بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
1|1|In the name of God, the Gracious, the Merciful.
Some have said that the "Bismillah" is not part of the Quran, and not to be said in prayer, the Imams of the Ahlul Bayt AS dispute that and have unanimously stated that it is part of the Quran and to be recited loudly in prayer. In Basair the above words are narrated from Imam Moosa Kazim (a.s.) and Ayyashi has narrated that people asked Imam Sadiq (a.s.) about the explanation of this verse. The Hazrat replied that its apparent meaning is Surah Hamd. Traditionally the recitation from Mecca and Kufa were recorded with Al Hamdillah being verse 1, those from Medina and Basra have "Bismillah" as the first verse. The best opinion is that the "Bismillah" is part of the Quran and part of Surah Fatiha. The Shafi, Hanbali and Shia schools all agree on this.
“And certainly We have given you seven of the oft-repeated (verses) and the grand Quran” (Surah Hijr 15:87)
For a more detailed discussion, regarding the integrity of Bismillah to the Quran click here.
In the name of Allah, using Allah's names as a means of getting blessing from Allah. Interesting that it is phrased "in the name of", rather than For the sake of, or for Allah.
“The most beautiful Names are for Allah, so call on Him by them, but shun those who deny His Names” (Qur’an 7:180)
017.110: Say: “Call upon Allah, or call upon Rahman: by whatever name ye call upon Him, (it is well): for to Him belong the Most Beautiful Names. Neither speak thy Prayer aloud, nor speak it in a low tone, but seek a middle course between.”
Is the name of Allah separate to Allah Himself? ,thus a form of intercession? Allamah-Sayyid Muhammad Husayn at-Tabataba’i in al mizan says the name is not separate to Allah, and thus a direct form of worship. Also by using the phrase “in the name of” it removes the concept that Allah needs our deeds, and shifts our deeds to glorifying Allah’s name.
الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ
1|2|Praise be to God, Lord of the Worlds.
Note plural of worlds, this was not seen as the only world.
1|3|The Gracious, the Merciful.
God is seen as a merciful, generous but fair.
مَالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ
1|4|King of the Day of Judgment.
All authority resides with God, no one shares in His judgement.
إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ
1|5|It is You we worship, and upon You we call for help.
All actions and all worship must be ultimately directed to Allah.
اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ
1|6|Guide us to the straight path.
Without the guidance from God, we will not be able to be morally, ethically or spiritually successful.
صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا الضَّالِّينَ
1|7|The path of those You have blessed, not of those against whom there is anger, nor of those who are misguided.
Tafsir of Surah al-Fatihah by Imam al-Ridha عليه السلام.فإن قال : فلم بدء بالحمد في كل قراءة دون سائر السور ؟ قيل : لانه ليس شئ في القرآن والكلام جمع فيه جوامع الخير والحكمة ما جمع في سورة الحمد وذلك أن قوله تعالى ( الحمد لله ) إنما هو أداء لما أوجب الله تعالى على خلقه من الشكر وشكره لما وفق عبده للخير ( رب العالمين ) تمجيد له وتحميد وإقرار وأنه هو الخالق المالك لا غيره ( الرحمن الرحيم ) استعطاف وذكر لالائه ونعمائه على جميع خلقه ( مالك يوم الدين ) إقرار له بالبعث والنشور والحساب والمجازات وايجاب له ملك الاخرة كما أوجب له ملك الدنيا ( إياك نعبد ) رغبة وتقرب إلى الله عز وجل وإخلاص بالعمل له دون غيره ( وإياك نستعين ) استزادة توفيقه وعبادته واستدامته لما أنعم الله وبصره ( إهدنا الصراط المستقيم ) إسترشاد لادبه واعتصام بحبله واستزادة في المعرفة بربه وبعظمته وبكبريائه ( صراط الذين أنعمت عليهم ) توكيد في السؤال والرغبة وذكر لما تقدم من أياديه ونعمه على أوليائه ورغبة في مثل تلك النعم ( غير المغضوب عليهم ) استعاذة من أن يكون من المعاندين الكافرين المستخفين به وبأمره ونهيه ( ولا الضالين ) إعتصام من أن يكون من الضالين الذين ضلوا عن سبيله من غير معرفة ويحسبون ( أنهم يحسنون صنعا ) فقد إجتمع فيه من جوامع الخير والحكمة في أمر الاخرة والدنيا ما لا يجمعه من الاشياء .So if he asks, “Why do we start with Al-Hamd (Surah al-Fatihah) in every prayer to the exception of other surahs?” It is said, “Because there is nothing in the Qur’an and speech together in which is compiled the goodness and wisdom as what is brought together in Surah al-Hamd.”And that is the saying of Allah the Exalted, الحمد لله – All Praises Are For Allah. Indeed this is the fulfillment of what Allah the Exalted has obligated upon His creation from their gratitude and from His gratitude, for that which is bestowed on His servants of goodness.رب العالمين – Lord of the Worlds. Exalting and praising Him, testifying that it is He who is the Creator and the Owner and not other than Him.الرحمن الرحيم – The Compassionate, the Merciful. Imploring and remembrance of Him and His favors/blessings upon all of His creation.مالك يوم الدين – The Owner of the Day of Judgement. Testifying to His resurrecting (from the graves), the returning (to be together on the Day of Judgement), the reckoning (of deeds), and the remuneration (reward or punishment for one’s deeds). And the necessity of His ownership/dominion of the akhirah like the necessity of his ownership of the dunyah.إياك نعبد – Thee Alone Do We Worship. Inclining towards and seeking proximity/closeness to Allah the Mighty and Majestic. And sincerity in action for Him and none else.وإياك نستعين – And Thee Alone We Ask For Help. Seeking an increase in success granted by Him, an increase in worshiping Him, and His continuation in that which Allah has given in favors/blessings and His assistance.إهدنا الصراط المستقيم – Guide Us to the Straight Path. Seeking guidance towards His way (of life)/manner, and clinging to His rope, and (man) seeking an increase in recognition of His Lord and of His glorification and greatness.صراط الذين أنعمت عليهم – The Path of Those Upon Whom You Have Bestowed Blessings/Favors. A (further) emphasis on asking for and being inclined towards Him. And remembrance in that which He has bestowed in His support and His blessings/favors upon His friends. And seeking these same blessings/favors (for oneself).غير المغضوب عليهم – Not Upon Whom Is Your Anger. Seeking refuge from the misguided and ignorant unbelievers in Him and in His commands and forbiddings .ولا الضالين – Nor Those Who Have Gone Astray. Clinging (onto Him) from the astray, those who go astray from His path without recognizing or realizing it, “While they thought that they were acquiring good by their works.” 18:104 Therefore that which is gathered together in this compilation, of goodness and wisdom, of the affairs of the hereafter and this world, has not ever been brought together in such a way.