It is named Al-Fatihah, the Opening – because it opens the Book and the recitation in prayer commences by it.It is also named Umm al-Qur’an, the Mother of the Qur’an, and Umm al-Kitab, the Mother of the Book because the meaning of the entire Qur’an is summarised therein.
It is also named Sab’ulMathani, (the Seven Often Repeated Verses), Al-Hamd, (the Praise), Al-Shifa (The Cure) and ArRuqya, the Spiritual Cure.Its recitation is a condition for the effectiveness of the prayer.
It is the Mecci Surah of the Holy Quran.
It was initially the 5th chapter to be disclosed but after Furqan e Hameed was assembled together, it was put at the beginning. Al-Fatiha itself means “The Opening” as this chapter comes right at the start of the Holy Book and serves as a Gateway to read Quran Majeed further. It also has the honor of being the very first Surah that is made known completely.
Although it consists of 7 Ayats only, but it still explains the Almighty’s reverence in a very comprehensive fashion and is a great means of asking Allah for keeping one on the right path.Virtues of Surah Fatiha There are many virtues associated with this Surah. Hazrat Abu Saeed al-Khudri narrates: “While on a journey we halted at a place.
A girl came to us and said: “The chief of this tribe has been stung by a scorpion and our men are not present, is there anybody amongst you who can recite something upon him to treat him?” Then, one of our men went along with her although we did not think that he knew any such treatment. However, our friend went to the chief and recited something upon him and the chief was cured. Thereupon, the chief gave him thirty sheep and gave us all milk to drink.
When he returned, we asked our friend: “Did you know anything to recite upon him to cure him?” He said: “No, I only recited Umm al-Kitab upon him.” We said that do not do anything until we reach Madinah and ask the Prophet regarding this (practice and reward whether the sheep were lawful or not for us).
Upon reaching Madinah, we narrated this to the Prophet (PBUH), whereupon he remarked: “How did he come to know that Al-Fatiha can be used as a cure? (PBUH) Distribute your reward amongst yourselves and a lot a share for me as well”Theme of Surah Fatiha Allah has taught in this Surah to mankind to offer prayer to Him, who is the Lord of this universe before seeking guidance and Who alone can grant it.
The reader should have a firm belief that the Creator of the universe is the source of all knowledge and the study of Quran can provide him guidance. Islam requires a man to commence everything with the name of Allah. By doing this he will keep himself away from evil and wrong deeds.
Then there is prayer of Allah Who is Master, Owner, Sustainer, Provider, Guardian, Sovereign, Ruler, Administrator and Organizer. Then it is added that He is the Master of the Day of Judgment, thus, everyone is accountable for his deeds. Mankind is only worshiper of the Lord and for this reason, mankind is requesting for guidance in every walk of life. The guidance which make mankind favorable is required. The one who will be astray will suffer the wrath of Allah (SWT).
Brief Tafseer of Surah FatihaIn the name of Allah The first ayah of Surah Fatiha is: In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Most Merciful. (Al-Fatiha:
1) This phrase is known as the bismillah. It is good to recite it before doing any action.The Meaning of the letter Baa The Baa in the Arabic language can have three different meanings:
- With – With / In the name of Allah
- Seeking help – Seeking help of the name of Allah
- Seeking blessing – Seeking blessing with the name of AllahThe Meaning of al-Rahman and al-RaheemBoth these names are derived from the same root letters: raa, haa, meem; which means to have mercy.
They are thus similar in meaning and both are connected to Allah’s (SWT) Mercy.
The fact that Allah (SWT) mentions two of His Names which have to do with Mercy, rather than Might and Power or so on, shows just how important this Attribute is.The difference between al-Rahman and al-Raheem is that al-Rahman refers to Allah’s (SWT) Mercy to all of creation. It is His Mercy which is extended to both believers and disbelievers; animals, and everything that exists.
He says in the Qur’an:My Mercy encompasses all things. (Al-A’raf: 156)Al-Rahman therefore indicates the extreme vastness of Allah’s (SWT) Mercy. It is mentioned in a hadith that Allah (SWT) divided Mercy into 100 parts and sent down only one part to this dunya. It is from this one part of His Mercy that animals show mercy to their offspring (Sahih Muslim).
Al-Raheem refers to Allah’s (SWT) Mercy which is specific for the believers. He says in the Qur’an:All Praise is due to AllahThe second ayah is: All praise be to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds. (Al-Fatiha:
2)The Meaning of Hamd and the Difference between Hamd and ShukrHamd means praise and thankfulness. The scholars differed as to the relation between the words hamd and shukr. Some said that they both have the same meaning.
So, the meaning of hamd, in their view, is the same as shukr (gratitude). Hamd is something which must be done with love and reverence, but shukr does not need this. Shukr is done in response to a favour which is done to a person but hamd is done simply because the one being praised and thanked is worthy of that.The Meaning of ‘AalameenSome of the differing views about it are that it refers to:
- Everything which exists other than Allah ta’aalaa
- Mankind and the jinn
- Those things which have an intellect, and they are four: mankind, jinn, angels, and devils
- Those things which have soulsThe best view is the first one, the proof being ayah 23 and 24 of Surah Shu’ara. (23)
Said Pharaoh, “And what is the Lord of the worlds?”(24) [Moses] said, “The Lord of the heavens and earth and that between them, if you should be convinced.The Beneficent, The Most MercifulThe third ayah is:The Beneficent, The Most Merciful. (Al-Fatiha: 3)There is repetition of these two names to emphasize the importance of the quality of mercy.
Also, when something is repeated in the Qur’an, then you should look at the ayah before it and after it, to see how they are related. In this case, the previous ayah mentioned that Allah (SWT) is the Rabb of all the worlds. So, He repeating the words, al-Rahman al-Raheem after that, shows us that His being the Rabb – His taking of and sustaining and providing for us – is all part of His Mercy towards us.
Master of the Day of RewardThe fourth ayah is:The Only Owner of the Day of Recompense. (Al-Fatiha: 3)The Meaning of MaalikThe first word of this ayah can be recited in two ways: either as “Maalik” (with a madd after the meem) or as “Malik” (without the madd). Maalik means master, and it refers to “milk” – the ownership of something.
Malik means king, and it refers to “mulk” – the dominion of a person.God is the Lord of the Day when all generations of mankind gather together on order to render an account of their conduct, and when each person will be finally rewarded or punished for his deeds.
The description of God as Lord of the Day of Judgement following the mention of his benevolence and compassion indicates that we ought to remember another aspect of God as well-namely, that He will judge us all, Hence, we ought not only to love Him for nourishing and sustaining us and for His compassion and mercy towards us, but also hold Him in awe because of His justice.
You (Alone) We WorshipThe fifth ayah is:You (alone) we worship and You (alone) we ask for help. (Al-Fatiha: 5)At this point, there is a shift in the Surah from informing us about Allah (SWT) and praising Him, to addressing Him.”We worship” means we obey. Worship is obedience and self-abasement.
It means to humble yourself before Allah (SWT) and to submit to His Will. The ayah affirms the Lordship of Allah.”Iyyaaka nasta’een” means we seek help and success. Usually, in most sentences the verb comes first and then the object; but in this ayah the object of the verb is mentioned first and then the verb to attach importance to it, to Allah (SWT).
It also refers the status of the slave and his worship which is lower so it will come after mentioning the Lord, Allah (SWT).Guide us on the Straight PathThe sixth ayah is:Guide us on the Straight Path. (Al-Fatiha: 5)This ayah is a dua which we make to Allah (SWT). We ask Him to show us the Straight Path and to guide us on it, so that we will get His Guidance which draws us closer and nearer to Him. We need to struggle towards Allah (SWT) by doing good deeds and by staying away from all bad deeds which will distance us from Him.
The Meaning of MustaqeemMustaqeem is derived from istaqaama, which means to be upright and correct. We already said that for a road to be a sirat it must be straight, so this adjective of mustaqeem again emphasizes the straight path. Another meaning of mustaqeem is to remain firm without tilting. For example, a tree that is firmly grounded when the wind blows it is not affected by it. So, the Straight Path is a path on which people are firmly grounded.
The Path of Those…The seventh and final ayah is:The path of those you have blessed, not of those with anger on them, nor of those who are astray. (Al-Fatiha: 7)This ayah is for the people Allah has blessed and his guidance. This is explained by Allah (SWT) in another ayah where He says: Whosoever obeys Allah and the Messenger, they are with those whom Allah has favored, the Prophets, the sincere, the martyrs and the righteous, and these are the best company.
(Al-Nisa’: 69)So, the favored and blessed people are the Prophets, the righteous, the martyrs and the pious. And who are the people with anger on them and those who are astray? This is explained by the Prophet. ‘Adi ibn Hatim (RA) asked him about those with anger on them and he replied that it refers to the Jews. He then asked him about those who are astray and he replied that it refers to the Christians.
Impact of Surah Al-Fatiha on the life of a Muslim as servant of Allah.The recitation of Surat Al-Fatiha in every Salat cause us to reflect deeply on our relationship with Rabb Al-‘Alameen; it drive us to ensure that we are sincere to the meaning of the words we utter when we say You alone we worship, and in You alone we seek help.
Reciting these words cause us to shape our lives according to His commands and prohibitions, in preparation for meeting the Owner/King of the Day of Judgement. And above all else, it informs us and reminds us that all praise belongs to Allah, the Lord of the worlds.
The hamd or praise over, the Surah draws attention to the all-encompassing providence of God, His mercy, and His justice; and thus gives a comprehensive picture of divine attributes which operate to provide man with all that he needs to sustain and develop the humanity in him and prevent him from going down in the scale of life.