Random acts of Mercy
Narrated by Abu Hurairah (RA): "The Prophet of Allah SAW kissed Hasan ibn 'Ali while Aqra' ibn Habis was sitting nearby. Aqra' said, 'I have ten children and have never kissed one of them.' The Prophet SAW looked at him and said, 'Those who show no mercy will be shown no mercy.'" In other words, Rasulullah SAW meant, what do you want me to do if Allah has snatched mercy from your heart? By not kissing a member of the family, Rasulullah SAW considered that the person had no rahmah in his heart.
There also is a famous incident where a prostitute from Bani Israel spotted a dog panting beside a well. Seeing that the dog was dying of thirst, she felt sympathy and mercy, so she took off her sandal, filled it with water and gave it to the dog to drink until it quenched its thirst. Allah was so pleased with her and that He forgave her sins and sent her to Paradise.
In another hadith, it was reported that a woman kept her cat locked up, neither feeding it nor releasing it to look for food, until it died of hunger. For that, she was put in Hellfire.
These topics appear insignificant to us – a kiss, a dog and a cat, but the major importance behind them is mercy. We were all born with a certain level of mercy and compassion - our humanity. It is a universal value. When we see someone in dire need: in an accident, drowning or in a fire, we rush to their rescue. We don't question their race, nationality or faith, all these details are irrelevant when someone is in a critical situation.
Let us take a look at world events, predominantly in certain Muslim countries whose Muslim populations are now under severe oppression. Even the most ignorant of us cannot avoid the headlines screaming from the newspapers, the internet and the television :
• Civilians being shot, tear-gassed and killed indiscriminately by the militia.
• Entire towns being wiped out in large scale ethnic cleansing comparable to the events in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the early 1990's.
• Innocents being rendered homeless and millions being forced to flee their own countries to live in refugee camps across the borders.
• Basic provisions, such as food, water, shelter, personal safety and medicine being cut off.
• The military repeatedly opening fire on unarmed men, women and children.
• Corpses being mangled, desecrated and burnt, instead of being given the funeral rites to which they are entitled.
Without discussing the technicalities, locations and legal arguments, which political regime to choose, which version of the media to believe and which manifesto to follow, our world is on fire. Humanity, if not already dead, is dying.
Wave after wave of violence has spread across the globe. People are being tortured, thrown into jail for crimes they never committed, and are under severe oppression and lies. The casualties are mounting. Mosques are now abattoirs, not sanctuaries. The massacres in these countries should make anyone feel sick.
Attacks from within
The main tragedy is that, our Muslim brothers and sisters are being attacked from within, from those purporting to be of the Muslim faith. What is more morally repulsive is that people bearing the names of Muhammad, Ali and Umar, all claiming to be Muslim, are arguing that such attacks were politically justified. These names are not in reference to the political leaders, who stand to benefit from the bloodshed, but to those in the side-lines who openly support such brutality. They do not have a single shred of humanity in them, and any life other than their own, has no value.
The Qur'an warns us that ,"whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land - it is as if he had slain mankind entirely …" [5:32, excerpt] In applying this universal rule regarding the sanctity of human life, how many times over has humanity been slain, and how much more blood is to be spilt before the appetites of the instigators are satiated?
What are our priorities?
Any normal and sane human being would not tolerate it if animals were subject to this sub-human treatment. Yet when we see our brothers in Islam, and our brothers in humanity, being victims of such stomach churning atrocities, we form an alliance of silence.
We are occupied with socialising, buying toys and being busy at work; we are too self-absorbed to care. Then there is the segment of us who are diligently attending halaqah after halaqah, yet not feel a tinge of guilt for not having lifted a finger, spent a cent, spared a du'a or even given a second's thought to the agony of the ones who are supposed to be their brothers and sisters in Islam.
As Muslims, how have we become so desensitised and selfish to the plight of others? Do we need a bomb to explode at our doorstep, or for an army tank to demolish our homes, before we develop an iota of caring and compassion? We can shed tears watching a love story, but not mourn the senseless slaughter of thousands of our brothers and sisters?