Posted by: Dawud Israel | April 5, 2008

“In the Name”

Bismillah. In the Name of Allah.

Have you ever noticed how the English translation for the basmala (the portmanteau name for this duaa) is always the same?

I am not a linguistics expert or a Quranic commentator, however I noticed something and what I say below is nothing more than speculation or a reflection. I may however update this should I find any extra material from more scholarly sources.
“In the Name of Allah”

What is meant by this? When we read this we think it means something similar to “With the Name of Allah,” however this is not how it is translated. The word that is used is “in”–a word that could be interpret many different ways and is arguably something that has been interpreted more deeply than other words.

The Muslim is told to recite this duaa before any action so as to start it with the Name of God and to gather blessings from it. When a Muslim meets an action, he says this formula: “In the Name of Allah”–as if when the Muslim says this he is commanding all that is before him to submit before the Name of God, to no longer be an obstacle but an aid (as all things worship Allah alone) or as if to say, similar to a man commanding his dog to go “inside” the dog house, this duaa points for this action to be “contained in” the Name of Allah. To say “Inside the Name of Allah” points to what may be the inner aspect of the Name of Allah, but to say “In the Name of Allah” is to relate the process of something going into the Name of Allah, rather than an individual part of it (outside, inside, or in between). What can be the significance of this? Perhaps it is a relation to how we are all in a process of going towards Allah–never quite there but never quite far away either, one day we’ll finish this journey towards Him.

This may sound crude but the existence of an action being performed in the Name of God–means to say, that all can be contained ONLY by God, or once more in an even deeper manner, His Majesty being so great that all can be contained in His Name(s).

They say, a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet. But a name by any of His Name would smell even sweeter. That is, anything when identified by the Name of Allah, is a thousand times more splendid.

Subhana kallahumma wa bihamdika ash-haduana la illaha illa ant astaghfiruka wa atubu ilayk. Ameen.


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