Allah the 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. Indeed, Islam teaches that God is more merciful towards us than our own mothers. How can it be otherwise, when He is The Acceptor of Repentance; The Compassionate; The Loving; The Forbearing One; The Most Gracious; The Most Merciful; The Source of Goodness; The Most Generous; The Bestower! He forgives all sins, overlook our shortcomings, not withstanding how heinous they may be in so far as we repent to Him sincerely! Allah created one hundred mercies in the beginning of creation. He sent down just one part of the hundred mercies to the earth and from it all creatures show mercy to themselves; including the love the mother has for her children, that which the husband has for the wife, the mercy shown by the strong and powerful to the weak and destitute, even that love, mercy and affection that transpires between animals and other smaller creatures! All of these are derived from one hundredth of the mercy Allah created, and He the Almighty kept the remaining ninety-nine mercies to Himself. Allah says: "Limitless is your Lord in His mercy…” (Q 6:147).
The above mentioned names and attributes of Allah testify to the vastness and perfection of His Mercy, with which He blesses all of His creation. This same creation is addressed by Allah the God Almighty, when He says in the Hadith Qudsi (God's words that are not part of the Qur'an but narrated by the Prophet peace be upon him), “O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as the earth.”
Throughout life, people continually receive Allah’s blessings, be it good health, sight, hearing, nourishment, clean air, children, wealth and countless others. Some use their God-given gifts of intelligence and reasoning to acknowledge these blessings, grasp the purpose of their existence, and thereby submit themselves to Allah. Others, 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 says, “Then which of the Blessings of your Lord will you deny?” (Q55:13).
Ultimately, everyone has the free will to acknowledge their blessings, use them in a manner ordained by Allah (the Lord of mankind) and worship Him alone. Below, we have outlined a glimpse of such blessings, because “... if you were to try and count the favours of Allah, you could not enumerate them. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” (Q16:18).
Allah, out of His mercy provided mankind with guidance through divine scriptures and Prophets. He acknowledges this in the Qur'an saying:
“It is He (Allah) Who has sent down the Book (the Qur’an) to you (Muhammad) with truth, confirming what came before it. And He sent down the Taurah and the Injeel (the original revelations revealed to Prophets Moses and Jesus respectively).” (Q3:3).
From the beginning of creation, man was not left to face the struggles of life alone. Due to Allah’s Mercy, man received revelation through His Messengers and Prophets, who conveyed and taught it to their people to guide and protect them. The most perfect and merciful of revelations was the Qur’an and the last of the prophets was Muhammad peace be upon him. Allah says,
Indeed, We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], as We revealed to Noah and the prophets after him. And we revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, the Descendants, Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, and Solomon, and to David We gave the book [of Psalms]. And [We sent] messengers about whom We have related [their stories] to you before and messengers about whom We have not related to you. And Allah spoke to Moses with [direct] speech. [We sent] messengers as bringers of good tidings and warners so that mankind will have no argument against Allah after the messengers. And ever is Allah Exalted in Might and Wise. (Q4:163-165).
The Qur’an – the final revelation – superseded and abrogated previous revelations, and is the ultimate mercy and guidance for mankind. Just as Allah sent Messengers in the past, He also sent to mankind a living, perfect and practical example of how the Qur’an’s teachings of mercy and justice should be practically applied in our daily lives. This example was Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) - a mercy to mankind.
“And We (God) have not sent you (Muhammad) except as a mercy for mankind.” (Q21:107).
The creation of human beings and all their faculties is a great mercy in itself. The fact that we can see, eat, hear, get out of bed, work, play and sleep should make us grateful.
“And out of His Mercy He made for you the night and the day that you may rest therein and [by day] seek from His Bounty and [that] perhaps you will be grateful.” (Q28:73).
A spouse is one of the greatest of mercies, a means to tranquility and affection; one of Allah's greatest mercies upon mankind. He says:
“And of His signs is that He created for you, from yourselves, mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.” (Q30:21).
Another mercy of Allah is the fact that He created us sinless and will not hold us to account until the age of maturity and decision making. This is in stark contrast to the “Original Sin” concept in Christianity.
Forgiveness of sins is another example of Allah’s Mercy, as Allah knows we are imperfect and commit mistakes. 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:
“O My servants who have transgressed against their souls! Do not despair of the Mercy of God: for God forgives all sins: for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Q39:53).
Even animals are not exempt from Allah’s Mercy as we earlier mentioned. They have faculties of hearing and sight, are provided with sustenance and offspring, and are granted many other blessings. Allah’s Mercy envelops them to the point that because of one single portion of Allah’s Mercy sent to earth, “...His creatures are merciful to each other, so that even the mare lifts up its hoof away from its baby animal, lest it should trample on it.” The Merciful Creator ensures that every creation is looked after - from the fish in the depths of the ocean, to the insects in the earth, and the birds in the skies – all are sustained by Him. The Prophet peace be upon him tells us about the prostitute that attains Allah's mercy and forgiveness due to her being merciful to a starving dog!
Allah has promised to forgive and pardon whosoever follows the appropriate means in true and sincere repentance to Him, does not associate partners with Him and does good deeds, as mentioned in the following verse:
“And surely, I am indeed forgiving to him who repents, believes (in My Oneness, and associates none in worship with Me) and does righteous good deeds, and then remains constant in doing them.” (Q20:82). He also said:
“Indeed, the mercy of Allah is near to the doers of good.” (Q7:56)
This entails that believing and obeying the final Messenger, Muhammad peace be upon him is part and parcel of having the correct belief. Therefore, for us to enjoy more of Allah's favors and mercies we should follow the path of His last Messenger and Prophet Muhammad, who also has spoken a lot about how merciful Allah is and why we should take to the path of showing mercy amongst us human beings and likewise to other creatures of Allah. Allah says about His Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him: "And We (Allah) have not sent you (Muhammad) but as a mercy unto mankind" (Q21:107).
The following are just some of the sayings of the Prophet peace be upon him which are indicative of his mercy, kindness, tolerance and beautiful teachings:
“Kindness is not found in anything except that it adds to its beauty, and is not withdrawn from anything except that it makes it deficient.”
“The most perfect of believers in belief is the best of them in character.”
“He is not a perfect Muslim who eats his fill while his neighbour goes hungry.”
“Allah will not show mercy to him who does not show mercy to others.”
How desperately do we, as a society, and in these times, need such beautiful advice?
Meanwhile, we can seek more of Allah's mercies and bounties, and below, are some ways to attain such.
“Obey Allah and the Messenger that you may obtain mercy.” (Q3:132).
By following the teachings of mercy and justice found in the Qur’an: “And this is a blessed Book We have revealed; therefore follow it and protect yourself (against evil), that mercy may be shown to you.” (Q6:155).
“Keep up prayer and pay the compulsory charity (to the needy) and obey the Messenger, so that mercy may be shown to you.” (Q24:56).
Sincerely asking for Mercy from God. “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.”
In short, the people who receive more of Allah’s Mercy are those who have acknowledged His blessings and favours; used 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.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Allah will show mercy to those who show mercy to people. Show mercy to those who are on earth - the One Who is in Heaven will show mercy to you.” So, my dear brethren and readers, if we want to attain God's mercy, then we should start showing mercy to our kit and kins, our neighbor, friends and to mankind and God's creatures in general.