Salah is a gift that Allah has bestowed on our community with much love, and Al-Fatiha – the chapter of the Quran we read in every single segment of the prayer – is a gift within that gift. When angel Jibreel was sitting with the Messenger of Allah ﷺ, he heard a noise from the sky and said that a door had been opened in the Heavens that had never been opened before. An angel who had never come down to Earth came through this door with Al-Fatiha.
When Omar bin Abdul-Aziz, a righteous caliph who was known for his justice and piety, would recite Surat Al-Fatiha, he would pause after reading every single verse. When asked for the reason, he answered: “Because I wanted to enjoy the reply from my Lord”.
He was referring to this beautiful authentic hadith. The Prophet ﷺ said: Allah said:
قسمت الصلاة بيني وبين عبدي نصفين ولعبدي ما سأل
I have split salah [Al-Fatiha] between Myself and My slave, half is for Me, and half for him, and My servant shall have what he asks for
Take a moment before you start reciting Al-Fatiha to renew your intentions, and be mentally and emotionally present, for you are about to have an actual dialogue with Allah. He will respond to you as you read this surah. Think about how honoring and humbling this is. We, His sinful slaves, who have been so consumed with this worldly life and its desires, have an opportunity to have a real dialogue with the Lord of the Heavens and Earth.