May 28, 2024 06:35 UTC
  • What do we know of God\'s public and special mercy?
    What do we know of God\'s public and special mercy?

Pars Today- God's public mercy includes friend and enemy, faithful and unfaithful, righteous and unrighteous; just as His uncalculated rain as mercy engulfs everywhere. But special mercy is different.

Imam Ali (Peace upon him), the testamentary legatee of the Prophet of Islam and the first Imam of Shia Muslims describing the creation of Adam (Peace upon him), says, "God, the Glorious, opened the door of repentance to him and taught him His word of mercy."

Mercy is so important and enjoys such a lofty status that God has mentioned Himself with this attribute at the beginning of the chapters of the Qur'an [except one]. Here, we are going to touch upon this question as, "What is God's mercy and how is it possible that God distances His servant from His mercy?"

Firstly, as for the divine mercy, we should know that at times mercy is spiritual, while at other times it is material and [that] it encompasses the world and the Hereafter. Mercy has been used in many senses in the holy Qur'an. Sometimes, it refers to guidance, sometimes it refers to rescue from the enemy, sometimes refers to the blessed rain, sometimes it refers to other bounties (like light), and in many cases, it refers to paradise and the divine bounties on the Day of Resurrection.

Kinds of God's mercy

God has two kinds of mercy:

God's public mercy

This kind of God's mercy includes friend and enemy, faithful and unfaithful, righteous and unrighteous; just as His uncalculated rain as mercy reaches everywhere and His sustenance has spread everywhere and He heals the sick no matter if they are faithful or unfaithful.

God's special mercy

Another kind of God's mercy is His special mercy. This kind of mercy is exclusively for His righteous and obedient servants because, owing to their faith and righteous deeds, they deserve to enjoy the special mercy, forgiveness, and feeling that the sinners and transgressors are deprived of.

Imam Sadeq (Peace upon him), the sixth Imam of Shia Muslims and one of the descendants of the Prophet says in a hadith, "Allah is the God of everything. He is Rahman (Compassionate) to all His creatures and Rahim (Merciful) towards the faithful."

Causes of deprivation of divine mercy

Regarding the meaning of God's mercy and its universality, the fact that His mercy is divided into public and special kinds, and taking into consideration that God's mercy is based on the divine wisdom and hidden secrets every time, everywhere, for every phenomenon and everyone, it makes difference if God's mercy is taken away from someone or someone is included in His mercy. And nobody knows exactly and completely how is God's mercy taken away from someone or when it is not. Particularly, the public mercy (Rahmat Rahmaniah) is so all-encompassing and universal that every phenomenon, even the atheists and pagans freely enjoy the divine banquet. Thus, it won’t be possible to exactly and completely distinguish the cases of deprivation of divine mercy, especially public mercy.

In this field, some of the narrations indicate that in some conditions God's mercy might be taken away from human beings. For instance, Islamic narrations stress that having no mercy towards people will cause deprivation of divine mercy. "He who does not have mercy on people, God will not have mercy on him."

This has been said to be merciless towards animals and other creatures, too.

That was about public mercy. As for God's special mercy, too, which will be bestowed only on the faithful and righteous, naturally, as long as one is faithful, Godwary, righteous, and possesses other necessary conditions, divine mercy will be bestowed upon him. And whatever causes deprivation of faith and Godwariness in human beings, will deprive them of God's special mercy, too. Yet, this has conditions that have to be dealt with in a more specialized study.


Sources: God's mercy and causes of man's deprivation of mercy, Wikiporsesh website.

Nahjul-Balagha (sermons, letters, and maxims of Imam Ali), Seyyed Razi.

Key phrases: What is mercy? Meaning of God being Rahman (Compassionate), mercy in the Qur'an, when will we be deprived of God's bounty?