التصفية والتربية وفق منهج السلف الصالح

Allāh’s Mercy

Allāh’s Mercy

In the Name of Allāh, all praise is due to Allāh and Allāh’s peace and security be upon the Messenger of Allāh.

To proceed:

If you were to ask about His mercy, then without doubt He is the Most Merciful [al-Raḥmān], the Granter of Extensive Mercy [al-Raḥīm] Who is perfect in His mercy. He is extremely kind to His creation with all types of kindness. He has encompassed everything with His mercy and knowledge such that His mercy reaches everything which His knowledge covers. He the Most Exalted said:

{Our Lord, You have encompassed everything with Mercy and Knowledge} [Ghāfir: 7]

Allāh has informed us that He is the Possessor of Mercy, thus He possesses real and tremendously expansive mercy. He says:

{And Your Lord is Rich, the Possessor of Mercy} [al-Anʿām: 133]

Thus there is no created thing except that His mercy has reached and encompassed it from every angle.

The Meaning of al-Raḥmān and al-Raḥīm

Allāh has called Himself al-Raḥmān [The Most Merciful] which indicates the abundance of His Mercy and the universality of His kind generosity.

The Name al-Raḥmān indicates a self-subsisting attribute of Allāh whilst the name al-Raḥīm indicates the connection of the attribute to the one being shown mercy. Thus al-Raḥmān is a description (waṣf) whilst al-Raḥīm is an action (fiʿil).

Al-Raḥmān indicates that mercy is an attribute of His whilst al-Raḥīm indicates that He has mercy upon His creation.

An āyah which indicates this subtle distinction is the saying of Allāh the Most High:

{And He is Raḥīm with the believers} [al-Aḥzāb: 43] and {Indeed He is Compassionate and Raḥīm with them} [al-Tawbah: 117].

You will never find Him saying that He is Raḥmān with them thus it becomes clear that Raḥmān  is the One described with mercy whilst Raḥīm is the One Who is Merciful with His extensive and profound mercy.

The General and Specific Mercy of Allāh

The Mercy of Allāh is both general and specific.

His mercy generally covers all of creation thus there is no created thing except that it is enveloped with the mercy of Allāh. If it was not for His mercy, they would not have been able to eat, drink, and earn a living and rest. They are able to do all these things because of the mercy of Allāh for He has facilitated for them all the things which work towards sustaining their physical and worldly existence.

As for His specific mercy; it is only for the believers. This type of mercy, unlike the general type of mercy, continues and extends from this life into the next. Thus in this world Allāh has mercy upon them by bestowing upon them those things which sustain their bodily existence and in the Hereafter He grants them His mercy by giving them the things which sustain their religiousness.

His Mercy in Relation to His Anger

Whilst Allāh’s mercy encompasses everything, the same cannot be said for His anger for it does not engulf everything. He Himself has prescribed mercy for Himself when He said:

{Your Lord has written mercy for Himself} [al-Anʿām: 54]

He did not write anger for Himself and He covered everything in mercy and knowledge and did not cover everything with anger and punishment. This is appropriate to Him being the Most Merciful of those who show mercy. If this was not the case, we would be completely lost and destroyed. Thus we seek refuge in Allāh from His anger and we turn to Him in repentance and hope for His extensive mercy and generosity.

The Vastness of His Mercy

Indeed, if all the mercies of the creation were gathered together, the mercy of Allāh would outweigh them tremendously.

Imām al-Bukhārī mentions in al-Adab al-Mufrad [377] that Abū Hurayrah, may Allāh be pleased with him said that a man came along with his son to the Prophet (Allāh’s praise and security be upon him). The man began hugging his son so the Prophet asked:

“Do you have mercy on him?”

He replied:

“Yes.”

He (Allāh’s praise and security be upon him) said:

“Allāh is more merciful to you than you are to him and He is the Most Merciful of those who are merciful.”

Al-Bukhārī [5999] reports another beautiful ḥadīth demonstrating the tremendous mercy of Allāh. He reports on the authority of ʿUmar b. Al-Khaṭṭāb (may Allāh be pleased with him) who said:

“Some war captives were brought before the Prophet and there was a woman amongst them who was milking her breasts to feed. Whenever she found a child amongst the captives, she took it over her chest and nursed it. The Prophet said to us:

“Do you think that this lady can throw her son in the fire?”

We replied:

“No, if she has the power not to throw it (in the fire).”

The Prophet then said:

“Allāh is more Merciful to His slaves than this lady is to her son.”

So next time you hug your child out of the deep love and mercy that you have for him, know that your mercy for your child pales in comparison to the mercy Allāh has upon you. That alone is enough to melt one’s heart.

The First Words Man Heard…and Hopefully Our Last

Such is the extensiveness of Allāh’s all-encompassing mercy that the first words our father Ādam (peace be upon him) heard was the mercy of Allāh.

Ibn Ḥibbān [6165] reports that the Prophet (Allāh’s praise and security be upon him)  said:

“When Allāh blew the soul into Ādam and the soul reached his head, he sneezed. So he said: “All praise is due to Allāh the Lord of every created thing.” So the Blessed and Most High said to him:

“May Allāh have mercy upon you.”

Thus, the first words spoken by man were the praise of his Creator and the first words he heard from his Lord was mercy! How Beneficent is Allāh!

Finally, just as the first words our father Ādam heard was mercy from Allāh, I ask Allāh to make His mercy the last words we hear on this earth.

Adapted from:

Wahbī, ʿAbd al-Hādī b. Ḥasan, (1428/2007), al-Asmāʾ al-usnā wa al-ifāt al-ʿUlā, First Edition. Al-Jubayl: Dār al-Dalīl al-Athariyyah.

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