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On Mercy and Kindness

YMD May, 2014

MERCY is a special Attribute of God, and Rahman (the Beneficent) and Rahim (the Merciful) are His Excellent Names. The bondmen are blessed and deserving of Divine Mercy to the extent to which a reflection of this virtue is present in them, while those who are cruel and hard-hearted are excluded from it in the same proportion.

(1) It is related by Jareer bin Abdullah that the Apostle of God said: “They will not obtain the mercy of God in whose hearts there is no mercy for others.”

– Bukhari and Muslim

(2) It is related by Abdullah bin Amr bin el-Aas that the Apostle of God said: “God will have mercy upon them that are merciful. Treat kindly the dwellers of the earth; He who dwells in the heavens will treat you kindly.”

– Abu Dawood and Tirmizi

On showing kindness to animals

(3) Abu Hurairah narrated that the Apostle of God said: “Once, as a traveller was feeling extremely thirsty, he came upon a well. He went down into it, drank the water, and came out. On coming out, he saw a dog that was dying of thirst. Its tongue was sticking out and it was licking the wet earth. The man took pity on it and, again, went down into the well, filled his boot with water, held it by his teeth, and came out of the well, and gave the water to the dog to drink. This simple service to the thirsting dog pleased the Lord so much that He blessed the man with salvation.” Upon it some Companions enquired: “Is there a reward even on removing the distress of animals?” “Yes,” replied the Prophet, “on removing the distress of every living being (that can feel the pangs of hunger and thirst).”

– Bukhari and Muslim

(4) Narrates Abdullah bin Jafar: “Once, the Apostle of God went to the orchard of an Ansar Companion. There was a camel over there which groaned pathetically on seeing the Prophet, as a she-camel does when separated from its young one and began to shed tears. The Prophet went to it and stroked its head gently until it became quiet. He then asked: ‘Whose camel is it?’ An Ansari young man came forward and said that it belonged to him. The Prophet thereupon, said to the Ansari: ‘Do you not fear God, in respect of the poor, dumb creature, Who has made you its master? It has complained to me that you keep it hungry and take too much work from it.’”

– Abu Dawood

(5) Abul Rahman bin Abdullah bin Masud relates, on the authority of his father: “We were accompanying the Apostle of God on a journey that (once), while he had gone to attend the call of nature, we saw a small red bird, (probably a blue-necked jay), with two young ones. We caught the chicks, (and) the bird came and began to hover over our heads. (Meanwhile) the Prophet returned and said: ‘Who has hurt the bird by catching its young ones? Give back the chicks to it.’ He then saw an ant-hill we had set fire to and enquired who had done that. ‘O Apostle of God,’ we said, ‘We have burnt it.’ He, thereupon, observed: ‘It befits no one save God, the Creator of Fire, to inflict the punishment of fire on a living being.’”

– Abu Dawood

(6) It is related by Abdullah bin Amr that the Apostle of God said: “A cruel, hard-hearted, woman was cast into Hell simply for her cruelty to a cat which she held in captivity until it died of starvation. She neither gave it a morsel of food nor set it free so that it could eat the worms (or rodents) of the earth.”

– Bukhari and Muslim

(7) Abu Hurairah relates that he heard the truthful and trustworthy Syedna Abul Qasim (the Apostle of God) say: “The attribute of compassion is not taken away from the heart of anyone except the ill-fated.”

– Musnad-i-Ahmad and Tirmizi

(8) It is related by Abu Hurairah that a person complained to the Apostle of God of his (own) hard-heartedness. “Caress the head of the orphan, and feed the poor,” the Prophet replied.

– Musnad-i-Ahmad

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