We recite the first verse:
“El Hamdu Lillahi Rabb’al-alameen”
“Hamd (the evaluation of the corporeal worlds created with His Names, as He wills) belongs to Allah!”
I can almost hear you say, “How did this interpretation come about? We’ve never heard it like this! The meaning of this verse is generally known as: ‘Praise belongs to Allah, the lord of the worlds, so let's praise only Allah, not other gods…’!”
Let me try to explain to the best of my ability…
Allah is wahid-ul ahad… That is, Allah is absolute oneness, no other existence besides Himself exists who can understand, administer, evaluate or praise Him!
Only Allah can know Allah, only Allah can evaluate Allah, only Allah can praise Allah!
As the Rasul of Allah (saw) says:
“I cannot duly praise You as You praise Yourself”
It’s not possible for one who is at a lower state to praise one who is at a higher state. It’s not possible for me to praise the Rasul, only Allah can praise the Rasul!
In order for someone to praise another, he must first encompass that person in every sense, then evaluate him, and then he can either praise him or criticize him.
If someone wants to praise or criticize me, for example, he must first encompass my knowledge.
I don’t mean he needs to be a graduate from this or that institution or have such and such title. I mean he has to be at a level of consciousness that encompasses the capacity of knowledge that manifests from me.
Only after this can he comprehensively and adequately evaluate my thoughts and derivations, determine whether they are correct or incorrect, praise or criticize them!
To criticize an idea that’s beyond your comprehension, without such a capacity, can be nothing other than rumor and idle chatter.
Therefore, it is neither possible for me to evaluate and appraise someone higher than me or for any form of creation to praise and evaluate Allah!
Thus, the verse confirms, “Hamd belongs only to Allah! The act of hamd, i.e. the evaluation of the corporeal worlds, pertains only to Allah!"
Let us contemplate with some insight…
Think of the place of a single human on earth!
Now think of his place in the sight of the Sun, which is 1 million times bigger than the Earth!
Then think of his place in the galaxy, containing billions of stars like the Sun!
And then his place in the universe comprises billions of galaxies!
Now think of Allah, the creator of all of this, plus the infinite universes that we can't perceive and of which we have no idea!
Can you comprehend it?
How much of the infinite universe embellished with the infinite qualities of the infinite wahid-ul ahad can we appraise and evaluate, let alone evaluate and praise Allah!
There is a story that Rumi narrates:
One day while Moses is on his way somewhere he hears someone talking near a tree. He curiously goes towards the tree only to see a shepherd sitting under the tree talking to himself. He wonders what he’s saying so he quietly listens. The shepherd says: “O my beautiful Allah, how I wish You were by my side right now, I would have loved You and hugged You, I would have fed You fresh milk, I would have laid You down on my lap and made You rest in the shade and I would have removed Your lice and nits…”
Obviously at this point Moses loses his patience and exclaims: “Be silent, o foolish one! How dare you think you can lay Allah down, feed Him milk, and even remove nits and lice from Him when He is the Rabb of the worlds and the possessor of absolute might and sublimity! Do you not know Allah is free from such things!?”
The poor shepherd is taken aback and frightened, “I’m so sorry, please forgive me, I didn’t know… It’s just that I love him so! I’m just a poor shepherd; my only wealth is my Allah! I sit with Him, walk with Him, eat with Him and sleep with Him! My only friend and beloved, is Him! I was told He is always with me, so I took Him as my friend, that’s why I spoke like this… But I will never say such things again! So, you say He’s far greater and bigger than all of this, huh!? Oh my… Now what will I do…?”
Moses taught him how to supplicate and pray and went on his way…
As he was walking away thinking about the state of the shepherd, he heard him calling out, “Moses! Moses!” When he turned around, he saw the shepherd walking on water towards him…. At this point it is revealed to Moses: “O Moses, you separated My friend from Me who had turned to Me with his whole being, who had no other thought other than Me, you built great walls between us! Immediately destroy the walls you built and unite Me with My friend again!”
Moses learnt his lesson and realized that, just as Allah manifests Himself with all His might and awe to some, to some He manifests as sincerity and purity…
So, he turned to the shepherd and says, “Forget about what I told you, keep doing what you’ve been doing, turn to Him and talk to Him as you always did! He’s closer to you than you are to yourself!”