There are seven verses in this surah (chapter) and it is said that this surah is both ‘makki’ and ‘madani’ ie. it was revealed in both Makkah and Madinah.
In the commentary of Majma’ul Bayan it is narrated that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) said that whoever recites this surah, he will get the reward for reciting two thirds (2/3) of the whole Qur’an, and will get the reward equivalent to what would be gained by giving charity to all the believing men and women in the world.
One of the companions of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) narrates that he once recited this surah in the presence of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) and the Prophet said, ‘By Him in whose hand is my soul, a similar revelation to this has not been included in the Taurat (Torah), Injeel (Bible), Zabur (Psalms) or even the Qur’an itself.’
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) once asked Jabir ibn Abdallah Ansari, “Should I teach you a surah that has no other comparison to it in the whole Qur’an ?” Jabir replied, “Yes, and may my parents be ransom upon you O prophet of Allah.” So the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) taught him surah al-Fatihah. Then the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) asked, “Jabir, should I tell you something about this surah?” Jabir answered, “Yes, and may my parents be ransom upon you O prophet of Allah.” The Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “It (surah al-Fatihah) is a cure for every ailment except death.”
Imam AbuAbdillah Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) has said that whoever cannot be cured by surah al-Fatihah, then there is no cure for that person. In the same narration it is written that if this surah is recited 70 times on any part of the body that is paining, the pain will surely go away. In fact, the power of this surah is so great that it is said that if one were to recite it 70 times over a dead body, you should not become surprised if that body starts moving (ie. comes back to life).
Surah al-Fatihah is a cure for physical and also spiritual ailments. Without this surah, even the daily prayers are incomplete. It is indeed a great treasure that has been given to us by Allah (s.w.t.) through the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) and no previous prophet has been given anything like it. This surah is also known as ‘Ummul Kitab’ and ‘Sab’a mathani’.