Mercy Kindness and Forgiveness
Half of the compulsory fast is gone and the faithful believers have
devoutly sought the mercy of Allah in the first ten days and forgiveness
in the middle ten days and are now ready to seek their salvation from
the hell fire.
In a Hadith recorded in Bukhary, the Prophet Muhammad has said: "This
is a month (referring to the month of Ramazan), the first part of which
brings Allah's Mercy, the middle of which brings Allah's forgiveness and
the last part of which brings emancipation from hell fire".
The meaning of Mercy attributed to Allah is the universal Mercy that
not only is the expectation of the person seeking that Mercy, but also
the Creator's expectation that all His believers extend to each other
and to other creations of God. As much as one expects mercy from God,
being merciful to others is an important conduct expected from Muslims.
In a Hadith recorded in Bukhari and Muslim, Abu Hurairah (RA) reported
that the Prophet (Sal) said that "Allah has divided mercy into one
hundred parts; and He retained with Him ninety nine parts, and sent down
to earth one part. Through this one part creatures deal with one another
with compassion, so much so that an animal lifts its hoofs over its
young lest it should hurt it".The most important of Allah's attributes
it is through His mercy that we are provided with our needs purely
because we are His creations irrespective of whether one believes in Him
or not. Muslims as believers have a great responsibility to extend this
mercy to everything around us - that means to our family, our kith and
kin, our neighbours our friends and generally all others including
animals and insects.
The Prophet (Sal) emphasised in another Hadith recorded in Muslim
that "Whosoever relieves from a believer some grief pertaining to this
world, Allah will relieve from him some grief pertaining to the
Hereafter. Whosoever alleviates the difficulties of a needy person who
cannot pay his debt, Allah will alleviate his difficulties in both this
world and the Hereafter.
Whosoever conceals the faults of a Muslim, Allah will conceal his
faults in this world and the Hereafter. Allah will aid a servant (of
His) so long as the servant aids his brother". Whosoever follows a path
to seek knowledge therein, Allah will make easy for him a path to
paradise. No people gather together in one of the Houses of Allah,
reciting the Book of Allah and studying it among themselves, except that
tranquillity descends upon them, among those who are in His presence.
Whosoever is slowed down by his deeds will not be hastened forward by
his lineage" The mercy that one is expected to show towards his parents
is emphasised in the Qur'an itself in Surah 17 verse 22 where Allah
commands us "And lower to them the wing of humility out of mercy and say
'My Lord have mercy upon them as they brought me up (when I was) small.
Thus it becomes incumbent upon all Muslims to visit their parents at
least at the beginning of Ramazan (if they have not done so) and attend
to their needs in order to seek the mercy of Allah.
Mercy towards those in need
An essential attribute of a society where mercy truly prevails is
taking care of those in the rest of society who are in need of help
irrespective of their beliefs and faith. Allah does not differentiate
between a Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu or of any other faith or
even someone who does not believe in God (an atheist). Allah in His
absolute mercy provided food and sustenance to everyone. Health, wealth,
prosperity of whatever nature is shared out to everyone. People go
through stages of wealth, poverty, good or poor states of health and it
becomes the duty of a caring society to take care of the weak. Allah the
Most Merciful, therefore expects us to extend that mercy to others in
Mercy to and Caring for Animals
The Prophet (Sal) cited an anecdote where a man who was thirsty went
down a well and after quenching himself came up to find a dog with its
tongue hanging of thirst and licking mud. The man went down the well
again and brought some water from it in his shoe and made the dog drink
it. This man was forgiven of his sins by God. When asked by his
companions whether there was reward from animals the Prophet (Sal)
replied "there is a reward in every living thing".In a narration by Abu
Umama the Prophet (Sal) is reported to have said "Whoever is merciful
even to a sparrow, Allah will be merciful to him on the day of
judgement".In another Hadith it is recorded that "a good deed done to an
animal is like a good deed done to a human being, while an act of
cruelty to an animal is as bad as cruelty to a human being".
In a Hadith recorded by Abu Dawud narrated by Sahl Ibn Handaliyyah,
it was reported that the Messenger of Allah saw a camel that was so
emaciated that its stomach was sunk in hunger and said "Fear Allah in
these beasts for they cannot speak". Cruelty to birds is strongly
forbidden by the Prophet (Sal). In a Hadith narrated by Abdul Rahman bib
Abdullah and recorded in Muslim the Messenger of Allah has said "Who has
hurt the feelings of this bird? Return its young ones at once", when he
saw the companions having taken the young birds from their nests from
the parent bird.
The Prophet (Sal) also admonished his followers from mistreating
animals when he saw a donkey having been branded on its face, by saying
"May Allah curse the person who branded it" (Muslim).
Pets are to be treated equally with kindness and mercy. In a hadith
narrated by Abdullah Ibn Umar recorded in Muslim, the Prophet (Sal) said
that "a woman was once punished after death because of a cat which she
had kept confined until it died, and because of this she entered the
Fire. She had deprived it of food or drink while being confined and had
not let it free to go and eat the creatures of the earth".
Mercy to and Caring for Plant Life
The Prophet had great concern about caring for plants and their
protection and said in a Hadith narrated by Abu Hurayrah and recorded in
Bukhary that "the example of a believer is that of a fresh tender plant,
from whatever direction the wind comes, it bends it, but when the wind
quietens down the plant becomes straight again". In another Hadith it is
reported that the Prophet (Sal) said "if the Hour (the day of
resurrection) is about to be established and one of you is holding a
palm shoot in his hand let him take advantage of even one second to
plant it before the Hour is established". Thus great emphasis has been
placed on planting trees by the Prophet (Sal). It is also considered as
charity (Sadaqah) to plant trees as confirmed in this Hadith recorded by
Bukhary "If a Muslim plants a tree or sow seeds, and then a bird or an
animal or a person eats from it, it is regarded as a charitable gift (Sadaqah)
A good clean environment is a mercy from Allah it is upto us to
prevent it from pollution.
The Prophet (Sal) passionately advocated protection of the
environment even in the use of resources for religious rituals.
In a Hadith recorded in Ibn Majah, the Prophet admonished Sa'd (a
companion) who was performing ablution next to a river from
'squandering'. When asked by Sa'd 'can there be an idea of squandering (israf)
in ablution?' The Prophet answered 'yes, even if you are by the side of
a flowing river'.
Environmental cleanliness was higher priority in the Prophet's agenda
when he said"Beware of the three acts that cause you to be cursed: 
relieving yourselves in shaded places (that people utilise), in a
walkway or in a watering place." In another narration by Abu Dhar Al
Ghaffari the Prophet is reported to have said "removing harmful things
from the road is an act of charity".
It is now upto us who have undergone this 'workshop' to implement it.
Let us take the challenge and as much as we expect mercy from God let us
ourselves show mercy to one another, to the animals and plants and some
consideration for the environment that God has given us in His absolute
Mercy. RAMAzAN MUBARAK.