In Surah ‘Ali Imran, Allah (swa) says:
يَوْمَ تَجِدُ كُلُّ نَفْسٍ مَّا عَمِلَتْ مِنْ خَيْرٍ مُّحْضَرًا وَمَا عَمِلَتْ مِن سُوَءٍ تَوَدُّ لَوْ أَنَّ بَيْنَهَا وَبَيْنَهُ أَمَدًا بَعِيدًا وَيُحَذِّرُكُمُ اللّهُ نَفْسَهُ وَاللّهُ
The Day every soul will find what it has done of good present [before it] and what it has done of evil, it will wish that between itself and that [evil] was a great distance. And Allah warns you of Himself, and Allah is Kind to [His] servants.” [3:30]
The use of Allah’s name – Ar-Rauf mentioned in this ayah, right after the statement that Allah warns us of Himself, requires much pondering and reflection.
This name of Allah comes from the root, rā hamza fā (ر أ ف), meaning to be compassionate/kind/merciful. It gives the meaning of having pity, tenderness, of being clement and mild. This is one of those names that makes you love Allah so much.
Allah (swa) sees our situations when we engage in good deeds and sins, and he realizes our state. Compassion is to feel what the other feels and understand their experience at a deep level. Our closest friends are those who understand us and get what we’re going through. Only then do we open up to them and feel like we can be vulnerable. Even at a basic level, when we ourselves see someone suffering and have the urge to help them .. that is ra’fa. Allah is extremely compassionate and wants to help us knowing what we are going through. Allah knows what we miss, what we want, what we’d really like to have.
This beautiful name of Allah (swa) indicates that He not only knows our struggles but he is compassionate towards us because of his knowledge and understanding. In this life, we are bound to make mistakes and sin. Keeping in mind that Allah warns us of himself, we should be alert and conscious of our every action and thought, exhibiting as much control as we can knowing that our deeds will be presented to us one day. Allah even foreshadows how people will express their regret, wishing there was a vast and timeless distance between them and their bad deeds when it is time for judgement. So if and when we fall into a mistake, remember that Allah is Ar-Rauf, especially towards His ‘ibaad. He understands us and knows us in ways that no one else can. If this isn’t heartwarming, I don’t know what is.
Looking at this ayah from a literary perspective, only Allah (swa) has such unique speech where such clear statements that elicit fear and hope are mentioned so closely together.