Quranic Reflection No 669. Āyat 7:156 – Allah’s all-encompassing Mercy

Bismillāh. 23 February 2024/13 Sha‘bān 1445

وَرَحْمَتِى وَسِعَتْ كُلَّ شَىْءٍۢ فَسَأَكْتُبُهَا لِلَّذِينَ يَتَّقُونَ وَيُؤْتُونَ ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ وَٱلَّذِينَ هُم بِـَٔايَـٰتِنَا يُؤْمِنُونَ

My mercy encompasses everything. I will ordain mercy for those who are God Conscious, pay the zakāt and believe in Our signs.

(Sūrat al-A‘rāf, No.7, Āyat 156)

Mercy is the most important attribute of the Almighty. Such is its significance that it has been repeated 114 times; at the beginning of 113 Surahs and 114th instance is in Sūrat al-Naml, verse 30, where Allah ‘azza wajall quotes the letter of Prophet Sulaymān ‘alayhis-salām. Each of these verses mentions two of His qualities related to mercy, ‘Rahmān’ being His mercy for all His creation and ‘Rahīm’ showing His mercy for the believers. 

The above verse of the Quran states that it “encompasses everything”, whilst singling out taqwā, zakāt and belief in his signs as conditions for the extra special mercy. This reminds us that Allah’s mercy is everywhere and extends to every aspect of our lives.

It gives us hope that no matter what challenges we face, Allah’s mercy is there to guide us and grant us success. For example, if a person is facing financial difficulties, hope in the mercy of Allah subhānahu wata‘ālā will inspire them to seek lawful means of sustenance, work hard, and trust that Allah will provide for them. This hope gives them the strength to endure the challenges and continue their efforts, knowing that success is ultimately in the hands of Allah.

Moreover, hope in the mercy of Allah brings about positive consequences in our spiritual and emotional well-being. It fills our hearts with tranquillity and contentment, knowing that Allah’s mercy is always within reach. This hope serves as a source of comfort during times of distress and acts as a shield against despair and hopelessness.

It is hope in the mercy of Allah that motivates us to strive for success in the Hereafter. It encourages us to perform good deeds, seek knowledge, and purify our hearts. This hope reminds us that our ultimate success lies in attaining the pleasure of Allah and entering His eternal paradise. We read in a tradition quoted by Shaykh al-Sadūq from Imam Ja‘far al-Sadiq (a) that on the day of Judgement Allah will spread his mercy in such a way that even Iblis will envy that mercy of Allah. (Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, 7:287) In other words, hope in the mercy of Allah is a powerful catalyst for success. It motivates us to act, strengthens our resilience, and brings about positive consequences in our lives.

We read in the Salawāt of this holy month of Sha‘bān, taught to us by Imam Zaynul ‘Ābidin (a): This is the month of your Prophet, the chief of the messengers, It is Sha‘bān, which You have encompassed with Your mercy and pleasure! (Tūsī, Misbāh al-Mutahajjid, p 829). Of course, it is no coincidence that the verse which follows this one (verse 157) is a detailed description of the Prophet Muhammad sallal-lāhu ‘alayhi wa-ālihi wasallam who has been described by Allah as: وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلَّا رَحْمَةً لِّلْعَالَمِينَ – We have not sent you except as a mercy for the entire universe (Q 21:107). Thus, it is through the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him and his family, and his holy month, the month of Shaban, that one can attain the mercy and pleasure of Allah.

Let us cultivate this hope within our hearts and strive to attain the mercy and pleasure of Allah in all aspects of our lives. We pray to Allah for the sake of this holy month, and the holy personalities granted to us in this month to give us success in this world and the Hereafter. May Allah (swt) relieve the occupied and oppressed people of Palestine of their horrible suffering.

References: ‘Allāmah Muhammad Bāqir Majlisī, Bihār al-Anwār, Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Tusi, Misbāh al-Mutahajjid, Abū Jaʿfar Muhammad ibn Jarīr ibn Yazīd al-Ṭabarī, Tafsīr al-Tabarī.