at-Tazkirah: التذكرة

“And keep reminding, because reminding benefits the believers.” (51:55)

Surah Taubah: Why no Bismillah?


The following answer was given by Faqihul Ummah Hadhrat Mufti Mahmood Gangohi (rahmatullah alayhi) to the question why Surah Taubah has no Bismillah at the beginning.

When Hadrat Uthman رضى الله عنه was asked why there was no bismillah at the beginning of Surah al-Tawba like how there is bismillah at the beginning of other surahs, he replied that there was some doubt as to this surah being a separate surah, because Nabi صلى الله عليه و سلم passed away without explicitly mentioning anything regarding it. This is why Bismillah was not written at the beginning of Surah Taubah. However, since its subject-matter is similar to that of Surah Anfal, it was placed after it and a space for Bismillah has been kept because it is possible that this is a separate surah. (Tirmizi, Vol 2, Pg.139)

In Bukhari Shareef (Vol 2,Pg 271) it is mentioned that this surah was revealed to cancel the peace treaty. In it appears the command of killing the mushrikeen (polytheists) and the expression of Allah Ta`ala’s anger over them. Therefore, Bismillah was not written at the beginning of the surah since Bismillah signifies peace and mercy.

It appears in Shaatbi: لتنزيلها بالسيف لست مبسملا (Bismillah does not appear at the beginning of this surah, because it was revealed in connection to war.) This is not the actual reason though it is a point to consider. The actual reason is that which is narrated from Hadrat Uthman رضى الله عنه (Bayanul Qur’an, Vol 4, Pg 95)

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28 Responses

  1. mujahid7ia says:

    I hope people will keep in mind that despite these debates over the number of ayat and surat in the Qur`an, what was revealed to Rasul Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم was the Arabic text and not the ayah markings, etc. It has never been disputed that the Qur`an we read today is exactly the same as the Words of Allah revealed to the Prophet عليه الصلاة والسلام. A good book on the Qur`anic sciences (which discusses the different opinions about the order of the Qur`an) is ‘Ulum al-Qur`an by Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani حافظ الله, and is available in English by the title An Approach to the Quranic Sciences.

    Jazak Allahu khayr for the post; it was very interesting.

    I have a question: what does Shaatibi say about Surat al-Anfal, as it also deals with war, and has a basmalah? I would be interested in finding out.

  2. Rahim says:

    Following are MY openion only.

    Please don’t focus on little things such as OH MY GOD!!! I didn’t put PBUH after prophet’s name OR I spelled prophet w/ a small “p” or things of that nature. I hope you(the reader)is mature enough to look past through these things. And yeah, don’t mind the spelling errors either. b/c I suck.

    Islam started from the day Allah created/sent Adam to the earth (Hence Hazrat Adam = 1sth prophet). Prophet Mohammad PBUH finished/completed the religion of Islam.
    — Prophet Mohammad = Last Prophet.

    First let me mentioned that Quran is the book (or words of Allah whatever makes you happy) of Allah. Through this book, Allah is passing his message (hence Prophet Mohammad PBUH = Messenger) to his creation.

    From the 1st prophet to last prophet, Allah sent 4 books to his creation along with 4 different prophets and each one them were true to its own time/place/people.

    When the 1st book was revealed it had a specific message and it served its own purpose. and so did the 2 more books after that. Quran was the last book which summarized the gist of first 3 and completed the religion ISLAM. Let me give you my example/compression: When a parents sends their children to school to learn something so he can grow up to be a doctor/lawyer/engineer etc. the kids are not handed high level books. Kids are first introduced to latter/number/colors & etc. Gradually their mental capabalities are brought up to the level b/f high level books are handed to them. Exact same thing happened when Allah sent his initial books. He also sent prophets along w/ the book so they can convey/explain Allahs message(just like a school teacher would do)

    Also let me make a point that the reason we needed those prophets is b/c book can not teach itself to the reader. You NEED a guide(someone who can explain). Allah’s words are not any regular joe’s word that anyone can just pickup and start understanding what Allah is talking about. Heck, you sometimes need help understanding Shakespeare’s writing also. We are talking GOD the almighty so we deffinetly needed someone (prophet’ help conveying Allah’s message.

    NOW, let me comment on your posting what “Hadrat Uthman said”. First I have an issue when a Caliph has any input on religious part of the matter. Caliphs were chosen/elected/appointed by the people to rule the land left behind after Prophet’s death. – it was for only political reasoning only. All this political hoopla was going on while Prophet Mohammad PBUH was on his death bed. Let me say that again, while “Prophet Mohammad PBUH was on his death bed !!!” Are you kidding me….Here is the LAST PROPHET, Allah’s best creation, on his death bed and you(suppositly Caliph) are in a different town altogether fighting over who is going to be ruling the state after prophet passes away.

    Prophet was in Makkah or Madina,– not sure which town. Call me lazy or whatever for checking my facts, — but regardless, prophet was in a differnet town with this family “Ahl-e-bait” and Hazrat Abu-Bakar and rest of the fellows were in a different town. ****Google it up or do some research and you’ll find this fact yourself if you don’t bealive me.

    My point is that I just don’t feel comfortable believing somebody’s word who was appointed by the people who was supposed to be political figure. Don’t get me wrong, they could have been very religious also, but again Prophet Mohammad PBUH would rub off on you also if you lived in the same neighborhood. It wouldn’t be a tough decision for people to elect an older(with beard), rich person with some rubbed of Prophet, specially if your daughter was married to Prophet Mohammad. (Prophet married Aisha, daughter of Hazrat Abu Bakr, after Khatija has passed away)

    Things to ponder.

    Surah Taubah couldn’t be reavlied upon Prophet Mohammad PBUH, c/ prophet was in Madina and surah Taubah is a Makah’s surah (or vise versa Prophet in Makah & surah in Madina) – What I mean is if you look at the certain detailed Quran, it tells you where was the following surah revealed. Compare this info with Prophets timeline and you will notice something out of place.

    My reasoning why I think there is a Bismillah at the start of every surah:

    • Known fact that the Prophet Mohammad was untaught(couldn’t read). Hence when angel brought the first word from Allah and said “Iqra (read)”, Prophet replied w/ I can not read. Upon which the angel said :IQRA’ BIS MIRAP BIKAL LAZI HALAQ!!!

    If you ask any scholar they would not deny that the way Quran is written, is if someone has written a poem ( that Quranic surah’s rhyme and like the wording in poem, it has deeper meanings than as it appears) – since these are the qualities of a learned men Prophet Mohammad had to use Bimillah as Allah’s reference, so people would believe him otherwise without any legitimate reference he was running a risk that people might not believe what he had to say (convey the message)

    Beside, Allah would not say “In the name Allah…..” just like if I was speaking to my own audience I wouldn’t say “Mr. Rahim said…..” I would say: “I want to tell you…..” Another e.g: If your boss, “Mr. Smith”, gives you a message to pass along to your co-worker ,you would use your boss as a reference and convey the message as “Mr. Smith has said that you can go home early today.” By using Mr. Smith has a reference your message gets validity. If you don’t use Mr. Smith as a reference, such as “You can go home early today” your co-workers might not believe you.

    So the question still remains…Why no bismillah in surah Taubah??? I think the rightfull person would be Hazrat Ali, as Shia’s claim that he was a rightful individual to take a lead in the realigous matter after Prophet Mohammad departure from this material world.

    Your logical questions woud be:
    Q1: “Wasn’t Hazrat Ali a Caliph also?”
    Q2: Who gave Harat Ali any authority to lead religious matter of Islam?

    Ans1: From the day 1, when prophet Mohammad PBUH passed away he claimed his authority on realigous matter but he would he would be shutt off from electorial candidate (Hazrat Abu-Baker & etc) and watch someone else take the lead command. Hazrat Ali never accepted the 1st three Caliphs as “true” caliphs, as in his rightful mind he was supposed to be the leader. After Abu Baker, came Umar and Utman as the choosen Caliph’s of the people. After Utman, people couldn’t find any prominent person as a Caliph. So they came running to Hazrat Ali to accept the title of Caliph, which he first refused to accept but did so out of fear that it would bring chaos among followers w/o any true leader.

    Ans2: Multiple reason why Hazrat Ali can be accepted as a right authority to lead the religious matter.

    1: Hadith: “I am the city of knowledge and ‘Ali is the gate”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hadith_of_the_door_to_knowledge

  3. True Life says:

    Asalamu Alaykum Wa Rahmatullah,

    now I think you misunderstood something brother. Hadhrat Uthman (radhiallaho anho) didn’t voice his own opinion or made his own ruling wether Surah Tawbah starts with Bismillah or not. That Surah Tawbah doesn’t start with Bismillah is a fact and all Ulema agree upon that, I as well never heard that Ali (karamullah wajuhu) said there was Bismillah at the start of Tawbah Sharif. He was simply explaining the reason to someone who asked and I think Ali (radhiallaho anho) would have given a similar reply.

    And judging if Ali is better than Usman or vice versa is not our business. We don’t know who is higher in Allah’s eyes and we won’t be asked after it at Yaumul Qiyamah wether Ali or Uthman have more rights to give rulings. In my humble opinion both have the same right to give rulings. And it’s vicious slander of Hadhrat Ali (radhiallaho anho) himself to say that he didn’t accept the other for Caliphs. It would mean, that when he took bayat at their hands his heart wouldn’t accept it. Some sort of the Shia belief of Taqiyah. Auzubillah.

    I don’t want to go into details, because this can always be discussed back and forth and secondly it has nothing to do with my post.

    Jazak’Allah khair for the time and effort you took for the comment. May Allah Ta’ala guide us all right.

    Was Salam

  4. hala says:

    that is wrong dont pass lies to people

  5. hussain says:

    assalamualaykum, what are the benefits of reciting surah tawbah and do you have to recite the whole thing.

  6. hussain says:

    Do you have to recite the whole surah if you can or are there certain places that we can read, like surah kahf the 1st and last rukuh will protect you from dajjal if recited

  7. Nisar says:

    Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullah wa barakato
    THnaks for all muslim Not just for sunni nor shia
    we all muslim any question u might to know about it just follow the quran carefully and Inshallah U will find Ur answer. Dont think He is shia or sunni and telling about religion reason on surah taubah. actually i really dont know why surah taubah start with out bismillai rahman rahim. but i try to find it in quran with tafser and search from hadiths. never ever say any thing that u hear form ur father or grandfather etc. any thing u want to mantion u have to show proof in quran or hadith . thats it. But i want to tell u some thing that plz never forget ur pray and pay zakat and go away from zina or guna kabira or saghira and always pray for Allah.

  8. Salman says:

    I 101% Agree with Rahim !!

  9. Muhammad says:

    The absence of Basmalah from this sura is not only a profound sign from the Almighty Author of the Quran that this sura has been tampered with, but also represents an awesome miracle in its own right.

    This is the only sura that is not prefixed with the Basmalah. This phenomenon has puzzled the students of the Quran for 14 centuries, and many theories were advanced to explain it. Now we realize that the conspicuous absence of the Basmalah serves three purposes: (1) It represents an advance divine proclamation that the idol worshipers were destined to tamper with the Quran by adding 2 false verses (9:128-129). (2) It demonstrates one of the functions of God’s mathematical code in the Quran, namely, to guard the Quran against any alteration. (3) It provides additional miraculous features of the Quran’s code.

  10. wasiu says:

    Pls what went wrong with the 2 last verses of Quran chapter 9 Suratu Taobah verses 128-129.

  11. Mohammed says:

    The evidences from Quran and within those 2 false verses (9:128-129) are ample to conclude beyond doubt that the last 2 verses of sura 9 do not belong to that sura and are false.

    Evidence #1

    Whoever fabricated the two false verses 9:128-129 used three titles to describe the prophet, which are exclusively used for God, and they are AZEEZ (The Dignified), RAWOOF (The compassionate), and RAHEEM (The Merciful).

    Evidence #2

    Whoever fabricated the two false verses did not know the usage of God’s attribute AZEEZ in Quran.
    The words in 9:128 have been translated by many translators as :<>
    The word AZEEZ is the key word here,
    Again, majority of the translators translated this word AL-AZEEZ as THE NOBLE (one of God’s names) in Quran, but when we carefully examine the usage of this word in Quran, we can beyond doubt conclude that it means THE DIGNIFIED.
    The proof for this understanding can be easily observed in 3:26 where we are given a glorious prayer to utter, and which includes the words:
    “You `tu’izz’ whom You please, and You ti’zhil’ whom You please
    We know for certain that the word Tu’zhil means to humiliate, it comes from the noun ZHILLAH (humiliation) …. Hence the word tu’izz has to be the opposite, and thus it means to grant dignity ….
    Please note that the word Tu’izz is the verb from the noun Izzah which thus means dignity, and thus the word Azzeez (adjective) must mean The Dignified (and not the Noble).
    So what is the impact of this meaning to the issue of 9:128.
    Well, it shows that these words do not come from God …. why?
    Because as we can see, whoever wrote these words used the word Azeez in a wrong context.
    Now we know the correct meaning of Azeez (Dignified), the words they wrote would be: He is dignified by what you suffered !!!
    This obviously does not make sense …. How can the suffering of the companions of Muhammad make him feel dignified?
    So whoever fabricated the words in 9:128 did not even know the correct meaning of the word Azeez as used in the Quran …..
    Evidence #3
    Besides the fact that 9:128 gives the prophet names which are used exclusively for God, there are so many other pieces of evidence, also the mathematical evidence, I name here some worth noting:
    1- We know that nothing in the Quran is coincidental, so the question is why do all the suras of the Quran start with the Basmalah except Sura 9? Did God forget the Basmalah in Sura 9? Or is God telling us that he refuses to put His name (Basmalah = In the name of God ….) on a sura where some words will NOT be in His name?
    2- The very first words in Sura 9 are “Bara’ah min Allah” (God is innocent of) …. Are these arbitrary words?
    3- All suras in the Quran are one of 3 types:
    - Sura revealed exclusively in Mecca
    - Suras started in Mecca then completed at Medina
    - Suras revealed exclusively in Medina
    But Sura 9 has the following details:
    Revealed in Medina except the last 2 verses which were revealed in Mecca !
    This is historically impossible, this is because after the prophet immigrated to Medina the revelation continued in Medina , then the very last sura (sura 110) was revealed outside Mecca just before the prophet re-entered Mecca in triumph with all his followers. By the time he re-entered Mecca the full Quran was already completely revealed.

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  13. Ramzi. says:

    Sorry, but a human can be Azeez, Rauf and Rahim. Only Rahman cannot be attributed to anybody besides Almighty Allah. The last two verses are the Words of Almighty Allah. The one who invented the claim that these two verses are fabrications was Rashad Khalifah, a man who claimed to be a prophet. You are spreading wrong information my brother. I would prefer if you deleted your comment and repented to Almighty Allah. Almighty Allah says, “Indeed, it is We who sent down the Qur’an and indeed, We will be its guardian (from corruption).” [15:9]
    If you truly have faith in Almighty Allah, trust His Words. He said that He will protect the Glorious Qur’an from any type of corruption. It is not your duty to say, “This is from Allah,” or, “This is not from Allah.”

  14. Mohammed Hashim says:

    Thank you for your comments Br. Ramzi. Before understanding the promise of protection of Quran by God, we should think that God promised to protect the Qur’an as revealed by Him and not the printed version or Mus’haf that is used in this world. The existence of two versions of Quran which are known as Hafs and Warsh and the variations of spelling of many words in both these versions indicate that God’s protection of Qur’an is not related to the printing version. Any person can print a Qur’an and add or delete from it. Does that mean that God is going to send angels with missiles and bombs from above to destroy those perpetrators? I have seen a Qur’an in which the word is added at the end of Surah Fatiha and those reading that Surah (example is my own uncle) are thinking that Aameen is part of the revealed text of Surah Faatiha when the truth is it is not. Has anything happened to the person who added that addition? Moreover, how will you know whether Quran is protected by God or not unless there is a violation and God exposes it through Quran itself. You told a person can be Azeez, Rauf and Rahim. Can you show me a single verse from Quran apart from these two verses where God describes the prophet or any other prophet or messenger or any individual as Al-Rawoof Al-Raheem. By saying that any person can be called Al-Rawoof Al-Raheem, you are violating God’s statement that all His beautiful names belong to Him alone: 7:180 And to God belong the most beautiful names, so call Him by them; and leave alone those who deviate His names. They will be punished for what they used to do. 20:8 God, there is no god except He, to Him are the beautiful names. 59:24 He is God; the Creator, the Initiator, the Designer. To Him belong the most beautiful names. Glorifying Him is everything in the heavens and the earth. He is the Dignified, the Wise. The word which God uses for mercy between believers is RUHAMA and it is connected with describing the quality of prophet Muhammad and the believers, and that verse is: 48:29 Muhammad is the messenger of God, and those who are with him are severe against the rejecters, but merciful (RUHAMA) between themselves. Your comments are expected and appreciated.

  15. @Rahim, guys dont follow him.. he will spoil you’re remaining imaan also.. for @rahim I would like to answer one of his doubt that is bismilla ( This bismilla is for human beings not for allah, so allah revealed quran for human beings of this ummah so when you read it bismilla ( your first thought should go to in the name of allah, its something like when you write a letter to your principle, you say respected sir i.e starting the letter with reference to priniciple) in same when you read quran you start with a reference to allah that is why in the name of allah(bismilla). Hope you understand better ( aameen)

  16. omair says:

    I think.. (quran is for entire humanity. BismiLLah indicates that one should get ready with the name of Allah, get ready for reading the content.)

  17. Khan says:

    The last two verses of Surah At-Taubah i.e. {Verily, there has come unto you a Messenger (Muhammad SAW) from amongst yourselves (i.e. whom you know well). It grieves him that you should receive any injury or difficulty. He (Muhammad SAW) is anxious over you (to be rightly guided, to repent to Allâh, and beg Him to pardon and forgive your sins, in order that you may enter Paradise and be saved from the punishment of the Hell-fire), for the believers (he is) full of pity, kind, and merciful. But if they turn away, say (O Muhammad SAW): “Allâh is sufficient for me. Lâ ilâha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), in Him I put my trust and He is the Lord of the Mighty Throne.”} [9: 128-129], are from the Qur’an (Words of Allah) according to the consensus of Muslims from the time of al-Sahabah, al-Tabi`een and Imams to this time. Everyone who denies that the above two verses are not from the Qur’an is a Kafir and out of Islam.
    Know that the Qur’an was written in the era of the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) but was not collected in book form, rather it was separate, written on many materials.
    Therefore, Umar (Radiya Allahu Anhu) suggested to Abu Bakr (Radiya Allahu Anhu) that the Qur’an should be collected to form a book. Then Abu Bakr ordered Zaid bin Thabit al-Ansari (Radiya Allahu Anhu) who was among those who used to write the Divine Inspiration for Allah’s Apostle, to collect the Qur’an. Zaid said: “I started looking for the Qur’an and collecting it from (what was written on) palmed stalks, thin white stones and also from the men who know it by heart, till I found the last verse of Surah At-Taubah with Abu Khuzaimah al-Ansari (Radiya Allahu Anhu), and I did not find it with anybody other than him” . [Reported by Imams al-Bukhari and Muslim ].
    In another narration he also collected what was written on bones of the shoulders of the animals.
    Meanwhile, Zaid did not accept what was written only unless he found that the same had been memorized. He was also one of those persons who had memorized the Qur’an by heart in the period of the Prophet. In addition to the written material, it is reported that he stipulated two witnesses who had memorized the same, than it could be accepted as the Qur’an. All the above condition were made by Zaid only to be highly attentive in completing this project.
    The last two verses of Surah At-Taubah were not found written except with Abu Khuzaimah al-Ansari , but Umar , Uthman , Zaid and Uby bin K’ab (Radiya Allahu Anhum) witnessed that they had heard them from the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam).
    Then the complete manuscript (copy) of the Qur’an remained with Abu Bakr (Radiya Allahu Anhu) till he died, and then with Hafsa (Radiya Allahu Anha), the daughter of Umar and wife of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam).
    When Uthman was Caliph he made perfect copies from the manuscripts of the Qur’an prepared in the period of Abu Bakr and sent a copy to every Muslim province. Now the current available Qur’an is the same on which all the companions of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) had agreed upon. Therefore, there is no chance of falsifying it. Everyone who doubts in one verse of the Qur’an, actually raises doubts against the whole Qur’an since the entire Qur’an reached us from the Sahabah. They knew and memorized the Qur’an more than anyone else; anyone who claims that they added something to the Qur’an that was not from the Qur’an, actually claims that the Qur’an has lost its authenticity, that it is also possible for the Sahabah to increase or decrease the Qur’an.
    Whoever claims that the companions of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) agreed to change the Qur’an, actually speaks evil of Allah, since Allah selected the companions of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) for the company of His Last Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam). He also praised them in His Book. Such a person blames the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) also since the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) chose them for his company, loved them and was pleased with them. Whoever believes that the Sahabah could add something to the Qur’an, in turn, rejects the Qur’an because the Qur’an Says: {Verily We: It is We Who have sent down the Dhikr (i.e. the Qur’ân) and surely, We will guard it (from corruption).} [15: 9].

  18. SANAULLA SHARIEF says:

    Please fear Allah and refrain from this discussion

  19. SANAULLA SHARIEF says:

    Muhammad, peace be upon him, said in one hadith :

    ‘Both legal and illegal things are evident but in between them there are doubtful (suspicious) things and most of the people have no knowledge about them.
    So whoever saves himself from these suspicious things saves his religion and his honor. And whoever indulges in these suspicious things is like a shepherd who grazes (his animals) near the Hima (private pasture) of someone else and at any moment he is liable to get in it.
    (O people!) Beware! Every king has a Hima and the Hima of Allah on the earth is His illegal (forbidden) things. Beware! There is a piece of flesh in the body if it becomes good (reformed) the whole body becomes good but if it gets spoilt the whole body gets spoilt and that is the heart.
    (Sahih Al Bukhari Vol.1, Hadith No.49)

    Did any one read the ‘malfozat’ of Faqihul Ummah Hadhrat Mufti Mahmood Gangohi?

    There are many funny things in this book. For example,
    1. Alee was born in ‘kaaba’
    2.the tooth prick of Adam became the stick of Slaiman
    3.A women can conceive without her husband touching her
    4.The Prophet comes back alive and many more

    If some one wants to read, I can mail it .

  20. Dr Majeed says:

    2 last verses of soorah al tauba, are excellent to recite for any kind of problem or hurdle 0092-321-4042036 dr abdul majeed, lahore, pakistan

  21. Salehe khamiss says:

    Inna lwaha maswahabilin

  22. sahar says:

    thanks to write that it helps me a lot because i have to do my work i didn,t know what to do and i when to my laptop and i found the answer thanks a lot

  23. Saira Rafat says:

    I want to know if someone is in great distress and problem n finds no way to come out of it which surh should opt to recite

  24. umarsaeed170 says:

    Thanks for sharing the valuable information. We usually don’t know such information. May Allah guide us to the right path and help us to get maximum Islamic knowledge and share it with others. Thanks

  25. Umman says:

    I mean we should not use or generalize sunni or shia,, and also I mean in the entire holy book Quraan, there is nothing only Muslim / Momin. Only I know that who read ” Laa ILaha ILLaLLahu, MuHammadur RasooluLLah” and followed the same, he is the Muslim / Momin.

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