On this journey of Hope and Closeness, Shaykh Faraz throws light on diverse ways a believer can strengthen the connection with the all-sustaining and ever-living God, the ultimate purpose of life and religion, and the means to draw closer to Him.
What are the essential features of reciting Sura al-Fatiha in the prayer as a medium to be closer to Allah Most High? The Fatiha is calling out to Allah. It is a conversation with Allah, our Creator, our Lord, the All-Knowing, and the All-Powerful. True prayer brings about success and a transformation of character. As stated in the Qur’an:
“Successful indeed are the believers. Those who humble themselves in their prayer.” [23:1-2]
When you are deeply engrossed in frequent supplications, your heart melts and flows like water at the threshold of Allah Most High. You are so absorbed in Allah that all stray thoughts are silenced. You seek Allah’s help and grace. You achieve such a single-mindedness of purpose that a kind of ecstasy and tenderness of heart arises, and the door of success is opened for you. Through this, the love of this world grows cold because two loves cannot occupy the same place simultaneously.
The Opening Prayer
Prayer is not just an action but an expression of faith. The Qur’an commands that you establish prayer “for My remembrance.” [20:14] Habib Hasan al-Bahr al-Jifri’s Sifat Salat al-Muqarrabin identifies and explores the various dimensions of Sura al-Fatiha and its impact on our overall being in the prayer. The recitation of Sura al-Fatiha and the beginning verse affirms recognition of and gratitude to Allah Most High. As Abu Madyan says, “You and all the existence were it not for him will be effaced and perished.” – You owe your existence to Allah Most High.
Al-Rahman al-Rahim reiterates the extraordinary mercy and majesty of Allah. The sole center of devotion is Allah Most High. This affirmation of slavehood is to acknowledge that none is sought but Allah Most High. It is to affirm that all your attributes, intelligence, will, resolve, and power, come by Allah Most High.
and moving on the other Aya is to seek guidance as to the fruit of recognizing the Lordship of Allah Most High. This sentence manifests our utter neediness and reliance on God for directing us towards the right guidance and true path. Asking Allah for the preservation, sustenance, protection of the faith is to manifest our utter dependence on Him.
The Straight Path
The path of Allah’s Messenger, blessings and peace upon him, and all other prophets is the true path of ultimate light and felicity. Abstaining from the path of those on whom is God’s wrath is to seek Allah’s protection and stay away from those who are ignorant, heedless, and distracted. It is significant to understand the gift of God through His mercy and to recite His speech in our prayer, for Allah is addressing you through a text which even mountains were unable to bear.
As Habib al-Jifri says: “Reciting any sura or some verses of the Qur’an is to behold Allah in His speech.” Understand the metaphysical presence of God and His address to you through the recitation of the Qur’an. Make yourself conscious of this and renew your covenant with Allah Most High.
The key in the recitation of the Qur’an in prayer is to mean it before you recite it. You will then see the prayer transformed. Reinforce in yourself the idea that the Fatiha primarily addresses the strong inner spiritual need of all human beings, provided we care to maintain our fitra-centric inner goodness.