The Opening Surah… opens the gates between Allah, the Almighty, and His servant.
Unlike the other surahs which were revealed only once, it is reported that Surah Al-Fatihah was revealed twice; once in Makkah (as stated by Ibn Abbas, Qatadah and Abu’l-Aliyah) and once in Madinah (as stated by Abu Hurairah radi’Allahu anhu, Mujahid, ‘Ata ibn Yasar and Az-Zuhri)  even when most resources mentioned that the Surah was revealed to Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam in Makkah . Millions of Muslims all over the world recite Al-Fatihah at least 17 times a day and more, Alhamdulillah. It is said that prayer will be invalid if al Fatihah is not recited in prayers , as narrated by ‘Ubâdah bin As-Sâmit, Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam said,“Whoever does not recite Surah Al-Fatihah in his prayer, his prayer is invalid. (Sahih Al-Bukhâri, Vol.1, Hadîth No. 723).
“And We have bestowed upon thee the Seven Oft-repeated (verses) and the Grand Qur'an.”- Surah Al-Hijr (15:87)
Known by many names; Umm Al-Kitab (Mother of the Book), al-Hamd (the Praise), as-Sab’al-Mathani (the Seven Oft-Repeated Verses- composed of seven verses frequently recited before every unit of raka’at), ash-Shifa’ (the Healing), al-Kafiyah (the Sufficient One), and al-Asas (the Foundation), al-Kanz (the Treasure), ar-Ruqya (the Spiritual Cure), Surah Al-Fatihah is a man’s prayer while the rest of the Qur’an is Allah’s response, guiding us towards the Siratul-Mustaqeem (success in both this life and the Hereafter).
Umm Al-Kitab is divided into 2 parts; the first half of Surat Al Fatihah is a declaration of monotheism and the second half of the Surah is the most important dua(supplication) a person could ever make. Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam said:"Allah ,the Exalted, said,'I have divided the prayer into two halves between Me and My servant. A half of it is for Me and a half for My servant, and My servant shall acquire what he asked for.''If he says.'All praise and thanks be to Allah, The Lord of existence .'Allah says,'My servant has praised me.'.When the servant says, The Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.' Allah says.'My servant has glorified Me.' 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.' Allah says,'This is between Me and My servant, and My servant shall acquire what he sought.' When he says,'Guide us to the straight path. The way of those whom You have granted Your grace, not (the way) of those who earned Your anger, or of those who went astray', Allah says,'This is for My servant, and My servant shall acquire what he has asked for.'
Among the many virtues of Surah Al-Fatihah, being the Ruqya is one of them. As narrated by Abu Said Al-Khudri radi’Allahu anhu, some of the companions of the Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam came across a tribe amongst the tribes of the Arabs, and that tribe did not entertain them. While they were in that state, the chief of that tribe was bitten by a snake (or stung by a scorpion). They said, (to the companions of the Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam), "Have you got any medicine with you or anybody who can treat with Ruqya?" Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam's companions said, "You refuse to entertain us, so we will not treat (your chief) unless you pay us for it." So they agreed to pay them a flock of sheep. One of them (the Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam's companions) started reciting Surat-al-Fatihah and gathering his saliva and spitting it (at the snake-bite). The patient got cured and his people presented the sheep to them, but they said, "We will not take it unless we ask the Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam (whether it is lawful)." When they asked him, he smiled and said, "How do you know that Surat-al-Fatihah is a Ruqya? Take it (flock of sheep) and assign a share for me." - Sahih Bukhari, Book #71, Hadith #632.
According to Ustaz Sharhan Shafie, while reciting the Surah for Shifa purposes, one needs to make a du’a in silent while reciting one of the verse of the Surah, emphasizing on ayat number 5. Even whenever we are lost, feeling wary, we may recite verse number 6 and In Shaa Allah, Allah will guide and show what is good for us.
What makes Al-Fatihah particularly distinctive as compared to any other Surahs? According to Abu Hurairah (radiAllahu anhu) who reported that when Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam asked Ubayy ibn Ka’ab (radiAllahu anhu), ”Do you want me to teach you a Surah the like of which has not been revealed in the Torah, the Injeel, the Zabur, nor the Qur’an?”, and also asked what he recited in his prayers. He replied Umm-ul Qur’an (Surah Fatihah) Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam proclaimed, ’By Him in whose dominion my soul is, nothing like it has been revealed in the Torah, the Gospel, the Psalms, or the Qur’an and it is seven of the oft-repeated verses in the Mighty Qur’an which I have been given’ [at-Tirmidhi, Al-Hakim says that this hadith is Sahih on the conditions established by Imam Muslim (Tafseer Mazhari 1:30)]
Allah knows best and I know nothing.
- Learn Quranic Wisdom- Surah Al-Fatihah – The ‘Greatest Surah’ in the Quran .http://www.iqrasense.com/quran/the-greatest-surah-in-the-quran.html. Accessed on 9th February 2014.
- The Seeking of Truth-The Pursuit of Spiritual Knowledge,http://seekingoftruth.wordpress.com/2013/01/14/benefits-of-surah-al-fatihah/. Accessed on 10th February 2014.
- Ayat-ayat Ruqyah in Tanyalah Ustaz by Ustaz Sharhan Shafie, Aired in 2012.
- The Qur’an in Plain English for Children and young people, Imam Torres Al Haneef. The Islamic Foundation.ISBN 0860372332.pp. 16-17.
- The Virtues of Surat Al-Fatihah – General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments. http://www.awqaf.ae/Jumaa.aspx?Lang=EN&SectionID=15&RefID=1170. Accessed on 10th February 2014. Published on: 12-05-2011.