basmalah

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basmalah

in Islam, the formula-prayer: bi'sm Allah ar-rahman ar-rahim, "in the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate." This invocation, which was first introduced by the Qur'an, appears at the beginning of every Qur'anic surah (chapter) except the ninth (which presents a unique textual problem) and is frequently recited by Muslims to elicit God's blessings on their important actions. The basmalah also introduces all formal documents and transactions and must always preface actions that are legally required or recommended. An abbreviated version precedes certain daily rituals, such as meals. Magicians often use the basmalah in amulets, claiming that the prayer was inscribed in Adam's side, Gabriel's wing, Solomon's seal, and Jesus Christ's tongue.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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