Surat Al-Fatiha is the first chapter of the Qur’an. It is a Makkan chapter; revealed in Makkah. Al-Fatiha is full of blessings. In this surah we praise to Allah, declare His glory and majesty, declare our sincerity to worship Him alone (You alone we worship and You alone we seek help from).
In the second half of the surah we pray for Allah for guidance and steadfastness upon the straight path of those who are guided not of those who had gone astray:
Praise be to Allah, the Lord of existence, the All-Merciful, the Ever-Merciful, the Owner (Master) of the Day of Judgment. It is You (alone) we worship, and You (alone) we ask for help. Guide us to the Straight Path, the Path of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, not the path of those who have incurred Your Anger, nor of those who have gone astray. (Al-Fatiha 1:1-7)
This Surah is called Al-Fatiha, that is, the Opener of the Book, the Surah with which prayers are begun. It is also called, Um Al-Kitab (the Mother of the Book), according to the majority of the scholars.
It is also called “as-sab` al-mathani” (the seven verses that are repeatedly recited). We recite this surah in all rak`ahs of every prayer. Allah says:
And indeed, We have bestowed upon you as-sab` al-mathani (the seven repeatedly recited verses), (i.e. Surat Al-Fatiha) and the Grand Qur’an. (Al-Hijr 15:87)
Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said, “(Al-Hamdu lillahi Rabbi Al-`alamin) is the Mother of the Qur’an, the Mother of the Book, and the seven repeated ayahs of the Qur’an.” (At-Tirmidhi)
It is also called Al-Hamd and As-Salah, because the Prophet said that his Lord said,
“The prayer (i.e. , Al-Fatiha) is divided into two halves between Me and My servants. When the servant says, `All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of existence,’ Allah says, ‘My servant has praised Me.’”
Al-Fatiha was called the Salah, because reciting it is a condition for the correctness of Salah – the prayer.
Al-Fatiha was also called Ash-Shifa’ (the Cure).
It is also called Ar-Ruqyah (remedy), since in the Hadith, there is the narration of Abu Sa`id telling the story of the Companion who used Al-Fatiha as a remedy for the tribal chief who was poisoned. Later, the Messenger of Allah said to a Companion, (How did you know that it is a Ruqyah)
Virtues of Surah Al-Fatiha
It is one of two lights that were given to the Prophet
As mentioned in the following hadith:
While Jibril (Gabriel) was with the Messenger of Allah, he heard a noise from above. Jibril lifted his sight to the sky and said, `This is a door in heaven being open, and it has never been opened before now.’ An angel descended from that door and came to the Prophet and said, `Receive the glad tidings of two lights that you have been given, which no other Prophet before you was given: the Opening of the Book and the last (three) Ayat of Surat Al-Baqarah. You will not read a letter of them, but will gain its benefit. [An Nasai]
It is a conversation with Allah
Allah, the Exalted, said, `I have divided the prayer into two halves between Myself and My servant, and My servant shall have what he asks for.’ If he says,
الْحَمْدُ للَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَـلَمِينَ
All praise and thanks be to Allah, the Lord of existence.
Allah says, `My servant has praised Me.’ When the servant says,
The Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
Allah says, `My servant has glorified Me.’ When he says,
مَـلِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ
The Owner of the Day of Recompense.
Allah says, `My servant has glorified Me,’ or `My servant has related all matters to Me.’ When he says,
إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ
You (alone) we worship, and You (alone) we ask for help.
Allah says, `This is between Me and My servant, and My servant shall acquire what he sought.’ When he says,
اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ – صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلاَ الضَّآلِّينَ
Guide us to the straight path. The way of those on whom You have granted Your grace, not (the way) of those who earned Your anger, nor of those who went astray, Allah says, `This is for My servant, and My servant shall acquire what he asked for.’ [An Nasai, as recorded in Tafsir ibn Kathir]
It is a shifa
Narrated Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri:
While we were on one of our journeys, we dismounted at a place where a slave girl came and said, “The chief of this tribe has been stung by a scorpion and our men are not present; is there anybody among you who can treat him (by reciting something)?” Then one of our men went along with her though we did not think that he knew any such treatment. But he treated the chief by reciting something, and the sick man recovered whereupon he gave him thirty sheep and gave us milk to drink (as a reward). When he returned, we asked our friend, “Did you know how to treat with the recitation of something?” He said, “No, but I treated him only with the recitation of the Mother of the Book (i.e., Al-Fatiha).” We said, “Do not say anything (about it) till we reach or ask the Prophet (ﷺ) so when we reached Medina, we mentioned that to the Prophet (ﷺ) (in order to know whether the sheep which we had taken were lawful to take or not). The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “How did he come to know that it (Al-Fatiha) could be used for treatment? Distribute your reward and assign for me one share thereof as well.” [Sahih Al Bukhari]
Being the Most Noble Part of Quran
Anas (R.A) reported the Holy Prophet ﷺ saying as:
“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” (An Nisai)
It means that Surah Al-Fatiha is the most outstanding section of Quran, which contains the best form of Islamic teachings in concise form.