The Holy Qur'an

Exegesis of Ihdinaṣ-Ṣirāṭ al-Mustaqīm

اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ

Guide us on the right path


The prayer taught in this verse is so exalted and complete, the like of which is not found anywhere. This prayer is not limited to any specific matter; rather, it addresses all needs [of man],big and small. One can benefit from this prayer with respect to all secular and religious matters. Whether a task is religious or worldly, there is always one way or another of completing it. By adopting this way, one will attain success. Moreover, at times, there are seemingly numerous ways of executing a task, of which some are impermissible, and others are permissible. And from among those which are permissible, some ways will lead to the objective quickly, while others will take time.

The prayer اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ  [guide us on the right path] teaches us that we should continue praying to Allah the Almighty to guide us to that way which is good and virtuous, and by following this guidance we can achieve our objectives swiftly. How complete, simple and comprehensive this prayer is!  Which goal is there that we wish to achieve in our lives for which we cannot use this prayer?And the one  who makes it a habit to say this prayer: to what lengths will he not go, what effort will he not put in to be successful? This is because if one is continuously reminded that there are both good and bad ways of achieving any objective, and that one should always try to seek, and adopt the good way, and even from amongst these good ways, one should adopt the closest path that leads to their objective. This principle is in accordance with human nature.

It is evident that the mind of the person who prays to Allah the Almighty to be shown the right path will also be influenced by this thought; and his own efforts too will be exerted in seeking such a path in all his affairs. And a person who observes the following principles in respect of his affairs, namely,(1) all his affairs should be settled through permissible means; (2) when reaching a particular stage, he should not become content with that alone but, instead, his heart should always yearn for unlimited progress; (3) his time should not be wasted. Rather, he should work in such a way that he accomplishes all tasks in the shortest possible time. There can be no doubt about the loftiness of his aims, the rightness of his actions and the consistency of his efforts.

I believe that if Muslims consistently offered this prayer with sincerity, and impressed its meanings on their minds, they would unquestionably reap the rewards of this supplication. This prayer will also naturally have a great impact on the perspectives of the Muslims, which in itself is of great value.