Take a moment to imagine a world where mercy was the overarching theme, the guide to our interactions with all living things and with the environment. It is a world that seems to be the stuff of dreams, but a life ruled by mercy is the way to create a positive world of love and peace.
And now as we face this strange new world, a world of mercy is even more pertinent. The reality of 2020 is one that very few people could have imagined. Social bubbles and masks, social distancing and online education. This is our new normal, a world where the nuclear household is quite often the only face-to-face human interaction many people have. The struggles of those around us has been made glaringly clear as we navigate the murky waters of covid-19.
The Covid-19 pandemic has revealed the disparities in our populations and the struggles of folks that were not seen for far too long. The new mother, adjusting to the ins and outs of keeping a tiny person alive. No one is dropping by to coo at her sweet baby or give her some much-needed time to recharge. The elderly couple, isolated from any visitors. There are no grandkids filling the quietness with laughter and activity. The immigrant family, in a new country adrift from resources to adjust. There are no English classes or friendly neighbours to help them navigate a new world. The kids with too much schoolwork and no chance to see friends or even go to the library. There is all the stress of school without the fun things to decompress through.
The pandemic has forced us to physically step back from each other, but mercy is not only physical. We can take the step and make the first move; we can reach out with mercy to our fellow human beings.
Be merciful to those on Earth; the One in the Heavens will be merciful to you.
This is the advice that Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him left for us. There could be no better advice to guide our interactions.
Smile. FaceTime your parents and grandparents. Fill their space with laughter joy. Call a friend just to chat…even for 5 minutes. Send cards and letters.
Shower those around you with the mercy of your love. The mercy of putting up with awkwardness or annoyances. The mercy of reaching out first.
And most importantly, as we share in mercy, let’s remember to have mercy with ourselves too. To be easy on ourselves. To give ourselves a break for struggling to stay positive in a quarantined world or for feeling the stress of being a mom, teaching the kids, and working from home all at once.
The Arabic word for mercy is 'rahma',’ a word that comes from the same root word as the Arabic word for the womb: 'rahm'. And that’s so fitting, because the mercy of a mother for her child is the greatest human example of no-strings attached love.
Now imagine that the mercy of Allah/ God surpassed that by infinity amounts. And now take that as your truth. Because Allah’s Mercy makes a mother’s mercy look like a speck. No matter how many steps we take backwards, He is always there to welcome our return. No matter how many times we repeat the same mistake, He is still there for us.
Be merciful to those around you. And you will be blessed with His Infinite Mercy, without doubt.
Maryam Baksh is a graduate from University of British Columbia. She is a member of the Muslim community in Vancouver and a busy young mother.
You can read more articles on our interfaith blog, Spiritually Speaking, HERE
* This article was published in the print edition of the Times Colonist on Saturday, October 17th 2020