Imagine you had the opportunity to talk to your favorite celebrity or the President or the CEO of the biggest company in the world – how would you react? What is the protocol you would follow while talking to such a personality? Imagine someone briefs you on the protocol before the meeting – that you have to wear a certain dress-code, shake hands in a certain way, you’re not allowed to ask certain personal questions, etc. If you refuse to follow this protocol, the meeting will be cancelled (invalid). These are the terms and conditions. How far would you go to make sure you comply?
By Allah, Surah Al-Fatihah is a much much bigger opportunity for those who understand! An opportunity to talk to the Lord of the Heavens and the Earth, without any appointment or waiting. But we have a protocol to follow. We have terms and conditions. Salah is a portal through which we can talk to Allah (SWT). Our beloved Prophet (SAW) has briefed us on the protocol required when we talk to Him, and on what conditions He will respond or look away from us. Indeed, Allah is Al-Mujeeb (The Responder to Prayer). It’s just that we haven’t done our part of understanding the protocol.
Importance of Surah Al-Fatihah
Surah Al-Fatihah is one of the greatest Surahs in the Quran. It is known by many names including: The Opening, The Mother of The Quran, Praises to Allah (Al-Hamd), etc. What I found truly fascinating about this Surah is from a Hadith narrated by Abu Hurayrah (RA) which explains how Allah (SWT) responds to each of the verses of Al-Fatihah. We will cover this Hadith soon in the next section, In Sha Allah.
We recite Surah Al-Fatihah no less than 17 times per day in our daily Salah. Almost every Muslim is able to receite Al-Fatihah if not any other Surah from the Quran. Without this Surah, our Salah is invalid [Sahih Al-Bukhâri, Vol.1, Hadîth No. 723]. It is also referred to as the Greatest Surah in the Quran! Ibn Jarir at-Tabari said about this Surah that it summarises the meaning of the entire Quran. But how many of us know what it means? How many of us really feel and understand what we are receiting in our Salah? Let us begin with the easy step.
Understanding Surah Al-Fatihah
It was narrated by Abu Hurayrah (RA) who said that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, “Allah, the Glorious and Exalted said, “I have divided the prayer between Myself and my servant equally and My servant shall be granted what he asked for. Therefore, when the servant says, ‘All praises and thanks are due to Allah, the Lord of the worlds’, Allah says, ‘My servant has praised Me.’ When he says, ‘The Most Gracious, the Most Merciful,’ Allah says, ‘My servant has praised Me again.’ When he says, ‘Master of the Day of Judgment,’ Allah says, ‘My servant has glorified Me.’ When he says, ‘You (Alone) we worship, and You (Alone) we ask for help (for each and everything),’ Allah says, ‘This is between My servant and Me. My servant will get what he asks.’ When he says, ‘Guide us to the Straight Path, the Path of those whom You have bestowed favor, not [the path] of those who have earned [Your] anger, nor of those who have gone astray,’ Allah says, ‘This is for My servant and My servant will get what he asks for.'” [Sahih Muslim 395].
The above Hadith is recorded in the picture below. Take your time to go through it and memorise the meaning of Al-Fatihah so we can have this beautiful conversation with the Lord of the Worlds on a daily basis.
Read our post on Sweetness of Salaah to understand the importance of Khushoo and develop a better connection with Allah (SWT).