Asma ul Husna (Names of Allah)

Ar Rahman, Ar Raheem – The Entirely Merciful, The Especially Merciful

الرحمن الرحيم (The Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful)

These two names are from the root word رحم

Other names from the same root word are ارحم الراحمين، خير الراحمين، ذو الرحمة

The word رحم is also used for the mother’s womb and reflects the unconditional, enveloping love, care and mercy that the mother has for the child. In the womb of a mother, the baby doesn’t have to worry about any of his needs e.g. food, drink, survival, sleep etc. Everything is being completely taken care of. The child is not even capable of fully knowing and appreciating the countless ways in which he is being protected and taken care of. Allah loves us more than our mothers, and it is impossible for us to fathom Allah’s Rahmah entirely. Allah is constantly taking care of us in unimaginable ways, but we are just as ignorant as the baby is in the womb of the mother.

These names are among the most important of Allah’s names, and they are emphasised in  the Qur’an and Hadith repeatedly. These are the traits through which Allah wants to be known as, and the traits Allah wants us to invoke the most. Allah has made these traits mandatory upon Himself. It is part of Allah’s mercy that He alleviates the sufferings of people, without any benefit in return. Allah is beyond all needs, and His mercy is not due to any weakness or empathy, but it is a pure gift for His creation.

وَإِذَا جَاءَكَ الَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِآيَاتِنَا فَقُلْ سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكُمْ ۖ كَتَبَ رَبُّكُمْ عَلَىٰ نَفْسِهِ الرَّحْمَةَ ۖ أَنَّهُ مَنْ عَمِلَ مِنكُمْ سُوءًا بِجَهَالَةٍ ثُمَّ تَابَ مِن بَعْدِهِ وَأَصْلَحَ فَأَنَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ – 6:54

And when those come to you who believe in Our verses, say, “Peace be upon you. Your Lord has decreed upon Himself mercy: that any of you who does wrong out of ignorance and then repents after that and corrects himself – indeed, He is Forgiving and Merciful.”

وَرَحْمَتِي وَسِعَتْ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ ۚ – 7:156

My mercy encompasses all things.

وَإِلَٰهُكُمْ إِلَٰهٌ وَاحِدٌ ۖ لَّا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الرَّحْمَٰنُ الرَّحِيمُ – 2:163

And your god is one God. There is no deity [worthy of worship] except Him, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.

قُل لِّمَن مَّا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۖ قُل لِّلَّهِ ۚ كَتَبَ عَلَىٰ نَفْسِهِ الرَّحْمَةَ ۚ لَيَجْمَعَنَّكُمْ إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ لَا رَيْبَ فِيهِ ۚ الَّذِينَ خَسِرُوا أَنفُسَهُمْ فَهُمْ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ – 6:12

Say, “To whom belongs whatever is in the heavens and earth?” Say, “To Allah .” He has decreed upon Himself mercy. He will surely assemble you for the Day of Resurrection, about which there is no doubt. Those who will lose themselves [that Day] do not believe.

قَالَ وَمَن يَقْنَطُ مِن رَّحْمَةِ رَبِّهِ إِلَّا الضَّالُّونَ – 15:56

He said, “And who despairs of the mercy of his Lord except for those astray?”

قُلْ يَا عِبَادِيَ الَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُوا عَلَىٰ أَنفُسِهِمْ لَا تَقْنَطُوا مِن رَّحْمَةِ اللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا ۚ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ – 39:53

Say, “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah . Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.”

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:

I heard Messenger of Allah () saying, “When Allah created the creatures, He wrote in the Book, which is with Him over His Throne:

 إن رحمتي تغلب غضبي 

‘Verily, My Mercy prevailed over My Wrath” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

It was narrated from Ibn ‘Umar that the Prophet() said:

“The most beloved of names to Allah are ‘Abdullah and ‘Abdur-Rahman.” (Sunan Ibn Majah)

Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger () as saying:

There are one hundred (parts of) mercy for Allah and He has sent down out of these one part of mercy upon the jinn and human beings and animals and the insects, and it is because of this (one part) that they love one another, show kindness to one another and even the beast treats its young one with affection, and Allah has reserved ninety nine parts of mercy with which He would treat His servants on the Day of Resurrection. (Sahih Muslim)

Abu Huraira reported:

I heard Allah’s Messenger () as saying: Allah created mercy in one hundred parts and He retained with Him ninety-nine parts, and He has sent down upon the earth one part, and it is because of this one part that there is mutual love among the creation so much so that the animal lifts up its hoof from its young one, fearing that it might harm it. (Sahih Muslim)

الرحمن

This name appears over 50 times in the Qur’an, and it has been paired only 6 times, and always with the name الرحيم

1.It is a name which is part of Allah’s ذات/being/essence. It reflects the innate presence of the attribute of mercy.

2. Rahman constitutes general mercy, for the entire creation. It is a characteristic of Allah that is available to all of his creatures whether muslims or non-muslims. It is like rain that pours on everyone without discrimination.

3. Rahman reflects the vastness & intensity of Allah’s mercy. (The strongest noun pattern to characterise the intensity of a verb is  فعلان. It is صيغه مبالغه. There is no other name of Allah on the same pattern. It also has the meaning that the Rahmah is being manifested right now.)

4. The dunya is a manifestation of Allah’s sifah of Rahman

5. Rahman is a name that is exclusive to Allah and He does not share it with anyone. Allah often uses this name for Himself in the Qur’an in place of “Allah”.

قُلِ ادْعُوا اللَّهَ أَوِ ادْعُوا الرَّحْمَٰنَ ۖ أَيًّا مَّا تَدْعُوا فَلَهُ الْأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَىٰ ۚ– 17:110

Say, “Call upon Allah or call upon the Most Merciful. Whichever [name] you call – to Him belong the best names.”

وَاسْأَلْ مَنْ أَرْسَلْنَا مِن قَبْلِكَ مِن رُّسُلِنَا أَجَعَلْنَا مِن دُونِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ آلِهَةً يُعْبَدُونَ – 43:45

And ask those We sent before you of Our messengers; have We made besides the Most Merciful deities to be worshipped?

الرَّحْمَٰنُ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ اسْتَوَىٰ – 20:5

The Most Merciful [who is] above the Throne established.

6. Rahman is that being, when He is asked, He gives.

الرحيم

This name appears over 100 times in the Qur’an, and it has been paired with many names, the most common being الغفور الرحيم , العزيز الرحيم and الرحمن الرحيم

1.Raheem is a sifah that needs manifestation and an object of mercy i.e. creation. Raheem refers to the expression of Allah’s Mercy and its affects on creation.

2. Raheem is special mercy exclusive to the people who believe and do good deeds

وَكَانَ بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ رَحِيماً

(And He is ever Rahim (merciful) to the believers.)’ (33:43)

3. Raheem refers to constant and permanent mercy. (Al Rahman is intense like the strong tides and waves of the ocean, and Al Raheem is constant like the ocean itself.)

4. This sifah will be truly manifested in the akhirah, and will lead to magfirah of people.

5.Raheem is a name that can be used for creation. Al Rahim is not exclusive to Allah alone as Allah has used it for His creation.

لَقَدْ جَاءَكُمْ رَسُولٌ مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ عَزِيزٌ عَلَيْهِ مَا عَنِتُّمْ حَرِيصٌ عَلَيْكُم بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ رَءُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ – 9:128

There has certainly come to you a Messenger from among yourselves. Grievous to him is what you suffer; [he is] concerned over you and to the believers is kind and merciful.

6. Raheem is that being who becomes angry if He is not asked.

PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS OF THIS NAME IN OUR LIVES:

1.We develop a love for Allah, out of an awareness and appreciation of His love, care and Rahmah for us.

Narrated `Umar bin Al-Khattab:

Some Sabi (i.e. war prisoners, children and woman only) were brought before the Prophet () and behold, a woman amongst them was milking her breasts to feed and whenever she found a child amongst the captives, she took it over her chest and nursed it (she had lost her child but later she found him) the Prophet said to us, “Do you think that this lady can throw her son in the fire?” We replied, “No, if she has the power not to throw it (in the fire).” The Prophet () then said, “Allah is more merciful to His slaves than this lady to her son.” (Bukhari)

2.We develop a hope in Allah’s mercy and husne zan for Him.

Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) said:

“Indeed Allah Most High says: ‘I am as My slave thinks of Me, and I am with him when He calls upon Me.’” (Tirmidhi)

Even though Allah has the sifah of Rahmah, and we should have hope in that Rahmah, but we should also be aware of the Day when we will be held accountable for our deeds. Allah’s mercy is balanced with His justice. It is part of Allah’s mercy that Allah repeatedly gives us time and opportunities to repent and turn back to Him. Allah does not hasten His punishment in the dunya. But, Allah’s mercy does not give us the liberty to disobey Him stubbornly, in the false hope of His mercy.

3. We show mercy to Allah’s creation to attract Allah’s rahmah to ourselves

Narrated Abu Huraira:

Allah’s Messenger () said, “A prostitute was forgiven by Allah, because, passing by a panting dog near a well and seeing that the dog was about to die of thirst, she took off her shoe, and tying it with her head-cover she drew out some water for it. So, Allah forgave her because of that.” (Bukhari)

Narrated Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-‘As:

The Prophet () said: The Compassionate One has mercy on those who are merciful. If you show mercy to those who are on the earth, He Who is in the heaven will show mercy to you. (Sunan Abi Dawud)

Abu Hurairah (May Allah bepleased with him) reported:

The Prophet () kissed his grandson Al-Hasan bin ‘Ali (May Allah bepleased with them) in the presence of Al-Aqra’ bin Habis. Thereupon he remarked: “I have ten children and I have never kissed any one of them.” Messenger of Allah () looked at him and said, “He who does not show mercy to others will not be shown mercy”.[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

4. We develop a shyness/haya in disobeying Allah. How can we use the blessings given to us by Allah to disobey Him?

5. We uphold the ties of kinship and develop صله رحمى. The least is to greet them with salam, and be a part of their happiness by congratulating them, and their sadness by consoling them.

‘Abdur-Rahman bin ‘Awf’ said: ‘I heard the Messenger of Allah saying : “Allah, Most Blessed and Most High, said:

قَالَ اللَّهُ أَنَا اللَّهُ وَأَنَا الرَّحْمَنُ خَلَقْتُ الرَّحِمَ وَشَقَقْتُ لَهَا مِنَ اسْمِي فَمَنْ وَصَلَهَا وَصَلْتُهُ وَمَنْ قَطَعَهَا بَتَتُّهُ 

 ‘I am Allah, and I am Ar-Rahman. I created the Rahim(womb), and named it after My Name. So whoever keeps good relations with it, I keep good relation with him, and whoever severs it, I am finished with him.’” (Tirmidhi)

6. Use these names to invoke Allah in duas. Invoke the rahmah of Allah, especially when you’re facing a difficulty.

وَأَيُّوبَ إِذْ نَادَىٰ رَبَّهُ أَنِّي مَسَّنِيَ الضُّرُّ وَأَنتَ أَرْحَمُ الرَّاحِمِينَ – 21:83

And [mention] Ayyub, when he called to his Lord, “Indeed, adversity has touched me, and you are the Most Merciful of the merciful.

7. We do actions to attract Allah’s mercy e.g. by showing mercy to the creation, obeying Allah and His Messenger, remembering Allah and having taqwa and Ihsan etc.

If Allah is ارحم (the most merciful), why does Allah allow suffering in this world? 

Some people even turn to disbelief because they cannot digest why there is suffering in this world.

We must realise that although things may apparently seem negative, there is hidden khayr in them that will manifest at one point. Sometimes, you have to amputate the hand to save the body. Maybe a small difficulty will save us from a bigger difficulty.

Moreover, a difficulty in dunya may save the believer from a difficulty in the akhirah, as every difficulty alleviates sins. Even unfulfilled duas become a treasure in the akhirah.

Sometimes, a child has to be forced to swallow a bitter pill, to save him from a greater harm, but the child may be unable to understand the benefit. We must remind ourselves that Allah is merciful, even if we don’t understand the nature of His mercy in as situation.

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