Scholars opinions regarding Basmalah
Fatwa No: 260482

Question

In a previous fatwa made, it has been mentioned that there is a difference of opinion on whether the basmala at the beginning of every surah except surah baraat is actually part of quran. What about believing that it is not the word of Allah at all? In tafseer Ibn Katheer for the Mu'awiddhatayn, it says :"Imam Ahmad recorded from Zirr bin Hubaysh that Ubayy bin Ka`b told him that Ibn Mas`ud did not record the Mu`awwidhatayn in his Mushaf (copy of the Qur'an). So Ubayy said, "I testify that the Messenger of Allah informed me that Jibril said to him these verses." So it seems that Ubayy is saying that Ibn Masud denied that these verses were even revealed. Is that permissible to deny that the Muawiddhatayn or the basmalas were revealed to the prophet as the word of Allah? And is that person a kafir? Are we all required to call him kafir? May Allah grant you success.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and messenger.

As regards what is reported from Ibn Mas’ood  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him regarding denying the fact that the Mu‘awwithatayn (i.e. Soorahs 113 and 114) are from the Quran, the scholars held different opinions about the authenticity of such reports. They also had different opinions regarding the interpretation of such reports in case their authenticity was confirmed. Some of the scholars, such as Ibn Hazm, An-Nawawi and others, denied the fact that such reports are authentically attributed to Ibn Mas‘ood. Rather, it was reported from Ibn Mas’ood  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him what contradicts such reports, and this is more sound than the above view. Indeed, it was authentically established that Ibn Mas‘ood  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him recited these two Soorahs and conveyed them to his students as Soorahs from the Quran. A group of reciters of the Quran reported these two Soorahs from him. For instance the Kufi manners of recitation are substantiated with chains of transmitters that go back to Ibn Mas‘ood  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him. Moreover, it was reported by absolute Tawaatur (collectively contagious reports) that the Mu‘awwithatayan are two Soorahs of the Quran according to these manners of recitation.

Ibn Hazm said in Al-Muhalla: “All that has been reported from Ibn Mas‘ood to the effect that the Mu`awwithatayn and the Mother of the Quran [i.e. Al-Faatihah] are not included in his Mus-haf are all lies and fabrications. Rather, the authenticity of the recitation reported by ‘Aasim from Zirr ibn Hubaysh from Ibn Mas’ood is confirmed, and it contains the Mother of the Book [i.e. Al-Faatihah] and Al-Mu`awwithatayn.” [End of quote]

Nonetheless, Ibn Hajar in Al-Fat-h and Az-Zarqaani in Manaahil Al-‘Irfaan incline to the opinion that this view is authentically attributed to Ibn Mas‘ood  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him. Ibn Hajar said that it may be interpreted that Ibn Mas`ood had held this view before it was confirmed to him that the Mu‘awwithatayn are part of the Quran, and when this was confirmed to him, he was in agreement with the majority of the Companions and he used to teach his students to recite them as part of the Quran.

Ibn Mas‘ood  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him took part in the Battle of Badr and Allaah forgave all the sins of the Companions  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  them who took part in that battle. Furthermore, he was among the people of Pledge of Good Pleasure (Bay‘at Ar-Ridhwaan), with whom Allaah was pleased. Also, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) testified in his favor by saying that his legs are heavier in the scale on the Day of Resurrection than Mount Uhud. So, if we assume that his denial of the Mu‘awwithatayn is confirmed about him, then he said so by way of Ijtihaad (personal reasoning) for which he will be rewarded.

As regards the Basmalah (i.e. saying Bismillaah Ar-Rahmaan Ar-Raheem – In the Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Ever Merciful), then there is no difference of opinion among the scholars about the fact that the Basmalah is part of a verse in Soorah An-Naml [Quran 27], and if one denies this, he should be made aware of the fact that it is part of the verse, and if he persists in his denial, then he is a Kaafir (disbeliever). Besides, there is no difference of opinion concerning writing it at the beginning of all Soorahs of the Quran with the exception of Soorah At-Tawbah [Quran 9]. Apart from this, there is a difference of opinion among the scholars concerning Basmalah; according to some of them, it is a verse in every Soorah except Soorah At-Tawbah [Quran 9], while some of them are of the view that it is a verse in Soorah Al-Faatihah only, but not a verse in the remaining Soorahs. According to some of them, it is not part of the Quran, and the one who said this does not go out of the fold of Islam, as this is the view of Imaam Maalik and it is the view chosen by a group of scholars.

Al-Qurtubi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said in his Tafseer (interpretation of the Quran) regarding whether or not the Basmalah is a verse of the Quran: “The scholars had three different opinions about this point:

The First Opinion: The Basmalah is neither a verse of Soorah Al-Faatihah nor is it a verse of any other Soorah; this is the view of Imaam Maalik.

The Second Opinion: It is a verse in every Soorah; this is the view of `Abdullaah ibn Al-Mubaarak.

The Third Opinion: Ash-Shaafi‘i said that it is a verse in Soorah Al-Faatihah, whereas he was hesitant about it being a verse in all other Soorahs. Once he said that it is a verse of every Soorah, and once he said that it is not a verse except in Soorah Al-Faatihah. However, there is no difference of opinion about it being a verse of the Quran in Soorah An-Naml. … The correct opinion is that held by Imaam Maalik, because the Quran is not confirmed based on the Aahaad (single) reports, but it is proven by absolute Tawaatur (collectively contiguous reports) about which there is no difference of opinion. Ibn Al-‘Arabi said: “Suffice it as evidence for the correctness of the view that it is not part of the Quran that people having different opinions about it, while it is an established fact that knowledge about the Quran is not controversial.” [End of quote]

This is the well-known view of the Maaliki School of jurisprudence. The Fiqh Encyclopedia reads: “ ... The well-known opinion of the Maaliki School is that the Basmalah is not a verse of the Quran except in Soorah An-Naml, where it is part of a verse, and it is disliked for the Imaam or anybody else to recite it out loud in obligatory prayers before Al-Faatihah or before a Soorah after reciting Al-Faatihah.” [End of quote]

Allaah Knows best.

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