(In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.)
Bismillah – The First Verse of the Quran (Mushaf)
“Bismillah-ir-Rahman-ir-Rahim” is the first verse of the first chapter (Surah Al-Fatihah) of the Quran. The fact that the word of Allah, the Quran, starts with this first verse, alone signifies the importance of this verse and further emphasizes the need to start all our tasks in the name of Allah (God).
Amongst the many benefits that are stated in the Quranic tafseer of this verse, here are some of them:
- (Saying bismillah) allows one to restrain oneself from any misdeeds, since the habit of pronouncing the name of God is bound to make one wonder when about to commit some offence and how such an act can be reconciled with the saying of God’s holy name.
- When a person begins something by pronouncing Allah’s (God’s) name (with sincerity in his heart), he will enjoy Allah’s support and succor; Allah will bless his efforts and protect him from the machinations and temptation of Satan. For whenever man turns to Allah (God), Allah turns to him as well.
Starting with Bismillah
When one says “Bismillaah” before starting anything, it means, “I start this action accompanied by the name of Allah or seeking help through the name of Allah, seeking blessing thereby. Allah is God, the beloved and worshipped, to Whom hearts turn in love, veneration and obedience (worship). He is al-Rahmaan (the Most Gracious) Whose attribute is vast mercy; and al-Raheem (the Most Merciful) Who causes that mercy to reach His creation.”
Hence this name (al-Rahmaan) often appears after the name Allah, as in the Quranic verse below:
“Say (O Muhammad): Invoke Allah or invoke the Most Gracious [al-Rahmaan] (Allah)” [Quran, Surah al-Isra’ 17:110]
Ibn Jareer (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “Allah, may He be exalted and His name sanctified, taught His Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.S.) proper manners by teaching him to mention His most beautiful names before all his actions. He commanded him to mention these attributes before starting to do anything, and made what He taught him a way for all people to follow before starting anything, words to be written at the beginning of their letters and books. The apparent meaning of these words indicates exactly what is meant by them, and it does not need to be spelled out.”
First Revelation of the Quran (“Read in the name of your Lord”)
We also observe that the first verse revealed to the prophet (S.A.W.S.) was “Iqra’ bismi Rabbika” (Read (or recite) in the name of your Lord – [Surah al-‘Alaq 96:1). The verse commands the prophet (S.A.W.S.) to read “in the name of Allah).
Bismillah in Other Chapters of the Quran
WIth the exception of Surah At-Tawbah (9), all Surahs (chapters) start with Bismillah. Furthermore, Surah An-Naml in the Quran has another verse (number 30) that mentions Bismillah. The Quran states:
(29) She (Sheba / Saba) said: “O chiefs! Verily! Here is delivered to me a noble letter,
(30) “Verily! It is from (Prophet) Sulaiman (Solomon), and verily! It (reads): In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful;
Quran, Surah An-Naml (27:29-30)
The Story of ‘Bismillah’ and the hairdresser of Pharaoh’s daughter and her children
It was narrated that Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “On the night on which I was taken on the Night Journey (Isra’), a beautiful fragrance came to me. I said: O Jibreel, what is this beautiful fragrance? He said: This is the fragrance of the hairdresser of Pharaoh’s daughter and her children. I said: What is their story? He said: Whilst she was combing the hair of Pharaoh’s daughter one day, the iron comb fell from her hand and she said, ‘Bismillaah (in the name of Allah).’ The daughter of Pharaoh said: ‘My father?’ She said: ‘No.My Lord and the Lord of your father is Allah.’ She said: ‘I will tell him about that.’ She said: ‘Yes.’ So she told him and he summoned her and said: ‘O So and so, do you have a Lord other than me?’ She said: ‘Yes, my Lord and your Lord is Allah.’ He ordered that a baqarah(lit. “cow”) made of copper be heated up, then he ordered that she and her children be thrown into it. She said: ‘I have a request to make of you.’ He said: ‘What is your request?’ She said: ‘I would like my bones and my children’s bones to be gathered together in one cloth and buried.’ He said: ‘This will be done for you.’ He ordered that her children be thrown into it in front of her, one by one, until they came to the last one who was an infant boy who was still being breastfed. It was as if she wavered because of him, but he said: ‘O mother, go ahead, for the punishment of this world is easier to bear than the punishment of the hereafter.’ So she went ahead.” Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: Four infants spoke: ‘Eesa ibn Maryam (peace be upon him), the companion of Jurayj, the witness of Yoosuf and the son of the hairdresser of Pharaoh’s daughter.
Narrated by Imam Ahmad in al-Musnad (1/309), al-Tabaraani (12280), Ibn Hibbaan (2903) and al-Haakim (2/496).
The Guidance to say Bismillah according to Hadith
We also observe that the prophet (S.A.W.S.) taught us to say Bismillah at the start of many tasks such as the following:
Bismillah at the beginning of ablution (wudu)
Bismalah is recommended at the beginning of ablution, for Imam Ahmad and the Sunan compilers recorded that Abu Hurayrah, Sa`id bin Zayd and Abu Sa`id narrated from the Prophet
(There is no valid ablution for he who did not mention Allah’s Name in it.)
This Hadith is Hasan (good).
Saying Bisimillah before eating and drinking
Also, the Bismillah is recommended before eating, for Muslim recorded in his Sahih that the Messenger of Allah said to `Umar bin Abi Salamah while he was a child under his care,
(Say Bismillah, eat with your right hand and eat from whatever is next to you.)
Some of the scholars stated that Bismillah before eating is obligatory.
The Prophet (S.A.W.S.) said: “When one of you eats some food, let him say Bismillah, and if he forgets to do so at the beginning, let him say Bismillah fi awwalihi wa aakhirihi (In the name of Allah at the beginning and end). Narrated by at-Tirmidhi, 1781
Bismillh for belittling the Shaytan (Satan)
Imam Ahmad recorded in his Musnad, that a person who was riding behind the Prophet (S.A.W.S.) said, “The Prophet’s animal tripped, so I said, `Cursed Shaytan.’ The Prophet said,
(Do not say, ‘Cursed Shaytan,’ for if you say these words, Satan becomes arrogant and says, ‘With my strength I made him fall.’ When you say, ‘Bismillah,’ Satan will become as small as a fly.)
Allah says in the Quran:
“Eat not (O believers) of that (meat) on which Allah’s Name has not been pronounced (at the time of the slaughtering of the animal)” Quran (Surah Al-Anaam, 6:121)
And the Prophet (S.A.W.S.) said: “If the blood (of the slaughtered animal) flows and the name of Allah is mentioned, then eat.”
The Prophet (S.A.W.S.) said, “There is no ruqyah (treatment from evils) except in the case of the evil eye or fever.” (al-Tirmidhi, Abu Dawood.) Angel Jibril (peace be upon him) used to do ruqyah for the Prophet (S.A.W.S.) and say, “Bismillahi arqeeka min kulli shayin yudheeka, min sharri kulli nafsin aw ‘aynin hasid Allaahu yashfeek, bismillahi arqeek (In the name of Allah I perform ruqyah for you, from everything that is harming you, from the evil of every soul or envious eye may Allah heal you, in the name of Allah I perform ruqyah for you).”
Let’s make it a point to bring “Bismillah” more into our lives and to start all our tasks in the name of Allah by saying “Bismillah-ir-Rahman-ir-Rahim”