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 Mercy for humanity

The first principle of his message is the belief in one God. The message of humanism is inseparably bound together with his message of monotheism. The Quran has numerous verses, which refer to Allah and his attributes, but it is directed at man and his behaviour. The Quran acknowledges pluralism.There is no compulsion in religion. Allah has created different communities on purpose, to try and test human beings in what has been given to them. The people shall live in peace and harmony with each other His will.a

 The message of the Quran is one of hope but not of despair. Compassion and mercy are an ever-present theme in the Quran. Hopelessness and the lack of trust in His mercy are condemned in the Quran. Even the sinners are assured not to be in despair of His mercy because Allah forgives all sins. Allah says in His Book: “My mercy encompasses all things.”a

Mercy is also a quality of His Prophet, for we are told in the Quran, “to the Believers is he most kind and merciful”. Even a believer should aspire for, if not possess, mercy. The believers are those who are “compassionate amongst each other”, and “exhort one another to mercy”. Man is required to believe in Allah’s mercy and also practice it himself.a

Socially relevant message

The Quran deals with the relationship between God and man and between man and man. Social and economic justice is an essential component of the Quranic message. The Quran condemns the exploitation of the poor and the weak in the strongest of terms. Orphans and the vulnerable, the poor and the weak find a strong voice in its verses.a

Islam arrived in Arabia at a time when it was deeply afflicted by a social malaise created by changes engendered by the transformation from a nomadic to a mercantile economy. The new economic conditions bred new values, and caused divisions in society, which had been glued together by tribal solidarity and kinship.a

The accumulation of wealth and power became the new credo in life, and greed replaced kinship and solidarity as the governing principle of society. The new conditions led to the exploitation of the weaker sections of the society, including widows and orphans.a

Even before he attained prophethood, Mohammad displayed a passion for justice and a commitment to fight for the under privileged. He was in his twenties when he joined a league of Meccans who had entered into a pact known as Hilf al-fudul for the suppression of violence and injustice. They took an oath allegiance to go to the aid of the oppressed and seek restitution for the victims of injustice.a

Even Social and economic justice formed an important component of his message. Social and economic justice is to be achieved by the distribution of wealth by those who have to those who are in need. To achieve this, zakat is made obligatory to all Muslims, requiring them to give away annually a portion of their wealth. Property and wealth are given as trust to man and accumulation of wealth for private use only is condemned. Allah has a share in what man owns and earns, which he is required to give away to the needy and the deserving. The Quran repeatedly warns that Allah despises those who do not honor the orphan, or neglect the needy.a

He challenged the power of the oligarchy that controlled Meccan society, which was getting increasingly oppressive. The Quran addressed the prophet thus: “we have not sent the Quran to you that you may live in anguish”.a

The prophet was sent not merely to preach His message but also to change the oppressive social structure. The prophet could have lived the life of a fellow traveler and enjoyed the comforts that were on offer in Mecca. However, in his determination to fight an unjust and oppressive system that existed then, the Prophet voluntarily travelled to Medina. The Hijra- as this event is called- was an act of protest by the Prophet against the oppression, injustice and misery inflicted by the powerful mercantile clans of Mecca upon the vast majority of the people of Mecca.a

The people of Yathrib invited him to be their leader. The two main tribes of Yathrib- as Medina was called then- had been at each other’s throat, but being fed up with their mutual rivalries and fighting, they decided to bury the hatchet. Preparations were well underway way to crown Abdulla ibn Ubayy as their leader and a diadem had been ordered for the purpose. The Yathribites changed their mind and decided to crown the Prophet as their leader and king. The Prophet could have easily got himself crowned as the King of Medina but he chose not to. He preferred to govern with the consent of the people. The Islamic state that he strived for he is not only one that is ruled with the people’s consent and for their welfare.a

The historic address that the Holy Prophet delivered on the farewell pilgrimage recapitulates the Message of the Holy Prophet. He said:a

a“O people! Listen carefully to my words for I may not be among you next year, nor ever address you again from this spot. O people! Just as you regard this month as sacred, so regard the life and property of every Muslim as a sacred trust. Return the goods entrusted to you to their rightful owners. Hurt no one so that none may hurt you. Usury is forbidden. Satan has despaired of leading you astray in big things, so beware of obeying him in small things. Women have rights over you, as you have rights over them. Be good to them. You may soon have to appear before God and answer for your deeds. So beware. Do not go astray after I am gone. O people! No prophet will come after me, and no new faith will be born. Worship your God, say your prayers, fast during the month of Ramadan, and give off your wealth in charity. All Muslims, free or enslaved have the same rights and same responsibilities. None is higher than the other unless he is higher in the virtue. Feed your slaves as you feed yourselves, clothe them as you clothe yourselves. Do not oppress them nor usurp their rights. There is no distinction among the Arabs and the non-Arabs, the black and the white, all Muslims constitute a fellowship. Remain united and be not divided”a


“peace be upon him1