Salaam and Greetings of Peace:
“There are eight gates for Paradise and seven gates for the Fire.” said the Prophet (pbuh).
The saying of praise for Allah, “Al-Hamdu Lil-lahi,” has eight alphabets*; the number of the gates of Paradise is also eight, therefore he who recites these eight alphabets out of purity of heart does deserve (the opening of) the eight gates of Paradise.
Know that indeed there are eight gates for Paradise, and in the rank that you reach after reciting, “I take refuge in Allah from Shaytan the outcast…” one gate of the eight gates of Paradise opens for you; that is the gate of Ma’refa (Divine Gnosis).
A second gate is that of al-Dhikr (Remembrance) as you are reciting ‘Bismil-lahir Rahmanir Rahim’.
The third gate is that of Shukr (Gratitude) after reciting ‘Al-Hamdu Lil-Lahi Rabbil Alamin’.
The fourth gate is that of Hope when you recite ‘Ar-Rahanir Rahimi’.
The fifth gate is that of Fear when you recite ‘Maliki Yaumid-Din’.
The sixth gate is that of Purity born out of the Ma’refa (Divine Gnosis) of ‘Ubudiat (Servitude) and Rububiat (Divinity) in your reciting ‘Iyyaka Na’budu Wa Iyyaka Nasta’inu’.
The seventh gate is that of Du’a (Invocation) in your reciting ‘Ihdinas Siratal Mustaqim’.
The eighth gate is that of ‘Iqtidā’ (emulation or following the example) of the good and pure souls, and of seeking guidance through their Nur (Divine Light) and that is in your reciting of ‘Siratal La-Dhina…’
Now you know the secrets of the Eight Gates of Paradise and what is referred to in 38:50. ‘The Gardens of Eden with opened gates for them’. For the Gardens of Divine Gnosis have been opened by these spiritual keys, and this does point to what happens during the Prayer of Spiritual Ascension, like that of the Prophet (pbuh) to the Heavens.
– From the Tasfir al-Kabir (The Great Commentary), al-Fatiha, verse 7, by Fahkr al-Din al-Razi (his exegesis on the Quran), also named the Mafatih al-Ghayb (The Keys to the Unknown).
Taken, with thanks to Brother Dara, from the Untiredwithloving website.
*Note: The eight alphabets: Al: Alif+Lam (Lam is the ‘l’ sound)
Hamd: Ha+Mim+Dal (o sound of Al-Hamdo is not an alphabet), Ha is ‘h’ sound, Mim ‘m’ and Dal ‘d’ sound