Isti’aadhah & Basmalah

Isti’aadha and Basmalah are both things which we read everyday in our Salaah. This article will discuss their meanings followed by some rulings related to Isti’aadha and Basmalah.


أَعُوْذُ بِاللهِ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيْمِ

I seek refuge in Allah from the rejected Shaytaan

The meaning of Isti’aadha is to seek the safety and protection of Allah from the evil of the rebellious Shaytaan and seeking the protection of Allah from the harm Shaytaan causes to a person in his religious or worldly affairs. Nothing is able to protect man from the schemes of the Shaytaan except the overpowering might and protection of Allah Almighty.



بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيْمِ

In the Name of Allah, the most merciful, the most compassionate

Allah’s Messenger ﷺ has said:

كل أمر ذي بال لا يبدأ فيه ببسم الله فهو أبتر

 “Any important work which is not commenced with the name of Allah will remain deprived of blessings.” [Ahmed]

Reciting Bismillah is a way for a Muslim to forever revive his pledge of allegiance to turn at every step to his creator and to remind himself that no action of his is ever possible, except through the assistance and help of Allah.


Bismillah at the time of recitation

Every Surah in the Qur’an, besides Surah At-Tawbah, is preceded with Bismillaah. This is in opposition to the mushrikeen who would mention the name of their false deities upon commencing any work or speech, for example, they would start in the name of the idols; Laat, Uzza or Hubal. Allah Almighty has therefore taught his Messenger ﷺ to mention His lofty name before commencing any significant task and thereby set a standard in this for all the believers who were to follow.


The wording of Bismillah

Bismillah begins with ‘Bi’ (بِـ) which can mean by, for, with the aid of, in, through or by means of. This particle points towards what follows it.

The next part is the word ‘Ism’ (اسم) which means, ‘The means by which something is distinguished.’ It can include a name or a reputation. It points towards the name or actual essence of something.

Thereafter Allah Almighty makes mention of His actual name, ‘Allah’ before mentioning His ‘Sifaat’ i.e attributive names. The reason for this is that the name ‘Allah’ is the most comprehensive of all the divine names. According to some scholars it is ‘The Greatest Name’ (Al-Ism ul-A’dham). The name Allah cannot be given to any other being and it is a word that has no dual or plural form.

It has been mentioned that Allah Almighty used the words ‘Bismillah’ (In the name of Allah) rather than ‘Billah’ (Through Allah) because the actual blessing and assistance is sought through His lofty name.

It is after mentioning His name that Allah Almighty then mentions His attributes (Ar-Rahmaan) and (Ar-Raheem).  Both these attributes are derived from the root word ‘Rahm’ which means ‘mercy’ or ‘softness of heart’.

The root is then brought on the scale of Mubaalagha (emphasis), to denote the highest level of mercy or kindness. All the attributes of Allah will be used or considered on the ghayaat / limits of their meaning. Unreserved, limitless, infinite mercy which is free of the restrictions faced by creation.

Rahmaan – this attribute signifies Allah’s common mercy for all which extends to the entire creation, Raheem signifies a special or selective mercy. Therefore, it is said that Allah is Rahmaan ud-Dunya wa Raheem ul-Aakhirah

  1. Rahmaan ud-Dunya means ‘One who displays his mercy on the world’, as He shows such a mercy which encompasses every believer and non- believer as well as every other creature.
  2. Raheem ul-Aakhirah means ‘The one whose special mercy will be displayed in the Aakhirah’, as this is such a mercy which is especially reserved for the Mu’minoon (Believers) on the Day of Judgement.


Miscellaneous Rulings:

  • When commencing with the recitation of the Noble Quraan, it is Sunnah to read both Isti’aadha and Bismillah.
  • To precede Bismillaah with Istiaadha is Sunnah when one begins reciting the Noble Quraan (in or out of Salaah). Besides this, it is not Sunnah to recite the Istiaadha when commencing any other work.
  • If one begins the Quraan recitation from Surah Tawbah, then it is Sunnah to read both Istiaadha and Bismillaah.
  • To read Bismillaah in Salaah after Al-Faatihah before commencing a Surah is permissible and not Makrooh. (Shami)