Surat Al-Fatiha (The Opening)


This Surah has a lot of nicknames, such as the mother of the book, and the seven oft-recited Ayas, as Allah mentions in Surah Al-Hijr: We have given you the seven oft-recited verses and the whole glorious Quran [15:87]
Prophet Muhammad PBUH says about this noble Surah:
‘I swear by the One in Whose Hand lies my soul! The like of it has neither been revealed in the Tawrah, nor the Injil nor the Zabur, nor in the Furqan. It is the chapter with the seven oft-repeated verses, and the Magnificent Qur’an which I was given.'” [At-tirmidhi]
An Intro and a Summary for the whole Book:
The Quran contains 3 main themes, and this Surah serves as an intro and a summary for the following:

A Dialogue with Your Creator

When Omar Bin Abdul-Aziz would recite Surah Al-Fatiha, he would pause after reading every single verse. When asked about that he answered: “because I wanted to enjoy the reply from my Lord”. He was referring to this beautiful authentic hadith:

Prophet PBUH said: “Allah said: ‘I have divided the prayer between Myself and My servant into two halves, and My servant shall have what he has asked for:

  • ‘When the servant says: ‘Al-hamdulillah i rabbil Alameen’ [1:2]  Allah says:’My servant has praised Me, and My servant shall have what he has asked for.
  • And when he says: ‘Ar-Rahmanir-Rahim,’ [1:3] Allah says: ‘My servant has exalted Me, and My servant shall have what he has asked for.’
  • And when he says: ‘Maliki yawmi ddin’ [1:4] Allahs says: ‘My servant has Glorified Me. This is for Me, and this Verse is between me and My servant in two halves.’
  • And when he says: ‘ Iyyaka na’budu wa iyyaka nastain ‘ He says: ‘This is between Me an My servant, and My servant shall have what he has asked for.

And the end of the Surah is for My servant.’ And when he says: ‘Ihdinas-siratal-mustaqeema, siratal-alldhina an’amta alayhim a lad-dallin’ ‘ He says: ‘This is for My servant, and My servant shall have what he has asked for.”                    [Narrated by Ibn Majah]

Action Item: Practical Way to Relate Al-Fatiha to Your Life:

We repeat This Surah at least 17  times every single day. Reflecting on its meaning is essential to attain Khushu (humility) in our prayers. Some people get bored from repeating it, however repetition is meant to enforce certain meanings and attitudes.  Here’s a suggested plan to make sure that you read it with a conscious mind and a humble heart. You can always direct your OWN thoughts and PLAN on how you want to attain humility and contemplation inside the salat, but I hope that this helps as a starting point:

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ
In the name of Allah, the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy

  • ​Always start your affairs with the name of Allah
  • ​His mercy is the first attribute used to introduce Allah to you
الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ
Praise be to Allah, Lord of the worlds

  • Reflect on His infinite blessings
  • ​​A practical tip is to remember one blessing in each rekaa (unit) of your prayer
الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ
The Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy

  • ​The names of mercy are repeated FOUR times in a relatively short Surah
  • Reflect on your current life & deeds, and how much you need the mercy of Allah to get through it​
مَالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ
Master of the Day of Judgment

  • Reflect on the day of judgment
  • ​​Remember that this prayer may be the last one before you meet Allah
إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ
It is You, we worship; it is You we ask for help

  • This Ayah is the CORE of the Surah, and the essence of Tawhid (confirming the oneness of Allah)
  • ​This is a perfect moment to think about what you want from Allah, and prepare for your upcoming supplication (duaa) and wishes
اهدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ
​Guide us to the straight path

  • The number ONE request you definitely need from Allah is guidance, and from Him alone
  • ​Reflect on the Sirat, a bridge that extends over hell-fire, thinner than a hair and sharper than a sword; every believer should pass over it to enter paradise
صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلاَ الضَّالِّينَ
The path of those You have blessed, those who incur no anger^and who have not gone astray​ 

  • ​Remember that you’re not the only one on the quest for the straight path: many generations before us (prophets, companions, scholars, …) were guided; you’ll read about them a lot in the Quran and in Islamic history; this verse helps you reflect on their lives and ask Allah to follow their footsteps  ​
  • ​​Similarly, many people earned Allah’s wrath and were misguided; this Ayah helps you define what you really want from Allah and helps you set up a specific action plan to reach your goals. It also encourages you to seek for good company and friends and stay away from bad influences & friends

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