Can I Recite a Different Dua of Istiftah before the Fatiha in My Prayer?

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

Question

I found out that there are more supplications to be recited before reading Sura Fatiha in prayer, and I know it is a specific dua according to the Shafi’i school. Can I read another one besides the dua “Allahu akbaru Kabira”?

Answer

Thank you for your question. May Allah reward you for your sincerity in seeking knowledge.

Opening Supplication

The opening supplication is sunna in the Shafi’i school; it is mentioned in the Reliance of the Traveller:

Then one recites (to oneself) the Opening Supplication (Istiftah), which means: “I turn my face to Him who created the heavens and earth, a pure monotheist, in submission, and am not of those who associate others with Him. My prayer, worship, life, and death are for Allah, Lord of the Worlds, who has no partner. Thus I have been commanded, and I am of those who submit.” This is recommended for anyone performing an obligatory or supererogatory prayer, even if seated; no matter whether a child, woman, or traveler (or alone or in a group, imam or follower), though not for the funeral prayer.

If one intentionally or absentmindedly omits the Opening Supplication (Istiftah) and begins saying “I take refuge, etc.” (Ta’awwudh), one may not return to the Opening Supplication.

The Arabic of the dua is here:

”وجَّهتُ وَجْهي للَّذي فَطَرَ السَّماواتِ والأرْضَ حَنيفًا وما أنا مِن المُشرِكين، إنَّ صَلاتي ونُسُكي ومَحْيايَ ومَماتي لِلِه رَبِّ العالَمِين، لا شَريكَ لَهُ، وبِذلِك أُمِرْتُ وأنا مِن المُسلِمِين.“ 

The common Hanafi opening supplication is in the link below, you may read either of them:
Which Dua (Supplication) Should I Recite after the Opening Takbir?

May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.