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:: Candle Post #98 :: Meaning and Significance of Al-Rahman and Al-Rahim ::

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.

Ya Ali Madad and Navroz Mubarak! Navroz is a time for rejuvenation. In the Northern hemisphere, spring activates life in nature and fills one with hope, courage and inspiration. As each one of us exists in the worlds of matter, thoughts, dreams, soul and intellect, it is necessary to assess our performance in each component of our existence.

In this posting, I would like to present the meaning and significance of the two attributes of Allah: Al-Rahman and Al-Rahim. I have taken excerpts from a book entitled 'Ibn al-'Arabi's Metaphysics of Imagination: The Sufi Path of Knowledge', written by William C. Chittick, published by State University of New York Press, Albany, 1989. In this book, Chittick has compiled gems of knowledge from the vast literature of Al-Shaykh al-Akbar, the "Greatest Master", 'Ibn al-'Arabi and given his commentary on each topic. I will augment these comments with some concepts developed on Salman Spiritual.com.

The following gems are extracted from the heading entitled, 'Relief Through Mercy' which spans pages 130-132.

Part 1: Ibn al-Arabi's Gem on the Concept of Mercy

"God says, "My mercy embraces all things." It is either a gratuitous gift or obligatory. There are servants whom it embraces as a property of obligation, and there are others whom it embraces as a property of gratuitous gift. But the root is the divine gratuitous gift, bounty (al-fadl) and bestowal of blessing (al-in'am), since at first was no engendered existence to deserve it. Hence, the very manifestation of engendered existence derives from gratuitous gift. (III 93.25)"
Source: Quoted by W. C. Chittick, p. 130, columns 1 & 2

Part 2: What are the Similarities and Differences Between These Two Attributes?

"Mercy (rahma) can be divided into two basic kinds, referred to in the formula, "In the name of God, the All-Merciful (al-Rahman), and All-Compassionate (al-Rahim)". The terms All-Merciful and All-Compassionate both derive from the word rahma. The first kind of mercy (from the attribute al-Rahman), known as essential (dhatiyya) mercy or the mercy of free gift (al-imtinan, al-minna) is all inclusive ('amma), since no existent thing is excluded from it. God bestows it upon all creatures without distinction. "Existence itself is mercy for every existent thing" (II 281.27).

The second kind (from the attribute al-Rahim), known as mercy of obligation (wujub) is specific (khassa), since its bestowal becomes obligatory for God only in the case of certain servants who come to deserve it. Both kinds of mercy are referred in the Koranic verse, "My mercy [in the all-inclusive sense] embraces all things, but I shall prescribe it [in the specific sense] for those who are god-fearing and pay the alms, and those who have faith in Our signs, those who follow the Messenger' (Holy Qur'an 7:156)"
Source: W. C. Chittick's insight into Ibn al-Arabi's knowledge gem, p. 130, column 1

Part 3: How Can A Believer Merit the Mercy of al-Rahim?

In order to understand this clearly, I would like to give an example of lighting a charcoal barbeque. The first step is to gather and purchase charcoal briquettes, a charcoal lighter fluid and a box of matches. Then one has to organize the charcoal in the barbeque, pour the lighter fluid and light the mixture with a match. The charcoal is the energy source and the match is just needed for its ignition. So how does this apply to spiritual enlightenment?

In order to gather the charcoal and lighting fluid of our personal spiritual world, one has to practise our faith with conviction by attending Jamat Khana regularly, submitting dasond, saying three Duas on time, practising bandagi (luminous prayer), reciting angelic salwats, performing abundant dhikr, performing volunteer service, balancing din and duniya, and being absolutely ethical. When all the components of the above package of activities are accumulated in sufficient quantity, then the attribute of al-Rahim has to oblige by throwing a spiritual match to illumine the soul. Thus, the whole process of receiving the mercy from al-Rahim is meritocratic. This mercy is not a free gift but it is achieved through hard work, absolute submission and utmost humility. This is the reason why the Prophets, Pirs and great mumins performed intense supplication on the top of all the above mentioned activities for the mercy of al-Rahim. This is also the deeper understanding of the phrase 'faith of conviction'. This has been demanded from us by Noor Mowlana Hazar Imam in his firman made in London, England in 1994.

The Idd-e-Navroz card developed by Al-Waez Rai Amiraly Amlani in 2001 is a strong reminder for the need of balance between the physical, spiritual and intellectual components of our existence. Obviously, the search for Light (Noor), the highest form of Intellect, should be our top priority. May you be blessed with success in all components of your existence. Ameen.

Links to Past Navroz Cards:

  1. The Status of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s.)
  2. Navroz 2001: A Time for Rejuvenation of the Body, Mind, Soul and Intellect
  3. Navroz 2002: A Time for Rejuvenation of the Body, Mind, Soul and Intellect
  4. Navroz 2003: A Time for Deep Reflection
  5. Navroz 2004: A New Beginning for Spiritual Progress and Development
  6. Navroz 2005: Subtle Body, Satisfaction of the Soul and Enlightenment
  7. Navroz 2006: Angelic Salwat for Whole Humanity and All Departed Souls
  8. Navroz 2007: The Spirituality and Luminosity of Idd-e-Naw-ruz
  9. Navroz 2008: Giryah-u zâri, Moti Venti and Angelic Salwat Project
  10. Navroz 2009: How to Activate the Real Heart (Qalb, Dil)?
  11. Navroz 2010: The Fundamental Role of Imamim Mubin in Our Spiritual Journey

Ardent Supplications:
Ya Ali, Ya NOOR Mowlana Shah Karim Al-Hussaini Hazar Imam, create Sunshine in our hearts, light in our foreheads, and bless us all with the inner vision of the Truth!

Ya Ali, Ya NOOR Mowlana Shah Karim Al-Hussaini Hazar Imam, grant the global Jamat luminous (noorani) and spiritual (ruhani) tayid (help) to advance materially, spiritually and intellectually. Ameen.

Haizinda — Qayampaya
(Our Present Imam is Living and His NOOR is Eternal)

Rakh Mowla je Noor te Yaqeen (Certainly, we trust in Mowla's Light only),
Noorallah Juma (noor-allah@salmanspiritual.com)
SalmanSpiritual.com
Saturday, March 12, 2011


The lit candle represents the Light of Imamat. Let us actualize this Light into our spiritual hearts, heads, & consciences so that we may also be able to submit spiritual & luminous nazranas in the Diamond Jubilee.

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