Ar-Raheem : Bestower of Mercy
Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta`aaalaa) is Merciful to both disbelievers and believers, and to the more pious and the less pious among the believers. In Ibn Katheer’s tafseer it is reported that the effects of the attribute ar-Rahmaan extend to all creation, while those that of ar-Raheem are confined to the believers. "And He is Merciful (Raheem) to the believers." [33:43] Allaah in His Mercy rewards the believers in the Hereafter and due to their belief and righteous deeds and He admits them to the Jannah. When one knows that in the Hereafter Allaah confines His mercy to the believers (and deals with the unbelievers with His justice), one will seek to worship Allaah and come nearer to Him in order to deserve His mercy in the Hereafter.
The Meaning of Ar-Rahman Ar-Rahim - the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
[Source for the below : Based on: Tafsir Ibn Kathir]
Ar-Rahman and Ar-Rahim are two names derived from Ar-Rahmah (the mercy), but Rahman has more meanings that pertain to mercy than Ar-Rahim. 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-Rahim 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-Rahim is what effects the believers, for Allah said,
(And He is ever Rahim (merciful) to the believers.)' (33:43) Also, Ibn `Abbas said - about Ar-Rahman and Ar-Rahim, `They are two soft names, one of them is softer than the other (meaning it carries more implications of mercy).'''
Ibn Jarir said; As-Surri bin Yahya At-Tamimi narrated to me that `Uthman bin Zufar related that Al-`Azrami said about Ar-Rahman and Ar-Rahim, "He is Ar-Rahman with all creation and Ar-Rahim with the believers.'' Hence. Allah's statements,
(Then He rose over (Istawa) the Throne (in a manner that suits His majesty), Ar-Rahman) (25:59),) and,
(Ar-Rahman (Allah) rose over (Istawa) the (Mighty) Throne (in a manner that suits His majesty).) (20:5)
Allah thus mentioned the Istawa - rising over the Throne - along with His Name Ar-Rahman, to indicate that His mercy encompasses all of His creation. Allah also said,
(And He is ever Rahim (merciful) to the believers), thus encompassing the believers with His Name Ar-Rahim. They said, "This testifies to the fact that Ar-Rahman carries a broader scope of meanings pertaining to the mercy of Allah with His creation in both lives. Meanwhile, Ar-Rahim is exclusively for the believers.'' Yet, we should mention that there is a supplication that reads,
(The Rahman and the Rahim of this life and the Hereafter)
Allah's Name Ar-Rahman is exclusively His. For instance, Allah said,
(Say (O Muhammad ): "Invoke Allah or invoke Ar-Rahman (Allah), by whatever name you invoke Him (it is the same), for to Him belong the Best Names) (17:110),) and,
(And ask (O Muhammad ) those of Our Messengers whom We sent before you: "Did We ever appoint alihah (gods) to be worshipped besides Ar-Rahman (Most Gracious, Allah)'') (43:45).
Further, when Musaylimah the Liar called himself the Rahman of Yamamah, Allah made him known by the name `Liar' and exposed him. Hence, whenever Musaylimah is mentioned, he is described as `the Liar'. He became an example for lying among the residents of the cities and villages and the residents of the deserts, the bedouins.
Therefore, Allah first mentioned His Name - Allah - that is exclusively His and described this Name by Ar-Rahman, which no one else is allowed to use, just as Allah said,
(Say (O Muhammad ): "Invoke Allah or invoke Ar-Rahman (Allah), by whatever name you invoke Him (it is the same), for to Him belong the Best Names.'') (17:110)
Only Musaylimah and those who followed his misguided ways described Musaylimah by Ar-Rahman.
As for Allah's Name Ar-Rahim, Allah has described others by it. For instance, Allah said,
(Verily, there has come unto you a Messenger (Muhammad ) from amongst yourselves (i.e. whom you know well). It grieves him that you should receive any injury or difficulty. He (Muhammad ) is anxious over you (to be rightly guided) for the believers (he is) kind (full of pity), and Rahim (merciful)) (9:128).
Allah has also described some of His creation using some of His other Names. For instance, Allah said,
(Verily, We have created man from Nutfah (drops) of mixed semen (sexual discharge of man and woman), in order to try him, so We made him hearer (Sami`) and seer (Basir) (76:2).
In conclusion, there are several of Allah's Names that are used as names for others besides Allah. Further, some of Allah's Names are exclusive for Allah alone, such as Allah, Ar-Rahman, Al-Khaliq (the Creator), Ar-Raziq (the Sustainer), and so forth.
Hence, Allah started the Tasmiyah (meaning, `In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious Most Merciful') with His Name, Allah, and described Himself as Ar-Rahman, (Most Gracious) which is softer and more general than Ar-Rahim. The most honorable Names are mentioned first, just as Allah did here.
A Hadith narrated by Umm Salamah stated that the recitation of the Messenger of Allah was slow and clear, letter by letter,
(In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. All the praises and thanks be to Allah, the Lord of all that exists. The Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. The Owner of the Day of Recompense) (1:1-4).
The difference between al-Rahmaan and al-Raheem
[Source fo the below : From Sharh al-'Aqeedah al-Waasitiyyah .]
Al-Rahmaan and al-Raheem are two of the names of Allaah which refer to Allaah's attribute of Mercy.
Al-Rahmaan refers to the vastness of Allaah's mercy, and al-Raheem refers to its effect on His creation. So al-Rahmaan is the Owner of vast Mercy, and al-Raheem is the Owner of Mercy that encompasses His creation.
Shaykh Ibn 'Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: "Al-Rahmaan is the Owner of vast mercy, because the fa'laan form in Arabic indicates vastness and abundance, as it is said rajal ghadbaan (a very angry man) when he is filled with anger.
Al-Raheem is a name which refers to the action, as the fa'eel form refers to the doer of an action. So the phrase al-Rahmaan al-Raheem indicates that the mercy of Allaah is vast, as is understood from the name al-Rahmaan, and that it encompasses His creation, as is understood from the name al-Raheem. This is what some of them meant when they said that al-Rahmaan refers to mercy in a general sense and al-Raheem refers to mercy that is specifically for the believers. But what we have mentioned is more accurate."
From Sharh al-'Aqeedah al-Waasitiyyah, 1/22
Hadiths mentioning Allah's Mercy
419. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: I heard Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) saying, "When Allah created the creatures, He wrote in the Book, which is with Him over His Throne: `Verily, My Mercy prevailed over My Wrath"
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Another narration is: Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said, "(Allah wrote) `My Mercy dominated My Wrath".
Still another narration is: Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said, "(Allah wrote) `My Mercy surpasses My Wrath".
Commentary: Imam Al-Khattabi states that here the word "Kitab'' (translated here as `Book') means the decision of Almighty Allah which He has already made, an instance of which is the following Verse of the Noble Qur'an:
"Allah has decreed: `Verily, it is I and My Messengers who shall be the victorious". (58:21).
In this Ayah the Arabic word "Kataba'' is used in the sense of "Qada' (decided);'' or the word "Kataba'' signifies "Lauh Mahfooz'' on which He has recorded everything. Almighty Allah is on the 'Arsh' (the Throne of Allah) and this Book is with Him. (Fath Al-Bari, Kitab At-Tauhid, Bab: Wa kana Arshuhu `alal-Ma'.)
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420. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said, "Allah has divided mercy into one hundred parts; and He retained with Him ninety-nine parts, and sent down to earth one part. Through this one part creatures deal with one another with compassion, so much so that an animal lifts its hoof over its young lest it should hurt it".
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Another narration is: Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said, "Allah has one hundred mercies, out of which He has sent down only one for jinn, mankind, animals and insects, through which they love one another and have compassion for one another; and through it, wild animals care for their young. Allah has retained ninety-nine mercies to deal kindly with His slaves on the Day of Resurrection.''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Another narration in Muslim is reported: by Salman Al-Farisi: Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said, "Allah has hundred mercies, out of which one mercy is used by his creation for mutual love and affection. Ninety-nine mercies are kept for the Day of Resurrection.''
Another narration is: Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said, "Allah created one hundred units of mercy on the Day He created the heavens and the earth. Each one of them can contain all that is between the heaven and the earth. Of them, he put one on earth, through which a mother has compassion for her children and animals and birds have compassion for one another. On the Day of Resurrection, He will perfect and complete His Mercy". (That is He will use all the hundred units of mercy for his slaves on that Day).
1. We learn from this Hadith that kind and compassionate treatment is liked by Allah and is in fact His Blessing and Benevolence. This is the reason He has given a part of it to His creatures, and a person who is so hard-hearted, that he is not even aware of it has a defect which is extremely displeasing to Allah. Moreover, it is a sign that such a person is deprived of Divine blessing and mercy.
2. On the Day of Resurrection, Almighty Allah will bestow upon the believers hundred mercies. This news has great hopes and joy for His slaves.
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