No Basmalah in Surah Al-Tawbah


Why is not the Basmalah (i.e. “Bismillah Al-Rahman, Al-Rahim [In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful]”) written at the beginning of Surah Al-Tawbah?


The reason behind this is reported by Ahmad and the Compilers of the Sunan (Hadith compilations by Abu Dawud, Al-Tirmidhi, Al-Nasa’i and Ibn Majah) on the authority of ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: “I asked ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan, saying, “What made you put Al-Anfal which is one of the Mathany (Surahs containing less than one hundred Ayahs), next to Bara’ah (Al-Tawbah), which is one of the Mi’in (Surahs containing one hundred Ayahs), without writing the line ‘Bismillah Al-Rahman Al-Rahim’ in between them and you put it with the rest of Al-Sab‘ Al-Tiwal (the long seven Surahs)? What made you do so?” ‘Uthman said, “There was a time when the Surahs that have a large number of Ayahs were revealed to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) who used to call his scribes upon their revelation and tell them, ‘Put these Ayahs in the Surah where such-and-such is mentioned.’ And when an Ayah was revealed to him, he (peace be upon him) would also say, ‘Put this Ayah in the Surah where such-and-such is mentioned.’ Al-Anfal was one of the first Surahs that were revealed in Madinah, whereas Bara’ah (Al-Tawbah) was among the last revealed of the Qur’an. Its content was similar to that of Al-Anfal, therefore I thought that it was part of it. Moreover, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) died without clarifying for us whether it was indeed part of it; therefore, I put them next to one another, and I did not write the line ‘Bismillah Al-Rahman Al-Rahim’ between them, and I put it (Al-Tawbah) among Al-Sab‘ Al-Tiwal.1

  1. Musnad Ahmad pp. 1/57 and 1/69; Abu Dawud, nos. 786-787; Al-Tirmidhi no. 3086; and he said: “This is a hasan (good) Hadith”; Al-Mustadrak Al-Hakim p. 2/33; Sunan Al-Bayhaqi p. 2/42 and Al-Dala’il, vol. 7, no. 152; Ibn Abu Dawud [Al-Masahif] p. 2/39, and the writer of Al-Durr Al-Manthur attributed it to Ibn Abu Shaybah in Al-Musnad, Al-Nasa’i in Al-Sunan Al-Kubra; Ibn Al-Mundhir; Al-Nahas; Ibn Hibban; Abu Al-Shaykh; and Ibn Mardawaih p. 3/207. 

May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet, his family and Companions