Where Does Bismillaah Belong?

QDear Mr. Ayub Hamid, Assalaam Alaikum. My name is Inayatullah Khan and living in my village Swabi, Pakistan. I have something to ask you and which has perplexed me since a long time.

While reading the translation of the Holy Quran by Mohammad Asad, he states that one Surah in the Quran ie. Surah Fatiha has the first verse 'Bismillah...' to be actually an ayat from Allah, so in this sense it is a part of the Quran - Compulsory. The Qurans distributed by the Saudi government are also showing the first verse of Surah Fatiha as 'Bismillah...'. The Qurans published by the Taj Company of Pakistan are showing the first verse of the Surah 'Allhamdullah....'. So there is a stark difference for which I am taking this oppurtunity in asking for your thoughts. I shall be awaiting your kind response.

Thanks & Regards, Inayatullah Khan, Swabi.

AWa alaykumussalaam wa Rahmatullaahi, Dear Brother Inayatullah Khan

Let us start with the points that are undisputedly agreed upon: There is a complete agreement that Bismillaah is a verse of the Holy Qur-aan; that it has been inserted before all Soorahs, except for the Soorah Towbah, by Allaah’s command and the directions of the Prophet Sall-Allaahu 'Alayhi Wa Sallam; and that it is a wonderful verse, full of blessings and a great gift from Allaah SWT reminding people that revelation of Holy Qur-aan is the greatest of His mercies for human beings.

Whether it is a part of a Soorah or not? There are three opinions: One opinion is that this verse of the Qur-aan is not part of any Soorah, but rather it is an appendage to mark the beginning of the Soorahs (except for Soorah Towbah). Imam Aboo Haneefah held that opinion. That is why Bismillaah is not recited by Hanafees loudly when Soorah Faatihah or other Soorahs are recited loudly in Salaah.

The second opinion is that it is part of every Soorah, except for soorah Towbah.

The third opinion is that it is part of Soorah Faatihah, but for other Soorahs, it is just a means of demarcation.

Although we can go through the arguments in favour of and against each of the three opinions, it will not be a valuable exercise for our Islamic objectives. It really is not important one way or the other whether it is considered part of this or that. What really matters is that the text of the Holy Qur-aan, including Bismillaah, is preserved perfectly and exactly as was taught and dictated by the Prophet. When reciting the Qur-aan, Muslims continue to write and recite Bismillaah exactly at the places where the Prophet used to do. All Muslims do understand the significance of this great verse of the Qur-aan and use it while reciting the Holy Qur-aan and while conducting their day to day activities. When all that is in place effectively, the discussion about whether it is a part of a Soorah or an appendage to a Soorah becomes superfluous and semantical.

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