Interperetation of surah Al-Fatiha (Hamd) by Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi

SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Agency)-

It is customary and established by common usage, to start any important and valuable work in the name of some man of dignity in order to connect the work to him, and commend it to his care and support.

If so, is it not much better to start everything in the name of HIM who dies not, and is everlasting in life, power, and might – an everlasting substance and unchanging essence, whom mortality can never touch!?

Such an eternal being is none, other than ALLAH, the Only one God.

Therefore everything and every work should begin in HIS sacred name, and His help be prayed for. This is why the HOLY QURÄN too, commences with the verse:


The prophet has said: “Any important work that begins not with the name of God, may not have a good end.”” Imam Bägher (AS) too, said: It is becoming to start every work – big or small – in the name of Allah, so as to be bless.

To make it short; continuation of a deed depends upon its relation and connection to God. To this effect, Allah orders His apostle to start his teachings and preachings in the name of Allah through the following revelations:

“Proclaim! (READ) in the name of your Lord and Cherisher, Who created – created man out of a clot of congealed blood.””

QURÄN – S 96:1-2

And according to the following verse; NOAH said to his followers:

“Embark you on the ARK, in the name of Allah, be it sailing or at rest, for my Lord is Oft: Forgiving, Merciful.”” QURÄN – S 11:41

And SOLOMON too, began his letter written to the QUEEN- OF- SHEBA in the name of Allah:

“SHE (The QUEEN OF SHEBA) said: “You chiefs! Here is delivered to me a

letter worthy of respect. It is from SOLOMON, and is in the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate.”” QURÄN – S 97:30

On such a basis all chapters of the HOLY QURÄN begin with the said verse: (IN THE NAME OF ALLAH, THE MERCIFUL THE COMPASSIONATE)

There is no doubt that the verse is one of those of the OPENING CHAPTER, and all the other chapters, (EXCEPT THE ONE NAMED REPENTANCE – SURA – 9). This has been so arranged by the prophet, and has always been such, and a habitual usage of Muslims when reciting QURÄN, to commence with the verse which they call itBESMELEH = IN THE NAME OF ALLAH. This matter is so clear that onceMOÄVIYEH did not recite it in his prayer! Then some of the Helpers and Emigrants, who were present there, objected and ironically said to the Khalif: You stole it or forget it!?


Allah is the most comprehensive and collective among the names of God, pointing at substance rather than the attributes. The different names of God that are mentioned in theHOLY QURÄN, each of them denotes a part of the attributes of God. The only name that refers to His Essence as well as His attributes, is Allah. Other names of God are often used as adjectives to qualify Allah; such as the Merciful Allah, the Forgiving Allah, the Almighty Allah, and etc.

Through the following verse of QURÄN, many such qualifications are attributed to Allah:

“He, is Allah besides whom there is no God. The Sovereign, the Holy, the Peaceable, the Secure, the Mighty, the Compeller, the Supreme. Glory be to Allah, above the partners that they attribute to HIM.””

QURÄN – S 59:23

A reason for comprehensiveness of Allah is that only through the phrase (LÄ ELAH ELL ALLAH = NO ALLAH BUT ALLAH) one can convert and become a Muslim.


A group of commentators understand RAHMÄN, (TRANSLATED MERCIFUL) to mean and denote Allah”s common Mercy, that covers all

His creatures, whether a friend or enemy; a faithful, or a heathen – all and all.

As for the other derivative name RAHIM, (TRANSLATED COMPASSIONATE)reveals Allah”s SPECIAL MERCY and favour, which is dedicated to His obedient and faithful servants.

Here, a point worthy of note is that: Throughout the HOLY QURÄN, the wordRAHMÄN is used in ABSOLUTE MODE to mean unlimited and unrestricted, thus showing the commonness of the word; but RAHIM is used especifically which denotes being bound to its peculiarity.


True that God has infinite attributes that most of them could be used at the beginnings, for a blessing, but MERCIFUL is used and emphasized here for its universal effect and light, that covers all creatures and creations, which may save those entangled in difficulties. Let us hear this from God Himself in HIS HOLY BOOK:

“He (i.e. GOD) said: “I will afflict with my punishment whom I will. But My MERCY extends to everything. Soon I will ordain thatMERCY for those who avoid evil deeds, and pay their due alms-tax, and those who believe in our signs.””

QURÄN – S 7:156

We even see the prophets, such as HUD, grasping to the Mercy of God, when they are in trouble and hardship, in order to be rescued:

“We saved HIM, (HUD) and those who adhered to him by OUR MERCY, and we cut off the roots of those who rejected our signs, and were not believers.””

QURÄN – S 7:




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