Some Benefits from Soorah al-Fatiha, by Shaikh Abdur-Razaaq bin Abdul-Muhsin al-Badr (hafidhahumullaah)
La illaah ila Allaah (there is none worthy of worship except Allaah). Thus this is a contract between Allaah – Tabaraka wa Ta'ala – and the worshipper to worship Allaah alone. Once this principle of making all worship for Allaah alone is comprehended, a slave would never raise his hands or perform an act of worship for other than Allaah.
Whilst reciting this Surah al-Fatiha in their prayer, Muslims must be aware of the weight and value of this Great Surah. They must understand it, reflect upon it and then act upon the conditions and pillars which are erected from this Surah. Acting upon it also involves action of the heart, as it should feel particular emotions in response to what is being recited.
‘ٱلۡحَمۡدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ ٱلۡعَٰلَمِينَ ٢’ – All praise belongs to Allaah, Lord of all the worlds
Whilst reciting this, a slave should feel love for Allaah Ta'ala, Who alone is worthy of all Praise as He alone created all that exists. He alone granted us all the blessings that we have, those that we are aware of and those we are not aware of.
‘ٱلرَّحۡمَٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ ٣’ – The Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful
Whilst reciting this, a slave should feel hope, knowing that Allaah – Tabaraka wa Ta'ala – is the Most Beneficent and Most Merciful, thus He alone will forgive our sins regardless of their amount or severity as long as we repent with sincerity.
‘مَٰلِكِ يَوۡمِ ٱلدِّينِ ٤’ – The Master of the Day of Judgment
Whilst reciting this Surah, a slave should feel fear. Knowing that, on that Day, we will be taken to account for all our deeds even an atom's worth. Retribution will be taken for those we oppressed or wronged, and punishment given for sins committed that were not repented from with sincerity.
These three emotions - Love, Hope and Fear - are known as the pillars of Worship of the Heart. Together they constitute worship. We worship Allaah Ta'ala with all three of these pillars, Love, Hope and Fear. If one feels any of these pillars for other than Allaah, then it is Shirk (Setting up partners with Allaah). Various deviant sects worship Allaah whilst adhering to just one of these pillars and thus have gone astray. It is vital to possess all three pillars. If there is only Hope, he will not stop sinning due to lack of Fear. If there is only Fear, he will give up his good deeds as he does not have Hope. If there is only Love, he will not Fear Allaah's punishment and continue to sin.
‘إِيَّاكَ نَعۡبُدُ’ -You alone we worship
This statement is a realization of
‘وَإِيَّاكَ نَسۡتَعِينُ’ – You alone we turn to, seeking help
This statement is a realization of La hawla wa la Quwwata illa billaah (There is no change from one condition to another, nor power to do, so except by Allaah helping you). This testifies that Allaah alone possesses the unique qualities of Giving and Taking etc... Therefore we only ask Allaah to fulfill all of our needs as He alone is able to grant them. As is mentioned in the Hadeeth of Ibn Abbas (radiAllaahu 'anhumma) who said:
One day I was behind the Prophet (sallAllaahu 'alayhi wa sallam), and he said to me: 'Young boy, I shall teach you some words [of advice]: Be mindful of Allaah, and Allaah will protect you. Be mindful of Allah, and you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, ask of Allaah; if you seek help, seek help of Allaah. Know that if the Ummah were to gather together to benefit you with anything, it would benefit you only with something that Allaah had already prescribed for you, and that if they gather together to harm you with anything, they would harm you only with something Allaah had already prescribed for you. The pens have been lifted and the pages have dried.'
‘ٱهۡدِنَا ٱلصِّرَٰطَ ٱلۡمُسۡتَقِيمَ’ Guide us to the Right path
This correct path is the Sunnah which was given to us by the Prophet (sallAllaahu 'alayhi wa sallam). Therefore, if we wish to be guided, we ask Allaah (Tabaraka wa Ta'ala) to grant us the ability to be guided and then we act upon what we learn from the Sunnah. Allaah tells us clearly in the Qur`an: He who obeys the Messenger (Muhammad) has indeed obeyed Allaah, but he who turns away, then we have not sent you (Muhammad) as a watcher over them. [an-Nisa`, ayah 80]
And the Prophet (sallAllaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) told us: I have left you upon the shining path, its night is like its day. No one will deviate from it except that he wishes to be destroyed.
‘صِرَٰطَ ٱلَّذِينَ أَنۡعَمۡتَ عَلَيۡهِمۡ’ - The Path which you have blessed
The Arabic word An'amta (those who have been blessed) comes from the word Na'amah, which means blessed. Therefore, the one who is blessed is called Mun'im (one who is blessed). To be Mun'im (one who is blessed), you must possess knowledge and you must act upon that knowledge. This is one group of people.
‘غَيۡرِ ٱلۡمَغۡضُوبِ عَلَيۡهِمۡ’ - Not those with whom Allaah is angry
This is another group of people and they possess knowledge, but they do not act upon the knowledge they have, therefore they are like donkeys merely carrying the load of books but not implementing the knowledge within those books.
‘وَلَا ٱلضَّآلِّينَ’ – And not those who have gone astray
This is the last group and they have no knowledge, and worship Allaah with Bid'ah (innovations) and whilst following their desires. They perform much worship, however it is not according to the Sunnah. Therefore it is not correct, nor is it accepted. Allaah Ta'ala describes these people in the Qur`an in Surah al-Kahf as: Those whose efforts have been wasted in this life while they thought that they were acquiring good by their deeds! [al-Kahf, ayah 104]
[Taken from: "The explanation of Surah Fatiha by Shaykh ul-Islam Muhammad bin AbdulWahaab," explained by Abdur-Razaaq bin Abdul-Muhsin al-Badr in the Prophet's Masjid in Madina on the 14th and 15th of Ramadhan, 1432 A.H.]