Jummah Reflection: Mercy, Mercy Me.
Jummah Mubarak, Shabbat Shalom and Happy Cinco de Mayo!
At the behest of a trusted spiritual guide, I have been spending a lot of time lately thinking about the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).
“And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds.” – HQ 21:107
Muhammad is the perfect exemplar for all Muslims and there has been a lot written about his many wonderful qualities, but this verse from the Qur’an has been sticking with me the most.
What does it mean to *be* a mercy to the world?
When I think about mercy the first thing that comes to mind is the feeling of relief I have when someone graciously forgives or clarifies something that has had me worried. It calls to mind the feeling of finding a breezy, shady spot on a hot day, or taking the first few sips of cool water after a day of fasting. Mercy means being relieved of a burden – physical, emotional, intellectual or spiritual – and being allowed to relax and take ease.
So how can I do that in my own small way?
As I move through the world, am I putting people at ease? The world is full of so much strife and struggle. Humans are in a lot of pain all the time. (Some, obviously more than others–but everyone is carrying their own burdens.) How can I make the world an easier place for the people around me to be in?
I don’t mean relieving people so that they no longer have to concern themselves with anything. Also, putting others at ease doesn’t mean I agree with them.
It means that I recognize when others are struggling, and that the potential for change is there.
We can’t learn, or grow or change if we are in a state of perpetual defense. Providing ease for others means that they can let their guard down long enough to reflect, grow and change without fear of ‘messing up’ or ‘looking stupid’.
Our society has become incredibly socially punitive. We want to snap everyone on the nose when they say or do something that we feel is wrong. But what if instead we provided some shade and a cup of tea and asked them to talk about why they have arrived at a conclusion we disagree with?
Would that not be a mercy?