The word Raheem is originally an Arabic name that means merciful. It is one of the names of Allah; Ar-Raheem. It comes from the same root as Allah’s name, Ar-Rahmaan; which means merciful also. However, the difference between them is that Ar-Rahmaan is Allah’s mercy to all of mankind while Ar-Raheem refers to Allah’s mercy to the believers.
Although Ar-Raheem is one of the names of Allah, being merciful is not an attribute that is solely for Allah, alone. He is the MOST Merciful of all who show mercy. However, He has allowed those from his creation to be able to show mercy.
The start of every Surah of the Quran except Suratut Tawbah begins with,
بِسْمِ الله الرَّحْمَانِ الرَّحِيْم
In the name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful
There is also a du’a found in the Quran, where Prophet Ibraheem, may peace be upon him, beseeched Allah by His mercy on behalf of himself and his offspring. He says,
رَبَّنَا وَاجْعَلْنَا مُسْلِمَيْنِ لَكَ وَمِن ذُرِّيَّتِنَا أُمَّةً مُّسْلِمَةً لَّكَ وَأَرِنَا مَنَاسِكَنَا وَتُبْ عَلَيْنَا ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ – 2:128
Our Lord, and make us Muslims [in submission] to You and from our descendants a Muslim nation [in submission] to You. And show us our rites and accept our repentance. Indeed, You are the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful.
There are many who believe it is impermissible to name someone Raheem. However, there is proof from the Quran and the Sunnah that Raheem has been used to describe other than Allah. Allah describes the Prophet, ﷺ as Raheem. He says,
لَقَدْ جَاءَكُمْ رَسُولٌ مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ عَزِيزٌ عَلَيْهِ مَا عَنِتُّمْ حَرِيصٌ عَلَيْكُم بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ رَءُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ – 9:128
There has certainly come to you a Messenger from among yourselves. Grievous to him is what you suffer; [he is] concerned over you and to the believers is kind and merciful.
Also, in the hadeeth, the Prophet, ﷺ informs us about the types of people who will be in Paradise. He said,
وَعَنْ عِيَاضْ بن حِمَار رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنهُ قَالَ: سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيهِ وَسَلَّم يَقُولُ: “أَهْلُ الجَنَّةِ ثَلَاثَة: ذُو سُلْطَانٍ مُقْسِطٍ مُوَفَّقٍ، وَرَجُلٌ رَحِيمٌ رَفِيقُ القَلْبِ لِكُلِّ ذِي قُرْبَى وَمُسْلِمٍ، وَعَفِيفٌ مُتَعَفِّفُ ذُو عِيَالٍ.” ((رَوَاهُ مُسْلِمٍ)).
Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “The people of Jannah will be of three kinds: A just successful ruler, a man who shows mercy to his relatives, and a pious believer who has a large family and refrains from begging.”
Parents who want to give their child this name, do so hoping that he/she will show mercy to those around him/her.
Variations of the Name
Abdur Rahman (عَبْدُ الرَّحْمَن) – is a male servant of the One who is Benevolent.
Abdur Raheem (عَبْدُ الرَّحِيم) – is a male servant of the One who is merciful.
Raheem (رَحِيم) – is a male child who will show mercy to those around him.
Raheemah (رَحِيْمَة) – is a female child who will show mercy to those around her.
Rahmah (رَحْمَة) – is a female child who is a mercy.