Home / Islamic Insights / Tafsir Al-Mizan- 1. Al-Fatiha, Verse 1-5

Tafsir Al-Mizan- 1. Al-Fatiha, Verse 1-5



In the name of Allãh, the Beneficent, the Merciful


. All praise is due to Allãh, the Lord of the



. The Beneficent the Merciful


. The

Master of the Day of Judgement


. Thee do we

worship and Thee do we beseech for help










In the name of Allãh, the Beneficent, the



People often take the name of one of their great and

powerful personalities at the time of doing or beginning a work.

By this association, it is believed, the work would achieve

success, greatness and blessings; or that it would be a memorial

to keep the named one

s memory alive for ever. This is also

observed in naming a child, a project, a house or an association

— they give it the name of a deeply loved or highly respected

person, so that his name would continue in this form; for


example, a man names his son after his father, in order to

perpetuate the father

s memory.

This verse runs on the same line. Allãh began His speech

with His Own name — Great is His name — so that the ideas

taught in this chapter be stamped by, and associated with it.

Also, it teaches a lesson to mankind, showing them the perfect

manner of starting all their talks and actions; it guides them to

put the stamp of the divine name on all their activities; doing

every work for the sake of Allãh, associating it with His good

names and attributes. In this way that action would neither be

rendered null and void, nor remain incomplete; it has been

started in the name of Allãh, and negation and annihilation

cannot reach that sacred name.

Allãh has declared variously in the Qur’ãn that what is

not for His Person must perish, is in vain; He will proceed to

the deeds not done for His sake and shall render them as

scattered floating dust; He shall forfeit what they have done and

shall nullify their deeds; and that nothing shall remain except

His honoured Person.

Therefore, what is done for the sake of Allãh and

performed in His name, shall continue and will not perish.

Everything, every work and every affair shall have its share of

eternity — as much as it is related to Allãh. It is this reality that

has been hinted at in the universally accepted tradition of the

Prophet: “Every important affair, not begun with the name of

Allãh, shall remain incomplete . . .” The word




= translated here as “incomplete”) means a thing whose end is

cut off, an animal whose tail is severed.

The preposition “

b i

” (

ـ ﺑ


in, with), in the phrase “In

the name of Allãh”, is related to an implied verb, “I begin”.

This verse, at this particular place, begins the speech which is a

single action; this singleness comes from the singleness of its

meaning; that is, the meaning intended to be conveyed, the aim

and purpose of the speech.

Allãh has mentioned the purpose for which His speech —


the whole Qur’ãn — has been revealed: . . . indeed, there has

come to you a light and a clear Book from Allãh; with it Allãh

guides him who follows His pleasure into the ways of safety . .

. (5:15—16). There are other verses which show that the aim

with which the Book — the speech of Allãh — has been sent

down is the guidance of the people.

Therefore, the full import of the sentence would be as

follows: The guidance, total guidance is begun with the name

of Allãh, the Beneficent, the Merciful; He is Allãh, Whom the

servants return to; He is Beneficent, Who has opened the way

of His All-encompassing mercy for believers and disbelievers

alike, the mercy which provides them with all that is necessary

and good for their existence and life; He is Merciful, Who has

reserved His special mercy for the believers, the mercy which

ensures their happiness in the life hereafter and their nearness

to their Lord. Allãh has said: . . .

and My mercy encompasses

all things


so I will ordain it


for those who guard

(against evil)

and pay zakãt, and those who believe in our


(7:156). This explanation has been written, putting this

verse in the framework of the whole Qur’ãn, of which it is the

first sentence.

Again, Allãh has repeatedly mentioned “chapter” in His

speech. For example:



“Then bring a chapter like





“Then bring ten chapters like it, forged

. . .


And whenever a chapter is revealed . . .


(This is)

a chapter which We have revealed . . .




shows that Allãh Himself has divided His speech in various

parts, each part being called a chapter. It naturally means that

every chapter is a single unit in structure and in fullness of

meaning; and that that unity is not found between various

verses of a chapter or between one chapter and the other. It

necessarily follows that the theme of every chapter is different

from the other; every chapter is revealed with a certain aim in

view, and when that aim is achieved the chapter comes to its



Therefore, the verse, “In the name of Allãh, the

Beneficent, the Merciful” coming at the beginning of every

chapter, refers to the particular theme of that chapter.

Accordingly, this verse, at the beginning of this chapter of

“The Opening”, refers also to the theme of this chapter. It

appears from its semantic flow that its purpose is to praise

Allãh and to pledge the believer’s servitude (declaring that he

worships only Allãh and seeks help from Him only) and then to

pray for divine guidance. This speech has been uttered by

Allãh, on be-half of His servant, so that the servant may

learn how, by repeating these words, he may show his

gratitude to, and servitude before, Allãh.

This pledging of servitude is the important work which

the servant of Allãh intends to do; and which he begins in the

name of Allãh, the Beneficent, the Merciful. In this context,

this verse would mean: In Thy name, I pledge my servitude

to Thee.

In this first verse of this chapter, therefore, the

preposition, “in”, is related to the implied verb, “I begin”;

and the aim is to perfect the sincere servitude by addressing

the pledge to Allãh Himself. Some people have said that the

implied verb is “I seek help” (by); although this view is not

objectionable, but “I begin” is more appropriate — the

chapter explicitly seeks divine help, “and Thee do we

beseech for help”; therefore, it is not necessary in the





= name) is the word that points to the

named thing or person. It is derived from




= sign, identifying mark) or





= height,

eminence). In any case, it is the word by which an individual

thing or person is spoken of or spoken to. Naturally, it is

other than, and separate from, the named thing.

The following is a sample of the academic exercises so

much loved by the ancients:

There is a name that means “the person himself seen in

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