Episode 13: The scopes of mercy
There are many scopes for mercy. Some are:
Mercy on parents, mercy on children and wives, mercy on relatives and blood relatives, mercy on orphans, the needy, the weak, the ill, elders, transients, slaves, servants and employees. In fact, mercy surpasses humans to include animals, where [Islam] urges on having mercy on them and has set for that great reward and ample compensation. In practicing the moral of mercy with parents, Allah (glory be to Him) says:
(And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him, and that you be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them reach old age in your life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, and address them in hospitable terms. And, out of kindness, lower to them the wing of humility through mercy, and say: "My Lord! Bestow on them your Mercy as they have raised me in childhood")(1).
In the relationship between husband and wife, Allah (glory be to Him) says: (And among His Signs is that He created for you mates from among yourselves, so that you may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has made between you affection and mercy)(2). In regard to mercy on servants and slaves, Allah's messenger (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) says as in a hadeeth by Abu Thar: (… Your brothers are your khawal(3). Allah has made them at your disposal. He whose brother is at his disposal, then he should feed him from which he eats, cloth him from which he wears, and you should not bear onto them what is beyond their ability, and if you should do so then assist them)(4). In mercy towards animals, [Allah's messenger] (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said in a hadeeth by Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him): (While a man was walking, he became very thirsty and so he descended into a well and drank from it, then he emerged and saw a dog puffing and eating the soil out of thirst, so he said: [Thirst] has reached this [dog] the same that has reached me, then he filled his footwear and held it with his mouth then ascended and gave the dog to drink, and so Allah rewarded him and forgave his sins), they said: Oh messenger of Allah: Do we get reward for animals? He said: (There is reward in every moist liver)(5).
The effects of mercy
Since the purpose for mercy is to bring benevolence to others, or to end or lessen the harm [inflicted] upon them, it therefore, should implant affection between them. Mercy also eliminates the causes of grudges and hatred so that Muslims become as one body, when one of its members grieves then the rest of the body beckons with fever and wakefulness for that member. After all, mercy is one of the greatest fetchers of Allah Almighty's mercy, reward and kindness. According to Iyadh ibn Hemar al-Mujashaey: One day, Allah's messenger (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said in his sermon: (… the inhabitants of Heaven are three: one with authority who is just, a charity giver and successful, and a merciful man with a delicate heart towards every relative and Muslim, and a person with 'iffah [(This word is explained further down)] who has dependents and remains in 'iffah)(6).
The relationship between justice and mercy
It is not beneficial to deal with everyone mercifully, especially if it does not give the good effect intended from mercy. Such as the mercy of an ignorant mother who neglects disciplining her child no matter how much harm the child does, and in doing so, she eventually spoils the child's morals and the child grows up abnormal(7) .Also, some of mercy's un-praiseworthy depictions is the defect it causes to the virtue of justice. Such as having mercy on unjust people who transgress on [other] people's wealth, bodies and honor. In fact, having mercy calls for taking reprisal for the oppressed from their oppressors. What is required, in dealing with them, is that they are treated justly in order to prevent their evil and prevent them from going too far in their injustice.
1) Translation of meaning: Holy Quran, chapter al-Israa, verses 23-24.
2) Translation of meaning: Holy Quran, chapter al-Room, verse 21.
3) Arabic word that is plural for a man's servants and followers, singular is Khaa'il. It is used for both a male and a female slave. It is taken from the Arabic word Takhweel: which means owning or caretaking (al-Nihayah 2/88).
4) Produced by: al-Bukhari #30 and Muslim #1661.
5) Produced by: al-Bukhari #2363 and Muslim #2244.
6) Produced by Muslim #2865.
7) See al-Akhlag al-Islamiah wa Ususuha 2/5.