Surah Faatihah | Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim

These are notes based off of our Arabic 207 course: Arabic Analysis of Surah Faatihah


بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

By Abu Jameel

The basmallaah; a phrase/term that is frequently used but not often understood. Why is it said? What benefits does it contain? Why should we say it? All good questions that deserve good answers…

The phrase begins with بسم which is a combination of two words with separate meanings:

1. ب – This letter ‘ba’ contains three meanings: Seeking Aid, Seeking Blessing, and Companionship
2. اسم – This word stems from سمو meaning to be raised or have a high status. This is why the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be upon him) commanded his Ummah to name their children with good names and he would even change the names of some companions if they weren’t good/appropriate. A person is elevated and given status through their name.

Secondly follows the Name, الله

Keeping in mind that this name is the foundation of all of Allaah’s names, this adds a special sweetness to the phrase. When you says بسم الله you are now Seeking Aid, Seeking Blessing, and Companionship with ALLAH by ALL of His Majestic and Sublime names! Subhaan Allaah, and what companionship can replace that of Allaah? Who can harm you if Allaah aids you? and How rich will be if Allaah bless your actions?

Lastly follows the 2 incredible names of Allaah الرحمن الرحيم

ArRahmaan refers to the Being of Allaah; He is constantly and will always remain Extremely Merciful to ALL of His creation, while ArRaheem is specifically for the believers. The scholar (appropriately named) AbdurRahman AsSaadi رحمه الله says about ArRahman and ArRaheem:

“They point to the great expanse of His mercy and gifts that encompass all that is [in] existence, being granted in accordance to the dictates of His Wisdom. The believers have been specifically singled out for this and they are granted goodly and the best portion of this as Allaah said

fوسعت كل شىء فسأكتبها للذين يتقون”” Surah A’raaf: 156
My Mercy encompasses all things and I shall decree it for those who taqwa” [Explanation to the Beautiful and Perfect Names of Allaah]

Getting to know Allaah

Getting to Know Allaah in Surah Al-Faatihah through His Wondrous and Majestic Names

The essence of Surah Al Faatiah can be found within three important topics which stem from three names of Allaah used in the surah…
“The Oneness of Allaah (Uluuhiyyah) – Allaah
“ The Lordship of Allaah (Rububiyyah) – Ar-Rubb
“ His All Encompassing Mercy – ArRahmaan

Here’s a breakdown of each name including their noteworthy and exceptional features:

First up is Allaah, arguably the best name

All of His names branch from Allaah
ex. Al- Khaaliq is the name of Allah, while Allaah is not the name of Al-Khaaliq
The Alif and Laaf are still pronounced while calling upon Allaah
Lastly, it is the name most mentioned throughout the duaa of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him)

Afterwards follow ar-Rubb, a name that requires more explanation then “Lord”

Linguistic Meaning: To nurture, cultivate, educate
Meaning concerning Allaah: He nurtures and sustains His servants through regulating their affairs granting ALL types of favors and blessings.

Lastly is ar-Rahmaan

A Linguistic benefit that ties into the meaning of this beautiful name of Allaah is that the name comes in the wazn(scale) فعلان, the title of this scale is صغة المبالغة, and this scale indicates the magnification of the attribute. There for Merciful isn’t enough! Rather a Entirely Merciful. A Mercy that encompasses all, animate and inanimate.
This attribute of Allaah is constant and is tied to His Being.

***in comparison, ar-Raheem, which is also on the same scale, it is specific to the believers and is considered an action.

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