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Out of 99 names of Allah, two Al-Rahman and Al-Raheem, are repeated in every Salah. It seems that the meaning of Al-Rahman الرحْمَٰن and Al-Raheem ٱلرَّحِيمِ are interchangeable but there is a huge difference between the two.
The most repeated names
All of us, while praying, recite these two words Al-Rahman الرحْمَٰن and Al-Raheem ٱلرَّحِيمِ in every Rakah of Salah without understanding their meanings.
If you pray only Fard prayers and Witr in Isha, you would repeat these two words at least 20 times daily.
The Arabic roots
The words Al-Rahman الرحْمَٰن and Al-Raheem ٱلرَّحِيمِ are derived from the Arabic word Raham رحم, which means “womb.”
In Arabic Tafseer, the word Raham رحم also explains the mother’s love ❤️. As a mother loves her child unconditionally, Allah loves his creation infinitely.
Meaning of Al-Rahman الرحْمَٰن
Al-Rahman الرحْمَٰن means mercy. Al-Rahman is Allah’s most powerful name, which means Allah’s vast mercy upon his creations. You will understand it in a better way when you read the meaning of Al-Raheem ٱلرَّحِيمِ below.
Whenever a person is in sorrow or a difficult situation, this nature of his Creator strengthens his will. Allah is Al-Rahman His mercy is for all living beings, whether Muslims or non-Muslims.
Al-Rahman الرحْمَٰن in Quran
In the Holy Quran, Allah reminds humans about His blessings and Bounties He has showered upon us, describing Himself as Al-Rahman.
Allah has used the word Al-Rahman الرحْمَٰن to describe himself in the Holy Quran 57 times. There is one whole chapter of the Holy Quran named Surah Rahman.
Al-Rahman الرحْمَٰن in Hadith
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said: Allah created 100 mercies, and He placed one mercy among his creation; they show mercy to one another by it, and there are 99 mercies with Allah. – Jami` at-Tirmidhi 3541
Meaning of Al-Raheem ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The meaning of Al-Raheem ٱلرَّحِيمِ stands for the mercy that embraces all the creations of Allah. Al-Rahman refers to the vastness of Allah’s mercy, and al-Raheem refers to its effect on His creations.
Al-Raheem is used 114 times in The Holy Quran, precisely double the number of times Al-Rahman is used (57 times).
Difference between Al-Rahman and Al-Raheem
Many scholars say that the word Al-Raheem is just used for the mercy of Allah that He will attribute only to his believers.
On the other hand, Al-Rahman means mercy that Allah will shower on all his creations, i.e., jinn, human beings, animals, plants, and every living and non-living thing.
Therefore, Allah is al-Rahman for even non-believers as he provides them food, heals their wounds, and gives them health in this world.
At the same time, he is both al-Rahman and Al-Raheem for believers, as he not only has mercy on them in this world, but he will have mercy on them in life thereafter.
However, non-believers will have no mercy on the day of judgment.