Bismillah and the significance of 786
A few years back when e-mails weren’t so common and letters were sent by post and held a great importance. As a child I communicated with my grandfather through this medium. To my surprise my grandfather always started his letter with a specific number. The question that rose in my mind was what is this magical, mystical number and why does it come at the very start?
I found out that the number 786 was nothing but the misunderstood numerical representation of the holy words of Allah “Bismillah er Rehman ir Raheem”.
Unfortunately, it’s an innovation to write 786 instead of Bismillah at the top of a document or a letter or elsewhere to seek Brakah (Blessings), protection and good luck. And the victims to this habit are our innocent Muslims of the Indian subcontinent who believe this is a part of Islam. It’s misinterpreted that these numbers are numerical representation of the Arabic letters of the Bismillah. But is it really so? Can a number bring good to one and does Shariah allow this? Did the Prophet and His Blessed Companions use such numbers?
When we examine Shariah, we realize that 786 has absolutely no religious or Islamic significance. Actually this is the old game of numbers practiced by civilizations which Islam came to eliminate. Islam has no place for superstitions, mysteries and numerological mumbo-jumbos.
It was not the practice of the Prophet (pbuh) and it is not permissible to do any act of worship except those approved by the Islamic Shariah i.e. Qur’an and Sunnah. The Prophet (pbuh) said, “Whoever innovates something in this matter of ours (Islam) which is not a part of it will have it rejected. (Agreed Upon).
What we learned from the teaching of Islam is that the Prophet (pbuh) started his tasks with the name of Allah and even when writing letters to people of different faiths he started with the Bismillah. The Prophet used to mention these words in messages to the kings and princes of his era. As the Prophetic Hadeeth narrated by Abu Dawood and Ibn Majah conveys “any significant matter that is not preceded by mentioning Allah is of no avail or maimed”.
In conclusion, whoever uses 786 or any other number with intention of obtaining Divine blessings is being misguided on the basis of ignorance and blindly following the practices of ancestors and the inventors of 786 are guilty of tampering with the words of Allah and His Messengers.
We as Muslims should give up this disgusting practice of using 786 as it is an innovation in Islam and in no way sacred.
We must return to the Qur’an and Sunnah and follow our Prophets as also letter of Prophet Sulaimân (pbuh) to the Queen of Sheeba — Bilqis — who was an infidel at that time bore the Bismillah as its heading “Verily, it is from Sulaimân (Solomon), and verily, it (reads): In the Name of Allâh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful”.