Bismillah (Basmalah)

Bismillah” in Arabic means, literally, “In the Name of Allah.” This phrase is one of great importance in Islam. It is the opening phrase of the Koran and heads every chapter therein: “Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim ” In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Compassionate. “Bismillah” is spoken as a gesture of respect and acknowledgment before undertaking a number of activities, including prayer, eating, and as a general expression of sincerity.

The calligraphic examples shown here are just a tiny fraction of the many variants of the written phrase. As images of people and animals are forbidden by Islamic law, designs such as these developed as an alternative form of creative expression, with Islamic artists producing some of the finest examples of the calligraphic art- complex renderings of poetry and scripture in the form of religious symbols, fruits, animals, and birds, to name just a few examples.

Related Symbols:



  • Religion resources Resources for the study of alternative religion and belief. A gallery of Gods and Goddesses, Calendars of holidays, symbols, sacred texts, prayers, and more.
  • Esoteric Kabbalah The Western, or Esoteric Kabbalah was created and utilized by Western magicians and Hermetic students for hundreds of years, and is a spiritual tradition in its own right.

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