The Holy Qur'an

The Revelation of Sūrah al-Fātiḥah

With regards to the revelation of thischapter, it is reported by Ibn ‘Abbāsra[i], Qatādah[ii]and Abū al-‘Āliyah[iii]that Sūrah al-Fātihahwas revealed in Makkah. However, Abū Hurairahra[iv], Mujāhid[v], ‘Aṭā[vi]and Zuhrī[vii]say that this chapter was revealed to the Holy Prophetsain Madinah. Nevertheless, it is apparent from the Holy Qur’an that this chapter was revealed in Makkah because it has been mentioned in Sūrah al-Ḥijr– a chapter unanimously agreed to be revealed in Makkah[viii]-in the following words:

وَلَقَدْ آتَيْنَاكَ سَبْعًا مِنَ الْمَثَانِي وَالْقُرْآنَ الْعَظِيمَ

‘And We have, indeed, given thee the seven oft-repeated verses, and the Great Qur’an.’[ix]

Some scholars consider this chapterto have been revealed twice – first in Makkah and the second time in Madinah. Thus, it is both a Makkan chapter as well as a Medinite one.[x]In my opinion, this is the correct view.

It is certain that this chapter was revealed in Makkah. However, it can be proven through authentic narrations that it was also revealed in Madinah. Therefore, it appears that in reality it was revealed on two occasions. Whilst in Madinah the Holy Prophetsamentioned to a gathering that Sūrah al-Fātiḥahhad been revealed, some assumed that this chapter had been revealed for the first time there; however, the Prophet’ssapurpose was only to inform them that the chapter had been revealed once again in Madinah. 

Another evidence that proves that this chapter’s revelation was originally in Makkah is that in the narrations it is mentioned that Sūrah al-Fātiḥahhad always been recited during formal prayers [i.e., salat]. Since congregational prayers began to be performed in Makkah – in fact, they began at the very inception of Islam –therefore, this further proves that this chapter was first revealed in Makkah. 

[i]Hazrat Ibn ‘Abbasrawas the nephew of the Holy Prophetsa. Amongst other distinctions, he is renowned for narrating a number of narrations from the Holy Prophetsa. [Publishers]

[ii]Hazrat Qatadahrawas one of the Medinite companions of the Holy Prophetsa. [Publishers]

[iii]Hazrat Abu al-Aliyahrawas one of the companions of the Holy Prophetsa. [Publishers]

[iv]Hazrat Abu Hurairahrawas one of the companions of the Holy Prophetsaand known for being the most prolific narrator of hadith. [Publishers]

[v]Mujahid was one of the early Muslims after the generation of the companions of the Holy Prophetsa. He is considered to be the first to compile a written exegesis of the Holy Qur’an. [Publishers]

[vi]Ata ibn Ali Rabah was a prominent commentator, transmitter of hadithand scholar in Islamic jurisprudence after the generation of the companions of the Holy Prophetsa. [Publishers]

[vii]Imam Ibn Shihab al-Zuhri is considered to be a prominent scholar among those that compiled the biography of the Holy Prophetsa. [Publishers]

[viii]Shams-ud-Dīn al-Qurṭub,Al-Jāmi‘ li Aḥkāmil-Qur’ān lil-Qurṭubī, vol. 1 (Cairo, Egypt: Dār-ul-Kutub-ul-Maṣriyyah, 1964), 115. [Author]

[ix]The Holy Qur’an,15:88. [Publishers]

[x]Qurtubi has narrated this on the authority of Tha‘lbi, however, the commentary of Tha‘lbi (published in Algeria) does not contain this narration. It is possible that Qurtubi recorded this narration from another work of Tha‘lbi. [Author]

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