I know a new convert who doesn’t know surah fatiha well. What should they do at this moment for the salah, and what should they do until they learn it?


For the new Muslim, if they do not know how to read surah al-Fatiha, then (is that) they make tasbeeh, tahleel, tahmeed, and takbeer as the Prophet sallahu alayhi wa salam instructed for those who do not know Fatiha.

أنه قال له رجل يا رسول الله، إني لا أستطيع أن آخذ شيئاً من القرآن؟ فعلمني ما يجزئني عنه؟ فقال له صلى الله عليه وسلم: ((قل سبحان الله والحمد لله ولا إله إلا الله والله أكبر ولا حول ولا قوة إلا بالله العلي العظيم

A man came to the Prophet (ﷺ) and said: I cannot memorize anything from the Qur’an: so teach me something which is sufficient for me. He said: Say Glory be to Allah, and praise be to Allah, and there is no god but Allah, and Allah is most great, and there is no might and no strength but in Allah.

[Sunan Abu Dawood and graded hasan by Al-Albani Saheeh Sunan Abi Dawood no. 832].

Shaikh Abdul Muhsin al-Abbad hafidhuhallah said in his explanation of this hadith:

يحتمل أن يكون المقصود به القرآن حيث يكون عنده شيء من القرآن ولكنه لا يقرأه كما يقرأه المتمكن في قراءته، فهنا يقرأ على حسب حاله، ويحتمل أن يكون ليس عنده شيء من القرآن، فهذا يأتي بالتسبيح والتحميد والتهليل والتكبير، ويكفيه ذلك عن القرآن، وهذا لا يعني أن الإنسان يكون كذلك باستمرار، ولكن حيث يعجز في الحال عن أن يتعلم شيئاً من القرآن فإنه يأتي بهذه الكلمات ويصلي، كأن يحين وقت الصلاة، أو دخل في الإسلام وهو لا يعرف شيئاً فإنه يصلي، ولكن عليه أن يتعلم

“It is possible that the intent of the Quran is that he has something of the Quran memorized, however, he cannot read it like how the one well-grounded can read it during his recitation. In here, he reads it in accordance to his condition. It is also possible to mean that he does not have any Quran memorized, so he comes with tasbeeh, tahmeed, tahlil, takbeer and that is sufficent for him from reading the Quran. This does not mean that a person does this continuously, however, when he is unable in that condition from learning something from the Quran, then he comes with these words and prays. Such as when salah comes or he enters into Islam and he does not know anything, then he prays, however, it is upon him to learn…”

[Sharh Sunan Abu Dawood no. 107]

Thus it is better they read this dua from the Sunnah until they learn Fatiha. As for reading the dua from a paper, then Shaikh Bin Baz rahimahullah said it is allowed although reading from memory is better.

لا مانع أن يقرأ الإنسان الدعاء من الورقة إذا كان لا يحفظ وكتب الدعاء في ورقة وقرأه في الأوقات التي يجب أن يدعو فيها مثل آخر الليل أو أثناء الليل أو غيرها من الأوقات، ولكن لو تيسر حفظ ذلك وأن يقرأه عن حضور قلب وعن خشوع كان ذلك أكمل. أما في الصلاة فالأولى أن يكون عن ظهر قلب وأن تكون دعوات مختصرة موجزة ولو قرأت من ورقةٍ في التشهد مثلاً أو بين السجدتين فلا حرج في ذلك لكن كون الداعي يحفظ الدعاء فإنه يكون أقرب إلى الخشوع، والله ولي التوفيق
“There is no objection that a person read dua from a paper if he cannot memorize and he writes the dua on a paper and reads it during the times it is obligatory to make dua in, like at the end of the night or during the night or other than it from the times. However, if it is easy for him to memorize that and read it from heart with submission and khushoo’ that is more complete. As for in Salah, then what is more deserving, is that he reads it from heart and his dua should be abridged, brief. If he reads it from a paper in the tashahudd, for example, or between the two sajdahs, then there is no harm in that. However, the one supplicating and memorized the dua is closer to khushoo’. And With Allah is the Tawfeeq”

[Found here]

Also please see this

~ Faisal Ibn Abdul Qaadir Ibn Hassan
Abu Sulaymaan


Instead of reciting al-Faatihah he should say alhamdulilah, Allahu Akbar, La Ilaha Illa Allah due to the following Hadeeth:

حديث رفاعة بن
رافع، أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم علم رجلا الصلاة فقال: (إن كان معك قرآن فاقرأ وإلا فاحمده وكبره وهلله ثم اركع) . رواه أبو داود

And it is upon him to strive to learn Faatihah at his best ability.

~ Abu Fajr AbdulFattaah bin Uthman