Additional Material
for Key Chapters

Chapter 5, The Qur’an

The Fatiha or Opening Sura of the Qur’an.

This sura is recited on a wide number of occasions. Below is the text in Arabic transliterated to reflect as closely as possible the pronunciation (Introducing Islam, pp. xvi-xviii will help). Note the rhyme scheme in –īn and –īm. Beside it are two well-known translations, those of A.J. Arberry in The Koran Interpreted and A. Yusuf Ali, The Holy Qur’an. A slightly different version (done by the author) appears in Introducing Islam, pp. 59-60. Following this is the text in Arabic calligraphy (same as in Introducing Islam, p. 60). This is from a small inexpensive cardboard poster that might have put on a wall at home or in a workplace, the elegance of the calligraphy and the significance of the text being no less for that.



A. Yusuf Ali

(1) Bi-smi-llāhi-r-raḥmāni-r-raḥīm

In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate,

In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

(2) Al-ḥamdu li-llahi rabbi-l-‘ālamīn

Praise belongs to God, the Lord of all Being,

Praise be to God, The Cherisher and Sustainer of the Worlds

(3) Ar-raḥmāni-r-raḥīm

the All-merciful, the All-compassionate

Most Gracious, Most Merciful

(4) Māliki-yawmi-ddīn

The Master of the Day of Doom.

Master of the Day of Judgment

(5) Iyyāka na‘budu
Wa-iyyāka nasta‘in

Thee only we serve;
to Thee alone we pray for succour

Thee do we worship
And Thine aid we seek.

(6) Ihdinā-ṣ-ṣirāṭi-l-mustaqīm

Guide us in the straight path

Show the straight way,

(7) Ṣirāṭi-lladhīna an‘amta ‘alayhim,
ghayri-l-maghḍūbi ‘alayhim,
Wa-la ḍāllīn

the path of those whom Thou hast blest,
not of those against whom thou art wrathful
nor of those who are astray.

The way of those on whom Thou hast bestowed Thy Grace,
Those whose portion is not wrath,
And who go not astray.

Comment on verse 2: rabb is usually translated “Lord” and would appear to be derived from the root r-b-b but Muslim commentators usually derive it here from r-b-y, which yields the ideas of educating, fostering and nurturing.

(See image 5.1 from Introducing Islam, p 60)

Recitations of this and other Qur’anic texts can be found in many places on the internet. A few are listed here. The first is the Fatihah by Ahmad al-Ajami; the next
Three are by the well known Qur’an reciter Abd al-Basit; the last is a very nice recitation by a young boy; fifth;

Further Reading

Fatah , Tarek, “A Book for all Ages: The Qur’an and Me”, The National Post, 21 August 2009. A very nice statement about the significance of the Qur’an by a secularist Muslim. Online:

© William Shepard

Book Information / Buy the book