The Entirely Merciful, The Especially Merciful

‏        قال الله عز وجل: { هُوَ اللَّهُ الَّذِي لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا هُوَ عَالِمُ الْغَيْبِ وَالشَّهَادَةِ هُوَ الرَّحْمَنُ الرَّحِيمُ * هُوَ اللَّهُ الَّذِي لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْمَلِكُ الْقُدُّوسُ السَّلَامُ الْمُؤْمِنُ الْمُهَيْمِنُ الْعَزِيزُ الْجَبَّارُ الْمُتَكَبِّرُ سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ * هُوَ اللَّهُ الْخَالِقُ الْبَارِئُ الْمُصَوِّرُ لَهُ الْأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَى يُسَبِّحُ لَهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ } سورة الحشر 22–24

 God the Almighty says in Qur’an (English translation): {

  1. He is God, none has the right to be worshipped but He, Knower of the Invisible and the Visible. He is the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.
  2. He is God, none has the right to be worshipped but He, the King, the Holy, the Peace, the Bestower of Faith and security, the Guardian, the Exalted in Might, the Compeller, the Supreme. Glory be to God! Exalted is God above whatever they associate with Him.
  3. He is God, the Creator, the Inventor, the Fashioner. To Him belong the Most Honorable Names. All that is in the Heavens and the Earth glorify Him. And He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise} (Surah 59, verses 22-24).

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Islam is the religion that recognizes and praises God as the Only One true God and rejects associating any partners in His worship.  Islam is the religion that admits God’s perfection and asserts His Most High characteristics and Most Honorable Names.  In Islam, God is the Only One worthy of worship, the Only One with Perfect qualities, the Only One free of any flaw or imperfection, and the Only One with the Ultimate Power and Reign.

The word ‘Islam’ in the Arabic language comes from the root ‘Aslama (أسْلَمَ)’ which means: to Submit, to Surrender and to Obey.  In religion, Islam mean: to Submit and Surrender to the Only One God, and to Obey God by following His orders and avoiding things He has forbidden (sins).  The beauty of Islam appears when the Muslim fully implements God’s rules and tries to spread peace and justice on Earth.  The Muslim submits to God’s will and tries his best to follow God’s commands.

Islam puts great emphasis on living by Good Morals and avoiding bad morals and sins.  As an example, the Holy Book (Qur’an) mentions the Most Honorable Names of God and describes some of God’s Perfect qualities.  The Muslims are asked to reflect on these qualities and try to implement them in their daily lives and interactions.

God describes Himself in many instances as the Most Merciful, the Most Forgiving, and the Most Compassionate.  In Qur’an, many stories that describe the great Mercy of God are mentioned.  The first story is the story of our father and Prophet Adam, who ate from the forbidden tree.  The Qur’an describes Adam’s feeling of regret and remorse after eating from the tree, and the great Mercy of God when He accepted Adam’s repentance and pardoned him.  Thus in this story, we can appreciate the following Honorable Name of God: The Most Merciful (Al-Rahman), the Most Forgiving (Al-Ghafoor), the Pardoner (Al-Afewwu), and the Acceptor of Repentance (Al-Tawwab).

The story of Noah is described in chronological order in Qur’an.  The struggle of Prophet Noah with his people and his efforts to show them guidance is explained.  Also mentioned is the way Noah’s people reacted to his message and how they showed disdain and contempt for his message, going as far as making fun of him.  Then we read about his occupation with building the ark and taking the few believers and a pair of each animal on it with him.  And finally, we recite the verses that talk about the wrath of God and the Great Flood and how it destroyed the people who made fun of Prophet Noah’s message.  Thus in this story, we can appreciate the following Honorable Name of God: the Most Powerful (Al-Qawee), the Exalted in Might (Al-Aziz), the Compeller (Al-Jabbar), the Prevailing (Al-Qahhar), and the Supreme (Al-Mutakabbir).  Indeed, when the people of Noah rejected the message of their prophet and made fun of it, they were punished and destroyed (may God keep us safe).

The Story of Prophet Job (Ayyoob) is mentioned in Qur’an in beautiful details.  The entreaty of Prophet Job and the events that led to it are described.  We read how Prophet Job had enjoyed health and wealth for some time, but then was afflicted and lost everything except his patient and indefatigable wife.  Prophet Job was tested with the loss of all of his wealth and with severe body diseases that left him powerless and prone to sickness and fatigue.  He endured all of that patiently, never complaining about his trials and tribulations but putting his trust in God.  Finally, when Satan tried to mislead his wife by asking her to seek Satan’s help, Prophet Job raised his hands and supplicated to his Lord.  God says in Qur’an, Chapter 21, verse 83:

{ And (remember) Ayyoob (Job), when he called to his Lord: “Verily, distress has seized me, and You are the Most Merciful of all those who show mercy.  So We responded to his call, and removed what distressed him. And We restored his family to him (that he had lost), and the like thereof along with them, as a mercy from Ourselves and a Reminder for all who worship Us}.

So God responded to Prophet Job’s call, and granted him double his health and wealth as a reward for his patience and as a sign of God’s great Mercy.

In this beautiful story, we appreciate the following Honorable Names of God: The All-Hearer (Al-Samee’), the All-Seer (Al-Baseer), the Responder to supplication (Al-Mujeeb), the Preserver (Al-Hafeedh), the Nourisher (Al-Muqeet), the Most Generous (Al-Kareem), the Compassionate (Al-Ra’oof), and the Most Kind (Al-Barr).

 

Another Quality of God is the Most Kind and Planner (Al-Lateef).  God plans what is best for His sincere slaves.  In Qur’an, the story of Prophet Joseph (Yoosuf) is described in detail.  The Qur’an describes the earliest sign of Joseph’s prophet-hood when he saw in a dream as if the sun, the moon and eleven planets are prostrating to him.  He told his father (Prophet Jacob) about his dream, so Prophet Jacob warned him not to tell his elder brothers.  Prophet Jacob loved his son Joseph dearly which made Joseph’s elder brothers feel jealous.  They planned and God planned.  They planned to abduct Joseph and throw him in the well, but God planned that the ruler of Egypt would eventually buy young Joseph and raise him.  Then a group of women of high class who were besotted with Prophet Joseph planned to entice him.  When he refused to give in, they planned to send him to prison.  But God planned what was better for Prophet Joseph, so he interpreted dreams until the king heard of him few years later and appointed him the new ruler of Egypt.

Thus, we learn that God has the Ultimate Knowledge and Wisdom.  God has the Ultimate Patience and Forbearance.  God has the Ultimate Mercy and kindness.  And God has the Ultimate Power and Reign.

The Most Honorable Names and qualities of God are mentioned in many places in the Qur’an.  The Most Honorable Names depict characteristics that are 100%.  For example, while a human can be 60% merciful, for God all characteristics are 100%.  So in many cases, the characteristic becomes a name with God.  Thus, God is the Peace, the Most Merciful, the Most Forgiving and so forth.

          Islam praises God as the Perfect One God with no flaw or any imperfection whatsoever.  Islam rejects any partners in His worship, any injustices attributed to God, any false accusation, or any imperfection whatsoever. 

Islam states that this world is a test to see who follows God’s command and acts righteous and who follows the path of misguidance and Satan.  This test includes trials and tribulations that man must pass through to get the result.  Thus, this world was created imperfect for the purpose of testing, and all humans must pass through this test.  The Hereafter or life after death, on the other hand, is a perfect world with Paradise for the pious and Hell for the disbelievers.

In Islam, the Muslim submits and surrenders to One and Only One God.  The Muslim worships Only One God and admits God’s Perfection and Ultimate Power.  The Muslim ponders upon God’s qualities and tries to implement them in his daily lives.  The Muslim shows mercy, forgiveness, kindness, compassion, and other good morals.  The Muslim tries to live by the moral code of Prophet Muhammad who was of a very high moral character.  The Muslim then expects reward from His Lord and Paradise.

          In the last verse above, God the Almighty says: { He is God, the Creator, the Inventor, the Fashioner.  To Him belong the Most Honorable Names.  All that is in the Heavens and the Earth glorify Him. And He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise}.

We can appreciate the great words of God, and sense the great meanings behind these words.  Indeed, He is God, and the Only One God worthy of worship.  He is the Creator, the inventor and the maker of Form.  The believer submits and surrenders before the One Creator and rejects paganistic theories.  God gives reference to His Most Honorable Names for humans to ponder upon, to reflect on their meanings, and to try to implement them.  Indeed, as God mentions, everything in the Heavens and Earth glorify His praises and attest to His Magnificence, Glory and Grandeur.  We may not see it or realize it fully now, but certainly we shall clearly see it in the Hereafter.  Indeed, God is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.

And God knows best.

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Repel Evil With Good

 

       قال الله عز وجل: { وَلاَ تَسْتَوِى الْحَسَنَةُ وَلاَ السَّيِّئَةُ ادْفَعْ بِالَّتِى هِىَ أَحْسَنُ فَإِذَا الَّذِى بَيْنَكَ وَبَيْنَهُ عَدَاوَةٌ كَأَنَّهُ وَلِىٌّ حَمِيمٌ * وَمَا يُلَقَّاهَا إِلاَّ الَّذِينَ صَبَرُواْ وَمَا يُلَقَّاهَآ إِلاَّ ذُو حَظِّ عَظِيمٍ } سورة فصلت 34-35.

   قال ابن كثير: (أي: يدفعون القبيح بالحسن، فإذا آذاهم أحد قابلوه بالجميل صبرا واحتمالا وصفحا وعفوا).

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God the Almighty says in Qur’an (English translation): { The good deed and the evil deed cannot be equal. Repel (the evil) with one which is better, then verily he, between whom and you there was enmity, will become as though he was a close friend.  35. But none is granted it except those who are patient — and none is granted it except the owner of great fortune} (Surah 41, verse 34-35).

The Interpreter Ibn Katheer said: “ Repel evil with good: means they fend off evil with good conduct.  If anybody caused them harms, they respond with kindness out of patience, forbearing, pardon, and forgiveness.”

The scholar Al-Hasan said: “ Repel evil with good: means when they are denied, they give. When they are treated unjustly, they forgive. And when their relations are severed, they maintain it.”

Ibn Zaid said: “ Repel evil with good: means they ward off the evil act with a good act; they don’t repay the evil act with an evil act, rather they ward it off with a good act.”

Ibn Abbas -may God be pleased with them- said: “ Repel evil with good: means they ward off the misdeed with a good deed.”

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Islam urges on good manners and forgiveness (‘afow), and promises great reward for them.  Good manners and forgiveness, apart from being a command of God and His Messenger -prayer and peace be upon him, create a united and loving family, community, society, and whole nation.  When every individual treats others like he himself wants to be treated, then the result is a family or community that is free of enmity (‘adaweh), hatred and disputes.  When family members and friends treat each with good manners and forgiveness, then the community becomes loving and united, and so the whole nation becomes loving and united.

Indeed, it is through nice manners and forgiveness that a Muslim wins others.  It is through good morals and forgiveness that others will come to naturally like him.  While bad manners and anger only serve to make others dislike you and lead them away from you!

Given the fact that no human is perfect and they all tend to behave in an unseemingly or impolite manner one time or another, the Muslim should then learn to forgive others.  He should find excuses for them.  He should think they acted that way because of sleeplessness, or she talked like that because she was tired or anxious, etc.  Muslims should learn to forgive each other, for it has a great reward, as mentioned in the above hadeeth, and moreover forgiveness fosters good relations and peace of mind and soul.

In the verse above, the Almighty God states that if you repel evil with good, { Then verily he, between whom and you there was enmity, will become as though he was a close friend}.  Thus, if you treat the one who mistreated you with forgiveness and kindness, s/he will regret his/her bad behavior and will be ashamed of his action.  Furthermore, if you continue in your kindness and good manners, this will lead to reconciliation and good relationship, and may even lead to close friendship and companionship.

Finally, it is mentioned in the hadeeth that when it is the Day of Judgment, it would be called: ‘Let those who forgave others for the sake of God rise.’  They would get up and then be led to Paradise while other people are still undergoing hisab or accounting.  Then what a great reward there is in forgiveness (‘afow).  Know that when you give up your anger and forgive others’ mistakes or slips for the sake of God, then that wouldn’t be wasted, rather you would get a great reward in its place, both in this life and the Hereafter.  And God knows best.

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