The Essence of the Quran

SURAH AL-FATIHA (THE OPENING)
 
In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
All praise is due to God, the Lord of the Universe; the Beneficent, the Merciful;
Lord of the Day of Judgement.
You alone we worship, and to You alone we turn for help.
Guide us to the straight path: the path of those You have blessed; not of those who have incurred Your wrath, nor of those who have gone astray.
 
The best way to begin any task is in the name of God, the Lord, the Being who is the source of all blessings, and whose blessings and mercy are continually pouring upon His creation. To commence any undertaking in His name is to pray that God, in His infinite mercy, should come to one’s assistance and bring one’s work to a successful conclusion. This is man’s acknowledgement of the fact that he is God’s servant, and also brings divine assurance of success.
 
The Quran has a special and characteristic way of expressing a believer’s inner sentiments in the most appropriate words. The invocation of God, in the opening chapter of the Quran, constitutes a supplication of this nature. The feelings which are naturally aroused in one after discovering the truth are expressed in these lines.
 
Man’s existence is a very great gift of God. We can estimate its greatness by the fact that man would never exchange it, or even any apart of it—his eyes or hands, or any organ of his body—for the greatest treasures of the world.
 
Even these basic gifts of God (organs of the body) are more precious than the kingdoms of the kings. When man looks at the world around him, he cannot fail to notice God’s power and mercy abundantly in evidence everywhere. Wherever he casts his glance, he finds extraordinary order and supervision. Everything has been extraordinarily and astonishingly adapted to man’s needs. This observation shows that the great cosmic machine cannot be in vain. Therefore, one realizes that there must come a day when the grateful and the ungrateful are rewarded for the way they have lived their lives in this world. One spontaneously entreats God in words to this effect, ‘Lord, You are the Master of the Day of Judgement. I have submitted to You and humbly seek Your help; have mercy on me. Lord, show us the path that is, to You, the true path. Enable us to tread the path of Your chosen servants. Help us to avoid the path of those who have gone astray, and the path of those who have incurred Your wrath due to their obstinacy.’
 
God requires His servant to live his life with such feelings and emotions. The opening chapter of the Quran is a miniature portrayal of Islamic belief; the rest of the Quran is an enlargement of this picture.