In article <4od32m$>, (AbdulraHman Lomax) writes:

as-salamu 'alaykum. (kwirasub) wrote:

>I am not a Khalifite and not a scholar in Arabic, but it seems to me
>there are 19 letters in basmallah, they are:


It is not uncommon for those eager to refute Khalifa's theories to
overstate the case. In the traditional, so-called Uthmanic spelling in
which many Qur'ans are written (and which is *always* used for the
bismillah), there are indeed 19 letters, plus other marks (which were
not used in the original Qur'ans).

However, it is also possible to write the same sentence, pronounced
the same way, with other letters. In particular, the BSM can be
written B ASM and the ALRHMN as ALRHMAN. This is the meaning of the
claim that there are 21 letters. In both cases the pronunciation does
not change at all (since the initial A in ASM is wasl and the
additional A in ALRHMAN is already pronounced long -- as shown by its
being marked by upright fetha).

In terms of meaning, BSM is, in fact, B ASM, so it is not unreasonable
to make a claim that the A is there, but not written. In fact, Khalifa
did count, for this word, ASM in the Qur'an, and did *not* count BSM.
So if he thought the word was there, why did he not count on of its

Nevertheless, if you ask me how many letters there are in the
bismillah, I will without hesitation say 19.

AbdulraHman Lomax
P.O. Box 25133
Asheville, NC 28813

Overview on numerical features in different scriptures
Answering Islam Home Page