I find it helpful to explain a verse of the Quran with a very short elaboration to make the verse closer to the reader. In this series -which I start here with chapter 1 (al-Fatiha) - I try to get a gist of the verses from the book of commentary by Ibn-Kathir and present it to the English reader. The translations are from ClearQuran of Talal Itani.

1. In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful

I start my recitation in the name of Allah whose grace has encompassed everything and everyone and He is Allah who had reserved special mercy for the believers in this world and the world hereafter.

2. Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds

I utter words of praise and complete gratitude to Allah alone because of His superb and praiseworthy attributes and qualities that no one else shares. We also praise Him because of the sheer bounties He has bestowed on us which we realize or do not sometimes realize. He is the Lord and master of all the worlds. The Worlds of human, animal, creatures that we can see or do not see undersea or in the skies, and everyone other than Allah. He has sustained and nurtured all these Worlds and none could exist if He ceased to be their Lord for a fraction of a second.

3. The Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

Allah alone is the One who has the grace that has encompassed everything and has reserved special mercy for the believers in this world and the world hereafter.

4. Master of the Day of Judgement

Allah is the Owner, Master and the King on the day of recompense when everyone will be brought to stand for judgment. In that day no one could claim any authority and no one dares to utter a word except after permission from Allah.

5. It is You we worship, and upon You, we call for help

We humbly worship You alone O Allah with full love, humiliation, and fear and we seek help from none but You O Allah in all our matters

6. Guide us to the straight path

Show us O Allah – in every step of our life- the right and straight path, a path that can be walked only by practicing the Islam that was practiced by Prophet Muhammad -peace be upon him- and explained in this Quran.

7. The path of those You have blessed, not of those against whom there is anger, nor of those who are misguided

Help us O Allah to walk on the path of those on whom you have bestowed your favor among the Prophets, the true believers, the martyrs and the pious. O Allah make us avoid the path of those who earn your anger because of their deliberate rejection of the truth as a result of ill intentions, nor the path of those who are lost because they do not know the truth.