Now the word “Rahman,” in which “Alif” and “Lam” are added.  It is accepted unanimously that such additions to the word increase or rather intensify the meaning of the word.  Thus, this word means the One who has more mercy and benevolence.

Rahman” is the first attribute and “Raheem,” is, apparently the second attribute.  Both of them come from “Rahmah,” i.e. mercy, but “Rahman” is for Allah Most High alone and has a certain superiority over “Raheem.”  “Rahman” cannot be used for anyone other than Allah Most High and in terms of its meaning, it is common, as this attribute is present in all creation and “Raheem” is its opposite.

The reason for mentioning these 3 blessed names of Allah Most High is that in the Holy Quran 3 types of people are addressed: One, those who wrong their own selves (i.e. sin), some who are half-hearted and some who take precedence in virtues.  Now, in this verse Allah Most High says: I am Allah for those who take the lead in virtues.  I am “Rahman” for the indifferent and half-hearted and “Raheem” for the sinners.

It also means: I am Allah, the one who grants.  I am “Rahman,” the one who forgives sins.  I am “Raheem,” the one who ignores offenses.

In other words, Allah Most High says in His infinite Mercy:

“I know such secrets of yours that if your parents get to know them, they would separate themselves from you.  If your wife knows them, she will take offense.  If your slave-girl knew of them, she would ready herself to run away from you.  If your neighbors know of them, they would incline towards destroying their home and hearth and bid goodbye to you.  What is interesting here is that I know of all this, but through my benevolence and my attribute of “Sattar,” I keep them hidden and do not take vengeance immediately, so that you know that I am Allah, the “Rahman” and “Raheem”.

[By Hadhrat Shaykh Ul Islam Imam Muhammad Anwarullah Farooqui (May Allah sanctify his secret), Maqasid Ul Islam, Vol. 4.]