“al-Ḥamdu lillāhi Rabbil-‘Ālamīn” – Explained by Shaykh Uthaymeen

Bismillaah

The Explanation of Verse 1 of Sooratul Faatiha

الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

(al-Ḥamdu lillāhi Rabbil-‘Ālamīn)
All praise and thanks are for Allah, the lord of all creations.

“All praise and thanks” (al-Ḥamd): This word الْحَمْدُ (al-Ḥamd) is used only to describe someone, out of love and honor, with complete perfection of self, attributes, and actions. So, Allah is perfect in his self, his attributes, and his actions. This praising, however, must be with a condition, it must be made with love and honor. The people of knowledge say that simply describing someone with perfection yet not out of real love and honor for the praised one is not called حَمْدُ (Ḥamd). Rather, in that case it would only be called مَدْح (Madḥ) (a lesser degree of praise or admiration). Therefore, this (second) type of praising occurs often from people while they may not really love the one they are praising. Often, they only want to gain something from them. For example, some poets stand before their government leaders and recite poetry of amazing praiseworthy descriptions of them yet void of any real love for them. The poets’ love is for the wealth they are given or they do this out of fear of the leaders. On the contrary, our praise for our lord is a form of praise out of love and honor. So, “All praise and thanks” is to praise the one described with total perfection out of love and honor for him.

The ال (al-) in الْحَمْدُ (al-Ḥamd) is inclusive, meaning that it includes all forms of praise and thanks.

“are for Allah” (lillāhi): The لِ (li) is to show possession and a sense of deserving. The name “Allah” is the proper name of our lord ( عزّ وجلّ ) and no one else is given this name; it means the one god that is worshipped out of love and honor.

“the lord” (Rabb): The word “lord” here includes three main descriptions: the creator, the owner, and the controller of all affairs. So, he is the creator of all that exists, the owner of all that exists, and the controller of everything.

“of all creations” (al-‘Ālamīn): As for the word “‘Ālamīn”, the scholars say it refers to anything and everything other than Allah. Everything else besides Allah is described with this word because the very existence of everything is a sign or indication (in Arabic: Ālam) that they have a creator (سبحانه وتعالى) In every form of creation there is a sign indicating the existence of its creator, his capability, wisdom, mercy, power, and the rest of his attributes of lordship.

Points of Benefit of al-Fātiḥah, Verse 1:

1. One of the beneficial points we gain from this verse is the affirmation of praise of perfection to Allah ( عزّ وجلّ ). This is shown by the “al-” in the word “al-Ḥamd” because this definite article in Arabic grammar is inclusive to include all forms or praise and gratitude.

2. It also shows that Allah alone deserves all forms of praise and gratitude. For this reason, the prophet ( صلّى الله عليه وسلّم ) used to say whenever something happened he was happy with:

الحَمْدُ للهِ الَّذِي بِنِعْمَتِهِ تُتِمُّ الصَّالِحَات

All praise and thanks are for Allah by whose favor righteous deeds are fulfilled.

And he would say when if something did not please him:

الحَمْدُ للهِ عَلَى كُلِّ حَالٍ

All praise and thanks are for Allah in all situations.[18]

3. Another point of benefit from the verse is the description of Allah with his sole right to worship first before describing him with his lordship. This is either indicated because the name “Allah” is his proper name, specific to him and the source of all the rest of His names; or it is due to the fact that the people the messengers were sent to used to only deny Allah’s sole right to worship. Most of the people did not deny Allah’s lordship (that he is the creator, owner, and controller of everything).

4. This verse also proves Allah’s complete lordship over all of the creations due to his statement: “The lord of all creations.”

Footnotes:

[18] Recorded by Ibn Mājah (no. 3803) and al-Ḥākim in his “Mustadrak” (1/449) and he said, “This ḥadīth has an authentic chain of narrators.” adh-Dhahabī agreed with him. The famous ḥadīth scholar, al-Albānī, said it is “ḥasan” in “Ṣaḥīḥ Sunan Ibn Mājah” (no. 3066).

Posted from the article : Explaining Surah al-Fatihah – Shaykh ibn Uthaymeen rahimahullaah | Translated by Abu az-Zubayr Harrison rahimahullaah

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