- The root of these names is from the same letters — رحم.
- رحم is used for the womb of the mother. The womb envelops and covers the child. It protects the child from the outside environment (for example, bacteria, pollutants, etc.). It provides nutrients for the child and allows it to grow and develop.
- Allah SWT is far, far, far… more merciful than the mother. He does all that the mother does for the child, plus much, much, much…more…
- His mercy is so extreme, that I and you cannot understand His mercy, so He gave us two of His names from the same root word, so we can have some appreciation of His mercy.
- What is the difference between these names?
- Rahman, is on the scale of فعلان which is صيغة مبالغة . In plain English, it is the hyperbolized form; simply, it is an extreme form of mercy.
- This name implies the one who by His nature is overflowing with mercy. No being because of his nature is merciful, except for Allah. Hence it is not permissible to call anyone Rahman other than Allah (the only one in Arab history to call himself this was Musailamah ibn Kazaaab — the liar who claimed to be a Prophet; only a person stupid enough to claim to be a Prophet — without any proof — would intentionally and knowingly call himself by this name).
- Raheem is on the scale of فعيل which is صفة مشبهة . It alludes to the permanent quality. Implied: Allah’s mercy is permanent.
- This mercy is especially for the believers, for Allah is merciful to them in this world, at the time of their death, on the Day of Judgement, and it is because of His mercy that all the believers — even Prophet SAW — will enter into Jannah.
- Why is Rahman mentioned first? Rahman is general (hence only for Allah) and Rahim is specific. It is part of literary perfection to mention generalities first, followed by specificities.
From the Sunnah
- When Allah decreed the Creation He pledged Himself by writing in His book which is laid down with Him: My mercy prevails over my wrath. [Bukhari & Muslim]
- Umar RA, relates that some prisoners were brought before Allah’s Messenger SAW and amongst them was a woman who was frantically searching for someone in the crowd. When she found a baby amongst the prisoners, she took it in her arms, cradled it next to her chest and suckled it. So Prophet SAW said: “Do you think that this woman would ever throw her child into the fire?” We said: ‘By Allah, Never!’ So he said: “Allah is more merciful to His believing servants than that mother could ever be to her child.” [Bukhari & Muslim]
- It is due to the mercy of Allah SWT that He has chosen certain months over others, and preferred Ramadan above all (in this month the gates of mercy are wide open). It is from His mercy that He has informed us of these times; this allows us to correct our mistakes– by seeking special and blessed times — in order to ultimatley change our condition.
- Hence, in this month, as a show of gratitude, we should worship Allah more than any other time.
- It is because of the mercy of Allah SWT that He has sent us the Qur’an (refer to the second ayah in Surah Raman). We should try our hardest to learn and reflect over the meanings, and not simply prioritize memorization with no understanding.
- Use these names when you are making duaa (say Ya Rahman ya Raheem…) especially before breaking your fast, as the duaa of the fasting person is accepted.
- Never despair of the mercy of Allah, regardless of what you have done! To think that our sins are so humongous that Allah’s mercy cannot encompass it, is a greater sin than the sin you are committing; the former is kufur.
- If He is merciful to the disbelievers, is He not merciful to you, O Muslim?
PS. I have removed all the other posts except surah Fatiha. I will repost them with new points, Insh’Allah.