Understanding Rahma: From Womb to Worship

It is quite interesting to learn that the Glorious Almighty’s name, “Ar-Rahman” is derived from the word “Raham,” a womb.

Allah said:

“I Am Ar-Rahman. I created the Raham (womb) and derived a name for it from My Name. Hence, whoever keeps it (family ties), I will keep ties to him, and whoever severs it, I will sever ties with him.”

Why did Allah (SWT) connect the two words in origin? It is because a mother’s womb demonstrates the pure meaning of Rahma. It symbolizes a source of protection and care, where a being is conceived and is selflessly taken care of and warmly nurtured for in an incomparable way.

The mother’s relationship with her child, even before it is born, is intriguing in a noticeable way.

Is the child in love with the mother? No.

Is the child even aware of the mother? No.

We may not always acknowledge his presence or even feel it for that matter, but He is always there for us, guiding us, protecting us, and sustaining our lives in their tiniest details.

But does the mother acknowledge the child in his entirety? Yes.

Does the mother already love the child unconditionally? Yes.

Does the mother take care of the child in her greatest possibilities? Yes.

Does the mother deem the child as dearly as though the child is her complete, new world? Yes.

From the child’s nourishment to its health–each and every single heartbeat–the child is taken care of by his new mother. And yet, this newborn is utterly oblivious to the fact that there is this person who loves unconditionally, who will prioritize its needs over hers, who is willing to provide shelter from every danger, and who will go through immense pain simply to bring it into this world.  

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This is similar to Allah’s love for His creation. We may not always acknowledge His presence or even feel it for that matter, but He is always there for us, guiding us, protecting us and sustaining our lives, down to the tiniest details.

It’s normal for us to have days when we ask ourselves questions like, “Why do I have all of these difficulties?” Even the occasional “Has Allah (SWT) forgotten about me?” can creep into one’s mind. But these thoughts may be eased if we start to understand the significance of Ar-Rahman.

Let us not forget that we are loved inexplicably by the Most Supreme of the Entities. While it is human nature to search for proofs, Allah’s (SWT) mercy is always there for us – we just have to open our hearts to see its glory.

In English, Rahma is translated to mercy. However, mercy in English implies when one spares another. For example, you plan to treat someone undesirably or inflict some sort of punishment upon them for their wrongdoing, but you decide to withdraw your punishment and show mercy instead.

But the word Rahma is not to be associated with punishment–the two should not even link in our minds.

Rahma, rather, should be identified with selfless care and complete protection.

Allah (SWT) is the Most-Merciful, for He knows us more than we know ourselves.

Someone who reflects Rahma treats you with sympathy and compassion. They understand your needs and your weaknesses and aspire to remove pain and problems from your life to make it easy and manageable for you.

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Hence, Allah (SWT) is the Most-Merciful, for He knows us more than we know ourselves. Even if we may not always recognize it, He always changes circumstances for our betterment. He is fully aware that, internally, we are all delicate to some degree and require utmost care and love, and will thus handle every circumstance we may be dealing with. He will not leave us.

قَالَ عَذَابِي أُصِيبُ بِهِ مَنْ أَشَاءُ ۖ وَرَحْمَتِي وَسِعَتْ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ

[ Allah ] said, “My punishment – I afflict with it whom I will, but My mercy encompasses all things.” A’raf:156