Invoking Rahma

Peace, one and all…

In a recent post, we explored Rahma and its place within the conceptual universe of Islam.  We saw that rahma can be thought of as embodied love, as love made manifest.  The sayings of the Prophet (alaihi al-salatu wa al-salam) contain instructions on how to invoke God’s mercy, how to make Divine love tangible.  Ibn Umar relates the following saying:

‘The All-Merciful (al-Rahman) – exalted be He – shall bestow His mercy (rahma) upon those who show mercy.  Be merciful to those on earth and He who is in Heaven shall bestow His mercy upon you’ (al-Hakim)

Show loving-kindness to those on earth, and God will pour out His love upon you.  Show love to those on earth, and they too shall reflect God’s own love back to us.  A second hadith relates the following words (related by Abu Usama):

‘Indeed, God possesses an angel dedicated to those who supplicate by saying ‘O Most Merciful of the merciful (Arham al-Rahimin).’  To whomever repeats this three times in his supplication the angel says, ‘Indeed, the Most Merciful of the merciful is before you, therefore ask!’ (al-Hakim)

This phrase invokes God’s mercy in an intensive, superlative form.  It is a reminder that God alone is the Source of all mercy, of all love.  As this awareness begins to penetrate our inner beings, our hearts begin to reflect this quality of compassionate love.  A’isha relates the following words of the Prophet (alaihi al-salatu wa al-salam):

‘Indeed, God the Exalted loves kindness in everything’ (al-Bukhari)

Hz. Ali relates a very similar statement:

‘Indeed, God is kind (rifqa) and He loves kindness: He accords to it that which can never be attained through the use of force’ (Ahmad ibn Hanbal)

Elsewhere, the Prophet (alaihi al-salatu wa al-salam) said:

‘The best deed after belief in God is benevolent love (tawaddud) towards people’ (al-Tabarani)

The word tawaddud is derived from the same root as the Divine Name al-Wadud (the Ever-Loving).  The more compassionate we are, the more love we generate, to the point where we can reflect God’s pure light.  In a commentary on the first hadith cited above, we read these words:

‘Divine mercy (rahma) must radiate within man and be offered to others in the form of generosity, forbearance, and forgiveness’ (Spiritual Teachings of the Prophet, page 9)

Our hearts are transformed by His love into a pure mirror, as these words related by Anas ibn Malik make clear:

‘The Faithful (al-Mu’min) is the mirror of the faithful (al-Mu’min)’ (al-Tirmidhi)

May the Beloved Friend of All sweep the dust from the mirror of our hearts.  May His cleansing love, His tender mercy, transform us.

Ask olsun,
Abdur Rahman

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3 thoughts on “Invoking Rahma

  1. There is no Islam w/out Rahma.
    The Compassionate and Merciful One tells us this many ways and many times.

    My entire Islam is based on living this Islam:
    Muhammad, peace be upon him, came as a mercy to all the creatures and worlds.

  2. Salams,

    Welcome to my online home. Sorry, for some reason I missed this comment. Feel free to add me to your blog roll….I’d be honoured. You’re right….there’s no Islam without rahma

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