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The Paragon of Mercy in the Quranic Light

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By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi

Allah Almighty has sent the last prophet Muhammad as a mercy to all worlds. The teachings of Islam that the beloved Prophet brought are entirely based on mercy, compassion, love, respect and benevolence. Allah Almighty has repeatedly mentioned His prophet’s mercy. In the following we are presenting some verses of the Quran along with their accepted commentaries, by which it becomes crystal clear that the last Prophet Muhammad –Peace be upon him- is the paragon of mercy.

 

Allah says,

  1. “And We did not send you but as a Mercy for all worlds” (21:107)

Mufti Ahmad Yaar Khan Naeemi writes in the commentary of this verse, “it should be remembered that Allah Almighty has called Himself ‘Lord of the worlds’, while for the holy Prophet (peace be upon him), He has used ‘Mercy for all worlds’. This tells us that he whose Lord is Allah Almighty, the Prophet is mercy for him. Thus, his mercy is absolute, complete, and in its entirety. It includes everything and it is for everything. It is within the surrounds of Allah Almighty, the Knower of everything, hidden and open, and Omnipresent eternally in both the worlds (Ruh al-bayan). In addition, the general mercy of the holy prophet is received by the believers and the non-believers, but his specific mercy i.e. faith and mystical knowledge etc is received by the believers only. Allah says, the prophet “is the most kind and merciful to the believers” (9:128). If any person makes this mercy a punishment for himself, it is his own doing. Some of the plants are destroyed by the rain, but most of them flourish. The bat is blinded by the brightness of the sun, but this is not due to the fault of the sun or the rain.”

  1. Allah says,

“(O beloved) It is by the Mercy of Allah that you (beloved Prophet) are so gentle to them. Had you been severe and hard-hearted (unsympathetic), they would have certainly been uneasy in your company; so forgive them and intercede for them and consult with them in the conduct of affairs; and when you decide upon something, rely upon Allah; indeed Allah loves those who trust (Him).”

  1. Allah says,

 

“And it is not for Allah to punish them while you (O dear Prophet) are among them. And also, Allah will not punish them as long as they are seeking forgiveness.” (Surah Anfal – 8:33)

 

According to a number of exegetes, this part of the verse (“And it is not for Allah to punish them while you (O dear Prophet) are among them…”) was revealed at a time when the beloved Prophet was present in Makkah. And when the beloved Prophet migrated to Madinah and some Muslims remained in Makkah who used to seek forgiveness, the second part of the verse (“And also, Allah will not punish them as long as they are seeking forgiveness”) was revealed.

This verse shows that presence of the beloved Prophet and seeking forgiveness are hindrances to a mass punishment. It is reported by Abdullah bin Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) that two factors saved the people of Makkah. One was the holy Prophet’s presence and the other was Istighfar (seeking forgiveness from Allah).

  1. Allah says,

“Indeed there has come to you a Noble Messenger from among you – your falling into hardship aggrieves him, most concerned for your well being, for the believers most compassionate, most merciful.” (9:128)

In this verse the beloved Prophet has been referred to with two names ‘compassionate’ and ‘merciful’. According to Nasafi’s Tafsir ‘Madarik’, Allah Almighty used these two names together only for the beloved Prophet –peace be upon him.

  1. Allah says,

“Then after that, you turned away. Had it not been for the Grace of Allah upon you and His Mercy, you would have been among the losers” (2:64)

In this verse, the Grace and Mercy of Allah denote the guidance to obtain Divine repentance, or the delay in the coming of Divine punishment or the arrival of the holy Prophet –peace be upon him- in this world. If the holy Prophet had not come into this world and mankind had not sought sanctuary in him, it would have been made extinct. Thus it is clear that the holy Prophet is not only a Mercy for the world, but Allah’s bounty as well.

  1. Allah Almighty says,

“O mankind! The advice has come to you from your Lord and a cure for the hearts – and guidance and mercy for believers. Say, “Upon Allah’s munificence and upon His mercy – upon these should the people rejoice”; that is better than all their wealth and possessions.” (10:57-58)

Some Islamic scholars have said that the holy Prophet is the greatest bounty of Allah Almighty and the holy Quran is the mercy of Allah Almighty. Allah Almighty says, “And great is the grace of Allah upon you” (4:113). Some have said that holy Quran is the bounty of Allah and the holy Prophet is His mercy, as Allah says, “And we sent you not but a mercy for all the worlds” (21:117). From this verse (10:57) we also learn that the Quran is the cure for all our spiritual and physical ills. The Quran is guidance and healing for the entire world but only the believers derive benefits from it.

  1. Allah says,

“Possibly you may risk your life by grieving (O dear Prophet Mohammed – peace and blessings be upon him) for them if they do not believe in this narration.” (18:06)

The beloved Prophet did not grieve at the persecution that he and his companions were suffering from. He grieved at the deviation and moral degeneration of some disbelievers. He was grieved because their deviation would lead them to destruction and torment of Allah. Therefore his effort was to save them but it appeared that they were bent upon incurring severe punishment of God. The beloved Prophet described his efforts to save the disbelievers and the grief he must have felt in a parable:

“I may describe this thing in a parable. A person kindles a fire to spread light but the moths persist in falling over it to burn themselves alive. He vies to save them from the fire but the moths reduce his efforts to failure. The same is true of me and you. I hold you by your skirts to keep you away from the fire, but you are bent upon falling into it”.

More than that what can be a matter of mercy for the disbelievers that the beloved Prophet –peace be upon him- risked his life by grieving for them in order to save them from chastisement of God?!

  1. Allah says,

“And among them (the hypocrites) are those who hurt the Prophet and say, “He gives an ear to all things he hears”, Please declare: “He is an ear for the good of you. He believes in Allah and believes the words of the believers and he is a mercy for those who are believers among you”. And those you who hurt the Messenger, for them is a painful torment” (9:61)

The hypocrites would say a great deal of nonsense about the holy Prophet –peace be upon him- in their gatherings. Some of them would say if the Messenger of Allah knew of what they were saying it would not be good for them. Then Jallas bin Suwaid said, it does not matter, if he does come to know of it, we will deny it in the presence of the holy Prophet. We will take an oath and because he is pure and unsuspecting, he accepts whatever is spoken before him. In response to the prattle of these hypocrites, this blessed verse was revealed.

  1. Allah says,

“O Prophet [of Allah] (the communicator of the hidden news) We have indeed sent you as an observing present witness and a Herald of glad tidings and warning and as a caller towards Allah, by His command, and as a blazing sun. And give glad tidings to the believers that for them is a great bounty of Allah”. (33:45-47)

  1. Allah says,

“(O beloved Prophet) Do not waste yourself in grief for them. Allah knows well what they do” (35:8)

This verse addresses the Prophet (peace be upon him) stating that he should not waste himself in grief for those who disbelieved.

  1. Allah says,

“And obey Allah and His Messenger in the hope that you may be shown mercy” (3:132)

 

This verse tells us that obedience of both Allah and His Messenger is compulsory as well as a cause of mercy.