The second Muslim name for God is as important as the 99th; however, a quick study of the name uncovers an interesting connection to a Biblical name of God. According to Islamic tradition, Muhammad said, "To God belongs 99 names, 100 minus 1, anyone who memorizes them will enter Paradise; He (God) is odd (odd number, he is the Only One), and He loves odd numbers. "
Notice, memorizing these names is a guarantee of your place in paradise. Muhammad did not promote understanding, only memorization. Please pray that even as Muslims memorize and recite these each Muslim name for God they would have opportunities to hear the truth about God's character, and come to know Him.
One highly esteemed Muslim name for God is Al-Rahman. This is one name of God used in the Muslim Shihada (confession of faith).
Al-Rahman – The All-Compassionate, Beneficent
Take a look at what the Qur'an says about the name:
"The Most Gracious has imparted this Qur'an unto man. He has created man: He has imparted unto him articulate thought and speech. At His behest the sun and the moon run their appointed courses; before Him prostrate themselves the stars and the trees . and the skies has He raised high, and has devised for all things a measure, so that you too, O men, might never transgress the measure of what is right: weight, therefore, your deeds with equity, and cut not the measure short! and the earth has He spread out for all living beings, with fruit thereon, and palm trees with sheathed clusters of dates, and grain growing tall on its stalks, and sweet-smelling plants. Which, then, of your Sustainer's powers can you disavow? " S. Al-Rahman 55: 1-13
The Most Compassionate, the Beneficent, the Gracious. This is the second name for God according to Islam. By definition this means The one who has plenty of mercy for the believers and the blasphemers in this world and especially for the believers in the hereafter. This is a quite interesting definition, indeed.
As we see, this is a powerful, promising Muslim name for God and a good bridge to inter-faith dialogue. A good question to ask a Muslim is; How does God show His mercy and compassion to believers and blasphemers? If the person you ask does not know, then simply share some of the stories from the Bible which clearly show God's mercy in action through Jesus.
For example, there's:
The Woman with the Issue of Blood – John 8: 1-12
The Story of Blind Bartimaeus- Mark 10: 46-52
The Prodigal Son – Luke 15: 11-24 – This story is quite telling of God's compassionate nature. In the story, a rich man's son ran off and fell into a life of sin and disgrace. He came to the end of his rope and returned home, repentant and intent on being but a servant in his father's home. His father, on the other hand, was expectantly looking for his son's return. When he saw his son, a long way off, he ran to him, forgave him, and restored him to his place of honor as a beloved son. This is the perfect picture of Allah's compassion.
When speaking of His graciousness and His amazing provision, I also like to look at Job 38 & 39. The questions from God in these passages blow my mind every time I read them! Our God is an awesome God. Allah is truly the generous and gracious one! If Muslims memorize just one Muslim name for God, I pray it's this one, Al-Rahman.
Consider the following two facts from the Holy Scriptures:
1. Allah slow to anger and rich in love.
2. Allah is good to all and he has compassion on all he has made.
As an example of this, we have Jesus. Jesus was often moved with compassion for the masses and he often healed their sick. I've had the privilege of discussing this all important name for God with many Arab Muslims and have found that factually and by first hand experience, this is not just a Muslim name for God. It is a universal title for God to be used by all. Most Muslims know this name for Allah. They recite it daily in their prayers. The experience and expectation of His mercy, however, is quite another issue.
Have you ever heard Christians say that 'this one or that one' could never get into heaven. Well, would Allah's mercy cover those people? Did it? In most cases, we do not know, but His mercy is vast enough to forgive even the vilest of offenders. Muslims struggle with this point despite this beautiful name of Allah. I cherish the inter-faith dialogues that allow me to explore God's mercy. They provide ample opportunity to talk about what God did in Christ to reconcile the world to Himself.