Surah Al-Fatihah – The ‘Greatest Surah’ in the Quran

32 comments

According to the prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), Surah Al-Fatihah is considered as “the greatest Surah” of the Quran. The following provides information about this great Surah along with its many benefits and virtues including its use in healing.

The many names of Surah Al-Fateha

This chapter has a great many names, each one indicating a different aspect of its meaning. In the eyes of Arabs if a thing had many different names, this was an indication of its importance.

The popular names of this Surah are the following:

  • Al-Fatihah (The Opening) – It is named Al-Fatihah, the Opening – because it opens the Book and by it the recitation in prayer commences.
  • Umm al-Quran (Mother of the Quran) – According to At-Tirmidhi on the authority of Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) 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.” Ibn Jarir at-Tabari said that it was named so because the meaning of the entire Quran is summarized therein. The Arabs named anything that concisely summarizes something or comprises its most important part, Umm, or Mother.
  • Umm al-Kitab (Mother of the Book) – Al-Bukhari said in the beginning of the Book of Tafsir in his Sahih: “It is named Umm al-Quran because it is the first chapter written in the Quranic texts and the recitation in prayer commences with it.”
  • Sab’ul-Mathani (The Seven Oft Repeated Verses) – It is also named Sab’ul-Mathani, the Seven Oft Repeated Verses, because they are frequently recited and indeed recited in every rakaah of the prayer. Allah says in the Quran:

 

islam on Surah Al Fatihah   The ‘Greatest Surah’ in the Quran

“And indeed, We have bestowed upon you seven of Al-Mathani (the seven repeatedly recited Verses), (i.e. Surat Al-Fatiha) and the Grand Quran. [Quran: Surah Al-Hijr (87)]”

  • Al-Hamd (Praises to Allah) – It is also named Al-Hamd, the Praise, because it contains mention of hamd just as Al-Baqarah is named so because it contains mention of the cow. Some scholars also gave the reasoning that Al-Hamd comprises heart of Al-Fatihah.
  • As-Salah (The Prayer) – It is named the Prayer because its recitation is a condition for the validity of the prayer.
  • Ash-Shifa – It is also named Ash-Shifa’, the Cure, due to what Ad-Darimi reports on the authority of Abu Sa’id that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “The Opening of the Book is a cure to every poison.”
  • Ar-Ruqyah – It 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.”
  • Asas al-Quran (the Foundation of the Quran) – Ash-Sha’bi records on the authority of Ibn Abbas that he named it , and that he said, “The foundation of Al-Fatihah is, “Bismillah…” (with the Name of Allah, the All-Merciful, the Most Merciful.)

Other scholars have also named it as Al-Kanz (the Treasure), Ash-Shukr (Gratitude), ad-Dua (Supplication), Ash-Shafiyah (the sufficient), Al-Kafiyah (the Sufficient), Al-Wafiyah, the Fulfillment and more.

Revelation of Surah Al-Fatihah

It was revealed in Mecca as stated by Ibn Abbas, Qatadah and Abu’l-Aliyah.

It is also postulated that it was revealed in Madinah as stated by Abu Hurayrah, Mujahid, ‘Ata ibn Yasar and Az-Zuhri. It is also said that it was revealed on two separate occasions – once in Makkah and once in Madinah. However the first opinion is the most likely due to Allah’s saying,

“We have sent to you the Seven Oft Repeated Verses.” [Al-Hijr 15:87]

This verse was revealed in Makkah by agreement of the exegeses.

The Ruling of Reciting Al-Fatihah in Prayer

The opinion of the majority of the scholars, amongst them Malik, Ash-Shafi’i and Ahmad, is that it is obligatory to recite Al-Fatihah in the prayer and that the prayer is invalid without it. Their opinion is based upon many proofs; from amongst them, the sayings of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), who said that “There is no prayer for the one who does not recite the Opening of the Book.”

Narrated ‘Ubâdah bin As-Sâmit Allâh’s Messenger said,

“Whoever does not recite Sûrat Al-Fâtihah in his prayer, his prayer is invalid. (Sahih Al-Bukhâri, Vol.1, Hadîth No. 723).

However, Abu Hanifa and some others had differing opinions on this.

In the case where one is a follower in a congregational prayer then the scholars fell into three opinions with regards to his reciting Al-Fatiha,:

1. It is obligatory upon him to recite it in all prayers.

2. It is upon him not to recite it in all prayers.

3. He should recite it in those prayers in which the recitation is silent, but not in those prayers in which the recitation is loud.

Composition of Surah Al-Fatihah

It consists of seven verses and there is no difference of opinions concerning this.

Scholars have differed concerning the statement “Bismillah-ir-Rahman-ir-Raheem” (with the Name of Allah, the All-Merciful, the Most Merciful.” The majority of the reciters of Kufa postulate that the “verse of Bismillah” comprises an independent verse of Al-Fatihah and this is also the opinion of a group of the Sahabah, Tabi’in and a large group of the later scholars. However the reciters and jurists of Madinah regard it to be part of a verse, and not an independent verse, or not a verse at all.

Those who postulate that “Bismillah” is not a verse of Al-Fatihah state that the seventh verse commences with the words, “not [the path] of those who have earned [Your] Anger … ” (This is because there is no disagreement that Surah Al-Fatihah has seven verses.)

The Virtues of Surah Al-Fatihah

There are a number of ahadith explaining to us the great virtue of this surah. They are summarized as follows:

Allah responds to the believer when he recites Surah Al-Fatiah

Sahih Muslim records on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (R) who said that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) 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 favored, 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.’ “

“Mother of the Quran”

At-Tirmidhi records on the authority of Abu Hurayrah who said that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) 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 Qur’an.”

Unlike other revelations

Ahmad records on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (radiyAllahu’anhu) who said (in part of the hadith) that “The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) called Ubayy ibn Ka’b and told him that,

“…Would you like me to teach you a Surah the likes of which is not to be found in the Tawrah, Injil, Zabur or the [rest of the] Quran?” He said, “Yes O Messenger of Allah”‘ The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, ‘I hope that I will not leave this door until you know it.’

“Ubayy said, ‘Then he took hold of my hand and talked to me while I slowed down fearing that we may reach the door before he finished talking. When we did reach it I asked him, ‘What is the Surah you promised me, O Messenger of Allah?’ He said, “What is the Surah you recite in prayer?” So I recited the Mother of the Quran upon which he said, ‘By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, Allah has not revealed the likes of it in the Torah, Injil, Zabur or the [rest of the] Quran. It is the Seven Oft-Repeated verses.’ “

Greatest Surah of the Quran

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.’ “

Surah Al-Fatehah part of the two lights given to the prophet (s)

Sahih Muslim records on the authority of Ibn Abbas (radiy Allahu ‘anhu) who said,

“While the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) 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 (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) 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.’ “

The Most Noble and excellent part of the Quran

An-Nisai records on the authority of Anas that the prophet said,

“Should I not inform you of the most noble and excellent part of the Quran?” He then recited “All praise and thanks are due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds”

 

Mujahid said, ‘When this chapter was revealed it bore down heavily upon iblis and he let out a loud wail in lament…’

The Surah appears below in its entirety.

islam on Surah Al Fatihah   The ‘Greatest Surah’ in the Quran

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. [Quran, Surah Al-Fatihah]

— End

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

1 cynthia

Praise be to ALLAH thank you for your help.

Reply

2 Abdullahi Bala Abubakar

May Allah S.W.T continue to grant us the virtues of the surah

Reply

3 Baqar

Lets just ponder over this…those of us who pray regularly, would we be reciting this sura in every such prayer for infinite number of times…just imagine how many virtues we are being bestowed by Allah SWT…Alhamdulillah.

Reply

4 mumuni abdul basit

may ALLAH grant us the wisdom of the quran

Reply

5 Khalil Rahman

Very informative article titled “The Greatest Surah In The Quran”Hope every muslim takes heed of this and recites it in every rakah of their prayer (namaaz) to make our prayer acceptable to Allah.

Reply

6 Anonymous

Jazakhumullahu Khair..May Almighty Allah continue to guide and protect us all.

Reply

7 Mohamed Yasin Nazirahmed

Alhamdulillah. This is great blessing to the Muslim ummah. We should recite Surah Fateha throughout our lives in our free time,

Reply

8 Mariama Bah

Alhamdullilah….so enlightening.May Allah richly reward the members of this noble institute n increase our imaan.forgive our sins n guide us to the right path.(Ameen)

Reply

9 Sameena

JazakAllah Khair. The part where Allah says he has divided Surah Fathiha between Himself and His servant equally, is really moving. It makes you feel how close You are to Allah when reciting this Surah. When we say, ‘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.’ Allah is always ready to grant us what we ask for, but where is our sincerity in saying what we say, and then waiting patiently with total trust in Allah? May Allah Grant us ‘Ikhlaas’ sincerity in our prayers – Ameen

Reply

10 NURA ALFA

Jezakumullahukhairan.To me this is the most sensible way to effective da’awah as most of us do not know a quarter of this exposition. We should adopt this way instead of engaging in controversies when alot are ignorant of the basics. Maassalam

Reply

11 ibn badru

Quite refreshing piece. May Allah (swt) bless and reward the compilers. ameeen.

Reply

12 chelat quasim

Alfathiha is an eye opener. Allah (sw) says He is the all in charge of this and the next world. He is the most kind and Merciful to all.He is inviting us to keep relation with Him in this world, so that He will take care of you in the next world which is everlasting. Here in this world we are struggling to make a living or trying to amass wealth irrespective of others conditions. Allah (sw) says He is the owner of what you gather or possess which will never help you unless you act as He has advised in the Holy quran. Let us follow and act as per His advise. Salaams to all.

Reply

13 Mariam

I have always considered sura-Al Fatihah to be an absolute submission to the will of Allah when one knows its meaning. JazakAllah for the enlightening discussion on the most beautiful sura of Al-Quranul Karim.

Reply

14 sarah

subuhaALLAH i didn’t know much of it’s importance coz i was only looking at it it’s face value.May Allah reward you for helping me see things clearer &differently.ameen

Reply

15 M. A. Sekendar

It enlightened me more. May Allah give us more time to Praise Him for His Bounty. May He help us all.

Reply

16 mohamed shihab

Jazaak Allah, Now I understood for the power of Sura “Faatiha”
Thanks for sharing this message.

Reply

17 Muzammil

Thanks a lot to Iqra Sense Community for giving the great knowledge about Surah Al-Fatiha, may Allah(swt) bless all of you & us by giving wisdom about Quran & Hadees and act on it. Aameen Ya Rabbul Aalameen.

Reply

18 angsana

Allahu Akbar, Ummulkitab is indeed surah with very deep meaning can be used in any situation for solat, dua etc will walways start with Al Fatihah, its great to cure illness ,t and to get rid of the unwanted evil as well……Allah Karim…

Reply

19 A.Rehman Sarguroh

Assalamualaikum. Jazakallah khair.

May Allah SWT help us to recite this surah with devotion, dedication and concetration and not allow satan and our nafs to divert our attention while reciting it. Ameen

Reply

20 Nofisat Hameed

Alhamdulilahi. O Allah lead shower your blessings on us and lead us to the right path.

Reply

21 bilal abdullahi

is a great surah. unfortunately alot of people turn the use of the surah in reverse order.

Reply

22 Yahaya Mahmoud

May Allah make us to benefit all the countless and beneficial bounties that Suratul Fatihah attributes to, amin.

Reply

23 Nura

Alhamdulillah, JazaakaAllahu khayran. I loved reading this.
Allah has blessed you if you have guidance. All who follow the Quran and sunnah of our beloved prophet (PBUH) please please keep gratitude in your heart and always remember to praise Allah. Say Alhamdulillah.

Reply

24 samira

subhan Allah!Inshallah I shall recite it more frequently than before.Thanks fr conveying.

Reply

25 Abdulakeem

Alhamdulillah robbil alameen!This is a great blessing frm Allah to those who sincerely believe in Him.It is sufficient for us as solution 2 our(muslims) problems in this life and hereafter.Jazakumllahu khairan 2 u all @ IQRASENSE 4 the wonderful work u are doing.Keep it up!

Reply

26 naaz

Thanks immensely
I read this surah many times at night.

Reply

27 nasooga abdul

alhamdhulillah.. mashaa allah.. very informative. it made us realise the importance of surah al-fathiha and the concluding two verses of al-baqara.

Reply

28 Salih

The power of being a Muslim. Le us all start using it if we have not been doing so before. Thanks to Almighty Allah. Thanks to Iqrasense

Reply

29 Mohammed

Jazak allah khair !!!

Alhumdulillah it is very nice article on surat ul fatiha( the opener) I have collected more information after reading it.

Reply

30 Sheriffdeen Qasim

Jazakumllahu kaiyr for the educative tafsir of the holy quran

Reply

31 Mohammad Tajwar Uddin

SubhanALLAH i really manage to get a good grasp of the virtue of Surah Fatiha
May ALLAH reward us
Ameen

Reply

32 nashreen

subhanALLAH to know the importance of ‘surah al fatihah’ proud to b a muslim.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: