It’s what we crave. It’s what we pray for. It’s the only means for getting into Paradise. We know that we are constantly sinning and that without His Mercy, none of these sins will be forgiven. We know that without His Mercy, not only will our entire lives be filled with misery, but also the afterlife. If we knew how to get it, surely we’d do everything within our human capacity to ensure it. If only we knew how to get it.
Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) is the most Merciful, and out of this Mercy He has blessed us by answering every important question in our lives. It is out of His complete Mercy, that the most Merciful has explained to us, through the words of His beloved Messenger ﷺ (peace be upon him), exactly how to get His Mercy.
The Prophet ﷺ said: “Have mercy on those who are on earth, and the One in the heavens will have mercy upon you.”
Now that we know how to get it, we must understand what it means to have ‘mercy on those who are on earth.’ There are many ways to show mercy, but the three mains ones are forgiving the creation, forbearance, and showing general kindness.
Forgiving the Creation:
Throughout our lives we experience hurt and wrongful actions from people around us. Actions that are painful and that leave us wanting to hold onto a grudge for much time to come. It is in these times that we need to have mercy upon the creation. We need to forgive them for their wrongs, not for them but for Allah (swt). It is at these times that we need to have mercy upon the creation so that the Creator will have mercy upon us in an infinitely greater manner. Forgiveness for the sake of Allah (swt) is discussed further here: “Forgiveness: The Glue for a Broken Heart”
The second act of mercy we can have towards the creation is forbearance. Forbearance is a beautiful trait but is one that requires training and self control. When we show forbearance to someone, essentially what we are doing is restraining our anger whether or not it may seem justified. The Prophet ﷺ said: “The strong is not the one who overcomes the people by his strength, but the strong is the one who controls himself while in anger.” So, yes, it takes strength and perseverance, but imagine the end result. When we show forbearance, what we are actually saying is ‘Ya Allah (O God), this person did something fully wrong and if I wanted to I could lash out, but for your sake I won’t. Ya Allah, just as I did this with your creation, please do this with me. When I commit atrocious sins, show me forbearance, ya Allah!’
The last quality is general soft-hearted kindness. This type of mercy is found in a kind smile, a gentle hug, or even a kind word. The Prophet ﷺ said, “Never was kindness placed on something but that it beautified it, and never was it removed but that it marred it.” It is here that we must mention that kindness should be first given to those who are nearest and dearest to you, and then given to the community in general. There is no wisdom in a person who treats the world with kindness and care, yet goes home to a family and treats them with anger and disrespect. We should first smile at our families, and then the strangers on the street. We should spread cheer to our neighbors first, and then our colleagues at work.
To extend mercy to the creation is to ask Allah (swt) to extend His mercy upon us. To extend mercy to the creation is to make the world a better place, and make our akhira (hereafter) better as well. From today we should make it a point to place mercy in every interaction that we can, whenever we can, and to remember “Have mercy on those who are on earth, and the One in the heavens will have mercy upon you.”