Importance of Basmallah
"Those who believe and whose hearts are set at rest by the remembrance of Allah(God); now surely by Allah's remembrance are the hearts set at rest." (Quran : 13/28)
The first verse of every Surah in the Quran with the exception of Surah Tawbah is this collection of words that are known as the "Basmallah". So this is the first verse in one hundred and thirteen out of the one hundred and fourteen Surahs in the Quran. The fact that Allah(God) in His infinite Knowledge and Wisdom has decided to repeat this verse so many times in the Quran should show us what an important verse it is.
Let us now look into each word of this verse in the hope that we can derive some of the tremendous meaning and benefit that it contains. As always we ask Allah(God) to guide us and we ask Him to open up for us the knowledge and benefit that is in His's Book.
The first word in this verse is the Arabic word "Ba". This word means "with" or "in". This type of sentence is what is known in English as an ellipses or a sentence in which a portion of the words has been purposely left out. This is clear because we can see that Allah(God) is teaching us to say in His Name but He is not telling us what is in His Name. The scholars say that the reason why this has been done is so that in its place we can put any action that we do. This way any action that we do we can do in the Name of Allah . That is why when we make ablution for prayer we say the Basmallah, when we have our meal or drink water we say the Basmallah, when we perform our jobs or drive our cars we say the Basmallah.
Another benefit of saying the Basmallah is that we can ask for Allah's help and support in that action. The scholars of language have pointed out that the word Ba in this ayah is the "Ba" of "Istiyanna", which means "to seek help". So every time we say these words before any one of our actions not only are we seeking to be closer to Allah(God) with that action but we are also seeking His help in that action. We are asking for His support and His enabling grace. We are asking Him to make it easy for us. We know that our ability and our strength is limited. We know that all Might and all Power is only with Him.
Another benefit of saying these words before all of our actions is that it prevents us from doing the forbidden actions. If we are in the habit of saying these words before every single one of our actions no matter how mundane that action might be, then whenever our desires might prompt us to do an evil action, we would say these words and then immediately remember Allah(God). We hope this should prevent us from doing that action.
However as we mentioned perhaps the greatest benefit for us in this ayah is that it helps us to remember Allah(God). There is nothing more important than remembering Him. So when we do an action in His Name it is very important that we bring Him to the forefront of our minds while we are doing that action. He is the Perfect One and He is the Source of all good in our life.
By instructing man to begin everything with the name of Allah(God), Islam has given to the whole of his life an orientation towards Allah so that he may, with each step he takes, renew his allegiance to the covenant with Allah that nothing he does, not even his very being can come into existence without the will and the help of Allah.
Thus, all the economic and worldly activities of man, each movement and gesture becomes transformed into an act of worship. How brief is the action, which consumes neither time nor energy, and yet how immense is the gain . A disbeliever eats and drinks just as a Muslim does but in saying the Basmallah as he begins to eat, the Muslim affirms that it was not in his power to obtain this little morsel of food which has passed through innumerable stages from the sowing of the seed to the reaping of the grain corn. and which has during this process required the labours of the wind, the rain, the sun, of the heavens and of the earth, and of a thousand men - and that it is Allah(God) alone who has granted him this morsel of food or this draught of water by making it go through all these stages.
This means that when we say these words before an action then we are doing that action in the Name of Allah and only in the Name of Allah . We are doing that action for Allah and for no one else. So we cannot say these words before an action and then intend by that action anything but His Pleasure. This is a very important concept for all Muslims to remember because it prevents pride and arrogance from surfacing in any of our actions.
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