Bismi-llāhi ar-raḥmāni ar-raḥīmi...


Berlin, Germany

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Bismillah (Arabic بسملة) is an Arabic language noun which is used as the collective name of the whole of the recurring Islamic phrase bismi-llāhi ar-raḥmāni ar-raḥīmi.

This phrase constitutes the first verse of every “Sura” (or chapter) of the Qur’an (but one), and is used in a number of contexts by Muslims. It is recited several times as part of Muslim daily prayers.

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

bismi-llāhi ar-raḥmāni ar-raḥīmi
In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

The Bismillah has a special significance for Muslims, who are to begin each task after reciting the verse. Often, Bismillah is preceded by Ta’awwudh. In Arabic calligraphy, it is the most prevalent motif, more so even than the Shahadah. The three definite nouns of the Bismillah, Allah, ar-Rahman and ar-Rahim correspond to the first three of the traditional 99 names of God in Islam. Both ar-Rahman and ar-Rahim are from the same triliteral root, R-Ḥ-M “to feel sympathy or pity”. According to Lane, ar-raḥmān is more intensive, including in its objects the believer and the unbeliever, and may be rendered as “The Compassionate”, while ar-raḥīm has for its peculiar object the believer, considered as expressive of a constant attribute, and may be rendered as “The Merciful”.

Arabic-speaking Christians sometimes use the word Bismillah (Arabic: بسملة‎) to refer to the Christian liturgical formula “In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit” (باسم الآب والابن والروح القدس, bismi-l-’abi wa-l-ibni wa-r-rūḥi l-qudusi), from Matthew 28:19

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