12. Maryam Praises the Merciful, the truly Merciful

 The first sura of the Koran (Al Fatiḥa) is a prayer of praise, except in its last verse (which is a double condemnation). And here is the text according to a good translation:

  1. In the name of God-Allah, the All Merciful, the Very Merciful.
  2. Praise to God-Allah, Lord of the universe.
  3. The Mercy-giver, the Merciful.
  4. Lord of the Day of Judgment.
  5. It is You whom we adore, You from whom we implore aid.
  6. Guide us in the straight way,
  7. the way of those that You have fulfilled with favors, not of those who have earned Your anger, nor of those who have strayed.

This 7th verse cannot be said by a Christian for it harks back to two passages in sura 5 where, on the one hand, Jews are said to have earned the anger of God and, on the other hand, Christians are said to have strayed [1]. Question: the God who gives mercy (Raḥman) – that is to say who is moved and wants the good of men – is merciful in Himself (Raḥim). If God is merciful in Himself, can it be only when he is in the mood, without renouncing Himself? To be merciful for some and to be the reverse for others? Happily, in their research the Koranologists have enlightened us on the last verse, that it was undoubtedly added at the time of the Iranian commentators. These were surely not people who loved the Virgin Mary, Maryam the very pure. She could have said this prayer of Overture (Fatiḥa) up to verse 6: “Guide us in the straight way.”

Maryam knows that God is veritably merciful. According to the Gospel, after receiving the Annunciation, Maryam said (Luke 1, 46-55):

“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden.

For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed;

for he WHO IS MIGHTY has done great things for me, and holy is his name.

And HIS MERCY is on those who fear him from generation to generation.

He has shown STRENGTH WITH HIS ARM, he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts,

he has PUT DOWN THE MIGHTY from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree;

he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent empty away […].”

Our Lady of Fatima (Portugal)

The rich who are overthrown are those who usurped the force of the Almighty; they are proud and empty.
But it is not enough to be poor to be the object of the divine predilection.
his is seen in the structure of this prayer called the “Magnificat.”

Those who serve God in humility and fear are the poor who are exalted.

Like Maryam the all pure, let us have the desire to correspond to his grace, and for us God will do great things.


 [1] There is question of Jews “that God has cursed, against whom he is in anger” (Sura 5,60); and at the end of verses 72 and 73 which aim manifestly at Christians, it is said at verse 77 that they are “people who have already strayed, who have made many others stray and who stray (with three times the verb dallala, Sura 5,77).”