A Means of Displaying Good Manners

It is important to note that in this verse when the blessings of Allah have been mentioned they have been mentioned in the second person such that Allah is directly referred to, “The path of those whom You have favoured.” However when the anger or punishment of Allah is mentioned it is mentioned in the third person such that Allah is not directly referred to, “Not the path of those who have earned [Your] anger, nor those whoo have gone astray.” This is even though He is the One in reality who is angry with them, and He is the One by whose decree they were misguided as proven by His sayings, “Have you not considered those who make allies of a people with whom Allah has become angry.” (al-Mujadilah 58:14)  “Whoever Allah send astray – there is no guide for him and He leaves them in their transgression, wandering blindly.” (al-Araf7:186) and other verses proving that guidance and misguidance is the sole responsibility of Allah. (ibn Kathir)

This is a method that is used throughout the Qur’an and it is a way of showing respect to Allah and not attributing evil to Him as well as showing how belittled such people are. This was clearly expressed in the supplication of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessing be upon him, when he said, “I am completely at Your service and doing all I can to please You. All good is in Your hands and evil does not pertain to You.” (Muslim 1695) Ibn al-Qayyim explains this hadith and this concept further, “The meaning of this hadith is far greater and wider than the [explanations presented by some saying that it means], ‘evil does not come close to You’ or ‘evil [deeds] are not raised to You.’ This is because these explanations only serve to absolve Him of any evil coming close to Him or evil [deeds] being raised to Him, however they do not explicitly absolve Him of evil with regards His Essence, Attributes and Actions. This is not the full purport of the words of the Truthful One, the one entrusted and preserved from error for his, peace and blessings be upon him, words absolve Him of any evil whatsoever being linked to His Essence, Attributes and Actions. However it is possible that evil be contained in His creation as occurs in His words, “Say: I take refuge with the Lord of daybreak. From the evil of what He created.” (al-Falaq 113:1-2) Contemplate the style of the Qur’an and see how sometimes it adjoins evil to its cause and those who enact it such as His sayings, “The disbelievers are [truly] the oppressors and wrong-doers” (al-Baqarah 2:254) “And Allah does no guide a sinful, rebellious people” (al-Maidah 5:108) “For the wrongdoing on the part of the Jews, We made unlawful for them [certain] foods that had previously been lawful for them” (an-Nisa 4:160) “That was Our recompense for their transgression” (al-Anam 6:146) “We did no injustice to them, rather it was they who were unjust, wrong-doers” (az-Zukhruf 43:76) Sometimes the subject [of the sentence] is omitted an in His sayings, “And we do not know whether evil is intended for those who are on the earth, or whether their Lord desires guidance for them.” (al-Jinn 72:10) This verse omits the one who intends the evil but explicitly states the one who intends good. In a similar vein is His saying, “… The path of those whom You have favoured, not the path of those who have earned [Your] anger not those who have gone astray.” (al-Fatihah 1:7)

Hence He mentioned the favour adjoined to Himself, misguidance adjoined to those who committed it and omitted the enactor of the anger. Likewise is the saying of Khidr with regards the ship, “So I wished to cause a defect in it.” (al-Khaf 18:79) And his saying with regards the orphans, “So your Lord intended that they reach maturity and then extract their treasure as a mercy from your Lord.” (al-Khaf 18:82) Likewise is His saying, “Allah has endeared faith for you and made it pleasing in your hearts and has made hateful to you disbelief, disobedience and sins” (al-Hujurat 29:7) “Beautified for people is the love of that which they desire” (Ali Imran 3:14) omitting the one who made it beautiful for them. [Ibrahim] al-Khalil, peace be upon him, said, “It is He who created me and it is He who guides me. It is He who feeds me and gives me to drink. When I am ill it is He who cures me. It is He who will cause me to die and then bring me back to life. I hope that He will forgive me my sin on the Day of Recompense.” (ash-Shuara 26:77-82) So he attributed all aspects of perfection to Him in these actions but attributed to himself any [seeming] deficiency – this being illness and sin…

This verse also contains yet another indication that the mercy of Allah precedes His wrath, this is because to favour one is to display goodness and mercy to that person, to be angry leads to his being punished in a just fashion, hence the mercy is directly linked to Allah and the anger is abstracted. It is also said that another reason for the verse being phrased in this way is that Allah Alone is the One who grants blessings and favours, but as for being angry at His enemies, not only is He angry but His Angels, Prophets and Awliya became angry when He becomes angry. (ibn al-Qayyim)

The Spiritual Cure: An Explanation of Surah Al-Fatihah prepared and translated by Abu Rumaysah Pages 174-181