Is it Sunnah to recite بسم الله وعلی بركة الله before eating? What should you read before eating? Should you read بسم الله or بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم or بسم الله وعلی برکة الله or بسم الله وبرکة الله ? What did the Prophet صلی الله علیه وسلم read?
The following Fatwa, approved by Shaykh al-Ḥadīth Mufti Shabbir Ahmad (b. 1376 / 1957 – ), addresses these questions in detail and concludes that it is preferable to read بسم الله. This is the view of Imam Abū al-Ḥasan al-Shādhlī al-Mālikī (d. 656/1258), ʿAllāmah Ibn al-Ḥāj al-Mālikī (d. 737/1336), Ḥāfiẓ Ibn Ḥajar al-ʿAsqalānī al-Shāfiʿī (d. 852/1449), Shaykh Zarrūq al-Mālikī (d. 899/1493), ʿAllāmah Qasṭalānī al-Shāfiʿī (d. 923/1517), ʿAllāmah Ibn ʿAllān al-Shāfiʿī (d. 1057/1647), Muḥaddith al-ʿaṣr Shaykh Muḥammad Yūnus Jownpūrī al-Ḥanafī (b. 1355/1936 – ) and many other Ḥanbalī and Ḥanafī scholars. The Fatwa also refutes the view that it is an innovation to read anything besides بسم الله.
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