“In all our talk about how God always condemns and punishes, we forget that God is also the Most Merciful’
[Ramadan Chats with Neryssa # : Mercy]
This post will be a little different from my usual Ramadan Chats with Neryssa posts. Where my past posts aimed to explain certain terms and concepts in Islam, I am using this project as a platform to talk about certain issues in the context of the Islamic religion and also reach out to my fellow Muslims.
Today I would like to talk about mercy.
I remember back before I started wearing the headscarf and started practicing the religion, and I would be subjected to direct and indirect attempts to shame me into practicing the religion. I remember once my religious studies teacher tried to shame me by calling me up on stage because it was Ramadan and I was wearing a pinafore and not the baju kurung which was the alternative uniform that was much more covering.
Or how ‘religous scholars’ or some of the much more ‘conservative’ Muslims would talk about hellfire and punishment towards those who don’t practice the religion.
And I remember being so turned off by the religion,because hearing them talk about how God was full of hatred and punishment had me thinking ‘well if I’m going to get punished anyway, I might as well be happy and do what I want first’/
Not to mention the internalised misogyny that came with these people ‘preaching’ about religion who mainly targetted women, especially those who didn’t wear the headscarf while guys who didn’t even pray or go for Friday prayers are often let off the hook which is pretty dumb because praying is one of the the five pillars of the religion, not the way you dress, so you would think they would actually focus more on the latter.
But what turned me towards the religion wasn’t their words that aimed to spark fear into submission towards God and religion. It was those who talked about the stories of how God loves His Creations
And how one time there was a man who wasn’t that good of a person but he showed compassion one day towards a dog by giving it water so God granted him paradise.
And how Umar (who was the third caliph) who used to hate the religion and condemn the prophet where he tried to kill him, only to fall in love with the religion through Prophet Muhammad’s kindness towards him despite how he treated him.
And so on…
In all our talk about how God always condemns and punishes, we forget that God is also the Most Merciful.
And it should be obvious to us. Do we not start our prayers with “Bismillahi rahmani rahim” which directly translates to “In the name of God, the most Gracious, the most Merciful”?
I’m not saying that the rules in Islam are unimportant and that we shouldn’t follow them. However, we also shouldn’t be quick to condemn and assume someone is going to Hell just because they went against those rules.
Who are you to do that? Who are you to play God and make that kind of judgement? By doing so, you’re acting as if you’re God which you know is something that is against the religion. Who are you to assume that that person won’t change for the better?
Who are you to assume that you won’t change for the worse?
It’s good to give people advice but shaming them and using fear won’t make them love the religion. Nor would it make them listen to you. There are tactful ways of educating someone, and calling them out publicly shows that you don’t really want them to learn, you just want to make yourself look good.
Show kindness. Show compassion. Show mercy. For how do you expect God to be those things towards you when you won’t do so with His creations?