Surah al-Fatiha and The Muslim's Personality

Gems from Shaykh Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah

Ibn al-Qayyim notes an important point lost in most translations: when reading al-Fatiha one will come across the statement, “Not the way of those who earned Your wrath.” The Problem with this translation is that the Arabic is in the passive form meaning the one angered is not mentioned. Therefore the translation should be, “Those who earned wrath.”

Ibn Qayyim notes that we learn something very important in our personal relationship with Allah here. For when anger is mentioned, it is done so in the passive form “[not the way] of those who earned wrath.” However, when favors and benefits are mentioned we find the active form used, “The way of those who earned Your favors.” Ibn al-Qayyim notes that although all power belongs to Allah alone, it is from the correct etiquette with Him to only mention Him when discussing the good.

Now drink from Surah al-Kahaf:

This important principle is found acted upon by al-Khadar in the 18th chapter of the Qur’an when he explains the mysteries of things to Mosa [may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him].

The Qur’an states:

“As for the boat, it belonged to (some) poor men who worked on the river and I wished that I should damage it, and there was behind [bad translation her wara means in front] them a king who seized every boat by force. (79) And as for the boy, his parents were believers and we feared lest he should make disobedience and ingratitude to come upon them: (80) So we desired that their Lord might give them in his place one better than him in purity and nearer to having compassion. (81) And as for the wall, it belonged to two orphan boys in the city, and there was beneath it a treasure belonging to them, and their father was a righteous man; so your Lord desired that they should attain their maturity and take out their treasure, a mercy from your Lord, and I did not do it of my own accord.”

Ibn al-Qayyim notes that when al-Khadar was talking about the boat he said,”I wished that I should damage it” because such damage, at least apparently, was something bad. While discussing the killing of the boy al-Khadar states, “So we desired” also because killing, apparently,  is something evil. However, when talking about rebuilding the wall for the orphans he said, “So your Lord desired.” Here goodness is mentioned in direct connection with “Your Lord” because building such a wall is a virtuous deed about which non-would doubt.

Ibn al-Qayyim states that although all of them were good, al-Khadar only mentioned his Lord when it came to something clearly benefical and good [rebuilding the wall]. However, one should note that al-Khadar ended his discussion by saying about all of these events, “And I did not do it of my own accord.” Reflect!


About the author

Suhaib Webb

Suhaib Webb

Suhaib Webb is a contemporary American-Muslim educator, activist, and lecturer. His work bridges classical and contemporary Islamic thought, addressing issues of cultural, social and political relevance to Muslims in the West. After converting to Islam in 1992, Webb left his career in the music industry to pursue his passion in education. He earned a Bachelor’s in Education from the University of Central Oklahoma and received intensive private training in the Islamic Sciences under a renowned Muslim Scholar of Senegalese descent. Webb was hired as the Imam at the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, where he gave khutbas (sermons), taught religious classes, and provided counselling to families and young people; he also served as an Imam and resident scholar in communities across the U.S.

From 2004-2010, Suhaib Webb studied at the world’s preeminent Islamic institution of learning, Al-Azhar University, in the College of Shari`ah. During this time, after several years of studying the Arabic Language and the Islamic legal tradition, he also served as the head of the English Translation Department at Dar al-Ifta al-Misriyyah.

Outside of his studies at Al-Azhar, Suhaib Webb completed the memorization of the Quran in the city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia. He has been granted numerous traditional teaching licenses (ijazat), adhering to centuries-old Islamic scholarly practice of ensuring the highest standards of scholarship. Webb was named one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center in 2010.

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  • I dont get it , Are we suppose to only mention God in the light of something Good ? like passing a test or something ?

  • Asalaamu Alaykum,

    My all time favourite scholar!!!!

    All good is from Allah, is from what I understand from it, in our adab with Allah we should recognise this and Praise Him.

    One that has the best adab with Allah, is most sucessful!

    The Prophet (saw) said we should die upon a state with good thoughts of Allah.

    ‘I am as my servant thinks I am’

    If we expect the best from Allah, we will receive the best..


    P.s. If there’s anoybody that knows where I can get good translations of Ibn Al Qayyims works, please post! On Online stores



  • It’s kind of like in Khutbat al-Hajjah when the khateeb says “And those whom Allah has guided(active), non can mis-guide, while those whom Allah allowed (passive) to go astray, non can guide,” …right? Or am I misunderstanding?

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