Islam is the religion of mercy

Islam is the Religion of Mercy

“Mercy” in Arabic entails love and care. Allah the Almighty takes care of us when we can’t care

The Meaning of “Mercy” in English

The New Lexicon Webester defines “Mercy” as: “a compassionate rather than severe behavior towards someone in one’s power” a thing to be thankful for. E.g. It’s a mercy that the doctor arrived in time.

In Arabic

Mercy (“Rahma” in Arabic) is an abstract noun derived from the concrete word “Rahim”; that is “the womb” in English. Mercy is the mother’s attribute towards the fruit of her womb. “Mercy” in Arabic entails love and care. Allah; the Almighty, takes care of us when we can’t care of ourselves. He is making our hearts beat with us having no control of it. God’s Mercy is what gets a person into paradise, not his deeds. 

I heard Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) saying, “The good deeds of any person will not make him enter Paradise.” (i.e., None can enter Paradise through his good deeds.) They (the Prophet’s companions) said, ‘Not even you, O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)?’ He said, “Not even myself, unless Allah bestows His favor and mercy on me.” So be moderate in your religious deeds and do the deeds that are within your ability: and none of you should wish for death, for if he is a good doer, he may increase his good deeds, and if he is an evil doer, he may repent to Allah.” [Hadith] (1)

Allah’s Mercy encompasses everything; Man and Jinn

Allah, the Almighty, says in the Glorious Qur’an:

…My mercy encompasses all things…” [Qur’an 7:156] (2)

Mercy in Islam includes this world, the Hereafter, human being, Jinn as well as all animals, birds and the surrounding habitats. Mercy is one of God’s most important attributes. It seems that the most important names expressing God’s mercy are the two names: “Ar-Rahman” (the Most Gracious) and “Ar-Rahim” (the Most Merciful). Allah says in the Glorious Qur’an:

Whoever is guided is only guided for [the benefit of] his soul. And whoever errs only errs against it. And no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another. And never would We punish until We sent a messenger.” [Qur’an 17:15] (3)

So Allah sent his prophets and messengers to man and jinn to guide them to the straight path and to teach them how to worship Allah; their Creator and Sustainer without any associates. Allah has ascribed Mercy to Himself, His prophets and His righteous servants as being endowed with it.

Allah, the Almighty, has Sent Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as a mercy to all creation

Allah, the Almighty says in the Glorious Qur’an,

Muḥammad is the Messenger of Allah; and those with him are forceful against the disbelievers, merciful among themselves. You see them bowing and prostrating [in prayer], seeking bounty from Allah and [His] pleasure. Their sign is in their faces from the effect of prostration [i.e., prayer]. That is their description in the Torah. And their description in the Gospel is as a plant which produces its offshoots and strengthens them so they grow firm and stand upon their stalks, delighting the sowers – so that He [i.e., Allah] may enrage by them the disbelievers. Allah has promised those who believe and do righteous deeds among them forgiveness and a great reward. [Qur’an 48:29] (4)

  He also said:

And We have not sent you, [O Muḥammad], except as a mercy to the worlds.” [Qur’an 21:107] (5)

The word (Al-Aalameen) in Arabic includes the worlds of the humans, the world of Jinn, the world of animals and that of birds as well. The human being is indulged in God’s blessings from head to foot, but he forgets. He gets up every day. He eats, drinks, works, plays and does whatever he likes. That is why he should be grateful to His Lord, Allah, His Creator and sustainer. Allah, the Almighty said in the Glorious Qur’an:

So as for the orphan, do not oppress [him]. And as for the petitioner, do not repel [him].” [Qur’an 93:9-10] (6)

Allah’s mercy to Animals

Mercy is something innate which Allah has placed in the hearts of His creatures. Even the lions (the most ferocious of wild beasts) are more merciful to their children. Yet Allah is more merciful to His creation than a mother to her child. The Merciful Creator, Allah, ensures that every creation is looked after; from the fish in the depth of the ocean to the insects on the earth and the birds in the air. All are sustained by Him. Animals have hearing, sight and all other blessings. They have offspring. They are merciful to each other so that even the mare lifts its hoofs away from its baby animal lest it should trample on it. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:

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 hoof over its young lest it should hurt it.” [Hadith] (7)

This is another Qudsi Hadith: Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:

Allah created all the creatures and when He finished the task of His creation, Ar-Rahm (ties of relationship) said: ‘(O Allah) at this place I seek refuge with You against severing my ties.’ Allah said: ‘That I treat with kindness those who treat you with kindness and sever ties with those who sever ties with you.’ It said: ‘I am satisfied.’ Allah said: ‘Then this is yours”. Then Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Recite this Ayah if you like: ‘Would you then, if you were given the authority, do mischief in the land, and sever your ties of kinship? Such are they whom Allah has cursed, so that He has made them deaf and blinded their sight.[Hadith] (8)

Mercy in the Glorious Qur’an

Allah’s mercy is expressed in the Glorious Qur’an in the following verses:

And out of His mercy He made for you the night and the day that you may rest therein and [by day] seek from His bounty and [that] perhaps you will be grateful.[Qur’an 28:73] (9)

And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.[Qur’an 30:21] (10)

A spouse is one of the greatest of mercies to man as a means to tranquility and affection. So Allah forgives man’s sins and accepts his repentance whatever his sins were. Whenever he comes back to Him, he will accept him and forgive him.

 Allah sustains all human beings; the believer and the disbeliever, those who obey and those who disobey, those who are grateful and thank Him for His innumerable blessings and those who deny them, and those who worship Allah the Only One God, and those who worship idols, people or things. Both of the two parties enjoy the same sun and the moon. Both can breathe air, drink water, have children, hear, see, have wealth and enjoy all pleasures of this worldly life. Allah says in the Glorious Qur’an:

And if you should count the favors of Allah, you could not enumerate them. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” [Qur’an 16:18] (11)

The Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) is the Model of Mercy to all people

The Prophet’s Mercy to children:

The Prophet (ﷺ) kissed his grandson Al-Hasan bin ‘Ali (May Allah bepleased with them) in the presence of Al-Aqra’ bin Habis. Thereupon he remarked: “I have ten children and I have never kissed any one of them.” Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) looked at him and said, “He who does not show mercy to others will not be shown mercy[Hadith] (12)

The Prophet (ﷺ) used to mix with us to the extent that he would say to a younger brother of mine, ‘O Aba `Umair! What did the Nughair (a kind of bird) do? [Hadith] (13)

The Prophet’s mercy to the Orphan and the widow

The prophet loved the poor, the orphan, the widow, the weak, the helpless and slaves. Although he was one of the nobles of his people in Mecca (He belonged to the tribe of Quraish). He spent all his life to lessen the gap between the wealthy and the poor. That is what his wife; Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her) said to him when he came back home after seeing Gabriel (The Arch Angel). He was scared and frightened, but she soothed him saying: 

Then Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) returned with the Inspiration and with his heart beating severely. Then he went to Khadija bint Khuwailid and said, “Cover me! Cover me!” They covered him till his fear was over and after that he told her everything that had happened and said, “I fear that something may happen to me.” Khadija replied, “Never! By Allah, Allah will never disgrace you. You keep good relations with your kith and kin, help the poor and the destitute, serve your guests generously and assist the deserving calamity-afflicted ones[Hadith] (14)

It was narrated that Abu Hurairah said:

The one who strives to sponsor a widow or a poor person is like the one who strives in Jihad in the cause of Allah, the Mighty and Sublime [Hadith] (15)

He also said:

I and the sponsor of an orphan shall be in Paradise like these two.”And he indicaed with his fingers, meaning his index and his middle finger.” [Hadith] (16)

The prophet’s mercy to animals

‘Abd ar-Rahman b. Abdallah quoted his father as saying:

When I we were on a journey with God’s Messenger and he had gone to relieve himself we saw a hummara* with two young ones and took the young ones, whereupon the hummara came and began to spread out its wings. Then when the Prophet came he said, “Who has pained this one by the loss of her young? Give her young ones back to her.” He also saw an anthill which we had burned, and when he asked who had burned it and we replied that we had, he said, “It is not fitting that anyone but the Lord of the fire should punish with fire.”[Hadith] (17)

Shaddad bin Aus (RAA) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:

Verily, Allah has prescribed proficiency in all things. Thus, if you kill, kill in the least painful manner you can; and when you slaughter an animal, do it in the best possible way; and any of you should sharpen his blade so that the animal may be spared from the suffering of the slaughtering.” [Hadith] (18)

Allah commanded mercy be applied to everything and in every nation. In Islam, you must show mercy when you slaughter an animal (a cow, a buffalo, a sheep, a goat or even a chicken) How?! You should say: “بسم الله” “In the Name of Allah”, sharpen your blade and spare the animal any suffering. The prophet (PBUH) also said: 

There was a dog moving around a well whom thirst would have killed. Suddenly a prostitute from the prostitutes of Bani Isra’il happened to see it and she drew water in her shoe and made it drink, and she was pardoned because of this.” [Hadith] (19)

Mohammad’s mercy and the law of retribution

Mohammad’s mercy ranges further from charming anecdotes of his kindness towards children, animals, the widow, the poor the orphan and the needy to his revolutionary modification of the law of retribution. 

  Allah, the Almighty, said in the Glorious Qur’an:

And the retribution for an evil act is an evil one like it, but whoever pardons and makes reconciliation – his reward is [due] from Allah. Indeed, He does not like wrongdoers.” [Qur’an 42:40] (20)

Mohammad’s mercy to the Polytheists of Mecca

Another act of mercy was Mohammad’s forgiving his defeated Persecutors in Mecca. What did he say to his defeated persecutors?

Al-Abbas ibn AbdulMuttalib brought AbuSufyan ibn Harb to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) in the year of the conquest (of Mecca). So he embraced Islam at Marr az-Zahran. Al-Abbas said to him: Messenger of Allah, AbuSufyan is a man who likes taking this pride, if you may do something for him. He said: Yes, he who enters the house of AbuSufyan is safe, and he who closes his door is safe.” [Hadith] (21)

 He forgave them all and didn’t punish anyone of them. He did exactly what Joseph the prophet did to his brothers. The Glorious Qur’an narrates the story saying:

He said, “No blame will there be upon you today. May Allah forgive you; and He is the most merciful of the merciful.” [Qur’an 12:92] (22)

The prophet’s sermon in his farewell pilgrimage

In that pilgrimage, the prophet commanded his companions and all pilgrims to take care of the children, the women and the elders. He preached them saying: Narrated Ali ibn Abi Talib:

The last words which the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) spoke were: Prayer, prayer; fear Allah about those whom your right hands possess. [Hadith] (23)

And he said:

The best of you is he who is best to his family, and I am the best among you to my family. When one of you dies speak no ill of him. [Hadith] (24)

The Prophet’s Hadith about “Mercy”

These are some of the prophet’s sayings about “mercy”. They indicate his mercy, kindness, tolerance and beautiful teachings:

…He said to me “A’ishah be lenient, for leniency makes a thing decorated and when it is removed from a thing it makes it defective. [Hadith] (25)
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said,
The believers who show the most perfect Faith are those who have the best behaviour, and the best of you are those who are the best to their wives.” [Hadith] (26)

Abdullah bin ‘Amr narrated that the Messenger of Allah said:

The merciful are shown mercy by Ar-Rahman. Be merciful on the earth, and you will be shown mercy from Who is above the heavens. The womb is named after Ar-Rahman, so whoever connects it, Allah connects him, and whoever severs it, Allah severs him. [Hadith] (22)


To conclude, these are the aspects of mercy in Islam. It applies to dealing with different types of people as well as animals. Now, what about you? Isn’t it the time to be merciful to yourself by accepting Islam?


(1) Prophet’s Saying (Hadith).

(2) Verse (7:156) of Quran (English Interpretation of Meaning).

(3) Verse (17:15) of Qur’an (English Interpretation of Meaning).

(4) Verse (48:29) of Qur’an (English Interpretation of Meaning).

(5) Verse (21:107) of Qur’an (English Interpretation of Meaning).

(6) Verse (93:9-10) of Qur’an (English Interpretation of Meaning).

(7) Prophet’s Saying (Hadith).

(8) Prophet’s Saying (Hadith).

(9) Verse (28:73) of Qur’an (English Interpretation of meaning).

(10) Verse (30:21) of Qur’an (English Interpretation of Meaning).

(11) Verse (16:18) of Qur’an (English Interpretation of Meaning).

(12) Prophet’s Saying (Hadith).

(13) Prophet’s Saying (Hadith).

(14) Prophet’s Saying (Hadith).

(15) Prophet’s Saying (Hadith).

(16) Prophet’s Saying (Hadith).

(17) Prophet’s Saying (Hadith).

(18) Prophet’s Saying (Hadith).

(19) Prophet’s Saying (Hadith).

(20) Verse (42:40) of Qur’an (English Interpretation of meaning).

(21) Prophet’s Saying (Hadith).

(22) Verse (12:92) of Qur’an (English Interpretation of meaning).

(23) Prophet’s Saying (Hadith).

(24) Prophet’s Saying (Hadith).

(25) Prophet’s Saying (Hadith).

(26) Prophet’s Saying (Hadith).

(27) Prophet’s Saying (Hadith).

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