Is there an authentic hadith regarding the names for surah al-Fatihah?
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
Al-Quran is a miraculous book revealed by Allah SWT through the intermediary of Gabriel AS to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH. Furthermore, it includes 114 surah, where the first surah in the Quran is al-Fatihah. The recitation of al-Fatihah is one of the requisites of prayer.
According to the above question, there is a hadith that states other names for surah al-Fatihah:
- From Abu Hurairah RA, the Prophet PBUH said:
الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ أُمُّ الْقُرْآنِ، وَأُمُّ الْكِتَابِ، وَالسَّبْعُ الْمَثَانِي
“All praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Universe" (1) is the epitome or basis of the Qur'an, the epitome or basis of the Book, and the seven oft-repeated verses.”
Sunan Abu Daud (1457) [Syeikh Syu’aib al-Arna’outh evaluates the sanad of the hadith as authentic (sahih)]
Furthermore, Allah SWT named surah al-Fatihah as al-Sab’ al-Mathani (the seven oft-repeated verses) as stated in His book.
- Allah SWT state:
وَلَقَدْ آتَيْنَاكَ سَبْعًا مِّنَ الْمَثَانِي وَالْقُرْآنَ الْعَظِيمَ
“And We have certainly given you, [O Muhammad], seven of the often repeated [verses] and the great Qur'an.”
Surah al-HIjr (87)
In another hadith according to a narration from Imam al Bukhari, the name of al-Fatihah is also stated as al-Sab’ al-Mathani:
- From Abu Sa'eed bin Al-Mu'alla, he said: The Prophet (ﷺ) passed by him when he was praying, and called him. He said: "I finished praying, then I came to him, and he said: 'What kept you from answering me?' He said: 'I was praying.' He said: 'Does not Allah say: O you who believe! Answer Allah (by obeying Him) and (His) Messenger when he calls you to that which will give you life? Shall I not teach you the greatest surah before I leave the masjid?' Then he went to leave, and I said: 'O Messenger of Allah, what about what you said?' He said:
الحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ العَالَمِينَ، هِيَ السَّبْعُ المَثَانِي، وَالقُرْآنُ العَظِيمُ الَّذِي أُوتِيتُهُ
"All praise and thanks be to Allah, Lord of all that exists. These are the seven oft-recited that I have been given, and the Grand Quran.'"
Sahih al-Bukhari (5006)
In regards to the meaning of al-Sab’ al-Mathani, scholars have differing opinions about it. Imam Mulla Ali al-Qari said the meaning of al-Sab’ (seven) is because the surah has seven verses as agreed (by scholars) although there is difference in opinions between the Kufah and Basrah scholars on several verses (according to the science of fawasil). While it is known as al-Mathani (oft-repeated) for it (al-Fatihah) is said to be the same with another surah (in the Quran) or because the verses are revealed in Mecca and Madinah. Other than that, it is also said that the surah is only revealed to the Prophet PBH and not to previous nations. (See ‘Aun al-Ma’bud, 4/232)
Another moniker for al-Fatihah is Fatihah al-Kitab:
- From Ubadah bin al-Somit RA, the Prophet PBUH said:
لاَ صَلاَةَ لِمَنْ لَمْ يَقْرَأْ بِفَاتِحَةِ الكِتَابِ
"Whoever does not recite Fatihah al-Kitab (Al-Fatihah) in his prayer, his prayer is invalid."
Sahih al-Bukhari (756)
Looking at the above hadiths and verses of the Quran, it can be concluded that surah al-Fatihah has several other meanings. Some of them are:
- al-Sab’ al-Mathani
- Umm al-Quran
- Umm al-Kitab
- Fatihah al-Kitab
To conclude, surah al-Fatihah is one of the most important surahs in the Quran as stated in the above hadith of al-Bukhari according to the narration of Abu Said. Furthermore, surah al-Fatihah also has more than one name as given by Allah SWT and the Prophet PBUH. Lastly, may Allah SWT give us understanding in religion. Amin.