The Punishment of al-Rahman

Badr al-Deen ibn Jamaa’ah, one of the teachers of ibn Kathir, wrote the following in his book dedicated to explaining slight differences in the wordings of otherwise similar ayaat in the Qur’an:

مسألة: قوله تعالى: (أَنْ يَمَسَّكَ عَذَابٌ مِنَ الرَّحْمَنِ) ومناسبة مس العذاب: الجبار المنتقم؟ . وما فائدة تكرار ذكر ” الرحمن ” في هذه السورة أكثر من غيرها؟ . ـ

Question: Regarding Allah’s statement:

إِنِّي أَخَافُ أَن يَمَسَّكَ عَذَابٌ مِّنَ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ

[Ibrahim said to his father] “I certainly fear that a punishment from al-Rahman will touch you” [19:45]

Wouldn’t it be more fitting to use names like al-Jabbaar [the Mighty] or al-Muntaqim [the Vengeful] when discussing punishment afflicting someone?

Also, what should we understand from the repetition of the name al-Rahman [the Most Merciful] throughout this surah [surah Maryam] more than any other names?

جوابه: أما قوله تعالى: (عَذَابٌ مِنَ الرَّحْمَنِ) ففيه تعظيم أمر الكفر الذي كان عليه أبوه، لأن من عظمت رحمته وعمت لا يعذب إلا على أمر عظيم بالغ في القبح فنبه على عظم ما عليه أبوه من الكفر ورجاء قبول توبته من الرحمن. ـ

Response: As for the statement:

عَذَابٌ مِّنَ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ

a punishment from al-Rahman

then this shows the grave nature of the kufr which Ibrahim’s father was practicing, because it is part of Allah’s tremendous and expansive mercy that He only punishes people for the most serious and heinous of crimes. So Ibrahim is alerting us to the serious nature of the kufr that his father was practicing and hoping that his repentance would be accepted by al-Rahman.

وأما تكرار لفظ (الرَّحْمَنِ) في هذه السورة: فقد يجاب بأنه لما افتتح أول السورة بقوله تعالى: (ذِكْرُ رَحْمَتِ رَبِّكَ عَبْدَهُ زَكَرِيَّا (2) نبه بتكرار لفظ (الرَّحْمَنِ) الذي هر بصيغة المبالغة على عظم رحمته وعمومها، وأن ذاك ليس خاصا بأنبيائه وأوليائه، وخواصه. ـ

As for the repetition of the word al-Rahman throughout this surah, then one could respond by saying that since He began this surah with His statement:

ذِكْرُ رَحْمَتِ رَبِّكَ عَبْدَهُ زَكَرِيَّا

Mention the mercy of your Lord to His slave, Zakariyyah [19:2]

He is using the repetition of the word al-Rahman, which itself is in the emphatic form, to draw our attention to His tremendous and expansive mercy and the fact that this mercy is not restricted only to His prophets, awliyaa’ or distinguished slaves.

[Kashf al-Ma’aani pg 249]

See also: The Themes and Contents of Surah Maryam: ibn Taymiyah

See also: There has Certainly Been an Excellent Example for You in Ibrahim

See also: Gentle Speech in the Qur’an: ibn al-Qayyim

See also: ‘Ilm al-Munasabat and its Proper Place: Sheikh Saalih Aal al-Sheikh

See also: Munasabat Article Index

One thought on “The Punishment of al-Rahman

  1. Pingback: The Difference Between Humiliating Punishment and Great Punishment in the Qur’an: ibn Taymiyah | Tulayhah

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