al-Rahman – The Most Merciful


One of the many qualities of Allah (swt) is His attribute of being al-Rahman – the Most Merciful. It is of the greatest of attributes and is mentioned immediately after His name – Allah – in the beginning of the Qur’an: “Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim – In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.”[1] So Allah (swt) has chosen that the very first of His attributes which should be made known to man through the Qur’an is His quality of Mercy. This then, is an indication of the primacy and importance which He attaches to this noble Name of His. An interesting fact about this Name, al-Rahman, is that it is composed entirely of huruf (letters) which are of the  huruf al-muqatta’at (abbreviated letters): the Alif, Lam, Ra of Surah Yunus (and others), the Ha, Mim of Surah al-Mu’min (and others), and the Nun of Surah al-Qalam. And Allah (swt) knows best if there is any significance in this.

Of the many favours granted to us by the Most Merciful is that He gave us life. This is surely the greatest of His favours bestowed upon us because at first, we were non-existent and then He brought us into existence. If He had willed He could have left us in the dark of oblivion and we would then never have known the joys of life: of eating and of drinking and simply breathing. He has called attention to our prior state of nothingness in His saying: “Has there not been over Man a long period of Time, when he was nothing – (not even) mentioned?[2] We should therefore reflect over this and realise that our being in a state of existence is a great blessing from Him. This realisation should in turn cause us to become thankful to Him and to praise Him. This thankfulness should not only take the form of verbal gratitude but should be expressed in our actions as well. To be grateful to Him in deed means to adhere to all that which He has commanded and to abstain from all that which He has prohibited. Only by doing so can we really said to be grateful.

The second greatest favour from Allah (swt) which He has granted us is that He continuously sustains us. It is only by His grace and favour that we have come into being and it is only by His grace and favour that we remain alive. At any time He wishes to do so, He could simply deny us His bounty and we would once more fade into nothingness. Thus our continued existence is an indication of His supremely all-encompassing generosity as every second of our life is another of His bounties towards us. We delude ourselves us when we eat, thinking that it is the food which gives us nourishment. Rather it is the Most Merciful who sustains us. When we breathe we think that is the air which gives life to our limbs but it is in fact He who does so. The slave should therefore be ever thankful to Him but He (swt) has stated: “But few of My servants are grateful![3]

To be continued. . . insha Allah.

[1] Al-Qur’an 1: 1.

[2] Al-Qur’an 76: 1.

[3] Al-Qur’an 34: 13.

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