Mercy always saves our soul from evils

The Gift of Tears

Tears show devotion to God and such devotion elevates the intellect and soul to a higher degree. Not every act of crying results from the fear of Allah. Many people shed tears for role-play purposes. But the merit of weeping out of the fear of Allah is great. Once the eyes start welling up or, God forbid, a tear rolls down one’s cheek, you are not a strong person anymore. Allah says:

وَإِذا سَمِعُوا ما أُنْزِلَ أِلَي الرَّسُولِ تَري أَعْينَهُمْ تَفِيضُ مِنَ الدِّمْعِ مِمَّا عَرَفُوا مِنَ الحَقِّ يقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا آمَنَّا فَاکْتُبْنَا مَعَ الشّهِدِينَ 

And when they hear what has been revealed to the Apostle, you will see their eyes overflowing with tears on account of the truth that they recognize; they say Our Lord! We believe, so write us down with the witnesses of the truth.” (Surah Al-Ma’idah 5:83)

Crying, particularly amongst men, is commonly viewed as a sign of weakness in several cultures. Why is this, when it is a natural physical reaction and the first thing we do as babies as we enter the world? In this article, we will attempt to examine what Islam, through the teachings of the Quran and the Ahlulbayt (peace be upon them), says about crying. Allah says:

وَيقُولُونَ سُبْحَانَ رَبِّنَا أِنْ کَانَ وَعْدُ رَبِّنَا لَمَفعُولاً * وَيخِرّوُنَ لِلأَذقَانِ يبْکُونَ وَيَزِيدُهُمْ خُشُوعاً 

“Surely, those who were given knowledge before it, when it is read unto them, fall and prostrate on their faces in reverence, saying: ‘Glory to our Lord! Verily, the promise of our Lord must be fulfilled. They fall on their faces, weeping, and it increases humility in them.” (Surah Bani Isra’il 17:107-109)

From a spiritual and ethical point of view, many argue that the root cause of most wrong actions is due to a hard heart, something Islamic literature has vast teachings on. Suffering this spiritual ailment kills the compassion of the human where he/she will not have sympathy nor the ability to listen to one’s innate moral compass. Allah says:

إِذَا تُتْلَي عَلَيْهِمْ آياتُ الرَّحمنِ خَرُّروا سُجَّداً وَ بُکِياً 

“When the communications of the Beneficent God were recited to them [the prophets], they fell making obeisance and weeping.” (Surah Maryam 19:58)

Disobeying God’s laws is the obvious way to regress into this state but, on another surface, this can be caused by allowing the ‘self’ to take command of us. In other words, arrogance causes a hard heart that is unable to shed tears. And we look at ourselves and we think we go through so much pain and struggles as if no one else is going through what we are going through. Allah says:

وَنَادَىٰ أَصْحَابُ النَّارِ أَصْحَابَ الْجَنَّةِ أَنْ أَفِيضُوا عَلَيْنَا مِنَ الْمَاءِ أَوْ مِمَّا رَزَقَكُمُ اللَّهُ قَالُوا إِنَّ اللَّهَ حَرَّمَهُمَا عَلَى الْكَافِرِينَ

”And (will) call out (the) companions (of) the Fire (to the) companions (of) Paradise [that], “Pour upon us [of] (some) water or of what Allah has provided you.” They (will) say, “Indeed, Allah has forbidden both to the disbelievers.” (Surah Al-A’raf, 7:50)

Crying and shedding tears have been given special value in Islamic traditions:

  1. Tears have the value of the blood of martyrs
  2. Tears bring about a great reward from Allah
  3. Tears soften the heart and bring prosperity
  4. Tears are a sign of Allah’s mercy
  5. Tears are a sign of Allah’s mercy
  6. Tears: Allah’s gift to mankind
  7. Tears illuminate the heart
  8. Mercy is the attribute and majesty
  9. Mercy is above the sceptred sway
  10. Mercy develops seasons of justice
  11. Mercy is the dread and fear of kings
  12. Mercy obtains for us graces and light
  13. Mercy also brings an immortal reward
  14. Mercy always saves our soul from evils
  15. Mercy both temporal and eternal goods
  16. Mercy is enthronèd in the hearts of kings
  17. Mercy regaining our lost graces of sanctity
  18. Mercy practice in  the Holy Scripture assures
  19. Mercy treasure to lay up than any store of gold
  20. Mercy sceptre shows the force of temporal power

Tears flow when we remember how much Allah has blessed us with and how much we disobey Him. We can never repay Allah for everything we have, yet we still blatantly commit sins both big and small: whether it’s backbiting, hurting other human beings, not standing up for the truth, treating our family badly, lying, doing good deeds to show off, cheating, etc. Allah says:

أَزِفَتِ الازِفَةُ * لَيسَ لَها مِنْ دُونِ اللهِ کاشِفَة * أَفَمِن هذَا الحَديثِ تَعْجَبُونَ * وَتَضْحَکُونَ وَلا تَبْکُونَ 

“The near event draws nigh. There shall be none besides Allah to remove it. Do you then wonder at this announcement? And will you laugh and not weep?” (Surah Al-Najm 53:57-60)

In the etiquette of conversing with Allah, the Ahlulbayt have shown shedding tears to be amongst a common trait of theirs, since they humble themselves and realize who they are speaking to. An arrogant heart cannot do this. If it is such a precious weapon, and the only weapon we have, then why is such a stigma attached to it?

Allah Almighty says in The Holy Quran:

  • “And by those who glide along (on errands of mercy)” (Surah An-Naziat, 3)
  • “We sent thee not, but as a mercy for all creatures.” (Surah Al-Anbiya, 107)
  • “And it certainly is a Guide and a mercy to those who believe.” (Surah An-Naml, 77)
  • “As mercy from thy Lord: for He hears and knows (all things).” (Surah Ad-Dukhan, 6)
  • “And verily, thy Lord is He, the Exalted in Might, Most Merciful.” (Surah Ash-Shura, 9)
  • “(This is) a recital of the mercy of thy Lord to His servant Zakariya.” (Surah Maryam, 2)
  • “We admitted them to Our mercy: for they were of the righteous ones.” (Surah Al-Anbiya, 86)
  • “Except for Mercy from thy Lord: for his bounty is to thee (indeed) great.” (Surah Al-Isra, 87)
  • “And We admitted him to Our mercy: for he was one of the Righteous.” (Surah Al-Anbiya, 75)
  • “And, out of Our mercy, We gave him his brother Aaron, (also) a prophet.” (Surah Maryam, 53)
  • “And, out of Our Mercy, We gave him his brother Aaron, (also) a prophet.” (Surah Maryam, 53)
  • “And (remember) Job, when He cried to his Lord, “Truly distress has seized me, but Thou art the Most Merciful of those that are merciful.” (Surah Al-Anbiya, 83)
  • So say: “O my Lord! grant Thou forgiveness and mercy for Thou art the Best of those who show mercy!” (Surah Al-Muminun, 118)
  • “He punishes whom He pleases, and He grants Mercy to whom He pleases, and towards Him are ye turned.” (Surah Al-Ankabut, 21)
  • “And they fall upon their faces weeping, and the Qur’an increases them in humble submission.” (Quran, 7:109)

Allah opens ways out of problems for us, easing our burdens. Yet, we still disobey Him and take His Mercy for granted. Human beings are in turmoil. Connecting with God with our hearts and begging for His Mercy for His Creation will bring us closer to Him and human beings. Allah says:

فَلْيَضْحَکُوا قَلِيلاً وَلْيبْکُوا کَثِيراً جَزَاءً بِمَا کَانُوا يَکْسِبُونَ 

“Therefore they shall laugh little and weep much as a recompense for what they earned.” (Surah Al-Tawbah 9:82)

The shedding of tears is a powerful weapon that opens the door to God’s mercy and benevolence. There is no doubt about this. Crying for the tragedy of Karbala is a natural reaction to someone who has a heart that is alive. A religion that nurtures our intrinsic human nature, crying is a sign of humility, enlightenment, and a soft heart. Not valuing this highly spiritual act is opposing these Godly values.