Thursday, October 17, 2013

Those Who Earned Allah’s Anger and Those Who Have Gone Astray

Recently I received a question about the meaning of the last two verses in Al-Fatiha. The Question is given below followed by my response.

Question: In Al-Fatiha, it says
Iyya-ka na`budu wa iyya-ka na-sta`een. Ihdi-na as-sirata al-mustaqiim
You alone we worship and You alone we seek the help of.
Guide us to the path straight
Sirata allathina an`amta `alay-him ghayr il-maghdubi `alayhim wa la ad-daallin
The path (of) those You have given grace, not those who Your
anger (is) on them and not those who went astray

In the later ayat, who are those that have Allah’s anger and who are those that have 'gone astray' ?
Traditionally and in many English translations this is viewed as the Jews and the Christians. I find this disrespectful to people honesty following a faith in good conscience. .If indeed that is an appropriate rendering, then I am troubled, for I do not feel that monotheistic faiths are mutually exclusive  (yes, there are differences, but) I feel that these differences can be respected rather than picked over. Do you have any thoughts on this?

  The interpretation you refer to is based on this Hadith:

 Narrated Adi bin Hatim: I asked Allah’s Messenger about the aya: "Ghairil maghdubi ‘alaihim [not (the way) of those who earned Your Anger]," he replied: "They are the Jews". And : "Walad dallin (nor of those who went astray)," he replied: "The Christians, and they are the ones who went astray".
 This Hadith is quoted by Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud

It refers to the Jews and Christians in Medina who struggled against Prophet Muhammad and his companions. Sura 2 has many statements accusing those Jews of acting against what they learned from the Torah. The Christians were criticized for being exaggerated in their devotion to Jesus, declaring him to be God and not a man who was a Prophet.

But note also aya 62 in sura 2 which says:

Those who believe (in the Quran), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians,- any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.

This shows that the hadith quoted above is not a condemnation of all Jews and Christians.

 Moreover it is said in sura 4 aya 93 : “If a man kills a believer, his recompense is Hell, to abide therein, and the anger and curse of Allah are upon him.”  

From this aya we can infer that the majority of those who are earning Allah’s anger at this time are from the Muslims because of their readiness to kill people, Muslims of other sects and non-Muslims simply because they don’t agree with them.

Those who are astray

This refers to people who abandon truth out of exaggerated devotion and ignorance. An illustration of this is provided by the present day worshippers among Muslims who pray day and night but don't know what they are saying in their prayers.

 Go to traveeh in a mosque in Ramadan. There are hundreds of people praying but most have no idea of what is being said in prayer. They worship Allah in a manner that is misguided and devoid of knowledge.