Chapter One: The Opening (Al Fatiha)

Verses 2 & 3......Part 4

(This session is also available in audio and video)

Session 14

Chapter 1    Verses 2 and 3, a continuation

The second verse in “The Opening” states: “All praise be to God Lord of the worlds".  Have you wondered why God used the phrase "Lord of the worlds"?  The answer is two-fold. 

First, “Praise to God” means praise for his gifts of Divinity.  These gifts are exclusive for those who recognize God as the one to be worshipped -in essence the believers-.   The believers entrust the Lord with their way of life and adhere to the obligations of faith and the duties of worship.  As a result, they enjoy the bounties of God's message and the fruits of adhering to his path in this world and the next.   Keep in mind that God only assigns duties and obligations onto those who believe in him; He does not assign any duties to those who do not believe, rather, he only invites them to the join the faith. 

Second, "Praise to God" is praise for his gifts of Lordship.  These gifts are enjoyed by everyone.  God has created all of us, and he provides for all of us regardless of our faith, and without any obligation.  The sun rises on all mankind, animals and livestock serve everyone, and the earth yields crop for the believer and disbeliever alike.  And while we all enjoy the bounties of lordship, the obligations that come with faith are difficult for some to accept.  If people truly appreciated the value of God's instructions and guidance, they would have adhered to His message and enjoyed both his gifts of lordship and his gifts of divinity.  We should praise the Lord for He has ordered what guarantees harmony and peace in life for the benefit of everyone.   

While the gifts of divinity come attached to duty and obligation in this world, their true and immense reward will be given free in the hereafter where God’s reward and mercy is exclusive to the believers as mentioned in this verse:

Say, `Who has made unlawful God's beautiful things of adornment and elegance which He has produced for His servants and the delicious and pure things of His providing?' Say, `They are primarily meant for the believers -and for the disbelievers too- in this present life but exclusively for the believers on the Day of Resurrection.' In this way do We explain the Messages for a people who would know. (7:32)

So the believers praise God’s for all his grants in this world and in the hereafter.  God says in the Quran:

They will say, ‘Praise be to God Who has fulfilled His promise to us and made us the inheritors of this land, letting us settle in the Garden wherever we want. How excellent is the wage of those who work!’ (39:74)

And in another verse He describes the residents of paradise:

Their prayer in it will be, ‘Glory be to You, God!’ their greeting, ‘Peace,’ and the last part of their prayer, ‘Praise be to God, Lord of the Worlds.’ (10:10)

God wants all of us to feel assured that He is the Lord of all that is in the universe, so no power serving man can cease from providing its service.  This is why you should not fear the future.  And how can you fear it while Allah is the Lord of the worlds?  If you are going through hardship, you remain confident that God will provide for you, because He is the Lord of the worlds.  And if you encounter a crisis, your heart is content that God will reward you for your patience, and remove your distress because He is the Lord of the worlds.  And if you are graced by a blessing, you thank God because He is the Lord of the worlds.

As you can see, God’s favors surround us every minute of our lives regardless of our faith.  He does not withhold his blessings and keeps everything in our service.  Sadly, however, the universe itself, and all that is subjected in it to serve us is troubled by our wrongful deeds.  When we use animals, plants, and even objects in actions that are displeasing to God, these creatures feel distress and anger towards mankind.        

You can appreciate this, and more importantly, you can appreciate God’s mercy when you listen to the following sacred narration.  God Almighty says: not a day passes by in which the sun rises, except that the sky calls out and says: Lord! Allow me to fall in pieces on the son of Adam for he has enjoyed Your bounties but showed ingratitude in return.  And the oceans say: Lord! Grant us permission to drown the son of Adam for he has enjoyed your abundance but showed ingratitude in return.  The mountains say: Lord! Allow us to clamp down on the son of Adam for he has enjoyed Your bounties and then showed ingratitude.  God Almighty replies: leave them, let them be; if you had created them, you would have had mercy upon them.  They are My servants; If they repent to me, I will be there for them with love.  And if they do not repent, then I know what ails them and what cures them. 

God ensures the survival of everything that serves us in the universe despite our constant transgressions.  Now, when you stand in prayer and recite “Lord of the worlds, the Most Merciful and the Most benevolent” you can appreciate its true meaning and benefit in the world around you.  

Of course, you are probably wondering:  Do the animals, plants, and inanimate objects actually speak? The answer is: yes, they speak a language that only their Creator understands as mentioned in the following verse describing the beginning of creation:

Then He turned to the sky, which was smoke––He said to it and the earth, ‘Come into being, willingly or not,’ and they said, ‘We come willingly’ (41:11)

Hence, the earth and the sky understood their Lord and replied: "We come willingly."  Similarly, God taught Prophet Solomon (peace be upon Him) the language of the birds and the ants.  And when Prophet David spent his nights praising God, the mountains used to exalt with him.  In fact, every creation has a level of perception and even emotion that befits it.  When God Almighty spoke of the people of the Pharaoh of Egypt He said:

How many gardens and fountains they left behind; And fields and stately mansions; and the bounties wherein they rejoiced; So it was. Yet We bequeathed these things to another people; Neither heaven nor earth shed any tears for them and they were granted no reprieve. (44:25-29)

As you can see, both the heavens and the earth have emotions… emotions that may reach the degree of weeping.  And while they did not weep over Pharaoh and his people, they do weep out of sadness when a true believer who adheres to God's path departs them in death.  Ali ibn Abi Talib -the prophet's cousin- (may God be pleased with him) said: "When a believer dies two places weep over him, one on earth and another in the heavens.  The place on earth where he used to pray weeps for him, and so does the place where his good deeds used to ascend to in Heaven."