By Hassan Waly
“And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds.”[21:107]
Prophet Muhammad (SWS) was prescribed as a mercy to the worlds, but why do we not see, that this applies to us all as well? The Messenger (SWS) said, “Allah will not be merciful to those who are not merciful to mankind”(Bukhari). Just as we seek Ar-Rahman’s mercy, we have to seek to show mercy to all of that which is around us. We, too, were meant to be a mercy to our world.
Rahma, is an Arabic word most often translated as “Mercy”. While this captures some of its meaning, there is much more of it that is left behind than brought forward. In modern English, the word “Mercy” is used to describe the instance of forgiving somebody you have the power to punish, or the instance in which something is made to no longer be unpleasant. While Allah is certainly forgiving, this is only one aspect of His mercy, and certainly not all that is invoked when we say “Bismillahi-ar-rahman ar-raheem”.
To better understand what rahma is, one may look at its root word, rohm, which means “womb”. The womb is a place that gives and does not take; it nurtures in such an environment where anything less would cause harm. Allah’s mercy encompasses this idea; he is not only in a position of power over us allowing us mercy, he is constantly nurturing us. This is closer to what rahma truly means.
Islam has always taught Muslims to have rahma, mercy. Mercy to your brother, your sister, your mother, your father, the stranger, the friend, the young, and the old. We are taught to exercise mercy in all dealings with humankind. Another less thought about recipient of our mercy, should be everything else around us. We’re taught to conserve water, to care for animals, and not to waste resources. It starts with the smallest actions: you greet people with a smile, you turn off the light after leaving a room, you use just enough water during wudu. Let us remember that we cannot limit something Allah has made vast; we must exercise mercy towards all creation.
Mankind is not the only recipient of the mercy of the Qur’an. This is evident in Surat Ar-Rahman. “O company of jinn and mankind, if you are able to pass beyond the regions of the heavens and the earth, then pass. You will not pass except by authority [from Allah].”[55:33] This, and many other verses in this Surah alone address both Jinn and humans. Not only that, but Prophet Muhammad (SWS) interacted with the Jinn on multiple occasions. Jinn, just like humans, were created with both intelligence and desire. Therefore, the Jinn, just like humans, have a need for Allah’s guidance. We have been given guidance through which is channeled rahmat-ullah, the mercy of Allah.
We have inherited the duty of showing mercy from our Prophet Muhammad (SWS). Let us make it a reality. Make an exercise out of showing rahma to everything around you: be conscious of your environment, be courteous, be a Muslim.
Picture Reference(s): https://www.pinterest.com/pin/332633122451813253/