Repeating Al-Faatihah in the Prayer Due to A Lack of Contemplation or Forgetfulness – and Other Rulings Pertaining to It


الحمد لله رب العالمين، وصلى الله وسلم على نبينا محمد وعلى آله وأصحابه أجمعين، أما بعد


The recitation of Soorah Al-Faatihah in the prayer is an obligation for the one who stands to pray, and it is a pillar from the pillars of the prayer, the prayer of a person is not correct unless he recites it, as occurs in the hadeeth of ‘Ubaadah bin Saamit (radhiyallaahu ‘anhu) who said that the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said:

لاَ صَلاَةَ لِمَنْ لَمْ يَقْرَأْ بِفَاتِحَةِ الْكِتَابِ

((There is no prayer for the one who does not recite the Opening of the Book [Al-Faatihah].))[1]


Imaam An-Nawawee (rahimahullaah) said regarding this hadeeth: “In it is the obligation of reciting Al-Faatihah, and it is stipulated, it is not compensated by other than it except for the one who is incapable of it, and this is the madhab of Maalik and Ash-Shaafi’ee and the majority of the scholars from the companions and the Taabi’een and those who came after them.”[2]

He said also: “The hadeeth of ‘Ubaadah bin Saamit (radhiyallaahu ‘anhu) is reported by Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim (rahimahumullaah), and the recitation of Al-Faatihah for the one who is able to do so is an obligation from the obligations of the prayer, and is a pillar from its pillars and it is stipulated. Nothing stands in its place as its translation in other than the Arabic language nor the recital of anything other than it from the Qur’aan. It is uniform in its stipulation of all of the prayers – their obligatory ones and their supererogatory ones, those that are to be recited aloud from them and their quiet ones, and for the man and the woman and the traveller and the child and the one who is standing and the seated and the one who is lying down and in times of hardship and fear and other than them.”[3]

Shaikh ‘Uthaimeen (rahimahullaah) mentioned: “This Soorah has distinctions which distinguish it from other Soorahs, from them is that it is a pillar in the prayers which is the best of the pillars of Islaam after the two testimonies of faith, hence there is no prayer for the one who does not recite the Opening of the Book (Al-Faatihah).”[4]

The following discussion is an analysis of the rulings pertaining to the recitation of Soorah Al-Faatihah in the prayer – specifically in the issue of repeating its recitation, as well as a clarification of some common misconceptions related to it as well as points of benefit which the people of knowledge have mentioned connected to this topic.


It is Disliked to Repeat the Recitation of Soorah Al-Faatihah in a Single Rak’ah


Ibn Qudaamah (rahimahullaah) said: “It is disliked to repeat Al-Faatihah because it has not been reported from the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) or from his companions because it is a pillar (of the prayer). Also the issue of the invalidation of the prayer on account of its repetition is differed upon, therefore it is disliked.”[5]

Shaikh ‘Uthaimeen (rahimahullaah) said: “It is disliked to repeat Al-Faatihah twice or more, and the justification for that is that it has not been reported from the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), and so the one who repeats Al-Faatihah from an aspect of worship with the repetition no doubt has come with that which is disliked, because had this been from good; then the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) would have done it.

However if he repeats Al-Faatihah not on the basis of worship, rather due to loss of the desired quality; then what is apparent is the permissibility. Such as one’s repetition of it because he forgot and so he recited it in secret in a state wherein it is legislated to be read aloud, as occurs with some of the Imaams who forget – and so they recite Al-Faatihah in secret. So here we say: There is no objection in repeating it from the beginning out of rectification of that which had slipped by from the legality of reading aloud.”[6]


Reciting Soorah Al-Faatihah Twice in a Single Rak’ah Due to Forgetfulness


Imaam An-Nawawee (rahimahullaah) said: “If one recites Al-Faatihah twice out of forgetfulness then it is of no harm; and if he does so deliberately then it is upon two aspects; the correctly stipulated one is that it (the prayer) does not become invalidated because it does not cause any disturbance to the form of the prayer.”[7]

Likewise Shaikh ‘Abdul-‘Azeez bin Baaz (rahimahullaah) said when he was asked concerning this affair: “It has no effect; however it is not legislated for you to repeat it except if forgetfulness occurs from you and so you repeat it. Otherwise the origin is that once is enough – a single time and you should not repeat it, if you read it once then it is sufficient.”[8]


Repeating Soorah Al-Faatihah a Number of Times Due to Erring in its Recitation


A question was posed to Shaikh ‘Abdul-‘Azeez bin Baaz in which it was asked: “I repeat the recitation of Al-Faatihah a number of times during the prayer because I err in its recitation, what is the ruling of what I do?”

The Shaikh (rahimahullaah) replied: “This is not legislated; the Sunnah is that you recite a single time, you should read it in a slow pleasant tone, you should contemplate over it and comprehend it so that you bring about the letters as they should be. As for the repetition then it is disliked, however if you make an error in it you should repeat whatever you made an error in, if you made an error in an aayah then you repeat the aayah and whatever comes after it. As for the repetition of it – meaning from the aspect of (Satanic) whispers then this is not befitting, rather it is disliked, and likewise in the matter of cautiousness it is disliked. The Prophet (‘alaihis salaatu was-salaam) would recite it once and in this manner likewise his companions (radhiyallaahu ‘anhum wa ardaahum) would do so, and therefore; all good lies in following him (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) and in following his companions.”[9]


If One Has Recited Soorah Al-Faatihah With no Contemplation over it – Should He Repeat its Recitation?


Shaikh ‘Uthaimeen (rahimahullaah) said: “He should not repeat it, if the person is unmindful of the prayer on account of whisperings (of the devils) and thoughts then he should not repeat what has passed him by, because the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi was sallam) informed that Satan comes to the person in his prayer and says: ‘remember such and such, remember such and such.’ So he prays and he does not know what he has prayed.[10]

If we were to say that he should repeat (it) then Satan could gain influence over him in the repetition, then we would say: repeat for a second time and a third time and a fourth. However; what is upon the individual is to try as much as he can to make his heart attentive in his prayer, because the attentiveness of the heart in the prayer is the very essence of the prayer. The one who prays and his heart is inattentive, then he is not except an instrument that only makes movement.”[11]


Repeating Letters or Words For Accurate Pronunciation and Repeating Soorah Al-Faatihah a Number of Times Due to the Whispering of the Devils


The whisperings which come about during the prayer can be of different types, sometimes Satan whisper to the person that his pronunciation of the words he recited were not done adequately; and so the person attempts to repeat words or aayahs on account of this notion.

Regarding such whispers; Ibn Al-Qayyim (rahimahullaah) said: “From that is the whispering in regard to the articulation of the letters and deep exorbitance in it, and we shall mention that which the scholars mentioned in their own words.

Abul Faraj Ibn Al-Jawzee said: ‘Iblees (Satan) has indeed brought complication to some of those who pray in the form of articulation of letters, so you will see him saying: الْحَمْدُ الْحَمْدُ (Alhamdu, Alhamdu) and so due to the repetition of the word, he exits from the regulation of the etiquette of the prayer. On occasions he brings confusion to him in the precision of intensified pronunciation – in articulation of the letter ض in: الْمَغْضُوبِ (Al-Maghdoobi).

Indeed; I have seen one who even emits his spit when attempting to articulate the letter ض due to the force of his intensified pronunciation, and yet the intent is but precise accomplishment of the letter, whilst Iblees takes such individuals – with an excess – out of the limit of precise accomplishment and busies them instead with an overemphasis in the letters – away from understanding the recitation, and all of this is whisperings from Iblees.’”[12]

On other occasions such whisperings can be nothing but doubt which Satan seeks to put into the heart of the one who is praying as to whether he has read something or missed it out entirely, regarding this Shaikh ‘Uthaimeen (rahimahullaah) was asked:

“A man sometimes has whisperings in the prayer, he recites Al-Faatihah and then Satan says: ‘you haven’t recited (it)’ and so he repeats Al-Faatihah, is there anything in the repetition of Al-Faatihah?”

The Shaikh replied: “The repetition of Al-Faatihah is disliked, especially if the cause of it is whisperings, so if Satan says: ‘you haven’t recited (it)’ then he should say: ‘you have lied’ – however he should not say it with his tongue but rather to himself, and he should continue – for indeed he had read it.”[13]


If One Enters Whilst the Congregation is Praying and He Fears that if He Begins Reciting the Opening Supplication Before Al-Faatihah He May Not Have Time To Recite Al-Faatihah Itself Before The Imaam Goes Into Rukoo’


Imaam An-Nawawee (rahimahullaah) said: “The one who has been preceded (i.e. arrives after commencement of the prayer); if he reaches the Imaam in other than the standing position then he does not come with the opening supplication, and if he reaches him in the standing position and he knows that it is possible for him to recite the opening supplication and the invocation of seeking refuge and Al-Faatihah then he should come with them, and if he knows that it will not be possible for him to combine them (in this way) or that he doubts it; then he should not come with the opening supplication.”[14]

Shaikh ‘Abdul-‘Azeez bin Baaz (rahimahullaah) said: “If the one who is praying behind the Imaam comes and the Imaam is already in rukoo’, then he too should make the rukoo’ along with him and not recite the opening supplication nor read anything, rather he should make the Takbeer and go into rukoo’. As for if he comes in a time which is ample and the Imaam is standing; then he should make the opening supplication and recite Al-Faatihah – this is what is legislated for him: he makes the opening supplication first, then recites Al-Faatihah even in the loud prayer if it is done in the silent pauses of the Imaam then he recites it in the silent pauses, and if there are no silent pauses then he recites it to himself, then after that he should be silent for the Imaam. As for if he comes late at the time of the rukoo’ then he should make the Takbeer and go into rukoo’ and Al-Faatihah falls away from him because he is excused.”[15]


If One Enters Whilst the Congregation is in Prayer and He Begins Reciting Al-Faatihah – But Then the Imaam Goes Into Rukoo’ (the bowing) Before He is Able to Complete its Recitation


Shaikh ‘Uthaimeen (rahimahullaah) was asked: “If a person enters into a quiet prayer, and the Imaam goes into rukoo’ and this individual is unable to complete Al-Faatihah, what is to be done?”

The Shaikh mentioned: “If he has been preceded; meaning that he arrives and the Imaam has already began prayer and so he makes the Takbeer and the opening supplication and recites Al-Faatihah, and then the Imaam goes into rukoo’ before he can finish it, then he should go into rukoo’ along with the Imaam – even if he misses out some of Al-Faatihah, because he had been preceded. So there falls away from him that which he was unable to catch up with before the bowing of the Imaam.”[16]


The Wisdom as to Why Soorah Al-Faatihah is Repeated During the Eclipse Prayer


Regarding the wisdom as to why Soorah Al-Faatihah is repeated during the eclipse prayer, Shaikh ‘Uthaimeen (rahimahullaah) said: “We do not indicate that we should request the wisdom of that, since if we are granted ability to that which is correct then that is from the favour of Allaah and His Mercy, and if we err; then that is from our ownselves. That which is apparent to me – and Allaah Knows best – is that the wisdom in that is; that since this is the reason for this prayer – and it is the eclipse and the solar eclipse and the lunar eclipse – a reason that is uncommon, then it had legislated for it a worship that is uncommon.

The eclipse prayer is outside of the forms of the customary prayer; just as the eclipse is outside of the customary course of the sun and the moon, this is wisdom. Another wisdom is that the rukoo’ (bowing) is repeated within it as is the recitation, out of upholding limitation of the two rak’ahs, since the night prayer and the day prayer are two by two, therefore due to the time period of the eclipse becoming prolonged – in most cases; the rukoo’ and the recitation are repeated so that the people should not become tired by the lengthy recitation. So between the segments of recitation the rukoo’ is established in which the person should bow for his Lord and venerate Him. Then he stands upright and recites and repeats the recitation once more.

So these are two aspects of wisdom and if they are both as was intended by Allaah, The Mighty and Majestic and His Messenger, then that is from the bounty of Allaah, and if the affair is other than that then that is from our own selves and we seek Allaah’s forgiveness and we repent to Him.”[17]






[1] Reported by Al-Bukhaaree (no.756) and Muslim (no.872)

[2] Sharh Saheeh Muslim vol 4 p.322

[3] Al-Majmu’ vol 3 p.326

[4] At-Tafseer ath-Thameen vol 1 p.67

[5] Al-Mughni vol 1 p.612

[6] Sharh al-Mumti’ vol 3 p.239-240

[7] Al-Majmu’ vol 4 p.91

[8] Fataawa Noor ‘Alaa Ad-Darb (no.433)

[9] Fataawa Noor ‘Alaa Ad-Darb (no.101)

[10] Reported by Al-Bukhaaree (no.608) and Muslim (no.389)

[11] Liqaa-aat al-Baab al-Maftooh vol 6 p.25

[12] Ighaathatul Lahfaan vol 1 p.297


[14] Abridged from Al-Majmu’ vol 3 p.319

[15] Majmu’ Fataawa vol 30 p.149

[16] Majmu’ Fataawa vol 13 p.117


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