Al-Fatiha: The Opener
This short Sura does not belong to the Koran proper, but is a little prayer, a kind of cento
made up of Koranic phrases, placed as an introduction to the Book, and commonly recited before
the reading of any portion thereof. It will be noticed that in it man is addressing Allah,
whereas in the Koran proper it is always Allah addressing man. Some of the early codices
did not contain it at all, and certain famous commentators began their exegesis with Sura 2
as though that were the first Sura. This Fatiha with its seven clauses has become a sort of
Pater Noster, being used as part of each of the daily prayer services; and its Bismillah
("In the Name of Allah") has become part of the rubric at the head of every Sura save the ninth.
IN THE NAME OF ALLAH,
THE MERCIFUL, THE COMPASSIONATE
Praise be to Allah, the Lord of mankind,
The Merciful, the Compassionate,
Master of the Day of judgment.
Thee do we worship, and to Thee do we turn for help.
Guide us ill the straight path,
The path of those to whom Thou hast been gracious,
Not of those with whom Thou art angered, nor those who go astray.
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