Surah al-Fatihah (The Opening) 1 : 1

بِسْمِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلرَّحْمَٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ


 Muhsin Khan
 Yusuf Ali
Quran Project
In the name of Allāh, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful.

1. Lessons/Guidance/Reflections/Gems

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This is the first Surah of the Qur'an, although it is not the first in the order of revelation. It was revealed to the Prophet (saw) in Makkah in the early period of his mission. The Surah has seven Ayat and is both a Du'a (prayer) and an introduction of the Qur'an. It teaches the basic principles of Islamic faith. All praise and thanks are for Allah who is the Lord of all the worlds. Allah is most merciful and most compassionate. Allah is also the Master of the Day of Judgment.  We should pray to Allah only and we should seek His help.  We seek His guidance and help to walk on the straight path.  This is the path of those who received Allah's favors, not the path of those who incurred His anger or who went astray.

Surah al-Fatihah has a number of names:

  • Fatihah al-Kitab - 'Opening of the Book’
  • Umm al-Kitab - ‘Mother of the Book'
  • Umm al-Qur’an - ‘Mother of the Qur’an’
  • Sab’a al-Mathani - ‘Seven oft-repeated Ayat’
  • Surah al-Salah - ‘Surah of Prayer’
  • Surah ar-Ruqyah - ‘Surah of Cure.’


2. Linguistic Analysis

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•    The ba (with) is known as the ba of isti'anah or seeking help and support, meaning that the servant is seeking the aid of Allah in the action he is about to perform. "With the Name of Allah" meaning I start with every name that belongs to Allah, the Exalted. This is because the word 'name' is singular and in the genitive form and therefore it includes all of the Beautiful Names.

•    The word Rahmaan and Raheem comes from the word رحم   Raham. Raham in the Arabic language (does not only mean mercy, it) is; the womb of the woman when she is pregnant – like complete care and looking after…”

•    The difference between these two words Rahman and Rahim is beautifully explained by Ibn al- Qayyim in (Manar I, 48) as "the term rahman circumscribes the quality of abounding grace inherent in, and inseparable from, the concept of God's Being, whereas rahim expresses the manifestation of that grace in, and its effect upon, His creation - in other words, an aspect of His activity."

Frequency of Root words in this Ayat used in this Surah *

3. Surah Overview

4. Miscellaneous Information

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5. Connected/Related Ayat

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  • This phrase occurs before the beginning of every Surah of the Qur’an except Surah 9 at-Tawbah.
  • وَقَالَ ارْكَبُوا فِيهَا بِسْمِ اللَّهِ مَجْرَاهَا وَمُرْسَاهَا ۚ إِنَّ رَبِّي لَغَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ “And [Noah] said, "Embark therein; in the name of Allah is its course and its anchorage. Indeed, my Lord is Forgiving and Merciful."[11:54].
  • إِنَّهُ مِن سُلَيْمَانَ وَإِنَّهُ بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ "Indeed, it is from Solomon, and indeed, it reads: 'In the name of Allah , the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful," [27:30].

6. Frequency of the word

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•    The word Allah الله occurs 2,699 times in the Qur’an
•    The word ar-Rahman رحمان occurs 57 times
•    The word ar-Raheem رحيم occurs 116 times

7. Period of Revelation

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It is one of the very earliest revelations to the Prophet. As a matter of fact, we learn from authentic hadith that it was the first complete Surah which was revealed to Prophet Muhammad. Before this, only a few verses were revealed which form parts of Surah 96: al-‘Alaq (The Clinging Substance) Surah 68: al-Qalam (The Pen), Surah 73: al-Muzzammil (The Enwrapped One) and Surah 74: al-Muddathir (The Cloaked One). 

8. Reasons for Revelation

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9. Relevant Hadith

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  • In a HADITH QUDSI it is reported that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said that Allah said:  أَنَا الرَّحْمنُ خَلَقْتُ الرَّحِمَ وَشَقَقْتُ لَهَا اسْمًا مِنِ اسْمِي، فَمَنْ وَصَلَهَا وَصَلْتُهُ وَمَنْ قَطَعَها قَطَعْتُهُ ‘I am Ar-Rahman. I created the R-H-M (womb) and derived a name for it from My Name. Hence, whoever keeps it (family ties), I will keep ties to him, and whoever severs it, I will sever ties with him’.
  • Dua for entering the home,بِسْـمِ اللهِ وَلَجْنـا، وَبِسْـمِ اللهِ خَـرَجْنـا، وَعَلـى رَبِّنـا تَوَكّلْـنا [Bismi l-lâhi walajnâ, wa bismi l-lâhi kharajnâ, wa calâ l-lâhi tawakkalnâ.] "[Upon entering] In the name of Allah we enter and in the name of Allah we leave, and upon our Lord we place our trust." 
  • Abu Hurayrah reports that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "There is no wudhu for the one who does not [commence] by mentioning the Name of Allah." [Abu Dawud]
  • The Prophet is reported to have said, ""If, when one of you wishes to go to his wife [for sexual intercourse] says, بِسْمِ الله اللّهُـمَّ جَنِّبْنا الشَّيْـطانَ، وَجَنِّبِ الشَّـيْطانَ ما رَزَقْـتَنا 'With the Name of Allah, O Allah! Protect us from the Shaytan and keep the Shaytan away from what You will provide us.' Then if it is decreed that they should have a child out of that act then the Shaytan will never be able to harm him." [Bukhari]
  • Allah is more merciful to His slaves than a mother is to her child.  اللَّهُ أَرْحَمُ بِعِبَادِهِ مِنْ هَذِهِ بِوَلَدِهَا The Prophet is reported to have said "....Allah is more merciful to His slaves than this [lady] is to her son...."  [Bukhari no. 5999]

10. Wiki Forum

Comments in this section are statements made by general users – these are not necessarily explanations of the Ayah – rather a place to share personal thoughts and stories…

11. Tafsir Zone


12. External Links

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