The First Chapter of the Qur’an

Muslims believe that the Qur’an is a revelation from God in the Arabic language. Translations into other languages are considered by many to be merely superficial “interpretations” of the meanings and not reliable versions of the Qur’an. Although some Qur’an alone and liberal Muslims use translations as part of their daily prayers, they are used mainly for personal spiritual use by non-Arabic speakers.

The Arabic text with transliteration and translation in English is as follows: [Qur’an 1:1].

1:1 بِسْمِ اللّهِ الرَّحْمـَنِ الرَّحِيم

Bismillāhi r-raḥmāni r-raḥīm
In the name of God, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful:

1:2 الْحَمْدُ للّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِين

Al ḥamdu lillāhi rabbi l-‘ālamīn
Praise be to God, the Lord of the Universe.

1:3 الرَّحْمـنِ الرَّحِيم

Ar raḥmāni r-raḥīm
The Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

1:4 مَـالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّين

Māliki yawmi d-dīn
Master of the Day of Judgment.

1:5 إِيَّاك نَعْبُدُ وإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِين

Iyyāka na’budu wa iyyāka nasta’īn
You alone we worship, and You alone we ask for help

1:6 اهدِنَــــا الصِّرَاطَ المُستَقِيمَ

Ihdinā ṣ-ṣirāṭ al mustaqīm
Guide us to the straight path;

1:7 صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنعَمتَ عَلَيهِمْ غَيرِ المَغضُوبِ عَلَيهِمْ وَلاَ الضَّالِّين

Ṣirāṭ al-laḏīna an’amta ‘alayhim ġayril maġḍūbi ‘alayhim walāḍ ḍāllīn
The path of those whom You have favoured, not of those who have deserved Your anger, nor of those who stray.

When recited during daily prayers, some schools of thought follow Sura Al-Fatiha by the word Amen (normally pronounced Amin).

Notes

The first verse, transliterated as “bismillāhir rahmānir rahīm”, may be familiar to non-Arabic speakers and non-Muslims because of its ubiquity in Arabic and Muslim societies. This verse appears at the start of every sura in the Qur’an (except for surah at-Tawbah). The verse is said before reciting a sura or part of a sura during daily prayer, and also before public proclamations and indeed before many personal and everyday activities in many Arabic and Muslim societies as a way to invoke God’s blessing and proclaim one’s motives before an undertaking.

The two words “ar rahmān” and “ar rahīm” are often translated in English as “the beneficent” and “the merciful” or “the generous” and “the merciful.” They are often also translated as superlatives, for example, “the most generous” and “the most merciful.” Grammatically the two words “rahmaan” and “raheem” are different linguistic forms of the triconsonantal root R-H-M, connoting “mercy.” (For more information, see the section on root forms in Semitic languages.) The form “rahmaan” denotes degree or extent, i.e., “most merciful,” while “raheem” denotes time permanence, i.e., “ever merciful.”

The reading of the first word of the fourth verse, translated as “master/king” above, has been the subject of debate. The two main readings, or qira’at, of the Qur’an, Warsh and Hafs, differ on whether it should be “maliki” with a short “a,” which means “king” (Warsh, from Nafi’; Ibn Kathir; Ibn Amir; Abu ‘Amr; Hamza), or “māliki” with a long “a,” which means “master” or “owner” (Hafs, from Asim, and al-Kisa’i). Both “maliki” and “māliki” derive from the same triconsonantal root in Arabic, M-L-K. Both readings are considered valid by many practitioners, since both can be seen as describing God.

In some Muslim societies, Al-Fatiha is traditionally read together by a couple to seal their engagement, however this act is not recorded in the sunnah and is seen by many to be an innovation].

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One Response to “The First Chapter of the Qur’an”

  1. Hi

    I appreciate your popularising the first peaceful chapter of the peaceful Quran. It is a wonderful prayer that anybody of any religion can pray. It open hearts and minds of everybody who sincerely and steadfastly prays it. It is a univesal prayer.

    Kindly visit my site for peaceful discussion.

    Thanks

    I am an Ahmadi peaceful Muslim

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