The Main Prayer of Islam: The Fatiha
THE FATHIA (English Translation)
IN THE NAME OF ALLAH,
THE MERCIFUL, THE COMPASSONATE.
PRAISE BE TO ALLAH,
THE LORD OF THE WORLDS,
THE MERCIFUL, THE COMPASSIONATE,
THE RULER ON THE DAY OF THE,
YOU ALONE WE SERVE,
FROM YOU ALONE WE SEEK OUR HELP.
LEAD US ON THE STRAIGHT PATH;
THE PATH OF THOSE
WHOM YOU HAVE GIVEN GRACE,
NOT ON THE PATH
OF THOSE UPON WHOM
YOUR WRATH RESETS
NOR ON THE PATH OF THE LOST
The Fatiha means "The Opening" or "The Opening of the Fortress" because it is positioned before all the other suras in the Quran. It is considered to be directly inspired by Allah and contains the words spoken by Muhammad 1,350 years ago. Since that time, this prayer has been repeated by countless Muslim worshippers.
The Fatiha is one of the few prescribed prayers in the Quran. It is regarded by all Muslims as unique and holy. However, it should only be uttered in Arabic, even in those countries where another language is spoken. A translation into Persian, Turkish, Urdu, Indonesian or Swahili is not considered valid or possible.
Arabic, in which the 114 suras of the Quran are written, is described as the language of Allah. A direct translation of the Quran is prohibited, for the beauty, depth and power of the poetic language would be lost. Therefore, any translation that does occur is only regarded as an interpretation of the Arabic original.
About 80 percent of Muslims do not speak Arabic. As a result, they do not know what they are praying when they recite the Fatiha in the language of its original composition. However when they pray it, they are sure that the main prayer in the Quran is passing over their lips.
In the course of the five prayer-times, which the Sharia (Islamic law) commands all Muslims to perform, the Fatiha is uttered up to 17 times a day. Thus, this prayer represents more of a "martyrdom" for Muslims than the Lord's Prayer does for Christians. The adoration, pleas and hopes contained in it shape the subconscious mind of every Muslim.
The Fatiha advances around our planet five times a day, according to the earth's rotation and alignment with the sun, being uttered by Muslims from the 11,000 islands of Indonesia in the East to the Atlas Mountains in the West; from the Russian steppe in the North to the Cape of Good Hope in the South. It has even made inroads into Europe and the Americas through the presence of foreign workers and students.