Saying the A’ûzu (A’ûzu billâhi min-ash-shaytân-ir-rajîm) and the Basmala (Bismillâh-ir-Rahmân-ir-Rahîm) means I begin my action in the blessed name of Allâhu ta’âlâ, Who pities all human beings by creating and sending them useful things in the world; Who forgives, as a favour in the Hereafter, those Believers who have deserved Hell, and Who creates all creatures, keeps them in existence every moment and protects them against fear and horror.
Abdullah ibni ’Abbâs (radî-Allahu ’anh) says, Rasûlullah (Muhammad [sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam]) declared, “Respecting the Qur’ân is beginning to read it by saying the A’ûzu, and the key to the Qur’ân is the Basmala.” Those who want to approach Allahu ta’âlâ must hold tightly to the A’ûzu, and those who fear Him must throw themselves upon the A’ûzu. Those with many sins have trusted themselves to the A’ûzu, and fugitives have looked for relief in the A’ûzu. Allahu ta’âlâ commands His Prophet in the 97th ayat of surat an-Nahl, “Say the A’ûzu when you are to read the Qur’ân.” It means, “Pray for yourself by saying ‘I trust myself to Allahu ta’âlâ, take refuge in Him, trust myself to, and cry out and wail Him against the devil, who is far from Allah’s mercy and who, incurring His wrath, was cursed in this and the next worlds.’ ”
Our Prophet (sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam) has declared, “When the teacher says Basmala to the child and the child repeats it, Allahu ta’âlâ has a voucher written down lest the child and his parents and his teacher go to Hell.” Abdullah ibni Mas’ûd (radî-Allâhu ’anh) says, “He who wants to escape from the 19 angels who will torment him in the next world, should say the Basmala.” The Basmala consists of 19 letters. It is the Basmala that was written first in the Lawh-i mahfûz. It is the Basmala that descended to Hadrat Âdam first. Muslims will pass the Sirât with the help of the Basmala. The Basmala is the signature on the invitation to Paradise.
The meaning of the Basmala is “I am able to start my work with the aid of Allahu ta’âlâ who has done favours to every being by creating it, by keeping it in existence and by protecting it against annihilation. The ’ârifs knew Him as the ilâh. Beings found food through His mercy. Sinners are saved from Hell through His pitying.” Allahu ta’âlâ has begun the Qur’ân al-Karîm with these three names of His because man has three states, namely his state in the world, in the grave, and in the Hereafter. If man worships Allahu ta’âlâ, He facilitates his works in the world, pities him in the grave, and forgives his sins in the Hereafter.
There are one hundred and fourteen sûras and six thousand two hundred and thirty-six âyats in Qur’ân-al karîm. It is written in the begining of each s’uras Basmala in Qur’ân-al karîm. Whenever one reads Qur’ân-al karîm, sûra or âyat, he must begin with Basmala, which is the key of Qur’an.
The Basmala is said as follows: “Bismillâh-ir-Rahmân ir-Rahîm.” It is necessary to say the Basmala when starting to do something which Islam commands, advises, or allows, and sinful when starting something which Islam prohibits or advises not to do.
It is makrûh to say the Basmala when opening one’s private parts, when entering a place where there is najâsat, when reciting Barâa Sûra immediately after the sûra previous to it, when beginning to smoke a cigarette or to eat something with a strong smell, such as onions or garlics, [and when beginning to shave. The fact that the cigarette is compared to things with a strong smell, such as onions and garlics, shows that tobacco is, like these things, tab’an makrûh, not shar’an makrûh.] It is harâm to say the Basmala when beginning to commit a harâm. In fact, it has been said that he who says the Basmala knowingly when beginning something which is certainly harâm becomes a disbeliever. It is harâm for a (person who is in the state of) junub to recite the Qur’ân with the intention of reciting the Qur’ân.
It is stated as follows in the chapter about qurbân (Zebâih) in the book Hindiyya: “An animal which a Muslim or an Ahl-i-kitâb (a Jew or a Christian) has slaughtered by mentioning the name or an attribute of Allâhu ta’âlâ in any language, is edible. An animal killed by a polytheist or an apostate should not be eaten. If the person concerned mentions the name of Jesus or says, ‘one of the three gods’ as he slaughters the animal, the meat should not be eaten. If he holds this belief but does not express it (as he slaughters the animal), the meat becomes edible. It is the expression made during the slaughtering which is important. If a person makes such a (polytheistic) expression in the name of a prayer or thanksgiving or if he intends to worship someone other than Allah, e.g. if he says, ‘for the sake of Allah and Muhammad,’ what he slaughters cannot be eaten.” A disbeliever who believes in a (past) prophet and in his Holy Book, which was interpolated afterwards, is considered (to be one of) the Ahl-i-kitâb (people of the book), even if he says that his prophet is a god or ’son of god’ or entreats idols. For, words such as ‘god’, ‘idol’, ‘lord’, ‘father’ are used also in meanings such as ‘helper’, ‘who causes creation,’ ‘who is loved very much.’ If a person mentions Îsâ (Jesus) ‘alaihis-salâm’ with these names in these meanings, he does not become a polytheist. In this case, his calling him ‘one of the three gods’ or ‘god’ is metaphorical, not literal. If he says that ‘Jesus Christ creates whatever he likes,’ he becomes a mushrik (polytheist). Most of today’s Mûsawîs (Jews), Îsawîs, Nasrânîs and Christians are among the Ahl-i-kitâb. Because they love Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ very much, they entreat idols and icons so that they intercede for the creation of their wishes.
If the Basmala is omitted on purpose, the meat becomes harâm according to Hanafî but halâl according to Shâfi’î. Although it is permissible to eat the animal slaughtered by a Christian who calls Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ ‘god’, you should not have such people slaughter your animals or eat the animals slaughtered by them unless there is a strong necessity to do so. Animals slaughtered by disbelievers without a holy book, e.g. by the Nusayrîs living in Syria or by Druzîs, cannot be eaten. It is not necessary to inquire and find out what kind of a person slaughtered the animal.
 Ref: This paragraphes are quoted from the book “Endless Bliss” first fascicle page 7, which is the translation of the book “Tam İlmihal Seâdet-i Ebediye” written by Hüseyn Hilmi Işık ‘rahimahullâhu ta’âlâ,’ who passed away in 1422 A.H (2011 A.D.) in Istanbul / Turkey. The book “Tam İlmihal Seâdet-i Ebediye” and “Endless Bliss” published by Hakikat Kitabevi, Istanbul. You can find the whole book and the other valuable books in the web site www.hakikatkitabevi.com.tr and download in PDF format for Adobe Acrobat Reader, EPUB format for iPhone-iPad-Mac devices and MOBI format for Amazon Kindle device.
 Lawh-i mahfûz: In pre-eternity, Allahu ta’âlâ knew everything that would happen in the world. He explains His knowledge of eternity and His eternal word to angels at a place called Lawh-i mahfûz. Angels do what they learn from the Lawh-i mahfûz.
 Sirât: An explanation of the bridge, the passage of examination to all people in the next world. The one who passed the examination can enter to paradise.
 ’ârif: Great scholars who comprehended through their hearts the knowledge about Allahu ta’âlâ and his attributes. For one to be an ’ârif, it is necessary to make progress and be promoted in the way of tasawwuf.