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The Paragon of Mercy

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By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi

Allah Almighty has sent the last prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) 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: “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.” (see Noor al-Irfan 21:107)

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).

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. (see Tafsir Noor al-Irfan 2:64)

Allah Almighty say: “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. (see Tafsir Noor al-Irfan 10:57-58)

In the pre-Islamic age, the orphans were oppressed and deprived of their rights. Islam came to “uphold justice for the orphans (4:127) and enjoin Muslims to “approach the orphan’s property in the best manner” (6:152, 17:34). In this regard the beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) is reported to have said, “The best among the Muslims is a house in which an orphan has been treated well. And the worst among the Muslims is a house in which an orphan has been treated poorly”. Then the Prophet pointed with his middle finger and his index finger and said, “I and the caretaker (kafil) of an orphan are like this in the Garden”, meaning that those who care for orphans will attain a high station and know the Prophet in Paradise.

The beloved Prophet has more right over the Muslims than they have over themselves. Another verse of the Quran says, “So (O dear Prophet), by oath of your Lord, they will not be Muslims until they appoint you a judge for the disputes between them – and then whatever you have decided, they should not find opposition to it within their hearts, and they must accept it wholeheartedly.” (4:65). A famous Hadith reads, “By the One in Whose hand is my soul, none of you truly believes until I am more beloved to him than his own self, his wealth, his children, and mankind all together”. In the commentary of this verse and this Hadith, al-Tustari writes, “Whoever does not see himself or his soul as belonging to the Prophet and does not see the patronage of the Prophet in every situation has not at all tasted the sweetness of his Sunnah. The reason is that the Prophet is the closest to the believers” and also that, according to the rendering of the verse 9:128, the Prophet is troubled by what the believers suffer and is solicitous, kind and merciful toward them.  It could also mean that holy Prophet –peace be upon him- is the provider of the greatest comfort to the believers than their own selves in this world and the Hereafter.