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Surah Fatihah in Prayers

15:87

Sahih International:

And We have certainly given you, [O Muhammad], seven of the often repeated [verses] and the great Qur'an.
Yusuf Ali:

And We have bestowed upon thee the Seven Oft-repeated (verses) and the Grand Qur'an.
The Messenger of Allah SAW said: Surah Fatihah is the seven repeatedly recited verses. [Sahih Bukhari: 380/3 H. 4704]

7:204

Sahih International:

So when the Qur'an is recited, then listen to it and pay attention that you may receive mercy.
Yusuf Ali:

When the Qur'an is read, listen to it with attention, and hold your peace: that ye may receive Mercy. Some people quote this verse of the Quran in order to prove the negation of recitation of Surah Al- Fatihah in the prayer behind the Imam. In order to understand the situation the background behind the revelation of this verse needs to verified, when and why this verse was revealed?

Imam Ibn Kathir mentions in his tafsir (Tafsir ibn Kathir) of this verse (7: 204): After Allah mentioned that this Qur'an is a clear evidence, guidance and mercy for mankind, He commanded that one listen to the Qur'an when it is recited, in respect and honor of the Qur'an. This is to the contrary of the practice of the pagans of Quraysh, who said,


("Listen not to this Qur'an, and make noise in the midst of its (recitation)'' 41:26 Ibn Jarir reported that Ibn Mas`ud said; "We would give Salams to each other during Salah. So the Ayah of Qur'an was revealed;


(When the Qur'an is recited, then listen to it.) Furthermore, Imam At- Tabari mentions in Tafsir At- Tabari: So when the Quran is recited, listen to it, and be silent that you may receive mercy. [i.e. during the compulsory congrerational prayers when the Imam (of a mosque) is leading the prayer (except Surah Al- Fatihah), and also when he is delivering the Friday- prayer Khutbah]. [Tafsir At- Tabari, vol. 9, page 162-164]

Even if we look at the next verse, Alhamdullaih, we get the answer.


7:205

Sahih International:

And remember your Lord within yourself in humility and in fear without being apparent in speech - in the mornings and the evenings. And do not be among the heedless.
Yusuf Ali:

And do thou (O reader!) Bring thy Lord to remembrance in thy (very) soul, with humility and in reverence, without loudness in words, in the mornings and evenings; and be not thou of those who are unheedful.

Allah says

which means And remember

your Lord within yourself. This is the evidence given by Hazrat Abu Huraira RA when he was asked At times we are behind the Imam He replied

which means Recite it inwardly. Abu Huraira reported: The Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: If anyone observes prayer in which he does not recite Umm al-Qur'an, It is deficient [he said this three times] and not complete. It was said to Abu Huraira: At times we are behind the Imam. He said: Recite it inwardly, for he had heard the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) declare that Allah

the Exalted had said: I have divided the prayer into two halves between Me and My servant, and My servant will receive what he asks. When the servant says: Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the universe, Allah the Most High says: My servant has praised Me. And when he (the servant) says: The Most Compassionate, the Merciful, Allah the Most High says: My servant has lauded Me. And when he (the servant) says: Master of the Day of judg- ment, He remarks: My servant has glorified Me. and sometimes He would say: My servant entrusted (his affairs) to Me. And when he (the worshipper) says: Thee do we worship and of Thee do we ask help, He (Allah) says: This is between Me and My servant, and My servant will receive what he asks for. Then, when he (the worshipper) says: Guide us to the straight path, the path of those to whom Thou hast been Gracious not of those who have incurred Thy displeasure, nor of those who have gone astray, He (Allah) says: This is for My servant, and My servant will receive what he asks for. Sufyan said: 'Ala b. 'Abd al-Rahman b. Ya'qub narrated it to me when I went to him and he was confined to his home on account of illness, and I asked him about it. [Sahih Muslim, Kitab Al- Salat, Hadith No. 878; Sunan Abu Dawud, Kitab Al- Salat, Hadith No. 821]

Ubada ibn as-Samit reported: The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: He who does not recite Umm al-Qur'an is not credited with having observed the prayer. [Sahih Bukhari, Kitab Al- Adhan, Hadith No. 756; Sahih Muslim, Kitab Al- Salat, Hadith No. 874; Sunan An- Nasai, Kitab Al- Fattah, Hadith No. 911] It was reported from Muhammad bin Salamah, from Muhammad bin Ishaq, from Makhul, from Mahmud bin Ar- Rabi from Ubadah bin As-Samit, who said: We were (standing) behind the Messenger of Allah SAW in the Fajr

prayer. The Messenger of Allah SAW recited (the Quran), but found it difficult to recite (due to interference). When he completed (the prayer) he said: Perhaps you recite behind your Imam? We said: Yes, rapidly, O Messenger of Allah. So he said: Do not do so, except with Fatihatil- Kitab, for there is no prayer for one who does not recite it. [Sunan Abu Dawud, Kitab Al- Salat, Hadith No. 823; Sunan AnNasai, Kitab Al- Fattah, Hadith No. 921]

It was reported from Makhul, from Nafi bin Mahmud bin Ar- Rabi Al- Ansari who said: Once Ubadah (bin As- Samit) was late for the Subah (Fajr) prayer, so Abu Nuaim, the Muadh-din, called the Iqamah, and led the people in prayer. Ubadah came, and I was with him, and we stood behind Abu Nuaim while he was reciting out loud. Ubadah started reciting Fatihatil- Kitab. When he finished. I said to him: I heard you reciting Fatihatil- Kitab while Abu Nuaim was reciting out loud (as well). He replied: Yes. The Messenger of Allah SAW prayed a prayer in which the recitation is done out loud, and the recitation became difficult for him. When he finished, he turned around to face us and said: Do you recite when I recite out loud? Some of us replied: We do indeed do that. So he said: Then do not (do so), for I was saying (to myself) What is the matter with me that I am struggling with the Quran? So do not recite anything of the Quran when I recite out loud, except the Mother of the Book (Al- Fatihah). [Sunan Abu Dawud, Kitab Al- Salat, Hadith No. 824]

(Others reported it) from Makhul, from Ubadah, similar to the narration of Ar- Rabi bin Sulaiman. They all said: So Makhul would recite the Fatihah in every Rakah of Maghrib, Isha, and Subh silently. Makhul would say: After the Imam recites (Fatihah) out loud and remains quiet, recite it (Fatihah) silently. But if he does not remain quiet, then recite before him, or with him, or after him. Do not leave it under any circumstance. [Sunan Abu Dawud, Kitab Al- Salat, Hadith No. 825]

Ubadah bin AS- Samit narrated that the prophet SAW said: There is no Salat for the one who does not recite Fatihatil- Kitab. Imam Tirmidhi said: There are narrations on this topic from Abu Hurairah, Aishah, Anas, Abu Qatadah, and Abdullah bin Amr. Abu Eisa (Imam Tirmidhi) said: The Hadith of Ubadah bin As- Samit is a Hasan Sahih Hadith. Most of the people of knowledge among the Companions of the Prophet SAW act according to it. Among them are Umar bin Al- Khattab, [Ali bin Abi Talib], Jabir bin Abdullah. Imran bin Husain, and others besides them. In the opinion of these scholars, no Salat is acceptable without the recitation of Fatihatil- Kitab. [Ali bin Abi Talib said: Every Salat in which Fatihatil- Kitab is not recited is a deficient that is not complete.] This is the saying of Ibn Al- Mubarak, Ash- ShafiI, Ahmad, and Ishaq. [I heard Ibn Abi Umar saying: I visited Ibn Uyainah for eighteen years, and Al- Humaidi was one year older than me. And, I heard Ibn Abi Umar saying:

I performed Hajj seventy times, walking on my feet.] [Jami At- Tirmidhi, Abwabus- Salat, Hadith No. 247] This Hadith is a proof of the issue that reading Al- Fatihah is compulsory for any prayer of day or night, of journey or residence, voluntary or obligatory, the person offering the prayer can be an individual, an Imam or a follower; the Fatihah is a pillar of prayer. No ones prayer is valid without it. [Umdatul- Qari, 3/64]
--Umdatul- Qari- Sharah Sahih Al Bukhari by Allama Badruddin Ayeni Hanafi.