Allah’s Great Mercy
All praise is due to Allah and peace and blessings be upon the Prophet.
‘The Most Gracious’ and ‘The Merciful’ are two of Allah’s names which are mentioned in the Holy Quran. However, the adjective ‘Most Gracious’ is more prominent than ‘Merciful’, since it signifies Allah’s graciousness in this world and the Hereafter, while ‘Merciful’ signifies Allah’s mercy in the Hereafter in particular. From these two adjective the word mercy was derived, as Tirmidhi narrated from Abd al-Rahman ibn Awf, may Allah be pleased with him, that he heard the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, say: Allah said: “I am The Most Gracious, I created the ties of the womb and derived its name from My name. I shall keep ties with whoever keeps the ties of womb, and cut off whoever cuts it off.”
The name ‘Most Gracious’ is mentioned 57 times in the Holy Quran, while ‘Merciful’ is mentioned 123 times, and is mostly associated with Allah’s name ‘Forgiving’. Allah said: “Ask forgiveness of Allah. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” (Muzzammil: 20). Ibn al-Qayyim indicated some of the differences between these two names, and said: ‘The Most Gracious’ is indicative of Allah’s attribute, whereas ‘The Merciful’ is indicative of his action, as Allah said: “He is Ever Merciful to the believers.” (Al-Ahzab: 43), and: “He is to them Kind and Merciful.” (Al-Tawba: 117).
Hafiz Ibn Kathir said: ‘He began with the name ‘Most Gracious’ because it’s more specific and precise than ‘Merciful’, since people aren’t allowed to be named after the names that indicate Allah’s attributes, such as ‘Most Gracious’, ‘Creator’, and ‘The Provider’.’ Ibn al-Qayyim added: ‘Allah initiated Surah Al-rahman with his name ‘Most Gracious’, as Allah said: “The Beneficent, He made known the Qur’an. He created man. He has taught him utterance”.’ (Rahman: 1-4). And cocluded it with: “Blessed is the name of your Lord, Owner of Majesty and Honor” (Rahman: 78), which emphasizes this name’s prominence; and Allah’s Mercy is manifested for all mankind in the form of things as diverse yet beneficial as: cattle, crops, rain, heat, partners, galaxies, and so on.
Allah’s Mercy is of two types:
First: General Mercy. The mercy He bestows upon all creatures by providing them with food, water, housing, garments, healing them, and so on. Allah the Almighty says: “Our Lord encompassed all things in mercy and knowledge” (Ghafer: 7). A scholar said about this verse: ‘This refers to the mercy that Allah bestows upon all creatures, including non-Muslims. However, the mercy bestowed upon non-Muslims is tangible mercy restricted to this world, such as providing them with food, clothing, housing, and so on.’
Second: Specific Mercy. The that mercy Allah bestows upon believers by blessing, guiding, and supporting them in this world, forgiving and rewarding them with Paradise in the Hereafter, as Allah said: ‘He is Ever Merciful to the believers’ (Al-Ahzab: 43).
Moreover, there are numerous verses and Hadiths that indicate Allah’s Mercy:
From the Holy Quran:
• “When those come to you who believe in Our verses, say, ‘Peace be upon you.’ Your Lord has decreed upon Himself mercy, that any of you who does wrong out of ignorance and then repents after that and corrects himself is forgiven. He is Forgiving and Merciful” (Al-Anaam: 54).
• “Your Lord is free of need; the Possessor of mercy” (Al-Ana’am: 133).
• “So if they deny you say, ‘Your Lord is the possessor of great mercy’.” (Al-Ana’am: 147).
• “Do not cause corruption upon the earth after its reformation. And invoke Him in fear and aspiration. Indeed, the mercy of Allah is near to the doers of good.” (Al-Arraf: 56).
• “My mercy encompasses all things.” (Al-Arraf: 156).
• “Those angels who carry the Throne and those around it exalt Allah with praise of their Lord and believe in Him and ask forgiveness for those who have believed, saying, ‘Our Lord, You have encompassed all things in mercy and knowledge, so forgive those who have repented and followed Your way and protect them from the punishment of Hellfire’.” (Ghafer: 7).
• “O my servants who have transgressed against themselves by sinning, do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.” (Azzumar: 53).
From the Hadith:
• Abdullah ibn ‘Amr narrated that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “The Most Gracious has mercy on those who are merciful. If you show mercy to those who are on the earth, He who is in the heaven will show mercy to you.”
• Al-Bukhari in his Saheeh from Osama bin Zaid, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “The Prophet’s daughter sent word to him telling him: A son of mine is dying, come to us. He sent word to her, conveying his greeting and saying: “To Allah belongs that which He takes and that which He gives, and everything has an appointed time with Allah. Let her be patient and seek reward.” She sent word to him adjuring him to go to her. So he got up and went, accompanied by Sa’ad bin Ubadah, Muadh bin Jabal, Ubayy bin Ka’b, Zaid bin Thabit and some other men. The boy was lifted up to the Messenger of Allah, with the death rattle sounding in him, and the Prophet’s eyes got teary. Sa’ad said: “O Messenger of Allah, what is this?” He said: “This is compassion which Allah has created in the hearts of His slaves. Allah has mercy on His compassionate slaves.”
• Abu Huraira narrated: The Prophet said, “When Allah completed creation, He wrote in His Book which is with Him on His Throne, ‘My Mercy overpowers My Anger’.”
• Abu Huraira said: “The Prophet stood up for the prayer and we too stood up along with him. Then a nomad said while in prayer:”O Allah! Bestow Your Mercy on me and Muhammad only and do not bestow it on anybody else.” When the Prophet had finished his prayer, He said to him: ‘You have limited a very vast thing,’ meaning Allah’s Mercy.”
• Abu Huraira said: “I heard Allah’s Messenger say: ‘Verily Allah created Mercy. The day He created it, He made it into one hundred parts. He withheld ninety-nine parts and saved it for the Hereafter, and sent one part to all His creatures.”
• Umar bin Al-Khattab said: “Some war prisoners were brought before the Prophet and a woman amongst them was breastfeeding a child amongst the captives. The Prophet said to us, ‘Do you think that this mother can throw her son in fire?’ then said: ‘Allah is more merciful to His slaves than this woman is to her son’.”
• Abu Huraira said: “The prophet said: ‘If a believer were to know the punishment in Hell none would have the audacity to aspire for Paradise, and if a non-believer were to know the amount of Allah’s mercy, none would have despaired from attaining Paradise’.”
• Abu Baker said in the Hadith of intercession: “The prophet said: ‘It will be said: Summon the truthful, they then intercede; then they say: Summon prophets, then a Prophet comes with some of his people, another Prophet comes with five or six people, and another Prophet comes without anybody; then they say: Summon the martyrs… Then Allah the Almighty says: I am the Most Gracious and Merciful, those of who don’t associate any diety with me, enter my heaven’. The Prophet then said: ‘And then they enter heaven’.”
• Al-Tirmidhi and others narrated from Anas bin Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, that he heard the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, say, “Allah the Almighty said: ‘O Son of Adam, as long as you invoke Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O Son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and you then asked forgiveness from Me, I would forgive you. O Son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the Earth, and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as it,.”
• Muslim narrated from Anas bin Malik that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Allah is more pleased with the repentance of His slave than a person who has his camel in a waterless desert carrying his provision of food and drink and it is lost. He, having lost all hopes in getting it back, lies down in shade, when all of a sudden he finds that camel standing before him. He takes hold of its reins and then out of boundless joy blurts out: ‘O Allah, You are my slave and I am Your Lord’. He commits this mistake out of extreme joy.”
To conclude, Shaykh Abdul Rahman Al-Sa’adi said about Allah’s mercy: “Allah’s Mercy is manifested through his immeasurable pardon and forgiveness.” Thus, we experience and sense Allah’s immense graciousness and mercy in every single aspect of our existence, in our surroundings, and specifically on the Day of Resurrection, as the Messenger, peace be upon him, said: “Allah created one hundred parts of mercy on the day He created the heavens and the earth. Each one of them can contain all that is between the heaven and the earth. Of them, he put one on earth, through which a mother has compassion for her children and animals and birds have compassion for one another. On the Day of Resurrection, He will perfect and complete His Mercy.” Allah’s mercy is indeed beyond comprehension. May Allah’s name be glorified, He who bestowed upon us mercy, generosity, and pardon.