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fatihah

the "opening" or first chapter (surah) of the Muslim book of divine revelation, the Qur'an; in tone and usage it has often been likened to the Christian Lord's Prayer. In contrast to the other surahs, which are usually narratives or exhortations delivered by God, the seven verses of the fatihah form a short devotional prayer addressed to God, and in oral recitation are ended with the word amin ("amen"). The fatihah has acquired broad ceremonial usage in Islam: it introduces each ritual bowing (rak'ah) in the five daily prayers (salat); it is recited at all Muslim sanctuaries; validates important resolutions; appears frequently on amulets, and is recited for the dead

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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