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The Ramadan Project: 99 Names of Allah, Al-Fattah, The Opener | University of Birmingham Islamic Society
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Ramadan is a month to focus on our spirituality and relationship with Allah and there is no better way to get to know Him than through His Names.

The Prophet, peace be upon him, said “Allah has 99 names, and whoever knows them will go to Paradise.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari)

It is essential to emphasise that “knowing them” does not mean barely memorising them. Knowing them implies studying them and reflecting on them because the more you study and reflect on these names, the more you fall in love with Allah, and the more you fall in love with Him, the easier it becomes (or the more motivated you become) to serve Him with Ihsaan (excellence).

Studying and reflecting on His Names might sound like a lot of work but good, healthy relationships, of any sort, require work, patience and commitment and it is always worth it in the end.

This Ramadan, we’ll focus on four names of Allah and I encourage you to learn and understand the rest of His names. The beauty of these names is not just in their meaning but in the fact that we can find a name that relates to every situation in our lives and we can call upon Allah by these names. For example, if you constantly feel unrest, you can make du’a such as “Ya Salaam (the Source of Peace and Tranquility), please fill my heart with tranquility.”

Al-Fattah

Al-Fattah is a very dear name to me because it emphasises the fact that Allah is Everlasting and everything that exists in this Universe belongs to Him; therefore, He is in control of everything that happens.

Al-Fattah can be translated as The Opener; The One who:

– Opens the stores of Mercy and tranquility for people

– Opens hearts to guidance and faith

– Opens the doors of knowledge, wisdom and insight for His slaves(“Whoever Allah desires to guide, He opens his bosom to Islam.”(Q6:125))

– Opens up the gates of forgiveness for His slaves. The Prophet, peace be upon him, told of a gate in the west, the width of which is forty years of travel, which is open for repentance and which will not close until the sun rises from it. [Tirmidhi])

– Opens doors to provide a way out for us, relieve us from darkness, and remove hardship and harm

This is a beautiful name to come closer to Allah especially when we are in need of His Mercy (which is basically all the time). Allah tells us in Surah Al-Faatir vs 2:

“Whatever mercy Allah opens up for mankind, none can withhold and whatever he withholds, none can bestow, apart from Him; And He is The Ever-Mighty, The Ever-Wise.”

Firstly, Allah tells us that what He wills happens and what He does not will does not happen and no one can give what He withholds and none can withhold what He gives.

I would like you to pause and reflect on this name:

Think of your present condition and compare that with who/where you were five years ago.

– Are your emotions the same as they were five years ago?

– Or do you have a new vision, deeper insight, a more mature understanding and more firmly established values?

If you have changed for the better, this shows that Al-Fattah has opened for you, the gate of knowledge, growth and development. He has opened you to some facts about life and about your own self. He has opened the gate to obeying Him and being dutiful to Him. And when Allah opens a door for you, nothing can come between you and that door, and when He shuts a door, no matter how hard you try, you will not be able to reach what is behind the door.

There are many moments like this in our daily lives where Allah grants us opportunities at the right time, and sometimes they are opportunities we didn’t even think we needed. Perhaps you are running late for an appointment and your bus that is usually always on time is suddenly delayed by enough time for you to catch it. Or you are too tired to cook and at the same moment, your friend/family brings you food or takes you out to eat. These examples might seem so simple but the more we pay attention to the things that happen in our daily life, the more we will able to recognise the very many doors Al-Fattah opens for us. Through this, we will be more thankful, and our hearts will grow fonder with love for Al-Fattah.

Imam al-Ghazali said about Al-Fattah, “He is the One by Whose concern everything that is closed is opened.”

When we embark on a new journey or we are going through difficult times or we feel stuck, Allah invites us to call on Him by this name and ask Him to open doors for us so that we do not encounter any unanticipated difficulties. This can be applied in any situation: whether it’s with studies, work, family, marriage or Ramadan.

Perhaps, last Ramadan you didn’t feel like you did the best you could due to certain obstacles or problems you encountered; you can ask Al-Fattah to open doors for you and provide you with the best opportunities to help you make the most of this year’s Ramadan.

Perhaps you feel like you do not have a strong enough connection (or no connection at all) with Allah. Ask Him to open your heart to Him and help you draw nearer to Him. However, you must be willing to put in the work that is required to achieve the result you want. With du’a comes action. Allah can open the door, and grant you opportunities, but you have to be willing to strive to do the best you can in every situation you are in.

Most importantly, we must know and accept that Allah decides when to open those doors and He may delay the solutions to test our sincerity and trust, but we must never lose hope.

Perhaps, we might be asking Allah to open a door to something that is not good for us; we should try to remember that Allah knows what’s best for us. Some openings may come through things that look like problems at first, but we need to be patient and trust the process.

Allah knew that Prophet Yusuf, peace be upon him, was destined for greatness. Prophet Yusuf even had a dream about this when he was young but through the direction his life took, we would never have predicted how his dream would have come to fruition. This emphasises the fact that Allah knows best, and even if it doesn’t make sense right now, in the end, when you look at the big picture, you will realise that Allah will always grant you what is best for you at the time that it’s best for you.

Action Points

– Throughout this week, try to pay attention as much as you can to the things that happen in your life and make note of those moments where you realise that Allah opened a door for you (Tip: write it in your journal so that you can always revisit it)

– Be one who helps open ways for others, someone who makes things easy and removes obstacles for people, someone who people can come to with issues and you help them resolve it.

Du’as to add to your du’a list:

– “Ya Allah, Ya Fattah, please open the doors that have been closed from me that I am not aware of.”

– “Ya Allah, Ya Fattah, please open up my heart to You and open doors for me from where I least except. And grant me the strength to accept, all the time, that what You have given me is best for me, especially when it doesn’t seem like it at first.”