Islamic Studies

6 Principles of Spiritual Growth Found in Surah al-Fatiha: Shaykh al-Islam Muhammad al-Tahir bin 'Ashur [may Allah have mercy upon him]

By Sheikh al-Islam Muhammad al-Tahir bin ‘Ashur | Translated by Suhaib Webb

Abridged from al-Tahrir wa al-Tanwir


“Allah [the most exalted] calls the one who opens the Qur’an to the fundamentals of tazkiyah [purification and development of the soul] by beginning with some important principles of success which begin with the statement: “It is You alone we worship” until the end of the surah.

The First Principle:

Abandoning associating partners with Allah or denying any aspect of His existence and unlimited powers is found in the statement “It is You alone we worship.”

The Second Principle:

Abandoning any thoughts of being free/ from Him and satisfied without Him [the opposite would be to feel impoverished to Him] and thinking that one was free of His power and might. This principle is found in the statement It is You alone we see for help.”

Translators Note: The scholars used to say, “Oh my Lord! Enrich me by making me impoverished to You and don’t impoverish me by letting me feel I’m rich without You.”

The Third Principle:

Hope and aspirations for guidance and uprightness. This is found in the statement, “[we beg You to] Guide us to the straight way.”

The Fourth Principle:

Aspiring to follow the people of noble virtues and excellent character. This  is found in “The way of those who You have blessed.”

The Fifth Principle:

Concern for security from misguidance. This is found in “[we beg You to guide us] not the way of those who’ve earned wrath.”

The Sixth Principle:

Concern for the protection of one’s thoughts from being mixed with doubts and falsehoods which dilute the truth which is known as misguidance because misguidance is a mistake in trying to reach an objective. This is found in the statement, “[and we beg You] not [to guide us] the way of those who are astray.”

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