When it comes to Islam as a Religion, many people especially Muslims focus on the rulings. What’s halal (permissible) or haram (forbidden), what are the Laws and rulings towards x, y and z? Though the rulings are significant to Muslims, the fixation on them may hinder our appreciation of the love and mercy of Allah and how encompassing His love truly is.
Here’s a brief excerpt to remind us of Allah’s mercy and passion.
Allah the Lover
A pious man is facing his reckoning in the presence of Allah. Realising that many of his family members have committed sins, the man decides to grant his reward for good deeds to the family members, up to the point that he runs of of his reward. God asks him; ‘Now, how are you going to survive My hisab (Reckoning)?’ The man replies, ‘I leave it to your mercy, O Lord.’ With that, God commands His angels to let the man enter Heaven.
At the beginning of every surah of the Qur’an, bar one, God refers to Himself as Rahman and Rahim – words that are generally translated as something like: the Most Gracious and the Most Merciful. However, the word rahmah in Arabic, from which these two words are derived, has a very comprehensive connotation consisting of love, mercy, blessings and many other similar meanings. It is in this principle of love that the whole Islamic belief and way of life are summarised.
And it is not without a profound significance that a Muslim is taught to recite the same verse – ‘In the name of God, The most Beneficent, The Most Merciful’ – every time they embark on any endeavour, whether it has to do with religion or not. In the original Arabic, the expression uses the word ‘Allah’ instead of just any word denoting God. ‘Allah’ is actually His All-Encompassing Name (al-ism al-jami) or His Greatest Name (al-ism al-a’zam) which both comprehends, and is the source of, all of His other names. In other words, notwithstanding the fact that His names comprise both attributes of beauty (jamal) and majesty (jalal), as one whole, the concept of God in Islam represents mercy and beneficence and nothing else.
In fact, love is the quintessential principle of God. He emphasises in the Qur’an that:
…surely my Lord is Ever Merciful, Most Loving. (Hud 11:90)
In another place in the Qur’an, Allah is characterised by wudd (enduring love) and ghufran (forgiveness) at the same time:
…and He is the Forgiving and the Loving (al-Buruj 85:14)
Whilse His Attribute as rahim (merciful) and wadud (loving) are mentioned together in this ayah:
Ask for pardon of your Lord and then turn unto Him (repentant). Lo! My Lord is Merciful, Loving. (Hud 11:90)
Further than that, in a hadith qudsi, God reveals unequivocally that: ‘My Mercy has overcome My Wrath.‘ What is of the utmost important is that all through the Qur’an Allah reveals Himself through these Most Beautiful Names (al-asma al-husna), those names denoting His beautiful Qualities (jamal) are found in five times as many verses as those that denote His Majestic Qualities (jalal). In the same vein, His Vengeance appears only once in the Holy Book, while the opposite quality- The Forgiving one, occurs about one hundred times. Indeed, nothing in His creation is deprived of His Mercy.
My Mercy encompasses everything. (al-A’raf 7:156)
The last verse categorically states that all occurrences, not excluding things that appear to be evils and suffering, are actually manifestations of His Mercy.
This excerpt is derived from Haidar Bagir’s book ‘Islam The Faith of Love and Happiness’ to find out more about his book, click here
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