I have given some thought to how Allah's mercy appears in the chapter of the Qur'ân entitled Mary
. It is significant that this chapter opens with: "(This is) a recital of the mercy of your Lord to His servant Zechariah." [Sûrah Maryam: 2]
Here we have mention of Allah's mercy to one of his choicest devotees, Zechariah, when he beseeched his Lord to bless him with a child in his old age. Zechariah's supplication was as follows:
O my Lord! infirm indeed are my bones, and the hair of my head do glisten with grey: but never am I unblessed, O my Lord, in my prayer to You! Lo! I fear my kinsfolk after me, since my wife is barren. Oh, give me from You presence an heir! (One who) will (truly) represent me, and represent the posterity of Jacob; and make him, O my Lord! one with whom You are well-pleased!" [Sûrah Maryâm: 4-6]
Allah answered the prayer by blessing him with a son, the Prophet John. This shows us how close Allah's mercy is to those who worship and beseech Him with sincere devotion and humility. We should seek Allah's mercy through our sincerity and love.
In the middle of the same chapter, we find an account of Abraham's story. At one point, Abraham says to his father: "O my father! Do not serve Satan. Surely Satan is disobedient to the Beneficent." [Sûrah Maryam
Abraham's words show us the extreme ignorance that it takes to flagrantly deny Allah and disobey Him. Allah, the Beneficent and Merciful, truly deserves our obedience. We should thank Him, not deny His favor. We should cherish Him in our thoughts and never forget Him. We should respond to His goodness and His favor with our gratitude and devotion.
Abraham then says: "O my father! I fear lest a punishment overtakes you from the Beneficent, so that you become a comrade of Satan." [Sûrah Maryam
Here Abraham warns against the punishment that awaits those who disobey Allah and who spurn His guidance and His way. By referring to it as being "a punishment from the Beneficent", Abraham is emphasizing how base and offensive it is to reject Allah and faith in Him, so much so that in their rejection ad unbelief they become deserving of punishment from Allah, in spite of Allah's infinite mercy.
This chapter of the Qur'ân comes to its conclusion with the verse: "Indeed, those who believe and do good deeds, the Beneficent will bestow love upon them." [Sûrah Maryam
This verse relates to us a meaning of great significance. Allah blesses those who believe and do good deeds with love. He loves them and they love Him. He then spreads their love throughout the Earth, so they feel love for each other. In this regard, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
If Allah loves someone, He summons Gabriel and says: "I love that person."
Then Gabriel also loves that person and calls out to the heavens: "Indeed Allah loves this person." Thereafter, the denizens of Heaven also love that person. Thereafter it is manifested as acceptance on the Earth." [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (3209) and Sahîh Muslim (2637)]
These are some of the significant meanings that should enrich our faith faith and inform our practice as Muslims when we contemplate on Allah's mercy.