Many have heard the need for Allah’s (God’s) mercy, yet not fully understand its meanings and implications to our existence and forgiveness in the hereafter. Comprehending its meanings, therefore, can help us to strive more through deeds and worship to earn His mercy rather than missing out on His blessings in this life and forgiveness in the hereafter.
To get an idea of its importance, let us first remind ourselves of the high status that Prophet Muhammad (s) holds before Allah. In Surah Al-Hijr (Chapter 15 of the Quran), verse 72, Allah takes an oath on the life of the prophet (s) when telling the story of Prophet Lot (A.S.) The verse starts as follows:
“Verily, by your life (O Muhammad) …” [Quran (Surah Al-Hijr, 15:72)
Ibn Kathir comments on this verse in his tafsir by stating, “Allah swore by the life of His Prophet, which is an immense honor reflecting his high rank and noble status. Amr bin Malik An-Nakari reported from Abu Al-Jawza’ that Ibn `Abbas said: “Allah has never created or made or formed any soul that is dearer to him than Muhammad. I never heard that Allah swore by the life of anyone else.””
This is Prophet Muhammad (s), who used to stand in prayer at night so long that his feet would swell up. Observing him engaged in worship with such high devotion, ?’ishah asked him: “Messenger of Allah! Why do you do this, when Allah has forgiven you your past and future sins?”
He replied: “Should I not, therefore, be a thankful servant?” [Sah?h al-Bukh?r? (4837) and Sah?h Muslim (2820)]
Knowing the high honor that the prophet (s) enjoyed before God, now consider the following hadith. He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
“No one’s deeds will ever admit him to Paradise.” They said, “Not even you, O Messenger of Allah?” He said, “No, not even me, unless Allah showers me with His Mercy…
Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5349; Muslim, 7042
So, imagine if the prophet (s) on whose life Allah took an oath (in the Quran) because the prophet (s) is so dear to him, will not be able to enter paradise without Allah’s mercy, how much of His mercy will we need to enter paradise? The same applies to us needing Allah’s mercy in this world. Can we expect to enjoy provisions, rizq, happiness, or any of the blessings of this life without Allah’s mercy?
Knowing this, therefore, how can we afford not to ask Allah for His mercy? More importantly, why do so many of us not long for Allah’s mercy when He has repeatedly reminded us that He is the “Most Merciful”?
About Allah’s Mercy
Allah has repeatedly reminded us in the Quran about His mercy. He says in the Quran:
Say [O Muhammad (s)]: “To whom belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth?” Say: “To Allah. He has prescribed mercy for Himself… (Surah Al-Anaam, 6:12)
He also says:
And your Lord is Rich (Free of all needs), full of mercy;… (Surah Al-Anaam, 6:133)
Allah’s mercy is boundless. It is there for us to ask and for Allah to give it to us if he chooses to shower it on us. In Saheeh Muslim it is narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
“Allah has one hundred parts of mercy, of which He sent down one between the jinn, mankind, the animals and the insects, by means of which they are compassionate and merciful to one another, and by means of which wild animals are kind to their offspring. And Allah has kept back ninety-nine parts of mercy with which to be merciful to His slaves of the Day of Resurrection.” [Muslim, al-Tawbah, 6908.]
Another example of Allah’s mercy is illustrated by an example where it was narrated that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab said:
“Some prisoners were brought to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and there was a woman among the prisoners who was searching (for her child). When she found her child she embraced him and put him to her breast. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said to us, ‘Do you think that this woman would throw her child in the fire?’ We said, ‘No, by Allah, not if she is able not to.’ The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, ‘Allah is more merciful to His slaves than this woman is to her child.’” [Agreed upon. Al-Bukhaari, 5653; Muslim, 6912.]
Asking for Allah’s Mercy
As humans, we tend to commit a lot of mistakes but if those mistakes and sins are done in ignorance and not with the intention to willfully ignore Allah’s commands, Allah may forgive us out of His mercy on us. He says in the Quran,
… Your Lord has prescribed mercy for Himself. So that if any of you does evil in ignorance, and thereafter repents and does righteous good deeds (by obeying Allah), then surely, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surah Al-Anaam, 6:54)
However, we run the risk of losing Allah’s mercy when we are arrogant toward His teachings. Allah says in the Quran,
And your Lord is Rich (Free of all needs), full of mercy; if He wills, He can destroy you, and in your place make whom He wills as your successors, as He raised you from the seed of other people. (Surah Al-Anaam, 6:133)
Let us ensure, therefore, that we are constantly striving to perform deeds that are deserving of His mercy. We should also be steadfast and sincere in asking for His mercy in our supplications and Duas. The prophet (s) taught us many Duas asking for Allah’s mercy. Below are some of them.
“O Allah, it is Your mercy that I am seeking…”