786 – Origin, Meaning and Significance in Islam

by Vargis.Khan

786 is probably the most popular number in the Indian subcontinent. Irrespective of which religion an individual belongs to, most of the people here consider this number as “holy” or “lucky”.

While most of the people of other faiths would not really know the reason behind it, Muslims would understand the significance as this number is believed to be a shorter or numeric form of the Arabic phrase “Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim” which literally translates into “In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful”.

The question however that even most of the Muslims would not be able to answer is that how does 786 mean Bismillah? How does “Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim” shortens up to 786?

The Meaning of 786 in Islam

The explanation behind this lies in the numeric or chronological order of the Arabic alphabet. For example, English Alphabet has 26 letters from A to Z. If you are to arrange these letters in numeric order, then A would be number 1, B would be number 2, C number 3, and so on with Z finally getting assigned the number 26.

The same way, there are two known ways of arranging the Arabic alphabet. One is Alphabetical method which also applies to all other alphabets of other languages. In this method, we put the letters in a certain order. Like the English alphabet is arranged as A, B, C, D to Z.

Here A always comes first and Z always the last. Same way, the Arabic alphabet is arranged as Alif, ba, ta, tha etc where Alif always comes as the first letter.

Abjad Method

There is however another and a lesser known method of arranging Arabic letters. This method is known as Abjad or ordinal method in which each letter of the alphabet has an arithmetic value assigned to it. This value necessarily is from one to one thousand. In this method, the letters are arranged in the following order, Abjad, Hawwaz, Hutti, Kalaman, Sa’fas, Qarshat, Sakhaz, Zazagh.

So if we are to look at the complete Arabic alphabet, the arithmetic values assigned as per the Abjad method are as follows:


Alif – 1
Baa – 2
Jeem – 3
Daal – 4
Haa (small) – 5
Waaw – 6
Zaa – 7
Haa (big) – 8
Tau – 9
Yaa – 10
Kaaf – 20
Laam – 30
Meem – 40
Noon – 50
Seen – 60
Ayn – 70
Faa – 80
Saud – 90
Quaf – 100
Raa – 200
Sheen – 300
Taa – 400
THaa – 500
Khaa – 600
Thaal – 700
Dhaud – 800
Thau – 900
Ghayn – 1000

Hamza is not included in the table above because it has the same numeric value as Alif because it is the letter that marks the glottal stop in Arabic.

How 786 is equal to Bismillah?

Based on the numeric values above, if we break “Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim” in arithmetic values, we would get the following numbers. We are taking all the letters used in the phrase and the arithmetic values assigned to it.
Baa: 2
Seen: 60
Meem: 40
Alif: 1
Laam: 30
Laam: 30
Haa (Small): 5
Alif: 1
Laam: 30
Raa: 200
Haa (big): 8
Meem: 40
Noon: 50
Alif: 1
Laam: 30
Raa: 200
Haa (big): 8
Yaa: 10
Meem: 40

If we add all these numeric values, the sum total would be 786 and that is how this number is used as a shorter or numeric form of the phrase “”Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim”

Significance of the Number & its Origin

The interesting thing to know here is that this practice is not from the time of the Prophet nor mentioned in Quran. This arrangement of the Abjad method was done much later, most probably in the 3rd century of Hijrah during the ‘Abbasid period, following other Semitic languages such as Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew, Syriac, Chaldean, etc.

This was merely the practice of some of our pious predecessors in India who decided to use the Abjad method and came up with the number 786. For rest of the world, this number holds no greater value or significance. It is something that Indians came up with and only people from Indian sub-continent or from the countries of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh believe in.

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Mohammed Rajpar November 13, 2021 - 11:15 am

Thanks for doing this it’s a great explanation. In Tanzania we all know what it means. I use it on my car plates telephone numbers etc etc, when ever possible. I often get asked by my European friends what it means now I’ll just show them this. Great stuff thanks.

Fatieg Martin August 7, 2021 - 1:31 am

salaam Vargis – thanks for the detailed & interesting explanation. Is there a numeric equivalent for the Arabic inna lielaahie wa inna ielayhie raajieoen as this is also becoming a very often shared phrase especially since the start of the Covid pandemic

Vargis.Khan August 7, 2021 - 6:18 am

W.Salam Fateig – Thank you for letting know. I was not aware that this has now been applied to inna lielaahie wa inna ielayhie raajieoen as well. Interesting.

Abdussalam k June 15, 2021 - 2:23 am

Very informative

Vargis.Khan June 17, 2021 - 9:24 am

Thank you Abdulssalam Bhai

Fathima May 30, 2021 - 2:54 pm

Thank you alot of research put in to give us the explanation much appreciated regards muslin south african where we it is used alot

Mohamed Afsal April 26, 2021 - 1:58 am

Excellent. Bai Thank you very much

Gordon Hall April 18, 2021 - 7:38 am

Thank you for that explanation. It is an extremely popular number among those of the Islamic faith in South Africa. Whenever it appears in a telephone number or on a car registration plate, you can guess the owner’s faith immediately!

bilal April 7, 2021 - 1:09 pm

really good explanation, may Allah reward you

Vargis.Khan April 8, 2021 - 6:22 am

Thank you Bilal Bhai. May Allah bless you as well

Andrew April 3, 2021 - 3:58 am

Thank you for that explanation mate

Vargis.Khan April 3, 2021 - 5:03 am

Thank you for taking the time to drop a note Andrew !!!

Andrew April 3, 2021 - 3:57 am

Thank you for that explanation

M K ALAM March 31, 2021 - 5:02 pm

Nice to read explanation, however, one doubt, in this way could we summarize entire quraan and also could we say 786 in prayer or in the beginning of some act

Khan February 10, 2021 - 1:20 pm

Many things were not practised at the time of Muhamnad SAW like the time was calculated later temp was calculated later and many things we can say that different different islamic scholars who preached Islam in many countires most of them travelled towards Hind which os called Hindustan and they stopped there and from time to time different methods were introduced like if we can recollect or have someone studied about Al Baruni so one can easily understand that how these things got into forms out of which 786 is one form

Debaleena Naskar December 27, 2020 - 8:00 am

Great explanation..Aameen.

Aeysha Kassiem December 9, 2020 - 1:11 pm

Thank you for the simple explanation. Just to point out that this is not something that is exclusive to India or South Asia. It is also common in the Muslim culture of Cape Town, South Africa. It is so popular in fact that there are halaal shops named after it and even a radio station.

Isah Yerima April 4, 2021 - 6:40 pm

A beautiful simple explanation

Vargis.Khan April 5, 2021 - 1:10 pm

Thank you !!!

Vinod Dawda November 24, 2020 - 12:27 pm

Fascinating. Guess those who like numerology would love it.

Debaleena Naskar December 27, 2020 - 7:59 am

Nice explanation..no doubt..Aameen.

Abhijit Zimare November 24, 2020 - 7:48 am

Nice. But it not the most popular. Apart from a few Muslims barely anyone cares.
But nice explanation.

George francis September 26, 2020 - 4:34 am

Nice explanation

Kamurudeen September 28, 2020 - 6:49 am


Rehman September 23, 2020 - 8:05 am

But this explanation about BISMILLA’HIRRAH’MAANNIRRAHIM was not taught by our prophet, it is made my people

Joel John September 11, 2020 - 5:52 am

Nice Explanation… Thanks mate

Noor Mujassim August 29, 2020 - 3:14 am

Thanks for your explanation I really understand the whole theory of 786
Thanks buddy once again

Vargis.Khan August 30, 2020 - 7:14 pm

Thank you Noor

Harigopinath July 7, 2020 - 5:11 pm

Sir 786 irku

Harun December 20, 2019 - 8:39 pm

but someone says it should have been 787, not 786 !!

MB WAGH May 2, 2020 - 4:30 am


Amish singh September 9, 2018 - 6:35 am

Really nice explanation….anyone can easily understand the logic behind 786…

Vargis.Khan September 9, 2018 - 1:42 pm

Thanks Amish

Namrata July 18, 2018 - 2:09 pm

awesome …

Vargis.Khan July 18, 2018 - 2:46 pm

Thank you !!!

Rohan June 10, 2015 - 8:57 am

Good job with the theory, but there are 26 letters in the English alphabet and not 24, as you have written.

Vargis.Khan June 12, 2015 - 1:15 am

Thanks for the corrections bro …

rajesh June 7, 2015 - 2:05 am

So nicely explained.. very scientifically you have answered a question which I wanted to know for years

Vargis.Khan June 7, 2015 - 2:57 am

Thanks Rajesh

Marfatia Huzefa April 24, 2021 - 1:06 pm

One should remember that number 786 is more of a symbol to represent “Bismi…”
Number 786 neither stands for nor replaces ” Bismi..”..
When a Believer writes 786 on any platform, they always read it as “Bismi…”
& not 786..

Siraj June 6, 2015 - 8:42 pm

Nice sharing bhai

Vargis.Khan June 6, 2015 - 9:14 pm

Thanks Bhai ….

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