The word ‘Bismillah’ simply means In the name of Allah. According to a narration, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Any important work that does not begin with Bismillah is imperfect”. Another version says: “Any important work that does not begin with Bismillah is devoid of Barakah”.
Some of the benefits of bismillah are:
1. It is the essence of Quran:
According to some scholars, Surah Al- Fatihah is the essence of the Holy Quran. Jabir (RA) reported that when Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem (in the name of Allah, the most gracious the most merciful) 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 shaytaan got pelted with fire from the heavens and Allah (SWT) , swearing an oath by His honour, declared: Anyone who says this name of mine ( Bismillaahir rahmaanir Raheem) upon anything, I will surely impart barakah in that thing, (Durre Manthoor and Ibne Katheer).
2. Bismillah before revelation:
Ibn Umar (RA) reported that whenever Jibril (AS) used to bring the Prophet (SAW), he would first recite ‘Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem’. This was because Bismillah contains three names of Allah. (a) Allah which is His personal name to indicate that all things happen only by the will of Allah. (b) Rahman which means gracious. Allah is the only one who can keep things from destruction. (c) Rahim which means merciful. Allah is the most merciful and it is only through His mercy that man can thrive or be successful.
3. Closeness to Allah:
It is narrated in Tafseer Roohul Bayaan said that Allah (SWT) has three thousand names. He revealed one thousand to the angels, one thousand to the Prophets (AS), three hundred are mentioned in the Toraah, three hundred in the Zabur, three hundred in the Injeel, and ninety-nine in the Holy Qur’an. One Name He has kept to Himself; He revealed it to no one. Also, He has condensed all His names into the three names contained in Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem. They are Allah, Rahmaan and Raheem. Therefore, anyone who says Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim, it is as though he has said all the names of Allah.
4. Protection against the angel of Hell:
It is reported from Abdullah bin Mas’ood that: “Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem” has 19 letters, and the angels of Jahannam are 19. Anyone who says Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem will be protected against the angels of Jahannam.” (Tafseer Qurtubi)
5. A high status in the hereafter:
Concerning this, it is reported that the Prophet (PBUH) said: “any dua which is begun with is not rejected. Because of saying Bismillaahir rahmaanir Raheem the scales of my Ummah will become heavy on the Day of Judgement. The other people will enquire: ‘Why is the virtues of the Ummate Muhammadiyyah so heavy?’ Their prophets will say: “In the utterances of the Ummate Muhammadiyyah there is such an honorable name of Allah that if it is placed on the one side of the scale, and the sins of the entire creation is put onto the other side then the side with the virtue will be heavier.”
6. Saying Bismillah before Wudhu:
Abu Hurairah (RA) reported that the Prophet (PBUH) said: “Anyone who does not say Bismillah before wudhu, only the sins committed by the limbs which are washed in wudhu will be washed away; and one who says Bismillah before wudhu, the sins of the entire body will be washed away.” (Mishkat)
7. Protection against shaytan:
Jabir (RA) reports that the Prophet (PBUH) said: “If a man remembers Allah as he enters his house and when he takes food, the Satan says: no place to stay the night and no food. And if he doesn’t remember Allah as he enters his house the Satan says: I found a place to spend the night. And if he doesn’t remember Allah as he takes food the Shaytaan says: I have found a place to stay the night and have dinner.” [Reported by Muslim and Ahmad]
8. For cure:
The narration says that once Uthman bin Abil Aas complained to the Prophet (PBUH) about bodily pain. The Prophet (PBUH) told him to place his hand on the part that hurts, say Bismillah thrice and say the dua: I seek refuge in Allah and His might from what I feel and fear. Thereupon his pain disappeared.