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I try to say Bismillah before eating meals. Sometimes I eat things which are not particularly significant, eg. a lolly, a piece of fruit, or a cup of coffee, which aren't considered meals.

Question: Should one say Bismillah before eating snacks or drinking coffee?

I'm unsure if saying Bismillah is reserved for meals, or should be used for anything being consumed, including food and drinks, no matter how small.

  • in general, anything that's permissible in Islam, should be started with the name of Allah, e.g. Bismillah, to bring in the blessings, and to stop shayaatin to take part in it. Anything. – kmonsoor Nov 4 '16 at 18:34
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All Praise to Allah Subhanahu wa Taala and blessings of Him be on Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him His family and companions.

Rasulullah peace be upon him has asked to mention the name of Allah Swt before eating so its not specifically for the whole meal anything one eats or drink, entering into washroom, intercourse, before sleeping, leaving home, travel, and after waking up, closing doors, covering pots, etc. So any good time you could mention Bismillah (In the name of Allah) as by saying bismillah blessings are acheived. When we start our salah so in dua isteftah we recite "Tabarakasmuka" means your name is "blessed".

Below are some ahadith regarding saying Bismillah before different acts which shows its significance:

'Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported: Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, "When any of you wants to eat, he should mention the Name of Allah in the begining, (i.e., say Bismillah). If he forgets to do it in the beginning, he should say Bismillah awwalahu wa akhirahu (I begin with the Name of Allah at the beginning and at the end)." [At-Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud].

Jabir reported the Prophet (ﷺ) as saying: Shut your door and make mention of Allah's name, for the devil does not open a door which has been shut; extinguish your lamp and make mention of Allah's name, cover up your vessel even by a piece of wood that you just put on it and make mention of Allah's name, and tie up your water-skin mentioning Allah's name.(Abi dawud)

Narrated Ibn `Abbas: The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "If anyone of you, when having sexual intercourse with his wife, says: Bismillah, Allahumma jannibni-Sh-Shaitan wa jannib-ish-Shaitan ma razaqtana, and if it is destined that they should have a child, then Satan will never be able to harm him."(Bukhari)

Abu Ayyub Ansaari Radiyallahu'Anhu reports: "We were once present in the assembly of Rasulullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam. Food was brought to him. 1 did not observe any food that had so much barakah at the beginning and at the end of which there was no barakah left in the food. We therefore asked Rasulullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam reason?. He replied: 'In the beginning we all recited 'Bismillah' before we began eating. Then someone in the end joined us, and did not recite ''Bismillah'. The shaitaan ate with him'".(Shamail Muhammadiyah)

Ibn 'Abbas (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, "Do not drink in one gulp like a camel, but in two or three (gulps). Mention the Name of Allah (i.e., say Bismillah) when you start drinking and praise Him (i.e., say Al-hamdu lillah) after you have finished (drinking)." [At- Tirmidhi].

Allah Swt and His Messenger know best.

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    Thank you. I think I understand: the importance is not so much the food, but the remembrance of Allah. – Rebecca J. Stones Oct 31 '16 at 23:22
  • You are welcome jazakillah for the beneficial query. – Faqirah Nov 1 '16 at 6:04
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Hadiths tell us that we'd better start every task or work with the name of Allah including even the most insignificant ones (provided that they are moral and halal acts). As an added value to Faqirah's answer, I supply two hadiths from Ali ibn Abi Talib (the closest companion of the Holy Prophet and the epitome of wisdom, justice and compassion) followed by a commentary:

عَنِ اللّهِ جَلّ وَ عزَّ أنَّهُ قالَ: کُلُّ أمرٍ ذى بالٍ لَم یُذکَر فیهِ بِسمِ اللّهِ فَهُوَ أَبْتَرُ؛
The Holy Prophet told me Allah has said: Every valuable task in which the name of Allah is not spelled is defective. (Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 73, p. 305).

قولوا عِندَ افتِتاحِ کُلِّ أَمرٍ صَغیرٍ أو عَظیمٍ: بِسمِ اللّهِ الرَّحمنِ الرَّحیمِ؛ أَىْ أَستَعینُ عَلى هذَا الأَمرِ بِاللّه‏ِ الَّذى لا یَحِقُّ العِبادَهُ لِغَیرِهِ، المُغیثِ إذَ ا استُغیثَ، المُجیبِ إذا دُعىَ، الرَّحمنِ الَّذى یَرحَمُ بِبَسطِ الرِّزقِ عَلَینا، الرَّحیمِ بِنا فى أدیانِنا و دُنیانا و آخِرَتِنا، خَفَّفَ عَلَینَا الدِّینَ و جَعَلَهُ سَهلاً خَفیفا، و هُوَ یَرحَمُنا بِتَمییزِنا مِن أعدائِهِ؛
Say, upon the start of every task, be it small or big: "In the Name of Allah the Compassionate, the Merciful," as meaning that "I seek aid for this task in Allah, nobody other than whom deserves worship, the savior of everyone who wants to be saved, and the responder to everyone who calls Him...." (At-Tawhid, Shaykh Saduq, 232).

Commentary: Starting our affairs with the name and remembrance of Allah helps us constantly orient and steer our life towards our highest life purpose which is Allah. Such psychological orientation if done with attention and a genuine feeling sanctifies our soul and deeds. Ultimately we may realize a state of mood in which we feel as if it is Allah that is guiding all of our choices and deeds. A moral act according to the Sufis and Muslim Theosophists is one that is directly guided by Allah and one in which the person feels Allah's influence and presence all the time. Allah has alluded to this state of realization in the Holy Quran when it says to the Prophet:

"You did not slay them, but God slew them; and you didn't threw when you threw but Allah threw. (8:17)"

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Ali says begin everything with Bismillah, even if you are starting a poem.

The narration is trying to say, say Bismillah for something as silly a poem.

Basically it will have you blessed by the greatest blesser!

  • What a brief helpful answer, actually it was profitable for me particularly its initial section as it remarked: "Ali says begin everything with Bismillah, even if you are starting a poem." – اللهم صل علی محمد و آل محمد Nov 13 '17 at 9:08

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