Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim = 786

The total value of the letters of Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim, according to one Arabic system of numerology, is 786.

There are two methods of arranging the letters of the Arabic alphabet. One method is in common alphabetical order (used for most ordinary purposes), beginning with the letters Alif ا, ba ب, ta ت, tha ث, etc.

The other method is known as the Abjad numerals’ (or ordinal) method. The Abjad numerals are a decimal system in which the 28 letters of the Arabic alphabet are assigned numerical values. They have been used in the Arabic speaking world since before the 8th century. In modern Arabic, the word ‘abjadiyyah’ means ‘alphabet’. Each symbol usually or always stands for a consonant leaving the reader to supply the appropriate vowel. In this method, the letters are arranged in the following order: Abjad, Hawwaz, Hutti, Kalaman, Sa’fas, Qarshat, Sakhaz, Zazagh; each letter has an arithmetic value assigned to it, from One to 1,000. This arrangement was probably done during the 3rd century of Hijrah during the ‘Abbasid period, following the practices of speakers of other Semitic languages such as Aramaic, Hebrew, Syriac and Chaldean.

In set theory, an Ordinal Number or just Ordinal is the order type of a well-ordered set. They are usually identified with hereditary transitive sets. Ordinals can be added, multiplied and exponentiated.

The common Islamic phrase بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم bism illāh ir-raḥmān ir-raḥīm (in the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate) has a numeric value of 786 (from a letter-by-letter cumulative value of 2+60+40+1+30+30+5+1+30+200+8+40+50+1+30+200+8+10+40), and the word “Allah” الله by itself has the value 66 (1+30+30+5).

Letter values
Value Letter Name Transliteration
1 ا ʾalif ʾ / ā
2 ب bāʾ b
3 ج jīm j
4 د dāl d
5 ﻫ hāʾ h
6 و wāw w / ū
7 ز zayn / zāy z
8 ح ḥāʾ ḥ
9 ط ṭāʾ ṭ

Value Letter Name Transliteration
10 ى yāʾy / ī
20 ك kāf k
30 ل lām l
40 م mīm m
50 ن nūn n
60 س sīn s
70 ع ʿayn ʿ
80 ف fāʾ f
90 ص ṣād ṣ

Value Letter Name Transliteration
100 ق qāf q
200 ر rāʾ r
300 ش šīn š
400 ت tāʾ t
500 ث ṯāʾ ṯ
600 خ ḫāʾ ḫ
700 ذ ḏāl ḏ
800 ض ḍād ḍ
900 ظ ẓāʾ ẓ
1000 غ ġayn ġ

Taking into account the numeric values of all the letters of the Bismillah, according to the Abjad order the total is 786. In the Indian subcontinent, the Abjad numerals have become popular. Some people—mostly in India and Pakistan—use 786 as a substitute for Bismillah (“In the name of God). They write this number to avoid writing the name of God or to avoid writing Qur’anic verses on ordinary paper (which can get dirty or be exposed to unclean materials).

The use and knowledge of these numerals was also not hidden from Rasoolullah (Sallallaho Alaihi wa Sallam). Moreover, the use of abjad numerals was accepted by the Ulama of Islam East and West long ago and therefore, cannot be called a ‘bid’.

However, it should be noted that numbers cannot have the same significance as the actual recitation orally or in the written form of the complete Qur’anic words and cannot replace it.

Article submitted by Sarah Zameer Shaikh