A Moment with Our Prophet, Muhammad (S)
By Imam Zijad Delic
Day 259: Muhammad (S) practiced Mercy to All!
Abu Salih (r) narrated that the Prophet (S) addressed the people saying: ٌ“O people, I am only a mercy and a guide.”
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّمَا أَنَا رَحْمَةٌ مُهْدَاة
Source: Sunan al-Darimi
So, what did really the Messenger (S) mean with this statement in a practical sense?
Let us look at some Qur’anic and Sunnah references with examples from the Rasul (S) in how Islam teaches us to be merciful to all on earth – oneself, parents, children, women, spouses, orphans, Muslims, non-Muslims, sinners, enemies, animals, etc.
For the sake of making this post not too long for the readers, I will share one example for each category and give a few examples for particular categories.
Muhammad (S) taught to be merciful to the following categories of people:
- Oneself: Mercy begins with oneself by taking care of ourselves physically, emotionally, intellectually, socially, spiritually, etc.
It also means having a good opinion of oneself without being arrogant or blind to one’s shortcoming.
And from here, when we take care of ourselves individually, the ring of mercy extends outwards through taking care of others.
We must first practice self-compassion and then show compassion to others; however, we often forget that we deserve mercy for ourselves as well.
Khaled ibn Walid (r) narrated that once a badu (a person from the desert) came to the Prophet (S) and told him that he would like to ask him (S) about the affairs of this world and the Hereafter.
The Prophet (S) told him to ask what he wishes.
The man said: “I would like Allah to bestow His mercy on me.”
And then the Prophet (S) told him: “If you have mercy on yourself and on others, Allah will grant you mercy on the Day of Judgement.” (Ibn Hibban)
- Parents: God Almighty commands us: “And lower unto them the wing of humility through mercy and say: “My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy as they did bring me up.” (Isra 24)
وَاخْفِضْ لَهُمَا جَنَاحَ الذُّلِّ مِنَ الرَّحْمَةِ وَقُل رَّبِّ ارْحَمْهُمَا كَمَا رَبَّيَانِي صَغِيرًا
- Marriage/women: God Almighty informed us: “And as of His Signs, He created mates for you from your souls that you may find rest in them. And He put between you love and mercy (compassion). Most surely there are Signs (proofs) in this for a people who reflect (reckon).” (Ar Rum 21)
وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ أَنْ خَلَقَ لَكُم مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَاجًا لِّتَسْكُنُوا إِلَيْهَا وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَكُم مَّوَدَّةً وَرَحْمَةً إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ
- Children: Abu Huraira (r) reported that al-Aqra’ b. Habis saw the Prophet (S) kissing Hasan. He said: I have ten children, but I have never kissed any one of them, whereupon Allah’s Messenger (S) said: He who does not show mercy (towards his children), no mercy would be shown to him.” (Muslim)
عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، أَنَّ الأَقْرَعَ بْنَ حَابِسٍ، أَبْصَرَ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم يُقَبِّلُ الْحَسَنَ فَقَالَ إِنَّ لِي عَشَرَةً مِنَ الْوَلَدِ مَا قَبَّلْتُ وَاحِدًا مِنْهُمْ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم “ إِنَّهُ مَنْ لاَ يَرْحَمْ لاَ يُرْحَمْ
- Relatives: It was narrated by Anas (r) that the Prophet (S) said: “Anyone who is pleased that his sustenance is expanded, and his age extended should do kindness to his near relatives.” (Abu Dawud)
عَنْ أَنَسٍ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم “ مَنْ سَرَّهُ أَنْ يُبْسَطَ لَهُ فِي رِزْقِهِ وَيُنْسَأَ لَهُ فِي أَثَرِهِ فَلْيَصِلْ رَحِمَهُ
- Muslims in general: It was narrated An-Nu`man bin Bashir that Allah’s Messenger (S) said, “You see the believers as regards their being merciful among themselves and showing love among themselves and being kind, resembling one body, so that, if any part of the body is not well then the whole body shares the sleeplessness (insomnia) and fever with it.” (Bukhari)
عَنُْ النُّعْمَانَ بْنَ بَشِيرٍ، يَقُولُ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم تَرَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ فِي تَرَاحُمِهِمْ وَتَوَادِّهِمْ وَتَعَاطُفِهِمْ كَمَثَلِ الْجَسَدِ إِذَا اشْتَكَى عُضْوًا تَدَاعَى لَهُ سَائِرُ جَسَدِهِ بِالسَّهَرِ وَالْحُمَّ
- Orphans: It was narrated Sahl (r) that Allah’s Messenger (S) said, “I and the one who looks after an orphan will be like this in Paradise,” showing his middle and index fingers and separating them.” (Bukhari)
حَدَّثَنَا عَمْرُو بْنُ زُرَارَةَ، أَخْبَرَنَا عَبْدُ الْعَزِيزِ بْنُ أَبِي حَازِمٍ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، عَنْ سَهْلٍ، قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم “ أَنَا وَكَافِلُ الْيَتِيمِ فِي الْجَنَّةِ هَكَذَا ”. وَأَشَارَ بِالسَّبَّابَةِ وَالْوُسْطَى، وَفَرَّجَ بَيْنَهُمَا شَيْئً
9: Sinners: Muhammad (S) was compassionate even with sinners! It was reported that a drunk man was brought to the Prophet (S) and as he turned around and started leaving the place, some people began to curse him saying “May Allah disgrace you – Akhzakallah.” Muhammad (S) told them not to do that and not to aid Shaitan against this person but asked them to say “May Allah have mercy on you – Yarhamukallah.” (Ahmed)
- Non-believers: Abu Huraira reported: It was said, “O Messenger of Allah, pray against the people who did not believe in God as Muslims believe (idolators, for example)!” The Messenger of Allah (S) said, “Verily, I was not sent to invoke curses, but rather I was only sent as mercy.” (Muslim)
عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ قَالَ قِيلَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ادْعُ عَلَى الْمُشْرِكِينَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ إِنِّي لَمْ أُبْعَثْ لَعَّانًا وَإِنَّمَا بُعِثْتُ رَحْمَةً
- Enemies: When Muhammad (S) liberated Makkah and when he (S) had power over them, he (S) has forgiven them and was merciful to them despite all what they have done to him and Muslims and declared the day of liberation of Makkah to be a day of mercy (Rahmah).
Al-Qasim ibn Salim (r) reported: When they (Quraish) came to the Ka’bah they were holding onto its door and the Prophet (S) said:
مَا تَقُولُونَ وَمَا تَظُنُّونَ
What do you say? What do you think?
They said three times, “We say you are the son of our brother.” The Prophet (S) said:
أَقُولُ كَمَا قَالَ يُوسُفُ لَا تَثْرِيبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْيَوْمَ يَغْفِرُ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ وَهُوَ أَرْحَمُ الرَّاحِمِينَ
I say to you as Joseph said to his brothers: No blame upon you today. Allah will forgive you, for he is the Most Merciful of the merciful. (12:92) (Sunan al-Kubra)
Ibn Asakir (r) reported that when Sa’d (r) passed by Abu Sufyan (r) with the banner of the Prophet (S) on the day Mecca was liberated, he announced, “O Abu Sufyan! Today is a day of slaughter!
Today the unlawful will be lawful! Today Allah will disgrace the Quraish!”
So, the Messenger of Allah (S) said:
يَا أَبَا سُفْيَانَ الْيَوْمَ يَوْمُ الْمَرْحَمَةِ الْيَوْمَ أَعَزَّ اللَّهُ فِيهِ قُرَيْشًا
O Abu Sufyan, today is a day of mercy (Rahmah). Today Allah will honor the Quraish. (Tarīkh Dimashq)
فَجَعْلَهُ يَوْمَ مَرْحَمَةٍ وَأَنْكَرَ أَنْ يَكُونَ يَوْمَ مَلْحَمَةٍ فَدَلَّ عَلَى الصُّلْحِ دُونَ الْعَنْوَةِ
The Prophet (S) made it a day of mercy and he rejected that it would be a day of slaughter.
Thus, it shows that it was reconciliation without violence. (al-Ḥawi al-Kabir)
Indeed, the Prophet (S) was so forgiving and merciful because Allah had revealed to him, as well as to the Prophets before him, that among the best and most honored people to Allah are those who forgive others and treat others the way they would love to be treated.
Abu Huraira (r) reported that the Prophet (S) said:
سَأَلَ مُوسَى رَبَّهُ وقَالَ فَأَيُّ عِبَادِكَ أَحْكُمُ قَالَ الَّذِي يَحْكُمُ لِلنَّاسِ كَمَا يَحْكُمُ لِنَفْسِهِ قَالَ فَأَيُّ عِبَادِكَ أَعَزُّ قَالَ الَّذِي إِذَا قَدَرَ غَفَرَ
Moses said: Who is the best in judgment of your servants? Allah said: Those who judge people as they would love to be judged themselves. Moses said: Who are the most honored of your servants? Allah said: Those who forgive when they have power over others. (Ṣaḥiḥ Ibn Hibban)
10: Animals: Mu’awiya ibn Qurra reported that his father said, “A man said, ‘Messenger of Allah (S), I was going to slaughter a sheep and then I felt sorry for it (or ‘sorry for the sheep I was going to slaughter’).’ He said twice, ‘Since you showed mercy to the sheep, Allah will show mercy to you.'” (Al Adabul Mufrad)
عَنْ مُعَاوِيَةَ بْنِ قُرَّةَ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ قَالَ: قَالَ رَجُلٌ: يَا رَسُولَ اللهِ، إِنِّي لَأَذْبَحُ الشَّاةَ فَأَرْحَمُهَا، أَوْ قَالَ: إِنِّي لَأَرْحَمُ الشَّاةَ أَنْ أَذْبَحَهَا، قَالَ: وَالشَّاةُ إِنْ رَحِمْتَهَا، رَحِمَكَ اللَّهُ مَرَّتَيْنِ
In a nutshell, Rahmah is the essential characteristics or feature of our faith!
Allah is merciful and commanded His last Prophet (S) to be merciful!
The mission of the Prophet (S) was all about Rahmah!
As Muslims who believe the message of the Prophet (S), we must emulate him, our role-model!
Thus, Rahmah should not be an abstract idea in Muslims lives but the lived reality!
For these and many other reasons, humanity is in a need of people with big hearts – merciful hearts!
The hearts that can give and not only take!
The hearts that can elevate distress and sorrow and not add more distress and sorrow to it!
Ya Rabb! Guide our hearts towards the direction that our role-model Mustafa (S) took and make us of those who would live Rahmah in our day-to-day life as our believers’ policy and show mercy to all the creation of the Creator!