Thursday 1st of December 2022
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Sūrah al-Fātiḥah

Sūrah al-Fātiah

After the recital of Takbīrah al-Irām, Sūrah al-Fātiah is to be recited and if this sūrah is not recited in the prayer, the prayer is invalid. “.الْكِتاب بِفاتِحَة اِلاّ صَلوٰة لا” “There is no prayer without the Opening of the Book [fātiah al-kitāb].”[1]

The other name of this sūrah is the Opening of the Book [fātiah al-kitāb] because the Qur’an begins with this sūrah. This sūrah has seven verses[2] and according to the tradition of the Most Noble Messenger () on the authority of Jābir ibn ‘Abd Allāh al-Anārī, it is the best sūrah of the Qur’an.[3]

Sūrah al-Fātiah is the only sūrah which is obligatory upon every Muslim to recite at least ten times daily in his five obligatory prayers.

Concerning the importance of this sūrah, it is enough to say that it is narrated in the traditions: “If you recite this sūrah 70 times for the dead person and he revives, do not be surprised.”[4]

From the name, “Opening of the Book” [fātiah al-kitāb] of this sūrah, it is clear that all the verses of the Qur’an were compiled during the time of the Prophet () and formed into a book and at his order this sūrah was placed at the beginning of the Book. The verses of the blessed Sūrah al-amd (or, Fātiah) are about God and His attributes, the issue of the Resurrection [ma‘ād], request for guidance on the path of truth, and the acceptance of the sovereignty [ākimiyyah] and lordship [rubūbiyyah] of God. Also, in this sūrah we express our interest to tread the path of the saints of God and aversion and disavowal of the misguided ones and those who have earned the divine wrath.

Sūrah al-Fātiah is the source of remedies—a cure for both physical ailments and spiritual maladies. In his book, Tafsīr Fātiah al-Kitāb, the late ‘Allāmah Amīnī has narrated many traditions in this regard.


The instructive lessons of Sūrah al-Fātiah

1. By reciting Sūrah al-Fātiah, man cuts his hope from other than God by saying, ﴾ ﺍﷲِ بِسْمِ ﴿ Bismillāh” [In the Name of Allah].

2. By saying ﴾ الْعالَمينَ رَبِّ ﴿ Rabbi’l-‘ālamīn” [Lord of all the worlds] and ﴾ ٱلدِّينِ يَوْمِ مالِكِ ﴿ Māliki yawmi’d-dīn” [Master of the Day of Retribution], he feels that he is the servant [marbūb] and the one who is ruled [mamlūk].

3. By reciting the phrase, ﴾ الْعالَمينَ رَبِّ ﴿ Rabbi’l-‘ālamīn,” he establishes a connection between himself and the universe.

4. By ﴾ ٱلرَّحيمِ الرَّحْمٰنِ ﴿ Ar-ramāni’r-raīm” [the All-beneficent, the All-merciful], he see himself under the aegis of His vast favor.

5. By ﴾ ٱلدِّينِ يَوْمِ مالِكِ ﴿ Māliki yawmi’d-dīn” [Master of the Day of Retribution], his negligence of the Day of Resurrection will be erased.  

6. By ﴾ نَعْبُدُ اِيّاكَ ﴿ Iyyāka na‘bud” [You [alone] do we worship], he abandons his selfishness and desire for fame.

7. By ﴾ نَسْتَعِينُ اِيّاكَ ﴿ Iyyāka nasta‘īn” [to You [alone] do we turn for help], he removes from his mind the idea of seeking help from other than God.

8. By ﴾ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ ﴿ An‘amta ‘alayhim” [You have blessed], he understands that the distribution of favors lies in His hand and envy must be abandoned because the envious one in reality is not satisfied with God’s manner of deciding on and allocating sustenance.

9. By ﴾ اهْدِنَا الصِّراطَ الْمُسْتَقيمَ ﴿ Ihdinā-irāa’l-mustaqīm” [Guide us on the straight path], he wants to ask for firmness in treading the path of truth.

10. By ﴾ صِراطَ الَّذينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ ﴿ irā alladhīna an‘amta ‘alayhim” [the path of those whom You have blessed], he declares his solidarity with those who have traversed the way of God.

11. And finally, by ﴾ غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَ لاَ الضّالِّينَ ﴿ Ghayri’l-maghūbi ‘alayhim wa lā-āllīn” [such as have not incurred Your wrath, nor are astray, he declares disavowal of falsehood and the people of falsehood.


[1] Mustadrak al-Wasā’il, hadīth 4365.

[2] The number “seven” is the number of the heavens, the days of the week, the circumambulation [awāf] of the Ka‘bah, sa‘ī [brisk walking or jogging] between the mounts of afā and Marwah, and the number of stones to be thrown at the representations of Satan during the ajj rituals.

[3] Tafsīr Kanz ad-Daqā’iq.

[4] Biār al-Anwār, vol. 92, p. 257.

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