The first aya of Al-Fatiha firmly establishes that these two names refer to Allah, the Supreme Power, and to Him exclusively. They are used together (as a pair) and separately (individually) throughout the Qur’an extensively to describe or refer to Him in various contexts. The context of usage of these names in the Qur’an clearly defines their meaning. It is also important that their usage in Al-Fatiha, in aya 1 and again in aya 3, points out the fact that they are, in fact, a pair – as well as indicating the significance of being a pair.
First, the two names’ etymology stems from the same root: RAHM, which could mean “womb” or “place of origin”, the latter of which is here more applicable. Derivitives of this word are mainly in reference to “raheem” or “merciful”, and words of the same “family” of meaning, such as “rahma” or “mercy”, but the name “Al-Rahman” stands alone in its meaning, different than “raheem” or “merciful”, but leading students of Arabic to conclude that its name may be largely similar to “Al-Raheem”. The Qur’an, as we shall show below, shows us that the real meaning is, in fact, opposite to the meaning of “Al-Raheem”. But the shared root indelibly links these two names – as a pair. What is wrong with a pair of opposites? The entire creation is based on it!

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