Surah: 001 Al-Fatihah
The first surah in the Qur’an, and so aptly titled Al Fatihah or the Opening, this surah was revealed in Makkah. It is said to be the first complete Surah to be revealed at once and also one of the earliest revelations, as some reports narrow it down to be the fifth revelation to the Prophet ﷺ. Needless to say, the early revelation of this surah was necessary as this complete surah is recited in every unit of the Muslim prayer, without which the prayer will be rendered invalid. As a result, another name of this surah is “As-Salah” or the prayer.
Besides, there are many other names by which this surah is known, each denoting an important feature or practice with respect to it. For instance, it is known as Ar-Ruqya or the Cure, since it is used in exorcist practices by Muslims to heal themselves physically as well as spiritually.
It is also known as As Saba Masaani, the Seven Oft-Repeated, as referred to by Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, since it comprises of seven ayahs or verses that are repeated often by virtue of their necessary recitation in the Muslim prayer throughout the day, at least seventeen times to be precise, if we consider only the obligatory prayers.
Since the surah begins with praising Allaah (SWT), particularly with the words “Alhamdulillaah” (All praise be to Allaah (SWT)), it is also referred to as “Al Hamd”. Similarly, Ad Dua’a or The Invocation is another title, since this surah ends with an invocation for guidance on the Straight Path.
In its brief composition, Surah Al Fatihah introduces Allaah (SWT) through qualities of mercy and lordship of the universe, while also setting the correct attitude with which a believer must approach the Book of Allaah (SWT), that is to worship Him alone and to seek any help and guidance from Him only.