The Fatihah Chaptercomes from the root word ‘fath’ which means open, explain, disclose, keys of treasure. It is the Mother of the Book, the Mother of the Quran, the Seven Repeated Verses, a Praise, a Cure, a Spiritual Cure and a Foundation.
Rhythmic and harmonious sound
The Fatihah Chapter is one and the first chapter in the Quran renowned for its beautiful audible of poetic like rhythmicity. It gives a fascinating experience for anyone who hear its recitation. However, little is known about the neural association of its recitations’ psychoacoustic and cognitive effects which subsequently produce calmness in its listeners or reciters.
Thus, our acoustic phonetic analysis towards Fatihah Chapter sound waveforms and spectrograms explained a rhythmic architexture and energy concentrated in the Fatihah Chapter recitation.
The word 'Allah', which recited by heavy sound of Lam Tafkhim produced a high energy appears as a dark er lin spectrogram. Together with shaddah, nasalization and elongation, they show constantly high concentration of energy which is believed to be produced during reciting or uttering, and that received by human auditory system. The energy transferred was believed to activate brain oscillations, neuronal network and body system such as the endocrine and immunity.
Hence, the recitation rules governed in Tajweed system which comprises of the way we recite it and its makhraj is very important to be followed. Not because of Allah, but we’ll gain back the marvelous fruits.
We have five distinct canonical brainwaves frequencies which are Delta, Theta, Alpha, Beta and Gamma bands.
Activation in Alpha brainwaves by listening to murattal of Fatihah Chapter recitation was suggested to generate empathy and improve humans’ ability to understand other’s perspectives, increase verbal fluency and language skills, improve inhibitory control (self-control), suppresses negative emotions and improve attention. The enhanced ability in expelling negative congruent leads to increased spaces to installing new information. Memory enhancement could also be predicted. Deep relaxation increases memory capacity and its components, storage and processing and also academic achievement.
The most dominant brainwaves during listening to Quranic recitation is delta. So do Fatihah Chapter, delta region was the most dominant waves which is a slow brainwave, ranging from 0.5 to 3 Hz. My study showed that during delta, all the EEG electrode channels were significantly reduced their spectral power, means that all the brain regions were activated in the way of desynchronization. In indicates that our neuronal system reduced their amplitude giving the effects of calmness or deep relaxation. This kind of effects hardly achieved, usually obtained during deep sleep. But during listening to Fatihah Chapter it was successful. This may be a good reason why this chapter is named as ruqyah and can be used as sleep inducer. In cognition aspects, it means of neuronal readiness for other cognitive processing activities.
Delta brainwaves was be linked to boosted immune system due to the fact that delta brainwaves are associated with age reversal and the production of hormones, also significantly decreased amount of stress. Delta brainwave also lead to healing and rejuvenation of the body. Stress and too much anxiety can be harmful to our immune system by releasing excessing amount of chemicals such as epinephrine (adrenaline) and high amount of cortisol hormone. Yet, the delta brainwave releases pleasant chemicals and neurotransmitters to help you keep immune system at the highest performance, biiznillah.
Besides, our statistical exploration showed a greater correlation between brain regions during listening to Fatihah Chapter. Frontal, temporal, parietal, motor and occipital brain areas involve in perceiving the rhythmic acoustic/sound of Fatihah Chapter. High integration from the scattered brain regions with their specialized functionality believed to improve communication and information transfer as well as enhance cognitive functions.
MasyaAllah, there are lot more benefits of listening or reciting the Al-Quran, the Fatihah Chapter and other zikrullah. They come to human as a kind of therapy, a form of submission to Allah, and a way of muraqabah. Maybe during this panic Covid-19 period, we have more time to be with Al-Quran.
Samhani Ismail is a lecturer from Physiology Unit, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin, Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu.