CHAPTER 1, VERSES 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
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
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 “
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 —
CHAPTER 1, VERSES 1-5
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
so I will ordain it
for those who guard
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
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 . . .
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
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
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