Notes below from Bayyinah TV’s lesson on the second ayah of Surah Fatihah. One thing that really struck me as I was listening to this session is how much more meaningful something becomes once you understand what are you saying. I’ve heard from childhood that it is important to start an act with the words Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim, and to miss this important step is to be cut off from all good. But hearing Sh Nouman Ali Khan’s commentary on the Names ar-Rahman and ar-Rahim puts this in context, and teaches us saying these words is a prayer for mercy immediately and in the future as well. Instead of saying supplications without thought to what the words actually mean, these lessons are a call to learn more and bring our heart to our prayers.
Notes on Ayah 2 of Surah al Fatihah
- The purpose of translation is to go from language don’t know to language you do know.
- Ar-Rahman and ar-Rahim are two words that basically means Merciful.
- word rahm means womb.
- Mercy is when completely taken care of, no worries. Arabic definition of mercy is what a mother does for her child.
- When Allah says ar-Rahman and ar-Rahim the point is to teach you that these two Names are different from each other
a) extremely merciful. Not just merciful, incredibly, highly, extremely merciful.
b) something happening right now
c) might do something that will take it away.
2 qualities of ar-Rahim
a) permanent – constantly merciful, perpetually merciful, endlessly merciful
b) isn’t necessarily happening right now, quality is always there though.
Lets look at words together. If just say ar-Rahman, potentially scary. Allah covered mercy from every possible angle when said ar-Rahman, ar-Rahim.
When we want to do anything, want Allah’s mercy to be there immediately when we do an act and you want blessing to go on forever and ever. So when start act say Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim to have both.
2 kinds of people:
- people who worry about problems of today
- people who worry about problem of future because today is taken care of.
Human beings want Allah’s mercy, now. He gaves us the mercy that comes immediately first. Gave us ar-Rahman first. And the moment He took care of our present with ar-Rahman, the mercy that comes right now, our minds immediately said what about tomorrow? And with the Name ar-Rahim, Allah said don’t worry it’s always there. SubhanAllah, He took care of us just in ar-Rahman, ar-Rahim. Immediate and future.
Our scholars in the past said that if you want to imagine the mercy of Allah, captured in ar-Rahman, ar-Rahim. ar-Rahman is like the ocean with high waves, extreme, and ar-Rahim is like the calm ocean that is endless and goes on forever. No human can imagine both at the same time. No human being can imagine ar-Rahman and ar-Rahim at the same time. Allah’s mercy is beyond our imagination. The way Allah is Merciful is beyond our imagination. The way Allah is merciful is beyond our imagination. Cannot be limited to our imagination. Never think of Allah’s Mercy the way think of anyone else’s mercy.
Questions about “how come Allah did this?” “How come Allah did that?” “How can He be merciful if this disease exists?”, all comes from someone who doesn’t understand they are a slave. Because moment start complaint, kill alhamidullah.
- ar-Rahman is for all creatures in the world
- ar-Rahim is only for believers
If you want permanent mercy, have to be a real slave. If Allah left things with ar-Rahman, ar-Rahim, would be chaos in the world. But there is an accounting. We ask Allah for His Mercy on Judgement Day, and ask Allah to skip our own precise judgement and to give us an easy audit.
~Shaykh Nouman Ali Khan, Al-Fatihah Ayah 2, Bayyinah TV