Sura Al-Fatiha (, Sūratu al-Fātihah, "The Opening") is the first chapter of the Muslim holy book, the Qur'an. Its seven verses are a prayer for God's guidance and stress the lordship and mercy of God. This chapter has a special role in daily prayers (Salat), being recited at the start of each unit of prayer, or rak'ah.

Interpretation of the Meaning of Sura Al-Fatiha Edit

Muslims believe that the Qur'an is a revelation from God in the Arabic language. Translations into other languages are considered by many to be merely superficial "interpretations" of the meanings and not reliable versions of the Qur'an. Although some Qur'an alone and liberal Muslims use translations as part of their daily prayers, they are used mainly for personal spiritual use by non-Arabic speakers.

The Arabic text with transliteration and translation in English is as follows: . “In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful: All Praise is due to Allah alone,the sustainer of all the worlds, The Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Lord of the day of judgment! You alone we worship, and You alone we ask for help Guide us to the straight path; the path of those upon whom you have bestowed your blessing, not of those who deserve your anger, nor of those who go astray.”

1:1 بِسْمِ اللّهِ الرَّحْمـَنِ الرَّحِيم

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful:

1:2 الْحَمْدُ للّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِين

All Praise is due to Allah, Lord of the Alamin.

1:3 الرَّحْمـنِ الرَّحِيم

The Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

1:4 مَـالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّين

Sovereign of the Day of Recompense.

1:5 إِيَّاك نَعْبُدُ وإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِين

You alone we worship, and You alone we ask for help

1:6 اهدِنَــــا الصِّرَاطَ المُستَقِيمَ

Guide us to the straight path;

1:7 صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنعَمتَ عَلَيهِمْ غَيرِ المَغضُوبِ عَلَيهِمْ وَلاَ الضَّالِّين

The way of those on whom You have bestowed your grace, not (the way) of those who have earned Your anger, nor of those who went astray.

When recited during daily prayers, some schools of thought follow Surah Al-Fatihah by the word Amin.

The Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said: whoever does not recite Surah Al-fatihah in his prayer his prayer is invalid. (Reported by Al-Bukhari)

Notes Edit

The first verse, transliterated as "bismillāhir rahmānir rahīm", may be familiar to non-Arabic speakers and non-Muslims because of its ubiquity in Arabic and Muslim societies. This verse appears at the start of every sura in the Qur'an (except for surah at-Tawbah). The verse is said before reciting a sura or part of a sura during daily prayer, and also before public proclamations and indeed before many personal and everyday activities in many Arabic and Muslim societies as a way to invoke God's blessing and proclaim one's motives before an undertaking.

The two words "ar rahmān" and "ar rahīm" are often translated in English as "the beneficent" and "the merciful" or "the generous" and "the merciful." They are often also translated as superlatives, for example, "the most generous" and "the most merciful." Grammatically the two words "rahmaan" and "raheem" are different linguistic forms of the triconsonantal root R-H-M, connoting "mercy." (For more information, see the section on root forms in Semitic languages.) The form "rahmaan" denotes degree or extent, i.e., "most merciful," while "raheem" denotes time permanence, i.e., "ever merciful."

The reading of the first word of the fourth verse, translated as "master/king" above, has been the subject of debate. The two main readings, or qira'at, of the Qur'an, Warsh and Hafs, differ on whether it should be "maliki" with a short "a," which means "king" (Warsh, from Nafi'; Ibn Kathir; Ibn Amir; Abu 'Amr; Hamza), or "māliki" with a long "a," which means "master" or "owner" (Hafs, from Asim, and Al-Kisa'i). Both "maliki" and "māliki" derive from the same triconsonantal root in Arabic, M-L-K. Both readings are considered valid by many practitioners, since both can be seen as describing God.

In some Muslim societies, Al-Fatiha is traditionally read together by a couple to seal their engagement, however this act is not recorded in the sunnah and is seen by many to be an innovation.

Revelation Edit

Islamic scholarly tradition is concerned, amongst other things, with when and where verses and chapters of the Qur'an were revealed to Muhammad - for example, whether a verse was revealed while Muhammad was in Mecca or Medina. According to Ibn Abbas and others, Sura Al-Fatiha is a Meccan surah; according to Abu Hurayrah and others, it is a Madinan surah. The former view is more widely accepted, although some believe that it was revealed in both Mecca and Medina.

Alternate names Edit

This surah is sometimes known in English as "the Exordium". In various Hadith it is described as "the mother of the Book" (Umm al-Kitab) and "the mother of the Qur'an" (Umm al-Qur'an), and "the cure of diseases" ("Sura-tul-shifa") and said to be the 7 (number) verses alluded to in Al-Hijr :

In an authentic Hadith reported by At-Tirmidhi, who graded it Sahih, Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) said that the Messenger of Allah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said: ' Al-Hamdu Lillahi Rabbil Alamin (All Praise is due to Allah, Lord of the Alamin) is the Mother of the Book, the Mother of the Qur'an and the seven repeated Ayat of the Glorious Qur'an.

"We have given thee seven of the oft-repeated (verses) and the great Qur'an."

Statistics Edit

This sura contains 7 verses, 29 words and 139 letters (or 25 and 120, not counting the first verse), although Ibn Kathir says "The scholars say that Al-Fatiha consists of 25 words, and that it contains 113 letters." It falls in the first hizb, and hence the first juz', which are sections of the Qur'an.

Translations, interpretations and commentaries on Surah Al-Fatiha Edit

Many Islamic scholars have emphasised the importance of this chapter in their commentaries.

The Islamic mandatory prayers require every practicing Muslim in the world to recite Surah Al-Fatiha at least 17 times a day.

See alsoEdit

  • Al-Fatiha in different languages

External linksEdit

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