ISLAM NEWSROOM - SAYINGS OF WORSHIP FOR MUSLIMS
Christian comes to Islam and asked this question about "Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem"
Peace be on you, Mr. Yusuf Estes,
I got a question, but first I want to say thanks for explaining Islam to me in your chat room on www.ChatIslam.com
The teachers there made it easy to learn and get rid of misunderstanding I had about Islam and Muslims.
Only God knows how much I needed to meet you all and see the truth. It made me so happy to do shahadah with you guys. I believe God is really guiding me now.
Oh yeah, I also like www.GodAllah.com That one really explains good.
www.AllahsQuran.com seems easier the more I use it. It is the truth and no doubt about it. I cry when I read sometimes and I need to know Arabic some day.
My question is about saying Bismillah Rahman Raheem. Is it important or just a custom or something? Is it a type of prayer?
Thank you again, [name deleted]
"Bismillah-ir Rahman-ir Raheem"
[In the Name of Allah, The Entirely Merciful, The Especially Merciful]
Answer From Yusuf Estes
Peace - salam alaykum, dear brother,
Did you notice I use "Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem" at the beginning of my email to you? Take a look just above in color...
Muslims say, "Bismillah-ir Rahman-ir Raheem" (In The Name of Allah, The Entirely Merciful, The Especially Merciful) at the beginning of everything we do.
Before we eat, when we begin to read or write or go in our homes or buildings and when we start a trip, even go to market and espeically when we do anything of worship - like enter a mosque or read the Quran - we say, "Bismillah-ir Rahman-ir Raheem"
The meaning is actually quite comprehensive. Consider the depth and majesty of the meanings here, inshallah.
The term is often translated to be something like, "In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful". But there's a lot more if you understand from the Arabic.
It begins with "Bi" and means "with" or for English expression as used here, it means "In".
Like in English when someone comes with a message or decree from the king, they say, "In the Name of King Richard" or whatever.
The next part "ismi" means the "Name" of the One being Named.
Then comes "Allah" we don't have enough room in an email for all that goes along with this name. For this reason we made a whole website for God Allah:
Now the next part comes and really brings a special message along with it. Two of the amazing attributes and characteristics of the Almighty, and both from the same root.
Ar-Rahman cannot be completely explained in one English word. But I would at least like to offer an idea of the astonishing value of this "Name of Allah".
The root of the word here (and for the next word as well) comes from three Arabic letters; 'ra' 'ha' 'ma'.
The root, 'Ra-ha-ma', carries a deep meaning of Mercy to the Max.
Even this term cannot bring to mind the depth of such a heavy expression.
Imagine, the word for a woman's "womb" in Arabic, is "rahm", from this same root.
This implies the beginning and source of our lives, in the very place of conception within our mothers and it is nothing less than a "place of mercy".
When we use it for the characteristic or attribute of Almighty God Allah (called 'Asma wa Safa' of Allah in Arabic) it means the absolute and epitome of the word "Rahman" and is proceeded by the article "AL" (The).
This gives us the notion of The Merciful or The Gracious.
However, this is not just saying, "Allah has Mercy".
Instead it denotes Allah as being "The Mercy" and all mercy and all grace comes from His Mercy, His Grace.
In English, the next use of the same root seems like repetition and translations don't really produce the awesome and inspiring meaning we get from Arabic.
Ar-Raheem brings us the more concentrated focus on the Special Mercy and Particular Grace of Allah, by offering another form of the same root.
The first word carries a meaning of "The Mercy" or "The Merciful" in more or less general terms.
But the use of "AL Raheem" lets us understand the very Special, Specific Mercy of Allah waiting for true believers on the Day of Judgment.
By Allah's "Raheem" the believers are forgiven and enter Paradise.
Now we see the term here being better translated as, "The Especially Merciful".
So from the very beginning of this special phrase we are praising, extolling and raising high the Names of the Almighty, like Allah Himself demonstrated and conveyed to us in His Book - the Quran.
The Quran begins with this same exact expression, "Bismillah (Ar) Rahman (Ar) Raheem".
Muslims begin with this expression to mean, "I'm doing this with complete trust and belief in Almighty God, Allah, in His Name, hoping for His Mercy in whatever I'm doing".
-- Hope we answered your question.
Thanks for the email and your patience while waiting for me to answer you. When we travel getting email is sometimes difficult.
Salam alaykum - Peace be to you brother,
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