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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

99 Attributes of Allah: Ar Rahman - Ar Raheem (The Most Gracious - The Most Merciful)


The very first verse of the Holy Qur'an (Surah Fateha, Chapter 1: verse 1) mentions two of the major attributes of Allah, Almighty:
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ 
"In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful"

These two attributes are then repeated in the Surah Fateha (verse 3) exclusively:

 الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ

Since both attributes Ar Rahman and Ar Raheem are from the same family of words, these have come together for their very close and similar meanings and attributes of Allah. In simple explanation, Ar Rahman means "He who wills goodness and mercy for all His creatures" while Ar Raheem means "He who acts with extreme kindness."

Ar Rahman and Ar Raheem stem from the root r-h-m which has the following classical Arabic connotations:
  • to have tenderness, gentleness, kindness
  • to love
  • to have mercy, to have pity
  • to show favor and goodness
  • to have all that is required for beneficence

The root r-h-m also indicates womb; meaning that which provides protection and nourishment, and that from which all of creation is brought into being.

Ar Rahman
Ar Rahman besides twice mentioned in Surah Fateha, appears nine times more in the Holy Qur'an. In fact one of the surahs is named Surah Ar Rahman (Chapter 55) which begins with this great attribute of Allah "Ar Rahman."
  • Say (O Muhammad SAW): "Invoke Allah or invoke the Most Beneficent (Allah), by whatever name you invoke Him (it is the same), for to Him belong the Best Names. And offer your Salat (prayer) neither aloud nor in a low voice, but follow a way between. [17:110]
  • Those (were) the ones whom Allah bestowed favor upon them from (among) the Prophets, of (the) offspring (of) Adam, and of those We carried with Nuh and of (the) offspring (of) Ibrahim and Israel and of (those) whom We guided and We chose. When were recited to them (the) Verses (of) the Most Gracious, they fell prostrating and weeping. [19:58]
  • [The Prophet] has said, “My Lord, judge [between us] in truth. And our Lord is the Most Compassionate, the one whose help is sought against that which you describe.”[21:112]
  • Surely it is from Sulayman, (Solomon) and surely it is in The Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Ever-Merciful. [27:30]
  • They will say, "O woe to us! Who has raised us up from our sleeping place?" [The reply will be], "This is what the Most Compassionate had promised, and the messengers told the truth." [36:52]
  • Who feared the Most Gracious unseen and came with a heart returning [in repentance].[50:33]
  • The Most Gracious [Surah Ar Rahman 55:1]
  • He is Allah, other than whom there is no deity, Knower of the unseen and the witnessed. He is the Most Gracious, the Especially Merciful. [59:22]
  • The Day that the Spirit and the angels will stand in rows, they will not speak except for one whom the Most Gracious permits, and he will say what is correct.[78:38]

Thus the attribute of Ar Rahman conveys the idea of fullness and extensiveness, indicating the great quality of love and mercy which engulfs all of creation without any effort or request on our part. Al-Rahman is the Beneficent One whose endless outpouring of love and mercy are continually showered upon all of creation.

The Most Gracious has imparted this Qur’an unto man. He has created man: He has imparted unto him articulate thought and speech. At His behest the sun and the moon run their appointed courses; before Him prostrate themselves the stars and the trees. And the skies has He raised high, and has devised for all things a measure, so that you too, O men, might never transgress the measure of what is right: weight, therefore, your deeds with equity, and cut not the measure short! and the earth has He spread out for all living beings, with fruit thereon, and palm trees with sheathed clusters of dates, and grain growing tall on its stalks, and sweet-smelling plants. Which, then, of your Sustainer’s powers can you disavow? 

In short, Ar Rahman describes the quality of abounding Grace which is inherent in and inseparable from the Almighty.

Ar Raheem

The second attribute of Allah is Ar Raheem, the Most Merciful. Ar Raheem conveys the idea of constant renewal and giving liberal reward to those who are deserving - the Merciful One whose love and mercy are manifested as that which is received as the consequence of one's deeds.

Ar Raheem is mentioned in the Holy Qur'an and many places as quoted under:
  • And your god is one God. There is no deity [worthy of worship] except Him, the most gracious, the Especially Merciful. [2:163]
  • Say, [O Muhammad], "If you should love Allah, then follow me, [so] Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful." [3:31]
  • And whoever emigrates for the cause of Allah will find on the earth many [alternative] locations and abundance. And whoever leaves his home as an emigrant to Allah and His Messenger and then death overtakes him - his reward has already become incumbent upon Allah . And Allah is ever Forgiving and Merciful. [4:100]
  • Know that Allah is severe in penalty and that Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. [5:98]
  • And [Noah] said, "Embark therein; in the name of Allah is its course and its anchorage. Indeed, my Lord is Forgiving and Merciful." [11:41]
  • "And not I absolve myself. Indeed, the soul (is) a certain en joiner of evil, unless [that] bestows Mercy my Lord. Indeed, my Lord (is) Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." [12:53]
  • And indeed, your Lord - He is the Exalted in Might, the Merciful. [26:9]
  • In the victory of Allah . He gives victory to whom He wills, and He is the Exalted in Might, the Merciful. [30:5]
  • [And] "Peace," a word from a Merciful Lord. [36:58]

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is reported to have said:  "Al-Rahman is the beneficent One whose love and mercy are manifested in the creation of the world, and al-Raheem is the merciful One whose love and mercy are manifested in the state that comes after" (AH), i.e as a consequence of the deeds of men. Thus the former is expressive of the utmost degree of love and generosity, the latter of unbounded and constant favor and mercy.

As per another explanation, Ar-Rahman and Ar-Raheem are two names derived from Ar-Rahmah (the mercy), but Rahman has more meanings that pertain to mercy than Ar-Raheem. There is a statement by Ibn Jarir that indicates that there is a consensus on this meaning. Further, Al-Qurtubi said, "The proof that these names are derived (from Ar-Rahmah), is what At-Tirmidhi recorded - and graded Sahih from `Abdur-Rahman bin `Awf that he heard the Messenger of Allah say:
(Allah the Exalted said, 'I Am Ar-Rahman. I created the Raham (womb, i.e. family relations) and derived a name for it from My Name. Hence, whoever keeps it, I will keep ties to him, and whoever severs it, I will sever ties with him.') He then said, "This is a text that indicates the derivation.'' He then said, "The Arabs denied the name Ar-Rahman, because of their ignorance about Allah and His attributes.''
Al-Qurtubi said, "It was said that both Ar-Rahman and Ar-Raheem have the same meaning, such as the words Nadman and Nadim, as Abu `Ubayd has stated. Abu `Ali Al-Farisi said, `Ar-Rahman, which is exclusively for Allah, is a name that encompasses every type of mercy that Allah has. Ar-Raheem is what effects the believers, for Allah said,

You may refer to our post "99 Attributes of Allah" for complete list of 99 attributes with meaning and explanations

Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
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