Ustādh Ali Hammuda
We live in
a time when everyone has a story of sorrow to narrate; stories of doors that
have closed after they were open, or doors that simply will not open in their
lives. Never have we been more in need of a particular name of Allāh that
rekindles the flame of hope within the hearts of those who were on the verge of
of Allāh has appeared only once in the Qur’ān, where He said:
قُلْ يَجْمَعُ بَيْنَنَا رَبُّنَا ثُمَّ يَفْتَحُ
بَيْنَنَا بِالْحَقِّ وَهُوَ الْفَتَّاحُ الْعَلِيمُ
Lord will bring us together; then He will judge between us in truth. And He is Al-Fattāḥ, the All-Knowing.’”
linguistic meaning of Al-Fatḥ
Al-Fatḥ: نقيض الإغلاق / The opposite of closure. A
key in Arabic is called Miftāḥ, for it is the apparatus by which closed doors are opened.
الإغـلاق والإشـكال وذلك ضـربان أحدهما: يدرك بالبصـر كفتح الباب ونحـوه: وَلَمَّا
“Al-Fatḥ is the removal of closure and
problems, and this takes two forms. The first: one which is observable by
sight, like the opening of a door, as Allāh said: “And when they opened (fataḥu) their luggage…” 
بالبصيرة كفتح الهم وهو إزالة الغم، وذلك على ضروب، أحدها: في الأمور الدنيوية كغم
يفرج، وفقر يزال بإعطاء المال ونحوه، كقوله تعالى: لَفَتَحْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ
بَرَكَاتٍ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ وَالْأَرْضِ [الأعراف: 96] والثاني: فتح المستغلق من
العلوم، نحو قولك: فلان فتح من العلم بابًا مغلقًا [..]»
one which is observable by insight, like the opening of relief from grief. This
also takes forms:
(a) In matters
of life, like the removal of grief or alleviation of poverty, as Allāh said:
“We would have opened up (fatāḥna) for them blessing from the heavens and the earth…” 
matters of knowledge, like the removal of locks from one’s understanding.”
we see that in order to engage in the fatḥ of something, logic says that it
must be closed, and Al-Rāghib informed us that those elements that need
unlocking are both inward and outward, as well as material and immaterial.
is Allāh Al-Fattāḥ? He is The One who opens up every difficulty that you thought could
never be unlocked.
If we look
at most of what scholars have said about Allāh’s name of Al-Fattāḥ, we can summarise it by saying that
هو الحاكم الذي
يحكم بين عباده/
The One who judges between His creation
وهو الذي يفتح
أبواب الرزق والرحمة لعباده
/ The One who opens the doors of provisions and mercy for them
وعيون بصائرهم ليبصروا الحق
/ The One who opens their eyes and insights to enable them to see the truth
وهو الناصر الذي
ينصر عباده المؤمنين
/ The giver of victory to His righteous servants. 
In all of
these explanations, notice how the concept of unlocking something that was
locked applies; a judge who unlocks the truth of a case that was locked, the unlocking
of provisions after it was locked, the unlocking of blind eyes to the truth,
and the unlocking of victory from the claws of defeat.
Examples Of Fatḥ/Openings In Our Lives
of hearts to act upon acts of worship is one such example. Why is it that some
are far more inclined than others to pray, fast, recite the Qur’ān, pray in
congregation, and plan for Islam? It is because the degree to which Allāh has
opened hearts to do this varies from person to person.
Ibn ‘Abd al-’Azīz al-‘Umari wrote a letter to Imam Malik encouraging him to
distance himself and to free up his time for worship. Imam Malik responded:
إنَّ اللَّهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ قَسَّمَ الْأَعْمَالَ كَمَا
قَسَّمَ الْأَرْزَاقَ فَرُبَّ رَجُلٍ فُتِحَ لَهُ فِي الصَّلَاةِ وَلَمْ يُفْتَحْ
لَهُ فِي الصَّوْمِ وَآخَرَ فُتِحَ لَهُ فِي الصَّدَقَةِ وَلَمْ يُفْتَحْ لَهُ فِي
الصِّيَامِ وَآخَرَ فُتِحَ لَهُ فِي الْجِهَادِ وَلَمْ يُفْتَحْ لَهُ فِي
الصَّلَاةِ وَنَشْرُ الْعِلْمِ وَتَعْلِيمُهُ مِنْ أَفْضَلِ أَعْمَالِ الْبِرِّ
وَقَدْ رَضِيتُ بِمَا فَتَحَ اللَّهُ لِي فِيهِ مِنْ ذَلِكَ وَمَا أَظُنُّ مَا
أَنَا فِيهِ بِدُونِ مَا أَنْتَ فِيهِ وَأَرْجُو أَنْ يَكُونَ كِلَانَا عَلَى
خَيْرٍ وَيَجِبُ عَلَى كُلِّ وَاحِدٍ مِنَّا أَنْ يَرْضَى بِمَا قُسِّمَ لَهُ
distributed the actions of good deeds between people the same way He has
distributed the provisions between them, and so a person’s heart may be opened
towards prayer but has not been (opened) towards fasting, whilst a second
(person’s heart) may be opened towards charity but not towards fasting, whilst
another’s may be opened towards Jihad but is not towards prayer. The teaching
of knowledge is one of the most rewarding good deeds and I am satisfied with
what Allāh has opened for me, and I do not believe that what I am occupied with
is any lesser than what you’re occupied with. My hopes are that we are both
upon goodness and it is incumbent upon both of us to be satisfied with what
Allāh has blessed us with. Peace be on you.” 
opened our hearts for different matters, making us more inclined to it. Our
duty is to pinpoint it urgently, and then redirect it for the cause of Allāh
and the Hereafter.
their joy in life in fasting. They fast every other day and find it easy.
Others find their joy in Du’ā, where hours may pass by doing so without
ربما انصرف عامر بن عبد الله (بن الزبير) من العتمة،
فيعرض له الدعاء – يعني بعد العشاء – يخطر بباله، فلا يزال يدعو إلى الفجر
happened before where ‘Āmir Ibn ‘Abdillāh would make Du’ā after the ‘Ishā
prayer, and would continue to do so until Fajr.”
that Allāh has opened their hearts towards the establishing of family ties.
They are on good terms with every family member and their efforts towards them
that Allāh has created an opening for them in the field of Dhikr/remembrance:
Huraira’s daily portion of Tasbīh (saying “Subḥān Allāh”) was 12,000 times.
Ibn Ma’dān’s portion was 40,000 times a day, excluding his recitation of the
Qur’ān. He was seen moving his finger in remembrance after his soul had left
Hāni’s portion was 100,000 times a day.
Taymiyya would perform the Fajr prayer, then would remain sat down remembering
Allāh until around just before noon time, when he would say: “This is my lunch.
If I don’t have it, my strength forsakes me.”
that their opening in life is in the helping of the needy, the feeding of the
hungry, the sponsoring of the orphan, the supporting of the widow, the visiting
of the ill, and the alleviating of the burden.
كان شيخ الإسلام ابن تيمية يسعى في حوائج الناس سعياً
شديداً؛ لأنه يعلم أنه كلما أعان غيره أعانه الله؛ ولذا تجد الكسالى أكثر الناس
هماً وغماً وحزناً، ليس لهم فرح ولا سرور، بخلاف أرباب النشاط والجد في العمل – أي
service by Shaykh al-Islam (Ibn Taymiyya) of others was enormous as he knew
that the more he helped others, the more Allāh will help him. This is why you
will find that lazy people are the most grieved, burdened, and saddened. They
have no real happiness or joy, as opposed to the energetic ones and people of
hard work, regardless of the nature of that work.”
their openings in life in amassing of knowledge and teaching it to others, as
some find their hearts within the Qur’ānic sciences, legal sciences, Hadeeth
sciences, Tajwīd, or the Arabic language. These are openings from Allāh, hence
why many of the scholars of the past would title their books as a “Fatḥ/opening from Allāh (or one of His
فتح الباري / “Fatḥ al-Bāri” فتح رب البرية / “Fatḥ Rabb al-Bariyya”
الفتح الرباني / “Al-Fatḥ al-Rabbāni” فتح المنعم / “Fatḥ al-Mun’im”
فتح المغيث / “Fatḥ al-Mughīth” فتح المجيد / “Fatḥ al-Majīd”
فتح المعين / “Fatḥ al-Mu’īn” فتح القدير / “Fatḥ al-Qadīr”
فتح العزيز / “Fatḥ al-‘Azīz” فتح الوهاب / “Fatḥ al-Wahhāb”
that their openings in their lives culminate in their opinions; Allāh allows
the truth to flow from their mouths, always guiding them to choose the best of
(sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said:
لَقَدْ كَانَ فِيمَا قَبْلَكُمْ مِنْ الْأُمَمِ
مُحَدَّثُونَ فَإِنْ يَكُ فِي أُمَّتِي أَحَدٌ فَإِنَّهُ عُمَرُ
nations who came before you there were people who were spoken to (i.e. by
angels or inspired). If there are any such men among my Ummah, then ʿUmar
ibn al-Khaṭṭāb is one of them.”
(sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) would say about him:
جَعَلَ الْحَقَّ عَلَى لِسَانِ عُمَرَ وَقَلْبِهِ
placed the truth on the tongue of ʿUmar and
This is why
Umar’s rulings were so frequently in line with those of Allāh, as Ibn Hajar
وقفنا منها على خمسة عشر موضعاً
come across 15 such circumstances.”
that their openings in life culminate in the enjoining of good and forbidding
of evil, not fearing the repercussions of their mission, displaying patience
and wisdom. Allāh allows much goodness to appear on the land through this work.
of Al-Fattāḥ are not exclusive, however, to the world of Islam and worship. They
extend to every avenue of life. Consider the following:
Alexander Fleming, a professor of bacteriology, returned to his lab after a
vacation. While sorting through his Petri dishes of colonies of the bacteria
Staphylococcus, he noticed that mould had started to grow on these dishes.
Looking for what colonies he could salvage from those infected with the mould,
he noticed something intriguing. Bacteria were not growing around the mould.
The mould actually turned out to be a rare strain of Penicillium notatum that
secreted a substance that inhibited bacterial growth. Penicillin was introduced
in the 1940s, opening up the era of antibiotics.
the one who guided him to this? It was Al-Fattāḥ.
In 1895, a
German physicist named Wilhelm Roentgen was working with a cathode ray tube.
Despite the fact that the tube was covered, he saw that a nearby fluorescent
screen would glow when the tube was on and the room was dark. The rays were
somehow illuminating the screen. Roentgen tried to block the rays, but most
things he placed in front of them did not seem to make a difference. When he
placed his hand in front of the tube, he noticed he could see his bones in the
image that was projected on the screen. He replaced the tube with a
photographic plate to capture the images, creating the first x-ray images. The
technology was soon adopted by medical institutions and research departments.
statistics show that 50% of all discoveries happen by accidents. Perhaps
this is one of the secrets of why the name Al-Fattāḥ comes side by side with the
Al-‘Alīm (the All-Knowing).
of Al-Fattāḥ also appear in Muslims who find themselves advancing the causes of
justice. We have seen this in the past, where Al-Fattāḥ assisted the Prophet Muhammad (sall
Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) and his companions
until the entirety of the Arabian Peninsula made its way to the fold of Islam. Again, Al-Fattāḥ was with them during their
conquests of Persia, Rome, Egypt, and other places. Until this day, Al-Fattāḥ continues to support His allies,
whether we realise it or not.
Opportunities For Repentance
their reason for repentance. The majority of people do not view repentance as a
spur-of-the-moment decision, but an occurrence that Allāh allowed to open. I
remember the story of a young Egyptian man who said that he once embarked on a
train journey from Cairo to Alexandria with the intention of perpetrating one
of the most heinous sins. He found himself sat next to a young man who was
reciting the Qur’ān. He said, “Allāh made me hear one of those verses which he
يَسْتَخْفُونَ مِنَ النَّاسِ وَلاَ يَسْتَخْفُونَ مِنَ
اللّهِ وَهُوَ مَعَهُمْ إِذْ يُبَيِّتُونَ مَا لاَ يَرْضَى مِنَ الْقَوْلِ
hide from men, but they cannot hide from Allāh; for He is with them when they
plot by night in words that which He does not approve…”
continued to cry until he arrived at Alexandria. He got off the train and the
first thing he did was book a ticket back home, and this was the beginning of
his repentance. Who was the One who opened this opportunity for this young man?
It was Al-Fattāḥ.
Allāh closes certain doors ahead of you in order to open up doors in your life,
which, without this trial of yours, would never have opened. For example,
health deteriorates, a loved one passes away, finances plummet, your reputation
is tarnished – all these cause you to retreat to Allāh in desperation, which
boosts your Iman in ways that you could never have imagined. During
testing times when doors shut, Al-Fattāḥ opens doors that are far greater.
Taymiyya sent a letter to his students from his prison in Alexandria. In his letter,
فإني -والله العظيم الذي لا إله إلا هو- في نعم من الله
ما رأيت مثلها قط في عمري كله، وقد فتح الله سبحانه وتعالى من أبواب فضله ونعمته
وخزائن جوده ورحمته ما لم يكن بالبال ولا يدور في الخيال.
“I am – by
Allāh The Mighty, besides whom none has the right to be worshipped – indulging
in blessings from Allāh, the likes of which I have never seen before in my
enter life. Allāh has opened for me from the doors of his bounty, favours and
stores of His generosity and mercy which my mind and imagination could never
it’s a job that you’re struggling to find despite the many financial
responsibilities on you, or a spouse that isn’t crossing paths with you, or a
marital relationship that you’re desperate to mend or desperate to end, or an
enemy that’s on your back, or liars who are threatening to soil your pure track
record, or any other door that seems locked for good – who do you have other
narrative of other people is one of despair, one of “there is no solution”,
“there is nothing we can do about it”, your narrative should be “O Allāh, you
are Al-Fattāḥ, so open up those matters in my life that people are claiming cannot be
You have no
idea how many doors He will open up for you after they were vaulted shut
without you even asking for it, so how would it be if you had asked?
“Ya Fattāḥ, open up the heart of my child to Iman.”
“Ya Fattāḥ, open up the opportunity for
marriage for such and such.”
“Ya Fattāḥ, open up the truth between me and
“Ya Fattāḥ, open up my mind to the correct
understanding of this Dīn.”
What is it
that you require from this world or the next? Recall it, then realise that
Allāh has the key to that door. Don’t over think matters. Excessive thinking
isn’t what opens such doors. What opens them is persistent Du’ā by His name, Al-Fattāḥ.
when the opportunities to do good open up in your life, do not think twice.
من فتح له باب خير فلينتهزه، فإنه لا يدري متى يغلق عنه
has a door of goodness opened for him, then let him make best use of it, for he
does not know when that door shall be closed.”
Siyar A’lām Al-Nubalā
by Al-Bukhārī and Muslim, on the authority of Abū Huraira
Narrated by Imām Aḥmad in his Musnad and Al-Tirmithi in his Sunan, on the authority of ʿAbdullāh
Headline: Allah is the One who Opens
Source: The Islam 21