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Explanation of Allahs name, Ar Raheem

Previously, we talked about the name of Allah(SWT), Ar-Rahman so lets focus now on Ar-Raheem, which appears 114 times in the Qur’an, Al-Ghafoorur Raheem and Al Azeez ur Raheem are the most mentioned pairs of Allahs descriptions for Himself. As mentioned, both of these words come from the root word, rahim, also used for the womb, and the meaning includes:

  • tenderness, gentleness, kindness
  • love and protection
  • to show favours and goodness

When used in the words Ar-Rahman and Ar-Raheem, these are beyond the highest extent we can imagine of these qualities. Allah(SWT) is kinder to us than our own parents and all of creation – only 1% of Rahma has been distributed in this world.

“And out of His mercy He made for you the night and the day that you may rest therein and [by day] seek from His bounty and [that] perhaps you will be grateful.” [Surah al Qasas 28:73]

He (SWT) continues to shower us with gifts every moment – health, family, wealth, knowledge, security – which we are not worthy off. Even those who rebel against Him, reject Him or deny His existence – Allah(SWT) continues to take care of them. These are the things that we don’t even realize, but we all benefit from. A cool breeze on a warm day. Rain after drought. The trees that purify the air for us. We are all recipients of this extensive Rahma.

Ar-Raheem is a more specific Rahma towards the believers. For example, the Rahma that descends during Ramadan is one only Muslims who believe in Ramadan can enjoy. And Allah (swt) tells us in the Qur’an,

“It is He who confers blessing upon you, and His angels [ask Him to do so] that He may bring you out from darknesses into the light. And ever is He, to the believers, Merciful (Raheema)” (Surah al-Ahzab 33:43).

In order to understand this amazing Rahma, the Prophet (SAW) informs us that, “Verily, on the day Allah created the heavens and the earth, He created one hundred parts of Rahma. Each part can fill what is between the heavens and the earth. He made 1 part of Rahma for the earth, from which a mother has compassion for her child, animals and birds have compassion for each other (so much so that an animal lifts its hoof over its young lest it should hurt it – hadith in Bukhari).

On the Day of Resurrection, He will perfect this mercy.” [Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2753] In another narration, the Prophet said, “Allah has kept 99 parts of Rahma to show to His servants on the Day of Resurrection.”

Knowledge of these names should:

  • Increase our love of Allah(SWT)
  • Increase our hope in Allah(SWT). Sufyan Ath-Thawri (may Allah have mercy on him) on his deathbed said “I am happy knowing that Allah(SWT) will judge me. I would rather have Allah judge me on the Day of Judgement than my parents because Allah would be more merciful towards me than my own parents.”
  • Increase our shyness towards Allah(SWT) – we are indebted beyond any measure for all He (SWT) blesses us with, so we should be ashamed to disobey Him(SWT).
  • Increase in Rahma towards others – wipe the head of the orphans, kiss your children, respect your elders and show love to our young.
  • Use these names in your dua generally and especially when you are in need – what else is required if you have the rahma of Allah(SWT).

Freedom to hate

Now I’d like to connect this to a current event. No doubt, you heard about the escalating situation in Batley, where pupils at a Grammar School were shown an offensive cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad(SAW) taken from the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. After speaking to the school, parents and locals campaigned outside the school gates and the member of staff in question was investigated, pending investigation. The rush of opinion that followed included interventions from government ministers, faith leaders and celebrities, some backing it as free speech and blasphemy being outdated, while others state there are limits to this freedom when it causes hate, furthers negative stereotypes and is very disrespectful.

There are a few points to be made about this incident. There is clear hypocrisy and double standard in stating that this should be tolerated by the Muslim community, as even suggestive comments about other minorities like the Jewish or LGBT communities are not tolerated. Teachers have been sacked from Eton for anti-feminist videos and another who joked about shipping Jewish children off to gas chambers without investigation. And we know the publishing magazine has been banned many, many times by countries and organisations for causing offence to leaders and communities globally.

Its important to raise our voices peacefully and proportionately. It is narrated that Abdullah ibn Mas’ood (RA) was asked “Who are the dead among the people who are living?” to which he replied “Those who neither approve the right nor condemn the wrong”. We should not tolerate disrespect but we do not act like the aggressor – remember, they are not our teachers, our teacher is the Prophet (SAW). Hate speech violates the rights and dignity of others and is unacceptable in any civiilsed society.

Allah(SWT) specifically describes the Prophet(SAW) as rahmatulil ‘aalameen (a Rahma for all the worlds) and there is an opinion recorded by Imam Ahmad that Ibn ‘Abbas said that Ubayy bin Ka’b said, “The last Ayah revealed from the Qur’an was this Ayah,

There has certainly come to you a Messenger from among yourselves who feels it very hard on him if you face a hardship; [he is] concerned over you [i.e., your guidance] and to the believers is kind and merciful. [Surah at-Tawba 9:128]

To undermine the Messenger(SAW) is to call into question the entire message of Islam, since he(SAW) is its conveyer and it began with Quraysh and has continued through orientalists and media. We know of many such insults throughout the seerah but possibly the most dangerous is to claim that he(SAW) overcame others with terror only to rule them with cruelty, to create fear about Islam. In fact, we know many incidents throughout the life of the Prophet(SAW) where he responded to direct insults and abuse with rahma, including:

  • telling Abu Bakr(RA) to let the angels respond rather than personally retaliate
  • praying for the guidance of those foremost against Islam, including Umar ibn ul Khattab
  • after being stoned and battered in Ta’if on the worst day of his life, still makin g dua for their guidance and withholding any revenge
  • still holding on to the belongings and ensuring they are each returned to non-Muslims despite 10 assassination attempts on his life

Of these, I’d like to focus on one:

Abdullah b. Ubay b. Salul, was a leading figure in Madinah before the arrival of the Prophet(SAW) and he hoped one day to wear the crown of Madinah. On the hijrah and seeing the growing numbers of Muslims, he became frustrated and led the pretenders (munafiqs) – hyprocrites who said they were Muslim but really they wanted to hurt the Muslims. He worked very hard throughout his life in order to humiliate the Messenger of God, to prevent the development of Islam and to set Muslims against one another. He started rumours and used every chance to break apart the.

Early after hijrah, on the day (of the battle) of Badr, prisoners of war were brought including Al-Abbas( Hazrat Abbas Prophets Uncle) who was without a shirt. Prophet(pbuh) looked for a shirt for him. It was found that the shirt of ‘Abdullah bin Ubay was a similar fit, so the Prophet(SAW) borrowed this to shroud his uncle.

In the battle of Uhud, Abdullah bin Ubay betrayed the Muslim trust and withdrew his 300 supporters at the last moment, leaving only 700 believers to face an army of 3,000. On the occasion of the raid of Al-Mustaliq he said unbecoming things against the Muhajreen including the Holy Prophet. He made secret agreements with rebellious tribes. In the sad episode of False Allegation he was responsible for spreading rumours about Aisha (Ra). Umar sought the permission of the Holy Prophet to kill Abdullah bin Ubayy, but the Holy Prophet, kind-hearted as he was, did not give the permission. And all of his attempts failed due to the help of God Almighty and the precautions of the Messenger of God.

Due to what the organization of mischief that he led did, many verses and even a complete chapter, the 63rd, Surah al-Munafiqun was sent down. Therefore, the Messenger of God acted cautiously against them, controlled their attitudes and took precautions against their plans that aimed to break the alliance and solidarity of the Islamic community. Abdullah ibn Ubay, died in the month of Dhul-Qada in the 9th year of the Migration.

Imam Bukhari narrated that Ibn `Umar may Allaah be pleased with him said that when `Abdullah ibn Ubayy died, his son `Abdullah, who was a pious Muslim, came to the Prophet (SAW) and asked “O Messenger of God! Will you give me your shirt? I want to enshroud my father in it.” Then, he said, “O Messenger of God! Will you lead his prayer and ask for his forgiveness?”

The Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) got up to offer the funeral prayer for him, but `Umar got up and got hold of the garment of the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) and said, “O Messenger of Allah! Will you offer the funeral prayer for him though your Lord has forbidden you to offer the prayer for him?!” The Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) said, “Allah has given me the choice by saying: {Ask forgiveness for them [O Muhammad] or do not ask forgiveness for them. If you should ask forgiveness for them seventy times – never will Allah forgive them…} [Quran 9:80] so I will ask forgiveness for him more than seventy times.”

`Umar said, “But he (`Abdullah ibn Ubayy) is a hypocrite!” However, the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) did offer the funeral prayer for him, whereupon Allah revealed: {And do not pray [the funeral prayer, O Muhammad] over any of them who has died – ever – or stand at his grave.}” [Quran 9:84]

When asked later why the Prophet (SAW) did this, he replied “My shirt and the janazah prayer I performed will not save him from the torture of my Lord. However, I hope that one thousand people from his tribe will become sincere Muslims thanks to them.” Indeed, one thousand people became Muslims when they saw that the Messenger of God treated Abdullah b. Ubay so graciously.

So how do we gain Allahs Rahma?

1. Easy to do business with

There are a number of ahadith which tell us what makes us worthy of Allahs kindness, love and favour.

Jābir (RA) reported that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “May Allah have mercy on a man who is lenient when he sells, and when he buys, and when he demands back his money.”  [Al-Bukhari]

This is a dua of the Prophet(SAW) for anyone of us who is in doing business, easy going in negotiation, not argumentative rather, being flexible and forgiving – and this is as a buyer or a seller, whether on Amazon, eBay or a whatsapp group. And when someone owes them money, they ask for it kindly and gently, without harshness or violence. Another version of this Hadīth narrated by Ibn Hibbān from Jābir (may Allah be pleased with him) reads: “… and lenient when he repays his loans”, i.e. he does not delay or try to evade payment; rather, he fulfills them with ease and genuine willingness. These are the four types of people for whom the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) made supplication of mercy, whenever they are lenient and forgiving in buying, selling, repaying their debts to others, and claiming the debts that others owe them.

Hudhayfa (RA) reported: The Messenger of Allah(SAW) said, “The angels received the soul of a man who lived before you. They said: Have you done anything good? The man said no. They said: Try to remember. The man said: I used to give loans and I would order my servants to give respite to those in difficulty, and to overlook the faults of those in ease. Allah Almighty said: Overlook his faults.” [ Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 1971, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 1560]

2. Encourage others to pray at night

Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) said: ”May Allah have mercy upon a man who wakes up at night and prays, and awakens his wife. If she refuses, he sprinkles water on her face (nadhaha fee wajhihaa al-maa). May Allah have mercy upon a woman who wakes up at night and prays, and awakens her husband. If he refuses, she sprinkles water on his face.” [Ibn Maajah, Hasan]

3. Four sunnah before Asr salaah

Ibn Umar reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “May Allah have mercy on a person who prays four cycles before afternoon prayer.” [al-Tirmidhī 430]

4. Catch someone sneezing

Some of you may be thinking I don’t earn enough or I’m too young to do business, I’m not married and struggle to get up myself at night and I only just manage to pray the 4 fardh of asr. Don’t worry, I’ve got something even easier for you.

Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet(SAW), said, “Verily, Allah likes sneezing and dislikes yawning. When one of you sneezes and praises Allah, it is a duty on every Muslim (haqqan ‘alaa kulli muslim) to say to him: YarhamukAllah May Allah have mercy on you.

As for yawning, it is from Satan. When one of you yawns, let him hold it back as much as he can. When one of you yawns, Satan laughs at him.” [Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 5872]

And we know for the one who makes dua sincerely for his brother, the angels say Aameen to his dua and respond and the same for you.

Overall, be gentle and kind with others to be worthy of Allahs kindness. The Blossom project has been at Luton & Dunstable hospital as they are looking for volunteers so no patient dies alone, supporting those in the last moments and their families through the Chaplaincy service. Caring and compassionate at its peak and a great opportunity and lesson for all of us. Abdullah ibn Amr reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said,

“The merciful will be shown mercy by the Most Merciful. Be merciful to those on the earth and the One in the heavens will have mercy upon you.” [al-Tirmidhī 1924]

May Allah(SWT) increase our love and Iman in Ar-Rahmaan. May Allah bless us to be merciful to his creation so that we may attain his Rahma. May Allah(SWT) make us amongst the servants of Ar-Rahmaan.


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