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Mercy: A Gift of Fasting

Mercy is a favor from Allah which He places in the hearts of whomsoever He wills. Verily, Allah will have mercy on His servants who are merciful, as He is the Most Compassionate the Most Merciful. He calls to mercy and loves the merciful. He orders His servants to enjoin patience and mercy.

A person may lack mercy for any number of reasons, among them, an abundance of sins and disobedience. They stain their hearts so much so that they ultimately blind them until their hearts become harder than stones. Allah says of the Children of Israel (Bani Israel):

{Then your hearts hardened after that, so that they were like rocks, rather worse in hardness} (Al-Baqarah 2: 74).

Allah also says about them when they opposed and rebelled against the divine law:

But on account of their breaking their covenant We cursed them and made their hearts hard.) (Al-Ma’idah 5: 13).

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Reasons of Losing Mercy

Arrogance; Among the things that cause a loss of mercy is arrogance with wealth and pride with riches. Allah says:

(Nay! man is most surely inordinate. Because he sees himself free from want.) (Al-`Alaq 96: 6-7)

As soon as the heart is disciplined with faith and good deeds, then it will fill with mercy and kindness.

Eating too much; Another reason for the weakness of mercy is an abundance of gluttony which gives rise to contempt and recklessness. Hence the month of fasting was prescribed to crush this unruliness and ill discipline.

The fasting person is naturally one of the most merciful people. That is because he has tasted hunger, experienced thirst and endured hardship. His soul is, therefore, enveloped with mercy, care and gentleness for Muslims.

Mercy is something which every Muslim is required to render to his brother Muslim. It is a requirement from every responsible custodian toward those under his care. He should feel sorry for them and be lenient toward them.

Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

“O Allah! Whoever was entrusted with authority over any affair of the Muslims and became hard towards them, please be hard towards him. And whoever was entrusted over any affair of the Muslims and was kind towards them, then be kind towards him.” (Muslim)

Mercy: A Gift of Fasting - About Islam

{Thus it is due to mercy from Allah that you deal with them gently, and had you been rough, hard hearted, they would certainly have dispersed from around you} (Aal `Imran 3: 159)

Mercy further requires from the Imam that he should not make worship difficult for his followers or cause them harm. On the contrary, he should be merciful, kind and wise. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

“Whoever from you leads the people in prayer should make it easy because among them are the old, the sick, the young and the needy.” (Ahmed) 

It was narrated that when Mu`adh ibn Jabal (may Allah be pleased with him) once extended the prayer, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said to him, Are you there to (put the people) to trial?

In the same manner, when `Uthman ibn Abi al-`As Ath-Thaqafi asked: “O Messenger of Allah, make me an Imam of my people.” The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

“You are their Imam so lead the prayer according to the weakest of them and take a caller to prayer (mu’adhin) who would seek no payment for doing so.” (Ahmed)

Mercy dictates that the one who calls to Islam must advise those whom he is inviting with tenderness. That he should, moreover, clarify issues to them with concern. He should not hurt or defame people, or even revile the disobedient in public.

Allah advised Moses and Aaron (peace be upon them both) to employ the following methods in their call to the tyrant Pharaoh, as He Almighty says in the Qur’an, {Then speak to him a gentle word haply he may mind or fear.} (Ta-Ha 20: 44)

He also says: (Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and goodly exhortation, and have disputations with them in the best manner) (An-Nahl 16: 125)

The eminent jurist and Islamic scholar, Imam Ash- Shafi`i wrote:

Support me with your advice in private, and avoid advising me in public.

Surely giving advice among the people is a kind of reproach, which I would rather not listen to.

If you disobey and ignore my wish, don’t be saddened if you are not obeyed.

Mercy is required from a father to his children. The mercy of the father or mother toward her children has the greatest effect on their integrity, well-being and obedience. Self-praise and harshness only open the door to despair.

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon them both) said:

“Kindness was never bestowed upon something except that it beautified it, and it was never removed from that thing except that it made it ugly.” (Ibn Hibban) 

Calls to the Merciful

– O you who fast and cause hunger to your stomach, there are thousands of stomachs more awaiting a meal. Will you feed them?

– O you who fast and cause thirst to your liver, there are thousands more who await a mouthful of water. Will you quench their thirst?

– O you who fast and wear the finest garments, there are naked people out there awaiting only a piece of cloth to cover their bodies. Will you clothe them?

– O Allah! We implore your extended mercy that will forgive our sins and erase our misdeeds and errors.

Taken with some modification from: