Author of "The Qur'an - A Biography", Duke Professor Bruce Lawrence, Director of the Duke Islamic Studies Center offers a more universal interpretation of al-Fatiha than those just mentioned in my previous post:
"The Qur'an was an invitation. It was also an outpouring of Divine Favour into the human domain, into the human heart. The Qur'an announces God's Mercy in the opening chapter. Its seven verses offer the gist, the fine gold dust, of all revelations. It channels Divine Abundance through seven portals of hope, each verse conferring Divine solace on those who remember and those who recite these words. Collectively, the seven verses of the opening chapter became the gateway to spiritual health, for all beleivers, be they Jews, Christians or Muslims:
In the Name of God, Full of Compassion, Ever Compassionate
Praise to the Lord of all Creation
Full of Compassion, Ever Compassionate
Master of the Day of Determination.
You alone do we worship
And from You alone do we seek alleviation.
Guide us to the path of True Direction,
The path of those whom You favour,
Not of those who cause You anger,
Nor of those who took to ther path of deviation.
Vouchsafed by these words, by the intermittent announcements of Gabriel, by the salutary Signs from the Unseen, Muhammad had begun his journey as a messenger of God. He had become a vehicle for the Divine Word."
~ Excerpted from "The Qur'an - A Biography" by Bruce Lawrence, pp. 34-35