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Part 9: An Analysis of Surah Al-Fatiha – Misguidance in Islam

11Mar 2016
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Part 9: An Analysis of Surah Al-Fatiha – Misguidance in Islam

Continuing the analysis of the last verse of Surah Al-Fatiha we discussed that the Qur’an categorises human beings into three different types. The first group of people are those that Allah (swt) had showered with bounties, as discussed in the previous article. The second and third groups of people will be discussed in this section, highlighting what is meant by the continuation of the verse: “…those who have evoked [Your] anger or of those who are astray” (Quran, 1:7).

The second group of people are those who have evoked the anger (Qadhab) of Allah (swt). Qadhab linguistically refers to being tough and strict towards someone[1] and in today’s society, it refers to an emotional state of fury that a person enters, it is the opposite of Ridha (Satisfaction)[2]. However the anger of Allah (swt) is not an emotional state, rather it is the punishment of Allah (swt) on the human being due to their transgressions and indecency.

It has been reported in a narration that Amr ibn Ubayd asked Imam Baqir (as): What does the anger of Allah (swt) mean in the following verse:

“…We have provided for your sustenance, but commit no excess therein, lest My Wrath should justly descend on you: and those on whom descends My Wrath do perish indeed!” (20:81)

The Imam (as) replied: “Oh Amr, the anger (Qadhab) of Allah (swt) is his punishment. Whoever thinks that Allah (swt) changes from one state to another, he has attributed human characteristics to Him (swt).” Therefore, the wrath of Allah (swt) is different to the anger of the human being, which originates from emotional stimulation.

Now, who are those individuals who incur the wrath of Allah (swt)? We mentioned that Allah (swt) showers His infinite Mercy upon all creation. Thus those who encounter the wrath of Allah (swt) are those who have chosen not to follow the path of goodness and perfection. These are individuals who have seen guidance and know the straight path, but their stubbornness and intentional transgression has resulted in their deviation. Therefore this group of people know what the truth is, but they purposefully reject it and show enmity towards it, as the Qur’an states:

“And they rejected those Signs in iniquity and arrogance, though their souls were convinced thereof: so see what was the end of those who acted corruptly!” (27:14)

Any individual can be amongst this group of people as it is not exclusive to a specific religion or faith. Many of us have seen the guidance towards perfection and goodness which Allah (swt) has revealed to mankind, however we choose to reject it and engage in indecent, evil actions taking us away from Allah and preventing His mercy from reaching us. This is because the sins committed act as a dark veil between us and Allah (swt).

Finally, the third group of people who are referred to in this verse are those individuals who have recognised the truth and know the way, however due to a lack of steadfastness and determination they slip and make mistakes becoming misguided. Dhallin is taken from the root word Dhall which means “confusion and diversion from the straight path”[3]. Regarding this group of people, Allah (swt) mentions in the holy Qur’an:

“… if any one disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he is indeed on a clearly wrong Path.” (33:36).

In this last category, the individual has faith and knows the path and destination, however at times he transgresses the boundaries of Allah (swt) and allows his desires to drive him towards committing evil. Such individuals are those who go astray when they do not follow the path of goodness and perfection that leads the human being towards ultimate salvation.

It is important to note that there is a general divine invitation for all to embark on the path of goodness, purity and guidance. Whoever follows this path is guided and whoever does not, they themselves have chosen to go astray. It is not the case that Allah (swt) misguides an individual, rather it is an individual’s actions that prevent Allah’s guidance from reaching them, resulting in misguidance.

Additionally deciding which of the aforementioned categories a person falls into is not something that a human being can determine. Allah (swt) knows what is in our hearts and the intentions behind our actions, so only He knows who is truly guided, hence it is not for human beings to pass judgment about anyone and label them. Making Judgements about people is something that ethically we have been commanded to abstain from in the teachings of Islam. The individual needs to look and reflect upon their internal state and actions and try to perfect their moral behaviour rather than judging others.

The principles of Islam are universal and are all in harmony with the innate disposition of the human being (Fitrah). These principles, if explained correctly and with the right approach, are accepted by everyone and appeal to all. All of the divine prophets called towards the same God, invited mankind towards the same destination and ultimately taught human beings to perfect their moral behaviour in the light of the divine teachings. These teachings are based on love, mercy, justice, equality, compassion, respect and protecting human dignity and life.

We pray to Allah (swt) that we are given the tawfiq (success) to learn from the blessed verses of Surah Al-Fatiha and act upon its content, so that the same way Allah (swt) showers His infinite mercy upon the whole of creation, we also become a source of kindness and compassion for those living around us.

Written by Mohammad Ehsan Rangiha

[1] Al-Tahqiq fi Kalemat al-Qur’an al-Karim, v.7, p.232.

[2]  Lisan al-Arab, v.1, p.648.

[3] Al-Mufradat (Raghib al-Esfahani), p.509.

Previously in this series:

Part 8: An Analysis of Surah Al-Fatiha – The Concept of Bounty

Part 7: An Analysis of Surah Al-Fatiha – The Concept of Guidance

Part 6: An Analysis of Surah Al-Fatiha – Exclusivity of Worship and Seeking from Allah (swt)

Part 5: An Analysis of Surah Al-Fatiha – The Day of Judgment

Part 4: An Analysis of Surah Al-Fatiha – Mercy and Compassion in Islam

Part 3: An Analysis of Surah Al-Fatiha – The concept of Praise

Part 2: An Analysis of Surah Al-Fatiha – The concept of Mercy

Part 1: An Analysis of Surah Al-Fatiha 

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