By the Muhaddith, Shaykh, Allamaa’ Muhammad Nasir uddeen al-Albaani
Translated by Abbas Abu Yahya
No. 344- From Umar bin Abu Salmah who said: I was a young boy in the house of the Messenger of Allaah -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- and my hands used to take food from all over the dish, the Messenger of Allaah -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam – said to me:
‘O boy! If you eat, then say ‘Bismillaah’ and eat with your right hand and eat what is close to you.’
al-Albaani said: ‘In this hadeeth, there is evidence that the Sunnah regarding mentioning the name of Allaah when beginning food is to only say,
‘Bismillaah’ (In The Name of Allaah)
Likewise, there is the hadeeth of ‘Aeysha –Radi Allaahu anha– where the Prophet -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- said,
‘If one of you eats food, then he should say ‘Bismillaah’. If you forget to say it when beginning then you should say:
بسم الله في أوله وفي آخره
‘Bismillaah fee awwalihi wa fee aakhirihi’.’
[Collected by Tirmidhi, who authenticated it. It also has a supporting narration in the hadeeth of Ibn Mas’ood.]
The hadeeth of Aeysha –Radi Allaahu anhu– was authenticated by Ibn al-Qayyim in ‘Az-Za’ad’ and was strengthened by al-Hafidh in ‘al-Fath’ where he said ‘It is the most clear hadeeth that has been mentioned regarding the manner of saying Bismillaah’.
He also said, ‘As for the statement of an-Nawawi in ‘Al-Athkaar’ regarding the manners of eating in which he said,
‘The description for saying Bismillaah is the most important thing out of those things which are necessary to know, it is best to say:
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
(In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy).
However, if he says ‘Bismillaah’, then this would be sufficient and he would have fulfilled the Sunnah.’
Ibn Hajr continues: I do not see any specific evidence to support his claim of being better.’
I (al-Albaani) say, there is nothing better than the Sunnah of the Messenger -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- ‘And the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam.’ Therefore, if nothing has been affirmed regarding saying ‘Bismillaah’ when commencing food except the saying of ‘Bismillaah’ alone, then it is not permissible to add extra wording to that saying of ‘Bismillaah’, nor to imply that there is an extra wording that is better than saying ‘Bismillaah’ alone!
This is because using this extra wording opposes that which is indicated in the hadeeth,‘And the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam.’
[Taken from Silsilah Ahadeeth as-Saheehah by Shaykh al-Albaani (No. 344)]