By Imam Zijad Delic
Embracing the True Mercy (Ar Rahmah)
Narrated by Abu Musa Al Ash’ari (r) that the Prophet (S) addressed the companions and told them:
“By the One in whose hand is my soul, you will not enter Paradise until you are merciful to others. They said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, all of us are merciful.” The Prophet (S) said: Verily, it is not only mercy between yourselves (your family members and friends), but rather it is mercy in general (to ALL).’”
إِنَّهُ لَيْسَ بِرَحْمَةِ أَحَدِكُمْ خَاصَّتَهُ وَلَكِنْ رَحْمَةُ الْعَامَّةِ
Transliteration: “Innahu Laysa Bi Rahmati Ahadikum Khasatahu, Wa Lakin Rahmarul ‘Ammah.”
When I attend interfaith meetings and discussions, visit schools or universities, I hear Christians often asserting that Christianity is the faith of love and they asked how we could qualify Islam.
On the basis of textual references in Islam – the Qur’an and the Sunnah, the Sirah (history) of the Prophet Muhammad (S) and the scholarly discourses, we could with some certainty claim that Islam is the Din of Rahmah (Mercy) and thus the Prophet is the Prophet of Mercy and Muslims therefore must be the people of Rahmah (Mercy)!
Actually, if we would like to define the whole mission of the Prophet (S), then there is one term that defines it the best – Rahmah!
The total objective of the mission of the Prophet (S) was described by Allah as “Mercy to the Worlds,” in the Qur’an: “We have sent you (O Prophet) as Mercy to the whole worlds.” (Al Anbiya’ 107)
وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلَّا رَحْمَةً لِّلْعَالَمِينَ
In one of the statements by the Messenger (S), as reported by Hudhaifa (r), described himself as ‘Nabiyyur Rahmah – the Prophet of Mercy (to humanity): “I am a Prophet of Mercy.” (Ash Shama’il Al Muhammadiyyah)
عَنْ حُذَيْفَةَ، قَالَ: لَقِيتُ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم، فِي بَعْضِ طُرُقِ الْمَدِينَةِ، فَقَالَ وَأَنَا نَبِيُّ الرَّحْمَةِ
All his life, he was the best example of mercy. He was merciful on far and near, friends and enemies. That was the psychology of the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (S). That was a standard of this great man!
Abu Salih (r) reported: The Messenger of Allah (r) would address the people saying: “O people, I am only a mercy and a guide.” (Sunan al-Darimi)
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّمَا أَنَا رَحْمَةٌ مُهْدَاةٌ
The classical Muslim scholars such as Ibn Qayyim Al Jawzi () rightly pointed out: “That the goal of life is to be beneficial to all the creation of the Creator and be merciful to all under all circumstances. And then he concluded by saying: “Wa Hadhihi Hiyar Rahmatullati Bu’itha Biha Muhammad (S) – And this is the mercy by which Muhammad was sent.”
Therefore, it is so simple to conclude from this introduction that: a) by embracing true rahmah (mercy) we will be able to enhance our faith in action and b) anything which conflicts with this mercy does not run parallel with the mission of the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (S) and thus contradict our Din.
Yet, some Muslims are impervious to this concept of mercy!
They want to make themselves judges of others, passing judgments in situations where it is only for Allah to pass judgment!
To have the courage to speak on behalf of Allah, and to condemn, for example, a Muslim, calling him/her ‘Kafir, Fasiq, etc. or not shoving kindness to others, looks like the ethic of cruelty and meddling into the field of the Creator, where only Allah is a Judge.
And cruelty is incompatible with Iman, as mentioned earlier!
I have been saying often that to some Muslims Islam begins with the knowledge of the rules and regulations.
However, one can have a full Islamic library in his/her head, yet, s/he sees a tree and is blind to the forest.
Before the stage of rules and regulations, before the stage of Haram, Halal, Makruh and Mandub, before memorizing and learning, one should not miss the total picture of Islam, the holistic picture, and the totality of this beautiful Faith.
We can ask ourselves then: why is this so important?
This is so that peoples’ everyday living is facilitated, made easy and enjoyable within the framework of Islam, so that good feelings are shared among people so to develop better community and acceptance of each other increases in it.
If there is ‘Rahmah’ among people then it would be noticeable, because, the Din (Islam) is associated with working with other people, as the Last Messenger Muhammad (S) said.
Every Muslim should interact with other people in order to get by, otherwise, life would be very difficult.
Reward for one who interacts with people, even if he endures any harm from them, is better than one who avoids people, as narrated by Abdullah ibn Omar (r) that the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (S) said: “The Muslim who mixes with people and endures any harm from them is better than one who does not mix with them and does not endure any harm they may do.” (Al Adabul Mufrad)
عَنِ ابْنِ عُمَرَ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ: الْمُؤْمِنُ الَّذِي يُخَالِطُ النَّاسَ، وَيَصْبِرُ عَلَى أَذَاهُمْ، خَيْرٌ مِنَ الَّذِي لاَ يُخَالِطُ النَّاسَ، وَلاَ يَصْبِرُ عَلَى أَذَاهُمْ
You and I know that the essence of Islam is Rahmah!
One who hopes to receive the Rahmah of Allah Almighty, has to build up a stock in his/her account by being merciful to others as narrated by Jarir (r) that the Prophet (S) said, “Allah will not show mercy to a person who does not show mercy to other people.” (Bukhari, Muslim)
عَنْ إِسْمَاعِيلَ قَالَ: أَخْبَرَنِي قَيْسٌ قَالَ: أَخْبَرَنِي جَرِيرٌ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ: مَنْ لا يَرْحَمُ النَّاسَ لا يَرْحَمُهُ اللَّهُ.
On another occasion, as narrated by Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-‘As (r), the Prophet (S) said: “The Merciful One shows mercy to those who are themselves merciful to others. So, show mercy to whatever is on the earth, then He, Who is in the heaven, will show mercy to you.” (Abu Dawud, At Tirmidhi)
عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عَمْرٍو، يَبْلُغُ بِهِ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم “ الرَّاحِمُونَ يَرْحَمُهُمُ الرَّحْمَنُ ارْحَمُوا أَهْلَ الأَرْضِ يَرْحَمْكُمْ مَنْ فِي السَّمَاءِ
If there is this quality of Rahmah in our dealings with Muslims and with others, we and others will prosper.
But, if this quality, which is the backbone of the society, is not present, then hatred, envy, ill-feelings, and divisions will arise.
To understand this quality of Rahmah (mercy), how we can practically bring it about and gain some benefits from it, let us remind ourselves on several important points related to the topic:
- The first point is that there does not exist, on this earth, any person who is perfect in every single respect and who is free from defects and shortcomings.
For example, when the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (S) advised believers about their dealings and life with their wives, as narrated by Abu Huraira (r), he (S) informed us: “A believing man should not hate a believing woman; if he dislikes one of her characteristics, he will be pleased with another.” (Muslim)
عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ” لاَ يَفْرَكْ مُؤْمِنٌ مُؤْمِنَةً إِنْ كَرِهَ مِنْهَا خُلُقًا رَضِيَ مِنْهَا آخَرأَوْ قَالَ ” غَيْرَهُ
What is important in this Hadith is the realization that we must look at positive qualities of others and sometimes turn away from their faults and shortcomings.
We also understand from the Hadith that there is no Muslim who is completely wicked and evil and deserves to be fully condemned by the community of believers.
It is also very important to notice that the Messenger of Allah (S) pointed out that there is no Muslim who is perfect as well.
In fact, every one of us has some good qualities and characteristics as we all have some faults and shortcomings.
Where is that person in our community who is fully perfect in all respects?
Please, help me to find him or her!
One who is not able to see this as a reality, one who does not realize this point, will be most annoyed, most anxious and most worried person.
His/her heart will always be moving here and there.
He/she will always see people’s faults and never see their good sides and qualities.
This will annoy him/her and he/she will always be worried when he/she deals with people.
- The second point is: How should a Muslim view himself/herself?
He/she should look at their own shortcomings as well as good qualities and better themselves in those fields where they feel discomfort with their standard.
One of our early predecessors used to say: “If you knew what I know about myself then you would have thrown dust over my face.”
If people would know about us what we know about ourselves, I am positive they will not be able to see us as role models.
I am positive that they will not even talk to us.
If that is the case then we better rectify our faults and feel comfort with who we are.
- The third point is how we should view other Muslims and other peoples?
A pious predecessor once said beautiful words: “One of you knows all his/her own faults and mistakes and he/she still loves himself/herself, and prefers himself/herself over others, yet he/she dislikes his/her Muslim brother/sister on account of suspicion. So, where then is the ‘Aql (intellect, sanity).”
It does not make sense! How could we ignore obvious things that we know about ourselves and so easily engage into mistakes of others on the basis of our assumptions?
- Lastly, the fourth point is about us mutually helping each other to remove the bad characteristics and defects from ourselves, by informing each other, with extreme sincerity and concern for each other.
It was said to a wise man: “How do you feel that a person comes and informs you of your faults?” He said: “If a person comes to me and rebukes me and starts criticizing me for my faults, then no (I will not feel good). And if he/she comes to me with sincere advice and proper way, then yes (I will not have resentment towards it).”
My wish and du’a is that Allah makes us instruments of His mercy so that we receive His mercy on the Day we will need it the most!
Those of us who do not have mercy in our hearts will not be able to give to others what we do not have!
Only those who have mercy in their hearts will be able to share it with others!
Ya Rabb! Fill our hearts with mercy so that we will be able to share it with others and thus gain Your mercy in the Hereafter!