The Linguistic Meaning
The words ‘Fatara‘ and ‘Fattara‘ mean ‘split’. This meaning is mentioned in Surat al-Infitaar (82: 1):
إِذَا السَّمَاءُ انفَطَرَتْ
“When the heaven is cleft asunder.”
When we say the earth “Tafattarat” with a plant, it means that the earth split and the plant came out. Allaah “Fattara” the creation means that He created and initiated (everything in) it.
This Noble Name is mentioned six times in the Noble Qur’an:
1) Allaah (Ta’ala) says in Surat al-An’aam (6:14):
قل أغير الله أتخذ وليا فاطر السماوات والأرض وهو يُطْعِم ولا يُطْعَم
“Say [O Muhammad (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam)]: ‘Shall I take as a Waliyy (helper, protector, etc.) any other than Allaah, the Creator of the heavens and the earth? And it is He Who feeds but is not fed.’
2) He (Ta’ala) also says in Surat Yusuf (12:101):
فاطر السماوات والأرض أنت ولي في الدنيا والآخرة
“The (only) Creator of the heavens and the earth! You are my Waliyy (Protector, Helper, Supporter, Guardian, etc.) in this world and in the Hereafter.”
3) In Surat Ibraheem (14:10), Allaah (Ta’ala) says:
قالت رسلهم أفي الله شك فاطر السماوات والأرض
“Their Messengers said: ‘What! Can there be a doubt about Allaah, the Creator of the heavens and the earth?’…”
4) In Surat Faatir (35: 1), Allaah (Ta’ala) says:
الحمدلله فاطر السماوات والأرض جاعل الملائكة رسلا أولي أجنحة مثنى وثلاث ورباع يزيد في الخلق ما يشاء إن الله على كل شئ قدير.
“All praise is due to Allaah, Creator of the heavens and the earth, Who made the angels messengers having wings, two or three or four. He increases in creation what He wills. Indeed, Allaah is over all things competent.”
5) In Surat az-Zumar (39:46), Allaah (Ta’ala) says:
قُلِ اللَّهُمَّ فَاطِرَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ عَالِمَ الْغَيْبِ وَالشَّهَادَةِ أَنتَ تَحْكُمُ بَيْنَ عِبَادِكَ فِي مَا كَانُوا فِيهِ يَخْتَلِفُونَ
“Say [O Muhammad (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam)]: ‘O Allaah! Creator of the heavens and the earth! All-Knower of the Ghaib (unseen) and the seen. You will judge between your slaves about that wherein they used to differ.’”
6) In Surat ash-Shura (42:11), Allaah (Ta’ala) says:
فَاطِرُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ جَعَلَ لَكُم مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَاجًا وَمِنَ
الْأَنْعَامِ أَزْوَاجًا يَذْرَؤُكُمْ فِيهِ لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيْءٌ وَهُوَ
“The Creator of the heavens and the earth. He has made for you mates from yourselves, and for the cattle (also) mates. By this means He creates you (in the wombs). There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer.”
The Meaning of the Name:
Qatadah said: “’Faatirus-Samaawaati wal-Ard’ means the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth.” [Majaaz al-Qur’an]
Ibn Jarir said: “’Faatirus-Samaawaati wal-Ard’ means its Inventor, Initiator, and Creator.” [Jaami’ul-Bayan]
Al-Khattabi said: “Al-Faatir is the One Who Fatara the creation; i.e. initiated their creation, as He (Ta’ala) says in Surat al-Israa’ (17:51):
قُلِ الَّذِي فَطَرَكُمْ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ
“…Say: ‘He Who created you first!’…”
Of this meaning is their statement, ‘Fatara the canine of the camel, when it first appears.’
Al-Hasan ibn ‘Abdur-Raheem mentioned to me that ‘Abdullaah ibn Zaidan said that Abu Rawq said that Ibn ‘Abbaas (Radia-Allaahu ’anhuma) said: ‘I did not know the meaning of ‘Faatirus-Samaawaati wal-Ard’ until two bedouins disputed regarding a well, and one of them said: ‘I Fatartuha’; meaning: ‘I am the one who originated it.’” [Sha’n ad-Dua’a]
Al-Hulaimee said: “Al-Faatir means the Separator of the united pieces of the heavens and earth. Allaah (Ta’ala) says in Surat al-Anbiyaa’ (21:30):
أَوَلَمْ يَرَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا أَنَّ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ كَانَتَا رَتْقًا فَفَتَقْنَاهُمَا
“Have not those who disbelieve known that the heavens and the earth were joined together as one united piece, then We parted them?…”
Accordingly, the meaning will be as follows: The heavens were smoke, and He (Ta’ala) fashioned it. He covers its night with darkness, and brings out its forenoon with light. The earth was not spread (out), and He spread it; He brought forth therefrom, its water and its pasture.
The meaning could also be as is mentioned in some quotes: ‘We have parted the sky with rain and the earth with plant,’ then the aforementioned statement of Ibn ‘Abbaas (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhuma) is mentioned. Then he said: ‘Acknowledgment (recognition) of invention requires this meaning and applies to it.’” [Al-Minhaj]
The Impact of Belief in this Name:
1) The Initiator of the creation of the heavens and earth is Allaah; none has the right to be worshipped except Him alone, without any associates. There is no Creator besides Him. He is the One Who split (parted) the sky with rain and the earth with plants. He is the One Who initiated all the creation, when there was nothing. He (Ta’ala) says in Surat Maryam (19:67):
أَوَلَا يَذْكُرُ الْإِنسَانُ أَنَّا خَلَقْنَاهُ مِن قَبْلُ وَلَمْ يَكُ شَيْئًا
“Does not man remember that We created him before, while he was nothing?”
If Allaah (Ta’ala) is the Initiator of the creation, how could anything other than Him be worshipped and magnified?
Allaah (Ta’ala) has directed His slaves to this matter in many verses in His Book, such as in Surat al-A’raaf (7:54-55):
إِنَّ رَبَّكُمُ اللَّهُ الَّذِي خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ فِي سِتَّةِ أَيَّامٍ ثُمَّ اسْتَوَىٰ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ يُغْشِي اللَّيْلَ النَّهَارَ يَطْلُبُهُ حَثِيثًا وَالشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ وَالنُّجُومَ مُسَخَّرَاتٍ بِأَمْرِهِ أَلَا لَهُ الْخَلْقُ وَالْأَمْرُ تَبَارَكَ اللَّهُ رَبُّ الْعَالَمِينَ
“Indeed your Lord is Allaah, Who created the heavens and the earth in Six Days, and then He Istaawa (rose over) the Throne (really in a manner that suits His Majesty). He brings the night as a cover over the day, seeking it rapidly, and (He created) the sun, the moon, the stars subjected to His Command. Surely, His is the Creation and Commandment. Blessed be Allaah, the Lord of the ‘Alameen (mankind, jinn and all that exists)!”
ادْعُوا رَبَّكُمْ تَضَرُّعًا وَخُفْيَةً إِنَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُعْتَدِينَ
“Invoke your Lord with humility and in secret. He likes not the aggressors.”
2) The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) used to magnify (glorify) and invoke his Lord with this Name.
Abu Salamah (Radia-Allaahu ’anhu) said: “I asked ‘Aishah (Radia-Allaahu ’anha): ‘With what did the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) open his Salaat with when he stood up in the night?’ She said: ‘When he stood up at night, he would open his Salaat by saying:
اللَّهُمَّ ربّ جبرائيل و ميكائيل و إسرافيل، فاطرَ السَّمَاوَات و الأرض، عالِمَ الغيب و الشهادة، أنت تحكم بين عبادَك فيما كانوا فيه يختلفون. اهْدني لما اخْتُلِف فيه من الحقّ بإذنك ، إِنَّك تهدي مَن تشاءُ إلى صراطٍ مستقيم.
Allaahumma Rabba Jibraa’eel wa Meekaa’eel wa Israafeel, Faatiras-Samaawaati wal-Ard, ‘Aalimal-Ghaibi wash-Shahaadati, anta tahkumu bayna ‘Eebaadaka feema kaanu feehi yakhtalifoon, Ihdini limakhtulifa feehi minal-Haqqi bi’ithnik. Innaka Tahdee man Tashaa’u ilaa siraatin mustaqeem.
“O Allaah, Lord of Jibraa’eel, Mikaa’eel, and Israafeel; Originator of the heavens and the earth, Knower of the hidden and the seen; it is You Who judge between Your slaves concerning that which they used to differ. Guide me (by You Grace) to the Truth concerning that about which they differed, verily you guide whomever You will to the Straight Path.’”[Muslim]
He (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) also used to say the following Du’aa in the opening supplication of the prayer:
وَجَّهْتُ وَجْهِيَ لِلَّذِي فَطَرَ السَّمَوَاتِ وَالأَرْضَ حَنِيفًاً وَمَا أَنَا مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ إِنَّ صَلاَتِي وَنُسُكِي وَمَحْيَاىَ وَمَمَاتِي لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ لاَ شَرِيكَ لَهُ وَبِذَلِكَ أُمِرْتُ وَأَنَا مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ، اللَّهُمَّ أَنْتَ الْمَلِكُ ……”
Wajjahtu wajhiya lilladhi fataras-samaawaati wal-arda hanifan wa ma ana minal-mushrikeen. Inna salaati wa nusuki wa mahyaya wa mamaati lillaahi rabbil-alameen, laa sharika lahu, wa bidhaalika umirtu wa ana min al-muslimeen. Allaahumma! Antal-maliku….
“I have turned my face Hanifa (upright on Islamic Monotheism) towards Him Who is the Originator of the heavens and the earth, and I am not of the polytheists. Verily, my prayer, my sacrifice, my living, and my death are for Allaah, the Rabb (Lord) of the worlds. There is no partner with Him. And this is what I have been commanded (to profess and believe), and I am one of the believers. O Allaah, You are the King…..” [Muslim]
His (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) statement: “I have turned my face” means “I have intended (sought) with my act of worship, the One Who originated and created the heavens and the earth, and no one else.”
The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) used to glorify Allaah by this Name in his morning and evening supplication:
“اللهم عالمَ الغيبِ والشَّهادة، فاطِرَ السّماواتِ والأرضِ، ربَّ كلِّ شيءٍ ومليكَهُ أشهدُ أن لا إله إلا أنت، أعوذُ بكَ مِنْ شِّر نفْسِي ومن شَرِّ الشَّيْطانِ وشِرْكِهِ”
Allaahumma ‘alimal-ghaibi wash-Shahadaah, fatiras-samaawaati wal-ard, Rabba kulli shai’in wa malikahu. Ash-hadu an laa ilaaha illa Anta, a’oodhu bika min sharri nafsi, wa min sharrish- Shaitaani wa shirkihi.
“O Allaah! Knower of the Unseen and Seen, Originator of the heavens and the earth! Lord of everything and its Possessor. I bear witness that none has the right to be worshipped but You. I seek Your Protection from the evil of my soul from the evil of Shaytaan and his Shirk.”
The Messenger of Allaah (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) added: “Recite these words in the morning and the evening and when you go to bed.” [Authenticated by al-Albaani in Saheeh at-Tirmidhi]
An-Nahj Al-Asma’ fee Sharh Asma’ Allaahul-Husna, by Shaikh Muhammad Hamoud an-Najdi
- The Name of Allaah: Ar-Ra’oof (The Compassionate, Full of Kindness)
- Al-Qahir (The Irresistible) , Al-Qahhaar (The Subduer)
- Knowing Our Rabb (Part-2): Where is Allah?
- The Name of Allaah: Al-Ghaniyy (The Rich, Free of all needs)