Is there a Muslim name for God that’s only reserved for true believers? This name for God is very similar to Al-Rahman, but some would teach that the benefits of this name apply only to Muslims. Let us see whether or not this is true. As we study this Muslim name for God and the names of God found in the Bible we can find common ground and the truth. The issue at hand is whether Allah’s mercy is extended to unbelievers.
Al-Rahim – The All-Merciful
According to Islam, this name means He who has plenty of mercy for the believers. The term the believers, is clearly understood to mean the true believers, or Muslims. This Muslim name for God, like Al-Rahman, is used in the Shihada, the Muslim confession of faith. I often ask Muslims; How does one become a believer without receiving Allah’s mercy? Few have an answer for this question. This is something that very few think about, but rather, accept as truth; believing that Allah’s mercy is not available to infidels.
What’s the Quranic basis for this name?
“In the name of God, the infinitely Compassionate and Most Merciful.” S. Al-Fatihah 1:1
Surra Al-Fatihah (The Opening) is the opening Surra in the Quran. This Muslim name of God is found in the first verse of the Quran, so clearly it’s important. For a deeper understanding of the prominence of this Muslim name for God, see: S. 2:163, and S. 4:100.
As an ardent promoter of inter-faith dialogue, I had to include this next verse from the Qur’an. You’ll understand why in a moment:
“Say: “If ye do love Allah, Follow me: Allah will love you and forgive you your sins: For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” S. 3:31
Wow! The same claim was made by the Savior, Jesus Christ. The question for the Muslim (and every sinner) is clear… Can Jesus be trusted? This verse is vital in Muslim evangelism because the concept of sin is vastly different in Islam than it is in Christianity. Muslims usually count the ‘big’ sins as those which cut men off from Allah’s mercy and fail to understand the subtle destructiveness of the ‘little sins’.
So, is Al-Rahim, The All-Merciful, a Muslim name for God reserved exclusively for Muslim believers, or are Christ’s claims valid?
Consider some of Christ’s claims from the Bible:
Matt. 9:4-7 recounts the story of Jesus being upset with the religious leaders because Jesus wanted to heal a man on the holy day. Jesus let them know that He not only had power on earth to heal a man of paralysis, but He also had the power to forgive the man of his sins. Obviously, it’s easier to simply proclaim a man’s sins are forgiven.
To demonstrate His authority, however, He said that to prove He had power to forgive the man’s sins he would rise up and walk off healed. Guess what… The man rose up, healed and forgiven. This is but one demonstration of Allah’s tangible, powerful mercy in action.
While on earth, Jesus constantly reminded the religious leaders that they were from beneath and He was from above. They were of this natural world and He was from above.
So many will die in their sins if they do not believe that He is the Merciful One and receive His mercy. It is Him who is ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.
The words have been spoken, the books have been written. When someone hears of the Savior, the choice must be made. For simple illustrations of God’s immeasurable mercy, I refer you again to the three Scriptures that I mention often, and I leave you with some compelling verses from the Psalms.
The Woman with the Issue of Blood – John 8:1-12
Blind Bartimaeus- Mark 10:46-52
The Prodigal Son – Luke 15:11-24
Let us remember, Allah, Al-Rahim, is merciful and gracious. He is slow to anger, and abounds in mercy. He isn’t just merciful, He’s overflowing with mercy. Thankfully, He has not dealt with us according to the extent our sins, nor punished us according to our wrongdoings.
Just as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him. One way I like to think of His mercy is the picture of east and west. He has removed our sins from us through Christ’s finished work just as the east is removed from the west. He’s like a father who pities his children. Allah pities those who fear Him. He knows that we are but mere men.