Bismillah (In the Name of Allah) is the start of all good things, so we shall start with it. This blessed phrase is a mark of Islam, one constantly recited by all creatures through their tongues of disposition. If you want to perceive its inexhaustible source of strength and blessing, consider the following allegory:
Travelers in Arabian deserts must travel under a tribal chief's name and protection, or else they will be bothered by bandits and unable to acquire what they need for the journey. Two people, one humble and the other arrogant, set out on a journey. The humble one obtained the name of a tribal chief; the arrogant one did not. The former traveled everywhere in safety. Whenever he met a bandit, he said: "I'm traveling in the name of this chief," and so was left alone. He was treated with respect in every tent he entered. In contrast, the arrogant one suffered disaster and constant fear, for he had to struggle and beg for every need. He became base and vile.
O arrogant soul! You are that traveler, and this world is the desert. Your weakness and poverty are endless, and the enemies and privations to which you are exposed are beyond number. Given this, invoke the name of the Eternal Owner and the Everlasting Ruler of this world, for only this can deliver you from such begging and fear.
Bismillah (In the Name of Allah) is a blessed treasure. It transforms your boundless weakness and poverty, by binding you to the Omnipotent and Merciful One's infinite Power and Mercy, into the most heeded intercessor at His Exalted Court. When you say Bismillah, you act in His name. You are like a soldier acting in the state's name, fearing no one, doing all things in the name of the law and the state, and persisting against all odds.
What is the purpose of commanding human beings to begin every act in the name of Allah? The operative word here is name. When we wear name brands for instance we do that for a purpose - to be able to gain standing in a society where these names are recognized. A baby, for instance is named after someone whom one is fond of respected, thus reviving the memory of the name.
Shaheed Murtaza Mutahhari in his book 'Understanding the Noble Qur'an' writes that the reason why we begin in the name of Allah is. He says "It is for the purpose of giving that act a sacred touch and making it blessed. When a human being who has a natural sentiment from Allah and considers Him a holy essence and a source of all Grace, begins an act in His name, it means that owing to His sanctity, nobility and greatness, the action to become sacred."
Let us consider this! Would we say Bismillah... before we abused someone or stretched out our hands to steal?
Another question that might come to mind when reciting Bismillah (In the Name of Allah) is what is the difference between Rahman and Rahim. Shaheed Murtaza Mutahhari writes: "The word Rahman denotes excess and therefore.Rahman means that Allah's mercy spreads everywhere and covers everything.The mercy of Allah has no exception. It does not include non-humans, nor does it include non-believers. It comprises the whole world.It is the extension of blessings to all existence while they exist, but many things are perishable. The word Rahim denotes stability.with its sense of stability and eternity it applies only to those who through their faith and good deeds have placed themselves in the path of Allah's particular blessings. So Allah's mercy is both universal and specific."
Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) was once eating with a group of young children.
Suddenly Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) smiled. The children asked him why he was smiling. Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) replied: "Shaytan, Shaitan has just vomited."
Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) then explained that there was a child amongst them who had forgotten to say Bismillahirrahmanirrahim (In the name of Allah, the beneficent the merciful) and Shaytan, Shaitan had sat to eat with him.
The child had just remembered and said: Bismillahirrahmanirrahim (In the name of Allah, the beneficent the merciful), from the beginning to the end.
Shaytan, Shaitan therefore vomited and thus the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) had smiled.
Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) has said that on the day of judgement there will be some people who will have to go to Jahannam (Hell) because of their bad deeds.
However, from these people, there will be some who had the habit of saying Bismillahirrahmanirrahim (In the name of Allah, the beneficent the merciful) before they did anything or entered anywhere.
Thus, when they will be taken to Jahannam (Hell) by the angels, they will be very sad but they will say Bismillahirrahmanirrahim (In the name of Allah, the beneficent the merciful) Allah will tell the angels - "STOP"
Allah will tell them that He cannot let someone who says Bismillahirrahmanirrahim (In the name of Allah, the beneficent the merciful) calling Him Rahman and Rahim enter Jahannam (Hell).
Syed Murtadha was a great aalim (scholar) who lived many years ago. He had many students who attended his classes.
At one of his classes he noticed that one of the students always came late. One day Syed Murtadha asked the student "Why are you always late?"
The student replied that he lived across the river and always took the first ferry across but the ferry service did not start any earlier.
Syed Murtadha wrote something on a piece of paper, folded it and gave it to the student. "Keep this with you" he said "and you will be able to walk across the river from tomorrow - but do not open the paper."
The next day the student got to the river and put his foot tentatively on the water. He could not believe that he could actually walk on the water.
For the next few days, he got to the classes on time.
One day, he could not hold back his curiosity. He looked inside the folded piece of paper. On it was written Bismillahirrahmanirrahim (In the name of Allah, the beneficent the merciful).
For a moment he thought - "Is this all that helps me walk on water!" He put the paper in his pocket as usual and went to the river to go to his classes. This time he could not walk on the water and had to wait for the ferry. This meant that he was late for his class.
When the class was over, Syed Murtadha called him over and said "You looked into the paper when I had told you not to!"
With Bismillahirrahmanirrahim (In the name of Allah, the beneficent the merciful) you can move mountains provided you have trust and faith in Allah.
There was once a lady who always said Bismillahirrahmanirrahim (In the name of Allah, the beneficent the merciful) before she did anything. She knew that Allah would then always be with her. One day, she put her ring in the cupboard and as usual she said Bismillahirrahmanirrahim (In the name of Allah, the beneficent the merciful) before she put it away. She knew that it would be safe.
Her husband took the ring and threw it in the river. He wanted to prove to her that only saying Bismillahirrahmanirrahim (In the name of Allah, the beneficent the merciful) would not keep it safe. He thought that in the evening he would ask her where the ring was and it would not be there.
Later that morning, the lady went to the market to buy some fish. When she was cleaning the fish at home she found her ring inside the stomach of the fish. She wondered how it got there but then put it back in its place in the cupboard saying Bismillahirrahmanirrahim (In the name of Allah, the beneficent the merciful).
When her husband came back from work, he asked her where the ring was. She brought it from the cupboard. He was so surprised!
He told her what he had done and apologized to her. He also truly believed that Allah is with the person who says Bismillahirrahmanirrahim (In the name of Allah, the beneficent the merciful) before he/she does anything.