‘Bismillah’ is a word you will come across repeatedly as a Muslim. You may have already noticed that (almost) every surah in the Qur’an begins with ‘Bismillahi Rahmaani Raheem’, which in basic translation means, ‘in the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful’.
As demonstrated by our Prophet Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), it is a beneficial habit to say “Bismillah” (in the name of Allah) at the beginning of any task you carry out, as by doing so you are invoking Allah’s name and thereby asking Him to bless your actions. It is a very easy and simple way to add blessings and reward to any simple chores throughout the day, and in doing so, you are also asking for Allah’s assistance, requesting His unrivalled help and protection.
As well as adding blessing to your tasks, there is another significant reason to be in the habit of mentioning Allah’s name often, and this is that it causes Shaytaan to flee.
All of us are constantly susceptible to the whisperings of Shaytaan and his helpers, who wish for us to commit sin and to follow them instead of obeying our Lord. It is common for Shaytaan to be blamed whenever anything bad happens. However, when we blame Shaytaan for any negativity and curse him for this, he is proud and becomes more arrogant and boastful, strengthening him against us. Whereas, if we say “Bismillah” instead, he is pained and weakened by the mention of Allah’s name.
In a hadith recorded by Imam Ahmad, it is stated that a person who was riding behind the Prophet (PBUH) said, “The Prophet’s animal tripped, so I said, `Cursed Shaytaan.’ The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Do not say, ‘Cursed Shaytaan,’ for if you say these words, Shaytaan becomes arrogant and says, ‘With my strength I made him fall.’ When you say, ‘Bismillah,’ Shaytaan will become as small as a fly.”
Other examples of weakening Shaytaan with “Bismillah” include when entering your house, and before you eat and drink.
The Prophet (PBUH) is reported to have said, “If a person mentions the Name of Allah upon entering his house or eating, Shaytaan says, addressing his followers: `You will find nowhere to spend the night and no dinner.’ But if he enters without mentioning the Name of Allah, Shaytaan says [to his followers]; `You have found a place to spend the night in’, and if he does not mention the Name of Allah at the time of eating, Shaytaan says: `You have found a place to spend the night in as well as food’.”(Muslim)
Here is a list of other examples of when it is sunnah to say ‘Bismillah’:
- Before wudhu
- When entering and leaving the mosque
- When mounting a ride or getting into a vehicle
- Before getting undressed
- Before marital relations
- When leaving the house
- Before going to sleep
- Before entering the bathroom
- When you stumble, or when your ride or vehicle stumbles or falters
- If you are feeling pain – put your hand on the source of the pain and say “Bismillah” three times.
With just these three syllables, a small and meaningless task can be transformed into one that is heavy with blessings. By adding Allah’s glorious name, you are turning any menial act into a purposeful act of worship. See how many you can fit into your day.