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Surah I – The Opening

THE MEANING OF THE GLORIOUS QUR’AN

TEXT AND EXPLANATORY TRANSLATION BY MARMADUKE PICKTHALL

Published by the Taj Company Ltd.

Surah I. The Opening

Surah I

THE OPENING

Revealed at Mecca

In the name of Allah, the Beneficient, the Merciful.

1. Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds,

2. The Beneficient, the Merciful:

3. Owner of the Day of Judgement,

4. Thee (alone) we worship; Thee (alone) we ask for help.

5. Show us the straight path,

6. The path of those whom Thou hast favoured;

7. Not (the path) of those who earn Thine anger nor of those who go astray.

Surah I : Al_Fatihah “The Opening”, or Fatihatu’l-Kitab. “The Opening of the scripture” or Ummu’l-Quran, “The essence of the Quran,” 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 the 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 that time regular congregational prayers were offered by the little group of Muslims in Mecca. In that year, as a result of insult and attack¹ by the idolators, 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 referring to this surah.² 

1 Ibn Hisham, Sirah (Cairo Ed.) Part 1, p.88.

2 See Noldeke, Geschichte des Qorans, Zweite Auflage, bearbeitet von Fr. Schwally, Part I, pp. 110 swq.

Translators note: I have retained the word Allah throughout, because there is no corresponding word in English. The word Allah (the stress is on the last syllable) has neither feminine nor plural, and has never been applied to anything other than the unimaginable Supreme Being. I use the word “God” only where the corresponding word ilah is found in the Arabic.
The words in brackets are interpolated to explain the meaning.
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