Mercifulness as a character

If you are raising a child or awaiting one in the near future, you may be drawing an image in your mind as how you would love to see him or her. What characters you love your kid to have?

I guess we would love to have pretty, lovable and smart children. An extension of ourselves that we could be proud of.

I think one of the most important qualities that we need to educate our children by is that of being merciful. In my work, I find that some problems facing children attending the school in relation to their siblings, teachers or parents relate directly to core human respect and mercy.

There is no doubt that a child that misbehaves at home by not listening to his mother's repeated requests to clean up his room, is not acting humble and merciful. Can it be that he is ignorant of the fact that if he is not going to tidy up the room, someone else needs to do that? Most likely his mother, who has already many tasks to do?

Tidying the room is one example. Going to the near grocery to buy milk is a second example and dropping by at grandmothers place to see how she is doing is yet another.

The cases above are actions, things that we can do. The 3 behaviors described above are highly desired. We all would love to see our kids acting in that manner. But it is possible that what we need to undermine is communicating to them core human values of love and mercy.

Being warm and attentive to your kid's physical and emotional needs puts him or her at a better position to express warmth and mercy towards others. A respectful parent teaches his child respect by way of modeling. The child acts in the manner he is being met by.

There is no doubt that modeling plays central role in shaping manners and ways of being. At the same time, education about divine teachings and the purpose of this life should also be central.

Man is born ignorant. Knowledge empowers us. You may have a kid that was hit by a car, a thing that resulted in bone surgery and need for physiotherapy. You may be upset by the young man who did that for your kid. You may have guilt feelings as for you letting that happen. You may be worried whether your kid will be able to walk normally after treatment end. Now imagine meeting and talking to a parent who have a cancer-ill child. He tells you about the long months his child stayed in isolation in hospital. He tells you that they are not sure if he is going to live another year. What would you feel? I am pretty sure you would not wish that to anyone.

Knowledge of others problems can make our problems smaller.

A child can be directed to act mercifully by modeling being merciful but the quality can be empowered by more or less formal education in the qualities of God and the teachings of God's messengers.

In the Holy Quran, God opens His Book by stating:

In the name of Allah (God), the merciful , the compassionate

First we have the word Allah which is God's supreme name followed by the two words al-Rahman and al-Rahim, both of which derive from  Rahmah,  or  mercy,  a  word  which  can also  mean  love,  kindness,  and  compassion.

Throughout the Holy Quran and prophet's sayings we can find references to the fact that mercy is a central attribute of God:

My mercy embraceth all things, therefore I shall ordain it for those  who  ward  off  (evil)  and  pay  the  poor-due,  and  those who believe Our revelations. (al-Araf 7:156)

Your Lord hath prescribed for Himself mercy, that whoso of you  doeth  evil  through  ignorance  and  repenteth  afterward thereof  and  doeth  right,  (for  him)  lo!  He  is  Forgiving, Compassionate. (al-Anam 6:54)

Announce, (O Muhammad) unto My slaves that verily I am the Forgiving, the Compassionate. (al-Hijr 15:49)

Those who bear the Throne, and all who are round about it, hymn the praises of their Lord and believe in Him and ask forgiveness for those who believe (saying): Our Lord! Thou comprehendest all things in mercy and knowledge, therefore forgive those who repent and follow Thy way. Ward off from them the punishment of hell. (Ghafir 40:7)

And from the Hadith of the Prophet, may God bless him and grant him peace:

God says, Great and Glorious is He, My mercy outstrips my wrath. ~ Sahih Muslim no. 7146, Kitab al-Tawbah

In Hadith (prophet sayings) we can see clear instructions to be merciful to people:

The merciful are shown mercy by the Merciful. Be merciful  to  those  on  earth,  and  He  who  is  in  heaven  will  be merciful  to  you.  Kinship  ties  are  connecting  branches from  the  Merciful.  Whoever  maintains  them  will  be maintained  by  God,  and  whoever  cuts  them  will  be  cut off by God. ~ Sunan al-Tirmidhi no. 2049, Kitab al-Birr wal-Silah

Being merciful can be taught to children and described as a manner of being that God appreciates. God is merciful. He has sent His prophets in order to teach people how to achieve peace and tranquility in this life and the thereafter.

Wma arsalnak illa ra7matan lil3alameen

It is a virtue that God expects us to live by, for example:

waqadda rabbukk alla ta3bodo illa iyahoo wa bilwalidayn i7sana...

This is a clear order to be kind and merciful towards our parents. Just imagine how much good could happen for many homes  if the children followed these orders.

There are many verses in the Holy Quran that encourage being kind and forgiving. There are also many Prophet sayings that teach the same. The Sira (life-story) of the Prophet and His companions has plenty of examples of kind and merciful situations.

I think it is time to teach our children those teachings and stories.

It is Mercy that can ward-off the poisonous temptations of the Devil to vandalize school for a 14 year old teenager. And it mercy that can guide a 10 years old child to remove a banana peal of the street so it may not harm another child.

For more fulfilling personal lives and for success in work we need to be kind, meet people with cheerful face and meet them with authentic care. A teacher, doctor, team head and others need to be merciful so other people may find them pleasant to work with and cooperate with.

There is no doubt that mercy and care can boost work productivity and enhance the school environment.


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