Sura Al-Fatihah (The Opening)
the Psalms, nor even in the Qur'an, and it is Umm-ul-Kitab ";(1) which means that it is the basis and origin of all excellence.
In fact, besides referring to the Resurrection, this Sura presents facts concerning the Unity of the Divine Essence, Unity of Attributes, Unity of Divine Acts, and Unity of Worship. It is the essence of the whole meaning of the Qur'an.
It is narrated from Hadrat Amir-ul-Mu'mineen Ali (a.s.) that :
" All secrets of Allah are in Divine Books; and the contents of all those Divine Books are comprised in the Qur'an;and what is found in the Qur'an is condensed in Sura Al-Fatihah, and what is in Al-Fatihah is gathered in /bismillah /, and what is in / bismillah / is concentrated in /b/, (the first letter of ' Bism-il-lah ') ..." (2)
Based on the entirety of great commentators' statements, it is understood that this tradition indicates clearly the importance of both the Holy Qur'an and /bismillah-ir-rahman-ir-rahim/ in which science and knowledge, from the beginning to the end, is comprised. The interpreter and elucidator of these sciences is the holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) , and after him there are his true vicegerents including Amir-ul-Mu'mineen Ali (a.s.) . (3)
3. Al-Fatihah, Magnificent Honour of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) :
Sura Al-Fatihah, more so than the other Suras in the Holy Qur'an, was revealed to the holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) as a great bounty. It stands on a par with the whole Qur'an. The seven verses in the Sura sum up the whole Qur'an : "And We have bestowed upon thee the Seven Oft-repeated (verses) and the Grand Qur'an " , (Sura Al-Hijr, No. 15, verse 87) . This meaning is also referred to in a narration from Amir-ul-Mu'mineen Ali (a.s.) quoting the Prophet's (p.b.u.h.) tradition who said : " Verily, Allah, the Exalted, has bestowed (His) favours on me particularly for ' The Opening ' (Al-Fatihah) and has positioned it on a par with the whole Grand Qur'an, and surely Fatihat-ul-Kitab (the Opening of the Qur'an) is the dearest (item) in the treasures of the 'Arsh, (Throne of
(1) Majm'-ul-Bayan, vol. 1, p. 17 (2) Makhzan-ul-'Irfan, Commentary, vol. 1, p. 28 & Masabih-ul-Anwar vol. 1,p.435 (3) Manhajus-Sadiqin, vol. 1, p. 90
4. The Importance of its Recitation :
The recitation of this Sura, because of its extreme importance, is frequently emphasized in Islamic traditions and narrations. As for its virtue, it is narrated from the holy Prophet(p.b.u.h.) that: " The reward of any Muslim who recites the Sura ' Opening ', is like that of a person who has recited two thirds of the Qur'an, and so much reward would he receive as if he has given every believing Muslim, man or woman, a free will offering ". (2)
5. The Titles of the Sura :
There are ten titles given to this Sura, as taken from Islamic narrations and commentary books, thus: Fatihat-ul-Kitab, Umm-ul-Kitab, Umm-ul-Qur'an, Sab'-ul-Mathani, Al-Wafiyah, Al-Kafiyah, Ash-Shafiyah, Al-Asas, As-Salat, and Al-Hamd. (3)
* * * *
(1) Al-Burhan Fi Tafsir-il-Qur'an, vol. one,p. 21; & Atyab-ul-Bayan, vol. 1, p.83 (2) Majma'-ul-Bayan, vol. one, p. 17 . (3) Rauh-ul-Janan, Abul-Futuh Razi, Commentary, vol. one, p. 16