Jarir (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet said, “Allah does not show mercy to whoever does not show mercy to people.” (Al-Bukhari)
Maybe we have all heard this hadith at some time, but it is really something to think about during the blessed month of Ramadan.
One of the reasons we fast is that we want the mercy of Almighty Allah; we want His help, His guidance, and His forgiveness. We do without food and drink during the day and pray more at night and give charity and try to control our anger, all in an attempt to receive Allah’s mercy.
However, maybe there is something we have forgotten! Maybe the answer to our prayers lies within the words we speak and the things we do. Almighty Allah is letting us understand the way to receive His mercy. It is through being merciful to others.
Now, what springs to mind? Are you thinking about massive humanitarian efforts or giving lots of money in charity?
But what about your family, your neighbors, and the strangers who pass you by every day? Who are the people we should being merciful to? Maybe it would be a good start if we turned to those around us right now.
It might be an annoying brother or sister, a very tired-looking mother, an overworked father, or an elderly grandmother. Sometimes, the people we see the most often become less important to us as we seek what lies beyond our usual playing field in life. How do we know, however, that these very same people are loved by Almighty Allah and may be our gate to Paradise?
Being merciful is not just a word or an action; it is an attitude to life. Mercy is something we take with us when we go to university or work or when we go shopping or out with family and friends. It is the way we smile at people, the way we stop and listen when they talk, the way we say “thanks and have a nice day!” and the way we apologize when we are wrong or forgive when we are wronged.
The test of our mercy usually comes at a heated moment: When someone has just cut us off with his or her car or bumped into us when we are trying to carry lots of things; it might be that annoying child who keeps nagging for something or insisting he or she is not wrong when we are positive it is! Did you ever think why Allah placed these people in our lives? Then again, did you ever think how many times you have responded arrogantly, flippantly, or rudely? Did you pass the mercy test Almighty Allah gave you? Did you pass it today? Yesterday? Last week?
Now, a number of excuses might come to mind; after all, we are so busy and have schedules to follow. The streets are crowded and every one is overworked, not just the other person in his or her car.
How clever we are at justifying the way we treat people poorly! How easy it is to say about others “They aren’t my problem!” But, be sure that if Almighty Allah has put that person or those people in your way, then they are your problem, your test. The next time you are feeling safe and comfortable, try to direct your thoughts (and your heart) to those who around you.
Start with your mother or sister who might be still in the kitchen washing up the dishes, and try and give a helping hand. Sit with your mother and ask her about her day; make her feel that you care. When you are at the checkout paying for the shopping and the cashier looks grumpy and tired, say a few nice words and smile.
Take a minute to give someone you love a hug and let them know you appreciate and care about them. The next time you are praying and asking for Almighty Allah’s mercy, remember the words of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him):
“Those who show mercy will be shown mercy by the Merciful [Lord.]” (At-Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud)
“Show mercy to those on earth, and He Who is in the heavens will show mercy to you.” (At-Tirmidhi)
“You can never be (true) believers until you show mercy to one another.” The Companions said, “We all show mercy, O Messenger of Allah.” The Prophet replied, “It is not the compassion that any one of you shows to his friend. It is the compassion and mercy that you show the people in general [that I mean].” (At-Tirmidhi)
Remember the angels register what we do all the time, not just in Ramadan.
However, in this blessed month, we have such a great chance to make new habits and cast off bad ones. If you are usually not a merciful person, just take a minute to think how difficult it would be to face life without the mercy of Allah, and then reach out to those near you and be a mercy to them!