The following are brief extracts of the interpretation of the first few Quranic verses of Surah Ar-Rahman from Tafheem Al-Quran by Sayyid Abul A’la Moududi. It touches on the topic as to why Sura Ar-Rahman starts with the divine attribute of “Ar-Rahman”?
Surah Rahman – Verse 2 – Interpretation of Surah Ar-Rahman (“He has taught (mankind) the Quran (by His mercy).”)
One meaning that can be deduced from this verse is that Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be Allah’s peace and blessings) himself is not its author, but Allah Almighty is the teacher. Furthermore, if the purpose was only to say that that teaching is from Allah, and not from the Prophet’s mind, then there was no need to use an attribute of Allah (such as Ar-Rahman) instead of His proper name (Allah), as for that purpose any attribute from among the Divine attributes could have been adopted. But when, instead of saying that Allah, or the Creator, has taught this, it was said: ‘The Merciful (Ar-Rahman) has taught this Qur’an. So, it gave the meaning that the revelation of the Qur’an for the guidance of mankind was nothing but Allah’s mercy and grace. As He is most kind and Merciful to His creation, He did not like that He should leave them wandering in darkness. Instead, His mercy demanded that He should send down this Quran to (give) them the knowledge on which depends their right guidance and conduct in the world and their success and well-being in the Hereafter.”
Surah Rahman – Verse 3 interpretation of Surah Ar-Rahman (“He Created Man.”)
In other words, as Allah is the Creator of man, and it is the Creator’s responsibility to provide guidance to His creation and show it the way by following which it may fulfill the object of its creation. Who else would provide guidance to the creation if not the Creator? And if the Creator did not provide guidance, who else could? And what greater defect could there be for a creator that he should not teach his creation the method of fulfilling the object, for which it has been created?
Surah Rahman – Verse 4 interpretation of Surah Ar-Rahman (“He taught him eloquent speech”)
One meaning of the word ‘bayan’ is the expressing of one’s own mind, i e. speaking and expressing one’s thoughts and intentions. Its other meaning is to make distinction between things, which here signifies the distinction between good and evil, virtue and vice. About ‘bayan’, ibn Al-Kathir reported that Al-Hasan said: “Eloquent speech.” This refers to Allah teaching the Qur’an, that is, teaching the servants how to recite it by making it easy for them to speak and pronounce letters with the various parts of the mouth, such as the alveolar bridge, the tongue and the lips.
Source: Extracts from the verse interpretations of Tafheem Al-Quran by Sayyid Abul A’la Moududi
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See the video below for more reflections on Surah Ar-Rahman.