Difference between الرَّحْمَـٰنِ and الرَّحِيمِ

What is the difference between الرَّحْمَـٰنِ and الرَّحِيمِ?

From an Islamic Arabic perspective, the difference between رَّحْمَـٰن and رَّحِيمِ is that when Allah describes Himself as الرَّحْمَـٰنِ, He is describing the fact that His Mercy encompasses everything. That means those people who even deny Him; He is merciful towards them also. Everything in creation is subject to His Mercy and receives His Mercy in one way or another, regardless of how we might see things externally. You may see someone who is crippled and wonder why Allah made him this way. There is mercy in that. Because you may not be able to see it, you may wonder, ‘where is the mercy?’ But because you can’t see it, does not mean that it is not there. His Mercy encompasses everything.

When He describes Himself as الرَّحِيمِ, this is in reference to His special mercy reserved for the believers on the Day of Judgment. Only they will receive this special mercy. Some mercy of الرَّحْمَـٰنِ will come on the Day of Judgment too. But the special category of Mercy, الرَّحِيمِ, is for those alone who believed and did righteous deeds.

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