Ummul Qur’aan and Ummus Sunnah

In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.

Ummul Qur’aan

Imaam Abu Dawud [may Allaah have mercy upon him] stated: Chapter – Faatihatil Kitaab [Opening Chapter of the Book (i.e. Surah AlFaatihah)]: Abu Hurairah [may Allaah be pleased with him] narrated that Allaah’s Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said, “Alhamdulil laahi Rabbil Aalameen – All praise and thanks belongs to Allaah” is the Ummul Qur’aan (Essence or Summary of the Qur’aan), Ummul Kitaab (Essence or Summary of the Book) and the Sab’a Al-Mathaanee (the Seven oft-repeated verses)”. [Saheeh Sunan Abee Dawud. Number 1457. Maktabah Al-Ma’aarif. 1st Edition]

Surah Al-Faatihah is called Ummul Qur’aan because it gathers the meanings of that which is found in the Qur’aan, such as praising Allaah, worship based on commands and prohibitions, promise of reward and punishment in the hereafter, a mention of Allaah’s Attributes and Actions, a mention of the beginning of creation and the Hereafter. (1)

Even though this Surah is short, it comprises that which other Suras of the Qur’an do not have. It includes the three categories of Tawheed: Tawheed Ar-Ruboobiyah [The Oneness of Allaah’s Lordship – The Creator, The Provider and the one who controls and sustains everything], and this is established in the statement: [The Lord of the ‘Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists)].

Tawheed Al-Ilaahiyyah [The Oneness of Allaah’s Divinity – to single out Allaah in worship] and this is established by the noun Allah (2), as Ibn Abbaas [may Allaah be pleased with him and his father] stated that the noun Allaah means “the Possessor of Great and Perfect descriptions that makes Him the only One worthy of being a deity and none else shares these descriptions with him in anyway; and these Attributes makes Him the only one whom the servants must worship”(3), as well as the statement [You (Alone) we worship] establishes Tawheed Al-Ilaahiyyah.

Tawheed Al-Asmaa Was-Sifaat [The Oneness of Allaah Names and Attributes], and that is to affirm the Perfect Attributes which Allaah has affirmed for Himself and also that which the Messenger affirmed for Allaah- neither negating their apparent meaning nor likening any or some of them to the attributes of the creation. This is established by the statement: [All the praises and thanks be to Allah], and the meaning of Hamd is to praise Allaah due to that which He possesses of perfect Attributes, actions that necessitate benevolence and justice. Therefore, to Him belongs all perfect praise in every way.

The Surah affirms Prophethood based on statement: [Guide us to the Straight Way], because this would not be possible without the advent of Messengers. It affirms the recompense for one’s deeds and this is found in Allaah’s statement: [The Only Owner (and the Only Ruling Judge) of the Day of Recompense (i.e. the Day of Resurrection)], and that recompense will be established based on perfect justice, because the word ‘Ad-Deen’ in this context means recompense based on justice. The Surah necessitates the affirmation of divine decree and that a person – in reality – is a performer of deeds (based on free will) as oppose to the belief of the Qadariyyah and Jabariyyah; (see footnote a)rather this Surah rebuts all the proponents of religious innovation and the people of misguidance, and this is found in the statement: [Guide us to the Straight Way], because this necessitates that one possesses knowledge of the truth and acts upon it, but every Mubtadi [i.e. one upon whom the evidence has been established that he is an innovator in religious affair (see footnote b)] and Daal [i.e. misguided person] is in opposition of this straight path. This Surah necessitates that all the religion is to be sincerely devoted to Allaah through acts of worship and seeking His Aid and Assistance, and this is estsbalished in the statement: [You (Alone) we worship, and You (Alone) we ask for help (for each and everything)]. (4)

Ummus Sunnah

Umar [may Allaah be pleased with him] narrated, “One day while we were sitting Allaah’s Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him], a man with very white clothing and very black hair came to us. There were no signs of travel on him and none of us knew him. He [came along] until he sat next to the Prophet. Then he placed his knees against the knees of the Prophet and placed his hand on his thighs. Then he said, ‘O Muhammad! Tell me about Islam’. The Messenger of Allaah said, ‘Islaam is to testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah; to establish the prayers, pay the zakat, fast [the month of] Ramadan, and to make pilgrimage to the House if you have the means to do so’. He said, ‘You have spoken truthfully’. We were amazed that he asked the question and then said that he [i.e. the Prophet] had spoken truthfully. He then said, ‘Tell me about Imaan’. He [the Messenger replied], ‘It is to believe in Allaah, His angles, His books, His Messengers, the Last Day and to believe in the divine decree, [both] the good and the evil thereof.’ He said, ‘You have spoken truthfully.’ He said, ‘Tell me about al-Ihsaan.’ He [the Prophet] replied, ‘It is that you worship Allaah as if you see Him, and even though you do not see Him, [you know] He sees you.’ He said, ‘Tell me about [the appearance of] the Hour [i.e. the day of judgement’. He [the Prophet] replied, ‘The one being asked does not know more than the one asking.’ He said, ‘Tell me about its signs.’ He [the Prophet] replied, ‘The slave girl shall give birth to her master, and you will see the barefooted, scantily clothed shepherds competing in constructing lofty buildings’. Then he [i.e. the man] went away. I [i.e. Umar] stayed for a while [i.e. days]; then he [the Prophet] said, ‘O Umar! Do you know who the questioner was?’ I said, ‘Allaah and His Messenger know best.’ He said, ‘It was Gabriel [i.e. angel Gibreel] who came to teach you your religion'”.

Al-Allaamah Saaleh Aala Ash-Shaikh [may Allaah preserve him] said: Some of the Ulamaa named this Hadeeth Ummus Sunnah [The Essense or Summary of The Sunnah] just as Surah Al-Faatihah is Ummul Qur’aan [The Essense or Summary of The Qur’aan]. That is because all the Sunnah revolves round this hadeeth (in general). In this hadeeth, there’s a clarification regarding the [sound] Aqeedah because Aqeedah is the foundation of the six pillars of Eemaan. In this hadeeth, there is a clarification of the Sharee’ah by way of the five pillars of Islaam, a mention of the affairs of the unseen, the mention of Ihsaan necessitates the inclusion of good manners, etiquettes, acts of worship, rectification of the heart and turning to Allaah [sincerely in worship, submission etc]. In this hadeeth, there is a mention of the Hour [i.e. the day of judgement] and some of its minor signs, which are a part of the knowledge of the unseen. (5)

Footnote a: Who Are The Qadariyyah and Jabariyyah? Refer to clarifications by Shaikh Abu Iyaadh and Shaikh Abu Khadeejah [may Allaah preserve them]:

How to escape the deviation of the four foundational sects: Murji’ah, Shi’ah, Khawarij and Qadariyyah – Sharhus-Sunnah al-Barbahari by Shaikh Abu Khadeejah [Lesson 153]:

Footnote b: Al-Allaamah Rabee: Establishment of Proof in Declaring a Person to be an Innovator- By Shaikh Abu Khadeejah:

[Ref 1: Fat’hul Baaree Sharh Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree 8/ 195. Publisher: Daarus Salaam Publishers. 1st Edition 1421AH (2000)]

[Ref 2: Tafseer As-Sadi]

[Ref 3: Fat-hul Raheem Al-Malik Al-Allaam Fee Ilmil Aqaa’id Wat-tawheed Wal Akhlaaq Wal-Ahkaam Al-Mustanbatu Minal Qur’aan. page 12. By Imaam As-Sadi]

[Ref 4: Tafseer As-Sadi]

[Ref 5: An Excerpt from Sharh Al-Arba’een An-Nawawiyyah. Pages 18-19. Slightly paraphrased]

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