Hope and Closeness: Prayers of those Close – Reciting Surat al-Fatiha

This article is transcribed by an internal student based on the lecture series Hope and Closeness: The Way to Allah by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani. This is the twelfth session of the series.

Attaining Success through Transforming Our Prayer

In this lesson, Shaykh Faraz looks at the essential features of reciting Surat al-Fatiha during prayer, as a medium to be closer to Allah Most High. It is calling out to Allah; it is a conversation with Allah, our Creator, our Lord, the All-Knowing, and the All-Powerful. It is to understand that true prayer brings about success and good transformation. As stated in the Quran: Successful are the believers who are humble in their prayers [Quran 23:1-2]. That is, Shaykh Faraz asserts when a man is deeply engrossed in frequent supplications, his heart melts and flows like water at the threshold of Allah Most High and he is so absorbed in Allah that all stray thoughts are extinguished. He solely seeks Allah’s help and grace, he achieves such a single-mindedness of purpose that a kind of ecstasy and tenderness of heart arises, and the door of success is opened for him. Through this, his love for this world grows cold because two loves cannot occupy the same place simultaneously.

Reaffirming Faith & Devotion to Allah

Building on that, Shaykh Faraz expounds on the prayer as not just an action, but an expression of faith. The Quran says to establish prayer “for My remembrance.” Continuing on Habib Hasan al-Bahar al-Jifri’s Sifat Salat al-Muqarrabin, Shaykh Faraz identifies and explores the various dimensions of Surat al-Fatiha and its impact on our overall being in prayer. The recitation of Surat al-Fatiha and the beginning verse is to affirm the 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.” It is to know that we owe our existence to Allah Most High. And when we say this, al-Rahman al-Rahim, it is to reiterate the extraordinary mercy and majesty of Allah. It is to utter and understand the sole center of devotion is Allah Most High. The affirmation of slave-hood is to acknowledge none is sought but Allah Most High. It is to affirm all our attributes; intelligence, will, resolve, and power come through Allah Most High.

Identifying Our Inferiority to The Sole Superior

Every succeeding Aya of this Sura contains a universe of meanings and moving on to 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 to direct us towards the right guidance and true path. Asking Allah for the preservation, sustenance, and protection of our faith is to manifest our utter dependence on Him. It is to understand and comprehend the path of Allah’s Messenger and all other prophets is the true path of ultimate light and felicity. And abstaining from the path of those on whom is God’s wrath. It is to seek Allah’s protection and stay away from those who are ignorant, heedless, and distracted. It is inevitably significant to understand the gift of God through His mercy to recite His speech in our prayer and Allah is addressing me through a text that even mountains were unable to withhold.

Maintaining Our Fitrah & Spiritual Health

As Habib al-Jibri mentions, “Reciting any Sura or some verses of the Quran means to behold Allah in His speech.” Understand the metaphysical presence of God and His address to you through the recitation of the Quran. It is to make us conscious to renew our covenant with Allah Most High. The key to the recitation of the Quran in the prayer is to mean it before one recites it and you will see the prayer transformed. To also reinforce the idea that this Sura primarily addresses the strong inner spiritual need of all human beings, provided we care to maintain our fitrah-centric inner goodness.

 

 

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani spent ten years studying with some of the leading scholars of recent times, first in Damascus, and then in Amman, Jordan. His teachers include the foremost theologian of recent times in Damascus, the late Shaykh Adib al-Kallas (may Allah have mercy on him), as well as his student Shaykh Hassan al-Hindi, one of the leading Hanafi fuqaha of the present age. He returned to Canada in 2007, where he founded SeekersGuidance in order to meet the urgent need to spread Islamic knowledge–both online and on the ground–in a reliable, relevant, inspiring, and accessible manner. He is the author of: Absolute Essentials of Islam: Faith, Prayer, and the Path of Salvation According to the Hanafi School (White Thread Press, 2004.) Since 2011, Shaykh Faraz has been named one of the 500 most influential Muslims by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center.