Tag Archives: Arabic

Ar-Rahman and Ar-Raheem Together

Allah introduces himself in Surah Fatiha as Ar-Rahman and Ar-Raheem, both. Both of these names derive their meaning from the word mercy (rahmah).

In classical Arabic, rahmah represents the mercy of a mother for her child. As the child grows, it causes the mother to be sick and weak; it eats nutrition from the mother; in the later trimesters, the child even stretches, punches, or kicks the mother’s ribs! But still, the mother cares for, takes care of, and protects the child.

Similarly, both of these names mean something merciful. They have a difference through.

The name Ar-Rahman means:
– Allah is extremely merciful
– Allah is not just merciful, but is being very merciful right now.
– Allah’s mercy is not permanent; it can leave you if you do wrong.

In contrast, the name Ar-Raheem means:
– Allah’s mercy is permanent
– Allah’s mercy is not necessarily happening right now
– Allah’s mercy is not the same level of extremely merciful

Ibn Abbas used to say that Ar-Raheem is only for believers, while Ar-Rahman is for all the creatures and everything on earth — because permanent mercy is what you need for Jannah, and that’s only for believers.

By combining these two names together, we get the total meaning of Allah being extremely and permanently merciful, both immediately (right now) and in the future!

And this is why we start with “Bismillahi Ar-Rahmaani Ar-Raheem” when we do something good; because we want Allah’s mercy and blessings (barakah) both immediately and in the future.

And this is how Allah introduces himself in Surah Fatiha, as Ar-Rahman Ar-Raheem. (But too much mercy can also lead people astray — they’ll do whatever they want — so Allah adds “Maalik al-yawm ad-deen” to keep us balanced between hope and fear.)

As a corollary of this, whenever Allah mentions only one of these names (eg. Ar-Rahman), He’s intentionally highlighting a very specific type of mercy — such as in Surat Ar-Rahmaan (Allah revealed the Qur’an right now to us).

May Allah allow us to understand and actualize His great names (ameen).

Source: Bayyinah – Qur’an: Cover to Cover, by ustadh Nouman Ali Khan. Videos for Surah Fatiha, parts 1d and 2. Retrieved February 18, 2016.


Qur’anic Oath: Tallahi!


Aqsaam (oaths) in the Qur’an are a very fascinating subject that we should study and focus on more. There are a few components needed for a qasm (oath) to occur. One of them is the harf qasm, a letter that shows there is an oath being taken.

There are a few letters in the Qur’an that are used as harf qasm, for example, Allah ta’ala says “wal ‘aadiyaati dhabhaa”. The harf qasm in this oath is the letter wow (و).

Another harf qasm which does not appear very much in the Qur’an is the letter ‘taa’ (ت). The unique aspect of this letter is that it is only used for Ismul Jalaalah. You will never see the letter ‘taa’ being used to swear by other than Allah azza wa jal.

What is the difference between the harf wow and taa?

The harf taa is only used in very unusual circumstances, while harf wow is the standard harf qasm–the one that appears most in the Qur’an, and harf wow is used to swear by things other than Allah ta’ala.

The harf taa is used in a state of strong and overwhelming emotion, such as astonishment, anger, frustration and amazement.

Harf taa appears a total of nine times in the Qur’an: twice used by Allah azza wa jal (to swear by Himself), once in the speech of Ibrahim alayhi salaam, four times used by the brothers of Yusuf alayhi salaam, and twice in the speech of people in the hereafter.

Here are some examples:

When Ibrahim alayhi salaam was so angered and upset by his people worshipping the idols, he said:

تَاللَّهِ لَأَكِيدَنَّ أَصْنَامَكُم بَعْدَ أَن تُوَلُّوا مُدْبِرِينَ

“by Allah! I will definitely plot a plan (to destroy) your idols after you have gone away and turned your backs.” (21:57)

When the brothers of Yusuf alayhi salaam were just shocked that their father alayhi salaam would not forget and “get over” the alleged death of their brother–in their amazement they said:

تَاللَّهِ تَفْتَأُ تَذْكُرُ يُوسُفَ حَتَّى تَكُونَ حَرَضًا أَوْ تَكُونَ مِنَ الْهَالِكِينَ

“By Allah! You will never cease remembering Yusuf until you become weak with old age, or until you die!” (12:85)

The people of hell-fire, in their complete regret and anger with themselves say:

تَاللَّهِ إِن كُنَّا لَفِي ضَلَالٍ مُّبِينٍ  إِذْ نُسَوِّيكُمْ بِرَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

“By Allah! We were truly in a manifest error, when we held you (false gods) as equals with the Rabb of all that exists!” (26:97-98)

The Qur’an tells us of a future event, when a companion of Jannah begins to reminisce about a friend he had in the dunya that did not believe in the resurrection. Then a voice calls out and says:

هَلْ أَنْتُمْ مُطَّلِعُونَ

‘Will you look down? ‘ (37:54)

فَاطَّلَعَ فَرَآهُ فِي سَوَاءِ الْجَحِيمِ

“So he looked down and saw him in the midst of the fire,(37:55)

In his gratefulness to Allah, his happiness and relief he says:

تَاللَّهِ إِنْ كِدتَّ لَتُرْدِينِ وَلَوْلَا نِعْمَةُ رَبِّي لَكُنْتُ مِنَ الْمُحْضَرِينَ

“By Allah! You have nearly ruined me! Had it not been for the Blessing of my Rabb, I would certainly have been among those brought forth (to Hell).” (37:56-57)



Qur’an vs Kitaab


The two most common names for the Book of Allah are: Qur’an and Kitaab.

We learn when studying the Qur’an that even the words chosen are a revelation from Allah with divine wisdom. So, in that case, what do these two names mean and what is the difference between them?

The word ‘Qur’an’ is said to be from two roots, one of them qaaf-ra-hamza, this root qara’a means to recite. So Qur’an would be: the Recital.

On the other hand, the word ‘Kitaab’ is from kaaf-ta-ba which means something that is written.

If we look in the Qur’an, we see that Allah ta’ala uses different words to point to it:

ذَ‌ٰلِكَ الْكِتَابُ

That is the book! (2:2)

إِنَّ هَذَا الْقُرْآنَ

Indeed this Qur’an. (27:76)

Why does Allah azza wa jal use ‘thaalika’ for Kitaab and ‘haatha’ for Qur’an?

Thaalika is a word that is used to point to something far. The meaning of kitaab again is something WRITTEN, and the Kitaab’s ultimate written location is Lawh al Mahfoodh (The Preserved Tablet) with Allah ta’ala, so Allah ta’ala uses thaalika to point to it because it is with Him above the seven heavens.

Haatha is used to point to something that is close. The meaning of Qur’an is something that is recited, the recitation is taking place HERE, so Allah ta’ala uses a closer pointing word.

How about this ayah?

وَهَذَا كِتَابٌ

and this is a Book. (6:92) Allah ta’ala uses haatha (the close pointing word) for Kitaab. This is one place in the Qur’an where Allah ta’ala uses haatha to point to the Kitaab…What’s the connection?

At the time of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, the Qur’an was not written as a book that we have nowadays…but of course Allah azza wa jal KNEW it would be in a book form one day, so He azza wa jal said: this book, pointing to it as if it was close.

But to keep the rank and status of the Qur’an, and to dispel any doubts that it was written by a man, Allah ta’ala says right after:

وَهَذَا كِتَابٌ أَنزَلْنَاهُ

And this is a Book, We have sent it down. (6:92)



NOW is the Time to Learn Arabic!

Bismillah walhamdulillah, was Salaatu was Salaamu ‘alaa Rasoolillaah.

“On the Day of Judgment, the Qur’an and its people who used to act by it in the world shall be brought, being lead by Surat ul-Baqarah and Al-e-Imraan, which shall be arguing on behalf of their companions.” (Reported by Muslim)

We all strive to become a companion of the Qur’an, but who are its true companions? The companions of the Qur’an are those who studied it, memorized it, implemented it and lived by it. It is not possible, in the least bit, for one to become a companion of the Qur’an and not know Arabic. Learning the language is the starting point of a life long journey with the Qur’an. Allah ta’ala chose this blessed language, as He states 11 times throughout the Qur’an: “A Book, whereof the verses are explained in detail as an Arabic Qur’an, for people who know.” (41:3), “An Arabic Qur’an, without any crookedness, so that they may have Taqwa.” (39:28), “We have sent it down as an Arabic Qur’an, in order that you may gain understanding.” (12:2).

For those who do not know the language of the Qur’an, they will be deprived of its true sweetness, of its blessings and most importantly, understanding the words of Allah ta’ala. It is a cause of much grief and sadness to know that the majority of our ummah has lost the connection with the Book of Allah because the language has been lost, as the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said: “Allah raises up peoples by this Book, and puts down by it others.” (Saheeh Muslim) We have abandoned this book, and the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam will testify to Allah ta’ala on the day of judgment: “And the Messenger will say, O my Rabb, indeed my people deserted this Qur’an!” (25:30)

The righteous companions and scholars of the past have testified to the importance of learning this language and they themselves, who were native Arab speakers, were concerned with studying this language. Umar radi Allahu anhu said, “Learn Arabic for it is a part of your deen.” (Iqtidaa’ al-Siraat al-Mustaqeem, 2/207) It is also reported that Ubay ibn Ka’b radi Allahu anhu said, “Learn Arabic just as you learn to memorize the Qur’an.” (Ibn Abî Shaybah, Al-Musannaf Vol.7 p150)

Many of us want to take the proper steps to learn Arabic, but do not know where to start. What is the solution? Where do we begin? The best option is to study overseas, however many of us do not have that option to learn Arabic, so inshaAllah we’ll cover in this article some easy steps one can take to begin the process of learning Qur’anic Arabic if they cannot travel to do so.

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