The Prophet Muhammad (May peace and blessings be upon him) said that Allah revealed to him:
I am as My servant thinks (expects) I am. I am with him when he mentions Me.
If he mentions Me to himself, I mention him to Myself;
and if he mentions Me in an assembly, I mention him in an assembly greater than it.
If he draws near to Me a hand’s length, I draw near to him an arm’s length.
And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him running. (Sahih Bukhari)
Written and collected by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times
We are all living in the womb of our God-the-Mother!
Hamster pregnancy takes only 16 days, cat and dog 58 days, chimpanzee 250 days, human 266 days, donkey 365 days, camel 420 days and elephant up to 645 days. Our universe has been 13.8 billion years in making.
Generally, in the Christian tradition there is mention of God-the-Father. Let me suggest a metaphor of God-the-Mother, Who in the Islamic tradition loves each of us more than the best mothers.
The miracles that have gone into the creation of this universe through the laws of nature are not easy to quantify, to make it habitable for us, the Homo sapiens: A challenge for Dawkins: Where did carbon come from? and Ten Raised to Five Hundred Reasons for Our Gracious God.
As I write this article, I am suffering from shingles, which is giving me a painful rash in the right side of my back and chest. It is involving three dermatomes T1 to T3 and I require round the clock Tylenol, Motrin and Gabapantin, to manage my burning pain. But, I am not discouraged or anxious, part of the reason is that I am reading a book about sufi Islam, by A Helwa.
One of the quotes from the first chapter of the book is:
Ar-Rahman and Ar-Rahim are both derived from the verb rahima, which refers to ‘being merciful, loving, and caring in a way that benefits the object of the affection.’ In other words, God is making us, the creation, the emphasis of His infinite grace and most loving qualities. While Ar-Rahim is seen as God’s qualities of love and mercy in action, Ar-Rahman is God’s nature of mercy, love, and grace. Ar-Rahim is a specified form of l mercy that is given to those who open their hearts to God, longing for the light of His love, whereas Ar-Rahman shines upon all of creation without discrimination.
Both Ar-Rahim and Ar-Rahman originate from the Arabic word rahm meaning ‘womb.’ This implies that we can only experience the truth of God’s message from the all-embracing womb of His mercy, love, compassion, and grace.
Ar-Rahman is seen as the mother of all the divine names, for it is through the all-encompassing womb of God’s Rahman that the universe was manifested into being.
To know more about the book and the author, go to: Book Review: Secrets of Divine Love — A Spiritual Journey into the Heart of Islam and Interview with A. Helwa: Islamic Spirituality of Divine Love.
I knew the root word of Ar- Rahman and Ar-Rahim and knew that these attributes of Allah are mentioned most often in the Quran and chapter number 55 of the holy Quran is named Al-Rahman, but never fully appreciated the metaphor of ‘womb’ until reading this book.
Lest someone find an element of polytheism or pantheism in my writing, let me clearly state that I categorically believe that God of Abrahamic faiths is beyond time, space and matter. He or She is Transcendent. This is also the reason I do not believe in Trinity and am in complete alliance with the Unitarian Christians.
Having clarified a concern, let me go back to the theme at hand, we are indeed living in the loving womb of God-the-Mother of Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Moses, David, Jesus and Muhammad, may peace be on all of them. Why am I taking this leap of faith? If you are a Muslim, you be the judge after reading the following Hadiths:
Umar b. Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that there were brought some prisoners to Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) amongst whom there was also a woman, who was searching for someone and when she found a child amongst the prisoners, she took hold of it, pressed it against her chest and provided it suck. Thereupon Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: ‘Do you think this woman would ever afford to throw her child in the Fire?’ We said: ‘By Allah, so far as it lies in her power, she would never throw the child in Fire.’ Thereupon Allah’s Messenger said: ‘Allah is more kind to His servants than this woman is to her child.’ 
Anas ibn Mālik (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) said: ‘Allah is happier with the repentance of His slave than one of you is with finding his riding camel after having lost it in a desert.’ Another narration reads: ‘Indeed, Allah is happier with the repentance of His slave when he turns in repentance to Him than one of you who was on his camel in a desert and it got lost and was carrying his provision of food and drink. He, having lost all hope of finding it, lies down in the shade of a tree feeling hopeless; when all of a sudden he finds his camel standing before him. He takes hold of its reins and then out of boundless joy blurts out: ‘O Allah, You are my slave and I am Your Lord!’ He makes this mistake out of extreme joy. 
Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) said: ‘While a man was walking on a road, he became very thirsty. He found a well and went down in it and drank. When he came out, there was a dog panting and eating moist earth out of thirst. The man said: ‘This dog is so thirsty just as I was.’ So, he went down into the well, filled his shoe with water and held it in his mouth until he climbed out. Then, he gave the dog water to drink. Allah accepted his deed and, thus, forgave him.’ They said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, are we rewarded for taking care of animals?’ He said: ‘There is a reward for quenching the thirst of every living creature.’ Another narration reads: ‘Allah accepted his deed and, thus, forgave him and admitted him into Paradise.’ Another narration reads: ‘Once a dog was moving around a well, and it was about to die from thirst. When a prostitute from Children of Israel saw it, she removed her shoe, filled it with water, and gave it to the dog to drink. She was forgiven for that.’ 
There was a man who had heartlessly murdered ninety-nine people. Then, he felt remorse. He went to a learned man and told him about his past, explaining that he wished to repent, reform, and become a better person. ‘I wonder if Allah will pardon me?’ he asked. For all his learning, the scholar was a man who had not been able to digest what he had learned. ‘You will not be pardoned;’ he said. ‘Then I may as well kill you, too,’ said the other. And kill him he did. He then found another worthy individual and told him that he had killed a hundred people. “I wonder,” he said, ‘whether Allah will pardon me if I repent?’ Being a truly wise man, he replied, ‘Of course you will be pardoned; repent at once. I have just one piece of advice for you: avoid the company of wicked people and mix with good people, for bad company leads one into sin: The man expressed repentance and regret, weeping as he sincerely implored his Lord to pardon him. Then, turning his back on bad company, he set off to find a neighborhood where righteous people lived. On the way, his appointed hour arrived, and he died. The angels of punishment and of mercy both came to take away his soul. The angels of punishment said that as a sinful person he rightfully belonged to them, but the angels of mercy also claimed him, saying, ‘He repented and had resolved to become a good man. He was on his way to a place where righteous people live, but his appointed hour had come.’ A great debate ensued, and Gabriel was sent as an arbitrator to settle this affair. After hearing both sides he gave this verdict: ‘Measure the ground. If the spot where he died is closer to the good people, then he belongs to the angels of mercy, but if it is nearer to the wicked people, he will be given to the angels of punishment.’ They measured the ground. Because the man had just set out, he was still closer to the wicked. But because he was sincere in his repentance, the Lord moved the spot where he lay and brought it to just outside the city of the good people. That penitent servant was handed over to the angels of mercy. 
For other Abrahamic traditions I will add materials in the comment section, I have made a few suggestions already at the end of this article.
If we meditate enough on these two attributes of Allah and how we are protected in His loving womb, we find a perfect solution for our anxieties and insecurities. Never again we have to feel insignificant, for we are made of star dust and have eternal blessings ahead of us regardless of the temporary suffering of pain like shingles here.
There is a small risk that my shingles or Herpes zoster could spread to my eyes and make me blind or spread to my brain and make me demented, which would be the most terrible loss, if you have enjoyed any of my writings.
There is greater risk that this pain could become chronic, which is called postherpetic neuralgia, even when rash goes away and becomes a constant suffering or nuisance. Age is a major risk factor for getting both shingles and postherpetic neuralgia. Risk begins to increase at age 50 and rises exponentially the older you get. I am 60 years old.
People who have acute pain and severe rash during shingles also have a higher risk for developing postherpetic neuralgia.
But, I am at peace. I am in the loving womb of the Most Merciful and the All Powerful, God-the-Mother, for now and for eternity in the future, even after my death.
A most comforting and relaxing thought and perspective.
A billion of our human family are suffering from anxiety, depression and low self esteem. If all of us meditate that we are in the loving compassionate womb of the Most Merciful and Most Gracious and our worth and self esteem is defined by Him / Her and nothing else and want to stay there, as there is no other parallel universe other than His / Her for us, will it not solve all our psychological issues?
Organized religions put different demands on us to qualify for the loving womb of God, Who according to their own claims loves us more than the best mothers and then it leads to different crazy manifestations, for example: Morality: Catholic bishop bars communion to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over abortion rights support and Mexican megachurch leader pleads guilty in LA to sex abuse. Similar examples can be cited from organized religion in Islam, Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism, where they monopolize and misuse truth and try to confine it to their dogma.
We are supposed to emulate the mercy and love of God. In so doing I am trying to find the simplest remedy for humanity to love each other and be not divorced from the love of their God-the-Mother. I suggest only one mandatory condition and that is to be kind and compassionate towards all the 8 billion fellow humans, regardless of their nationality, race, color, faith, gender and gender identity. If we successfully do that under the prescriptions of ‘the Golden Rule,’ all else will follow.
This is a prescription for pluralism and universal brotherhood and sisterhood in our global village.
Do, I have any grounds for such a simplified Abrahamic faith? I present the following for your kind review.
After all Judaism teaches us a Silver Rule: A non-Jew came before Hillel, who was born according to tradition in Babylon (110 BCE, died 10 CE in Jerusalem) was a Jewish religious leader, sage and scholar associated with the development of the Mishnah and the Talmud, and said to him, “Convert me.” Hillel said to him, “What is hateful to you, do not to your neighbor: that is the whole Torah; the rest is commentary; go and learn it.”
The Christian tradition tells us:
Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: ‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’
Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’ (Matthew 22:34-40)
My only suggestion to the open minded readers, who continue to read, is to read on and in the words of Sir Francis Bacon, “Read not to contradict … but to weigh and consider.”
If you are a Muslim and still not sure about my thesis, I have two more Hadiths for you:
Abu Huraira reported: I heard Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: Allah created mercy in one hundred parts and He /She retained with Him / Her ninety-nine parts, and He / She has sent down upon the earth one part, and it is because of this one part that there is mutual love among the creation so much so that the animal lifts up its hoof from its young one, fearing that it might harm it. 
Salman reported that Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: Indeed, Allah created, on the same very day when He created the heavens and the earth, one hundred parts of mercy. Every part of mercy is coextensive with the space between the heavens. and the earth and He / She out of this mercy endowed one part to the earth and it is because of this that the mother shows affection to her child and even the beasts and birds show kindness to one another and when there would be the Day of Resurrection, Allah would make full use of Mercy. 
- Sahih Muslim, Book 37, Number 6635.
- Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim.
- Sahih Bukhari
- Sahih Bukhari Volume 4, Book 56, Number 676.
- Sahih Muslim, Book 37, Number 6629.
- Sahih Muslim, Book 37, Number 6634.