“Rahmah” in Surah al Kahf
Last Friday, I was reading Surah al Kahf as usual. While reading a thought came to my mind about Rahmah – grace, compassion and mercy. As i was proceeding, i got slow in recitation because my mind was wonder struck at the word ‘Rahmah’ being frequently used in this Surah. Then i paused for a while and thought may be this is yet another miracle of this Surah. A thought came to my mind that Rahmah could even be the theme of this Surah.
I would like to share my thoughts here. May Allah help us all in reading and understanding His Book in a better way. Above all, May Allah give us the much needed guidance, help and assistance in following the teachings of the Qur’an and Sunnah in our life. Aameen.
Let us firstly understand the word Rahmah.
This word comes from the root ر ح م r-h-m, which means, according to the popular Dictionary of Qur’anic Usage, ‘womb, blood relatives; mercy, kindness, compassion, pity, sympathy, to show mercy, to show compassion, to let off, to be kind, forgiveness, bounty, good fortune, blessing.
“Rahmah” which means ‘Mercy, Grace’ comes six times in Surah al Kahf
“Ruhma”, a derivative of the root r-h-m, which means ‘mercy, kindness, compassion’ is used once in this Surah.
Allah introduces the significance of Grace and Mercy through the du’aa of those dedicated Muslim Youth who sought refuge in the Cave.
“When those youth sought refuge in the Cave and said: “Our Lord! Grant us mercy from Yourself and provide for us rectitude in our affairs.” (18: 10)
Lesson: Without Mercy and Grace from Allah, a person or a group of believers cannot be safe from people’s mischief! With Rahmah, things become easy in the world for the believers to achieve.
As we proceed with the recitation, we notice the confidence level of these Muslim Youth. After they made the du’aa seeking Allah’s Mercy and Aid, they were so confident that one of them said:
“And now that you have dissociated yourselves from them and from whatever they worship beside Allah, go and seek refuge in the Cave. Your Lord will extend His mercy to you and will provide for you the means for the disposal of your affairs.” (18: 16)
‘Your Lord will extend His mercy to you and will provide for you the means for the disposal of your affairs’.
When the youth spoke ‘ your Lord will extend.., will provide…’ they were so firmly relying upon their Lord that they were sure that this is going to happen!
The Surah further narrates that it did happen! Subhanallah!
Lesson: Trust and make du’aa. After making du’aa, again be so firm in belief that your Lord is Ever-Listening, and Ever-Providing. He is the Dispenser of Grace! We need to develop that confidence in our Lord, that unshakable belief drawing inspiration from the glorious Muslim Youth of Surah al Kahf.
As we proceed reading the Surah, we come across an amazing attribute of Allah:
Zur-Rahmah – Possessor of Mercy, Dispenser of Grace, Giver of Bounty, Bestower of Compassion, Infinitely Graceful.
“Your Lord is All-Forgiving, full of mercy. Had He wished to take them to task for their doings, He would have hastened in sending His scourge upon them. But He has set for them a time-limit which they cannot evade”. (18: 58)
Only in two places in the Qur’an, Allah describes Himself as ‘Zur-Rahmah’. One here in Surah al Kahf and the other in Surah Al An’aam verse 133. Here it is ‘Wa Rabbukal Ghafooru Zur-Rahmah’, there it is ‘Wa Rabbukal Ghaniyyu Zur-Rahmah. Whereas in many places in the Qur’an, Allah describes Himself as ‘Zul Fadhl’, Owner of Mercy.
Lesson: We need to learn other attributes of Allah which are spread and mentioned in the Qur’an and Sunnah, not just be ‘satisfied’ with the popular 99 Names of Allah.
Reading further, we come across the famous story of Prophet Moosa and Al Khidr, in which Allah says that He bestowed His Rahmah upon his beloved servant, Al Khidr.
“And they found a servant from among Our servants to whom we had given mercy from us and had taught him from Us a [certain] knowledge”. (18: 65)
Lesson: Wisdom, knowledge and understanding of affairs are part of Allah’s Grace and Mercy which He bestows upon whomsoever He wills. Knowledge, therefore, is Allah’s Rahmah.
As we proceed with our recitation, we learn that there are many aspects of Allah’s Rahmah depicted in Moosa-Al Khidr story.
When Al Khidr killed a boy, Moosa was shocked and couldn’t understand why he killed him. The wisdom that was hidden from Moosa was that Allah intended to give the Muslim parents (Abawaahu Mu’minayn) of the slain evil boy, another boy who was to be of upright character and tender-hearted.
“So we intended that their Lord should substitute for them one better than him in purity and more inclined to show mercy (lit. nearer to mercy)”. (18: 81)
Lesson 1: Good children are part of Allah’s grace and Mercy which He bestows to whomsoever He wills. Good Children, therefore, are Allah’s Rahmah.
Lesson 2: We must always make du’aa to Allah to bless us with good children, and also take all care to their upbringing by providing good education so that they, in turn, become a cause of goodness to the society.
As we continue to read the story of Moosa and al Khidr, we come across the next act of Al Khidr which again surprised Prophet Moosa. That of Al Khidr setting right the dilapidated wall and making it strong and longer lasting.
“And as for the wall, it belonged to two orphan boys in the city, and there was beneath it a treasure for them, and their father had been righteous. So your Lord intended that they reach maturity and extract their treasure, as a mercy from your Lord. And I did it not of my own accord. That is the interpretation of that about which you could not have patience.” (18: 82)
The wall that Al Khidr saved from falling down had a treasure beneath and it belonged to two orphan boys whose father had been religious and righteous. It was a part of Allah’s Mercy and Grace that the treasure should go to the orphan boys when they come of age.
Lesson 1: The wealth of the orphans was protected due to the righteousness of their father. Therefore we should not worry about our wealth’s safety. Even after our death it is safeguarded (even the kids have not grown to use the wealth) but Allah protects because it is earned by a RIGHTEOUS FATHER: A pure halal earnings. Hence our matter of concern should be: ARE WE RIGHTEOUS?
Lesson 2: Treasure (Kanz in Arabic, Khazana in Urdu) is from Allah’s Mercy and Grace which He gives to whomsoever He wills. Whoever is blessed with a treasure from unimaginable source is indeed fortunate to be blessed magnanimously by Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala.
Is there any harm in making this du’aa? ‘O Allah! bless me with a treasure from your side, for the treasure is indeed a part of Your Mercy’. I always make this du’aa.
Lesson 3: Islam is not against economic prosperity! It is all about how you earn and how you spend.
Back to recitation. We finally come across the story of Zul Qarnain, the great.
Allah had blessed Zul Qarnain with everything at his command, and he was so humble in spite of being such a powerful man. He attributed all his power and capabilities to the Rahmah of His Lord:
“He (that is, Zul Qarnain) said: “This is a mercy from my Lord: but when the time of my Lord’s promise shall come, He will level the rampart with the ground. My Lord’s promise always comes true.” (18: 98)