Al Fatiha

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 Chapter 1 of the Quran  
The Opening

Date of RevelationMeccan
Number of Verses7

The name of this Quranic chapter was foretold in the Bible:

I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire: And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth, And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices. (Bible, Revelation 10)

The above passage refers to an angel bringing a little open book. Of course, tradition has it that God sent the Quran to Muhammadsa through the angel Gabriel. Al Fatiha comes at the opening of the book and the chapter's title literally means “The Opening”. Moreover, the book's contents are read as 'seven thunders' and Al Fatiha is made up of seven oft-repeated verses.

This chapter contains the essence of the entire Quranic teaching. It comprises, in outline, the subjects dealt with at length in the body of the Quran. The chapter starts with a description of the fundamental attributes of God, the pivot round which all the other divine attributes revolve, the basis of the working of the universe and of the relations between God and man. Rabb (the Creator, Sustainer and Developer), Rahman (the Gracious), Rahim (the Merciful) and Maliki yaum aI-Din (Master of the Day of Judgement) -.these attributes signify that after creating man God endowed him with the best capacities and capabilities and provided the material needed for his physical, social, moral and spiritual development. Further, He made a provision that all labours and endeavours of man should have an ample reward. 

The chapter goes on to say that man has been created for the worship of God and the attainment of His nearness, and that he constantly. needs His help for the fulfillment of this supreme object of his creation. 

Then we have a comprehensive prayer in which all the urges of the human soul find full expression. The prayer teaches us that we should always seek and invoke the assistance of God that He may provide us with the means required for our success in this life and the life to come. And as man is apt to derive strength and encouragement from the good example of those noble and great souls who led successful lives in the past, he is taught to pray that just as by God's help and assistance those righteous and God-fearing men achieved the object of their life, God should open up for him also avenues of moral and spiritual progress. Finally, the prayer contains a warning that after having been led to the right path, man sometimes strays away from it, loses sight of his goal and becomes estranged from his Creator. We are taught to remain always on our guard and constantly seek God's protection against any possible estrangement from Him.