By Wahiduddin Richard Shelquist
In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the praise and thanks is due to Allāh, the Lord of the al-‘ālameen. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam is His Messenger.
Al-Rahmān, Al-Raheem: The Most Important "Pair"
The Most Lovingly Beneficent, The Most Kind and Giving, The Most Gracious, The Infinitely Good
Allāh the Almighty who continually showers all of creation with blessings and prosperity without any disparity. The One who is most kind, loving and merciful.
Allāh the Almighty whose endless, loving mercy is perfect and inclusive. The One who is overflowing with the quality of loving mercy and is continually pouring it upon all of creation.
The One whose perfect mercy and loving beneficence endlessly embrace all of creation. The One who loves and cherishes all of creation. The One who is most loving, gentle and merciful.
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 name is used in the Qur'ân. For example, see Al-Fatihah, 1:1
Bismiallāhir Rahmânir Raheem
In the Name of Allāh, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.
In the name of Allāh, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
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.
Rahmân 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, while Raheem conveys the idea of constant renewal and giving liberal reward to those who are deserving.
Al-Rahmân is the Beneficent One whose endless outpouring of love and mercy are continually showered upon all of creation, while al-Rahîm is the Merciful One whose love and mercy are manifested as that which is received as the consequence of one's good deeds.
According to Ibn Qayyum (1350 AD), Rahmân describes the quality of abounding Grace which is inherent in and inseparable from the Almighty.
In Muhammad Ali's translation of the Qur'ân, he refers to classical sources (as indicated by the initials in parenthesis) who said:
Rahmân and Raheem are both derived from the root rahmat, signifying tenderness requiring the exercise of beneficence [kindness] (R), and thus comprising the ideas of love and mercy.
Al-Rahmân and al-Raheem are both active participle nouns of different measures denoting intensiveness of significance, the former being of the measure of fa'lân and indicating the greatest preponderance of the quality of mercy, and the later being of the measure of fa'îl and being expressive of a constant repetition and manifestation of the attribute (AH).
The Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) is reported to have said: “Al-Rahmân is the beneficent One whose love and mercy are manifested in the creation of the world, and al-Rahîm 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 for the believers who are on the right path.
Lexicologists agree in holding that the former includes both the believer and the unbeliever for its objects, while the latter relates specifically to the believer (LL).
In the Dictionary of the Holy Qur'ân, Abdul Omar quotes from classical resources:
Rahmân is an active participle noun of the measure fa'lân which conveys the idea of fullness and extensiveness and indicates the greatest preponderance of the quality of love and mercy which comprehends the entire universe without regard to our effort or asking, even before we are born. The creation of the sun, the moon, air and water, etc are all there because of this attribute.... the term Rahmân circumscribes the quality of abounding Grace inherent in and inseparable from the Almighty.
Raheem is in the measure of fa'îl and denotes the idea of constant repetition and giving of a liberal reward to those who deserve it and seek it. The Manifestation of this attribute is in response to and is a result of the action of the human being. That is, Raheem indicates that which is extremely and continuously loving and merciful, and who is the dispenser of grace and love as a result of our deeds and supplications, and the One in whom the attribute is constantly and [endlessly] repeated.
(Also written as al-rahmân, al-rahmaan, ar-rahman, ar-rahman, the Lovingly Beneficent: ya rahmaan, ya rahmān)
And Allāh Almighty knows best.