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The Concept of Mercy in Islam

Islam teaches us to be merciful to the entire creation, to Muslims and non-Muslims, to friends and enemies and even to the animals. Mercy in Islam has a very wide meaning that includes kindness, compassion, love, tolerance, patience with people, and to treat others the way we would love to be treated. Allah Almighty is full of love and kindness to His creation. All blessings and goodness in this world and the next are clear proofs of His Mercy. Allah says:

قَالَ رَبِّ اغْفِرْ لِي وَلِأَخِي وَأَدْخِلْنَا فِي رَحْمَتِكَ وَأَنتَ أَرْحَمُ الرَّاحِمِينَ

“O, my Lord! Forgive me and my brother and admit us into Your Mercy, for You (are) the Most Merciful (of) the merciful.” (Surah Al-A`raf 7:151 )

This Islamic value is at the core of the prophetic message and meaning of faith, just as it was in all of the revealed religions before Islam. Indeed, Islam teaches that God is more merciful toward us than our own mothers. The fact that believers commit sins does not mean that we should lose hope of Allah’s Mercy or that we have exhausted Allah’s Forgiveness. Allah says:

ثُمَّ كَانَ مِنَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالصَّبْرِ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالْمَرْحَمَةِ

“Then he was among those who had faith and advised one another to patience and advised one another to mercy.” (Surah Al-Balad 90:17)

Allah intends for the mercy of Islam to touch every person on earth. The creation of human beings and all their faculties is great mercy in itself. God Almighty is full of love and kindness to His creation. All blessings and goodness in this world and the next are clear proofs of His Mercy.  Allah says:

إِذْ أَوَى الْفِتْيَةُ إِلَى الْكَهْفِ فَقَالُوا رَبَّنَا آتِنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ رَحْمَةً وَهَيِّئْ لَنَا مِنْ أَمْرِنَا رَشَدًا

“When retreated the youths to the cave, and they said, “Our Lord! Grant us from Yourself Mercy, and facilitate for us [from] our affair (in the) right way.” (Surah Al-Kahf 18:10)

“Mercy for Mankind” represents the love of God for all people alike, deserving and undeserving, the righteous and the wicked, the pious and the sinful, the moral and the depraved, the saintly and the dissolute. Every Muslim needs to strive to be an agent of mercy on earth for all human beings and creatures.

Merciful people show compassion, sympathize, and are patient, kind, and tender-hearted:

  1. Mercy deeds our fellowmen with various temporal goods
  2. Mercy speaks about the sentence at the last judgment
  3. Mercy sceptre shows the force of temporal power
  4. Mercy practice in  the Holy Scripture assures
  5. Mercy regaining our lost graces of sanctity
  6. Mercy both temporal and eternal goods
  7. Mercy also brings an immortal reward
  8. Mercy is an attribute to God himself
  9. Mercy develops seasons of justice
  10. Mercy is the attribute and majesty
  11. Mercy cleanses us from our sins
  12. Mercy is above the sceptred sway
  13. Mercy is the dread and fear of kings
  14. Mercy obtains for us graces and light
  15. Mercy becomes better than his crown
  16. Mercy is the mightiest in the mightiest
  17. Mercy always saves our soul from evils
  18. Mercy is enthronèd in the hearts of kings
  19. Mercy droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
  20. Mercy treasure to lay up than any store of gold
  21. Mercy is in need of the special grace of forgiveness
  22. God mercy is so complete that He forgives us on our sins

Muslims believe that through him, a human-like themselves, God has spoken to them, and guided him to live amongst them, setting an example and a model for all times to come. Even today he motivates and induces whole populations to yearn and strive to shape their private lives, politics, and policies according to Allah’s teachings. Allah says:

وَأَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَالرَّسُولَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ

“And obey Allah and the Messenger so that you may receive mercy.” (Surah Al-Imran 3:132)

From the beginning of creation, the man was not left to face the struggles of life alone. Due to God’s Mercy, the man received revelation through Prophets, who conveyed and taught it to their people to guide and protect them. The most perfect and merciful of revelations was the Quran and the last of the prophets was Muhammad (peace be upon him). Allah says:

وَلَمَّا سَكَتَ عَن مُّوسَى الْغَضَبُ أَخَذَ الْأَلْوَاحَ وَفِي نُسْخَتِهَا هُدًى وَرَحْمَةٌ لِّلَّذِينَ هُمْ لِرَبِّهِمْ يَرْهَبُونَ

“And when was calmed from Musa the anger, he took (up) the tablets and in their inscription (was) guidance and mercy for those who [they] (are) fearful of their Lord.” (Surah Al-A`raf 7:154 )

However, do not appreciate the Mercy of Allah toward their own selves, even though He feeds and sustains them despite their disobedience toward Him. They are given mobility, enjoyment, freedom of thought and action, despite their outright denial of Him. Their very existence would not be, were it not for the Mercy of Allah.

Allah Almighty, the Exalted, says in the Holy Quran:

  • “And My Mercy encompasses everything.” (Quran 7:156)
  • “Obey Allah and the Messenger that you may obtain mercy.” (Quran 3:132)
  • “Surely Allah is Most Gentle, Ever Compassionate to people.” (Quran 22:65)
  • “And We have not sent you (O Muhammad) except as a mercy to the worlds.” (Quran 21:107)
  • “Therefore, treat not the orphan with oppression. And do not repel the beggar.” (Quran 93: 9-10)
  • “And they carry your heavy loads to lands that ye could not (otherwise) reach except with souls distressed: for your, Lord is indeed Most Kind, Most Merciful.” (Surah An-Nahl, 7)
  • “Our Lord! Make not our hearts to deviate after You have guided us aright, and grant us mercy from Yourself; surely You are the Bestower.” (Quran 3:8)
  • “And this is a blessed Book We have revealed; therefore follow it and protect yourself (against evil), that mercy may be shown to you.” (Quran 6:155)
  • “Keep up prayer and pay the compulsory charity (to the needy) and obey the Messenger, so that mercy may be shown to you.” (Quran 24:56)
  • “Or that He may not call them to account by a process of slow wastage – for thy Lord is indeed full of kindness and mercy.” (Surah An-Nahl, 47)
  • “This day let no reproach be (cast) on you: Allah will forgive you, and He is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy!” (Surah Yusuf, 92)
  • “He chooses for His Mercy whom He wills. And Allah (is) the Possessor of Bounty – [the] great.” (Surah Al-Imran 3:74 )
  • “And we have not sent you, [O Muhammad] except as a mercy for the entire humanity.” (Al Anbiya: 107)

Islam is a religion of mercy and peace. The people who receive more of Allah’s Mercy are those who have acknowledged His blessings and favours; using them in a way which pleases God; spent their God-given wealth in charity and to look after the needy; employed their hands to care for orphans; utilized their gift of speech to speak good, and performed other honourable acts ordained by God. Allah says:

فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا بِاللَّهِ وَاعْتَصَمُوا بِهِ فَسَيُدْخِلُهُمْ فِي رَحْمَةٍ مِّنْهُ وَفَضْلٍ وَيَهْدِيهِمْ إِلَيْهِ صِرَاطًا مُّسْتَقِيمًا

“So as for those who believed in Allah and held fast to Him, then He will admit them in Mercy from Himself and Bounty and will guide them to Himself (on) a straightway.” (Surah An-Nisa` 4:175)

Islam teaches us to be merciful to the entire creation, to Muslims and non-Muslims, to friends and enemies and even to the animals. God loves compassion. Muslims view Islam to be a religion of mercy. To them, their Prophet is God’s gift of mercy to all humanity. Creation itself is an expression of divine favour, mercy, and love. God invites us to observe the effects of His mercy around us. Allah says:

رَبَّنَا لَا تُزِغْ قُلُوبَنَا بَعْدَ إِذْ هَدَيْتَنَا وَهَبْ لَنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ رَحْمَةً إِنَّكَ أَنتَ الْوَهَّابُ

“Then you turned away from after that. So if not (for the) Grace (of) Allah upon you and His Mercy, surely you would have been of the losers.” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:64)

Islamic value is at the core of the prophetic message and meaning of faith, just as it was in all of the revealed religions before Islam. Muslims are encouraged to have a hope of reward for good deeds while being concerned about sins they may perform. When they commit sins, they repent sincerely and are hopeful of being forgiven. Allah says:

إِذْ أَوَى الْفِتْيَةُ إِلَى الْكَهْفِ فَقَالُوا رَبَّنَا آتِنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ رَحْمَةً وَهَيِّئْ لَنَا مِنْ أَمْرِنَا رَشَدًا

When retreated the youths to the cave, and they said, “Our Lord! Grant us from Yourself Mercy, and facilitate for us [from] our affair (in the) right way.” (Surah Al-Kahf 18:10 )

Islamic value is at the core of the prophetic message and meaning of faith, just as it was in all of the revealed religions before Islam. Every Muslim needs to strive to be an agent of mercy on earth for all human beings and creatures. A Muslim is to think better of Allah. No denying the fact that Allah is Mighty, Just and Wrathful, however, at the same time He is Merciful and forgiving.