Kindness, Compassion and Mercy

By Imam Jamal Rahman

We have sent you (oh Prophet) as a mercy for all humankind.”(Qur’an 21:107)

“If kindness were a visible creation, nothing which Allah has created would be more beautiful than it. “~The Prophet Muhammad

In 7th century Arabia, a Bedouin, after praying in the mosque attended by the Prophet Muhammad, chose to urinate on the floor in a section of the house of worship. Infuriated by this desecration, some onlookers were about to beat him but the Prophet promptly intervened and said to them,” We have been sent to earth to make things easy for people, not to make it difficult.” He asked them to bring a bucket of water and clean the floor. Gently, he explained to the Bedouin the inappropriateness of his action. Deeply touched by the kindness of the Prophet, the Bedouin cried out for the blessings of his father and mother to pour down from heaven and grace the being of Muhammad.

The Prophet explained that the essential message of the Qur’an could be distilled into one single word: compassion. He elaborated on this wisdom. To find meaning and fulfillment in life, it is critical to practice compassion for self and for others. The divine attribute of compassion is not only uniquely beautiful but is also unimaginably powerful.

To expound on this essential insight about compassion, Sufi teachers repeatedly use the metaphor of water in nature. There is nothing as soft and yielding as water but for overcoming the hardest, nothing is as powerful as water. Additionally, wherever water falls, life flourishes. Thus, the person who is gentle and merciful is both powerful and life bestowing.

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