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ٱهْدِنَا ٱلصِّرَاطَ ٱلْمُسْتَقِيمَ
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-Al-Fâtihah ( الفاتحة )

Al Qushairi Tafsir

Guide us to the straight path
Guidance (hidāya) is direction (irshād), and its basic meaning is to influence someone's inclinations. The one who is guided is one who is aware of the Real (سبحانه) and prefers His good pleasure and has faith in Him. The com- mand in this verse is elided, for the meaning is “Say: Guide us.” The believers are already being rightly guided in the present moment, so the meaning is to petition for ongoing and ever increasing [guidance]. The straight path is the true path upon which are the people who declare God's oneness.
The meaning of guide us is “cause us to incline to You,” “take us as Yours,” “be our guide (dalīl) to You,” “facilitate our way to You,” “arouse our aspira- tion for You,” and “bring our concerns together through You.”
“Prevent our innermost selves from witnessing all others (aghyār). Show in our hearts the rising of lights (anwār). Keep our seeking of You from the blemish of traces or effects (āthār).65 And cause us to rise from the waystations of studying and reasoning to gather (jamʿ) [together] on the plains of nearness and communion.”
“Take away our comfort with simulacra (amthāl) and outward appear- ances (ashkāl) through the intimate kindnesses and secrets you share with us [as we] find communion and witness the sublime and beautiful.”
“Direct us to the Real so that we will not put our trust in the intermediar- ies of [our] deeds, and so that the dust of vain opinions and suppositions will not fall upon the intent to profess divine unity.”
Guide us to the straight path, that is, “Remove from us the darkness of our states so that we may be illuminated by the lights of Your holiness from the shadows of our own seeking. And lift from us the shadow of our effort so that we may gain insight by the stars of Your liberality and find You through You.”
“Guide us to the straight path so that no associate from Satan's insinua- tions and whisperings, and no friend from the inclinations and murmurings of the lower selves become our companions. Let not any stay in the familiar territories of blind following (taqlīd) keep us from the communion [of lovers]. Do not let reliance on routine instruction come between us and insight. Do not let any harm from drunkenness or indulgence seduce us, nor any conjecture or habit, laziness or weak desire, or coveting of wealth or increase.”
The straight path is that to which the Book and the sunna are a guide (dalīl), and there is no authority for innovation concerning it and no other way (sabīl) to it. The straight path possesses a soundness to which the guideposts of divine unity (dalāÌil al-tawḥīd) bear witness and the testimo- nies of realization (shawāhid al-taḥqīq) pay heed. The straight path is that upon which the pious forefathers (salaf) of the community tread and of its rightness the guideposts of admonition speak. The straight path is that which separates the traveler (sālik) from his worldly fortunes and concerns (ḥuẓūẓ) and the seeker (qāṣid) from his rights (ḥuqūq). The straight path is that which brings its traveler to the courtyard of unity. It calls its follower to witness the trace and effect of solicitude and liberality (jūd) so that he will not think it the result of [his own] endeavor (majhūd).