I was inspired, by the Qur’an itself, to start this section with The Opening of the Book, Surah Al Fatiha, admitting its meritorious virtues- a supplication, the answer of which is offered throughout the holy text of The Quran. It is Umm al-Kitab – the Source of Origin, or the Mother of the Book, the Sa’ban min al-Mathani  – the seven oft-repeated (verses), it represents the essence  or the core  of the Qur’an, comprising of a Dua or a Supplication to be guided on the Straight path, the prime pursuit of Muslims, and the answer of which is listed throughout the entire verses of the Quran, the manual guiding Muslims to the path of salvation and attaining God’s satisfaction. 1- In the name of God, The Compassionate, the Merciful 2- Praise belongs to God, Lord of the Worlds 3- the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy, 4- Master of the Day of Judgment. 5- It is You we worship; it is You we ask for help. 6- Guide us to the straight path: 7- the path of those You have blessed, those who incur no anger and who have not gone astray.” Starting in basmalllah , the name of Allah, The Compassionate, the Surah strikes a strong reminder at the beginning of its verses, themselves forming the Opening of the Holy Quran, reminding people of the “Merciful” characteristics of Almighty Allah, the foremost attribute of Him after that of being the Only God and the Only Creator. The Surah lays a special emphasis on the lordship and mercy of Allah Almighty, and that’s why we, Muslims are required to recite it each prayer and on every unit of our prayer- and without its recitation our prayers are not accepted God, thus reminds us of the role of Al Fatiha as a reminder, asking us t recite it at least 17 per day. As put by Dr. Irfan Ahmad khan, a renowned Muslim Mufassir, or Exegist of the Quran, President of the World Council of Muslims for Interfaith Relations and Chair of the Interreligious Engagement Project, Surah Al Fatiha is sectioned into three parts. First part- that is from verse 2 to 4- deals with God’s servants’ gratitude and thanksgiving, and offering praise and appreciation to His supreme power. Remembering God’s given bounties and blessings in itself instills a natural sense of thankfulness and gratitude. Also in the Surah a remembrance of the Day of Judgments, so that we keep our conscious and mind alert to the fact that one day we shall be brought before Allah and will be asked for our good and bad deeds. Having our hearts awaken to this fact will help us refrain from sins and all that which violates God’s commands and vie in doing good deeds that will help us attain salvation and earn His Mercy. The second part – verse 5- involves a revival of the servants’ covenant with Allah to worship only Him and refer to only Him is seeking help, “It is You we worship; it is You we ask for help.” Coming to the third part and the closure of the Surah, the verses involve an assertion of the servants’ need for God’s help to be guided to the Straight Path, the path of those who received His favors, pleading to Him to save them from being misled and misguided like those upon whom He sent His wrath. No wonder Muslims are asked to recite particularly the Fatiha several times per each Prayer and in every prayer of the five main offered everyday. It’s a gentle and vivid reminder of Allah’s blessings and bounties, an invitation to contemplate and reflect on His Merciful characteristics, stressed several times throughout this relatively short yet meritorious Surah of the holy Qur’an. Surah Al Fatiha however has more deeper levels of meaning than triggered upon mere recitation of its verses. A deep look into the values God Almighty brings to light in Surah alFatiha, the ones He tries to manifest and teaches us, shows how Merciful and Caring He is. Through his own words, God tells us how to be thankful and grateful to Him so that he outpours more of His Blessings upon us. He also reminds us of His Merciful characteristics, so that we hope for salvation and work hard to attain it, even if we do mistakes and commit sins. He reminds us so that we do not go astray and lose hope, driven by our shortsighted evaluation of ourselves. Similarly, Allah awakens us to the fact that He is the Lord of the worlds, so that we fear nobody but Him. In so doing, Allah Almighty is planting in our hearts and minds the milestone of God-Servant relationship, upon which will depend the forthcoming chapters and verses of the Qur’an. Allah is establishing the initial bond with His servants, so that they know Him as the only God worthy of worshiping, so that they seek guidance only from Him, seek salvation only through Him, and seek Help only from Him. Also in Surah al Fatiha, Allah (swt) is setting up a covenant between Himself and his “bad” (or servants): “You alone we worship, and You alone we seek help”. By nurturing our hearts with His Love, gratitude for His endless bounties, hope for His all-encompassing mercy, and trust in His everlasting light of guidance, and faith in Him as the Only Lord, God is actually helping us grasp and consequently fulfill all commands to be listed and explained throughout the rest of the Holy Qur’an. Once such perfect God-Servant relationship is established, the journey of life and all accompanying challenges and difficulties are to be overcome, having understood to whom one should refer when in need, who has the Supreme Power, and who is the only Lord running this world. This tells only a glimpse of the great merits of this rich Surah. The more one recites Al Fatiha, the many levels of meaning it shall unfold, and thus the more he connects to its core value and thus fetch more understanding of the whole Qur’an. Wassalaam, By: Maha Youssuf maha@muslimtribune.org