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Mercy is a Gift from Allah

Humanity is experiencing unprecedented confusion. The floods of materialism are drowning all concepts of spirituality and morality. All aspects of human behavior, from dress code to reproductive and sexual relationships are being redefined. The unprecedented yet morally questionable technological success of the human race is erroneously popularizing secularism. Overwhelming doubts about the very necessity of spirituality, religion and divine laws are overpowering feeble human minds. Increasing numbers of men and women are living without “God” in their individual lives. Groups and nations seem convinced that religion is unnecessary, if not altogether a hindrance, in establishing and running a state or a community. Religion exists, if at all, only in the lives of individuals. As part of groups it seems to have lost its force so much so that even people who claim to be religious accept the superiority of secular laws quite willingly in our daily lives.

    Disappearance of mercy, kindness, affection and concern for each other is a result of this callousness towards the commands of Allâh. The things that are happening to us are not unrelated to our beliefs and actions.

    A mother buries her newborn child alive. An alcoholic spouse physically abuses his life-mate. Visit a nursing home, the best one in the community, and see the well-cared for, yet love-starved, eyes of the elderly of our communities longing for a visit from long-absent offspring.  These are not tales from Al’f Lailah (One Thousand Nights). These are happening every day in and around our communities. Indeed, we seem not to care about our future, worry about our present or remember our past.

    Perhaps it is so because we fail to heed the divine decree?  “And be not ye as those who forgot Allâh, therefore He caused them to forget their own souls.” (59:19).

    While the ingredients to acquire the quality of mercy are endowed in all humans in due proportions, the actual manifestation of this quality depends on how much we exercise to develop it and from whom we learn it. Just as who among us becomes an athlete depends on how much and under whose coaching we exercise the muscles we have. Exercising without a coach will no doubt produce a mediocre athlete if at all. So also, without a teacher, we will develop a lackluster merciful society, at best.

    Leaving this training to people and institutions that do not know themselves what mercy is has produced the society that we live in. Depending on television and Hollywood stars and the legislative, executive and judicial theaters of our own making for this training is nothing but hoping that a comatose coach will teach us to become an Olympic grade athlete. We need not settle for any teacher but the best. 

    A man was born to a widow during the third lunar month, Rabi ul Awwal, some 1471 years ago in the city of Baca (another name for Makkah) (Psalm 84:6). He settled in “Teman (an oasis near Madinah) and his glory covered the heavens, and the earth is full of his praise.” (Habakkuk 3:3). About this man Jesus (peace be upon him) said, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever.” (John 14:16). This man’s name is Muhammad ( peace and blessings of Allâh be upon him). Allâh says about him in the Qurân, “Verily in the (Qurân) is a Message for people who would (truly) worship Allâh. And We have sent thee (Muhammad) not but as a mercy for all universes.” (21:107).

    One can be aware of mercy yet not know its real meaning until encountering a true example, just as one can smell the scent of a rose in a cologne bottle yet totally miss the delight of seeing a rose bud and smelling its real fragrance until one encounters a rose.

    If you cannot believe the word of a Muslim that in Muhammad ( peace be upon him) there is a perfect and learnable example of a teacher of mercy, perhaps you will believe a polytheist. Listen to a Hindu, Diwan Chand Sharma, “Muhammad  was the soul of kindness, and his influence was felt and never forgotten by those around him.” (“The Prophets of the East”, Calcutta 1935).

    If we desire to develop a merciful society, where babies are safe from the cruelty of their mothers, and spouses are safe in each other’s presence and the elderly don’t have to die waiting for a sight of their loved ones, we need to know this man.

And Allâh has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).” (Al-Hujurat, 49:13)


Published: September 2005