Be merciful!

Sayyidi wa sanadi Hadhrat Mawlana Mohammad Taqi Usmani (Allah preserve him) was approached by two scholars who requested for permission to narrate the Prophetic sayings (sanad e hadith). Both were graduates of Nadwat ul Ulama, Lucknow. They had brought the canonical books of the blessed Prophetic sayings (Hadith) with them and wanted to recite the initial hadith from all of them and then get the permission.

Hadhrat sayyid wa sandi told them that it is better to start with hadith musalsal bil awaliya. He narrated it to them through his Shuyukh, particularly Shaikh Hasan Mashat al-Maliki, al-Makki and Shaikh Yaseen Fadani (Allah have mercy on them):

The Prophet (Allah bless and give him peace) said, “The merciful are shown mercy by the All-Merciful, تبارك و تعالى. Be merciful to those on earth and the Lord of the Heavens will be merciful to you.”

Then they read the first hadith from each of the Hadith text. Sayyidi corrected their reading for any mispronunciations. When they read from Musnad e Ahmad he clarified that he has ijaza of it by permission and not via studying it with a Shaykh (darsan).

Afterwards they requested for some advice.

Sayyidi wa sanadi pointed out to them that traditionally the first lesson a student of Islamic sciences gets from his teacher is this Prophetic saying, musalsal bil awaliya.

Why is it like this?

The authors’ of the books of hadith have initiated their works by various different Prophetic sayings, as you read earlier in this session.

Imam Bukhari (Allah have mercy on him) considering the utmost importance of sincerity started with rectifying the ‘intention’: “The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended. So whoever emigrated for worldly benefits or for a woman to marry, his emigration was for what he emigrated for.

Imam Muslim (Allah have mercy on him) started with the basic believes: One day we were sitting in the company of Allah’s Apostle (peace be upon him) when there appeared before us a man dressed in pure white clothes, his hair extraordinarily black. There were no signs of travel on him. None amongst us recognized him. At last he sat with the Apostle (peace be upon him) He knelt before him placed his palms on his thighs and said: Muhammad, inform me about al-Islam. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: Al-Islam implies that you testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, and you establish prayer, pay Zakat, observe the fast of Ramadan, and perform pilgrimage to the (House) if you are solvent enough (to bear the expense of) the journey. He (the inquirer) said: You have told the truth. He (Umar ibn al-Khattab) said: It amazed us that he would put the question and then he would himself verify the truth. He (the inquirer) said: Inform me about Iman (faith). He (the Holy Prophet) replied: That you affirm your faith in Allah, in His angels, in His Books, in His Apostles, in the Day of Judgment, and you affirm your faith in the Divine Decree about good and evil. He (the inquirer) said: You have told the truth. He (the inquirer) again said: Inform me about al-Ihsan (performance of good deeds). He (the Holy Prophet) said: That you worship Allah as if you are seeing Him, for though you don’t see Him, He, verily, sees you. He (the enquirer) again said: Inform me about the hour (of the Doom). He (the Holy Prophet) remarked: One who is asked knows no more than the one who is inquiring (about it). He (the inquirer) said: Tell me some of its indications. He (the Holy Prophet) said: That the slave-girl will give birth to her mistress and master, that you will find barefooted, destitute goat-herds vying with one another in the construction of magnificent buildings. He (the narrator, Umar ibn al-Khattab) said: Then he (the inquirer) went on his way but I stayed with him (the Holy Prophet) for a long while. He then, said to me: Umar, do you know who this inquirer was? I replied: Allah and His Apostle knows best. He (the Holy Prophet) remarked: He was Gabriel (the angel). He came to you in order to instruct you in matters of religion.

Whereas the authors of Sunan (Allah have mercy on them started with cleanliness and purity (tahara).

Imam Malik (Allah have mercy on him) thinking that the rulings of tahara will only be applied when the time of salah arrives started Muwatta with the timimgs of the prayers: Don’t you know that the angel Jibril came down and prayed and the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, prayed.’ Then he prayed again, and the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, prayed. Then he prayed again, and the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, prayed. Then he prayed again, and the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, prayed. Then he prayed again, and the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, prayed. Then Jibril said, ‘This is what you have been ordered to do.

The reason to select this specific hadith is, most likely, to remind us that Allah’s attribute of mercy predominates and surpasses His attribute of wrath. The Holy Quran starts with ‘With the name of Allah, the All-Merciful, the Very-Merciful’[1:1]. Then comes,’Praise belongs to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds [1:2] the All-Merciful, the Very Merciful[1:3].

The message that is being conveyed here to the novice student of Deen is that the characteristic of mercy should predominate in your character. This should be the moto of your life. Be merciful to all the humans on the face of the Earth, including the Muslims and the Non-Muslims. However, the modes and manifestation of this mercy may differ for each of them.

We should be merciful even to Non-Muslims. This means that we should have a burning desire in our heart that Allah guides them to truth. And they receive salvation, enter Paradise and are saved from Hell-fire. We should invite them to Islam with love and compassion.

We restrict this mercy to Muslims alone. However, in reality it should be on Non-Muslims to.  The hatred is not for any Non-Muslim individual but for his devious beliefs (kufr & shirk). As person we should have compassion for him like we have for a person afflicted with a disease.

Hence, the reason why our pious predecessor teachers selected this hadith for the very first lesson was to sow the seed of mercy in an aspirants heart. To make him realize its importance so that he becomes a manifestation of this mercy for the whole mankind.  Following our Master the ‘Mercy to the universe’ (rehmatul-il-‘alameen) Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) he brings the creation closer to Allah.

May Allah make us understand this fully and facilitate acting according to it. Amin!’

Qari Rafiq’s residence, Jeddah, al-Safa distt. 14th January 2012, after maghrib


Main Entry:
mercy  [mur-see]
Part of Speech: noun
Definition: kindness, compassion
Synonyms: benevolence, benignancy, blessing, boon, charity, clemency, commiseration, favor, forbearance, forgiveness, generosity, gentleness, godsend, goodwill, grace, humanity, kindliness, lenience, leniency, lenity, lifesaver, luck, mildness, pity, quarter, relief, ruth, softheartedness, sympathy, tenderness, tolerance
Antonyms: cruelty, intolerance, meanness, uncompassion