In the Name of Allaah, the Most Gracious, the Ever Merciful…
What exactly are we asking for when we say:
اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ
“Guide us upon the straight path”
Guidance meaning: Lead or direct us to the straight path of Islaam is not the intended meaning in Soorah al-Faatihah, since the people reciting Soorah al-Faatihah have already been guided to it, and they have already accepted it. So are we asking Allaah to:
a) Direct us towards Islaam?
b) Allow us to accept it (Islaam)?
c) Or keep us firm upon it after having accepted it (Hidaayat ath-thabaat ‘alal-Haqq)?
While all three above meanings can be correct, meaning:
1) Guide us to the Straight Path (Islaam), by giving us knowledge of the Religion (by teaching us, through the scholars, for example).
2) Guide us to the Straight Path, by allowing us to accept the new things we learn from our Deen and implement them, as all correct beliefs and acts of worship are from as-Siraat al-Mustaqeem.
3) Guide us to the Straight Path, by granting us stability upon it, after having accepted it (and all its teachings), since not everyone who accepts the truth stays on it! In the authentic Hadeeth of As-Saadiq al-Masdooq (what means): “…A man can be behaving like the people of the Paradise until he is within a hand-span of it, yet what is written for him overtakes him, so he begins behaving like the people of the Hellfire, and thus (dies and) enters it.”
This third understanding is very strong in light of the context of the Verse, in light of what comes after it, mention of those whom Allaah’s Anger is upon (the Jews) and those who went astray (after knowledge, the Christians). So we are asking Allaah for the stability upon the truth that neither of the mentioned groups attained!
No one goes to Paradise for accepting Islaam and living for many years upon Islaam, yet dying on disbelief. Paradise is for those who accept Islaam, remain steadfast upon it, and die as Muslims. None of us know how we will die. Thus it is very scary – today we are Muslims worshiping Allaah alone, wal-Hamdulillaah, but what kind of trials will tomorrow bring?!
Fitnah will come and people will go to bed Muslims and go out in the morning as disbelievers! People will go out in the morning as Muslims and be disbelievers by nightfall!! None of us are safe from these trials!
In fact, the people who feel safe and do not think they can stray after being guided are often led astray in the most hideous of ways, since they let their guard down.
All of this is part of worshiping Allaah with fear.
This fear used to leave many of the righteous Salaf crying after reading the Hadeeth mentioned above, they used to say, “Where will our souls go?!”
So, with this is mind, it is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT for us to reflect over the meanings of this simple Du’aa that we say so many times, its importance, and how we may have been neglecting the significance of it in our prayers.
May Allaah grant us all steadfastness upon His magnificent Religion! اهدنا الصراط المستقيم
Written by: Moosaa Richardson
ST Archives – Originally Published 09-08-2009