Ar-Rahmān Ar-Rahīm (The Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful)

Abdullah ibn Mushabbib al-Qahtāni

Allah Almighty says:

{Say: “Invoke Allah, or invoke the Most Compassionate. Whichever you call upon, to Him belong the most beautiful names.”}

[Surat al - Isrā’: 110]

Whenever our Prophet (may Allah’speace and blessings be upon him) was distressed, he would say:

“Ya Hayy ya Qayyūm birahmatika astagīth (O Allah, the Ever - Living and the All - Sustainer, I seek relief in Your mercy).”

[Narrated by Ahmad in Al-Musnad; Hasan (sound)]

How would a person not turn to the Most Compassionate while He is the refuge at times of hardships, the companion at times of loneliness, and the supporter at times of weakness? 

He consoles the obedient servants and provides refuge to those who are fearful and fleeing to Him. Indeed, He is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy.

To Him only we should turn, and on Him alone we should pin our hopes.

{And your God is One God, there is no god but Him, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful.}

[Surat al-Baqarah: 163]

Mercy is a divine attribute and characteristic. That is why Allah Almighty described Himself as Ar-Rahmān (the Most Compassionate) and Ar-Rahīm (the Most Merciful).

When we recite the Qur’an, we begin with these two noble and beloved names. We say: Bismillāh Ar-Rahmān Ar-Rahīm (in the name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful).

These two noble names are derivatives and superlative forms of “Rahmah” (mercy).

Linguistically, “Rahmah” is a word that denotes tenderness, compassion, pity, and kindness.

So, our Lord is the Possessor of mercy that encompasses all creation.

{...And My mercy encompasses all things...}

[Surat al - A‘rāf: 156] 

{...Surely Allah is indeed Ever - Compassionate, Most Merciful to mankind.}

[Surat al-Hajj: 65]

Allah devotes the greatest share of His mercy to the believers.

{...And He has been Most Merciful to the believers.}

[Surat al-Ahzāb: 43]

So, our Lord is Ar -Rahmān, which means that mercy is His attribute, and He is Ar -Rahīm, which refers to His mercy towards His servants.

Indeed, He is more Merciful to us than any merciful one, than our fathers, mothers, children, and even our own selves.

“A man came to the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) with a child whom he embraced. The Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) as ked him: ‘Do you show mercy yo him?’ The man said: ‘Yes.’ Then, the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) said:‘Allah is more merciful to you than you are to him, and He is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy.’”

[Narrated by Al-Bukhāri in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad; Sahīh (authentic)]

The name “Ar-Rahmān” belongs exclusively to Allah Almighty. No one else can be given or described with this name.

{Say:“Invoke Allah, or invoke Ar-Rahmān. Whichever you call upon, to Him belong the most beautifulnames”...}

[Surat al -Isrā’: 110]

So, He equates it with the name “Allah”, which exclusively belongs to Him;

it cannot be used for other than Him. Some even said that it is the greatest name.As for the name “Ar-Rahīm”, it can be used to describe created beings. For example, Allah Almighty says:

{There has certainly come to you a Messenger from among yourselves. Grievous to him is what you suffer; [he is] concerned about you and is kind and rahīm (compassionate) towards the believers.}

[Surat at-Tawbah:128]

We can say this is a “rahīm” man, but we cannot say a “rahmān” man.

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