Allah as the Rahman and the Raheem & the concept of Mercy of Deen

The Concept of Mercy in Deen

Is Allah the Most Merciful- the All-Forgiving?

Lately, we’ve seen a post going viral around social media depicting misconceptions that most Muslims have inherited from their forefathers. This viral post portrays a completely wrong concept of Maghfirah (مغفرة ) and ‘Afuw (عفو ). Both these words have been widely misunderstood and misinterpreted in complete contradiction to Quran, and against the teachings of the Quran.

General Misconceptions- Projecting fabrications in the name of Deen

First, let’s see what this viral post is projecting as a direct contradiction of divine guidance.

Difference between Maghfirah and Afuw- A Maghfirah is for Allah to forgive our sins but keep them registered on our book of deeds and on the day of judgment Allah will ask us about it but Allah won’t punish us because of these sins. An ‘Afuw is for Allah to forgive our sin and delete it from our book of deeds as if it did not happen. It is Allah’s pardon and it will be completely erased our sin from the record and Allah won’t ask us about it on Judgement day.

Both the above meanings are completely wrong, a gross misinterpretation and direct contradiction of Quranic guidance.

Actual Meanings of the words Maghfirah and Afuw

Let’s see the actual meanings of the words Maghfirah (مغفرة ) and ‘Afuw (عفو )

Maghfirah (مغفرة) GHAFOORUN (غَفُورٌ) & MAGHFIRATI (بِالْمَغْفِرَةِ)- noun, ASTAGHFIR (اسْتَغْفِرُو)- means to hide, to cover, to protect by hiding/covering, ‘Maghfir is that Iron Head which a soldier wears for safety; it is also used in Quran as an opposite of Aza’ab. It is also used as an opposite to and shield/protections against the impacts of wrong path such as pain, suffering, immorality Etc. So, it is like following the right path which covers/hides/protects the harmful impacts of previously taken wrong path and previously done sins. Just Like one would take a preventive/healthy lifestyle through diet, etc. to ward off/protect against diseases. It’s not a cure, it’s a prevention! Ghafoor (غَفُورٌ), is one of the names of Allah being someone who does Ghafr. The word Maghfirat (بِالْمَغْفِرَةِ) is basically a noun in the meanings of things/aspects/beings that do Ghafr. X-Reference – 2:58 , 2:173-5 , 2:221 , 2:268 , 2:285 , 3:89 , 11:114.

Afuw (عفو ) AF’UA (الْعَفْوَ) YAFU’NA (يَعْفُونَ) & TA’FUU (تَعْفُوا) is normally mistranslated as forgiving or All-Forgiving when used for Allah as in phrase Afowan Ghafurran. The main characteristics of this word is in the meanings of giving to someone more than one’s Haqq, given away freely anything excess over one’s own Haqq. For instance in the ayah 2:219 “ ..And they ask you about what they should spend, Say Af’waa” the word is used here in the meanings of giving away freely after keeping own Haqq, that is whatever is there over and above one’s rightful needs & expenses, should be spend for the benefit of others. The word is used in similar meanings in ayah 7:199 “Take what is Af’waa (given freely excess over Haqq) and do Amar of what is Maaroof and turn away from the ignorant.”  Therefore, whenever the phrase Af’waan Ghafurran is used for Allah as in the ayahs of 4:43, 22:60 or 58:2, its used as Allah who gives to humanity more than their Haqq as Ghaffurran; who protects/shields us against the impacts of wrong path such as pain, suffering, immorality etc. Therefore, with the phrase Af’waan Ghafurran would means Allah provides this protection freely, generously- way more than our Haqq. X-Reference – 2:219, 4:43, 4:99, 4:149, 7:199, 22:60, 58:2.

The above detailed vocabulary of both these words Maghfirah (مغفرة) and Afuw (عفو) is directly from Quran and the references are mentioned as well as X-Reference. The above vocabulary is very clearly telling us that

Both of these options are for this worldly life only and nothing to do with the day of Judgment. The concept of Maghfirah is to get protection of Allah from the impacts of our wrongs choices and bad deeds and the concept of Afuw is to get Allah’s fazal in abundance once we are on the right path and follow Allah’s commandments as ordained in Quran.

Quranic Guidance- The day of Judgment & Scale of Justice

Let’s see what Quran says about Accountability on the day of judgment:

[Quran Al-Anbiya 21:47] And We place the scales of justice for the Day of Resurrection, so no soul will be treated unjustly at all. And if there is the weight of a mustard seed, We will bring it forth. And sufficient are We as accountant.

[Quran Al-Kahf 18:49] And the record will be placed, and you will see the criminals fearful of that within it, and they will say, “Oh, woe to us! What is this book that leaves nothing small or great except that it has enumerated it?” And they will find what they did present. And your Lord does injustice to no one.

[Quran Aal-e-Imran 3:30] The Day every soul will find what it has done of good present and what it has done of evil, it will wish that between itself and that was a great distance. And Allah warns you of Himself, and Allah is Kind to servants.”

[Quran Al-A’raf 7:8-9] (8) And the weighing that Day will be the truth. So those whose scales are heavy –  it is they who will be the successful. (9) And those whose scales are light –  they are the ones who will lose themselves for what injustice they were doing toward Our verses.

[Quran Al-Baqarah 2:80] And they say, “Never will the Fire touch us, except for a few days.” Say, “Have you taken a covenant with Allah? For Allah will never break His covenant. Or do you say about Allah that which you do not know?”

As very obvious from the above ayahs, it is clearly mentioned in Quran that

There is no concept of omitting, deleting, replacing, neglecting a bad deed or even let go of bad deed by Allah. On the day of judgment, there will be no mercy, no help, no support, it will be all about good deeds and bad deeds. It is all about the Balance of good deeds vs bad deeds and the scale of justice

[Quran Al-Mu’minun 23:102-103]  (102) And those whose scales are heavy- it is they who are the successful. (103) But those whose scales are light –  those are the ones who have lost their souls, in Hell, abiding eternally.

A person with bad deeds can not be equal to a person with good deeds

[Quran Al-Jasiyah 45:21] Or do those who commit evils think We will make them like those who have believed and done righteous deeds – equal in their life and their death? Evil is that which they judge.

There will be No help, no intercession, no compensation, no trade of any kind and no aid on the day of judgment

[Quran Al-Baqarah 2:48] And fear a Day when no soul will suffice for another soul at all, nor will intercession be accepted from it, nor will compensation be taken from it, nor will they be aided.

All the above ayahs clearly advise us to make better use of this life and commit more and more good deeds, so that our bad deeds get buried under the heavy loads of good deeds which Allah recommends in the Quran.

Rituals and Uttering words from mouth will not lead to Jannah

Instead of working hard towards accumulating good deeds, we Muslims nowadays are more indulged in rituals and uttering hollow words from our mouths- using Allah’s words as a tool to seek some shortcuts to heaven and skip accountability on the judgment day- We assume that

  • it’s easy to enter Jannah by simply uttering few words from your mouths
  • one will remain in hell for a temporary period only before being transferred to heaven which will then be final abode
  • all our bad deeds will be deleted by simply saying touba from our mouths
  • we wont be punished because of our sins if we do Touba- say few words and seek forgiveness from Allah.
  • Allah being Raheem and Rahman, means he would forgive all our sins
  • Our bad deeds will be replaced with good ones on the day of judgment

These are all delusional state and wishful thinking of our minds under the influence of manmade cults, books and fairy tales which has taken us away from Quran and Allah’s hidayah.  If we read Quran with an open mind, we would realize that we as Muslims are living in a delusion, a state of wishful thinking, evidenced of us being on a wrong path.

There is no concept in Quran that we simply read some words, by simply uttering few words from our mouths, Allah’s will erase our bad deeds or hides them with no accountability. This is wishful thinking only and nothing more.

We must get rid of these unrealistic theories and follow Quran, Allah’s commandments as ordained in Quran. We must accumulate good deeds as mentioned in Quran not the rituals so that we will be successful on the day of judgment.  Entering jannah is not easy. When it was not easy for Rasool and those Momineen with him, who are we as normal Muslims, that we can simply utter few words from our mouth to go to heaven?

[Quran Al-Baqarah 2:214] Or do you think that you will enter heaven while such has not yet come to you as came to those who passed on before you? They were touched by poverty and hardship and were shaken until messenger and those who believed with him said, “When is the help of Allah?” Unquestionably, the help of Allah is near.

There is no concept of Mercy in Deen as it’s against justice!

Keep in mind there is no mercy in DEEN. Concept of mercy can only prevail at humanity level and human societies since they are not capable of absolute justice. Humans are always attached emotionally with various elements to each other and they let go of the wrongdoers in the name of mercy which in fact is injustice to the victims of that wrongdoers.

Let’s illustrate this with an example. Let’s suppose that a man murders five people and then go to the king to seek his mercy. If the king forgives his sins and pardons him, this would be Mercy. But this is against Justice! Where is the justice and accountability for his actions, where is the justice for those five households whose breadwinners have been murdered?

When it come to Allah who is Hikm the best lawmaker the best judge; who is All Knowing, All wise, All Aware and master of precise accountability; nothing will be missed in accountability. Every single act of good and bad will be presented right in front of us on the day of judgement. It’s all based on the scales of justice whereby not even an atom weight of deed will be held unaccounted for. The final abode will be decided based on the side which will be heavier, if the side of good deeds are heavier on the scale of justice, our final abode, wherein we will live forever will be Jannah. For those whose scale of justice will be heavier with bad deeds, their final abode will be hell, wherein they will abide for ever ever. There is no concept of staying in hell for a temporary period of time, in order for repentance or cleansing of sins before being transferred to heaven.

Allah being Rahman & Raheem is nothing to do with Mercy

Allah is Rahman and Raheem and this has nothing to do with Allah being merciful. Again, these two terms have been misinterpreted and mistranslated to push Muslims in to this state of delusion and wishful thinking in direct contradiction of Quran. Definitely Allah is RAHMAN and RAHEEM, and these two favours of Allah is on the humanity for this worldly life, I.e., the temporary life here on earth.

Please see below the vocabulary of these two important words- from Quran.

RAHAM (رَحْمَ) REHMAT (رَحْمَتُهُ)& REHMAN (الرحمن) ARHAAM (أَرْحَامِهِنَّ)   Rahman, Raheem, Raham and Rahmat, share the same basic characteristics- Raham is normally translated as the word Mercy- which does not do justice to these words. All these are derived from the characteristics that they all share with the word Arham, which means a mother’s womb during pregnancy. Therefore, whatever Arham means to a child, is the meaning of the words Raham, Rahman, Rahmat and Raheem, which is in four broad definitions. (1) The life line/ source of survival- the child breathes from the Arham, the child takes all it source of nourishment/survival from the Arham; (2) The protection/shield- it protects the child from anything that can harm the child; (3) The long-term source of nourishment, growth and progress in an unprecedented miracle like manner so much so that a child is created from a single cell to a complete being and (4) The source of Self-less love and sacrifice- the selflessness and sacrifice for the child that a mother has is multiplied many times in case of Arham, so much so that in order to fulfill the requirements for the child, the Arham extracts the required nutrients from the mother’s own blood, bones and body without even letting the mother know. Therefore, whenever the word Rahmat, Rahman, Raham and Raheem are used, they have all these 4 broad definitions X-Reference 2:64, 2:228, 3:06, 4:01, 6:143-144, 13:08, 22:05, 31:34.

RAHEEM (الرحيم) the word Raheem share the same characteristics as Arham- a mother’s womb during pregnancy.  Unlike Allah being Rahman, which is applicable for everyone regardless of anything else; Allah being Raheem to us is basically a privilege and it will only be with us as long as we keep choosing the right path and stay as righteous by doing Amle-Swalehaat. This concept of Allah being Raheem is closely linked to the Tauba as per Quran. If we are on the right path and chose to be righteous, we need Allah’s help and blessings to keep doing good deeds and stay on the right path. With Allah as Raheem with us, we get peace, contentment, Sakoon, prosperity and tranquility in our lives. Whenever we commit a wrong deed willingly or unwillingly, knowingly or in ignorance, we lose that privilege of Allah being with us as Raheem. In order to get back that Privilege, we need to do pure TOUBA, a whole process as per Quran. It’s only after pure Touba (refer Touba vocabulary) , that we will get the privilege of Allah being Raheem back to us. X-Reference – 2:54, 2:128, 2:143, 2:160, 3:89, 4:18, 5:34-39, 6:54, 9:102.

Counter Arguments – going against the concept of Emaan on Akhira

When all the above ayahs and concepts are highlighted to Muslims, they refer to the ayah 25:70 as an argument saying that not only the bad deeds will be deleted and omitted, but also these will be replaced with the Good deeds, in a bid to prove their wishful thinking. Let’s have a look at this ayah

[Quran 25:70-71] Except for those who do Touba, and have Emaan, and do Amal-e- Swalehaat. These—Allah will replace their Sayyitahim/their sins with Hasanat. And Allah is Ghafoor Raheem. And whoever does Tauba and Amal-e-Swalihan, then indeed, Yatoob to Allah with Touba.

The first and foremost, there can not be any contradiction in Quran, which means no Ayah can contradict any other ayah in Quran. By quoting this ayah as a contradiction to all the other ayahs of Quran, they are basically misinterpreting important concepts and terminologies in order to prove the misconception that Allah would replace their bad deeds with good ones if they utter words of touba from their mouths. Let’s see the correct vocabulary of keywords and concepts in this ayah.

What is Emaan:  Emaan unlike most Muslims’ understanding is anything but Blind Faith. Emaan as per Quran means to accept something to be Haqq – absolute truth, with deep conviction only after being convinced of its truth and existence that comes after verifying something to be true based on one’s use of reasoning & intellectual faculties and knowledge. EMAAN is usually translated as blind faith or belief without proof or argument, without references or reasoning or using intellect or knowledge. However as per Quran, Emaan is a conviction based on reasoning and knowledge; a conviction that results from full mental acceptance and intellectual satisfaction; the kind of conviction which gives us a feeling of inner peace, contentment and satisfaction of heart and mind. Emaan is not just some word utterance from our tongue to accept it, but to accept it with the pure heart and mind i.e. with full conviction.

What is Emaan on Akhira: The concept the gift of freewill, the resurrection, returning back to Allah for accountability are at the root of our Emaan on Akhira. Each and every one of us as a human being, the whole of mankind has been given the freewill, the freedom to choose and decide our beliefs and each and every action. It means, once humanity has been given this freedom to choose, and the Hidayah in the forms of Books of Revelations to identify the right and the wrong path, we are then free to choose either of these routes and deeds. Having a firm Emaan and conviction on the fact that whatever deeds and actions we do in this world, we will be held accountable for those deeds based on the scales of justice, on the day of judgment; this conviction and Emaan reflects in one’s conduct, behaviors and actions. This means that each and everything in this universe is based on these cause & effect laws that have been put in place by Allah and sooner or later we will be held accountable for our deeds (whether good or bad) whereby not even an atom weight of our deeds will be held unaccountable for on the day of judgment and we will be answerable for whatever we have done.

Amal-e-Swalehaat: Amal means deeds, action, doing etc. and Swalehaat stems from the word Is’lah. The word is used in meanings of reform or to rectify, to improve or to make amends, or to correct mistakes, to rectify lack of something or to correct the errors done earlier. For instance, in the ayah 5:39, Allah says “But whoever does Touba after the Zulm and does Islaha, indeed, Allah will accept his Touba and Allah is Ghafoor and Raheem”. Here the meaning of the word becomes very obvious in terms of correction, correcting the damage done by ones’ mistakes and Zulm, getting things back in order, putting them in their right full place and giving the compensation of whatever harm was done. It is also used as an opposite of Fasaad (To create imbalance/corruption etc) – therefore the meanings of the word are to create the balance, to restore peace, law & order, to resume the situation back to its correct place. It is also used in the meanings to be healthy not just physically but right and balanced in all aspects by removing all lacks, deficiencies & mistakes and working within the parameters of Deen-e-islam in terms of being righteous and khair. In the phrase of Quran Aml-e-S’walehat with the same meanings would mean such deeds which are Islah and in accordance with Deen.

What is Hasanat: The word Hasanat shares the same characteristics and meanings as per the words Husn and Ahsan- which has four category of definitions (1) Something that looks good/pleasant to your eyes, other faculties, spirit and soul; (2) it is also used in Quran as an opposite to the word Fas’ad – therefore it means to create balance-To fill the void/lack for someone; (3) To give something or do something for someone as Ina’am, i.e. not in expectation of any return & (4) Best/excellent, a step up of Ad’al – adal means that whatever is owed as an Haqq, you give to that person that Haq and whatever you are owed as your Haqq you take that Haqq. As a step up of Adal, the word Ahsan would mean that you give someone more than what their Haqq is and you take from someone less than what your Haqq is.

The word Hasanat is the embodiment of all the deeds of Ahsan for others and it’s because of this that Allah says in Quran that Hasanat has the power to remove all sins. For instance refer the following ayahs.

[Quran 11:114] …Indeed the Hasanat removes the Sayyiaat/sins…

What is Touba: Contrary to general Muslims understanding, the word Touba does not mean simple utterance of words from our mouths. Seeking Touba from Allah, does not mean simply doing worship and asking for Allah’s forgiveness. These are wrong assumptions and misconceptions. Touba as per Quran basically, means to take a u-turn – The Three Important Steps (1) Identify the wrong deed/path, leave the wrong path and make a firm commitment never to commit the wrong deeds again (2) I’slah (Amal-e-Swalehaat)- Rectify, Compensate the impacts of the wrong deeds & Reform, (3) Take/stay on the right path, after strengthening Emaan and continue to do Aml-e- Swalehaat- righteous deeds. When it’s used for Allah as in the phrase Fa-Taab Alaikum, as in the ayah 2:187, its used in the meanings of the acceptance of Touba, or turning of Allah towards you, in terms of Allah being back in your life as Raheem.

Now keeping all the above concepts and meanings in mind, let’s relook at the referred ayahs, which according to Muslims, is misinterpreted to show that Allah replaces the bad deeds with good ones…

[Quran 25:70-71] Except for those who do Touba, and have Emaan, and do Amal-e- Swalehaat. These—Allah will replace their Sayyitahim/their sins with Hasanat. And Allah is Ghafoor Raheem. And whoever does Tauba and Amal-e-Swalihan, then indeed, Yatoob to Allah with Touba.  

This ayah calls for Emaan (including Emaan on Akhira), doing of Amal-e-Swalehaat, doing of Touba (with Is’lah as an important step, replacing Sins with Hasanat- as doing of Ahsan; then and only then Allah is Ghafoor (protector/shield for impacts of sins/wrong deeds) and Raheem (accepter of Touba by turning towards you as Raheem a privilege in your life) as long as you stay on the right path and continue to do Amal-e-Swalehaat. There is no utterance of words from your mouths. Getting rid of or covering your sins under the heavy load of Good deeds can ONLY be done by Touba, as per Quran, Amal-e-Swaleehat, Is’lah and Hasanat- doing Ahsan on others.


As per Quranic guidance, we need to get out of this wishful thinking. We need to focus on good deeds, Sadaqat and charities, we need to focus on making the side of the scale filled with good deeds heavier, we need to focus on putting forward for our Nafs our best of the best deeds- this is what Quran ordains. On the day of accountability its justice at its best — no mercy, no intercession, no trade, no exchange, no deleting or ignoring of any sins, no exchange of deeds with another etc… on that day even an atom weight of your deed, whether good or bad, will be accounted for and the decision of final abode will be based on which side is heavier…even if by an atom weight. This is Emaan on Akhira…the mere firm conviction of whatever you do in this world, whatever you send forward for your nafs, will be accounted for.

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1 Comment

  1. The problem is the meaning of The Straight Path is not appreciated in its real sense.
    How then to tread it?
    The world needs just 10 persons to do so…

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