Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Question: Assalam alaikum,
What is the status of the basmala before the Fatiha in prayer? Does leaving it affect the prayer?
Answer: walaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,
I pray this finds you in the best of health and spirits.
It is sunna to recite the basmala (bismi’l Llahi’r Rahmani’r Rahim, ‘In the Name of God, Merciful and Compassionate) before the Fatiha, good to do so before the beginning of a sura one recites after that.
Reciting the basmala is neither obligatory (fard) nor necessary (wajib)—and nothing is required if it is left. [ref: Tahtawi/Shurunbulali, Hashiyat Maraqi al-Falah; Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]
The basmala is considered one verse of the Qur’an, revealed to separate between the suras—and to indicate the beginning of the suras, without being the first verse of any sura. [ibid.]
Please see also: Saying Basmala Before & After the Fatiha: The Position of the Hanafi School
And Allah is the giver of success and facilitation.