use to begin many different daily
tasks; including eating
, reading Qur'an
, slaughtering livestock
and any generally good deed that the person wants God's blessing on. It is a translation of the Arabic
phrase Bismillah al-rahmaan al-raheem
What is the difference between beneficence (al-rahmaan) and mercy (al-raheem)? Well they both relate to God's kindness and the gifts that He bestows upon us. Beneficence is the good that God exhibits to all of his creation; those that submit to Him and those who do not. Beneficence is to everyone. Mercy is similar to beneficence, but on a greater level, available to those who serve and submit to God (in other words, pretty much Muslims -- and it's easy to become one). Well, that's the Muslim understanding anyway.
It is sometimes abbreviated to bismillah ... in the Name of God ... which is also famous for being mentioned in Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody.