Marmaduke Pickthall, The Meaning of The Glorious Koran. An Explanatory Translation (1930)


Al-Fâtihaḥ, “The Opening,” or Fâtiḥatu’l-Kitâb, “The Opening of the Scripture” or Ummu’l-Qurân, “The Essence of the Koran,” as it is variously named, has been called the Lord’s Prayer of the Muslims. It is an essential part of all Muslim worship, public and private, and no solemn contract or transaction is complete unless it is recited. The date of revelation is uncertain, but the fact that it has always, from the very earliest times, formed a part of Muslim worship, there being no record or remembrance of its introduction, or of public prayer without it, makes it clear that it was revealed before the fourth year of the Prophet’s Mission (the tenth year before the Hijrah); because we know for certain that by that time regular congregational prayers were offered by the little group of Muslims in Mecca. In that year, as the result of insult and attack 1 by the idolaters, the Prophet arranged for the services, which had till then been held out of doors, to take place in a private house.

This sûrah is also often called Saba‘an min al-Mathâni, “Seven of the Oft-repeated” ("verses” being understood), S. XV, 87, words which are taken as referring to this sûrah.2

1 Ibn Hishâm, Sîrah (Cairo ed.), Part I, p. 88.

2 See Nöldeke, Geschichte des Qoráns, Zweite Auflage, bearbeitet von Fr. Schwally, Part I, pp. 110 seq.

Translator’s Note:

I have retained the word Allah throughout, because there is no corresponding word in English. The word Allâh (the stress is on the last syllable) has neither feminine nor plural, and has never been applied to anything other than the unimaginable Supreme Being. I use the word “God” only where the corresponding word ilâh is found in the Arabic.
The words in brackets are interpolated to explain the meaning.

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Marmaduke Pickthall, The Meaning of The Glorious Koran. An Explanatory Translation, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, Consulted online at “Quran Archive - Texts and Studies on the Quran” on 02 Oct. 2022: