Bismillah and the Road Less Traveled

Bismillah and the Road Less Traveled May 22, 2014


In the name of God, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.

In the name of the One who is the most charitable, the most helpful, the most mercy-giving, the most generous, compassionate, forgiving, gracious, kindhearted, forbearing, lenient and sympathetic.

I’ve been thinking about this phrase, Bismillah, and how Muslims invoke it at the start of any new endeavor, when faced with any big trial, when placing forth any effort, any step and well, anything. We utter it when we begin dressing our baby or when we are cooking something. When we are about to present a project to our boss or are going for an interview. Or, like when I call out to my kids as they are walking out the door to catch the bus to school on the day of a big test – Don’t forget to say bismillah before you begin!

It’s the standard. The go-to. The natural thing to say. I utter it under my breath when I’m watch my team try and score a goal at the last minute, and I say it silently when I am about to publish a blog post in hopes that my writing will do some good, by God’s will.

So many of us say it so often that we may not even be realizing what we are saying,and how special that phrase is. I’d venture to say that religious or not, Muslim or of some other faith – most of us utter some sort of version of Bismillah to ask for and invoke goodness over what we are about to do.

This autism journey Lil D and our family has been on has been the most unpredictable, humbling, life-changing and faith-shaping (and un-shaping at times) journey of our lives. And even at my lowest moments, when there seemed no rhyme or reason for what Lil D was enduring and the life he was living, when there was no sense I could see in Allah’s plan or even have the fortitude to trust that which I could not see or understand, when I despaired that Lil D would ever be treated with respect and dignity – I said Bismillah.

And so we stand today in front of another fork in the road, choosing to take the road less traveled by. And I am hoping it’ll make all the difference.  Or at least a little difference for my son.

So the only thing there is to say is Bismillah-hir-rahman-hir-rahim.

Say it with me, however  you choose, and send us on our way.


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