meaning of Mercy is, “forbearance towards one who is in one’s power”. Mercy is
the characteristic of Allah. There is hardly any chapter of the Holy Quran
which does not expound or refer to the virtues attending to this Divine
attribute. The second verse of the Opening or Ummul-Quran refers to this
attribute of Allah, “The Beneficent, the Merciful” (1:2).
Quran is replete with verses extolling the Merciful attribute of Allah Almighty
– “If anyone does evil or wrongs his own soul, but afterwards seeks God’s
forgiveness, he will find God Oft-Forgiving and Most Merciful” (IV-110).
creation around us is a testimony and proof of Allah’s Mercifulness, “…He hath
inscribed for Himself (the rule of) Mercy …..” (IV-12) The supremacy of this
virtue is again repeated in Surah Al Nisa, verse 54.
forgiving, Merciful” (24:22) is a verse which is repeated most in the Holy
Book, thus signifying the importance of Mercy. In Surah Al-Ahzab alone this
attribute is referred to eight times.
Muhammad taught us to initiate each job with the following appellation of
Allah, “In the name of Allah the Beneficent, the Merciful”. Thus this line has
been added as a prelude to every chapter of the Holy Quran, except for “Surah
Repentance”. We have been asked to greet each other with the salutation, “May
Allah shower His Mercy upon you.”
many attributes, but it is His quality of Mercy, that Allah likes most. “… and
(He does wish to) turn to you (in Mercy): and God is All-knowing, All wise”
(IV: 26) and again in Surah IV, verse 133, “Thy Lord is self-sufficient, Full
Muhammad (Pbuh) underwent tests of Allah for forty years before Allah chose him
for disseminating His illuminating Message to a people living in a world of
darkness. At the beginning, the infidels treated the Prophet (Pbuh) in a most
brutal manner, annoying and tormenting him in every way. After the death of his
beloved uncle, the Quresh of Mecca accelerated their sinister designs and they
left no stone unturned in persecuting and deriding him and his followers. When
he went to Taif, the tribal leaders treated him badly and refused to respond
his Call. Dismissed and followed by vagabonds and thoughtless children who
drove him, not allowing him to rest, the Holy Prophet, exhausted, his feet
bleeding profusely, sat and appealed to the Almighty, to invoke His Mercy.
At the end
of his prayers, an Angel appeared on the horizon and said: “O Prophet of Allah
I am at your service. If you wish I can cause the mountains overlooking this
town to collide against each other so that all people therein may perish”. But
Lo! The Prophet said, “even if these people do not accept Islam, I do hope from
Allah that there will be persons from among their progeny who would worship
Allah and serve His cause”. Indeed! All Praise be to Allah when he says, “We
have sent thee (O Muhammad) as a Mercy to the world. The Prophet of God, who
was sent but as Mercy, to the entire creation, is continuously directed by
Allah to forgive injuries, insult and persecution, “hold to forgiveness,
command what is right” (VII – 199). In Surah Tauba, verse 61, Allah reaffirms,
“he believes in Allah, has faith in the believers, and is a Mercy to those of
you who believe”.
of the Holy Quran are a testimony to the fact that Mercy is a characteristic
closest to the Prophet’s heart: “It was by the Mercy of Allah that thou wast
lenient with them (O Muhammad), for if thou hadst been stern and fierce of
heart they would have dispersed from round about thee” (3:159). Further Allah
says about the Prophet, “For the believers full of pity, merciful” (9:128). The
Prophetic traditions alluring to Mercy are plentiful, “The merciful are shown
Mercy by the merciful”, “Grant Mercy to those on earth and He who is in heavens
will grant Mercy unto you”.
thee not, but as a Mercy for all creatures”. Abdullah Yousuf Ali in his
commentary on the Holy Quran states, that with the revelation of this verse,
“there is no question now of race or nation, of a “chosen people” or the “seed
of Abraham, or the “seed of David”; or of Hindu Arya-Varta; of Jew or Gentile,
Arab or Ajam, Turk or Tajik, European or Asiatic, white or coloured, Aryan,
Semitic, Mongolian or African; or American, Australian or Polynesian. To all
men and creatures other than men who have any spiritual responsibility, the
principle universally applies.
pagan Arabs, the tying of an animal to the tomb of its master, so that it may
die with him, was a common custom. Islamic law prescribed methods to deal
humanely with animals, thus making it clear that Mercy has to be extended not
only to humans but to all the creatures of God. It is said a devout Muslim,
Aidy-ibn-Hatim was often seen distributing little crumbs of bread to ants in
consonance with his assertion that they were his neighbors and thus entitled to
Mercy is an
integral and inseparable part of our religion and a truly believing soul can
never be barbarous. Nations devoid and shorn of Mercy became a plague on earth.
Thus Mercy is the sine qua non of our religion and we ought to practice it
earnestly, besides the fundamental forms of worship. The demand to introduce
Islamic penal laws as a first step, towards building an Islamic society,
totally negates and repudiates the fundamental injunctions of Islam, a religion
of Peace, Mercy, Tolerance, Piety, Love and Compassion.
Pasha, in his book, ‘The eternal message of Muhammad’ has remarked that it was
only under the banner of Mercy that the Ottoman rulers were able to extend the
boundaries of their empire to the gates of Vienna. The need of the hour is to
follow the injunctions of the Holy Quran and the Sunnah in a more practical
way, so that a truly Islamic society may emerge wherein people abound with
Mercy and benevolence.
should resolve to make their behaviour symbolic of attributes, such as mercy,
generosity, truthfulness, endurance, patience and fortitude. Let us not defeat
the primary teachings underlying the message of Islam.
Sirajuddin Aziz is a senior banker with interest