The Muslim is merciful, for mercy is one of the traits of a Muslim, since it is the source of a pure soul and spirit. By being kind, doing righteous deeds, staying away from evil, and shunning corruption, the Muslim’s soul abides in purity and his spirit remains in goodness. Since this is the case, then mercy would never separate from his heart at all. It is for this reason that the Muslim loves mercy, he spreads and encourages it and calls others to it, believing in Allah’s saying:
|Then he became one of those who believed and recommended one another to perseverance and patience, and (also) recommended one another to pity and compassion. They are those on the Right Hand (i.e. the dwellers of Paradise). (90:17-18 )
And acting according to His Messenger’s saying:
| “Allah is only merciful with those who show mercy to others.” (Al-Bukhari)
| “Be merciful to those in the earth, so the One above the heavens will be merciful to you.” (At-Tabarani and Al-Hakim with a Sahih chain)
And being guided by his saying:
| “He who does not show mercy to others, will not be shown mercy.” (Al-Bukhari)
| “Mercy is only removed from the miserable.” (Abu Dawud and At-Tirmithi)
The Muslim actualizes the saying of the Prophet ﷺ.
| “The believers in their mutual love, mercy and sympathy are just like one body. When one of the limbs suffers, the whole body responds to it with sleeplessness and fevers.” (Muslim)
Since the reality of mercy is a kindness of the heart and a compassion of the soul that leads to being forgiving and beneficent, it does not merely exist as internal kindness without external results. Rather the heart’s mercy is the essence of external results whose physical reality is visible. Among the external effects of mercy are: pardoning those who slip, forgiving those who are mistaken, helping those in trouble, assisting the weak, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, tending to the sick, and consoling the grieved. All of these, as well as many other things are among the effects of mercy.
The following are some real cases of examples of mercy:
1. Al-Bukhari recorded that Anas bin Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “We went with Allah’s Messenger ﷺ to the blacksmith Abu Saif, and he was the husband of the wet nurse of Ibrahim (the son of the Prophet ﷺ. Allah’s Messenger ﷺ took Ibrahim and kissed him and smelled him. Later we went to Abu Saifs house and at that time Ibrahim was in his last breaths, and the eyes of Allah’s Messenger ﷺ, started shedding tears. ‘Abdur-Rahman bin ‘Awf said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger even you are weeping!’ He said:
“O ibn ‘Awf, this is mercy,” Then he wept more and said:
“The eyes are shedding tears and the heart is grieved, and we will not say except what pleases our Lord, O Ibrahim! Indeed we are grieved by your separation.”
Allah’s Messenger ﷺ visited his younger child at the house of his wet nurse. He kissed him and smelled him. Then he returned to visit him out of compassion and kindness while he was sick and in his last breath. Then he wept, his eyes shedding tears of sorrow and grief. This behavior is an example of the manifestation of the mercy in one’s heart.
Al-Bukhari reported that Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, said: Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said:
| “A person was walking on his way when he became extremely thirsty. He (suddenly) found a well, he got down into it to drink from it. Upon leaving it, he saw a panting dog eating dirt for its moisture. The man thought to himself: ‘This dog is extremely thirsty as I was,’ So he descended into the well, filled up his leather sock with water, and holding it in his mouth, climbed up and quenched the thirst of the dog. Allah held his action in high esteem and forgave him”
The Companions asked: “Shall we be rewarded for showing kindness to the animals too?” He ﷺ said:
| “A reward is given in connection for every moist liver (living creature).”
This man descended into the well, filled his leather sock with water and holding it in his teeth, climbed up, and quenched the thirst of the dog. This was done out of his affection, kindness and compassion, otherwise, he would have not undertaken such an act.
To the contrary of the above, there is a Hadith recorded by Al-Bukhari that Abu Hurairah narrated from the Prophet ﷺ who said:
| “A woman was punished in Hell because of a cat, which she imprisoned until it died. It was said to her, “You did not give it to eat or to drink when it was imprisoned, nor did you release it so that it might eat the vermin of the earth.”)
The behavior of this woman was a manifestation of a heart enveloped by evil, devoid of mercy, and mercy is not removed but from the miserable.
Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Qatadah said that Allah’s Messenger ﷺ; said:
| “When I enter the prayer I intend to prolong it. Then I hear the crying of a child, so I shorten it knowing the difficulty his mother will have with him crying.”
The Prophet ﷺ considered the mother whose infant was crying along with the long recitation he had intended on reciting. This is another manifestation of the heart’s mercy that Allah has ordered upon His servants.
2. It is reported that while Zayn Al-‘Abidin ‘Ali bin Al-Husayn was going to the Masjid, someone verbally abused him. His servants followed the man to beat him and punish him. However, he prevented them out of mercy for the man. He said, “O so-and-so! I am more than what you have said.
What you do not know about me is more than what you do know. If you want to know more, I will tell you.” Upon hearing this, the man felt ashamed and shy. Then, Zayn Al-‘Abidin took off his own cloak and gave it to him in addition to granting him a thousand dirhams.
This is an example of pardoning, and such benevolence would not occur except as a manifestation of the mercy in the heart of the grandson of Allah’s Messenger ﷺ.
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