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My Mercy Prevails Over My Wrath – God Says

“The willingness to forgive and not to punish” is a definition frequently used for the word mercy, but what is mercy in Islam?

With Islam, mercy was given a deeper meaning that created a vital aspect in the life of every Muslim, which he is rewarded by God for showing.

Allah’s mercy, which is bestowed on all His creatures, is seen in everything we lay eyes on: in the sun that provides light and heat, and in the air and water that are essential for all the living.

An entire chapter in the Quran is named after Allah’s divine attribute Ar-Rahman or “The Most Gracious.” Also two of Allah’s attributes are derived from the word for mercy. They are Ar-Rahman and Ar-Rahim, which mean “The Most Gracious” and “The Most Merciful.”

These two attributes are mentioned in the phrase recited at the beginning of 113 chapters of the Quran:

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In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

This phrase is a continuous reminder for the reader of Allah’s endless mercy and great bounties.

Allah assures us that whoever commits a sin will be forgiven if he repents and ceases this act, where He says what means:

Your Lord hath inscribed for Himself (the rule of) mercy: verily, if any of you did evil in ignorance, and thereafter repented, and amend (his conduct), lo! He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful (6:54)

This verse is affirmed by a hadith qudsi, where Allah says:

My mercy prevails over My wrath. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Reward for kindness and compassion was also assured by the Prophet Muhammad:

The merciful are shown mercy by the All-Merciful. Show mercy to those on earth, and He Who is in heaven will show mercy unto you. (At-Tirmidhi)

The Prophet’s Mercy

Concerning Prophet Muhammad’s mercy, it is best to mention first what Allah Himself has said about him:

{We have not sent thee save as a mercy to the worlds} (21:107), which assures that Islam is founded on mercy, and that Allah sent Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as mercy to all creatures with no exception.

Allah also says in the Quran:

Now hath come to you an Apostle from amongst yourselves: it grieves him that ye should perish: ardently anxious is he over you: to the believers is he most kind and merciful.  (9:128)

These verses were clearly manifested in the Prophet’s manners and dealings, for he bore a lot of hardships for the sake of conveying Allah’s message. The Prophet was most gentle in guiding his people, and whenever they used to harm him he always asked Allah to pardon them for their ignorance and cruelty.

 The Prophet’s Companions 

When describing the companions, Allah says:

Muhammad is the Apostle of God; and those who are with him are strong against unbelievers, but compassionate amongst each other. (48:29)

Some people may think it obvious for Muhammad (peace be upon him) to be moral, because he is a Prophet, but the companions were ordinary people who devoted their lives to the obedience of Allah and His Prophet. For instance Abu Bakr As-Siddiq dedicated all his wealth for buying slaves from their brutal masters and then he set them free for the sake of Allah.

When once clarifying the right concept of mercy to his companions, the Prophet said that it is not by one’s kindness to family and friends, but it is by showing mercy and compassion to the general public, whether you know them or not.

A “Little” Mercy

Some of the heartless pre-Islamic traditions were the offering of one’s child as sacrifice for deities and the burial of girls alive. These acts against children were strictly prohibited by the Quran and Prophetic tradition many times.

As for the Prophet’s mercy towards children, he was once leading the prayer and his grandsons, Al-Hassan and Al-Husein, were still young boys playing and climbing over his back, so in the fear of hurting them if he should stand, the Prophet prolonged his prostration. Another time, the Prophet performed his prayer while carrying Umamah, his granddaughter.

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