name given to the first surah of the Quran. "The Opening" or Fatihatu'l-Kitab, "The Opening of the Scripture" or Ummu'l-Qur'an, "The Essence of the Koran", as it is variously named, has been called the Lord's Prayer of the Muslims. It is an essential part of all Muslim worship, public and private, and no solemn contract or transaction is complete unless it is recited. The date of revelation is uncertain, but the fact that it has always, from the very earliest times, formed a part of Muslim worship, there being no record or remembrance of its introduction, or of public prayer without it, makes it clear that it was revealed before the fourth year of the Prophet's Mission (the tenth year before the Hijrah); because we know for certain by the little group of Muslims in Mecca. In that year, as the result of insult and attack{1} by the idolaters, the Prophet arranged for the services, which had till then been held out of doors, to take place in a private house. This surah is also often called Saba'an min al-Mathani, "Seven of the Oft-repeated" ("verses" being understood), S. XV, 87, words which are taken as refering to this surah. ( {footnote al-Fatihah 1: Ibn Hisham, Sirah, Cairo Ed, Part 1, p.88 footnote al-Baqarah 2: See Noldeke, Geschichte des Qorans, Zweite Auflage, bearbeited von Fr. Schwally, Part I, pp. 100 seq.} (Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall, The Meaning of the Glorious Koran})

Further reading:

  • A Variant Text of the Fatiha
  • The Fatiha originally not part of the Qur'an

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