A Message of Mercy

Islam is described in the Qur’an as a message of Mercy for the world. This truth can be demonstrated thoroughly in its teachings whether through the Qur’an or the Sunnah. Any person who studies Islam deeply comes to the conclusion that God’s message is a message of peace, security, prosperity, love, justice, and happiness for all of His creation. All what a person needs for understanding Islam is humility, open-mind, attention, and an effort to learn about it from reliable sources and not from the media or extremist religious broadcasts and periodicals.

The Qur’an teaches that Allah sealed the revelation to mankind through His last Prophet and Messenger Muhammad (P.b.u.h) as finality. In His last revelation, or message, to the world He set a system and a way of life that can guarantee a life of righteousness, justice, and peace for every living being. He called people to Islam, which is an acceptance of a constant state of peace with God as we have seen previously and He called them also to abide with a divine law to organize their lives. In this message there is mercy on different levels. That is why Allah said that His last Messenger was sent to the entire world as a Mercy. We read in the Qur’an,

“We sent thee not, but as a mercy for all creatures” (21:107)

And He also says,

“Say: “O people! I am sent unto you all, as the Messenger of Allah, to Whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth: there is no god but He: it is He that gives both life and death. So believe in Allah and His Messenger, the unlettered Prophet, who believes in Allah and His Words: follow him that (so) you may be guided.” (7:158)

In many chapters of the Qur’an, Allah reminds people of the blessings and possessions they have because He is the one who gives and takes away things such as health, wealth, intellect and life. He uses in all these cases the word Rahmah, Mercy1, and wants people to be merciful to one another as well as to all His creatures. The Prophet (S), who was the example and practical model of God’s teachings, as we will see, urged people to be merciful and compassionate. He said,

“Be merciful to others, Allah will be Merciful to you, and forgive, Allah will forgive you” Related by Ahmad.2
And he also said when al-Aqra’a ibnu Haabiss, a Bedouin man, saw him kissing his grand son al-Hassan and said that he had ten children and he never kissed anyone of them:

“Whoever does not show mercy to others, Mercy won’t cover him” Agreed upon it. Ahmad added: ” and whoever does not forgive, Allah won’t forgive him”3
He also said,

“The merciful ones deserve the Mercy of the Most Merciful. Be merciful to those on earth so that the One in Heaven – Allah – will cover you with His Mercy” Reported by Ahmad, Abu Daawud and at-Tirmidhi. The latter said it is good authentic.4

The Messenger of Allah (S) taught his followers that Islam is about mercy and being merciful. He explained and demonstrated that practically. Once He gave a parable to the mercy of God by pointing to a woman who was carrying her baby while breast-feeding him. He asked his companions, “Would you think this woman would throw her baby in the fire?” They replied, Certainly not! She wouldn’t allow herself to do that. He then said, “Know that Allah is more Merciful to you than this woman to her baby”.5

A model of Mercy

In fact, there are hundreds of sayings that we can mention here in this context.6  All the teachings of the Prophet (S) were about how to be merciful and show the others the mercy of Islam. There are many stories mentioned in the biographies of the Messenger of Allah (S) of people who embraced Islam not because they studied it in the classes or heard about it in lectures, but rather because they saw the behavior of the teacher and his disciples. That behavior was one of the main reasons thousands of people embraced Islam and committed themselves to Peace.  The Prophet Muhammad (S) proved to us that he was the embodiment of the teachings of the Qur’an as his wife ‘Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her) described him when she was asked by some people about his character. She said:

“His character was the Qur’an. Don’t you read Allah saying in the Qur’an, “And you indeed stand on an exalted standard of character”(68:4). Related in all the six books of Hadith and by Ahmad and others. 7
The Prophet (S) with his pattern, character, and his personality was and still is considered by the faithful as a gift from God. That gift is a precious one because it is a Mercy. He (S) used to call his companions and say,

“O people I am indeed a gift of mercy from Allah to you”8

Once some of his followers, while suffering from the persecution and the injustice of the Polytheists of Makkah, asked him to curse them, he replied:

“I was not sent by God to curse people, but rather as a Mercy to them” Reported by Muslim.9

God described Prophet Muhammad (S) in the Qur’an mentioning some of his qualities. He says,
God showed to His messenger one of the main reasons why people followed him. He said,
“It is part of the Mercy of Allah that you deal gently with them. Had you been severe or harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from about you: so pass over (their faults), and ask for (Allah’s) forgiveness for them; and consult them in affairs (of moment). Then, when you take a decision, put your trust in Allah. For Allah loves those who put their trust (in Him).” (3:159)

One of the companions named Malek ibn al-Huwayrith came once with a group of youth from a different part of Arabia to learn about Islam and to stay as guests and students at the Prophet’s place for many days. On the twentieth day, they told him that they missed their families and that they could not stay longer than what they had planned. He (S) understood their situation and gave them permission to leave and instructed them briefly on what to do for prayers. Malek (r) said: “He was very considerate of our situation, and indeed very kind, very compassionate, and very merciful…”.10

I am mentioning this to show that if we Muslims are ordered by God to follow our Prophet (S) and to behave like him as much as we can then we should also be kind and merciful as he was. For those of us who love to follow his way, we are not a threat to anyone, but a mercy. Islam is crystal clear and does not allow its adherents to have double standards. We Muslims have one Book, one God, and one pattern to follow that is the pattern of the Prophets (Peace be upon all of them). Allah (swt) says regarding following the last Messenger (S),

“You have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for any one whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the praise of Allah.” (33:21)

And He also says:

“Say: “This is my Way: I do invite unto Allah – on evidence clear as the seeing with one’s eyes – I and whoever follows me. Glory to Allah! And never will I join gods with Allah!” (12:108)

And He says regarding following all the Messengers (Peace be upon them),
“There was indeed in them an excellent example for you to follow, for those whose hope is in Allah and in the Last Day. But if any turn away, truly Allah is Free of all Wants, Worthy of all Praise.” (60:6)

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