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We are continuing again a brief exegesis of Surah al-Fatiha because it is a required part of salah and it becomes vital to understand what we are saying in it to strengthen our prayer. The previous parts of this segment are available here:
The third ayah of Surah al-Fatiha is ar-Rahmani ar-Raheem. Since we covered the names ar-Rahman and ar-Rahim in Part 1, we will skip onto the 4th ayah: Maliki Yawmi ad-Deen.
Maliki Yawmi ad-Deen means ‘Owner and King of the Day of Judgment.’ After talking in the last ayah about how Merciful He is, Allah balances His Mercy by saying: there’s a day when judgment is coming. And He owns that day.
There’s a difference between the terms ‘owner’ an ‘king.’ There’s a micro picture of ownership, and a macro picture of kingdom. On the Day of Judgment, some huge things are going to happen. The sun and moon will crash into each other, the earth will get flattened, legions of angels will descend, all of humanity will be held on trial. That is the Kingdom of God, where His entire subjects are brought to account.
On the other hand, on that day every single person is being dealt with individually as though Allah is their personal Owner. And that individual scene of every single deed being accounted for—that’s when He is taking the role of Owner. And both of them are captured at the same time in the name Malik.
Yawm means ‘day’ in Arabic. Not only is Allah Owner and King of Judgment itself, but He is Owner and King of the Day of Judgment. You and I cannot own Time, but Allah declares His Ownership over all things by taking ownership of Time itself.
When Allah says He owns time, he takes control of all time—every single thing, every detail, every record, every deed, across all time, all will be captured on the Day of Judgment.
Ad-deen means ‘judgment.’ And ‘deen’ comes from the Arabic: ‘kama ta deen tu daan—the way you deal with people is how you will be dealt with.’
It is a day where everybody is going to get their fair share. If anyone was short-changed, it’s going to be fulfilled. Every debit is going to be credited. Every credit is going to be debited. Everything is going to get balanced out. First He says He’s incredibly Merciful, and then He says He will treat everyone fairly. A judge who is always fair is going to be harsh, and a judge who is merciful is going to let people go. How is Allah both these things though?
The way to reconcile that is to understand that Allah is only going to be loving, caring, merciful, and lenient to people who are afraid of His Judgment. People who forget about His Judgment and forget that they will be standing trial before Him, and don’t care about that—they are not worthy of Allah’s leniency. Your attitude towards Allah now will determine how much worthy of His love, care and mercy you are. So it has to be a balance between both these things. We are not going to lose hope in the love and mercy of Allah, but at the same time we are not going to be oblivious to the punishment and consequences of our deeds.
It’s only the responsible that are going to have a healthy relationship with Allah. May Allah make us of the responsible in light of Maliki Yawmi ad-Deen.
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This entire segment on Surah al-Fatiha has been organized from Nouman Ali Khan’s notes from his Bayyinah Institute exegesis on Surah al-Fatiha.