Finally, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, known as Ramadan has set in, a time for Muslims to purify their souls through prayers and self-sacrifice. Muslims around the globe observe fast and seek God’s mercy in the first ten days of the month.
Ramadan is a time of sharing your joys and sorrows with Allah and showing your kindness towards your fellow human beings. According to Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) the first ten days of Ramadan are of mercy, second ten days are of forgiveness and the last ten days are of being freed from Hell.
So it is the need of an hour that we human beings as Muslims spend the first ten days of Ramadan in seeking God’s Mercy and share, our generosity with others. The definition of mercy in Ramadan can be divided into four phases of erudition.
1. What is mercy? The word mercy refers to Rahman and Rahim, the names of Allah which are mentioned also at the beginning of every Muslim prayer and make us realise that Allah is Very Merciful.
The word mercy means ‘to show love, tenderness, pity, forgiveness and goodness’ towards your fellow beings. Therefore learning mercy in Islam is to learn how to become a beneficent being by spreading goodwill (in all its forms) throughout the world.
2. Receiving mercy from Allah: In Islam, Mercy from God in the first ten days of Ramadan is possible through His own actions. Allah is well aware that he or she embarks on a journey of fasting which takes place once a year. During this time, he doesn’t smoke, leave his personal desires to please Allah and bear hunger pains and thirst.
God’s mercy shows itself not in a supernatural way; it shows itself in the most natural of ways with the internal resolve and ability for inner strength inherent in all people.
3. Being merciful to others: During Ramadan the Muslim is required to be merciful to those around her/him. As such, having tenderness and understanding towards friends and family members is of primary importance. The first ten days of Ramadan aims to share loving kindness and tenderness to help alleviate the pains and hardships of Ramadan and of the fellow beings.
At work, people abstain from talking rubbish and after completing work go home and try to create an environment through the act of sharing and helping whenever the need arises.
At iftar, families sit together, take dinner and pray collectively to promote the culture of unity, mercy and bonding.
4. Mercy towards one’s self: In this context, forgiving oneself for the harm one has caused to others is a tremendous psychological boundary for a person to overcome. Be generous and open hearted if you feel that someone has given you pain or caused misery. In the Islamic concept of mercy towards ones self, is best to forgive oneself of the harm caused, but one should not forget the harm done.
So understand the importance of mercy in the month of Ramadan and learn the art of becoming a Muslim who is a representative of a wholesome, nurturing community.