Here is the recitation and translation of Surat Al-Fatihah by the Sheikh Mishari bin Rashid Al-`fasi followed by an Introduction to the Surah.
Introduction to Surat Al-Fatihah (The Opening)
Names of the Surah
This Surah has many names such as:
1- The Opening
2- The Mother of the Qur’an
3- The Mother of the Book
4- The Seven Oft Repeated Verses
5- The Great Qur’an
6- The Praise
Proofs for these names
1- `Ubadah ibn As-Samit (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever does not recite Fatihat Al-Kitab (The Opening) in his prayer, his prayer is invalid.” (Al-Bukhari)
2- `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to make the two rak`ahs before the Fajr (Dawn) prayer so light that I would wonder whether he recited Umm Al-Kitab (Al-Fatihah) or no). (Al-Bukhari)
3- Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said, “The Umm (substance) of the Qur’an is the seven oft-repeated verses (Al-Mathani) and is the Great Qur’an (Al-Fatihah). (Al-Bukhari)
4- Abu Sa`id ibn Al-Mu`lla (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that, “While I was praying, the Prophet (peace be upon him) passed by and called me, but I did not go to him till I had finished my prayer. When I went to him, he said, “What prevented you from coming?” I said, “I was praying.” He said, “Didn’t Allah say” “O you who believe give your response to Allah (by obeying Him) and to His Apostle.” (Al-Anfal 8:24) Then he added, “Shall I tell you the most superior Surah in the Qur’an before I go out of the mosque?” When the Prophet (peace be upon him) intended to go out (of the Mosque), I reminded him and he said, “That is: “Al-hamdu-lillahi Rabbil-`alamin (Al-Fatihah)’ which is the seven oft repeated verses (Al-Mathani) and the Grand Qur’an which has been given to me.” (Al-Bukhari)
Virtues and Characteristics of the Surah
Al-Fatihah has numerous virtues and great characteristics that were mentioned in the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him) such as:
1- It is a light and no one of the Prophets was given it before Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him):
Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them) reported, While Jibreel (Gabriel) was sitting with the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), he heard a sound above him. He lifted his head, and said: “This is a gate which has been opened in heaven today. It was never opened before.” Then an angel descended through it, he said: “This is an angel who has come down to earth. He never came down before.” He sent greetings and said: “Rejoice with two lights given to you. Such lights were not given to any Prophet before you. These (lights) are: Fatihat Al-Kitab (Al-Fatihah), and the concluding verses of Surat Al-Baqarah. You will never recite a word from them without being given the blessings it contains.” (Muslim)
2- With the recitation of the Surah, there is a kind of silent supplication to Allah:
Abu As-Sa’ib- the freed slave of Hisham bin Zuhrah said, “I heard Abu Hurairah say: ‘The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever offers a prayer in which he does not recite Umm Al-Qur’an (Al Fatihah), it is deficient, it is deficient, it is deficient, incomplete.” I (Abu As-Sa’ib) said: ‘O Abu Hurairah, sometimes I am behind the Imam.’ He poked me in the arm and said: ‘Recite it to yourself, O Persian! For I heard the Messenger of Allah say: “Allah says: “I have divided prayer between Myself and My slave into two halves, and My slave shall have what he has asked for.'” The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Recite, for when the slave says: All the praises and thanks be to Allah, the Lord of all that exists, Allah says: ‘My slave has praised Me.’ And when he says: The Most Gracious, the Most Merciful, Allah says: ‘My slave has extolled Me.’ And when he says: The Only Owner (and the Only Ruling Judge) of the Day of Recompense (i.e. the Day of Resurrection), Allah says: ‘My slave has glorified Me’. And when he says: You (alone) we worship, and You (alone) we ask for help (for each and everything), He says: ‘This is between Me and My slave, and My slave shall have what he has asked for.’ And when he says: ‘Guide us to the straightway, 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, He says: ‘This is for My slave, and My slave shall have what he asked for.'” (An-Nasa’i)
3- Prayer is invalid without the recitation of it:
`Ubadah ibn As-Samit (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that, Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever does not recite Al-Fatihah in his prayer, his prayer is invalid.” (Al-Bukhari)
4- It is a Spiritual Healing with the Mercy of Allah:
Abu Sa`id narrated that, Some of the companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) went on a journey till they reached some of the Arab tribes (at night). They asked the latter to treat them as their guests but they refused. The chief of that tribe was then bitten by a snake (or stung by a scorpion) and they tried their best to cure him but in vain. Some of them said (to the others), “Nothing has benefited him, will you go to the people who resided here at night, it may be that some of them might possess something (as treatment),” They went to the group of the companions (of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and said, “Our chief has been bitten by a snake (or stung by a scorpion) and we have tried everything but he has not benefited. Have you got anything (useful)?” One of them replied, “Yes, by Allah! I can recite a Ruqyah, but as you have refused to accept us as your guests, I will not recite the Ruqyah for you unless you fix for us some wages for it.” They agreed to pay them a flock of sheep. One of them then went and recited (Al-Fatihah): ‘All the praises are for the Lord of the Worlds’ and puffed over the chief who became all right as if he was released from a chain, and got up and started walking, showing no signs of sickness. They paid them what they agreed to pay. Some of them (i.e. the companions) then suggested to divide their earnings among themselves, but the one who performed the recitation said, “Do not divide them till we go to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and narrate the whole story to him, and wait for his order.” So, they went to Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) and narrated the story. Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) asked, “How did you come to know that Al-Fatihah was recited as Ruqyah?” Then he added, “You have done the right thing. Divide (what you have earned) and assign a share for me as well.” The Prophet (peace be upon him) smiled thereupon.” (Al-Bukhari)
Is it a Makki or Madani Surah?
It is a Makki Surah that was revealed before the migration of the Prophet (peace be upon him):
The proof is the following verse:
And We have certainly given you, [O Muhammad], seven of the often repeated [verses] and the great Qur’an.
It was also narrated on the authority of Abu Sa`id ibn Al-Mu`lla (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “…It is As-Sab` Al-Mathani (i.e., the seven oft- repeated verses) and the Great Qur’an which is given to me.” (Al-Bukhari)
There is a consensus that the verse which mentions As-Sab` Al-Mathani is Makki and the Prophet (peace be upon him) confirmed that the As-Sab` Al-Mathani is Surat Al-Fatihah.
There is another proof which is that prayer is invalid without the recitation of it and the prayer was legislated in Makkah before the migration.
Purposes of the Surah
This Surah handles three issues which are as follows:
1- Guidance to the right way of life guarantees man’s happiness in this world and in the Hereafter.
2- Once man has submitted himself to Allah and sought help and guidance from Him alone, he has achieved a total liberation from the tyranny of all religious, intellectual, moral and political powers.
3- Al-Fatihah is the prayer from the servant and the Qur’an is the answer from the Allah to his prayer.
Topics of the Surah
The Surah discusses some main topics which are as follows:
1- Despite its brevity, it contains some of the most fundamental principles of the Islamic faith and certain insights that arise from them.
2- The Surah teaches that Allah has created the physical world and all its forces for man’s own use and benefit.
3- The two attributes, Compassionate and Merciful defies the link between the Lord as Creator and His creation.
2- Sayyid Qutb’s book of Tafseer – In the Shade of the Qur’an.