What’s in the name:
Rahman and Raheem
The basic ID name of God is Allah and ninety nine or more other names of Allah are adjective names, describing His personality.
These names attributed to Allah by Himself in the Quran have in depth multidimensional meanings. As holds a tradition of the holy prophet(PBUH), 'that each verse of the Quran has two ,three or more meanings’, so too is true for the attributes assigned to Allah by Himself as He is the one with intricate wisdom .
The names Rahman and Raheem are traditionally translated as 'most gracious and most merciful.' these are correct meanings but there is more meaning to the names than that.
The root word 'rhm' from which Rahman and Raheem are derived literally means 'womb'. Therefore the words Rahman and Raheem would mean 'the holder of the womb'.
Allah is the holder of all wombs. He is the conceptual conceiver, the designer, the assembler, the securer, the nourisher, the deliverer of all wombs. He does not hold a womb inside His body but He is the intricate knower of all that goes inside the womb stationed in its secondary holder, and He ,quote 'makes it as He wills'.
To start with, Allah made the womb of this universe, created the baby, then made it grow into a full fledge universe that we live in today. He is the holder, the nourisher of the womb and supporter of the universe to its full lifetime. Furthermore Allah is the creator and holder of all wombs of the galaxies and stars that experience birth in time and die in time.
Allah is the holder of the immense multitude of wombs of all creatures living on earth from bacteria to ants to worms to sheep to whales to men. All these wombs are in His storehouses in some mysterious form, quote 'there is nothing but with Allah are its storehouses upon storehouses '(15:21). These wombs are delivered in the wombs of their mothers and delivered onto the face of the earth in time.
To realize the nature of the ultimate Lord of the universe, one needs to close his/her eyes and start imagining the galaxies, each of which is holding billions of stars each millions and millions of miles apart. And that this universe holds in it billions of such galaxies all webbed in gigantic, cosmological walls and filaments. Only our own tiny galaxy is just 100,000 light years across, and only the observable universe is close to 93 billion light years across. Yet all these stars, planets, galaxies are all wombs to our Creator, some delivered, some yet to be delivered, some that have returned to the Lord after completing their life cycle. Again just imagine the One, the Mighty holding this immense web of wombs, nothing errs in His numbers, nothing moves an inch away except as measured; in His book.
Such huge numbers do make you dizzy but what about the not observable even through the strongest microscopes, they too are made out of wombs, their numbers of such particles in the universe is simply unconceivable. The Rahmaan and Raheem reaches every dimension, He feels for every reality, every existence, He forms and fashions each and gives to each the love and meaning of life. Everything associates itself with Him and sees Him in the mirror of its self. Every galaxy, every super cluster, every wave, every particle will, therefore ,willfully bow down to the Gracious, the most Beneficient. Man alone finds the courage to break away from the strings of mercy and fulfillment, from the web that connects the atoms to the stars, that connects matter to knowledge that connects man to his Lord.
Therefore, Allah is the unimaginably immense holder of all the wombs, but this meaning is supplemented with feelings inherently associated with the womb. Feeling of love, protection, nourishment, giving and forgoing and forgiving of all pain and toil suffered by the holder of the womb. Therefore, in time, the feelings associated with the word became part and parcel of the meaning of the word, which is a correct way of connoting meaning to a word.
Now, why the two names, Rahman and Raheeem. They are different from each other in the sense that the word Rahman tends to have a somewhat masculine weightage whereas Raheem has a feminine value to it.Rahman is bold and resourceful, therefore the giver, the provider, the strengthener and the gracious.
Raheem is the forgoer, the forgiver, the one who hides the baby in a cloak of mercy. The loving, the suffering, the toiling, the returning, wishing the welfare of the child even when it is haughty and corrupt.
To imagine a mighty and super king of the universe, who creates, holds, sustains billions upon billions of wombs and has paternal feelings for each one of them, gives a shiver to the heart, is such a One, Father to us, is such a One holding us still in His strings of mercy and grace, are we associated with such immensity, such brilliance, such wealth. Yet would we feel disgraced, empty and alone, when we should be feeling drenched in enormousity and numerousity. The Rahman the Raheem; we surrender our souls to Your mercy and grace.