Surah al-Fatiha in English means The Opening. It is the first Surah of the Holy Quran. Its immense importance in Islam can be evaluated from the fact that it is indeed a prerequisite of every prayer. No prayer is accepted without the recitation of this Surah, regardless of whether it is an obligatory or voluntary prayer. In a Hadith recorded in Sahih al-Bukhari, Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) said that if someone doesn’t recite Surah al-Fatiha then their prayer isn’t valid.
Translation of Surah al-Fatiha
In the name of Allah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.Quran 1
[All] praise is [due] to Allah, Lord of the worlds.
The Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful,
Sovereign of the Day of Recompense.
It is You we worship and You we ask for help.
Guide us to the straight path.
The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor, not of those who have earned [Your] anger or of those who are astray.
Start of Surah al-Fatiha: We should praise Allah day and night
At the start of the Surah, we affirm that all praise and glorification is owed to Allah alone. Additionally, no other entity has a share in His right to be worshipped. Truly, he is the only deity worthy of being exalted, for He is infinite and unlike anything else in existence. In summary, he alone is all-powerful and the only one who is perfect in every sense. All of creation is reliant on none but Him for survival and sustenance.
We should acknowledge Allah alone, as the Lord of all creation
The second part of the verse emphatically establishes Allah’s authority over the entire universe and everything within it. It is an affirmation of His exclusive dominion above all of creation. He alone is the omnipotent Creator of all things. All His attributes are perfect in every sense, and He cannot be compared to any of His creation.
Furthermore, He is omniscient, possessing knowledge of everything, and has no flaws. He has no difficulty in sustaining and taking care of everything that exists at all times. Allah has no weaknesses and never gets tired. He is completely different from His creation and has no partners or children, for all such matters are beneath His Majesty.
We should always remain hopeful of Allah’s Mercy
Allah is Rahman and Raheem. Both these words from Surah al-Fatiha have a similar meaning. They both pertain to Allah’s Mercy. However, Rahman is a more comprehensive term than Raheem.
Rahman refers to God’s Mercy to all things, not only in this life but also in the Hereafter. On the other hand, Raheem has a very specific implication. Raheem is Allah’s exclusive Mercy, reserved solely for the believers. Hence, created beings can also be labeled Raheem but only to a limited extent. Meanwhile, only Allah can be called Rahman, owing to the connotations of the word.
The Prophet (PBUH) said that when Allah completed creation, He wrote in His book that His Mercy prevails over His Wrath.
This Hadith illustrates Allah’s unfathomable capacity for forgiveness and reminds us never to despair of His Mercy. Regardless of how hopeless and downhearted one may feel, one should always turn to Allah and seek His Mercy, for its scope is beyond our comprehension.
We should always fear Allah’s ultimate accountability of our actions
The Day of Judgment only belongs to Allah. We ought to always keep this ultimate reality in mind. It is imperative to do so to ensure that our priorities are in order. When we are constantly mindful of Allah’s eventual decisive Judgment, we are able to instill piety in our lives.
Having the correct perspective in this life is vital to please Allah, our solitary judge, on the all-important day. Exercising God-consciousness in all our affairs is essential for us to earn His Pleasure with sincerely performed righteous deeds. Consequently, we must also seek to avoid His Wrath by avoiding sinful deeds and shunning evil desires.
We should live by Tawhid and only turn to Allah for help
Allah is the only One worthy of our worship. Indeed, the sole purpose of mankind’s creation was to worship the one true God. It is impermissible to deify any other entity, for Allah has explicitly informed us that He has no partners. Believers must, therefore, pray to Allah alone, and love, fear, and obey Him with utter devotion.
Moreover, Muslims are not to seek help from anyone but Him, unless it is something within His creation’s capability. In cases of being aided by others, we should still be aware that all assistance originates from Allah. Certainly, every single thing that happens is according to His Divine Will.
Lesson from Surah al-Fatiha: We should always pray for steadfastness
Believers ought to seek guidance on the right path and steadfastness at all times. Accordingly, we should read and understand Allah’s revelation, the Noble Quran. Also, we need to reflect deeply on its meanings and strive to our utmost to follow its pristine teachings. In addition, we have to always pray to Allah for guidance in all situations in our lives and pray that He keeps us steadfast upon the truth.
We should aspire to be amongst Allah’s righteous slaves
Muslims should make it their primary goal in life to emulate the upright believers who preceded them. These include the numerous Prophets sent by Allah to preach the pure message of monotheism and their honorable followers. Likewise, it’s crucial to follow in the footsteps of those who sought to please Allah, for we share their aim.
We should seek refuge from misguidance and Allah’s displeasure
While sincerely praying to be among the pious, we should also seek refuge from misguidance and earning Allah’s anger. Muslims appeal to Allah to protect us from the erroneous paths of two groups who went astray. The first of these were those who were aware of the true nature of religion. Nevertheless, they were disobedient and angered Allah.
The second of these immoral groups altered the principles of the religion itself. Indeed, they did this to make religion conform to their sinful desires. They thus distorted Allah’s revelation and had the audacity to assign inappropriate attributes to Him. After modifying the religion, they were able to use it to justify their wicked actions.
The impact of Surah al-Fatiha
Now that we have covered Surah al-Fatiha’s translation and analyzed Surah al-Fatiha’s meanings, it is prudent to consider Surah al-Fatiha’s benefits. The Surah undoubtedly has a massive impact on the everyday life of a Muslim. It is, after all, effectively a pillar of Salah (prayer), which is itself a pillar of Islam. Furthermore, there are many Hadiths pertaining to its virtues.
Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said that the Um (substance) of the Quran is the seven verses that are repeated often. This refers to Surah al-Fatiha.
Furthermore, the recitation of this blessed Surah can also be used to treat illness. The Prophet (PBUH) approved of the practice of reciting Surah Al-Fatiha for healing purposes. (Sahih al-Bukhari) Thus, we can conclude that Surah al-Fatiha also contains healing benefits.
Surah al-Fatiha is the first and most important surah in the Quran. Many Hadith exist that indicate that it is also the best surah of the Quran. Any Muslim who starts learning and reading the Quran will always start with Surah al-Fatiha. That is because this surah is essential for reading the five daily prayers. Without Surah al-Fatiha, you can’t offer Salah, and if you don’t offer Salah, you transgress against Allah. The Prophet (PBUH) said that prayer is the difference between faith and disbelief.
This surah contains deep meanings that we all need to be aware of. Surah al-Fatiha is essentially like a prayer, and it’s quite symbolic that it is right at the beginning of the Quran. It almost serves as a preface to the Quran, showing that the Holy Book caters to people who are seeking the truth. The final verse of this surah is very powerful in this regard as the reciter asks Allah to guide him to the straight path of the righteous believers.
Several major Hadith collections record the Hadith where the Prophet (PBUH) told a companion about the ‘greatest surah’ in the Quran. When the companion asked about it, he said it was Surah al-Fatiha. Additionally, this surah is often utilized for Ruqyah as a cure for illnesses, sicknesses, etc. Hence, there is no doubt that it is one of the most important surahs in the Quran, and we would be well-served to memorize it and recite it often.