Names of Allah Reflection – Rahman and Rahim

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Salaam All!

Here at the Ansari Sufi Order we are starting a series of discussions about the Most Beautiful names of Allah. By learning how to distinguish the manifestations of Allah through our surroundings and our bodies, we can look through the curtain of appearances and see how Allah directly influences our lives.

Last Sunday, the weekly Sohbet focused on Rahman and Rahim. These names are in the opening verse of every surah in the Quran but one, in the phrase Bismillah er Rahman er Rahim (in the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate) .

Some of the points that came up:

  • Rahman and Rahim function together – it is hard to understand one without reference to the other.
  • Rahman and Rahim are often characterised as the ‘Mother’ and ‘Father’ of all things – the archetypal masculine and feminine duality of the universe.
  • Rahman is unconditional, whereas Rahim is ‘Mercy in action’ and must be earned or activated
  • Rahman can be seen as being like the breath, Rahim can be seen as being like our skin when it senses
  • Rahman relates to unity and wholeness, Rahim is distinction and choice
  • Awareness of the choice presented by Rahim leads to surrender, as we understand that there are actions  and attitudes that Allah likes better than others
  • One could imagine that in our bodies, the DNA is like Rahim in that it represents potentialities and has the blueprint of the whole body, whereas Rahim can be seen as the active growth and expression of the DNA in the life of an organism.