al-Fatihah #1 (The Opening)

“The Opening” — Early Meccan Period
Some of the Mufassirun we’ll be looking at and when they lived:

  • al-Tabari (923);
  • al-Baghawi (1122);
  • Ibn Juzayy (1340);
  • Ibn Kathir (1373);
  • al-Shawkani (1839);
  • al-Sa’di (1937);

And so the Qur’an opens with a condensed summary of its entire message. Thus, following good essay writing format, the opening paragraph of the Qur’an provides a brief summary of what its message was all about:

  • Everything begins and ends with God;
  • Who is in control;
  • God is ready to provide healing, guidance and direction for any who ask;

It has been said that if the entire Qur’an were lost and only this chapter remained, it would be sufficient guidance for humanity for all time.

al-Fatihah is also the first complete chapter of the Qur’an revealed to the Prophet, as only partial verses from chapters 96 (al-’Alaq), 73 (al-Muzzammil), 68 (al-Qalam), and 74 (al-Muddaththir) preceded it. This chapter can be dated to the early part of the year 611.

Ibn Juzayy

وتسمى سورة الحمد لله، وفاتحة الكتاب، والواقية، والشافية، والسبع المثاني

وفيها عشرون فائدة، سوى ما تقدّم في اللغات من تفسير ألفاظها

واختُلف هل هي مكية أو مدنية

ولا خلاف أن الفاتحة سبع آيات إلاّ أن الشافعي يعدّ البسملة آية منها

والمالكيّ يسقطها، ويعدّ أنعمت عليهم آية

  • “It has been called ‘the chapter of Praise’, ‘the Opening of the Book’, ‘The Protection’, ‘The Cure’ and ‘the Seven Extolled Verses’.”
  • “It contains no less the twenty benefits and moral lessons.”
  • “There has been disagreement as to whether it is a Makkan or a Madinan chapter though most place it in Makkah.”
  • “All save Imam al-Shafi’ agree that it is comprised of seven verses, who counts the basmalah as one of its verses.”
  • “Those of Imam Malik’s opinion ommitt (the basmalah) it (from salah) as well as counting the passage (“the Path of those You have blessed”/صِراطَ الَّذينَ أَنعَمتَ عَلَيهِم) as a verse by itself.”

مَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ فِي التَّوْرَاةِ وَلاَ فِي الإِنْجِيلِ مِثْلَ أُمِّ الْقُرْآنِ وَهِيَ السَّبْعُ الْمَثَانِي وَهِيَ مَقْسُومَةٌ بَيْنِي وَبَيْنَ عَبْدِي وَلِعَبْدِي مَا سَأَلَ

“Narrated by Ubayy bin Ka’b that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, ‘Allah, the Mighty and Sublime, did not reveal in the Torah or the Gospel anything like the Mother of the Qur’an, which are The Seven Extolled Verses, and they are ‘divided between Myself, My slave, and what My slave asks for’.”Sunan al-Nasa’i #914, Hasan