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Lesson 6

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Lesson - 6


Bis-mil-laa-hir Rah-maa-nir Ra-heem. In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
Al-ham-du lil-laa-hi Rab-bil aa-la-meen. All Praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the worlds,
Ar-Rah-maa-nir Ra-heem The Beneficent, the Merciful,
Maa-li-ki yaw-mid-deen. Master of the Day of Requital.
Ee-yaa-ka na -bu-du wa ee-yaa-ka nas-ta- een. Thee do we serve and Thee do we beseech for help.
Ih-di nas si-raa-tal mus-ta-qeem Guide us on the right path,
Si-raa-tal la-zee-na an- am-ta a-lay-him. The path of those upon whom Thou hast bestowed favours,
Ghay-ril magh-doo-bi a-lay-him wa-lad-daal-leen. Not those upon whom wrath is brought down, nor those who go astray.

Man Created for a Higher Objective

Today we will discuss the meaning of the verse:
"Guide us on the right path (Ihdi-nas-siraatal-mustaqeem )."
The prayer in this verse is a vital part of Al-Fatiha because its explanation in the next verse provides the answer to a very important question: What is the purpose of man’s creation? No other revealed scripture in its present form, or a sage, a scientist or philosopher has been able to give an answer to this. Scientists have discovered today, what the Holy Quran made known 1400 hundred years ago in the verse:
"And He has made subservient to you whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth, all from Himself" (45:13).
The purpose of creation of the whole universe is, therefore, to be beneficial and subservient to mankind. Further on, the Holy Quran tells us that this was brought about by Allah appointing His vicegerent on earth, and by giving him knowledge of all things, so he could dominate all creation (2:30,31). If the purpose of all creation is to serve mankind, then what is the purpose of man’s creation? As mentioned earlier, the answer to this is found nowhere else today except in the Holy Quran. If man does not know the reason for his creation, then his whole life, in fact the creation of the universe which was meant for him, would fail to achieve its purpose.

Let us consider what man himself has thought of as the goal of his creation. With all the knowledge and scientific discoveries of the modern age he does not know any more than what was known by his ancestors thousands of years ago despite of their ignorance. That is, he should eat, drink, get married, have children and make some worldly progress. Was this the purpose of creation behind the whole universe, a single atom of which contains a world of wonderment? Was it meant to serve mankind only for his limited life span? The whole universe, according to scientific research, took billions of years to prepare for the arrival of mankind. Was he created only to perform a few bodily functions and fade into the dust? This could be the purpose of creating animal life, but for it to be the destiny of mankind, for whom the whole universe was created, would appear to be an exercise in futility.

The Path of the Righteous

Human intellect and nature cannot be satisfied by such a desultory objective. Mankind had so far accepted this because no one had provided the correct answer. The light of truth was first shed on this by the Book of Divine wisdom revealed to the Holy Prophet Muhammad. The answer to this secret lies in the spiritually vital prayer of Al-Fatiha, "Guide us on the right path." What is that path, and where does it lead to? The explanation for this is provided in the verse, "The path of those upon whom Thou hast bestowed favors." Who are these people and what favors were bestowed upon them?

The Holy Quran informs us about them in the verse:

"And whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger, they are those upon whom Allah has bestowed favors from among the prophets (nab-iy-yin), and the truthful (sid-diq-qeen), and the faithful (shu-ha-da), and the righteous (saa-li-heen), and a goodly company are they!" (4:69).
The verse just before this states: "And We would certainly have guided them in the right path" (4:68).

The question which now comes to mind is what kind of favors were they given? Most people with a worldly outlook consider wealth and power as the greatest blessing. With the exception of a few, no prophet or righteous person received this, and even those who did, considered it as something very insignificant. If material wealth and worldly power are the favors asked for in the Al-Fatiha, one must admit that the faithless and worldly people get the most of it. The greatest blessing bestowed upon the prophets, the truthful, and the righteous servants of Allah is in fact the recognition of the Divine Being. The Holy Quran explains this in the verse:

"Then as for those who believe and hold fast by Him, He will admit them to His mercy (spiritual blessings) and grace (worldly blessings) and guide them to Himself on a right path" (4:175).
The prayer for the ‘right path,’ which is the life-giving element of Al-Fatiha, leads to the source of all righteousness, the Divine Being Himself. Other verses in the Holy Quran further clarify this, for example:
"Surely my Lord is on the right path," (11:56)
and the verse:
"He said: This is the right way with Me" (15:41).

The Holy Prophet Muhammad was sent as a messenger to invite people towards Allah. This is clearly stated in several places in the Holy Quran as in the verse:

"Say: This is my way, I call to Allah, with certain knowledge (basirat) — I and those who follow me" (12:108).
Basirat, or certain knowledge of Allah, means having such a close relationship with Allah as to be able to visualize Him with the mind’s eye; such being the case of the Holy Prophet and those who follow him. Therefore, all the truthful (sid-diq-qeen) and faithful ones (shu-ha-da — the real meaning of the word being those who, after acquiring knowledge of internal or spiritual matters, convey it to others), and the righteous (saa-li-heen — those who completely follow the Holy Prophet) are the ones who attain nearness to God, the proof of this being that Allah communicates with them.

Several other verses of the Holy Quran give further confirmation to the statement that the real purpose of man’s creation is recognition of the Divine Being. For example, the Holy Quran states:

"Surely this is a Reminder; so let him, who will, take a way to his Lord" (73:19).
In another verse it is stated:
"And those who strive hard for Us, We shall certainly guide (hadai-na) them in Our ways" (29:69).
In Arabic language the word hidayat means not only pointing towards the right path, but also guiding one along on it till he reaches his destination.

Testimony of a Righteous Servant of Allah

What a great blessing it is to attain closeness to Allah Who is the Possessor and Source of all excellence and goodness. Let us hear about it from the mouth of one who in this age of atheism and materialism, by following the Holy Quran and the example of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, was able to find God and establish communion with Him — this person being none other than Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Mujaddid (Reformer) of the 14th Century Hijra, who writes in one of his books:
"How unfortunate is that person who still does not know that he has a God Who is One and Who has power over all things. Our heaven is our Lord. Our greatest pleasures lie within Him, because we saw Him and found every excellence within Him. This treasure is worth taking even if one has to lay down his life for it. This precious jewel is worth buying, even if one has to relinquish his self for it. O deprived ones! quicken your pace towards this fountain, for it will quench your thirst. It is the fountain of life which shall save you. What should I do to focus your attention towards this good news? With what kind of drum beat should I proclaim in the streets that ‘This is our God,’ so that people would listen? What medicine should I prescribe for their ears so that they hear this message? If you become of God, then be certain that He is yours. While you are in slumber He lies awake for you. You will be unaware of your enemy, and God will be watching him, and destroy his plans. You do not yet know the Omnipotence of your God. If you knew about it you would never grieve for this world. One who owns a treasure, does he ever scream, or cry, or become despondent with the loss of a penny? If you knew about this treasure, that God will help you in time of need, why should you be besides yourself in pursuit of worldly gain? God is a Beloved and Precious Treasure. Be cognizant of His blessings, He is your Helper in every step you take."
In another place Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad writes:
"The real motivator of my overwhelming concern is that I have discovered a gold mine, and I have been informed of a quarry of precious stones. I have been fortunate to find a shining and extremely valuable diamond from this mine, the value of which is such that if I distribute it amongst all my fellow beings, they would all become wealthier than that person who in the world today has the largest quantity of gold and silver. What is that diamond? ‘The Truthful God.’"
Searching for and finding Allah, therefore, is the greatest purpose for which man was created, the prayer for which is the essence of Al-Fatiha. There is a Hadith of the Holy Prophet in which he says that God informed me of this, "I was a hidden treasure, so I determined that others should have knowledge of Me, therefore I created man." This is a manifestation of the excellence and goodness which is the meaning of the word Allah. Allah, Who is the Treasure House of all attributes and excellences, created mankind to give away these treasures. There could be no greater honor or benevolence for mankind.
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