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Surah Fatiha [The Opener]


Surah Fatiha
Surah Fatiha

Period of Revelation

With regards to the revelation of this chapter (surah Fatiha), it is reported by Ibn ‘Abbāsra, Qatādah, and Abū al-‘Āliyah that Sūrah al-Fātihah was revealed in Makkah.


However, Abū Hurairahra, Mujāhid, ‘Aṭā, and Zuhrī say that this chapter was revealed to the Holy Prophet ﷺ in Madinah. Nevertheless, it is apparent from the Holy Qur’an that this chapter was revealed in Makkah because it has been mentioned in Sūrah al-Ḥijr - a chapter unanimously agreed to be revealed in Makkah, in the following words:


And We have, indeed, given thee the seven oft-repeated verses, and the Great Qur’an. [15:87]

Some scholars consider this chapter to have been revealed twice – first in Makkah and second in Madinah. [Ahmad, Mirza Bahir Ud-Din (1988). The Quran with English Translation and Commentary.]


It is certain that this chapter was revealed in Makkah. However, it can be proven through authentic narrations that it was also revealed in Madinah. Therefore, it appears that in reality it was revealed on two occasions. Whilst in Madinah the Holy Prophet ﷺ mentioned to a gathering that Sūrah al-Fātiḥah has been revealed, some assumed that this chapter had been revealed for the first time there; however, the Prophet’s ﷺ purpose was only to inform them that the chapter had been revealed once again in Madinah.


Another piece of evidence that proves that this chapter’s revelation was originally in Makkah is that in the narrations it is mentioned that Sūrah al-Fātiḥah had always been recited during formal prayers [i.e., salat]. Since congregational prayers began to be performed in Makkah – in fact, they began at the very inception of Islam –this further proves that this chapter was first revealed in Makkah.


Virtues of Surah Fatiha

Opening of the Quran

Al-Ḥasan said, “Allah sent down 104 books from the heavens and He condensed these books into four books: the Torah, the Zabūr, the Injīl, and the Qur’ān. Then He condensed the content of the first three books into the Qur’ān. He then condensed the content of the Qur’ān into the Mufaṣṣal (Sūrahs 50-114). He then condensed the content of the Mufaṣṣal into Sūrah al-Fātiḥah.” Others added that the content of Sūrah al-Fātiḥah can be condensed into the āyah: “You Alone we worship, and You Alone we ask for help.


The grand recital, the great Quran

The greatness of Surah Al-Fatihah was mentioned by Prophet Muhammadﷺ himself.

He told his companion, Abu Sa’id bin Mu’alla r.a., that He would teach him the greatest Surah before Abu Sa’id r.a. could leave the mosque. Later, when Prophet Muhammad ﷺ intended to leave the mosque, Abu Sa’id reminded him by asking:


أَلَمْ تَقُلْ ‏"لأُعَلِّمَنَّكَ سُورَةً هِيَ أَعْظَمُ سُورَةٍ فِي الْقُرْآنِ‏"‏‏.‏ قَالَ ‏"‏‏(‏الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ)‏ هِيَ السَّبْعُ الْمَثَانِي وَالْقُرْآنُ الْعَظِيمُ الَّذِي أُوتِيتُهُ‏"‏‏


Didn't you say to me, “I will teach you a Surah which is the greatest Surah in the Qur'an?” He (Prophetﷺ) replied, "Alhamdulillahi Rabbi-l-'alamin (i.e. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds) which is Al-Sab'a Al-Mathani (i.e. seven repeatedly recited Verses) and the Grand Quran which has been given to me”.

[Sahih Al-Bukhari]


Opening of the Salah

‘Ubadah ibn al-Samat reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said,


‏ لاَ صَلاَةَ لِمَنْ لَمْ يَقْرَأْ بِفَاتِحَةِ الْكِتَابِ

Whoever does not recite Al-Fatihah in his prayer, his prayer is invalid.


Light from Heaven

Once, the Messengerﷺ of Allahﷻ was sitting with Jibrīl, and heﷺ heard a creaking sound above him. Jibrīl looked up towards the sky and said, “This is (the sound of) a gate that has been opened in Paradise today, and it has never been previously opened.” Then an Angel descended through it and came to the Prophetﷺ and said, “Rejoice in the good news of two lights that have been given to you, which no Prophet before you was given: Sūrah al-Fātiḥah and the concluding (two) verses of Sūrah al-Baqarah. You will never recite a word from them, except that you will be given (its blessings).”


The Cure

This is based on a narration by Abu Sa’id al-Khudri r.a. He reported that some of the companions went on a journey and landed at a place where a woman came to them and asked for help because their chief was bitten by a scorpion. So one of the companions recited Surah Al-Fatihah, and the chief then regained his health. The incident was reported to the Prophetﷺ because they were unsure whether they could accept the reward from Ruqyah (a type of spiritual healing). He ﷺthen said:


مَا كَانَ يُدْرِيهِ أَنَّهَا رُقْيَةٌ اقْسِمُوا وَاضْرِبُوا لِي بِسَهْمٍ مَعَكُمْ


How did you come to know that this (Sura al-Fatihah) could be used as a Ruqyah? So distribute them (amongst those who had been present there with him) and allocate a share of mine also.



The Hadith above indicates that Prophet Muhammadﷺ approved the act of Ruqyah. This is why this Surah is also called Shifa or cure.


Conversation with Allah

Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said,

“Allah Almighty said: I have divided prayer between Myself and My servant into two halves, and My servant shall have what he has asked for.


When the servant says, ‘All praise is due to Allah the Lord of the worlds,’ Allah says: My servant has praised Me.


When he says, ‘The Gracious, the Merciful,’ Allah says: My servant has exalted Me.


When he says, ‘The Master of the Day of Judgment,’ Allah says: My servant has glorified Me and my servant has submitted to Me.


When he says, ‘You alone we worship, You alone we ask for help,’ Allah says: This is between Me and My servant, and My servant will have what he has asked for.


When he says, ‘Guide us to the straight path, the path of those whom you have favored, not those who went astray,’ Allah says: This is for My servant, and My servant will have what he has asked for.”



Theme of Surah Fatiha

A prayer!


Being a prayer of a servant to its master, Surah Fatiha is placed at the start of the Quran. While the rest of the Quran is the answer from the Master to the prayer of a servant. The servant prays to Allah to show him guidance and the Master places the whole of the Quran before him, coming after Surah Fatiha, in answer to his prayer, as if to say, "This is the Guidance you begged from Me."

SubhanAllah.


Subject Matter of Surah Fatiha

  • Who is one true God?

  • Attributes of Allah.

  • Why and to whom do we pray to?

  • What is an ideal prayer?

  • Establishment of the day of judgment.

  • Who is the master, creator, and sustainer of everything that exists and does not exist?

  • Only Allah is worthy of worship and seeking help.

  • What is THE STRAIGHT PATH a believer needs to follow?

  • What kind of company we should follow?

  • What are the things we should restrain and seek protection from?

  • We do and why do we need the help of Allah ALL THE TIME?


*The explanation of all these points is in the REFLECTION ON SURAH FATIHA.







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submission is healing - spiritual journey - spiritual healing - islamic spirituality

Sanniya Arif

A cozy corner, warm lights, clouds, pen, a journal, Quran, and coffee is what I am made of.
By profession, I am copywriter, editor, and designer - By soul, I want to be a rain drop, or a leaf that falls on the cold, wet ground.
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