The obligation of glorifying the Name of Allah

Writing Ayahs on discardable items Fatwa no. 2779 The Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta’ has read the question submitted to His Excellency, the General Chairman, from the Minister of Health, Husayn Al-Jaza’iry, that was referred to the Committee by the Secretariat General of the Council of Senior Scholars under no. 1455/2 dated 15 Rajab 1399 A.H.The question is: The Ministry received letter no. 346 G on 16 Jumada Al-Thany, 1399 A.H. from the Islamic Awareness Department Manager in the Ministry of Hajj (Part No. 4; Page No. 66) and Religious Endowments. It notifies that Basmalah (saying, "Bismillah Al-Rahman, Al-Rahim [In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful]") is written on every medical prescription. As these papers are bound to be thrown away, and in order to protect the Name of Allah, the Islamic Awareness Department Manager asked the Ministry not to write the Basmalah on the prescription notebook. We think that this matter is not restricted to the mentioned prescriptions, but it includes all the Names of Allah, Ayahs (Qur'anic verses), and Hadiths written in newspapers and magazines, in addition to all the publications issued by the government that are bound to be thrown away as well. It is known that these papers might reach the hands of children, who might play with them and throw them in places whose purity is not guaranteed. They might even end up discarded in the dump. Medical prescriptions might be less liable to be thrown in the garbage than newspapers and magazines, as they are kept by pharmacists after selling the medications. They might even be burnt when they are no longer needed. We would like Your Eminence to issue a Fatwa to preserve the sanctity of the Names of Allah, the Qur’an, and the guidance of the Prophet (peace be upon him) to be applied as a general rule. We would like it also to be published in the mass media so that it might be of greater benefit.

A: Basmalah may be written at the top of each medical prescription. There are many pieces of evidence indicating the merit of writing it. (Part No. 4; Page No. 67) The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) used to write it at the beginning of his letters. His Eminence Shaykh Muhammad ibn Ibrahim (may Allah be merciful to him) issued the following Fatwa regarding the legitimacy of writing Basmalah at the beginning of books and letters: "Writing Basmalah at the beginning of scholarly books and letters is permissible, as the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) used to write it in the letters he sent. The Caliphs and the Sahabah (Companions of the Prophet) did the same, and people followed them until today. Allah (Exalted be He) urges us in the Qur’an to stick to this word, saying: ...and made them stick to the word of piety (i.e. none has the right to be worshipped but Allâh) Al-Zuhry commented, saying: "It is 'Bismillah Al-Rahman Al-Rahim,' as the Kafirs (disbelievers) used to acknowledge it." The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) also urged his followers to write it. ‘Abdul-Qadir Al-Rahawy reported in "Al-Arba‘in" the Hadith Marfu‘ (a Hadith narrated from the Prophet with a connected or disconnected chain of narration) on the authority of Abu Hurayrah, stating: Every important matter that is not prefaced with 'Bismillah Al-Rahman Al-Rahim' is cut off (from blessing). It was also reported by Al-Khatib in his Hadith compilation with a slight variation.Anything bearing Basmalah should be honored, or any excerpts from the Qur’an or the Sunnah, because Allah (Glorified be He) states: ...and whoever honours the sacred things of Allâh, then that is better for him with his Lord. The sacred things of Allah constitute submission to His Commands and Laws. Among His Commands is to honor His Book and the Sunnah of His Messenger (peace be upon him). The phrase "Bismillah Al-Rahman Al-Rahim" is part of an Ayah in Surah Al-Naml, according to Ijma` (consensus of scholars). (Part No. 4; Page No. 68) Allah (Glorified be He) also states: ...and whosoever honours the Symbols of Allâh, then it is truly from the piety of the hearts. The Sha‘a’ir of Allah comprises anything that Allah has ordered to be done and informed us about, including the Qur’an and the Sunnah. Because they must be honored, it is permissible to burn any copies of them when necessary, as `Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him) did when he made the Ummah (nation based on one creed) adhere to a single written copy of the Qur’an (the Master Copy of the Qur’an compiled by Abu Bakr. Uthman transcribed many copies of it according to a certain order of the Surahs and a certain way of recitation) and burned any other written record of the Qur’an. The Sahabah (Companions of the Prophet, may Allah be pleased with them) agreed with what he did. It was a unanimous consensus among them. If a person sees anyone who commits an act of abuse, they should denounce this. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Anyone of you who sees something evil, let them change it with their hand (by taking action); if they cannot, then with their tongue (by speaking out); and if they cannot, then with their heart (by hating it and feeling that it is wrong), and that is the weakest of Iman (faith). We will take the necessary measures to prevent this issue, In sha’a-Allah (if Allah wills).As for the fact that some papers on which Basmalah is written are thrown away in inappropriate places, there is no blame on the one who writes them, but the sin is on the one who discards or desecrates such papers.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.