Welcome Friends: Ahlan wa sahlan
Welcome to the Chapter titled ‘Al Fat-H’ or ‘The Opening.’
I consider the explanation of this word VERY important, and do hope that you will agree. Please read this post carefully, and notice how dangerous it is to mis-translate. One misstep always leads to another, and we stray farther and farther from Qur’anic intent!
Yusuf Ali’s Translation of our new Chapter.
Muhammad Asad’s Translation of our new Chapter.
Their commentaries can only be read in verse by verse view.
The Opening/ ‘The Victory’
From Yusuf Ali’s Introduction:
“This is the second of the group of three Madinah Surahs... Its date is fixed by the mention of Treaty of Hudaybiyah, Dhu al Qadah A.H. 6 i.e. February 628.”
From Muhammad Asad’s Introduction:
“In the consensus of all the authorities, the surah commemorating this victory was revealed during the Prophet's return march from Hudaybiyyah to Medina.”
Al Fat-Hh; a word SO misunderstood! Al Fat-Hh literally means ‘The Opening.’
‘Al Fat-Hh’ was revealed in the 6th year after Emigration to Medina, right after the Treaty of Hudaybiyya between ‘Those who had attained Faith’ and the ‘Idolaters of Mecca’ had taken place. This treaty was a crucial turning point in the history of the Faith.
This verse was so titled because it discussed the ‘Opening,’ the ‘break,’ the OPPORTUNITY to spread the Message, thanks to the Peace Treaty.
See Commentator’s notes in footnote below ([i]) and connotations of the word ‘opening’ in English thesaurus (‘opening’ indicates ‘opportunity’ in any language!).
PAGE 511 Arabic Qur’an.
1. The words ‘We have opened for you a manifest/evident Opening..’ might be explained today by saying that God had ‘occasioned’ for the Messenger a ‘great opportunity.’ Anyone who knows the story of the Prophet’s Life, peace upon him, can easily see the historical context of this verse and grasp the importance of this occasion.
From the Notes of Yusuf Ali:
“This is best referred to the Treaty of Hudaibiya, for which see the Introduction to this Sura. By this Treaty the Makkan Quraish, after many years of unrelenting conflict with Islam, at length recognised Islam as (what they thought) an equal power with themselves. In reality the door was then opened for the free spread of Islam throughout Arabia and thence through the world.”
From the Notes of Muhammad Asad:
“Namely, the moral victory achieved by the Truce of Hudaybiyyah, which opened the doors to the subsequent triumph of Islam in Arabia (see introductory note, which explains many allusions to this historic event found in the subsequent verses).”
But although the Qur’an does contain documented history, it is not to be considered an outdated ‘historical document.’ The Qur’an is for all Time, which is why we have to understand its words based on Qur’anic Context as well as Linguistic Definition.
Our more than 1,000 year old Lexicon tells us that there is only one meaning to the verb ‘fataHha فَتَحَ-’ which is simply the opposite of ‘ighlaaq إغلاق- or to close/ shut’ as we can see in our 1,000 year old Lexicon ([ii]). The noun would be ‘fat-Hh’ or ‘opening,’
The chapter at the beginning of the Qur’an is the ‘faatiHha/ the OpenER’ -and this chapter is the OpenING.
However, translators who had already used the word ‘Opening’ as a title for the first chapter, used the word ‘Victory’ for this chapter (‘victory’ is a secondary connotation of the word ‘fat-Hh’ as we see in the Lexicon).
Although the verb ‘fataHhnaa فتحنا-’ appears six times in the Qur’an, it is only this once that it appears in a positive sense, using (li-ل-) as in ‘lakaلك-’: ‘We have opened FOR you…’ while elsewhere it is followed by ('ala على- ) as in ‘aleyhimعليهم- ’: ‘We have opened UPON/ AGAINST them...’
Why this difference?
Because here it is addressing the Messenger, assuring him of the positive conclusion to this ‘opening’ (unlike when it is about us, and being dependent on our deeds, could bring us either a negative or positive conclusion).
Regular Readers will remember our discussion about the difference between ‘kataba li’ and ‘kataba ala.’
The noun ‘Al Fat-Hh’ is also mentioned six times in the Qur’an, always as THE ‘Opening’ which favors ‘Those who had Attained Faith.’
Read these verses and note how the word seems mostly to indicate the final ‘Opening’ of Mecca’s gates to the Faithful, which was promised to them in HQ 61: 13 and which eventually took place with hardly any fighting.
The precursor to THE ‘Opening’ (of Mecca) was the evident/ manifest ‘Opening’ we are discussing today; ie. the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah.
The ‘Opening’ ‘Al Fat-H’ is NOT about ‘Conquest!’
Unfortunately however, that is how the word Fat’H has come to be commonly misinterpreted and misapplied.
Take a look for yourself, dear Reader: The word ‘conquest’ is NOT found in any of these TEN side-by-side translations (click ‘Translations’ tab). However, it HAS been translated as ‘conquest’ in the 1997 publication by Sahih International, Riyadh!
2. The question is:
Why did the word ‘conquest’ suddenly appear in a ‘reputable’ translation?
Why, at that particular point in time?
Was this radical concept portraying existing mentality, or were such concepts the cause for the change of mentality? After 9/11, Muslims were branded as ‘jihaadists’ and ‘glorifiers of conquest.’ Was that just a perception, or were we actually going in that direction? Today, extremist rhetoric and action are still on the rise, on all sides. The mindless prattle is unbelievable. Sadly, many people believe it.
How much of what is taking place today is due to gross mis-explanation of the Qur’an?
We ‘Muslims’ often say that ‘religious’ people of other faiths have ‘strayed’ from their original scriptures, but so have we. Indeed, our ‘straying’ is less understandable, simply because the ORIGINAL Arabic Compilation exists in every one of our homes and mosques, and is recited by us day and night.
The fact is that that things will continue to get worse, until we begin to understand the Qur’an as revealed, and NOT as explained.
Think statistics, dear Reader:
By 2020, one out of FOUR people on this earth will be Muslim.
By 2075, one out of THREE people on this earth will be Muslim.
Shouldn’t it be a priority for ALL seekers of Peace and Prosperity, to help the next generation of Humanity breach the gross discrepancy that exists between the original Arabic Qur’an, and the defective understanding of it?
Building a just Peace should be our highest civic duty ([iii]).
We’ve digressed enough. Now back to our verses.
3. After the first verse announces a ‘manifest/evident Opening..’ the second verse begins by informing the Prophet directly that this is so that God would absolve him of any prior and later Repercussion/ thanb (he had entailed).
As we mentioned earlier, the word ‘thanb’ does not mean ‘sin.’ It is a private shortcoming, between us and God, where we wrong our own selves and entail repercussion in life.
Note: This is literal: ‘thanab’ means ‘tail!’
When we commit a ‘Thanb’ (on its own) it means we have done (or failed to do) something that does not infringe upon other people’s liberties or rights. It remains a private affair between us and God, absolved by Him when we sincerely seek absolution. However, when a ‘thanb’ couples with a ‘sayyi’ah’ ([iv]) affecting someone else, absolution becomes conditional: the wronged person has to forgive us first!
So this is not about any ‘wrongdoing’ on the Prophet’s part, but rather about any ‘repercussion’ he might have entailed.
Check 10 side-by-side translations and note:
Some say ‘thanb’ are ‘faults’ (Yusuf Ali and Muhammad Asad included).
Others say they are sins.
STRANGEST however, is what M. H. Shakir wrote:
“That Allah may forgive your community their past faults and those to follow and complete His favor to you and keep you on a right way, (M. H. Shakir)
Your ‘COMMUNITY? THEIR faults? There are no such words in the Arabic, nor are they gleaned from the context.
I suspect that this interpreter could not conceive of the Prophet having any ‘faults’ or ‘committing any sins,’ hence the intrusive words. But he should have put them between brackets, rather than state that God said them.
Dear Reader: Mistakes will be made no matter how careful we are, so PLEASE point out to me any of mine which you verify (after your own research). I’d be eternally grateful to you.
4. ‘We have opened for you a manifest/evident Opening.
So that God would absolve you of any prior and later Repercussion, and fulfill upon you His Favor, and guide /gift you a Straightened path. ([v])
The Peace Treaty was of supreme importance. It was the setting in which hearts and minds began to open. In time, it facilitated the fulfillment of God’s Favor/Bounty… and set people on the guided course towards the Straightened Path.
Peace should never be lost sight of. Peace should be a Believer’s goal, upheld at all times, with dignity and justice.
Peace is at the core of productivity, growth, abundance, love, happiness, awareness, and wellbeing.
Peace is our greeting to the world: ‘Salaamul- Lahi aleykum,’ ‘May God’s Peace be upon you all!’
Our next Reading is from HQ 48:4-16.
From Muhammad Asad:
“The Truce of Hudaybiyyah was to prove of the greatest importance to the future of Islam. For the first time in six years peaceful contacts were established between Mecca and Medina, and thus the way was opened to the penetration of Islamic ideas into the citadel of Arabian paganism. The Meccans who had occasion to visit the Muslim camp at Hudaybiyyah returned deeply impressed by the spirit and the unity of Muhammad's followers, and many of them began to waver in their hostility towards the faith preached by him. As soon as the perennial warfare came to an end and people of both sides could meet freely, new converts rallied around the Prophet, first in tens, then in hundreds, then in thousands - so much so that when the pagan Quraysh broke the truce two years after its Conclusion, the Prophet could and did occupy Mecca almost without resistance. Thus, in fact if not in appearance, the Truce of Hudaybiyyah ushered in the moral and political victory of Islam over all Arabia.”
See full PDF- scroll down to ‘Forty-Eighth Sura… it’s VERY interesting!
يقال: فتحت البابَ وغيرَه فتحاً. ثمَّ يحمل على هذا سائرُ ما في هذا البناء.
والفَتح: الماء يَخرُج من عينٍ أو غيرها. والفَتْح. النَّصر والإظفار. واستفتحت: استَنْصَرت.
PEACE is CRUCIAL for GROWTH.
We have already discussed Awareness, which is our highest inner goal. Without Tranquility/ Sakeenah there can be no growth in Awareness. Indeed, as we have mentioned earlier, the opposite of Awareness is NOT ‘unawareness.’
So how can we grow in ‘awareness’ when there is no peace?
The opposite of Awareness is Aggression. One can only be present in the absence of the other.
Regular Readers: Remember the story of the two sons of Adam, ‘Cain and Abel,’ the Aggressor and the Aware.
New Readers: Put ‘taqwa udwaan’ in ‘Search this Site.’
There is so much resentment in the world today, and all sides feel ‘wronged,’ while in reality we are all wronging ourselves. I agree with the saying that goes:
‘Resentment is the poison you drink, while hoping it will kill your enemy.’
And then there are so many lies! People are lying left and right about the Qur’an and about each other. I feel sorry for such persons. In a prejudicial state a person can never grow in Awareness. People’s lies show where they stand, not only as Cognizant Humans, but also as proponents of their own Faith which upholds Truth and addresses the Creator in any language.
Dear Reader: No matter how enthusiastic a ‘Peace-Builder’ feels, s/he cannot successfully address divisive issues without understanding the Qur’an… which makes Iqrathechallenge of PARAMOUNT importance today.
[iv] A ‘sayyi’ah’ is a bad ‘deed’ committed against others.
“…At this point in time/this day the Deniers have despaired of your Standard of Accountability دينكم (seeing its prevalence and yours), so do not hold them in awe, but stand in awe of Me; on this day I have brought to completion* for you, your Standard of Accountability, and I have fulfilled upon you, my Favor, and I have approved, for you, Purity in Reverence/ Islam as a Standard of Accountability…”