Page of the Holy Quraan with Basmalah counted as an Ayah
Some imams and scholars of Islam, particularly the Hanafis, do not consider the Basmalah which appears at the beginning of every Surah of the Quraan al-Karim with the exception of the 9th Surah, as an Ayah (Verse). In the modern-day prints and copies, or Masahif, of the Quraan which Muslims worldwide read from, in order to avoid this controversy, the Basmalah occurring at the beginning of the Suwar (Chapters) has been written but not numbered. However, some modern copies of the Quraan number the Basmalah of Surat-al-Fatihah as its first Ayah, while others do not.
The correct position is that the Basmalah at the beginning of the Suwar is an Ayah and in fact should be numbered. However, on this blog, I refer to Verses based on the common numbering system for sake of convenience. Yet the reader should know that I consider Basmalah at the beginning of the Suwar as the first Ayah. Some consider the Basmalah as an Ayah but not as part of the Surah, rather as separate from it. However, I disagree with this position. In this entry I shall present my proofs:
عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ , قَالَ : قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ : إِذَا قَرَأْتُمِ : الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ فَاقْرَءُوا : بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ إِنَّهَا أُمُّ الْقُرْآنِ , وَأُمُّ الْكِتَابِ , وَالسَّبْعُ الْمَثَانِي , وَ بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ إِحْدَاهَا
Abu Hurairah narrates that Allah's Apostle (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: When you read "Alhamdulillahi" then read "Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim" It is the Mother of the Quraan, and the Mother of the Book, and the Seven Oft-Repeated, and "Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim" is its first (Ayah) (Sunan al-Daraqutuni: Kitabus-Salat; Babo Wujube Qiraate; Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim)
This Hadith proves that the Basmalah is the first Ayah of Surat-al-Fatihah, which consists of Seven Verses. Another Hadith establishes that Basmalah is also the first Ayah of the other Suwar at the beginning of which it is written:
عَنْ أَنَسٍ، قَالَ بَيْنَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ذَاتَ يَوْمٍ بَيْنَ أَظْهُرِنَا إِذْ أَغْفَى إِغْفَاءَةً ثُمَّ رَفَعَ رَأْسَهُ مُتَبَسِّمًا فَقُلْنَا مَا أَضْحَكَكَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ قَالَ أُنْزِلَتْ عَلَىَّ آنِفًا سُورَةٌ فَقَرَأَ بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ إِنَّا أَعْطَيْنَاكَ الْكَوْثَرَ فَصَلِّ لِرَبِّكَ وَانْحَرْ إِنَّ شَانِئَكَ هُوَ الأَبْتَرُ
Anas reported: While the Messenger of Allah ﷺ was among us when he dozed off. He then raised his head smilingly. We said: What makes you smile O Messenger of Allah? He said: A Surah has just been revealed to me, and then recited: “In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful. Verily We have given thee Kawthar. Therefore turn to thy Lord for prayer and offer sacrifice, and surely thy enemy is cut off.” (Sahih Muslim)
The Hadith proves that the Basmalah is part of the Revelation, and was revealed as the first Ayah of Surat-al-Kawthar, which therefore consists of four Verses. Incidentally, the Hadith corroborates our belief that the Quraan would also be revealed to the Prophet ﷺ while he was sleeping.