• 2023
  • Ensuring The Sanctity And Sacredness Of “Rahmah”

Ensuring The Sanctity And Sacredness Of “Rahmah”

Emeritus Professor Tan Sri Dato' Dzulkifli Abdul Razak 
Opinion - Bacalah Malaysia 
March 30, 2023 

The Holy Prophet Muhammad pbuh said: “It (Ramadan) is the month, whose beginning is mercy (Rahmah), its middle, forgiveness and its end, emancipation from the fire.” 


The three are closely interconnected to sum up what Ramadan is ultimately about. 

"Namely, seeking the Blessings of the Almighty, the One and Most Merciful. The state of Rahmah is attained through forgiveness of the Almighty which is also reflected in His name, Ar-Rahman, the root word for Rahmah. 

He is the One who blesses all His creations with prosperity and devoid from disparity.

That is, Rahmah is all inclusive and embraces all. The Godly name is most frequently found in the Quran with 57 mentions spanning across 16 different chapters of the Holy Book.  


"In chapter 17, verse 110, the Quran states: “Say, call upon God or call upon the Most Merciful.” In 7:156, the Qur’an states: “My mercy encompasses all things.” 

Ar-Rahman is understood to be all-encompassing mercy, so far-reaching that it touches everything and everyone. That said, those who were touched in turn reflected the same. The Messenger of Islam (pbuh) was reported as saying:

“Those who are merciful will be shown mercy by the Most Merciful. Be merciful to those on the earth and the One in the heavens will have mercy upon you.” In contrast, there is also a narration stating: “Allah will not be merciful to those who are not merciful to mankind.” 

"As such, Muslims begin all activities by invoking the two names of God, Ar-Rahman and Ar-Rahim in order to gain His Pleasure. As both names are derived from the same word Rahmah, implicitly they also have similar notions of sympathy, kindness, compassion, gentleness and love intertwined at once. 

The former is said to refer to the vastness of the magnitude of the mercy, whereas the latter refers to its effect covering all creation.

In other words, both are very much in the realm of spirituality and sacredness within the context of the universe and humanity as created by the Almighty.

The clarity of such reality is of utmost importance now that the term “Rahmah” is beginning to subsume a common usage nationwide in a way like never before. The latest is the usage as in Jualan rahmah or Rahmah sales which saw a launch for a month-long sale in conjunction with Hari Raya.  


While this attempt is commendable to sustain an affordable market for the common people struggling to make ends meet, it is also vulnerable in causing confusion as to what extent the word “Rahmah” applies, given its Arabic-bound epistemology. 

"Moreover, the word used is kept in its Arabic form traceable back to the pristine Quranic source and meanings as illustrated above. How can this be integrated into a worldlier economic-slant that is gradually being forced in the implementation of the various programmes. 

What used to be “cheap” sales economically speaking is now conveniently substituted by “Rahmah” sales instead!

The ramifications are indeed enormous. Are issues of the unsavoury origins of products to be offered for the sales subjected to some verifications so as to avoid potential unwarranted misunderstanding. 


For example, are smuggled goods qualified to be sold as part of “rahmah” regardless?

Otherwise, who is responsible for the verification nationwide.

The reported ministerial approval for premises selling non-halal (what is more unsustainable and toxic) products to be included will further expand the said vulnerabilities to include all and sundry!

This can further imply that the Islamic perspectives risked being compromised, as “Rahmah” gets vulgarised (remember “khalwat”) beyond its inherent sanctity and the sacred purpose of Ramadan as duly reminded by the sayings of the Prophet (pbuh)!  – BACALAHMALAYSIA.MY

  • The author is Rector of the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM)