Bismillah Hirahaman niraheem. This phrase is collectively known as basmalah or bismillah. The recitation of this phrase is known as tasmiyya.
MEANING OF TASMIYYA
It means “In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.”It denotes that we start in the name of Allah(SWT),the Exalted. Ar-Rahman and Ar-Raheem are two names of Allah derived from Ar-Rahmah(the mercy). It is said that Ar-Rahman carries a broader scope of meaning pertaining to the mercy of Allah with HIS creation in both lives. Meanwhile, Ar-Rahim is exclusively for the believers.[Tafsir Ibn Kathir]
FREQUENCY OF OCCURRENCE IN THE QURAN
This verse occurs 114 times in the quran. Scholars have difference of opinion regarding whether this ayat is the part of each surah or not. Some scholars say that the basmalah is the first ayat of every surah(except the ninth), whereas some scholars say that it is not an independent verse(except within Surah Al-Naml[27:30], where it prefaces a letter from Suleiman(AIS) to the Queen of Sheba, Bilqis) but recited before starting each surah. Allah knows best.
SIGNIFICANCE OF BISMILLAH
The blessing of reciting Bismillah is shown in the following hadith. Imam Ahmad recorded in his Musnad, that a person who was riding behind the Prophet(SAW) said, “The Prophet’s(SAW) animal tripped, so I said, ‘Cursed Shaytan.’ The Prophet(SAW) said, “Do not say, ‘Cursed shaytan,’ for if you say these words, satan becomes arrogant and says, ‘With my strength I made him fall.’ When you say, “Bismillah,’ satan will become as small as a fly.”
Jabir(RA)is reported to have said that “When Bismillah Hirahman Niraheem was revealed, the clouds gave way by moving to the East, the winds ceased blowing, the oceans became calm, the creatures prepared themselves to listen, the shayatin were pelted with fire from the heavens and Allah (SWT), swearing an oath by His honour, declared: Anyone who says this name of mine upon anything, I will surely impart barakah in that thing.”[ Ad Durrul Manthur and Ibn Kathir]
WHEN TO SAY BISMILLAH
Basmalah is recommended before starting any action or deed. Whenever we start some deed with bismillah, it shows that we submit ourselves completely to Our Creator and that nothing is possible without HIM. It is believed that any work started in Allah(SWT) name will be successful. It was also the sunnah of Prophet(SAW).
1) Before eating/entering the house
Jabir (RA) reported: I heard Messenger of Allah (SAW) saying, “If a person mentions the Name of Allah upon entering his house or eating, Satan says, addressing his followers: `You will find no where to spend the night and no dinner.’ But if he enters without mentioning the Name of Allah, Satan 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, Satan says: `You have found (a place) to spend the night in as well as food.” [Muslim].
2) Before drinking water
Ibn Abbas (RA) reported that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, “Do not drink in one gulp like a camel, but in two or three [Gulps]. Mention the Name of Allah when you start drinking and praise Him after you have finished drinking.” [Al-Trimidhi]
3) At The Beginning Of Wudhu
Abu Hurayrah, Said bin Zayd and Abu Said narrated from the Prophet(SAW) “There is no valid ablution for he who did not mention Allah’s name in it.”[Ahmad,Abu-Dawud]
4) When Leaving The House
The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, “If anyone of you when leaving the house says In the name of Allah, I trust in Allah, there is no power and might except from Allah. Your needs shall be fulfilled, you shall be saved from difficulties and hardships. Shaitaan hearing these words leaves him.” [Al-Trimidhi]
5)When Slaughtering an Animal
Anas (RA) reported that the Messenger (SAW) of Allah sacrificed two horned rams of white color with black markings over them. He also stated: I saw him sacrificing them with his own hand and saw him placing his foot on their sides, and recited in the name of Allah and Glorified Him (Bismillah Allaahu Akbar) [Bukhari , Muslim, Abu Dawud, Al-Trimidhi]
6) Before Entering the Toilet
The Prophet Of Allah (SAW) said “When you enter the toilet you should say, In the Name of Allah, I seek protection in you from unclean spirits, male and female.” [Abu Dawud , Ahmad and Fath Al-Bari]
7) When Night Falls
Allah’s Apostle (SAW) said, “When night falls stop your children from going out, for the devils spread out at that time. But when an hour of the night has passed, release them and close the doors and mention Allah’s Name, for Satan does not open a closed door. Tie the mouth of your water-skin and mention Allah’s Name; cover your containers and utensils and mention Allah’s Name. Cover them even by placing something across it, and extinguish your lamps. “ [Bukhari and Abu Dawu]
8) When Placing The Body Of The Deceased In The Grave
The Prophet of Allah (SAW) said,”When you are lowering the deceased in the grave you should say In the name of Allah and in accordance to the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah.” [Ahmad 8/58 and Al-Hakim 1/366]
9) Before undressing
Anas(RA)reports from Rasulullah(SAW) that when a person undresses for the purpose of either relieving himself or bathing or having relations with his spouse then the Shaytan interferes and plays with his/her private parts. If he/she says Bismillah before taking off the clothes, then this serves as a barrier and safety against the shayateen and jinnat.
10) Before sexual intercourse
Ibn Abbas said that the Messenger of Allah(SAW) said “If anyone of you before having sexual relations with his wife says, ‘In the Name of Allah. O Allah! Protect us from satan and also protect what YOU grant us(meaning the coming offspring) from satan,’ and if it is destined that they should have a child then, satan will never be able to harm that child.”