So we all know this chapter of the Quran by heart yes? Good. It’s the 7 versed Chapter (Surah) we recite most frequently because we recite it in every prayer. But have you ever stopped to think why this is so? Why must we recite this particular chapter in every standing? Hold on, you’ll soon know why.
Firstly, let us translate all the verses of Surah Al Fatihah:
1. In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.
2. All the praises and thanks be to Allah, the Lord of the Alameen (mankind, jinns and all that exists).
3. The Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.
4. The Only Owner (and the Only Ruling Judge) of the Day of Recompense (i.e. the Day of Resurrection)
5. You (Alone) we worship, and You (Alone) we ask for help (for each and everything).
6. Guide us to the Straight Way
7. The Way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, not (the way) of those who earned Your Anger, nor of those who went astray.
Beautiful isn’t it? Let us move on. The virtues of this amazing Surah are as follows:
A) Reciting Surah Fatihah means having a conversation with Allah
Sahih Muslim records on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (R) who said that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said,
“Allah, the Glorious and Exalted said, “I have divided the prayer between Myself and my servant equally and My servant shall be granted what he asked for.” Therefore, when the servant says, ‘All praises and thanks are due to Allah, the Lord of the worlds’, Allah says, ‘My servant has praised Me.’ When he says, ‘The All-Merciful, the Most Merciful, ‘Allah says, ‘My servant has extolled Me.’ When he says, ‘Master of the Day of Judgment,’ Allah says, ‘My servant has glorified Me.’ When he says, ‘You Alone we worship and Your aid Alone do we seek,’ Allah says, ‘this is between Me and My servant and My servant shall have what he requested.’ When he says, ‘Guide us to the Straight Path, the Path of those whom You have favoured, not [the path] of those who have earned [Your] anger, nor of those who have gone astray,’ Allah says, ‘this is for My servant and My servant shall have what he asked for.’”
Just imagine talking with God!
B) It is the mother of the Qur’an
Fatihah is called the ‘mother of the Quran’ (umm al-Quran). According to At-Tirmidhi on the authority of Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) 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.”
The Chapter has many other names including: ‘Al Fatihah (the opening), Umm al-Kitab (mother of the book), Sab’ul-Mathani (The Seven Oft Repeated Verses), Al-Hamd (Praises to Allah) and As-Salah (The Prayer). The list goes on.
C) It is the greatest Surah of the Quran- We already said this.
Ahmad records on the authority of Abu Sa’ad Ibn Al-Mu’alla who said (in part of the hadith) that the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said,
“…I will teach a Surah which is the greatest Surah in the Quran before you leave the Masjid.’ Then he took hold of my hand and when he intended to leave [the Masjid], I asked him, “Did you not say that you would teach me a Surah which is the greatest Surah in the Qur’an?” He replied, ‘Yes. It is [the Surah commencing with], “All praise and thanks are due to Allah.” It is the Seven Oft-Repeated verses and the Great Qur’an that has been given to me.’”
d) It validates Salaat (Prayer) No Fatihah, no salaat
It is obligatory to read Surah Al Fatihah in Salaat. The Prophet (PBUH) said: “Whoever does not recite Sûrat Al-Fatihah in his prayer, his prayer is invalid.”(Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol.1, Hadith No. 723)
e) It is a cure(Ruqya)
Surah Al Fatihah 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 ruqya.”
I never knew this!
f) It is part of the two lights given to the Prophet (PBUH)
Ibn Abbas (RA) reported that,
“While the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) was sitting with Jibril he heard a creaking sound above him. Jibril looked up and said, “This is [the sound of] a gate that has been opened in heaven today and has never been previously opened.” Then an Angel descended through it and came to the Prophet (PBUH) and said, ‘Rejoice in the good news of two lights that have been given to you such as no prophet before you has been given. [They are] Surah Al-Fatihah and the concluding [two] verses of Surah Al-Baqarah. You will never recite a word from them without being given the blessings they contain.’” (Muslim)
So that’s a lot of quotations and hadith. But I made my point. Now you know Surah Al Fatihah is the most excellent Surah in the holy Quran, and we must all learn to read it correctly. Imagine the reward!