- Religion and Philosophy
The Concept of Mercy in Islam
One of the names of Allah in Islam is "The Most Merciful" and Allah says
“My Mercy Prevails Over My Wrath.”
Mercy can be defined as “the willingness to forgive and not to punish”. Islam as a true epitomize of Allah Commands reflects the spirit of mercy as a divine passion in all forms. In the entire continuum of life with each order and obligation, a Muslim is directed to imbibe the real ardor of mercy and demonstrate it in everyday business, deal and interaction with people. In fact, it is not particular to the sense of punishment and redemption instead it perpetrates and guides the whole human behavior towards adopting a soft and sublime attitude towards his fellow human beings. The factor is so large in its contribution to the whole society that it can be counted in one of the most dominant feature of human kindness, love and sympathy being present in our surroundings.
Forgiveness, benediction, clemency and amnesty are good qualities of nature and bestowed to human beings. The Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) of Islam through revelations from God taught his companions the gentle way of handling their sub-ordinates. It was further strengthened and heightened by the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) practices and his extreme love towards mankind that he even forgave his arch-enemies during the conquest of Makkah. Nobody would ever have thought about such a full pledged amnesty to such offenders and transgressors of their time. The spirit of mercy was considered a bed rock of Islamic way of life in dealing with Muslims and non-Muslims equally despite the factor of religion and solely based on the vision of respect and sympathy towards human beings. The same passion was followed by the rightful caliphs in all weathers who granted the neediest and poor’s on priority with Alms and charities during their accomplished rule.
Mercy on all human beings particularly those in distress is the beauty of Islam. During the onset of Islam, it was so widely practiced that sympathy was converted into empathy and Muslim brotherhood was believed to be exemplary in every nook and corner of the world. Once during the battlefield, when three of the Prophet (P.B.U.H) companions were brutally injured and asked for water, a single cup was given to one of them, but he forwarded it to the second and so on. In the end, nobody drank the cup of water and sacrificed his life by giving priority to other.
Once our Prophet (P.B.U.H) while sleeping under a tree was challenged by a Bedouin who dared to kill him but when The Prophet overpowered him and took on his sword, he forgave him in the name of God. For self vengeance, the Holy Prophet never penalized anybody save those whose offence was against the divine law. The procedure adopted towards inflicting punishment on an individual was according to the religion and validated by witnesses. The society was made to live a liberal and easy life without any undue compulsion and obligation.
During the holy war of Badr, the educated prisoners were assigned the duty to teach Muslims the way of learning in order to spread the message of Islam in turn of concession. That was the zeal and respect of The Prophet (P.B.U.H) towards education and his desire for companions to get the essential education. The custodian/guardian of Khana Kaaba had denied giving the keys to The Prophet during pre-Islamic era, but after the conquest of Makkah the Prophet returned the keys to him by saying that it is the charge of you and your family and he, who snatches it from you, will be cruel.
Mercy has been advised in all situations especially when somebody goes out of his senses to punish other. Self control in anger leads to forgiveness which is a sign of sheer mercy. Even animals and plants have been regarded to be cared with utmost gentleness and not to be abused in any circumstances. The Messenger of God had made it clear that the worst sinners of their time were exonerated by God only due to their kindness towards animals in agony. The Islamic teachings are so humble and persuasive that it can incline an uneven mind to follow its command. The Prophet of God was so modest in his nature and concerned about plants that he would just shake the branches of a tree to feed his calves and refrained from maltreating any natural vegetation. Same was advised to Muslim army that not to destroy any sort of cultivation and farms, which is a source of feeding to all, while going through a land. A society of peace, love and affection was established on the golden principles of humanism in Islam that later inspired different nations of the world to follow it as a step to success and all sphere of governance and affairs.
There are hundred thousand events of mercy and forgiveness which we can quote from Islamic history especially with those who are under your command. The Prophet (P.B.U.H) never dealt harshly with his associates in worldly matters and frequently advised to say and behave with affection towards each other. The sanctity and respect of Muslims among each other in particular and with all Human Beings in general is remembered and much appreciated by all notwithstanding the difference of faith, race or nationalism.