MERCY (RAHMAH) AS THE PRELUDE TO ISLAM

Prajna Vihara 25 (1):44-60 (2024)
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Abstract

Mercy is central to the very identity of Islam, yet this is not often recognized by theologians and scholars. This paper will demonstrate that the idea of mercy is important as a prelude to the understanding of Islam and an interpretation of its teachings. This important role of mercy is evident in Islam’s primary sources – the Quran and the Sunnah – and is not contingent on political, social, or historical contexts. It is well recognized that the proper comprehension of Islam hinges on grasping the attributes of God, his divine message, and the character of his messenger. But what is often overlooked is that these aspects are fundamentally rooted in mercy. Islam encourages its followers to cultivate merciful virtues. It emphasizes that the compassionate nature of the faith should always precede the understanding and interpretation of its teachings. As a result, Muslims are encouraged to nurture a compassionate self, foster a benevolent mindset and approach, and anchor their religious obedience in the spirit of mercy. While followers of Islam are responsible for upholding this ethos, external observers too should try to view the religion fairly based upon this recognition of the centrality of mercy.

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Mohammad Manzoor Malik
Assumption University of Thailand

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