بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ
WHY PRAISE WAS MENTIONED FIRST
Since the praise of Allah SWT, Who is being sought for help, was mentioned, it was appropriate that one follows the praise by asking for his need. We stated that Allah SWT said, (One half for Myself and one half for My servant, and My servant shall have what he asked.)
This is the best method for seeking help, by first praising the one whom help is sought from and then asking for His aid, and help for one’s self, and for his Muslim brethren by saying.
﴿اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ
(Guide us to the straight path.)
This method is more appropriate and efficient in bringing about a positive answer to the pleas, and this is why Allah recommended this better method.
Asking for help may take the form of conveying the condition of the person who is seeking help.
For instance, the Prophet Moses AS said, (My Lord! Truly, I am in need of whatever good that You bestow on me!)(28:24)
Also, one may first mention the attributes of whoever is being asked, such as what Dhun-Nun said (La ilaha illa Anta (none has the right to be worshipped but You (O Allah)), Glorified (and Exalted) be You (above all that they associate with You)! Truly, I have been of the wrongdoers) (21:87).
Further, one may praise Him without mentioning what he needs.
The Meaning of Guidance mentioned in the Surah The guidance mentioned in the Surah implies being directed and guided to success.
Allah SWT said,
﴿اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ
(Guide us to the straight path)
meaning guide, direct, lead and grant us the correct guidance.
Also,(And shown him the two ways (good and evil)) (90:10), means, `We explained to him the paths of good and evil.’
Also, Allah SWT said (He (Allah) chose him (as an intimate friend) and guided him to a straight path) (16:121),
and, (And lead them on to the way of flaming Fire (Hell)) (37:23).
Similarly, Allah SWT said, (And verily, you (O Muhammad ) are indeed guiding (mankind) to the straight path) (42:52),
And, (All praise and thanks be to Allah, Who has guided us to this) (7:43) meaning, guided us and directed us and qualified us for this end – Paradise.
THE FAITHFUL ASK FOR AND ABIDE BY GUIDANCE
If someone asks, “Why does the believer ask Allah SWT for guidance during every prayer and at other times, while he is already properly guided Has he not already acquired guidance”
The answer to these questions is that if it were not a fact that the believer needs to keep asking for guidance day and night, Allah would not have directed him to invoke Him to acquire the guidance.
The servant needs Allah SWT the Exalted every hour of his life to help him remain firm on the path of guidance and to make him even more firm and persistent on it. The servant does not have the power to benefit or harm himself, except by Allah’s permission. Therefore, Allah SWT directed the servant to invoke Him constantly, so that He provides him with His aid and with firmness and success.
Indeed, the happy person is he whom Allah SWT guides to ask of Him. This is especially the case if a person urgently needs Allah’s help day or night. Allah said,
(O you who believe! Believe in Allah, and His Messenger (Muhammad ), and the Book (the Qur’an) which He has sent down to His Messenger, and the Scripture which He sent down to those before (him)) (4:16)
Therefore, in this Ayah Allah SWT commanded the believers to believe, and this command is not redundant since what is sought here is firmness and continuity of performing the deeds that help one remain on the path of faith.
Also, Allah commanded His believing servants to proclaim, (Our Lord! Let not our hearts deviate (from the truth) after You have guided us, and grant us mercy from You. Truly, You are the Bestower.) (3:8).
Hence, ﴿اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ
(Guide us to the straight way) means, “Make us firm on the path of guidance and do not allow us to deviate from it.”
THE MEANING OF SIRAT AL MUSTAQIM-THE STRAIGHT PATH
The Ummah agreed that Sirat Al-Mustaqim, is the clear path without branches, according to the language of the Arabs. The straight path mentioned in the Qur’an refers to Islam.