Ahl al-Bayt(A.S.), Source of Mercy
Allama Husayn Ansariyan
The linguistic meaning of mercy is kind or forgiving attitude shown towards somebody by one who has the right or power to punish. Mercy in the Holy Quran is accompanied with various concepts and paragons. Mercy is a Divine truth and one of Allah’s attributes shown towards all beings especially man. All creatures are manifestation of Allah’s general and particular mercy.
Mercy in the Holy Qur'an
The Holy Quran has raised the question of mercy, some of which are referred to here:
1. The Holy Quran considers mercy to be the prophetic mission, which is a source of perfection for human beings and their salvation from the problems of this world and the punishment of the Hereafter. Allah knows whom He should bestow His mercy upon as a result of his merit and whom He should send to convey His communication and to guide people: Allah chooses especially whom He pleases for His mercy. (2:105)
2. The Holy Quran considers ease at some religious obligations especially those related to retribution and blood money as Allah's mercy: This is alleviation from your Lord and a mercy. (2:178)
3. The Holy Quran considers sublime morality, softness and courtesy as Allah’s mercy on human beings: Thus, it is due to mercy from Allah that you deal with them gently. (3:159)
4. The Holy Quran considers the removal of punishment of those who deserve it on the Judgment Day as a mercy of Allah: He from whom is averted on that day, Allah indeed has shown mercy to him and this is a manifest achievement. (6:16)
5. The Holy Quran considers belief in and attention to Allah’s mercy for a sinner a source of encouragement for repentance, telling the Holy Prophet to assure people that Allah has ordained mercy Himself on them. Therefore, one who has committed an indecent act out of ignorance and then has repented will receive Allah’s mercy for He is the Most Merciful: And when those who believe in our communications come to you, say: Peace be on you, your Lord has ordained mercy on Himself, (so) that if any one of you does evil in ignorance, then turns after that and acts aright, then He is Forgiving, Merciful. (6:54)
6. The Holy Quran, in most verses, has been introduced as mercy from Allah: So indeed there has come to you clear proof from your Lord, and guidance and mercy. (6:157)
7. The Holy Quran, in most verses, tells people that they will face perdition if they do not seek Allah’s mercy or they do not expose themselves to it: So were it not for the grace of Allah and His mercy on you, you would certainly have been among the losers. (2:64)
8- The Holy Quran which guides the people to the Divine truth and spiritual values does not consider Allah’s mercy without reason rather considers it as a source of salvation, happiness, a cause for entering Paradise and something special for the benefactors: Surely the mercy of Allah is nigh to those who d o good. (7: 56)
9. The Holy Quran considers Allah’s mercy a factor, which rids man of hardships, liberates him from enemy and from the oppressors and tyranny: So We delivered him and those with him by mercy from Us, and We cut off the last of those who rejected our communications. (7:72)
10. The Holy Quran considers expansion of breast, spiritual capacity and sublimity of spirit, which is a source of Divine grace, as Allah’s mercy: Then they found one from among our servants whom We had granted knowledge from ourselves. (18:65)
11. The Holy Quran considers the Holy Prophet source of mercy to the worlds: And We have not sent you but as a mercy to the worlds. (21:107)
12. The Holy Quran considers regeneration of plants in the spring as a sign of Allah's mercy: Look then at the signs of Allah’s mercy, how He gives life to the earth after its death, most surely He will raise the dead to life; and He has power over all things. (30:50)
13. The Holy Quran considers Allah’s mercy which manifests itself in every being as something comprehensive and the smallest thing which cannot be seen even with the most powerful scientific devices is not outside Allah’s mercy: And My mercy encompasses all things. (7:156)
14. The Holy Quran considers the unbeliever’s despair of Allah’s mercy as features of unbelievers: Surely none despairs of Allah’s mercy except the unbelieving people. (12:87)
15. The Holy Quran considers Allah’s mercy for people to be better than just what they achieve through gain of wealth and position. Therefore, it is best for people to seek Allah’s mercy through faith, righteous deeds and sublime morality instead of spending their lifetimes in gaining extra wealth and property: And the mercy your Lord is better than what they amass. (43:32)
Source of Mercy
In view of the aforementioned verses, we should admit that there is nothing more valuable than Allah’s mercy in this universe. The source of this mercy in this world and the Hereafter are the Ahl al-Bayt as referred to by Imam al-Hadi (a.s) in the Ziyarah al-Jamiah al-Kabirah.
Therefore, if anyone wishes to be immune from Allah’s punishment, to be endowed with sublime morality, to have a chance of repenting, to have a full share and benefit from the Holy Quran, to have expansion of breast, or to have an easy reckoning and not to be touched by despair, one must adhere to Ahl al-Bayt. This is so as to obtain what was brought up in the aforementioned verses and to be blessed with Allah’s guidance, favor and grace.
The Holy Prophet’s recommendation about Ahl al-Bayt during twenty-three years of his mission was that it is impossible to understand the Holy Quran without them. Zayd ibn Arqam, a trustworthy Sunni narrator, is reported as saying: One day, Allah’s Messenger stopped at Ghadir Khumm, a place between Mecca and Medina, and delivered a sermon. After praising Allah, he said, “I am a human who will pass away soon. So I am leaving two worthy things behind. One is the Book of Allah being guidance and light. Hold fast on to it.” He encouraged people in relation to the Holy Quran, saying, “…and then to my Ahl al-Bayt. I remind you of Allah in relation to my Ahl al-Bayt. I remind you of Allah in relation to my Ahl al-Bayt.”147
Manifestations of Ahl al-Bayt’s Mercy
The Ahl al-Bayt are sources of mercy. Anyone who resorts to them by getting to know them and their knowledge and by loving and obeying them will enjoy Allah’s mercy, favor and grace during his lifetime, at deathbed, in the duration between his death and Resurrection and or the Judgment Day.
In this relation, Imam al-Baqir (a.s.) says: When the breath of one of you comes to his throat, the Angel of Death comes down on him saying, “You were granted what you longed for; you were given safety for what you were afraid of.” Then a gate of Paradise is opened to his house; he is said, “Look at your abode in Paradise; behold! These are Allah’s Messenger, Ali, Hasan, Husayn and your friends.”148And these are the words of Allah: They shall have good news in this world’s life and in the hereafter. (10:63-64)
The Holy Prophet has said: I swear by the One in Whose hand is my life, a soul never leaves the body of a person without eating of the fruits of Paradise or of the Zaqqum (bitter) Tree (of Hellfire). When he sees the Angel of Death, he will also see - Ali, Fatimah, Hasan Husayn and me. If he is one who loved us, I will tell the Angel of Death to befriend him, for he loves me and my Ahl al-Bayt; and if he is our enemy, I will tell the Angel of Death to be tough with him for he is the enemy of my Ahl al-Bayt and me.149
147. Sahih Muslim: 1492/4, H. 2408
148. Tafsir al-Ayyashi: 124/2, H. 32
149. Bisharat al-Mustafa: 6