Mercy is a favour from Allah which He
places in the hearts of whomsoever He wills. Verily, Allah will have mercy on
His servants who are merciful. Allah is the Most Compassionate the Most
Merciful. He loves the merciful and calls to mercy. He orders His servants to
enjoin patience and mercy. A person may lack mercy for any number of reasons,
among them, an abundance of sins and disobedience. They stain their hearts so
much so that they ultimately blind them until their hearts become harder than
stones. Allah says of the Children of Israel: 'And yet, after all this, your
hearts hardened and became like rocks, or even harder' (2:74).
Allah also says about them when they opposed and rebelled against the divine
law: 'Then, for having broken their solemn pledge, We rejected them and caused
their hearts to harden' (5:13).
Among the things that cause a loss of mercy is arrogance with wealth and pride
with riches. Allah says: 'Nay, verily, man becomes grossly overweening whenever
he believes himself to be self-sufficient' (96:6-7).
The day the heart is disciplined with faith and good deeds it fills with mercy
Another reason for the weakness of mercy is an abundance of gluttony and
saturation. They give rise to contempt and recklessness. Hence the month of
fasting was prescribed to crush this unruliness and ill discipline. The fasting
person is naturally among the most merciful people. That is because he has
tasted hunger, experienced thirst and endured hardship. His soul is, therefore,
enveloped with mercy, care and gentleness for Muslims.
Mercy is something which every Muslim is required to render to his brother
Muslim. It is a requirement from every responsible custodian toward those under
his care. He should feel sorry for them and be lenient toward them. Prophet
Muhammad sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam said: 'O Allah! Whoever was entrusted with
authority over any affair of the Muslims and made it difficult for them, please
make it difficult for him. And whoever was entrusted over any affair of the
Muslims and was kind toward them, then be kind toward him.'
In a related hadith Allah's Messenger also said: 'Whoever oversees an affair for
my nation and disappeared or abandoned them without fulfilling their needs while
impoverishing them, Allah will debar him from his needs and impoverish him on
the Day of Judgement.'
Mercy demands that the scholar and teacher should be gentle toward his students
and lead them to the easiest and best ways to love him and benefit from his
teachings. If he does this Allah will decree for him the most excellent and
abounding reward. Listen to the manner in which Allah praises His Prophet
sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam : 'And it was by God's grace that thou [O Prophet]
didst deal gently with thy followers: for if thou hadst been harsh and hard of
heart, they would indeed have broken away from thee' (3:159).
Mercy further requires from the imam that he should not make worship difficult
for his followers or cause them harm. On the contrary, he should be merciful,
kind and wise. The Prophet sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam said: 'Whoever from you
leads the people in prayer must make it easy because among them are the old, the
sick, the young and the needy.' It was narrated that when Mu'adh once extended
the prayer the Prophet sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam said to him: 'Are you a
troublemaker O Mu'adh? Are you a troublemaker O Mu'adh? Are you a troublemaker O
In the same manner, when Uthman ibn Abi al As al Thaqafi requested: 'O Messenger
of Allah, make me an imam of my people.' The Prophet sallallahu `alaihi wa
sallam said: 'You are their imam so lead the prayer according to the weakest of
them and take a caller to prayer who would seek no payment for doing so.'
Mercy dictates that the one who calls to Islam must advise
those whom he is inviting with tenderness. That he should, moreover, clarify
issues to them with concern. He should not hurt, defame people or even revile
the disobedient in public. Allah advised Moses and Aaron to employ the following
methods in their call to the tyrant Pharaoh: 'But speak unto him in a mild
manner, so that he might bethink himself or [at least] be filled with
He also says: 'Call thou [all mankind] unto thy Sustainer's path with wisdom and
goodly exhortation, and argue with them in the most kindly manner' (16:125).
The eminent jurist and Islamic scholar, Imam al Shafe'e wrote:
Support me with your advice in private, and avoid advising me in public.
Surely giving advice among the people is a kind of reproach, which I would
rather not listen to.
If you disobey and ignore my wish, don't be saddened if you are not obeyed.
Mercy is required from a father to his children. This matter was previously
discussed in the lesson (No. 18) on how we train our children. The mercy of the
father or mother toward her children has the greatest effect on their integrity,
well-being and obedience. Self-praise and harshness only open the door to
despair. The Prophet sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam said: 'Kindness was never
bestowed upon something except that it beautified it, and it was never removed
from that thing except that it made it ugly.'
O you who fast and cause hunger to your stomach, there are thousands of stomachs
more awaiting a meal. Will there not arise from among you those who would feed
them? O you who fast and cause thirst to your liver, there are thousands more
who await a mouthful of water. Will there not arise from among you those who
would quench their thirst? O you who fast and wear the finest garments, there
are naked people out there awaiting only a piece of cloth to cover their bodies.
Will there not then come forth from among you those who would clothe them?
O Allah! We implore your extended mercy that will forgive our sins and erase our
misdeeds and errors.