اهدنا الصراط المستقيم
Guide us to the straight path (Saheeh International)
I will render this verse as:
Lead us the clear and easy path, that corrects and remedies us.
Guidance / Huda
The word Huda has been translated as 'to guide' by Saheeh international and 'to lead' by me. It comes from the root ه د ى which basically means being apparent, bright and foremost.
- The foremost part of something which was noticed and visible first after looking at it was called Haadi.
- The day was called Huda.
- The necks of animals were called Haadi because it is in front of the rest of the body.
- It was used to precede and get ahead of someone. (Muhit al Muhit)
- To separate and distinguish things. (Muhit Al Muhit)
Path / Siraat
The word Siraat has been translated as path by Saheeh international.
It comes from the root س ر ط. The letter Seen was interchanged with the letter Saad. The root is from the letter Seen, not Saad
- This root literally means to swallow with ease. (Mu'jam al Istiqaaqi)
- It was also used for a long sword which was extremely sharp. As if it would swallow anything in its way. (Mu'jam Al Ishtiqaaqi)
- For a road or path that would be very easy to travel on as if the passenger swallows it up quickly, signifying how quickly and easily one can pass on it. (Mu'jam Al Ishtiqaaqi)
Interestingly, the word Mustaqeem has been left untranslated by Saheeh International.
It comes from the root ق و م which most commonly means to stand. But it is used in many meanings. It is one of the most richest words in Arabic. It was used in the following ways as stated in Muhit al Muhit:
- To stand up
- To look after and manage something
- To closely monitor someone by following him
- To adjust, straighten or rectify something
- To remove any crookedness or distortion
- To become straight and erect
- To rectify, amend or correct.
The basic meaning of this root is to rectify and amend by removing any crookedness from it so that it can stand up erect. We remove the bend in our back make it straight to stand up.
- The path of Allah is Islam. It is clear of any crookedness and clear in its teachings
- It rectifies and amends our lives. Rids of the shortcomings and flaws in it.
- The qualities and attributes included in the word 'Rabb' are also present in the meaning of the word 'Mustaqeem'. Signifying that it is by means of this way of life that he gave us that he fulfills his promise of being Rabb , of amending and remedying our lives.
- Since the service to God and commitment to Islam will be a cause of many trials and tribulations, the Mustaqeem path makes us able to withstand and face them and come out successful. We basically pray to Allah to make us able to withstand any challange that comes with his obedience by guiding us on the Mustaqeeem path.
- It is a road, a path. It is a journey. Just as the person walking on it is constantly exerting effort and energy to walk on it, so does the one who intends to walk on the path of Islam, must constantly and daily be exerting effort to remain firm on it. This is the pain and difficulties that come with obedience to Allah mentioned in the previous ayah.
- There is no preposition after the word Huda though in normal usage the preposition to comes with it. Notice the Saheeh international uses the preposition to after the word guide in 'Guide us to the straight path.' This preposition is not there. This broadens the prayer. We are asking Allah not only to show us what and where the path is, but also to walk us on it by taking us by the hand.