Rafed English

Surah al-Fatihah - Interpretation of the last three verses

Sirat alladhina an‘amta ‘alayhim ghayri’l-maghdubi ‘alayhim wa lad-dallin”‌ {The path of those whom You have blessed””such as have not incurred Your wrath, nor are astray}


After asking for guidance along the straight path, the one praying beseeches God to keep him along that path which has been the path of those who have earned divine grace. In Surah an-Nisa’, verse 69 and Surah Maryam, verse 58, the Qur’an describes this group. Here, we shall cite below the former reference:


( وَ مَنْ يُطِعِ ظ±لرَّسُولَ فَأُولئِكَ مَعَ ظ±لَّذِينَ أَنْعَمَ اللهُ عَلَيهِم مِنَ ظ±لنَّبِيِّينَ وَ ظ±لصِّدِّيقِينَ وَ ظ±لشُّهَداء وَ ظ±لصَّالِحِينَ وَ حَسُنَ أُولٰئِكَ رَفِيقًا ) “Whoever obeys Allah and the Apostle””they are with those whom Allah has blessed, including the prophets and the truthful, the martyrs and the righteous.”‌[1]


The person praying is invoking God to include him in the ranks of the prophets, the truthful, the martyrs and the righteous. Aspiring for this path of the upright and pure ones protects from the peril of deviation and aberration, and their memory and reminiscence are always alive in the heart of the one praying.


Who are those who are astray and have incurred the divine wrath?


In the Qur’an, individuals such as the Pharaoh, Qarun (Korah) and Abu Lahab, as well as communities such as the peoples of ‘Ad and Thamud and the Children of Israel have been described as those who have incurred the divine wrath. In every prayer, we ask God for us not to be like these individuals and communities that have incurred divine anger and wrath in belief, morality and deeds.


The Children of Israel whose account and civilization have been most frequently mentioned in the Qur’an, they were once superior to all the people of their time. Concerning them, God says: “I gave you an advantage over the nations.”‌[2] But in spite of this advantage and superiority, they incurred the anger and wrath of God because of their reprehensible thoughts and actions. In this regard, the Qur’an states: “And they earned Allah’s wrath”‌ [3] That is, this change in their fate was caused by the change in their behavior.


The Jewish scholars distorted the heavenly commandments of the Tawrah (Torah): [4] “They pervert words (from their meanings).”‌[5] The traders and the wealthy among them engaged in usury {riba’} and profiteering: “And for their taking usury…”‌[6] And in reply to the call for jihad and struggle, the common people refused to go to the battlefront out of self-preservation and fear, thus saying to Musa (A.S):


فَاذْهَبْ أَنتَ وَرَبُّكَ فَقَاتِلا إِنَّا هَاهُنَا قَاعِدُونَ


“Go ahead, you and your Lord, and fight! We will be sitting right here.”‌[7]


The same intellectual and practical deviations made God removed them from the pinnacle of glory to the abyss of abjectness and ignominy.


So, in every prayer, we have to implore God that we be not of the people who distorted the Book of Allah, the people who took usury, and the people who fled from war and jihad; similarly, that we should not be among the misguided ones; those who, like lost persons, are subject to abjectness and ignominy, and every moment, without having a prior aim, they wander about; they live as opportunists and have no will and power of their own.


Those who are astray””“dallin”‌””are not like the blessed ones””“an‘amta ‘alayhim”‌””who have been included in the ranks of the prophets and the righteous, and are not like those who have incurred the divine wrath””“al-maghdubi ‘alayhim”‌””who are waging war against the religion of God. Instead, they are indifferent, indolent and comfort-seeking individuals who, like animals, are only thinking of the stomach and the flesh, without caring for truth and falsehood.


For them, it makes no difference whether the prophets or the taghuts are ruling. What is important for them is that they live in material comfort and ease; anyone who likes may rule. This is the group of the misguided ones because they have not chosen a specific way for themselves.


This verse, “Sirat alladhina an‘amta ‘alayhim ghayri’l-maghdubi ‘alayhim wa lad-dallin,”‌ is the perfect showcase of tawalla {befriending the truthful ones} and tabarra {avoiding the people of falsehood}.


At the end of Surah al-Fatihah, the person praying expresses his love, fondness and tawalla for the prophets, the martyrs and the righteous, as well as his disavowal {bara’ah} and renunciation {tabarra} of the misguided and those who have earned the divine wrath. This expression of aversion toward the deviant and those who have incurred the anger of God in every prayer makes the Islamic society firm and resistant to the acceptance of their rule. The Qur’an thus exhorts:


لا تَتَوَلَّوْا قَوْماً غَضِب اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ “Do not befriend a people at whom Allah is wrathful.”‌[8]





[1] Surah an-Nisa’ 4:69.


[2] Surah al-Baqarah 2:47.


[3] Surah al-Baqarah 2:61.


[4] Tawrah (Torah): the scripture revealed to Prophet Musa (Moses) (PBUH) in its original form. {Trans.}


[5] Surah al-Ma’idah 5:13.


[6] Surah an-Nisa’ 4:161.


[7] Surah al-Ma’idah 5:24.


[8] Surah al-Mumtahanah 60:13.




Source: A Commentary on Prayer by Muhsin Qara’ati

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