Is there Mercy in Islam?
By Ali Selim - Islamic Cultural Centre
Mercy is an Islamic virtue. It is organically an integral part of Islam. Two of its derivatives are Names for Allah. Allah commands people to have this virtue, as it is one of the noblest characteristics of Islam. Every now and then in the Muslim life there is a remembrance of mercy. Prior to reciting any Sura in the Quran, which is the Muslim code of life, Muslims say: In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. Muslims start their work and their food and even their most intimate relations by saying: In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. This is, undoubtedly, to confirm the meaning of this phrase i.e. mercy. Not only did Allah, the Exalted describe Himself as the Most Gracious, the Most merciful, but he also described prophet Muhammad (PUH) as full of pity, kind and merciful.
On this basis, Islam emerged as the message of mercy to all human beings regardless of their colour or race. Allah said: "And We have sent you (O Muhammad) but as a mercy for mankind and all that exists" The prophet (BUH) asserts this meaning saying: "You will not be true believers until you show mercy," They said: O messenger of Allah! We all are merciful. The prophet (PUH) said: "It is not just that you portray mercy to one another but it is mercy for all" Again you will find in Al-Bukhari: "Allah is not merciful to those who do not show mercy to people"
The prophet (PUB) spoke the noblest parable in his practical life that was full of mercy even with for his enemies. One day he (BUH) went to Al-Ta'f to invite people to Islam. But the people of Al-Ta'f did not know that one good turn deserves another. They hurt the prophet (PUH). They hit him and called him bad names and this did not please the heavens. The angel Gabriel, in the company of the angel of the mountains, came down and said: O Muhammad! This is the angel of the mountains. If you will, he will demolish the two mountains over their heads. But the merciful Muhammad (PUH) said: How can I be cruel with my community, when Allah sent me to them with a heart full of pity and mercy. It may be that their offspring will worship Allah and ascribe none unto Him. O Allah! Guide my people, since they do not know"
In another occasion, on the day of Uhud when the unbelievers killed many of the prophet's companions, wounded his cheek and broke his tooth one of the companions said to the prophet: Shall you not make supplication against them. The merciful prophet (PUH) said: "O Allah! Guide my people, since they do not know" This is due to the fact that Allah blessed his heart and replaced cruelty with mercy. The prophet (PUH) said: "Mercy is taken out only from the hearts of the wretched" The wretched are those who have cruel hearts. Their hearts are like the rocks. Allah described those who have cruel hearts in the Quran saying: "And then your hearts were hardened and became as stones or even worse in hardness. And indeed there are stones out of which rivers gush forth, and indeed there are stones which split asunder so that water flows from them, and indeed there are stones which fall down for fear of Allah"
This is the Islamic quality of mercy for all. As for mercy for those who need and those who are next of kin, this quality is more and more confirmed. When the Quran talks about parents it reads: "And lower unto them the wing of submission and humility through mercy and say: My Lord! Bestow on them your mercy as they did bring me up when I was young"
It is narrated that Al-Aqra' Ibn Habis saw the prophet (PUH) kissing Al-Hussain Ibn Ali. Al-Aqra' said: I have ten children and I have never kissed any of them. The prophet (PUH) said: "Allah is not merciful to those who do not show mercy"
When the son of prophet Muhammad (PUH) died the prophet cried. A man said: Do you cry o messenger of Allah. The prophet (PUH) said: It is mercy. Tears come out of the eyes and the heart get saddened and we say nothing but what pleases Allah. Truly we are from Allah and surely we will return unto Him"
Islam exhorts Muslims to show mercy to the orphans and take care of them. These are good things to do to have merciful hearts. Abu Hurairah reported that a man came to the prophet complaining against the cruelty he had in his heart. The prophet (PUH) said: "Pass your hand over the head of an orphan and feed the needy"
Cruelty and disregarding the pain of animals pave the way to hell. The prophet (PUH) said: "A woman entered hell because of a cat she tied and did not feed and did not release so that it might eat somewhere" Again it is narrated that a women entered paradise because of a dog. It was a very hot day and the women saw the dog going around a well of water and it was very thirsty. The woman took off her slippers filled them with water and gave the dog a drink. Her mercy was resulted in the forgiveness of her sins. The prophet (PUH) said: Allah is Merciful to those who are merciful. Show mercy to those on the earth, so that Allah may portray mercy unto you"