An expression meaning ‘(I begin) In the name of God, the All-Kind, the All-Merciful’. 

This phrase opens all but one of the Sūrahs (chapters) of the noble Qurʾān. The exception is the ninth sūrah, at-Tawbah. 

In Islamic teachings, Muslims are advised to initiate any action, whether a rite of worship (such as reading the Qurʾān or a supplication) or any otherwise mundane activity (such as driving our car or eating food), with this phrase. Saying this phrase is a means of seeking Allah’s help and dedicating the next action to Allah and earning His pleasure. 

Even though the expression is pronounced as was described, the phrase as a whole is referred to as the Basmalah.