Moral Teachings of Islam 26 – Compassion
Channel: Jamal Badawi
File Size: 7.16MB
The name of God the benevolent the Merciful, the creator and Sustainer of the universe, peace and blessings upon his servant and messenger Muhammad forever. I mean, I bear witness that there is no god worthy of worship except the one true God. And I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger and servant of God, I greet you with our usual greeting, the universal greeting of peace, a greeting that has been used by all the profits from Abraham through the prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon them all. Assalamu Aleikum, which means peace be unto you. I'm your host, Ahmed Rashid. Today we have our 26th program in our series, dealing with moral teachings in Islam. And more
specifically, we'll be talking about compassion or mercy. I have joining me on the program as usual. Dr. Jamal Badawi of St. Mary's University by the command a simulacrum ami Kusama Jamal, how does the Quran explain compassion or Mercy is a divine attribute or quality of God. But according to the Quran, the Word of God and Divine Mercy or compassion as a divine attribute is one of the most notable and highly emphasized and repeated divine attributes. Suffice to say that when you open the Quran, the first line I'm not saying even the first chapter, the first line that you find in the Quran is Bismillah R Rahman r Rahim, usually translated, In the name of Allah and in the name of
God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful, or most compassionate, Most Merciful.
This same formula you find in the beginning of the other students of the Quran, all of them with the exception of one, you find that the same formula also is repeated by the Muslim in the beginning of any acts, not just acts of pure worship, but beginning work, study, doing some activities, getting out of the house, coming back to the house, always a person, attempt to remember that a formula which emphasizes the divine attributes of God as compassion.
And indeed, we have some problem actually, when this is translated
into English, and the original Arabic It says, Man,
like I said, it says, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. Both words are rough man and Raheem come from the same Arabic route,
which means compassion. However, it's beautiful that each of them has different emphasis on Rahim, as an Arabic word means the kind, the Merciful, the Compassionate. And that trait or attribute can apply to any human being. You could say, x person is Rahim is merciful.
The word or Rahman doesn't have an exact words really in English that stand for it.
It means actually the source of mercy, that God is not only merciful, but He alone is the source of all mercy. That's the absolute mercy, which means that it is erroneous for example, that you can call a call the person that he is behind can say his name is kind, but you don't say he is a source of misery because of the only one source of mercy in the absolute sense and that is gone. You have to say his Abdurahman. He is the servant of the source of mercy and servant of God.
In terms of the Quranic
emphasis on compassion as a divine attribute, suffice to quote one beautiful ayah in the Quran, which appears in chapter seven, verse 156, it says, it was a scholarship
that is considered the fool is my mercy, that's God's mercy extends to all things. So I will ordain it to those who are God conscious or to write those who practice regular charity and those who believe in our science. The Quran also mentions
compassion as a divine attributes when it talks about the engines prayers for the believers on behalf of the believers
Now it's ethical to say environmental Wildman. When it's translated, it says the engines
are lowered. Your reach is over all things in Mersey knowledge. So forgive those who tend to independence and followed your path and save them from the blazing fire.
Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him explain this divine attributes in a very moving and beautiful way. According to the collection of prophetic saying by Buhari, it says that he saw the Prophet peace be upon him, a woman in captivity, who was looking among the people, and he found a little
incense, and she took him started very compassionately breastfeeding.
So the Prophet peace be upon him from his companion said, Look,
what that woman would that mother deliberately throw her infant in the fire. They said, No, he said, then you should know that God is more compassionate towards you more even than the compassion of that mother towards her infant. So it is, in brief attributes a divine attribute that has been very much emphasized in the Quran, unlike some other, you know, mistaken notions about the Quran.
Now, how does the mercy relate to another divine attribute that being justice, I know oftentimes, people get confused and think there's a contradiction, for example, between compassion in on one hand and punishments on the on the other hand justice,
when there's no contradiction, in fact, indeed, the mercy of God or his compassion is for the taking, it's free.
The mercy that he promised in this life or the Hereafter, and his promise is true.
But everything has its price.
There are conditions are two basic conditions also, to deserve and receive that Mercy is some aspects of it. One is the correct belief in God to accept to be a servant of God, acceptance in humility of your servitude, your Creator, that's one. And secondly, good deeds, good deeds, not necessarily just in terms of worship, but in implementing the will of God, in the entirety of one's life, whether it's an individual family, social, political, or economic life, regardless which sphere, one has to follow the path prescribed by God.
Now, when a human being becomes so puffed up with pride, one becomes too arrogant and haughty,
to the point that he refuses to believe in God,
the Lord to whom we owe everything, when the person
rejects the teachings of Gods
refuse to commit himself to obey God, then it is not God who is cruel to him, the person is really unfair to himself. No wonder, in many places in the Quran, for example, it describes certain acts which deviates from the source and says bakasana Manasa, that whoever is doing that, he has been unfair to himself. It's not that God is being unfair to a person becomes unfair to himself. In other places in the Quran, it addresses people, for example, says fell out of limbo, and for second, don't be unfair to yourself unfairness sense of disobeying God, because when you do that, you're really condemning yourself, rather than blaming it on others. It's just like somebody who might lay down on
the railroad track, with a train coming. Now, if the train hits him, and you still have a chance to say anything, he cannot accuse the train of cruelty, but the person jeopardize his own safety and security by throwing himself into that position. It's not beneath an individual responsibility also,
you might ask, but what happened is the person tries his best but he makes mistakes. No problem. We are all imperfect as humans, nobody can aspire to be perfect. But if the person really sincerely believes, trying his best, his best to implement the will of God in his or her life, and then he makes a mistake when the door of repentance is open at all times, there is no formalities. There is no particular documents with respect to the concept of forgiveness in Islam returned to God in humanity and asked for his for his forgiveness will be all that is required.
That's why the Quran for example, in chapter 23 verse 118, says, Well, what about Darfur? What ham? wanta hi Rahim. And say teaches us and say, Oh, my Lord, forgive
or grant forgiveness and mercy certainly are the best of those who show mercy or the Most Gracious or most compassionate of anyone who shows mercy.
into other things also prophetic things. One of them reported in Muslim which is known as howdy spritzy. In Nevada,
in which God revealed to the Prophet that my mercy overcomes my anger. That is yes, it could be mercy and justice. But if the person really is trying his best, the mercy of God is much more in abundance than simply punishment or strict
The same thing was emphasized by Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him in Bukhari, for example, he was quoted as saying that all my followers
will enter into paradise except for those who refuse. So people work wonders, why would anyone refuse to go to Paradise? It says, When whoever obeys me that is obeys the law that contravenes Rumi, or the teachings given by God, whoever obeys me, he will enter into paradise whoever this obeys me, he disobeyed the message of God, he is refusing to go to Paradise. So it's not really our difficulty of reconciling justice with mercy. It's a question of whether we are ourselves, being unfair to ourselves when we reject belief in God and following his bypass.
It's very beautiful.
I'd like to look at Mercy from another angle now, if I could. And that is mercy as evidence itself as a human quality. What, as a human quality, what In your opinion, is its nature and its foundations,
in a broad sense, perhaps a more relatively more comprehensive understanding of compassion as a human attribute, or
I would say basically, it's a sensitivity sensitivity towards others, not only sensitivity towards their pain and suffering, but sensitivity also and feeling pity and concern for their own spiritual well being also, that's where some people sometimes confuse these two issues. It's not just the suffering physically, but the psychological suffering, the spiritual suffering of people who have been misguided away from the path of God fearing that they are lost and this lie that they have no clear objectives to live for, there is no meaning in their life. This is part of also of compassion. It's not hate, really, it was unbelievable, but really more of a compassion and concern for their
own well being. The Quran indicates that this nature, of compassion, in that broader sense, is indeed the very essence of the message of all prophets in history, that the message of prophets was basically that, indeed, referring to one of them the last of these great prophets, Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, and describing his message. It says in chapter 21, verse 1071, out of Seneca in La mecamylamine, that is, we have not sent to you or Mohammed except as mercy to the words included or to the whole universe. Now, it is a mercy that partly
operates by guiding people to the path of gods, taking them away from false doctrines, manmade ideas to the true and pristine, clean and pure teachings of God.
It's mercy also by releasing the suffering of those who are oppressed, and those who are neglected in society.
It is mercy in a sense of also even positively stopping and putting an end to human tyranny and exploitation of the rich and powerful to the poor, and the weak. So in that sense, that's, these are all implications of the nature of mercy and the human trait, at least, as I could understand it from the Quran, prophetic tradition.
I wonder if you could give us some examples of what Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings be upon him, has said about Mercy is a moral virtue. What the Prophet peace be upon him says, as in all other topics, really is simply confirmation and elaboration what the Quran the Word of God that was revealed to him indicated, but just to give an example or a couple of examples of this, we find that the Prophet peace be upon him needs at least connection between belief
or belief in God and compassion. In a sin, for example, narrated in a barani collection of Hadees. He says, let me know.
He says, You people will not be true believers, and less and until you have compassion. This is very important. Anybody can claim to be
believes in this religion or that says anybody can claim to be compassionate. But it's a matter of whether the person lives up to that standard. And this teachings or not, this is the criteria to judge him not to judge face by what people claiming that face are doing.
To continue with the saying, and Ronnie says, not only you won't believe until you be compassionate, when people heard him saying that this is all profit, we are all merciful.
He said, I am not referring to the mercy or compassion that one of you would have towards his companion or close friends. But he says, Well, I can't.
But I'm talking about mercy and compassion, to all universal type of attitude, in terms of mercy, not just mercy to your closest people.
Not only this in one of these sayings, also, he indicated that to be compassionate towards other fellow beings, is a precondition for you, as a human, to receive the compassion and mercy of God. And Bharani, the same reference. He says, Man, liar, Hermansson or
whoever does not show mercy and compassion on those who are on earth, He will not receive the compassion and mercy of he who is in heaven. That's a metaphor again, referring to God's mercy.
In another thing, inherited and activity collection. He said, that the farthest people from God
are the people who are cruel in their hearts, the cruelty is the reason not to get close to God, but to get away really, from God. Not only this, even with the enemies, the Prophet peace, be upon him thought that one should, as much as possible, and whenever it's appropriate, show mercy. Just give you two quick examples of this in the collection of Muslim, some people came to the Prophet peace be upon him. And they were complaining, of course, about the persecution of unbelievers and their misbehavior. And they said, Why don't you invoke God's curse against them? His answer was not very beautifully said.
I was not sent. But as mercy, I was not sent by God as a cursor.
And another occasion, when the Prophet peace be upon him and the early followers among Muslims were persecuted. Then he went to a city, which is now in the Arabian Peninsula, called
a typo received him very badly. And they sent their children and other crazy people to slow him with stones. His feet were bleeding, the blood was flowing from his feet, and in this very
difficult moments where the stones were stolen
by the people suffering that pain is not invoked even curse on these people. You know what he said? He said the same thing that was reported to have been said at least in the Quran, by other prophets in the past. He says, oh my lord,
guides my people to the right path for they know not what they are doing this kind of attitude that does not limit
mercy to a certain category but extended to
Now, within the universality of mercy is a virtue are there special categories of people to whom more compassion more compassion should be shown say than than others?
Okay, within the universe, this is a beginning a good beginning point, yes, considering compassion should be shown to all it does not.
Or there is no contradiction, I should say, of
requiring extra compassion also or additional kindness to certain categories of people. Yes, answer to that is yes. I could just give you a list of
eight categories that has been at least emphasized by when you start the Quran.
First towards parents, compassion towards parents. For example, in chapter 17, verses 23 and 24. It reads, your Lord has decreed that you worship none but him and that you be kind to parents. So talk about confession to friends, whether one or both of them attend old age in your life, say not to them a word of contempt,
nor repel them, but address them, address them in terms of honor
Out of kindness, no words to them the wings of humidity, a symbol of humility and kindness, and say, My Lord, bestow on them by Mercy, even as they cherished me in childhood. So this is one thing I notice in this particular verse, that kindness difference was put immediately after the decree to worship god alone, which was its significance and importance. To this one can call it a second emphasized category also, his compassion towards children.
One time the Prophet peace be upon him was sitting, he had a person sitting with him, and he was kissing, the prophet was kissing one of his grandchildren has been seen.
So one of them, one of those people sitting looked at him and said, Do you know your children, I have 10 of them, and I never kissed any one of them.
So the response given by the prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, he said, there are two versions of that one of them. He said, that men if
he who does not show mercy shall not receive mercy. In another version of that same he told him, What do I have to do? What can I do if God has taken mercy out of your heart. So this is again, a kind of emphasis of kindness not we're not talking about spoiling children can have discipline everything, but the feeling of compassion and concern is also emphasized. A third category is compassion towards one's spouse. In this the Prophet peace be upon him in a Timothy was reported as saying,
in a manner
that is, the most perfect believers are those who are best in their character, behavior, or conduct, and the best of you or the best to their families, he referred particularly to kindness to
the wife, the female sex. But of course, it doesn't mean that the wife is also exempt from the requirements by her face to show compassion and kindness also, it is best to third category, a fourth category would be the relatives.
Indeed, there are several saying of the Prophet peace be upon him on that subject, let me choose perhaps one of them, as narrated in
the Prophet peace be upon him said that blood relation is a sort of network of connections which are granted and regarded as a blessed blessing from the most compassionate from God. And whoever tried to keep this network impacts that is the kind to his relatives visit, then, you know, help them meet. Whoever trying to keep that connection.
God will keep his connection with him that's keep inspiring him and aiding him. And whoever tried to break it, God disassociates himself from him. So that is regarded also as a very essential part of kindness even if those relatives may not be believers, even one still has to perform his duties towards them.
Another category is the orphans.
For example, in chapter 93 in the Quran, particular invest nine family a team of Salah Taka, the Quran directs us as to the person who is orphan, do not treat with harshness.
The Prophet peace be upon him indicated in several occasions, that's one of the best blessings or best acts of compassion is to put your hand kindly on the head of an orphan child that's to show compassion to him in the collection of prophetic saved by Buhari, the prophet peace be upon him said, me, and whoever takes care of an orphan would be like this in Paradise, that would be so close, he would be so close to me in paradise, the person who looks after the needs of the orphan.
Another category would be the people who are sick and suffering, pain, and there are several hotties and that also that God regards your visit to a sick person by visiting God Himself metaphorically to show again that this is a rewarded act.
In one occasion also the Prophet peace be upon him showed that this mercy also should be shown towards people who are serving you or helping you like servants, for example. In one occasion, the prophet peace be upon him passed by a person who was beating his servants.
So we kept telling him no matter what, no matter what until he turned his face, he said, no, that God is able to punish you more than your ability to punish that little boy. That boy happened to be a slave at that time. So that complainant says, I bear witness that history now for the sake of God, the prophet response
That said if you don't if you didn't do that, if you didn't free that live by way of atonement for your
currency with him, nullified cannot the Hellfire would have devoured you.
One time the Prophet peace be upon him was acid, How many times should I forgive? Forgive my servant, he said 70 times a day, 70 times every day.
There are numerous things that perhaps you that could be caught covered also in the discussion of the social system, it's not the following
series hopefully. But even with respect to
people who are not close to the person by way of relations, the Quran also indicates that kindness is due to them. Just to give you an example of this, in chapter four, verse 36, in the Quranic treats, serve God and joining not any partners with him, and to go to parents, kids for orphans, those in need, neighbors who are near neighbors who are strangers, the companions by your side, like each other, for example, the wayfarers you meet and what your right hand possess, for God loves, not the arrogant, and the Vainglory.
Just a few of the measures.
In the personal minutes that we have left in today's program, I'd like to ask you whether or not there's any specific teaching concerning mercy to other creatures like animals, for example, pets, that kind of thing. What there's no moral virtue that you could think of, but has been covered, perhaps in the most comprehensive way, both in the Quran and or in the prophetic tradition.
Let's take the verse that I cited earlier, that addresses Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him that we sent you only as mercy to the world, or universe. Notice here the original record, it says that my friend in the adenine, adenine is a Florida of Ireland, Ireland is world. So it's words plural, or universe. And that's an interesting thing. Because if it is meant that the prophets the prophets mission, brings mercy and compassion only to mankind, you're right, then it's not the universe, because in that universe, there are lots of other creatures too. So it is mercy to mankind. It is no secret in the special type of creature we discussed in the previous series who are neither not
physical, but they have a freedom, freedom of choice also, again, it's mercy even to animals because that's also part of the universal mercy and compassion, which results from believing in God and following his truth as
to give you a few examples on this in the collection of habits by Buhari Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him said that a woman was destined to go to the Hellfire because of a cat.
What she did to that cat, she said, he said, because she imprisoned that cats you detained it.
tied it not, she didn't feed that cat, nor did she leave the cat to go out and search for food. So she went to the Hellfire, just because of that particular act of cruelty to the to that animal.
Indeed, the prophet peace be upon him indicated that kindness to animals or pets, is one of the reasons actually, that one can gain forgiveness for his for his sins, in a collection by Muslims, Muslim, he said that one time a man was working, getting very stressed, very thirsty. And then he found a well, he went down into that what to drink, and after he really, you know, was
a constant search, he was very happy. And then he saw a dog chewing month because of his thirst. So he told himself, well, that dog must be in the same pain I was in before I drank. So he said, he went down to the when
put some water in his shoes, he didn't have anything to get, and came to give a drink to that dog. And he said, because of that, God forgive his sin, even when the animal has to be killed for food. As you might recall, in the early part of this series, the etiquette or the requirements in killing the animal his plan is to reduce the pain as much as possible not to kill an animal in front of others to make the knife very sharp and make it quick so that the animal suffering would be minimized. And that my face also in question, some of the cruel practices using
experimental animals in a cruel way and unnecessarily. You may have to do some experiments, but sometimes there's a great deal of suffering inflicted, unnecessarily to animals. This is also part of the compassion that Islam teaches not only it was human, but also other creatures of God.
Have a much better tomorrow. That's our time for today's program. Thank you for watching. Assalamu alaikum peace be unto you