from Allah.

The wahi from Allah, known as ilham, through inspiration, guides those whom He chooses. The chosen being may be a man, or even a bee.

And your Lord inspired (awha) the bee: Choose habitations in the hills and in the trees and in that which they thatch; (NAHL: 69)

It cannot be a sensible argument to say that by receiving wahi from Allah, a bee becomes the messenger of Allah.

Only when a meaningful message is conveyed through the agency of the messenger-angel, Jibra-il, a person can claim to be the messenger of Allah. This method of divine communication had been terminated after the Holy Prophet, Muhammad, therefore, he is the last messenger of Allah.

This day I have perfected for you, your religion, and have completed My favour on you, and chosen for you Islam (to be) the religion; (MA-IDAH: 33)

When Allah, the Quran, as the source of the law and practice of the faith, the procedure of prayers, and the qiblah are the same, and Allah has perfected the religion, completed the favour and finally named the religion, why should any one feel the necessity of a new messenger, and for what purpose Allah would summon the messenger-angel to go to any person if there is no new message to be added to His already perfected, completed and final book? Although many impostors have come and gone with false claims to prophethood, but, in truth, as explained above, there is no necessity of a messenger after the Holy Prophet, Muhammad, nor any messenger will come, in future, till eternity.

GHAYRIL MAGHDUBI ALAYHIM WALADDALLIN

“Not (the path) of those inflicted with Your wrath, nor (the path) of those gone astray” is an explanatory clause of the 7th verse. The supplicant gives expression to his dislike and aversion for those who have rebelled against the divine authority and gone astray, and earned the wrath of Allah.

Aqa Mahdi Puya says:

There is no need to take ghayril maghdubi as the qualifying adjectival clause for the personal pronoun alayhim, or the relative pronoun alladhina, as Zamaqshari says, because an-amta alaykim is a restriction. Therefore, these two clauses should be taken as appositional clauses in the negative form. Ghayril maghdubi and waladdallinare those who have deviated from the right path, to follow which has been made obligatory by Allah, and by overstepping the prescribed limits have gone astray. By doing so they have earned the wrath of Allah. Those who neither fall short of and lag behind (taqsir), nor overstep the boundaries (ghulu), in fact, walk on the right path of the Holy Prophet. The Jews are said to be in the category of maghdubi, as an example of taqsir, and the Christians in the category of dallin, as an example of ghulu, but truly, those who fall short of and lag behind in the matter of carrying out Allah’s commands are included in the maghdubi and those who overstep the boundaries and transgress the limits, laid down by Allah, are included in the dallin.

The Holy Prophet who, according to the Quran, “neither errs, nor is deceived, nor he speaks of (his own) desire”, positively asked his followers to adhere to and abide by the guidance his Ahl ul Bayt (Ali and his descendants) would reveal and demonstrate, after him, as his divinely chosen successors. Who so, among his ummah, makes less their divinely set up position, renders himself liable to be grouped with the maghdubi; and who so elevates and exalts the men of ordinary character to higher status of spiritual guides, not confirmed by Allah and His prophet, renders himself liable to be joined with the dallin. Likewise those who glorify the prophets and their successors as gods are also con

Source:quran.al-islam.org


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