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Thread: Bismillah hir rahman ir rahim

  1. #1
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    Default Bismillah hir rahman ir rahim

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    [Read out to them, O Prophet], In the name of Allah, Mercy abundant, Mercy eternal

    The construction of the sentence "بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم" (lit: 'In the name of Allah, the Rahmaan, the Raheem') is such that a verb is suppressed in it. Most commentators have generally taken the suppressed verb as 'I begin' or one similar to it; thus implying the complete sentence to mean 'I begin in the name of Allah, the Rahmaan, the Raheem'. However, it seems that by placing this sentence at the beginning of every surah - except Surah Al-Tawbah - the Qur'an has referred firstly, to the authority on the basis of which the Prophet is directed to deliver and read out the message to his people, and, secondly, to the prediction about the Prophet (pbuh) in the Torah. From the first perspective, the placement of this sentence at the beginning of each of the Surahs is similar to the traditional words like 'On the authority of the King' or 'In the name of the Sovereign', which were, generally, read out before any official declarations and announcements made or any orders passed by the king. From the second perspective, this sentence is a reminder of the prophecy given in the words:
    I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their own people; I will put my words in the mouth of the prophet, who shall speak to them everything that I command. Anyone who does not heed the words that the prophet shall speak in my name, I myself will hold accountable. (Deuteronomy 18: 18 - 19)

    This is the explanation by Moiz Amjad (and Amin Ahsen Islahi)about Bismillah hir rahman ir rahim which is different form the conventional translation. At the same time Muslims are encouraged to recite this before staring any errand or work.

    I would like to seek clarification two accounts, firstly, If read out to them O' Prophet is added, does that still apply when recited by a common Muslim? Or would it stand for read out to them and the person's name. Secondly, when recited before starting a task saying read out to them O'Prophet would not make sense.

    Secondly, there appears to be a difference of opinion among Muslim scholars whether Bismillah hir rahaman nir rahim is an actual verse or is recited before every surah. According to islahi teh schoalrs from Madina, Basra, Syria and Abu Hanifa, it is not part of any surah . In contrast the scholars form Makkah, Kuffah and Shafi, it is part of every surah as a verse.

    What are your thoughts?

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    Default Re: Bismillah hir rahman ir rahim

    Salam DocW,
    I would like to seek clarification two accounts, firstly, If read out to them O' Prophet is added, does that still apply when recited by a common Muslim? Or would it stand for read out to them and the person's name. Secondly, when recited before starting a task saying read out to them O'Prophet would not make sense.
    I think you have misunderstood. Saying the basmallah has context. When revelation is being read out we say it. It is much like the Prophet (pbuh) presented us with a message. But when we take on a task then the basmallah is in the context of that task. It's like saying "I undertake this task in the name of God..." I am merely expounding upon the explanation given. I'm not sure where the question is in your second point. Even with both sets of groups there's no difference that it is to be recited. So whether it is accepted as a verse or a mandatory preamble it doesn't matter, all agree it is part and parcel to the recitation. So you can take the view that it is a verse unto itself or you can take it as a verse being part of every Surah (except Tawbah). I think you have misunderstood if you are saying that some say it is not part of the Qur'an.

    Wassalam

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Bismillah hir rahman ir rahim

    Salaam all,

    I would start with a clarification regarding "traditionalist understandings" of Statements and so forth. Some people will think that if a particular Sahabi understood an Aya to mean something, then that is the only meaning. This can be the case, but most of the time, it is not necessarily the case. So, if one reads in Tabari or Ibn Katheer that Ibn Abbas understood it this way and so and so understood that way, then there is a real possibility that both understandings are correct and that both were relaying what came to mind. There may be room linguistically for even more understandings. So, the scholars were never really restrictive in understanding as long as it was linguistically and contextually correct and as long as the understanding did not contradict the rest of the message.

    Now, with that, Moiz Amjad would have an appropriate understanding that should not make any other correct understanding become incorrect. Why? because Bismillah Arrahman Arrahim has great richness in the meaning that it carries. Here it goes:

    1- BI: This is translated as by or in or with. What is important is what it signifies. BI can signify one of three things or any combination of the three. The three are:

    A) What is coming after is a tool for an action. In here, then it takes the meaning of By as in by the name of God.
    B) What is coming after is an association of an action. Here it attains the meaning of With.
    C) What is coming after is the object or goal of an action and if so, then that strengthens the sentence. And here it attains the meaning of "for the sake of the name of God" or "reaching the name of God".

    I get the feeling that all three are intended because the name of God is our tool of beginning, accompanies us during and is our goal at the end.

    2- ISM: It is always translated as name, but I like to use appellation. So, the appellation is how an entity is called so that it responds. It is also the use of appropriate distinguishing features of the entity. So, when we use it, we are at the same time calling God as well as describing Him by the distinguished features that He distinguished himself with.

    3- Allah, Arrahman Arrahim, which are the names that are used here. They are very significant for they affirm the One worthy of worship, the Merciful and the Benevolent.

    Taking all of those in consideration, one arrives at many meanings, all included within the range of the meaning and all correct.

    What is the action? anything you do will have to start with the name of God. The scholars of the past asked that everything should start with Alhamdulillah= praise belongs to Allah and end with Alhamdulillah= Praise belongs to Allah. In that, one is mentioning the name of God and praising Him as well. That is why Alfatiha is the beginner of the Qur'an and the beginnier of the prayer. It starts with Praise.

    As for the issue of the scholars view of the term. It relates to whether one is to read in every prayer or not and whether is to read aloud or not. They all agree that it is part of the Qur'an, because it is mentioned in the middle of one of the Suras. They are three opinions:

    1- It is not part of the Qur'an except in the Sura where it came in the middle. This is the opinion of Imam Malik I believe.

    2- It is part of every Sura at the beginning. The opinion of Shafii I believe

    3- It is part of the Qur'an, comes at the beginning of every Sura, but is not part of the Sura itself.

    In a sense, the differences are minimal and of semantic origin. However, I do thank brother DocW for bringing up this interesting discussion.


    Hussein
    To consider that our logic is logical all the time is actually illogical. To consider that our understanding of the text is correct all the time is also illogical.

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    Default Re: Bismillah hir rahman ir rahim

    Quote Originally Posted by DocW View Post
    I would like to seek clarification two accounts, firstly, If read out to them O' Prophet is added, does that still apply when recited by a common Muslim? Or would it stand for read out to them and the person's name. Secondly, when recited before starting a task saying read out to them O'Prophet would not make sense.
    Wa salaam,

    1.

    The first point is that the suppression of words is a feature of the classical Arabic language. We recite verses in the Quran in which words are suppressed all the time. The Arabs of past did not waste words and the suppressed words were those understood by audience through the context. This type of speaking actually showed the profound nature in which the Arab mind worked during the time of the Prophet (S). The mind was incredibly quick.

    2.

    The point is meant to stress the authority upon which the Prophet (S) recited the messages. Shah Waliullah takes a similar view in light of the Quranic presentation, i.e. that of a messenger who is sent to a people to proclaim the message of their King. It adds a very profound and authoritative nature to the Quranic commands.

    3.

    This recitation has tremendous benefit for the Muslim. Upo readin this he understands that the commands are from the Mighty King, but not only is He Mighty, but the Most Mericulf and Ever-Mercy Giving. The attributes mentioned relay that the King is about to confer his gracious blessings upon mankind. Psychogically, the Muslim will feel humble and reverence what he has been given, as well as will pay attention to the reciter of the message, Muhammad (S).
    "Those who deny the strength of truth,
    God does not give them courage." - Bulleh Shah

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