Linguistic meaning: They both are taken out from the word “rahmah” meaning “mercy”. And ‘mercy’ has vast meaning such as softness, kindness, and compassion.
Legislative meaning: Allah is the Most Merciful, whose mercy encompasses all of His creation in the earth.
وَرَحْمَتِي وَسِعَتْ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ ۚ…
The goodness, love, kindness, provisions that we get is due to His mercy. Similarly, due to His mercy our fear, trials and abominations are turned away from us. Allah Says:
وَلَا تُفْسِدُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ بَعْدَ إِصْلَاحِهَا وَادْعُوهُ خَوْفًا وَطَمَعًا ۚ إِنَّ رَحْمَتَ اللَّهِ قَرِيبٌ مِنَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ
“And cause not corruption upon the earth after its reformation. And invoke Him in fear and aspiration. Indeed, the mercy of Allah is near to the doers of good.”
(Surah Al-A’raf: 56)
In general terms these two names have the same meaning- say it the Most merciful, the Most Gracious, The Most Compassionate, etc which in Arabic means رحمة (rahmah). The difference is in their quality, usage, time and type of mercy.
|Usage||Can only be used for Allah.“Say, “Call upon Allah or call upon the Most Merciful…” (Surah al-Isra: 110)It is the only name which is on the same degree as the name الله.||Can also be used for the creation.“There has certainly come to you a Messenger from among yourselves. Grievous to him is what you suffer; [he is] concerned over you and to the believers is kind and merciful.” (Surah at-tawbah: 128)|
|Common and Special Mercy||Mercy for all His servants, be it a disbeliever, disbeliever or a hypocrite. (common)||Mercy for His special servants i.e. mu’min (believers). He will be Raheem on the day of judgment. (special)|
Knowledge has its own effects, and knowledge of Islam depending on the intention affects our Iman (faith) in a positive way as mentioned in the below aayah:
وَإِذَا مَا أُنزِلَتْ سُورَةٌ فَمِنْهُم مَّن يَقُولُ أَيُّكُمْ زَادَتْهُ هَٰذِهِ إِيمَانًا فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا فَزَادَتْهُمْ إِيمَانًا وَهُمْ يَسْتَبْشِرُونَ
“And whenever there comes down a Surah (chapter from the Qur’an), some of them (hypocrites) say: “Which of you has had his Faith increased by it?” As for those who believe, it has increased their Faith, and they rejoice.”
(Surah Tawbah 09:124)
Allah’s names are found at the end of almost every ayah (verse) of the Qur’an. The effects of this name on our Iman (faith) are as follows:
- We come to know of Allah’s essence of Mercy. There is and will not be any change in it nor can one transcend the quality.
- Allah has sent to us Prophets (May peace be upon them all), books, knowledge about His names, etc as a mercy on us all.
- He has bestowed Mercy between us and the wild:
Salman reported that Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said: Verily, Allah created, on the same very day when He created the heavens and the earth, one hundred parts of mercy. Every part of mercy is coextensive with the space between the heavens. and the earth and He out of this mercy endowed one part to the earth and it is because of this that the mother shows affection to her child and even the beasts and birds show kindness to one another and when there would be the Day of Resurrection, Allah would make full (use of Mercy). (Sahih Muslim 2753)
- Allah’s mercy is wide and encompassing (وسيع)
- Allah’s mercy overpowers His anger.
It is narrated by Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him): Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said, “When Allah completed the creation, He wrote in His Book which is with Him on His Throne, “My Mercy overpowers My Anger.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 3194)
- Allah loves us and have more mercy than a mother.
It is narrated by `Umar bin Al-Khattab: Some Sabi (i.e. war prisoners, children and woman only) were brought before the Prophet ﷺ and behold, a woman amongst them was milking her breasts to feed and whenever she found a child amongst the captives, she took it over her chest and nursed it (she had lost her child but later she found him) the Prophet said to us, “Do you think that this lady can throw her son in the fire?” We replied, “No, if she has the power not to throw it (in the fire).” The Prophet ﷺ then said, “Allah is more merciful to His slaves than this lady to her son.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari)
- Showing mercy to others is great ethics.
It is narrated by Narrated Usama bin Zaid: “…The Prophet ﷺ replied, “It is mercy which Allah has lodged in the hearts of His slaves, and Allah is merciful only to those of His slaves who are merciful (to others). (Sahih al-Bukhari 1284)
- Allah (May He be exalted) stated few blessings as mercy. Such as:
“And the good land – its vegetation emerges by permission of its Lord; but that which is bad – nothing emerges except sparsely, with difficulty. Thus do We diversify the signs for a people who are grateful.” (Surah Al-A’raf: 58)
“Indeed, the wasteful are brothers of the devils, and ever has Satan been to his Lord ungrateful.”(Surah Al-Isra: 27)
“…And We have sent down to you the Book as clarification for all things and as guidance and mercy and good tidings for the Muslims.” (Surah An-Nahl: 89)
- How to ask Allah’s mercy:
It is narrated Abu Huraira that Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said, “None of you should say: ‘O Allah, forgive me if You wish; O Allah, be merciful to me if You wish,’ but he should always appeal to Allah with determination, for nobody can force Allah to do something against His Will.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari)
Now, reading so much about Allah’s mercy and what effects it, must already be felt in our hearts, and we must be in love with Allah (May He be exalted), isn’t it? Our hopes in Him and our relationship with Him become stronger than before. We have a yearning for His special Mercy so we increase our good deeds. We obey Allah and His Messenger ﷺ. Our hearts overflow with love and mercy for the Humans and other creatures.
May Allah with His mercy make us among the good doers, indeed Allah is the Most Merciful.