The Mercy of the Believers

Harun Yahya

 

“Then to be one of those who believe and urge each other to patience and urge each other to mercifulness. Those are the Companions of the Right”. [Surah Al-Balad, 90: 17-18]

 

1. Introduction

 

When you ask someone around you, “What is mercy?” or “How would you define mercy?” you would, most probably, receive a variety of responses and illustrations. Some say that a neighbour feeding stray dogs on the street is the most compassionate person they have ever met. Others illustrate mercy with the interest and sincerity shown by a relative when they were sick. Others, on the other hand, regard a friend weeping for someone who has passed away as a “symbol of mercy”. These definitions largely resemble one another. However, none of them offers the definition of mercy in its real sense.

 

The source of true compassion is love of Allah SWT. An individual’s love of Allah leads him to feel an intimacy towards all these beings to which Allah has given life. Someone who loves Allah feels a direct link with and closeness to His creatures; he feels compassion and mercy towards them. Out of this profound love and attachment to Allah, Who created him and all other people, he behaves towards others in accordance with good morals as set forth in the Qur’an. He fulfils Allah’s orders as regards to mercy. Real mercy is manifested when one fully complies with these commands of the Qur’an. Qur’an is the very source that describes it, in the most accurate way, what real compassion means and what a compassionate human being should do. There are numerous verses in the Qur’an which guide people to act with true mercy.

 

However, there is a significant difference between the love felt for Allah and a feeling of compassion. This difference results from the fact that loves for Allah is sincere and pure. Compassion embraces love mixed with feelings of mercy that is felt for someone because of his weaknesses. Whereas, there is no compassion in the love felt for Allah, because Allah is far from all kinds of incompleteness, weaknesses and defects. The feeling for one’s own Creator can only be a powerful feeling of “love”, which inspires enthusiasm, excitement, admiration and adoration. Hence, sincere and pure love can be felt only for Allah, whereas compassion can be felt for beings created by Allah to be weak and powerless.

 

The Qur’an provides a detailed description of true mercy, the attributes of a compassionate person, the kind of differences compassion brings forth in one’s morality and finally the positive influence compassionate people have on their environment. Allah also gives an account of cruelty originating from a lack of compassion and mercy. Accordingly, the good and the bad, the unjust and the compassionate have been distinguished from one other.

 

The Believers, by nature, are those who enjoy the transcendent morality of the Qur’an. Therefore, they feel peace of mind only when they truly experience this morality. This being so, they do not feel any difficulty in showing compassion as portrayed in the Qur’an. On the contrary, they experience it as a natural good, originating from their faith. Allah summons believers to experience compassion as follows:

 

“… And take the believers under your wing.” [Surah Al-Hijir, 15: 88]

 

Allah expresses the sort of compassion demonstrated by believers as “taking under the wing”, because, compassion is perceived by them as a form of moral understanding extending to every moment of human life, rather than an attitude displayed in particular situations. Consequently, numerous moral and ethical characteristics emerge reflecting their compassion.

 

This book provides an account of the believers’ understanding of mercy, which depends on the love of Allah, their practicing this goodness at every moment of human life, in accordance with the injunctions of the Qur’an, and the persons to whom they show mercy.

 

Similarly, this book is an invitation to all people to live by the moral standards with which Allah is pleased and to demonstrate mercy as described in the Qur’an. Allah has promised “forgiveness and an immense reward” (Surah Al-Fath, 48:29) to His servants who believe, who are compassionate towards believers and engage in righteous deeds.

 

2. Mercy as defined in the Qur’an.

 

“Then to be one of those who believe and urge each other to patience and urge each other to mercifulness. Those are the Companions of the Right”. [Surah Al-Balad, 90: 17-18]

 

As expressed in the above verse, Allah commands His servants to “urge each other to compassion” in order to attain His mercy, to enter the Garden and to prosper on the Last Day. Believers, who devote their lives to gaining Allah’s approval, try to fulfil this order of Allah impeccably. Their sincere faith in Allah underlies this very understanding of mercy. They are aware that nothing occurs unless by the Will of Allah and realize their need to have all His blessings bestowed upon them. Accordingly, believers are humble, which is a consequence of such awareness. These very attributes constitute the basis of their mercy.

 

 One who is not humble in the real sense, cannot show real mercy. That is because he thinks about him alone, loves himself and gives importance solely to his own wishes and interests. He never considers the needs of others. He deems other people worthless and unimportant. Consequently, he fails to have feelings of compassion and affection.

 

Another reason why believers are committed to showing compassion is their earnest desire to embody the morality deemed good by Allah. As explained in numerous verses, Allah is “the Most Merciful of the merciful”. For that reason, believers strive to experience compassion to the best of their ability.

 

As Allah revealed in the Qur’an, “If it had not been for the favour of Allah upon you and His mercy, (you would have suffered many difficult situations).” [Surah An-Nur, 24: 20].

 

 The verse shows the extent to which believers are in need of the compassion and mercy of Allah. Since they themselves seek to obtain Allah’s Mercy, they try to be as compassionate as possible towards other believers.

 

As is true of all other issues, the unique guide that sheds light on the kind of mercy they have to show is the Qur’an. Thus, believers only show mercy and compassion in situations deemed to be proper by Allah and towards people specified by Allah.

 

Mercy as described in the Qur’an emerges as being quite distinct from other kinds of mercy. But the majority of those who are distant from religion possess a rather flawed understanding of the subject. Faced with untoward happenings, they are seized by an ill-defined feeling of mercy and act accordingly. This indeed shows a crude understanding of how they should respond, because they act without knowing who is right or wrong, without making a just and rational assessment and, more importantly, without considering the commands of the Qur’an. Often, they tend to behave in a manner likely to do harm both to them and to other people; their attempts to remedy matters are abortive because they take ill-considered decisions. Their understanding of compassion thus presents a structure uninspired by the values of the Qur’an.

 

In relation to this subject, we need to dwell on another important point. People sometimes harbour an understanding of mercy which may be wrong according to the Qur’an. Since this kind of mercy does harm to people rather than good, it may be considered as “evil compassion”. In societies which are indifferent to religion, people allow others to engage in any act without considering its baneful result in the hereafter. For instance, they allow them to behave immorally and turn a blind eye when they engage in an act forbidden by Allah, or even encourage them.

 

The criteria that believers adopt for themselves in this matter is that the mercy shown to others must definitely make a positive impact in terms of others’ eternal life in the hereafter. In some cases, the love and mercy they feel for believers may entail their interfering or criticising them on some issues which may be hard on their lower selves (an-nafs). Upon witnessing a wicked deed, they may criticise the perpetrator and make strong pleas to deter him from such a deed. This is indeed true compassion. That is because, even at the risk of causing offence to the other party, they put a stop to a conduct inconsistence with Quranic teaching and thus prevent that person from engaging in an act that would incur eternal torment in hell-a point of no return. It is for that reason; believers encourage others to display the morality with which Allah will be pleased most, and which will prepare them for a life in paradise. In so doing, they display the most elevated form of mercy. One needs to keep in mind that the real cruelty is not to consider the eternal life and to deliberately ignore mistakes that would incur punishment.

 

In this respect, believers follow the Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, as their role model, who, in the words of the Qur’an, was “truly vast in character”. [Surah Al-Qalam, 68: 4].

 

In another verse, Allah reveals the elevated morality of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace: “A Messenger has come to you from among yourselves. Your suffering is distressing to him; he is deeply concerned for you; he is gentle and merciful to the believers.” [Surah At-Tawbah, 9:128].

 

Thus, in compliance with Allah’s command, believers who adopt this morality behave compassionately and mercifully towards believers by considering their rewards in the hereafter.

 

 ®Harun Yahya

About Md Radzi Ahmad
A retired Malaysian civil servant. Served the Malaysian government for thirty-one years. Posted to London, Rangoon, Johannesburg, Pretoria and Bangkok. Born in Kampong Hutan Kandeh, Alor Star, Kedah. Educated at Sultan Abdul Hamid College, Alor Star and University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur. Currently resides in Subang Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan,Malaysia.Blessed with three children, a son, two daughters, daughter in law and two grandaughters.

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