“In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful”. (Holy Qur’an)
This phrase occurs at the beginning of every Chapter of the Qur’an, except one. It is used by Muslims before starting every work – before reading, before eating, before starting their work, before sleeping. Islam teaches man to start every good effort with the Holy name of God Who is beneficent and merciful, invoking His mercy to bless his efforts with success.
The goal of Islam is to make a man “God -minded”; it wants him to realize that he, himself, is nothing, that all his efforts are fruitless unless rewarded by God with success. And that realization is combined with the satisfaction that God is beneficent and merciful, who will not disappoint him in his hope and belief.
It is very amusing to note that the common image of Islam, in the eyes of non-Muslims, is that of a religion whose god is wrathful one, like the god of the Old Testament, inflicting punishment on the spur of the moment. Do a mistake and you get a jolly good bang on your head!
They fail to realize that the very first sentence of the Qur’an describes God as beneficent and merciful. And that formula is used by every Muslim hundreds of times every day. And the Muslims believe that by invoking the mercy of God they get limitless blessings of God, in this world as in the world here-after.
Once, the Holy Prophet, (S.A) while passing a graveyard, ordered his companions to get out of it in haste. On the return journey, he asked them to walk slowly. On being asked the reason of his first order and then of its change next time, the Prophet informed them that there was a man being chastised in one of those graves, on account of his wickedness. “I did not like to remain in a place where a human-being was being punished, though he was a wrongdoer” ……. Fortunately, at the moment the child of that dead person was taken to a teacher to start his education. The teacher told him to recite “In the name of Allah, the beneficent, the merciful” …… As soon as the innocent child invoked the Mercy of Allah, the command came to the angels to change the punishment into the blessing of God. Reason: “It is not becoming to my mercy to punish the parent while his son calls me the beneficent and merciful”. So in the return journey the Prophet walked in that grave-yard with comfort, glorifying the mercy and benevolence of the Almighty God.
Let us turn towards God every time we begin a work. The word “Bismillah” (“In the name of God”) may mean also “For the sake of God” and “To the service of God”. Thus this formula, if comprehended fully, will serve also to save us from wrong action and misdeed. Certainly, it will be illogical to commit a mischief “for the sake of god” and “to His service”. Let us remember God; and we will become free of sins and errors.