Since the name “ar-Rahim” shares the same root as “ar-Rahman”, it becomes essential to elucidate their meanings through comparison. “Ar-Rahman” signifies the One Who extends His mercy to upon all created beings impartially. This mercy is bestowed irrespective of any conditions, circumstances, or on the will of the servant. It suffices that we are created in order to be the recipients of the manifestations of “Ar-Rahman”. However, if Allah’s mercy were solely characterized by Him being Ar-Rahman, there would be no differentiation between the good and the bad, the righteous and the unrighteous. The fact that human beings were given a will would be of no value, the human capacity for choice would be inconsequential, the pursuit of goodness would be meaningless, and moral advancement would remain unattainable.

We know that the names of our Lord are not independent of each other and each of them forms a perfect whole in relation to the others. As a result of the relationship between mercy and justice, the name “ar-Rahim” expresses a second mercy that the servants will attain as a reward for using their wills in the path of goodness. It shows that in His sight, the one who strives and the one who does not strive will not be treated equally (Baqarah, 2:218; Ali ‘Imran, 3:132; Nisa, 4:175; Tawbah, 9:20-21; Naml, 27:46; Nur, 24:56; Ahzab, 33:43; Jathiyah, 45:30; Hujurat, 49:10; Hadid, 57:28). Indeed, in the Qur’an, after declaring that His mercy encompasses all creation, Allah states that those who believe in the Last Prophet and possess certain qualities will also receive divine mercy in the future (A’raf 7:156-157). For this reason, it is widely accepted that “Ar-Rahman” refers to the divine mercy that includes everyone in this world, and “ar-Rahim” refers to the divine mercy that includes only the believers in the Hereafter.

Thus, our Lord, Who surrounds our beginning and our end with this two-way manifestation of His mercy, grants absolute hope to all humanity with His name “Ar-Rahman” and encourages people who fulfill their responsibilities, are diligent and benevolent to continue their good deeds without despairing of the result with His name “ar-Rahim” (Yunus, 10:26-27).