Tafsir of Surah al-Fatihah Guide

بسم الله ، والحمد لله ، والصلاة والسلام على المصطفى

Sheikh Saalih al-Fawzan (may Allah preserve him) mentioned the following words regarding the importance of surah al-Fatihah:

سورة الفاتحة، هى التي جعلها اللهُ فاتحة للكتاب في القرآن العظيم، وهى أم القرآن لأنها تشتمل على معاني القرآن ومقاصده، فالقرآن تفصيلٌ لما جاء في سورة الفاتحة، ولهذا سُميت أم القرآن، وهى سورةٌ عظيمةٌ، فرض اللهُ – سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى- قراءتها في كل ركعة من ركعات الصلاة فرضها ونفلها، مما يدلُّ على أهميتها وحاجة المسلم إليها . ـ

Surah al-Fatihah – Allah has made it the Opening of the Book in the Magnificent Qur’an. It is the Umm al-Qur’an (mother of the Qur’an) for it encompasses the meanings and goals of the Qur’an, for the Qur’an is an elaboration of what has come in surah al-Fatihah. It is for this reason that it has been named Umm al-Qur’an. And it is a tremendous surah – Allah has made its recitation obligatory in every unit of prayer – whether that prayer be obligatory or optional. And that is something which indicates its great importance and the Muslim’s dire need for it. [reference]

Due to the importance of this surah and the value which its ayaat contain, we have translated and published a series of three complete explanations of surah al-Fatihah taken from sound salafi books of tafsir. It was our intent to make these articles reference works and aids for better understanding this important surah. While all three of these explanations are based of the understanding of the salaf, they each differ in their respective level of detail and complexity, as well as each one bringing unique benefits not mentioned in the others.

We advise that theses explanations be read in a sequence moving from least detailed to most detailed, starting with al-Taysir al-Muyassar. This will help the read to review and strengthen his or her comprehension of the surah’s contents and increase his or her understanding in stages. These works also offer an opportunity to compare the different methods and styles of different mufassiroon. Below we have provided some information about each one these explanations to help guide the reader:

○ Tafsir of Surah al-Fatihah: al-Tafsir al-Muyassar

Introductory — [click here to read]

The book Al-Tafsir al-Muyassar was written by a group of scholars under the direction of sheikh Saalih Aal al-Sheikh, Minister of Islamic Affairs for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This explanation was written using clear and direct language, focused on conveying the primary meanings of the ayaat, as well as mentioning some important points of benefit. It is an excellent and very manageable introduction to this surah and its contents, written according to the understanding of the salaf.

○ Tafsir of Surah al-Fatihah: Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di

Intermediate — [click here to read]

This explanation came in the first section of al-Sa’di‘s book of thematic tafsir, Tafsir al-Lateef al-Manaan. It is a brief but highly beneficial explanation of the surah, which is slightly longer and more detailed than the explanation in his better known complete book of tafsir, Tafsir al-Kareem al-Rahman. al-Sa’di goes through each ayah, explaining its vocabulary, its meanings and mentioning many points of benefit. In particular, it seems to contain a focus on personal development and implementation of what the surah entails, as well as a focus on ‘aqeedah. The sheikh concludes his explanation with a a number of knowledge-based benefits which would not be immediately apparent to the common reader. All of this is a great aid to the reader in developing a deeper understanding of this crucial surah.

○ Tafsir of Surah al-Fatihah: Sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee

Upper Intermediate — [click here to read]

The entire theme of al-Shinqitee’s tafsir was to specifically focus on explaining the Qur’an by means of the Qur’an itself, and his explanation of surah al-Fatihah is no different in that regard. Due to his focused approach, this explanation of surah al-Fatihah contains some benefits which are not frequently mentioned or emphasized in other works of tafsir, and it acts as a valuable addition and complement to the broader tafsir literature. This is the longest and most detailed explanation of the three.

○ Related articles:

May Allah make these translations a source of benefit for the reader, the translator and the original authors. BaarakAllaahu feekum.

-Khalil Phillip Klopfenstein [translator]