Ar-Rahman. We say this name before we eat, in our prayers, and various other times throughout our day. There is even a Surah in the Qur’an named after it. However, do we really understand the meaning of this gracious attribute, or have we forgotten its divine significance?
Allah (swt) has 99 attributes. One of them is Ar-Rahman which in the English language roughly translates to The Most Merciful. Ar-Rahman signifies that the name goes beyond simply merciful. It includes all other divine attributes including the most gracious, most kind, most giving, and most loving. Mercy is what enables all these other attributes. Allah’s (swt) mercy is so vast and great that it is recorded in the Qur’an 57 times. Allah (swt) dedicates the Surah to topics ranging in His creation from the Sun to the Moon, to the humans and the jinn, and to the descriptions of Jannah and Jahannam.
Within Surah Rahman, Allah (swt) repeats a specific ayah,
“So which of the favors of your Lord would you deny?”
Source: Surah Rahman
This one ayah being repeated is meant to emphasize the ungratefulness of humans. Interestingly, as one reads on, Allah (swt) starts to highlight the softer tone of the Surah by describing Jannah and the people of Jannah. Allah (swt) uses that one ayah about denying favors as a reminder for all humankind. For example, when we’re standing in front of a giant mountain or standing and looking at something totally awe inspiring, we say Subhan’Allah and remember how great and powerful the Creator is. Humans are created as creatures that digress however. Straying off of the right path is what humans do, and for that reason we have divine guidance in the form of the Qur’an. However, how does Allah (swt) respond to our heedlessness and arrogance? With Rahma, with Mercy.
That is what we do best as humans – we’re always missing the point, asking unnecessary questions, and easily straying off of the right path. But how does Allah (swt) respond to our carelessness and remorse? With Rahma, with mercy.