Sūrat al-Fātiḥah is the first chapter (Surah) of the Quran. Its seven verses (ayat) are a prayer for the guidance, lordship and mercy of the reciter's God. This chapter has an essential role in Islamic prayer (Salāt). The primary literal meaning of the expression "al-Fātiḥah" is "The Opening," which could refer to this Surah being "the opening of the Book" (Fātiḥat al-kitāb), to its being the first Surah recited in each cycle (rakʿah) of prayer, or to the manner in which it serves as an opening for many functions in everyday Islamic life. Some Muslims interpret it as a reference to an implied ability of the Surah to open a person to faith in God.