Tafseer Surah al-Faatihah: vs. 7

by

 

Brother Abû Rumaysah

 

 

The saying of the Exalted, "The Path of those whom You have favoured" : After the servant has requested for guidance to the Straight Path, Allaah then proceeds to clarify further what this Straight Path is, and this in turn is explained in greater detail in Surah an-Nisaa,

 

 

"But no by Your Lord! They cannot have faith until they make you [O Muhammad] judge in all disputes between them and find in themselves no resistance to your decisions, and accept them with full submission. And if We had ordered them [saying]: 'kill [the guilty ones amongst] yourselves or leave your homes' very few of them would have done it. If they had done what they were told, it would have been better for them and would have strengthened their [faith]. And indeed we would then have bestowed upon them a great reward from Ourselves. And indeed we would have guided them to a Straight Way. And whosoever obeys Allaah and the Messenger then they will be in the company of those upon whom Allaah has bestowed His favour: the Prophets, the sincerely truthful, the martyrs and the righteous. What an excellent company these are!" [An-Nisaa` (4): 65-69]

 

Ibn Abbaas said in commentary to this verse,

[Those who you have favoured] by making them obedient to You and worship You from the Angels, the Prophets, the sincerely truthful, the martyrs and the righteous. This is like what our Lord, the Exalted has said, "they will be in the company of those upon whom Allaah has bestowed His favour: ..."

Ash-Shanqeetee makes the following additional observations concerning this verse:

1. The correctness of the khaleefate of Abu Bakr as-Siddeeq (RA) can be derived from this noble verse.

This is because he is included amongst those whom Allaah has commanded us, in the Great Qur`aan and the Seven Oft-Repeated Verses - I mean al-Faatihah, to ask Him that He guide us to their path thus indicating that their path is the Straight Path.

This lies in His saying, 'guide us to the Straight Path, the Path of those whom You have favoured' and He explained who these favoured people were and included amongst them the Siddeeqeen. [The Messenger (SAW)] explained that Abu Bakr (RA) was from amongst the Siddeeqeen, so it becomes clear that he is included amongst those whom Allaah has favoured - those whom Allaah has commanded us to ask Him to guide us to their path. Therefore there remains no doubt that Abu Bakr as-Siddeeq was upon the Straight Path and that his khilaafate was correct.

2. You have come to know that the Siddeeqeen are from those whom Allaah has favoured. And Allaah has made clear that Maryam the daughter of Imraan was a Siddeeqa in His saying, 'and His mother was a Siddeeqa' [Al-Maa`idah (5): 75]. So is Maryam included in His saying, 'those whom you have favoured' or not?

The answer: whether or not she is included amongst them is dependent upon a foundational principle that has a well-known dispute over it. This is: does the sound masculine plural and its likes that occur in the Qur`aan and the Sunnah include the feminine gender in all cases or only in those cases for which there is specific evidence?

A group of scholars took to the opinion that it does - so according to them Maryam is included in the above verse. And these scholars depended upon two proofs:

The consensus of the people of the Arabic Language that the masculine gender takes prevalence over the feminine. [1]

There a number of verses which prove that the females are included in the sound masculine plural, like His saying concerning Maryam herself,

 

'She testified to the truth of the Words of her Lord and His Books, and she was of those obedient to Allaah. [2][At-Tahreem (66): 12]

 

And His saying concerning the wife of al-Azeez,

 

'O Yusuf! Turn away from this! [O Woman!] Ask forgiveness for your sin, indeed your were of the sinful.{3}' [Yusuf (12): 29]

 

And His saying concerning Bilqees,

 

'And that which she used to worship besides Allaah has prevented her [from Islaam], for she was of a disbelieving people.{4}' [An-Naml (27): 43]

 

And His saying,

 

'We said: get down [5] all of you from this' [Al-Baqarah (2): 38]

 

and this address includes Hawaa by consensus.

The majority of scholars, however, took to the opinion that the females are not included in the sound masculine plural unless there is specific evidence. They depended upon a number of verses like His sayings,

 

'Indeed the male Muslims and the female Muslims, the male believers and the female believers...Allaah has prepared for them a forgiveness and a great reward.' [Al-Ahzaab (33): 35]

'Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and protect their private parts. That is purer for them' [An-Nur (24): 30]

 

following this with,

 

'And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and protect their private parts' [An-Nur (24): 31]

 

So their following the mention of the men indicates that they are not included amongst them.

They replied to the proponents of the first opinion by saying that the fact that the masculine gender takes prevalence over the feminine is not a matter of dispute. What is disputed is whether the masculine plural includes the females in every case. They further replied to the verses [used by the first group] by saying that it is known by the context of these verses and the meaning of the wordings that the females are included in the male plural - and that their inclusion in the male plural in the case of their being an evidence that they are included is not contended.

So according to this opinion Maryam is not included in the verse.

The saying of the Exalted, "not the path of those who have earned [Your] anger, nor those who have gone astray" :

Al-Ghadab linguistically means anger, it is the opposite of pleasure (ridaa) and one of the Attributes of Allaah. Maghdoob refer to the objects of Anger.

Dalaal linguistically means to divert from the intended goal or to diverge from the true path and it is the opposite of guidance. It is also said 'the milk dalla in the water' when it is mixed such that it disappears. In this respect also is His saying,

 

"And they say: when we become dalal in the earth." [As-Sajdah (32): 10]

 

Meaning when we die and disappear into the earth by becoming dust. Ad-Daalleen refers to those who gone astray.

At-Tirmidhee reports from Adee bin Haatim who said,

I asked the Messenger of Allaah (SAW) about Allaah's saying about, 'those who have earned [Your] Anger', and He said, 'it refers to the Jews.' I then asked about, 'those who have gone astray' and he said, 'the Christians are those who have gone astray.' [6]

The Jews and the Christians even though both of them are misguided and both of them have Allaah's Anger on them - the Anger is specified to the Jews, even though the Christians share this with them, because the Jews knew the truth and rejected it and deliberately came with falsehood. Therefore the Anger of Allaah being upon them was the description most befitting them. The Christians were ignorant, not knowing the truth, so misguidance was the description most befitting them.

This is further proven by the sayings of Allaah concerning the Jews,

 

'So they have drawn on themselves anger upon anger.' [Al-Baqarah (2): 90]

'Say: shall I inform you of something worse than that, regarding the recompense from Allaah: those (Jews) who incurred the Curse of Allaah and His Anger.' [Al-Maa`idah (5): 60]

'Indeed those who took the calf (for worship), anger from their Lord and humiliation will come upon them.' [Al-A`raaf (7): 152]

 

And Allaah said concerning the Christians,

 

'And do not follow the vain desires of people (i.e. the Christians) who went astray in times gone by, and misled many, and have themselves strayed from the Straight Path' [Al-Maa`idah (5): 77]

 

Other opinions have been voiced concerning the meaning of this verse, but the meaning mentioned above takes precedence and is undoubtedly correct as it has been reported from the Prophet (SAW) himself.

It is important to note that in this verse when the blessings of Allaah have been mentioned they have been mentioned in the second person such that Allaah is directly referred to, 'the path of those whom You have favoured.' However when the Anger or punishment of Allaah is mentioned it is mentioned in the third person such that Allaah is not directly referred to, 'not the path of those who have earned [Your] Anger, nor of those who have gone astray.' This even though He is the One in reality Who is Angry with them, and He is the One by Whose decree they were misguided as proven by His sayings,

 

"Have you not considered those who make allies of a people with whom Allaah has become Angry." [Al-Mujaadilah (58): 14]

"Whoever Allaah sends astray - there is no guide for him. And He leaves them in their transgression, wandering blindly." [Al-A`raaf (7): 186]

 

And other verses proving that guidance and misguidance is the sole responsibility of Allaah. [7]

This is a method that is used throughout the Qur`aan and it is a way of showing respect to Allaah and not attributing evil to Him as well as showing how belittled such people are. This was clearly expressed in the supplication of the Messenger of Allaah (SAW) when he said,

 

"I am completely at Your service and doing all I can to please You. All good is in Your Hands and evil does not pertain to You." [8]

Ibn al-Qayyim explains this hadeeth and this concept further,

The meaning of this hadeeth is far greater and wider then the [explanations presented by some saying that it means], "evil does not come close to you" or "evil [deeds] are not raised to you." This is because these explanations only serve to absolve Him of any evil coming close to Him or evil [deeds] being raised to him, however they do not explicitly absolve Him of evil with regards His Essence, Attributes and Actions. This is not the full purport of the words of the Truthful One, the one entrusted and preserved from error for his (SAW) words absolve Him of any evil whatsoever being linked to His Essence, Attributes and Actions. However it is possible that evil be contained in His creation as occurs in His words,

 

"Say: I take refuge with the Lord of Daybreak. From the evil of what He created." [Al-Falaq (113): 1-2]

 

Contemplate the style of the Qur`aan and see how sometimes it adjoins evil to its cause and those who enact it such as His sayings,

 

"The disbelievers are [truly] the oppressors and wrong-doers." [Al-Baqarah (2): 254]

"And Allaah does not guide a sinful, rebellious people." [Al-Maa`idah (5): 108]

"For the wrongdoing on the part of the Jews, We made unlawful for them [certain] foods that had previously been lawful for them." [An-Nisaa (4): 160]

"That was Our recompense for their transgression." [Al-An`aam (6): 146]

"We did no injustice to them, rather it was they who were unjust, wrong-doers." [Az-Zukhruf (43): 76]

 

Sometimes the subject [of the sentence] is omitted as in His sayings,

 

"And we do not know whether evil is intended for those who are on the earth, or whether their Lord desires guidance for them." [Al-Jinn (72): 10]

 

This verse omits the one who intends the evil but explicitly states the one who intends good. In a similar vein is His saying,

 

"The path of those whom You have favoured, not the path of those who have earned [Your] Anger nor those who have gone astray." [Al-Faatihah (1): 7]

 

Hence He mentioned the favour adjoined to Himself, misguidance adjoined to those who committed it and omitted the enactor of the Anger. Likewise is the saying of Khidr with regards the ship,

 

"So I wished to cause a defect in it." [Al-Kahf (18): 79]

 

And his saying with regards the orphans,

 

"So your Lord intended that they reach maturity and then extract their treasure as a mercy from your Lord." [Al-Kahf (18): 82]

 

Likewise is His saying,

 

"Allaah has endeared faith for you and made it pleasing in your hearts and has made hateful to you disbelief, disobedience and sins." [Al-Hujuraat (49): 7]

"Beautified for people is the love of that which they desire." [Aali Imraan (3): 14]

 

Omitting the one who made it beautiful for them. [Ibraaheem] Al-Khaleel (SAW) said,

 

"It is He Who created me and it is He who guides me. It is he Who feeds me and gives me to drink. When I am ill it is He who cures me. It is He Who will cause me to die and then bring me back to life. I hope that He will forgive me my sin on the Day of Recompense." [Ash-Shu`araa (26): 77-82]

 

So he attributed all aspects of perfection to Him in these actions but attributed to himself any [seeming] deficiency - this being illness and sin.

We have explained this matter in depth in our book, "al-Fawaa`id al-Makkiyyah" and I have explained there the difference between the sayings of Allaah,

 

"Those who have been given the Book." [Al-Baqarah (2): 101]

 

And His sayings,

 

"Those to whom We have given the Book." [Al-Baqarah (2): 121]

 

Saying that He mentioned Himself explicitly in those contexts in which He praises [the People of the Book] but omits His mention in those places that He censures them. This then, is one of the secrets of the [literary style] of the Qur`aan.

Exactly the same applies to His sayings,

 

"Then We caused to inherit the Scripture those We have chosen of Our servants." [Al-Faatir (35): 32]

"Indeed those who were granted inheritance of the Scripture after them are in disquieting doubt concerning it." [Ash-Shura (42): 14]

"And there followed them successors who inherited the Scripture while taking unlawful gains and pleasures in this lower life." [Al-A`raaf (7): 169]

 

Therefore in conclusion only the good, wisdom and benefit is adjoined to Allaah, the Exalted, whereas the evil does not pertain to him. [9]


Footnotes

{1} For example a mixed gathering of males and females would be referred to by using the male plural not the female plural even if their be more females than males.

{2} Qaaniteen - a sound masculine plural

{3} Khaati`een - a sound masculine plural

{4} Qawmin Kaafireen

{5} ihbitoo

{6} Reported by at-Tirmidhee and Ahmad and it is saheeh.

{7} For more detail and explanation of decree (qadr) refer to the book 'Fate in Islaam' by Dr. Saaleh as-Saaleh.

{8} Reported by Muslim [Eng. Trans. 1/373 no. 1695], Abu Daawood [Eng. Trans. 1/195 no. 759] and an-Nasaa`ee [2/130]

{9} Ibn al-Qayyim, 'Badaa`i al-Fawaa`id' [1/454-455]; 'Tafseer al-Qayyim'[pp. 554-556]

 

 

Source: http://www.islaam.net/main/display.php?id=282&category=29

 

 

 

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