Islamic teachings of Mercy and how it helps others
by Ariana Hoosein
In Islam, mercy is one of Allah’s most principal attributes. Allah is very merciful to all of his creations. He continues to grant us with life, resources, and goodness even when we are not always remembering him. He is also the most forgiving. Allah is so forgiving and merciful, he has names like, Ar Raheem, The Merciful and Al Ghaffar, The Ever Forgiving. Mercy means showing compassion to people even if you don’t know them. It means to forgive others who have wronged us and responding to hate with love, praying to Allah for their forgiveness.
Islam teaches mercy by showing us that we should not take for granted the blessings and bounties that God has bestowed on us. Instead, we should be grateful for everything we have, and be mindful that these are indications of the mercy of Allah. It causes Muslims to be humble and grateful for what they have. Mercy allows us to swallow our pride and ego.
Islam’s teachings of mercy helps others by setting a good example. When we exhibit compassion and mercy, it causes a chain reaction. It causes the recipient to be motivated to pass it on and show mercy to someone else. It also helps us because when we do a good deed, we also derive the blessing of God Almighty. It is further demonstrated in the fact that Allah is merciful to us, his creation who he owes nothing, then we should be merciful to others. This lesson of mercy prompts us as human beings to help others as illustrated in my personal experiences.
On my way home from school every day, I usually see a tall man resting upon a wooden chair on the sidewalk, asking for help. He has a pleasant personality despite having only one leg. Sometimes people give him money, but they often ignore him. Nonetheless, he is always persistent, struggling to survive even on bitter winter or blistering summer days.
Having to experience a senior citizen worry about his next meal, I was bothered by it and felt anxious, wanting to make a difference in his life. I came home and started to make posters. I drew a picture of the man, wrote his location and provided a short description of him. Then I distributed them to my family and friends. Soon after, I was able to gather almost $50 in donations, which I put into a box labeled “Ari’s Donation Foundation.”
Surprisingly, since I started my foundation two years ago, my box has never been empty. It is as if giving does not diminish my collection but increases it, Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Charity does not decrease wealth…”
Whenever I contribute to the man with one leg or the other less fortunate, they always thank me and wish me well. Giving charity and being merciful reminds me of the verse of the Quran, “Which of the favors of your lord will you deny?”
This entire experience has made me realize that poor people are no different from us, they are humans too, just with less wealth. This allows us to be merciful to them in their difficult situations.
Islam’s teaching of mercy was further demonstrated last summer, after I graduate from elementary school, I embarked on a mission to Guyana, hoping to make it an annual event. I focused my efforts on all the orphanages in Guyana – both boys and girls as well as poor communities where female education is often neglected because of poverty. Care packages were distributed. I firmly believe that if I can help a few girls in these communities to attend school, grow up and find jobs, then they will act as role models to other girls who will strive to do the same. I feel that the simple act of showing mercy and compassion can help them to achieve some form of success in their lives and in turn bestow it on others. During this trip, I was able to gain a first-hand experience of what being merciful means. It was heart-warming to see the look of appreciate among the faces of the little recipients, some were my age and or younger. That moment made me realize how fortunate I am and how merciful Allah has been to me and what it mean to help others.