SURAH AL FATIHAH (THE OPENING)
By Fadia Bint Ismail
In preparing for Ramadan i think it is best that we try to perfect our Salaah and therefore to understand the first Surah that we commence every Salaah with Surah Al Fatihah.
Bismillaah ar-Rahman ar-Raheem
Al hamdu lillaahi rabbil ‘alameen
Ar-Rahman ar-Raheem Maaliki yaumid Deen
Iyyaaka na’abudu wa iyyaaka nasta’een
Ihdinas siraatal mustaqeem
Siraatal ladheena an ‘amta’ alaihim
Ghairil maghduubi’ alaihim waladaaleen
In the name of God, the infinitely Compassionate and Merciful.
Praise be to God, Lord of all the worlds.
The Compassionate, the Merciful. Ruler on the Day of Reckoning.
You alone do we worship, and You alone do we ask for help.
Guide us on the straight path,
the path of those who have received your grace;
not the path of those who have brought down wrath, nor of those who wander astray.
Al Fatihah- The opening- because it opens the book and by it the recitation in prayer commences. It is recited 17 times a day in a Fard (compulsory prayer) This Surah is also called Umm Al Kitab (The mother of the book). Surah Al Fatihah contains 7 Ayat, 25 words and 113 letters.
In an authentic Hadith recorded by At-Tirmidhi, who graded it Sahih, Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,
“Al-Hamdu lillahi Rabbil-`Alamin is the Mother of the Qur’an, the Mother of the Book, and the seven repeated Ayat of the Glorious Qur’an”
It is also called Al-Hamd and As-Salah, because the Prophet said that his Lord said
“The prayer (i.e., Al-Fatihah) is divided into two halves between Me and My servants.’ When the servant says, `All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of existence,’ Allah says, ‘My servant has praised Me”
Al-Fatihah was revealed in Makkah as Ibn `Abbas, Qatadah and Abu Al-`Aliyah stated. Allah said,
“And indeed, We have bestowed upon you the seven Mathani) (seven repeatedly recited verses), (i.e. Surat Al-Fatihah) (15:87). Allah knows best”
The Glorious Names of Surah Fatihah
- Al-Fatihah (The Opening) – It is named Al-Fatihah, the Opening – because it opens the Book and by it the recitation in prayer commences.
- Umm al-Quran (Mother of the Quran) – According to At-Tirmidhi on the authority of Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “The chapter commencing with] “All praises and thanks are due to Allah the Lord of the Worlds” is the Mother of the Quran, the Mother of the Book, the Seven Oft Repeated Verses and the Great Quran.” Ibn Jarir at-Tabari said that it was named so because the meaning of the entire Quran is summarized therein. The Arabs named anything that concisely summarizes something or comprises its most important part, Umm, or Mother.
- Umm al-Kitab (Mother of the Book) – Al-Bukhari said in the beginning of the Book of Tafsir in his Sahih: “It is named Umm al-Quran because it is the first chapter written in the Quranic texts and the recitation in prayer commences with it.”
- Sab’ul-Mathani (The Seven Oft Repeated Verses) – It is also named Sab’ul-Mathani, the Seven Oft Repeated Verses, because they are frequently recited and indeed recited in every rakaah of the prayer. Allah says in the Quran:
- Al-Hamd (Praises to Allah) – It is also named Al-Hamd, the Praise, because it contains mention of hamd just as Al-Baqarah is named so because it contains mention of the cow. Some scholars also gave the reasoning that Al-Hamd comprises heart of Al-Fatihah.
- As-Salah (The Prayer) – It is named the Prayer because its recitation is a condition for the validity of the prayer.
- Ash-Shifa – It is also named Ash-Shifa’, the Cure, due to what Ad-Darimi reports on the authority of Abu Sa’id that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “The Opening of the Book is a cure to every poison.”
- Ar-Ruqyah – It is also named Ar-Ruqya, the Spiritual Cure due to the hadith of Abu Sa’id reported by Bukhari that after he had recited it to cure a person who had been bitten by a scorpion, the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) asked him, “…And what made you to know that it was a ruqyah.”
- Asas al-Quran (the Foundation of the Quran) – Ash-Sha’bi records on the authority of Ibn Abbas that he named it , and that he said, “The foundation of Al-Fatihah is, “Bismillah…” (with the Name of Allah, the All-Merciful, the Most Merciful.)
Narrated ‘Ubâdah bin As-Sâmit Allâh’s Messenger said,
“Whoever does not recite Sûrat Al-Fâtihah in his prayer, his prayer is invalid. (Sahih Al-Bukhâri, Vol.1, Hadîth No. 723).