There are times when I feel an intense gratitude for the variety of blessings that our Lord has granted us, Alhamdu lillah. We do not always understand how these blessings operate. I do not think we will ever understand how the generosity of our Lord, with regard to His Blessings, operates for us. It appears as if Allah (ﷻ) has hidden the nature of these matters from most of us. Occasionally, He grants to some of us a little bit of understanding or a “peep” into His Affairs. Those who have received this are of the intensely pious. For others, nothing is understood and nothing is seen or heard of the endless, multifarious operations of our Lord’s actions in His creation. Sometimes when little bits of understanding is given to us, our gratitude runs very deep. Some of us He has not only blessed with special stations, but He has also blessed us with some understanding of Him and of His Actions.
To me, one of the great Divine mysteries is the operation of His Mercy. I see it operating and I do not understand. I only know that my Lord has this particular Name of Al-Rahman, of being All Merciful and that His Mercy overwhelms His Anger. I also know that Nabi Muhammad (ﷺ) is a special vehicle of His Mercy but what it is, how it operates and when it operates, I don’t think we have the foggiest idea.
وَ مَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلاَّ رَحْمَةً لِّلْعَالَمِيْنَ
We sent thee not, but as a mercy for all the worlds (xxi: 106).
There might be people, perhaps again of the intensely pious, whom Allah (ﷻ) has blessed with an understanding of the Prophet’s (ﷺ) position as a mercy for all of creation. I personally have struggled with the meaning of this on numerous occasions and I have read many accounts of the meaning of this. In all these accounts, I find a series of shortcomings, because there is a major pretence that these scholars have an understanding of how Divine Mercy operates through the Messenger (ﷺ), what the nature of this Mercy is, and how it is applied. The fact that Jibril (a.s.) was worried about his own position until the verse of this mercy was revealed, possibly indicates the extent of this mercy in the creation. I have asked myself on numerous occasions whether this mercy granted to Nabi Muhammad (ﷺ) has any limits in the creation, or to what degree it pervades that creation. What we do know is that it is there. But what we don’t know is its nature and how it operates.
Perhaps part of the solution to our understanding of the Messenger (ﷺ) as a mercy, and also as a vehicle of mercy, lies in his (ﷺ) primary function of delivering the Divine Words to us. The question that I ask myself is, what is his (ﷺ) particular role in our lives, in our attainment of spiritual stations and in our future in the Hereafter? If, for example, he (ﷺ) remains for us a major source of supplication to our Lord, while he (ﷺ) himself is in a state of witnessing his (ﷺ) Lord, then these supplications must be an important source of mercy for all of us, because, I am positive, that through these supplications a considerable amount of what is on our Records is erased. I try to see this like that. This means that his (ﷺ) supplications for us are an important source of mercy because it helps to alleviate our situations with our Lord. Even now, in his (ﷺ) supplications, he brings to us ease in our Hereafter.
This, of course, if correct, explains a very small portion of the kind of mercy that he (ﷺ) carries with himself. On the Day of Judgement, according to many of the Traditions, he (ﷺ) will call out to his (ﷺ) Lord for salvation for us, and his (ﷺ) Lord will grant. And in these grants, as a consequence of his (ﷺ) calls, lie considerable mercy for us on that day. His (ﷺ) call will be the major call and his (ﷺ) task of bringing large numbers of us out of the Fire, will be one of the major tasks performed by him (ﷺ) on that Day; as a demonstration of his (ﷺ) mercy. Perhaps in this sense, in his (ﷺ) supplications and in his (ﷺ) calls, lie his (ﷺ) Divine description as a mercy. But there must be so much more to this, because if he (ﷺ) is a mercy for all of existence, then such mercy must flow through all aspects of this creation and must provide the mercy required by all living beings or structures, wherever they might be. If we take the Qur’an seriously, then he (ﷺ) gives this mercy granted to him (ﷺ) by Allah (ﷻ), for every single living being, from the simple to the complicated, and from the smallest to the largest. It cannot be otherwise. This is what the Qur’an says. That is why I always say we don’t understand this. Our understanding is limited by the space we occupy and the little bit of knowledge we have acquired or that Allah (ﷻ) has made us acquire. With such limited understanding, that cannot comprehend the vastness of this universe, how can it comprehend the vastness and the application of Divine Mercy operating through the Messenger (ﷺ)? Our smallness or rather our mental deficiency limits our understanding. When I say we do not understand, I am saying we are small fish in a pond, unaware of the nature of the oceans. Of course, we have major pretence about all of this.
We should just be deeply thankful that Allah (ﷻ) has provided His Messenger (ﷺ) with a quality of mercy, of such a high standard and so immense, that we can all draw from that, in different ways for ourselves. To me, if it only serves to erase the bad things on my Record, and to help me to overcome all the obstacles of the Hereafter, I would be in permanent gratitude. You see, the Mercy granted to him (ﷺ) by Allah (ﷻ), is for us a source of Alhamdu lillah.