Christians say Grace before eating
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.
Your websites are all amazing, especially www.ShareIslam.com and www.IslamTomorrow.com
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,
P.S. to search for anything on all our websites use this: www.SearchForIslam.com
Here's our TV station -> www.GuideUS.TV
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GIVE US YOUR COMMENTS - PLEASE
And from Him do we seek help.
All praise be to God, the Sustainer of All the Worlds,
and blessings and peace be upon our master Muhammad,
and on all his Family and Companions.
[Brother! You wanted a few words of advice from me, so listen to a few truths included in eight short stories, which since you are a soldier, are in the form of comparisons of a military nature. I consider my own soul to need advice more than anyone, and at one time I addressed my soul at some length with Eight Words inspired by eight verses of the Qur'an from which I had benefited. Now I shall address my soul with these same Words, but briefly and in the language of ordinary people. Whoever wishes may listen together with me.]
The First fWord
Bismillah, "In the Name of God," is the start of all things good. We too shall start with it. Know, O my soul! Just as this blessed phrase is a mark of Islam, so too it is constantly recited by all beings through their tongues of disposition. If you want to know what an inexhaustible strength, what an unending source of bounty is Bismillah, listen to the following story which is in the form of a comparison. It goes like this:
Someone who makes a journey through the deserts of Arabia has to travel in the name of a tribal chief and enter under his protection, for in this way he may be saved from the assaults of bandits and secure his needs. On his own he will perish in the face of innumerable enemies and needs. And so, two men went on such a journey and entered the desert. One of them was modest and humble, the other proud and conceited. The humble man assumed the name of a tribal chief, while the proud man did not. The first travelled safely wherever he went. If he encountered bandits, he said: "I am travelling in the name of such-and-such tribal leader," and they did not molest him. If he came to some tents, he was treated respectfully due to the name. But the proud man suffered indescribable calamities throughout his journey. He both trembled before everything and begged from everything. He was abased and became an object of scorn.
My proud soul! You are the traveller, and this world is a desert. Your impotence and poverty have no lim it, and your enemies and needs are endless. Since it is thus, take the name of the Pre-Eternal Ruler and Post-Eternal Lord of the desert and be saved from begging before the whole universe and trembling before every event.
Yes, this phrase is a treasury so blessed that your infinite impotence and poverty bind you to an infinite power and mercy; it makes your impotence and poverty a most acceptable intercessor at the Court of One All-Powerful and Compassionate. The person who acts saying, "In the Name of God," resembles someone who enrolls in the army. He acts in the name of the government; he has fear of no one; he speaks, performs every matter, and withstands everything in the name of the law and the name of the government.
At the beginning we said that all beings say "In the Name of God" through the tongue of disposition. Is that so?
Indeed, it is so. If you were to see that a single person had come and had driven all the inhabitants of a town to a place by force and compelled them to work, you would be certain that he had not acted in his own name and through his own power, but was a soldier, acting in the name of the government and relying on the power of the king.
In the same way, all things act in the name of Almighty God, for minute things like seeds and grains bear huge trees on their heads; they raise loads like mountains. That means all trees say: "In the Name of God," fill their hands from the treasury of mercy, and offer them to us. All gardens say: "In the Name of God," and become cauldrons from the kitchens of Divine power in which are cooked numerous varieties of different foods. All blessed animals like cows, camels, sheep, and goats, say: "In the Name of God," and produce springs of milk from the abundance of mercy, offering us a most delicate and pure food like the water of life in the name of the Provider. The roots and rootlets, soft as silk, of plants, trees, and grasses say: "In the Name of God," and pierce and pass through hard rock and earth.
Mentioning the name of God, the name of the Most Merciful, everything becomes subjected to them. The roots spreading through hard rock and earth and producing fruits as easily as the branches spread through the air and produce fruits, and the delicate green leaves retaining their moisture for months in the face of extreme heat, deal a slap in the mouths of Naturalists and jab a finger in their blind eyes, saying: "Even heat and hardness, in which you most trust, are under a command. For like the Staff of Moses, each of those silken rootlets conform to the command of, And We said, O Moses, strike the rock with your staff,1 and split the rock. And the delicate leaves fine as cigarette paper recite the verse, O fire be coolness and peace2 against the heat of the fire, each like the members of Abraham (UWP).
Since all things say: "In the Name of God," and bearing God's bounties in God's name, give them to us, we too should say: "In the Name of God." We should give in the name of God, and take in the name of God. And we should not take from heedless people who neglect to give in God's name.
Question: We give a price to people, who are like tray-bearers. So what price does God want, Who is the true owner?
The Answer: Yes, the price the True Bestower of Bounties wants in return for those valuable bounties and goods is three things: one is remembrance, another is thanks, and the other is reflection. Saying, "In the Name of God" at the start is remembrance, and, "All praise be to God" at the end is thanks. And perceiving and thinking of those bounties, which are priceless wonders of art, being miracles of power of the Unique and Eternally Besought One and gifts of His mercy, is reflection. However foolish it is to kiss the foot of a lowly man who conveys to you the precious gift of a king and not to recognize the gift's owner, it is a thousand times more foolish to praise and love the apparent source of bounties and forget the True Bestower of Bounties.
O my soul! If you do not wish to be foolish in that way, give in God's name, take in God's name, begin in God's name, and act in God's name. And that's the matter in a nutshell!
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1. Qur'an, 2:60.
2. Qur'an, 21:69.
The Words ( 17 )
Salam alaykum - please share this on Facebook, Twitter and emails!
It helps people to Islam!! Inshallah!!!
Mr,. Yusuf Estes, u r doing a very good job by openinig so many websites and making it easy for all the muslims to gain their knowledge.. May ALLAH GIVE this type of HIDAYAH to all the MUSLIMS..
Regarding the question in the comments...
Our Nabi sallallahu alaihi wa sallam was told in the Qur'an to immidiately say Inshaa'allah when he remembers after forgetting to say it. Same can be assumed with Bismillah...
If you forget to say it while eating, you should say 'Bismillahi awwalahu wa akhirahu' as soon as you remember.
Islamunity Research & Education (islamunity.org)
This is a reprint of an earlier article that got lost when we changed servers.
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