Reciting al-Fatihah in Salah (Hadith No. 723)


Volume 1, Book 12, Number 723:
Narrated 'Ubada bin As-Samit:
Allah's Apostle said, "Whoever does not recite Al-Fatiha in his prayer, his prayer is invalid."

 Such is the importance of Surah al-Fatihah. Ever wonder why?
Check this link out to know why:
“O Prophet! It is a fact that We have given thee seven oft-repeated verses and the great Quran.” (14:87)
It has been established by Hadith and Athar that the reference here is to this chapter; for, it not only consists of seven verses but is repeatedly recited in daily worship. It is also called Sab’a al-mathani, (the Oft-repeated Seven). The same sources give it further names -- ’Umm-ul-Quran(the Core of the Quran), Al-Kafia (the Sufficient), Al-Kanz (the Treasure House) and Asasul-Quran (the Basis of the Quran), each emphasizing a particular aspect of its importance. [Taken from:]

One important peculiarity of this Surah is that it is, so to say, the quintessence of the Holy Quran, and the rest of the Quran is its elaboration. The Surah may thus be delineated for two reasons. Firstly, all that the Holy Quran has to say is, in one way or another, related to either of the two themes, faith (Iman) and virtuous deeds (al-’amal al-salih), and the basic principles of the two have been indicated in this Surah (See Ruh al-Ma ani and Ruh al-Bayan). That is why authentic Traditions (Ahadith) give to this Surah such titles as “Umm al-Quran” (Essence of the Quran), “Umm al-Kitab” (Essence of the Book), “Al-Quran al-Azim” (Glorious Quran).
Secondly, this Surah gives a special instruction to the man who begins the recitation or the study of the Quran – that he should approach this book with a mind cleansed of all his previous thoughts and opinions, seeking nothing but the Truth and the right path, praying to Allah for being guided in the right path. The Surah begins with the praise of Him before whom the request is to be submitted and ends with the request for guidance. The whole of the Quran is the answer to this request. The answer begins with the words: “Alif Lam Mim. This is the Book”, which is an indication that the guidance man had prayed for has been provided in this Book.
The Holy Prophet (s.a.a.w) has said, “I swear by Allah who is master of my life, neither the Torah, nor the Evangile nor the Psalms of David have anything to compare with the Opening Chapter of the Quran, and no other Chapter of the Quran itself can compare with it.” (Reported by the Companion Abu Hurairah (r.a)).
The Holy Prophet (s.a.a.w)  has also said that this Surah is a cure for all kinds of illnesses. According to another Tradition (Hadith), the Surah has also been named the “Cure”  (Al-Shifa), (See Qurtubi), and al-Bukhari reports from the Companion Anas that the Holy Prophet  (s.a.a.w) has called this Surah the greatest among all the Surahs of the Holy Quran. (See Qurtubi).

There's a LOT to learn from this Surah. Even the longest Tafseer can't do justice to it. But do go through as much material as you can find on it. You'll be amazed. :)