ṣūrah 1:1-7

Reflections on the Qur’an: index page.

In the name of God, the Almighty, the Merciful.

(1:1)                                                                                            

  • Verse 1:1 opens in the Arabic with the letter (cf. the opening phoneme of the word b’reshīt in Genesis at 1:1 in the Hebrew scriptures).
  • Whereas the later Babylonian (Talmudic) distortions of the Hebrew scriptures elided and obfuscated the name of God as a matter of religious observance, the Qur’an opens with the name of God (Arabic: allāh; cf. Heb. eloh, elohim) plainly stated as a singular entity.
  • Verse 1:1 progresses directly to present two features, facets, or characteristics of God as Almighty and Merciful. This is not the place to present our full analysis for our value of raḥmān as Almighty. Suffice to say that Traditionalist regards both words here in the rā ḥā mīm root to signify different aspects of mercy, and that this value in the case of the first of these appellations (raḥmān) runs contrary to its use across the corpus of the Qur’an. 
  • Thus, the singularity of God is immediately presented in two aspects: the masculine, solar aspect (al raḥmān) and the feminine, lunar aspect (al raḥīm).
  • The result is the creation of number: one is seen as the origin of two. This creates the upward-pointing triangle; the triangle being the minimum shape containing area in geometry, and comprising deeper, alchemical symbolic meanings.

 

Praise belongs to God, the Lord of All Creation,

(1:2)

  • Verse 1:2 proceeds to an immediate retraction (or contraction) which emphasises and confirms the underlying, singular (and thus indivisible), pre-attributive nature of God, which is that praise (i.e. recognition for causation and gratitude based thereupon) belongs (alone) to God as the Lord of All Creation.
  • Meanwhile, geometrically, the extension of the triangle by means of a further point implies the square.

 

The Almighty, the Merciful,

(1:3)

Master of the Day of Judgment.

(1:4)

  • At 1:3, God is presented in two aspects: the masculine, solar aspect (al raḥmān) and the feminine, lunar aspect (al raḥīm).
  • Again, this double — or dual — aspect of God within the symbolic polarities of the masculine, solar aspect (al raḥmān) and the feminine, lunar aspect (al raḥīm) is then closed into conclusive and unambiguous unity and singularity with God (alone) as Master of the Day of Judgment at verse 1:4. 
  • The two attributes of God at 1:3 form a further, downward-pointing triangle in connection with the single title of God at 1:4. 
  • The two triangles thus formed create the dynamic symbology central to the hermeticism which is key to metaphysical (as opposed to merely “scientific”) reflection.

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  • This process of pulling open the unity of God, as it were, to reveal complementary, subordinate facets of the solar masculine aspect (al raḥmān) and the feminine lunar aspect (al raḥīm) provides the following services:
    • It reveals a vital component which is entirely missing from the Traditionalist’s presentation (since the fact is that God is both the Almighty Judge as well as the Compassionate — not merely layers of compounding compassion laid one upon another)
    • It provides the basis for an understanding of al fātiḥah in which this surah presents a matrix or skeletal structure upon which further analyses may be laid out and considered
    • It sets up a clear column structure within which we may understand what follows wherein the solar masculine aspect (al raḥmān) heads the first column and the feminine lunar aspect (al raḥīm) heads the second.

 

*

Thee alone do we serve, and from Thee alone do we seek help.

(1:5)

  • On the basis of what we have understood to this point, we enter verse 1:5 which reads: Thee alone do we serve, and from Thee alone do we seek help. This is the crucial point in the surah from the point of view of the reader in the sense that it is the point at which he declares both fealty to and full dependence upon God in the light of what precedes (I have established elsewhere in my work the fact that al fātiḥah bears many features common to a suzerainty treaty in which terms are agreed between lord and vassal). 
  • The fact that verse 1:5 is clearly a single unit which unpacks into two intrinsically related portions not only mirrors what we noted above, its two parts fall naturally under the two column headings that the previous analysis provided, with Thee alone do we serve aligning with the first column treating of solar masculine aspect (al raḥmān), and with and from Thee alone do we seek help aligning with the second column treating of the feminine lunar aspect (al raḥīm).

 

Guide Thou us on the straight path,

(1:6)

The path of those whom Thou hast favoured; not of those who incur wrath, nor of those who go astray.

(1:7)

 

  • Verses 1:6-7 then comprise the features of the treaty binding upon God given that we hold to our undertaking at verse 1:5. 
  • We note that verse 1:6 Guide Thou us on the straight path immediately emphasises singularity and unity (cf. the straight path), as does the opening segment of verse 1:7 (The path of those whom Thou hast favoured), which then is intersected by a new duality: the first two negative statements in the Qur’anic text.
 

 

FURTHER OBSERVATIONS

  • Ṣūrah 1 (al fātiḥah) is the value of the Writ Set within my analysis of the mysterious letters of the Qur’an, and is thus of vital importance to understanding the implications of those letters.
  • My full work on the mysterious letters of the Qur’an may be downloaded free here.
 
Ⓒ Sam Gerrans.
September 8, 2022.

VIDEO

The notes above form the basis for a YouTube presentation which can be found here.

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