Say: Call to Allah or call to the Rahman, whoever you call for Him are the Most Beautiful Names
(The Qur’an: 7:110)
As I sit with the Qur’an in reflection upon these words, I remember how a moment of insight came to my heart so many years ago that made sense for me of these verses and of my faith. This understanding helped to set things right in my heart and bring me into wholesomeness and surrender to the truth expressed in the Qur’an. ‘Call to Allah or call to the Rahman…’ I had often wondered why Rahman (Merciful) in particular is paired with Allah in this verse? What am I being guided to? The insight came to me when I least expected it, when I was busy with my daily life. Suddenly the words of this verse lit up in my heart and a realisation came to me that was beyond my capacity to formulate or produce by my own logic. I understood how these words were at the core of the message of the Prophet Muhammad.
During my early adult life, I had read every biography of the Prophet that I could get my hands on. I’d read the Seerah of Ibn Hisham, and the History of Al Tabari, several biographies written in English, and listened to so many conversations and heard so many stories about our beloved Prophet. I thought I understood the basics of his message and the fundamental principles of Islam that he conveyed to his community and was passed down to us through the generations. It seemed obvious to me – Islam at its core was about the oneness of God. No other gods but God. No association of anyone with Allah. All of us know this. The Prophet was the great muwwahid (‘monotheist’), the unwavering witness to the oneness of God, the idol breaker who purified the Kaaba of its 360 false idols. He was the one who brought back to life the religion of Abraham, the primordial way of our innate human nature.