By Paul Salahuddin Armstrong
Everyone seeks forgiveness, lacking as we do in our present form, the state of perfection… We all depend upon divine grace, and we should never despair of the infinite mercy of the Almighty!
Consider for a moment; Prophet Jesus’ famous rebuttal, to a group of people who’s hearts had become so hardened, they couldn’t wait to stone a woman for an alleged act of adultery…
“He that is without sin among you,
let him first cast a stone at her”
He that is without sin? Other than the Almighty, only the prophets and angels are without sin, something Prophet Jesus, peace be upon him, was well aware! One after another, the people left… Then Jesus, peace be upon him, said:
“Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?”
She said, “No man, Lord.” And Jesus said unto her,
“Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”
The greatness of showing mercy, is emphasised time and time again, throughout religious scriptures and by all of God’s messengers and sages. Being merciful is an attribute of the Almighty, as God says in the Holy Qur’an:
“My Mercy embraces all things…”
Holy Qur’an 7:156
God sent prophets and revealed His revelations to them, out of His divine mercy for humankind. As God reveals about Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him…
“And We have sent you not but as a mercy to all the worlds.”
Holy Qur’an 21:107
People who show mercy in the face of adversity, demonstrate true strength. Those who consistently have mercy and compassion towards others, will always have clean hearts. Whereas those who bear grudges, are vengeful or worse, will find out in the end, they’ve only harmed their own souls.
“The merciful man doeth good to his own soul:
but he that is cruel troubleth his own flesh.”
In the Gospel according to Matthew, Jesus Christ, peace be upon him, is reported to have said:
“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.”
If we desire forgiveness for our own sins, we must be merciful towards others. Our forgiveness is connected to how we treat others… Those who are merciful shall obtain mercy. But how can we rightfully expect God to bestow upon us mercy, if we’ve never been merciful towards others?
“Whoever is not merciful to others will not be treated mercifully.”
Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, in a hadith narrated by Abu Huraira.
Sahih Bukhari, Volume 8, Hadith 26
“For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy;
and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.”
Above all though, God’s mercy reigns supreme! As narrated in a hadith by Abu Huraira: The Prophet, peace be upon him, said:
“When Allah created creation, He wrote a book, which is with Him above the Throne, saying: My mercy overcomes My wrath.”
Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Hadith 416