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What Is the Meaning of Bismillah (In the Name of God)?


Bismillah, In the Name of God, is the beginning of all good things. So we too shall start with it. This blessed phrase is a sign of Islam, and all creatures constantly recite it in their unique way. If you want to understand what an inexhaustible source of strength and blessing bismillah is, then listen to the following allegory:

For a stranger who travels in the deserts of Arabia, it is necessary to get the protection of a tribal chief. Only then may he escape the mischief of robbers and be sure his needs will be met. Traveling alone would be a waste of time because of the enemies and unmet needs he must face.

Two men once set out on such a desert jour­ney. One was humble, the other arrogant. The humble man took the protection of a tribal chief, but the arrogant one didn’t. The former traveled everywhere in safety. Whenever he met a robber, he would say, “I’m traveling in the name of such and such chief,” and the robber would move on without molesting him. He would be treated with respect in every tent he entered because of that name. By contrast, the arrogant one suffered indescribable disasters throughout his journey. He trembled in constant fear and was obliged to struggle and beg for his every need. He became low and mean.


Man is a traveler in the desert of the world

O arrogant soul! You are that traveler and this world is the desert. Your weakness and pov­erty know no bounds. You face countless enemies and privations. So, invoke the name of the Eternal Owner and the Everlasting Ruler of this world. Only then will you be saved from having to beg from others and from constantly living in fear.

The phrase bismillah is so blessed a treasure that, by connecting you to the infinite Power and Mercy of the Omnipotent and Merciful One, it transforms your weakness and poverty into the most heeded of intercessors at His Exalted Court. The one who, uttering bismillah, acts in the name of God, is like the one who joins an army and then acts under the state’s name. He fears no one, does all things in the name of the law and the state and persists against all odds.


This article has been adapted from Risale- i Nur Collection.