Unraveling More Secrets of al-Fatihah
“The Most Gracious, Most Merciful.”
Have you ever wondered why this comes before “Maliki Yaumi-Deen” [Master of the Day of Judgement] in al-Fatihah? Picture this scenario. You happened to be at the scene of a crime and there is an ongoing investigation. The trial begins and though you are innocent, the judge summons you for questioning.
He proceeds to question you in one of two manners: He at once bombards you with interrogation! [Why were you at the scene of the crime? What were you doing? At what time did you arrive? What did you see? etc.] When your heart nearly stops and your nerves can no longer stand it, the judge then reassures you, “by the way, we know you are innocent but we are collecting as much information as we can.”
Or, he declares to you from the beginning that “we know you are innocent, but we appreciate all the information you can help us with”, and then proceeds with his questions. You would be much more relaxed and comfortable in the second scenario, wouldn’t you? So what does “ar-Rahmaan ar-Raheem” have to do with “Maliki Yaumi-Deen” and why does it come before it? To remind us that it is “ar-Rahmaan ar-Raheem” who will judge us on Judgment Day. These 2 names should kindle within us that sense of relief and reassurance in Salah when we are reminded of our stand before Allah on that terrifying day - Judgment Day. [Let us always strive to remain, worthy of this Mercy.]
“ar-Rahman ar-Raheem” declares that Allah’s sovereignty is that of an all-encompassing Mercy [not Wrath]. In this life, He is there for everyone - believers and non-believers, the righteous and the wrongdoers. He feeds, clothes, heals, and provides, for all. He’s not quick to punish but provides ample time for people to return to Him – a whole lifetime!
And Allah’s Mercy is manifested either through His giving [of favours] or through His withholding of them. And when He sometimes withholds a favour from us, this in reality is the heart of giving, for we have been given of knowledge but so very little to immediately realize the wisdom. Again, it’s a mercy in disguise!
“Does He Who created not know..?” and Allah [swt] says “…But it may well be that you hate a thing the while it is good for you, and it may well be that you love a thing the while it is bad for you, and Allah knows, whereas you do not know.”
When we say “ar-Rahmaan”: this form of “Merciful” is in the Arabic form that implies “to the fullest extent”, like ghadbaan vs. ghaadeb [angry] or joo’aan vs. jaa’e’ [hungry]. The former form implies the fullest extent of hunger and anger in comparison to the latter form. Thus Allah is truly the Most Merciful, to the fullest extent of the word!
In fact, “ar-Rahmaan” is the most all encompassing of His names. Just remember by which name He chose to preside over His Throne: “ar-Rahmaan, above the Throne presides!” His most all-encompassing name is always coupled in the Quran, with his most all - encompassing creation - His Throne!
And this name only belongs to Him - You will never find anyone named “Arrahmaan”, except Allah, but instead people will name “Abdur-Rahmaan” [the servant of the Most Merciful]. You will also never find anyone with the name “Allah” besides Allah. These two names are His, exclusively! Now “ar-Raheem” is the One who delivers His mercy to His creation. You will see this name used in the Quran when Allah speaks of His mercy to believers, specifically. If we knew well the true nature of Allah and the true nature of people, we would prefer without an instant of hesitation to deal with Allah, over having to deal with people. It suffices us to know that Allah’s Mercy for us far exceeds the mercy of our own mothers for us. So “Alhamdulillah” for the kind of sovereignty He reigns by. Feel the rhythm of ar-Rahmaan ar-Raheem lift the heaviness off your heart.