T. B. Irving, The Qur’an: The First American Version; Translated and Commentary (1985)
This initial or prefatory chapter is made up of seven verses from the period which the Prophet passed in Mecca. It was revealed after The Man Wearing a Cloak 74 and before The Flame 111. The chapter has classical expression, and is “simple in wording but full of meaning,” which eventually works into our consciousness as we repeat it daily.
This is the customary invocation used in Islamic ceremonies of all kinds, and it forms a true prayer, occupying somewhat the same place in Islam as the Lord’s prayer does with Christians. The chapter is often said to contain the “essence” of the Qurʾān, and in 15:vi it is called the “Seven Oft-Repeated Verses.”
This chapter should be read attentively since many Islamic terms are introduced here and are repeated daily by every Muslim. It also bears witness to God’s presence everywhere.
* Praise be to God, * Lord of the Universe,
* the Mercy-giving, the Merciful!
* Ruler on the Day for Repayment!
** You do we worship and You do we call on for help.
* Guide us along the Straight Road,
* the road of those whom You have favored,
with whom You are not angry,
nor who are lost!