AR-RAHMÂN – الرَّحْمَن
Ar-Rahmân and Ar-Rahîm are two names derived from Ar-Rahmah (the mercy). The Bestower of Rahmah. The Most Merciful. The One Who bestows the rizq to all creatures. The One Who wills khayr and rahmah to all creatures momently and grants infinite ni’mahs to the infinite creatures. The Owner of order and justice.
بِاسْمِهِ وَاِنْ مِنْ شَيْءٍ اِلاَّ يُسَبِّحُ بِحَمْدِهِ
There are many hikmahs in the Names of الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ being included in بِسْمِ اللّٰهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ and being dhikr at the start of all good things. Postponing the explanation of these to another time, I shall for now recount a feeling of mine:
My brother, I see the Names of الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ to be the greatest nûr that they embrace the whole universe and satisfy all the eternal needs of all rûhs and so luminous and powerful that they secure them against all his innumerable enemies. The most important means I have found for attaining to these Names, these two greatest nûrs are poverty and shukr, impotence and compassion. That is, ‘ubûdiyyah and realizing one's neediness. What comes to mind in connection with this and I say contrary to the muhaqqiqîn, and even to Imam-i Rabbani, one of my Ustadh, is this: the intense and brilliant emotion Hazrat Ya’qub ‘Alayhissalâm felt for Yûsuf ‘Alayhissalâm was not the love or ‘ashq, but compassion. For compassion is much sharper and more brilliant and elevated, and purer and more worthy of the rank of nubuwwah than love and ‘ashq. If the love and ‘ashq for metaphorical objects of love and creatures are intense, they are not fitting for the elevated rank of nubuwwah. This means Ya’qub’s (a.s.) feelings, which Al-Qur’an Al-Hakîm describes with brilliant, glittering eloquence, and which were the means to attaining to the Name of Rahîm, were a high degree of compassion. As for ‘ashq, the means of attaining to the Name of Wadûd, it concerns the matter of Zulaikha's love for Yûsuf ‘Alayhissalâm. That is to say, however much higher the Qur'an of Miraculous Exposition shows Hazrat Ya’qub ‘Alayhissalâm's emotions to be than Zulaikha's, to that degree compassion is seen to be more elevated than ‘ashq. My Ustadh, Imam-i Rabbani, did not consider metaphorical ‘ashq to be altogether fitting for the rank of nubuwwah and therefore said: "The virtues of Yûsuf were virtues pertaining to the âkhirah, so love for him was not of a metaphorical kind so that it should have been defective." But I say: "O Ustadh! That is an artificial interpretation, the haqiqah must be this: that was not the love, but a degree of compassion a hundred times more brilliant, more extensive, and more elevated than love." Yes, in all its varieties, compassion is subtle and pure. Whereas many varieties of ‘ashq and love may not be condescended to.
Furthermore, compassion is extremely broad. Through the compassion he feels for his child, a person's compassion encompasses all young and even all rûh beings and acts as a sort of mirror to the comprehensiveness of the Name of Rahîm. Whereas ‘ashq restricts its gaze to its beloved and sacrifices everything for it. Or else to elevate and praise its beloved, it denigrates others, and in a ma’nawî manner insults them and abuses their honour. For example, one said: "The sun saw my beloved's beauty and was embarrassed. In order not to see it, it veiled itself in the cloud." Lover, fine sir! What right do you have to impute shame to the sun, which is a nûr-filled page of eight Ism Al-‘Â’dham?
Moreover, compassion is sincere, wants nothing in return; it is pure and seeks nothing in exchange. The self-sacrificing, unselfish compassion of animals for their young, at the most common degree even, is evidence for this. ‘Ashq, however, desires remuneration and seeks a return. The weepings of ‘ashq are a sort of demanding, a desiring remuneration.
Thus, Hazrat Ya’qub’s (a.s.) compassion, the most brilliant nûr of Surah Yûsuf -the most brilliant of the Qur'an's Surahs- points to the Names of Rahmân and Rahîm. It informs us that the way of compassion is the way of rahmah. And as a salve for the pain of compassion, it causes a person to utter: فَاللّٰهُ خَيْرٌ حَافِظًا وَهُوَ اَرْحَمُ الرَّاحِمِينَ 1
اَلْبَاقِى هُوَ الْبَاقِى
The Letters ( 48-49 )
1 (For Allah is the Best of Protectors and He is Al-Arham Ar-Râhimîn)