The Meaning of Sūrah Al-Fātiḥah from Al-Tafsīr Al-Muyassar

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Al-Fātiḥah

This chapter is called “Al-Fātiḥah” [“The Opening”] because it is that which the magnificent Qur’ān opens with. And it is called “Al-Mathānī” [“The Frequently Repeated”] because it is recited in every rakʿah [prayer unit]. And it has other names.

Verse 1

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

I begin reciting the Qur’ān with the name of Allāh, seeking His help.

Allāh: a name of the Lord’s, great and All-High, the One who is deservedly worshipped, as opposed to others besides Him. It is the name most particular to Allāh the All-High, of all His names; no one other than He is called by it.

Al-Raḥmān: He whose mercy and good is all encompassing–encompassing all creation.

Al-Raḥīm: [the Giver of all mercy and good] to the believers.

They [Al-Raḥmān and Al-Raḥīm] are two of His, the All-High’s, names; they include within their meanings an affirmation of raḥmah [mercy and beneficence] as an attribute of Allāh the All-High’s as befits His majesty.

Verse 2

الْحَمْدُ للهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

[All] praise [and glory] is due to Allāh for His attributes, all of which are attributes of perfection, and for all the good provisions He gives, apparent and not apparent, related to religious or worldly life.

And included in [that statement of praise] is a command to His slaves that they [glorify and] praise Him, for He alone is deserving of [that]. He–far removed is He above any imperfection–is the One who initiates the creation of all creation, the One who takes care of all their affairs, the One who manages the growth of His creation with all the good provisions He [gives them] and [manages the growth of] those who are dear to Him [those who act with due fear of Him], with the faith and righteous action [He gives them].

Verse 3

الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Al-Raḥmān: He whose mercy and good encompasses all creation.

Al-Raḥīm: [the Giver of all mercy and good] to the believers.

They [Al-Raḥmān and Al-Raḥīm] are two of His the All-high’s names;

 

Verse 4

مَالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ

He–far removed is He above any imperfection–is alone in possession of anything on the Day of Resurrection, the Day of Recompense for all deeds.

In a Muslim’s reciting this verse in every unit of his prayers is a reminder for him about the Last Day and a persistent prod for him to be prepared [for it] by doing righteous deeds and keeping away from sins and evil [matters].

Verse 5

إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ

Indeed, we single You out with worship and seek only Your help in all our affairs, for the decision in all affairs is in Your hands, and no one [else] has [even] a particle’s worth of [that].

In this verse is a proof that it is not permissible for a slave to direct anything of various acts of worship like supplications, seeking help [in dire situations], sacrificial rites, and making circuits [as around the Kaʿbah] except to Allāh alone.

And in [this verse] is a cure for hearts from the sickness of [their] attachment to other than Allāh, and from the sicknesses of performing acts of worship for show, self-amazement, and arrogance.

Verse 6

اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ

Show us, direct us, and grant us the Straight Path, and keep us firmly upon it until we meet You. [The Straight Path] is Islām, the clear path that leads to Allāh’s pleasure and His Paradise, that the last of His messengers and prophets ﷺ showed the way to, so there is no way to a slave’s [achieving] happiness except by [his] remaining upright upon it….

Verse 7

صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا الضَّالِّينَ

…the path of those whom You have given much good, from the prophets, those [next] strongest upon truth and faith, the martyrs, and the righteous, for they are the people upon guidance and rectitude.

And do not make us from those who go down the path of who have [earned] wrath upon themselves–those who knew the truth and did not practice it–the Jews and their like; nor [make us from] those who have gone astray–those who did not seek true guidance, so they went off the [right] path–the Christians and those who followed after their way.

And in this supplication is a cure for a Muslim’s heart from the sickness[es] of rejection, ignorance, and deviation. [And in it] is proof that the absolutely greatest of all bounties is the bounty of Islām.

So he who has gained more knowledge of the truth and followed it more, is more deserving of the Straight Path; there is no doubt that the Companions of the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ are the most deserving of mankind of that after the prophets, may Allāh protect them from every kind of harm. So the verse is a proof of [the Companions’] excellence and tremendous status, may Allāh be pleased with them.

It is desirable [in Islām] that the reciter say during the prayer, after reciting Al-Fātiḥah, “Āmīn”. Its meaning: “O Allāh, answer [our prayer].” [Āmīn] is not a verse from the Al-Fātiḥah chapter by unanimous agreement of the scholars; for that reason, they were unanimous in not writing it in bound copies of the Qur’ān.

 

Source: Al-Tafsīr Al-Muyassar. King Fahd Qurʾān Printing Complex. Madīnah: 1433 H.