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On Mercy


Once the Messenger of Allah () was fondling his grandson Hadrat Hasan (RadhiAllahu Anhu) with affection. A companion of him was bemused seeing him kissing the child. He said, “O Messenger of Allah! I have got ten sons but I never kissed any one of them.” The Prophet responded:

“من لا يَرحم لا يُرحم” (متفق عليه)

Translation: “One who is not merciful will receive no mercy” (unanimous).

Once the Messenger of Allah () told the story of a man to his companions. Translation of Meaning: “Once a man became very tired and thirsty by wayfaring.  He found a well on his way and quenched his thirst and went on his way. Then suddenly he saw a thirsty dog whose tongue was hanging out of thirst.  He felt mercy for the dog recalling his own thirst. Then he descended into a well and came out with his leather sock full of water and quenched the thirst of the dog. At this action God Almighty had mercy on him and forgave him for his sins.” Thereupon the companions asked: “Will fair treatment of animals beget a reward?” The Prophet () said; Translation of Meaning : “There is a reward for watering of thirsty animals” (Bukhari).

The feeling of mercy is a noble feeling. Its manifestations are leniency, affection, kindness and benevolence. A Muslim is lenient and soft-hearted. He is sympathetic towards the people. He does good to everybody. He lends his support to the poor and needy. He provides assistance to widows and orphans.

Mercy is one of the attributes of God Almighty. He has declared:

كَتَبَ رَبُّكُمْ عَلَى نَفْسِهِ الرَّحْمَةَ (الأنعام:54)

Translation of Meaning:  “Your Creator has prescribed for Himself mercy” (Al-Ana’am: 54). In another place it is declared:

فَاللَّهُ خَيْرٌ حَافِظًا وَهُوَ أَرْحَمُ الرَّاحِمِينَ (يوسف:64)

Translation of Meaning:  “. . . Allah is the best protector and He is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy” (Yusuf: 64).

Every Muslim begins his every work by reciting “In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, and the Most Merciful”. Thus he always relies on the mercy of his Creator. The Messenger of Allah () pronounced: Translation:  “When God created the universe he wrote on the top of His Throne that my mercy is greater than my wrath” [unanimous].

Divine mercy is boundless. Its depth is known to God Almighty alone. Allah (Ta’ala) declares:

وَرَحْمَتِي وَسِعَتْ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ فَسَأَكْتُبُهَا لِلَّذِينَ يَتَّقُونَ (الأعراف : 156)

Translation of Meaning: “And my mercy extends to everything and I shall prescribe it for those who fear me” (Al-A’raf: 156). The Messenger of Allah pronounced: Allah made 100 parts of His mercy. He kept 99 parts with him and devolved only one part upon earth. It is a manifestation of this one part of His mercy that all creatures have mercy for each other. Even cattle put their pads cautiously lest they hurt their offspring (unanimous).

One of the significant attributes of the Messenger of Allah was his mercy and affection. God Almighty has acknowledged this in these words:

لَقَدْ جَاءَكُمْ رَسُولٌ مِنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ عَزِيزٌ عَلَيْهِ مَا عَنِتُّمْ حَرِيصٌ عَلَيْكُمْ بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ رَءُوفٌ رَحِيمٌ (التوبة : 128)

Translation of Meaning: “There has come unto yourselves a messenger from among yourselves who feels the hardship  of what you suffer, who is full of concern for you, full of pity and merciful towards the believers”. (At-Taubah: 128). In another place it is declared:

وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلاَّ رَحْمَةً لِلْعَالَمِينَ (الأنبياء:107)

Translation of Meaning: “We have not sent you save as mercy for the whole of mankind”. (Al-Anbiya: 107). His character was depicted in these words:

فَبِمَا رَحْمَةٍ مِنْ اللَّهِ لِنْتَ لَهُمْ وَلَوْ كُنْتَ فَظّاً غَلِيظَ الْقَلْبِ لانْفَضُّوا مِنْ حَوْلِكَ (آل عمران:159)

Translation of Meaning: “[O Muhammad!] It was by the mercy of Allah that you were lenient with them, for if you had been stern and fierce of heart they would have dispersed from around you” (Al Imran: 159). About the Prophet Hadrat Ayesha (Radhi Allahu Anha) testifies that never in his life he beat any woman [Ahmad]. It is reported that when his son Ibrahim was dying he kept on kissing him while tears poured down his cheeks. His companion Hadrat Abdur Rahman Bin ‘Auf was surprised at this. He asked: “O Messenger of Allah why are you so moved?” The Prophet replied that it was out of affection. The eyes weep, the heart grieves but we have to submit to the will of Allah. O Ibrahim we are sad by your departure.

The Prophet was so affectionate that when he started a congregational salat with a will to prolong it but as soon as he heard the cries of a baby he shortened it keeping in view the disturbance of his mother (unanimous).

He Messenger of Allah pronounced:

“اِرحَم من في الأرضِ يَرحَمُكَ من في السّماء” (طبراني ، حاكم)

Translation: ” Have mercy upon those on earth ozone who is in the heavens shall have mercy upon you.” (Tabrani; Hakim).

It is in yet another tradition that the Prophet said

Translation: “So far as mutual affection is concerned all Muslims are like parts of one body. If one part becomes sick the rest of the body suffers too.” [Muslim].

A Muslim’s whole life is a reflection of mercy, love and affection. He is sympathetic towards his fellow-beings. He treats his parents gently and leniently. He treats his servants and employees fairly.  If he sees a blind man straying he hastens to direct him to the right path. He tries to do justice to his own self and avoids whatever is detrimental to his interests in this world and the world hereafter. He eschews bad habits like tobacco and narcotics. He does not inflict any harm upon the animals and plants. The Prophet has strictly forbidden callousness and harshness [Abu Daud; Tirmidhi]. The Prophet stated that a woman deserved Hell for the reason that she had tied her cat and left her to die of hunger and thirst. It is almost impossible for a Muslim to be callous and apathetic. He cannot desist from feeding a hungry if he can afford; he cannot keep indifferent towards a distraught without helping him; he cannot keep away from giving a touch of love to an orphan.  A person reverse of it can only be called callous and merciless.