Mercy is a blessing from Allah which He places in the hearts of whomever He wills. Allah, all praises and glory be to Him, is the Most Compassionate and the Most Merciful, and He will have mercy on His servants who are merciful to others.
A person may lack mercy from a number of reasons, foremost among them is an abundance of sins and disobedience. These sins blacken and harden the heart so much that they become harder than rock, and as a result, they feel no mercy for others. Allah says of the Children of Israel:
“And yet, after all this, your hearts hardened and became like rocks, or even harder”(Surah Al-Baqarah:74)
Allah also tells us about when they rebelled and opposed Divine Law:
“Then, for having broken their solemn pledge. We rejected them and caused their hearts to harden.” (Surah Al-Maidah:13)
Among the other things that cause a loss of mercy is arrogance with wealth and pride with riches. Allah, all praises and glory be to Him, tells us:
“Nay! Verily, man does transgress (in disbelief and evil deed). Because he considers himself self-sufficient. “ (Surah Al-Alaq:6-7)
Another reason that a person may lack mercy is an abundance of gluttony and saturation. This gives rise to contempt and recklessness. This is one of the blessings of Ramadan, breaking this chain of consumption. Fasting naturally creates more mercy in people, because they have tasted hunger, and experienced thirst and hardship. The soul is therefore enveloped with gentleness and care for others.
Mercy is something which every Muslim is required to have for their fellow Muslim. Even if this does not come naturally to us, we must seek to cultivate it. We should have mercy especially for our family and those under our care.
The father and mother should have mercy towards their children as this will have a profound affect on their behaviour, well-being and obedience. Harshness only opens the door to despair. The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon hin advised us:
“Be kind, for whenever kindness becomes part of something, it beautifies it. Whenever it is taken from something, it leaves it tarnished.” (Recorded in Al-Bukhari)
The teacher should be merciful to the student and lead them to the best ways to benefit from their teachings. Look at this beautiful example of how Allah advised His Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him:
“And by the mercy of Allah, you dealt with them gently. And had you been severe and harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from you” (Surah Al-Imran:159)
Mercy also required that the imam should not make worship difficult on his followers. He should rather be merciful, kind and wise. The same is the case for those who call others to Islam, they should invite with tenderness and good words, clarifying any issues which are of concern to them. Allah says:
“Invite (mankind, O Muhammad) to the way of your Lord with wisdom and fair preaching, and argue with them in a way that is better.” (Surah An-Nahl:125)
O you who fast and cause hunger to your stomach, there are thousands of stomachs awaiting such a meal. Will you not be one of those who will feed them? O you who fast and suffer great thirst, there are thousands who are thirsty, will you not then give them water? O you who fast and wear the finest garments, there are those with no clothes, will you not then clothe them? O Allah, bestow on us mercy for our fellow Muslims and assist us to help those in need, Ameen.