SHAFAQNA – اَللَّهُمَّ إنّي أسْألُكَ بِرَحْمَتِكَ الَّتي وَسِعَتْ كُلَّ شَيءٍ
O Allah! I ask you by your Mercy that envelops everything,
Each of the words in this phrase has secret inferences, which are presented here.
“اللهم”: is derived from “يا الله” (O Allah); “يا” (O) is omitted and instead, “ميم” is added at the end. This shows that as the Almighty Allah preceded everything in existence, His holy name should precede everything else as well. The supplicant who calls Allah should know that if He had not inclined and permitted, the servant would not be able to utter a single word to praise and ask Allah. The supplicant’s tongue can call Allah only by His strength and Mercy. In fact, as du’a’ itself is the teaching of Allah, the servant’s utterance of supplication and the acceptance of it are only by Allah’s will too.
“اني اسالك” (I ask you): “اني” means “I”, but it does not mean egoism here. As a matter of fact, “I” in this phrase and throughout the holy du’a’, implies not an independent being, but rather a servant in need. The supplicant in this state sees himself as a deprived servant who calls Allah with humility, and perceives Allah as the source of Mercy, Justice, and Forgiveness. That’s why the supplicant asks his demand humbly from the All-Compassionate God.
“برحمتك التي وسعت كل شيئ” (by your Mercy that envelops everything): Allah’s mercy envelops everything, and surrounds the apparent and hidden facets of beings. This embracing Mercy is Allah’s general blessing, by which He brought all the creatures into existence, placed them in their appropriate positions and depending on the creatures’ capacity and faculty, provided them generously together with the necessary means to material growth and spiritual development.
In the valuable book, Anis Allayl, we read the following:
“Allah’s general Mercy is like the sun; it rises from east, and shines to everything within its beam, not depriving anything from its light, out of stinginess. All the creatures within the sunbeam benefit from the sun to the extent of their capability.”
In the same way, all the visible and hidden beings from the largest to the smallest enjoy Allah’s common blessings. Even the smallest creatures, which are only discernible through the most developed microscopes, are included in Allah’s realm, and each benefits from His Mercy to the greatest extent possible in order to grow and reach material and spiritual perfection. From the heavens to the earth, from east to west, and from the unseen to the visible, all beings benefit from Allah who is the Creator and the Provider. They are not detached from this source of Divine Mercy even for a moment, since if this happens, they will not exist anymore.
The creation of existing beings and the provision of sustenance to them, the growing of plants, the development of objects, the revelation of signs and miracles, the appointment of prophets, the guidance of the misled, the living of creatures, the descent of the angels, the restoration of the dead, the recompense to the believers, the chastisement of the wrongdoers, the establishment of the Day of Resurrection, the heaven and the Hell, the forgiveness of believers’ sins, and every goodness present in the world, are all instances of Allah’s embracing Mercy. Allah’s Magnanimous Mercy is not perceptible by our limited knowledge and partial understanding.
Counting “كل شيء”, all the living and inanimate beings who are within the realm of Allah’s blessings is not possible. Even if all the angels, jinns and humans become authors, using all the trees on the earth as pens and all the seas as ink, they cannot count but a few of Allah’s creatures.
To get a small amount of God’s blessings toward His creatures, it is necessary to study a few cases of these beings, so that we can absorb some rays of Allah’s knowledge.
The Living World
Measuring the world with regard to its length, width, capacity, and the number of beings existing inside it is totally impractical. Yet a corner of this excellent creation of God, namely the planet on which human beings reside and benefit from the blessings of its sky and earth, is discernible via our senses and experiences.
Everything in this world, from microscopic germs and viruses less than a thousandth of millimeters away from each other to the galaxies and stars at the distance of millions of kilometers, are made of atoms. Atoms are so minute that they are not visible except by extremely powerful microscopes. There are 55 million atoms at the point of a needle. If we magnify the point of the needle as a gigantic building, each atom will seem like a fly creeping on one of the pillars.
By God’s Mercy, atom is consists of three basic particles, i.e. electron, proton, and neutron, which have negative, positive, and neutral electric charges respectively. Protons and neutrons form the core of the atom together, around which the electrons revolve along an axis, just as the moon revolve around the earth’s orbit.1 Countless atoms are the building blocks of this world. No one knows how the material and building blocks of the world was formed, and how they were created, but the Almighty God:
مَا أَشْهَدْتُهُمْ خَلْقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ وَلا خَلْقَ أَنفُسِهِمْ.
I made them not witness the creation of the heavens and the earth, not their own creation. (18:51)
What is stated in the Holy Qur’an and most great scientists have proven after lengthy studies is that: the building blocks for creation of the world were gas and smoke particles wandering in the space, which were so scattered that they hardly ever crossed each other.
ثُمَّ اسْتَوَى إِلَى السَّمَاءِ وَهِيَ دُخَانٌ.
Then turned He to the heaven when it was smoke (41:11)
Then Allah created the stars, decorating the lowest heaven which is the nearest one to us, by combining millions of gas particles into huge clouds; the cloud masses absorbed the particles toward the center to form bigger clouds while the particles collided with each other to produce heat. When the heat increased, a lightening occurred at the center of the cloud, illuminating the dark space. Finally millions of cloud masses formed the stars and from then on light appeared in the world and our sky was embellished with stars.
A shapeless cloud was spread throughout the massive space. Particles of different substances crashed and combined; the cloud revolved around like a turbulent ocean, full of invisible huge waves. Within this turbulent ocean, the movement of materials formed a spiral diagram, which was extended at the center with two developing arms. The solar system is located in one of the arms of the spiral diagram, called the Milky Way.
By God’s Will and Mercy, the sun and the solar system were created; there happened a chaotic storm in one of the arms and the motion of gasses moved the clouds too, to form a giant gig with illuminating particles around it. The giant gig moved on and absorbed the gasses toward the center, until an enormous shining ball was created in the form of the sun:
وَجَعَلَ الْقَمَرَ فِيهِنَّ نُورًا وَجَعَلَ الشَّمْسَ سِرَاجًا.
And hath made the moon a light therein, and made the sun a lamp. (71:16)
Then the gas particles, which had previously surrounded the sun, scattered and formed several masses, which turned around the sun on separate orbits; some near the sun while some far from it. The masses near the sun were hot, while those that were distant remained cold.
In each mass of gas and dust, the particles moved constantly; some gas particles produced steam, which changed to liquid whose humidity joined the dust particles together to form iced mud. Millions of these particles were moving inside the masses. Gravity pulled the particles together to form large balls, which further absorbed the particles and got bigger. One of these balls emerged as the earth, by Allah’s Will. Then other planets were created at the heart of masses of gas, each rotating around the sun in a certain orbit. The nearest planet to the sun was Mercury, and after that there were Venus, Earth and Mars. Beyond Mars, the giant planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune too revolved around the sun, and at the most distant, there was the planet Pluto.2
Just as the miniaturization of atoms is beyond human understanding, so is the vastness of the world. Light has an incredible rapid speed of 300 thousand kilometers per second; however, the light of the nearest star reaches the earth only after four years.
The telescope at the Palumar Mountain, California, has a five-meter-diameter mirror, and it can trace some stars in the space whose light reaches the earth after a thousand million years! The stars that are now perceptible via the modern telescopes are so numerous in number that if we count them for 100 years, counting one star in each second, uncounted stars will still remain!3 A galaxy is a gigantic core, which is wider at the center, including at least a thousand million stars. Its length is a hundred thousand light years and its width at the center is about twenty thousand light years. As today’s human telescopes can observe, there are probably a hundred and fifty million galaxies in the world, and the average distance between two neighboring galaxies is two million light years.4
This great system is only a corner of the living world, which is observed by man’s limited knowledge. Only Allah is aware of the whole world that is beyond the reach of human being. As Imam ‘Ali (as) has insightfully stated: “Creation is within Allah’s Mercy; the Mercy that established and developed the world.”
Human; the Noblest Inhabitant of the World
Having created the world and providing the necessary equipment and sustenance, the Omnipotent willed to create a notable being, composed of body, soul, mind, heart and temper, out of His Mercy. He placed man as His vicegerent on earth, to grow and gain strength by the blessings He has supplied; to live in accord with the guidance of prophets and their books, and to worship the Creator and serve His fellow creatures. The man then is transferred to the Hereafter by death, and is granted his recompense in the eternal paradise, remaining in Allah’s Mercy forever. Here we review the signs of Allah’s Mercy embracing human apparent and interior sides.
Different Stages in the Creation of Man
The holy Qur’an has considered the creation of human fetus as happening in stages:
وَقَدْ خَلَقَكُمْ أَطْوَارًا.
When He created you by (diverse) stages? (71:14)
The first Stage: Soil
وَلَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الإِنسَانَ مِنْ سُلالَةٍ مِنْ طِينٍ.
We created man of an extraction of clay. (23:12)
The human embryo is a product of various foods, coming from animals and plants. The plants feed the animals and are fed by the soil. As a result, human embryo is made from the earth. The latest scientific findings show that the chemical elements found in earth, such as iron, copper, calcium, iodine, etc. exist in human body. Humans constantly obtain the extracts of chemicals present in the earth by feeding from animals and plants, and then reproducing.
The Second Stage: Water
وَهُوَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ مِنْ الْمَاءِ بَشَرًا.
And He it is Who created man from water… (25:54)
To biologists, human body resembles a sponge soaked in water. The body of a seventy-kilogram person is composed of fifty liters of water, and this ratio is fixed for all people. If a person loses twenty percent of his body water, he will not recuperate again.
The water inside human cells includes a large amount of potassium, and completely lacks salt. The water outside the cells, on the other hand, has considerable salt. The composition of water outside the cells is exactly the same as that of the water wherein the first living beings resided millions of years ago. Later on, when the water beings came to the land, they practically carried the water they lived in, since they could not continue life without it. This is the miracle of Qur’an which fourteen decades ago, in an illiterate desert society without scientific tools, stated:” It is He who created man from water.”
The Third Stage: Alaq
خَلَقَ الإِنسَانَ مِنْ عَلَقٍ.
He Createth man from a clot. (96:2)
“Alaq” lexically means a worm or leech that sticks to the womb. Spermatozoidsare now observable by microscope and are seen as a plethora of floating leeches, which stick to the womb.
The amount of spermatozoid is about four cubic centimeters, in each centimeter of which there are one hundred to two hundred million leech-like beings. They move toward Ovule, the female cell, together.
The ovary of a young woman contains about three million unripe ovums, four hundred of which get ripe. During menstruation, the bag containing the ovums is cracked, and the ovums go through a pipe that connects the ovary to the womb. The movement of the pipe’s trembling lashes facilitates the transfer of the ovums to the womb.
The fourth Stage: Creation from a Despised Fluid
ثُمَّ جَعَلَ نَسْلَهُ مِنْ سُلَالَةٍ مِنْ مَاءٍ مَهِينٍ.
Then He made his progeny from a draught of despised fluid. (32:8)
When the leech-like sperms floating in the male semen reach the womb they suddenly start a strange competition. The two hundred million sperms engaging in this competition rush toward the ovum and they soon surround it. Seen under microscope, the sperms whose tails move resemble a meadow that surfs due to the breeze.
Each sperm tries to be the first to enter the ovum. As soon as one of them succeeds in doing so, its tail is cut and the entrance becomes inflamed. The ovum’s protoplasm gets contracted and emits a liquid to keep other sperms away from entering it. Consequently, from among two hundred million male sperms, only one mingles with the female ovum and thus a human is created. Sometimes, by Allah’s will, two or more sperms enter the ovum and then a twin fetus is produced in the female womb.
The Fifth Stage: Amshaj (the Zygote)
إِنَّا خَلَقْنَا الإِنسَانَ مِنْ نُطْفَةٍ أَمْشَاجٍ.
Verily We created Man from a drop of mingled sperm… (76:2)
To create a human being, an ovum (a white seed) should catch a sperm, which is two hundred and fifty times smaller than the ovum. Then the chromosomes of the sperm, which have been divided by half, mingle with the chromosomes of the ovum and generate a new being; the zygote, which Qur’an calls amshaj (mingled).
The ovum and the sperm cannot continue life even in the best of conditions and they soon die, however only after mingling together and producing the zygote. After this process, the zygote begins dividing; first it is divided into two, then becomes four, eight, etc. and finally makes a cell mass.
The Sixth Stage: the Shaping of the Fetus
هُوَ اللَّهُ الْخَالِقُ الْبَارِئُ الْمُصَوِّرُ لَهُ الأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَى.
He is Allah the Creator the Evolver the Bestower of Forms. To Him belong the Most Beautiful Names. (59:24)
After the creation of cells is complete, which are the building blocks for the fetus, a large mass of cells is placed in the womb to start evolving the fetus.
First, under the light of Allah’s Mercy, these countless cells separate from each other to shape various organs; the cells of brain, eye, ear, etc. chase their fellow-cells to develop the different parts of the body and this way the body of the fetus is designed by these cells.
The small ball on the left of the fetus is its food source. This ball, floating in blood, obtains the extract of food, water, and oxygen from blood, provided by the digestion and respiratory systems, and transfers them to the fetus through the navel. This is Allah’s Mercy that embraces everything and the signs of it are brighter than sun in every molecule of His creation.
The Seventh Stage: Placing the fetus in Three Veils
يَخْلُقُكُمْ فِي بُطُونِ أُمَّهَاتِكُمْ خَلْقًا مِنْ بَعْدِ خَلْقٍ فِي ظُلُمَاتٍ ثَلاثٍ.
…He makes you in the wombs of your mothers in stages one after another in three veils of darkness… (39:6)
Three veils gradually embrace the fetus; the amnion veil, the chorion veil, and the allantoids veil. The amnion is a veil generated by the growing of fetus’s outer surface. It expands until it makes a space called the amnion cavity behind the fetus in which there is a pure fluid.
The Chorion veil is out of the amnion veil and helps protect the fetus.
The allantoids veil is before the fetus’s belly and is responsible for digestion and absorption of food. These three veils save the fetus from the air, light, water, wind, and possible strikes. In the space between the amnion veil and the fetus, there is a fluid. When a strike is made to the womb, the impact is transferred to this liquid which neutralizes it. This is Allah’s Mercy toward the human fetus.
The Eighth Stage: Breathing Spirit
ثُمَّ أَنشَأْنَاهُ خَلْقًا آخَرَ.
… and then produced it another creation. So blessed be Allah, the Best of Creators! (23:14)
Having accomplished the shaping of the fetus, which is the sign of Allah’s Power, Allah breathes spirit into the fetus that is not only a sophisticated process in itself but many facts about it are still unknown. He miraculously transform the fetus by breathing His spirit into it, and making it alive. This is the stage when the fetus learns to put its finger inside the mouth. That’s why the newly born can feed from his/her mother’s breast immediately after birth.
The Ninth Stage: Birth
وَاللَّهُ أَخْرَجَكُمْ مِنْ بُطُونِ أُمَّهَاتِكُمْ.
It is He who brought you forth from the wombs of your mothers… (16:78)
The story of childbirth is one of the most fascinating processes occurring in the creation system. The fetus that have lived in the dark, quiet and pleasantly warm womb for nine months, now, by Allah’s Mercy, enters an atmosphere quite different from the previous one. Allah has granted it all capabilities to cope with the new environment. The child leaves the mother womb with a temperature of 37 degrees centigrade and enters another milieu with more or less a similar temperature, but it copes with the new setting.
This survival is still a mystery in medicine. The child goes from darkness to the light and its delicate eyes tolerate the dazzling light of the outside world. It comes from a wet place to a dry one, but it immediately copes with the new situation. As a fetus, it was fed through the navel, and now it eats through the mouth and breathes the air with no mediator!5
These are all signs of Allah’s unlimited Mercy and human beings should hence be grateful of His blessings wholeheartedly and call out:
اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّى أَسْألُكَ بِرَحْمَتِكَ الَّتِى وَسِعَتْ كُلَّ شَيٍْء
A Manifestation of Allah’s Mercy
It is necessary to have a look at another sign of Allah’s infinite Mercy toward human being here, so that it removes our thoughtlessness, increasing our eagerness to worship and our hatred of sins.
Scientifically, the system of the human brain is the most remarkable machine and performs duties that the most developed human-made machines are unable to complete. One of the duties of the brain is to record various events in the memory. Human memory is related only to a small part of the brain. For showing the capacity of the memory, an example has been repeatedly given:
Suppose a fifty-year old man wants to write all his memories collectively. For this he will need 160 million large size newspapers that are printed in small fonts in twenty pages each. In various respects, the mechanism of remembering the memories resembles that of the tapes of voice recorders. The difference is that the power of brain tapes is provided by body nerves and they do not need rotate.
If we want to build a machine that performs the work of a human brain, we should make an apparatus two times larger than the largest buildings in the world and allot all the electricity made by the water of world’s largest fall for its power. Since, the electric lamps and wires make the machine hot, all the water of the supposed fall should instead turn around the machine. The invented machine, in spite of all that, still not perform all the thinking obligations of an ordinary human brain.
The command of sucking milk from the mother’s breast is issued from the child’s brain and sent to its lips, and the child feeds from its mother’s breast calmly, without any errors. In the mother’s body, there is an automatic chemical factory that turns her blood into suitable and delicious food, appropriate for the infant’s digestive system. When the fetus is created in the mother’s womb, the suckling factory recuperates in the mother’s body and begins to work. As the fetus grows, this factory gets more active until it produces suitable milk for the baby at the birth. After the birth, as the child grows up, and its digestive system becomes stronger, the produced milk changes accordingly.
The highly nutritious product of this factory is assembled in two sources of the mother’s breast and seeps out of the nipples by the baby’s sucking and becomes part of its body. The size of the nipples is appropriate for the baby’s mouth, which is inclusive of tiny openings that open with the baby’s sucking and are automatically closed afterwards, in order to avoid the wastage the milk.
All these interesting events and alterations for the sake of humans are nothing but Allah’s infinite Mercy and unlimited blessing. Human beings should ponder in these phenomena, praise the Almighty, and beg Him for spiritual blessings.
The Respiratory System
Human lungs inhale and exhale the air approximately 500 million times, during a typical lifetime. In the respiratory system, there are hundreds of thousands of glands that filter out a sticky liquid in order to absorb the harmful dust particles entering the lungs when breathing. If this liquid did not exist, the particles would obstruct the respiratory pipes in a few seconds, causing death.
Also there are tiny hair in these pipes that constantly clean them. These hair clean all the pipes twelve times per second, and send the harmful particles into the digestive system in which they become ineffectual.
The respiratory pipes transfer the air to 750 million bags inside the lungs in which the carbon dioxide is taken from the blood and oxygen is replaced instead. The respiratory system, in spite of being small in size has an important duty and an amazing process which is but one part of “كل شيء” (everything) that are embraced by Allah’s Mercy.
Human skin has various benefits, some of which are represented here:
There are very tiny holes all over the skin through which some part of human breathing takes place. If these holes were to be closed human beings could not continue life.
The skin contains glands that produce sweat which filters it out to maintain the normal body temperature.
The skin includes some oily glands that keep it and the hairs constantly soft and fresh.
The skin defends the body against the intrusive microbes.
It wards off parts of body poisons and filth through sweat and hence helps the kidneys in their duty.
It prevents the useful body liquids from leaking out.
The skin is the organ for the sense of touch which helps us feel cold, heat, softness, harshness, thinness, and thickness of objects.
The skin is another blessing that is embraced by Allah’s Mercy, and hence so many useful processes are carried out inside it.
The Defensive System of the Body
When the Omnipotent Allah created the human body, He granted it five protective walls against microbes and the diseases, which are:
The skin that has covered all the body like a fort;
The ganglion tissues that are cotton–like milky tissues under the skin which sometimes change color; they are thick in some areas while thin in others. If something harmful penetrates through the skin, it faces the resistance of the ganglion tissues.
The mucus membranes, which are membranes surrounding some body organs in order to protect them and are of the same color as the organs. Some of the organs like the heart have two membranes; one that surrounds the outer part of the heart called the ‘outer mucus’ and another that is inside the heart or the ‘inner mucus’.
The stomach acid that eliminate anything harmful which has passed other protective walls of the body.
The white globules are ball-shaped beings in the blood that fight the microbes that have entered the blood and eradicates them. Interestingly, these white balls cooperate with the useful microbes that enter the body.
Isn’t it Allah’s Mercy granted to all these guards that protects human being from the diseases and viruses? How extended is Allah’s Mercy that have enfolded the appearance and inner realm of human body and every fragment of his being!
The Remarkable Uses of the Plants
No one knows the exact number of different plants, their processes, the vitamins and the role they play in human life except Allah who is the Creator of them. Since the plants are part of “كل شيء” (everything) to which Allah’s Mercy is granted, a brief account of their duty in the life of other creatures is described.
There is a certain amount of oxygen in the air, which is a vital gas for the existence of every living being. In fact no human, animal and plant can continue life without it.
The oxygen entering human lungs by breathing is combined with the blood and is distributed throughout the body through the blood circulation. Oxygen burns the food in all the cells very slowly and produces natural body heat. By burning the food, a poisonous gas called carbon dioxide is produced, which goes to the lungs with the blood and enters the air through exhalation. All the living things take the oxygen from the atmosphere and send out carbon dioxide.
Each person usually exhales out 250 grams of pure carbon by his/her exhales during 24 hours. If we assume the population of humans to be three billion, they produce approximately two hundred and seventy three million and seven hundred and fifty thousand (273.750.000) tons of poisonous carbon dioxide a year. About the same amount of this gas is produced by the animals too. A question arises here and that is:
Where does this constantly produced toxic gas go? If it exists in the air and the amount of oxygen is decreasing, the oxygen-carbon dioxide balance should be changed. Why is it then that all humans and animals keep on living?
The answer to this question is provided by Allah’s Mercy; He has created a class of beings whose number is infinite and their breathing is completely against that of other living things. They take the carbon dioxide from the air and give out oxygen, when breathing and hence maintain the balance between these two gases. These invaluable entities are plants.
The plants receive the carbon from the air by their leaves, retaining it in their stem, and give out oxygen to the air. Therefore a major substance in plants is carbon.
Based on the Qur’anic verses and the statement of Imam ‘Ali (as) in du’a’Kumayl, Allah’s Mercy has surrounded every leaf and keeps the living world away from total washout. The signs of His Mercy are seen in the stem, leaf, blossoms, and flowers of the plant. Those who cannot see are unwise and those who do not ponder are ignorant.
Human beings using God-given intellect, benefit from various kinds of vegetables, fruits and seeds for preserving health, satisfying hunger and enjoying life and by Allah’s Mercy, this collection of foods are necessary for the different elements of the body, such as colors, bones, skin, nerves, vessels, blood, hair, nail, energy, heat….
The Role of Animals and Insects in the Living World
No one knows the number of insects and animals that exists on land and in sea or the birds and reptiles and the benefits of their existence, but their Creator knows everything who’s Mercy has covered the appearance and hidden aspects of them. His mercy has brought about great uses from them. Human being, in this regard, benefits from all these creatures.
Fertilizing Insects: Fruit trees have both male organs (pollen) and female organs (pistil). If the pollen of a tree does not reach the pistil of the same kind of tree, or vice versa, no fruit will be produced. For fertilizing some plants, Allah has made tiny insects whose duty is to carry the pollen of a plant to the pistil of another and take the pollen of the second to the pistil of the first. Interestingly, these small agents do not make errors – taking the pollen of apple tree to the pistil of the peach tree is completely out of the question – rather they pollinate to the same trees. Even more fascinating is that the trees pay the insects off with the sugar inherent in them. The insects receive the sugar and help make the fruit for humans, but humans are yet ungrateful.
Cows and Sheep: Scientists of nature believe that everything in nature exists as per the requirements of its creatures, and they are right. In case of the mammals, there is enough milk in the female animal’s breast for its child. But Allah’s Mercy has set the cows and sheep as exceptions to this general rule, since their milk is not only food for their young ones, but also has a surplus for the humans.
The milk of cow and sheep is a valuable food for the infants, children and even growing or grown-up humans. The products of milk provide one of the most important needs of human body.6
Is Allah’s Blessings toward humans not evident? The Almighty, out of Mercy, has presented these animals at the service of humans. The benefits of such animals are great and their probable harms are very little. Humans use every organ and product of the sheep in a way. The interesting point is that the food consumed by all three types of sheep, which are raised separately for their wool, meat, and milk, is the same. This is the Power of Allah, Who transforms one kind of food in the body of an animal into three different products for the sake of humans, and hence provides food and clothes for them, yet some of whom are ever ungrateful. The sheep is only a minute part of “كل شيئ” (every thing), which are developed by Allah’s Mercy. Numerous books are required to fully describe all the blessings that Allah has bestowed on this animal.
Honeybee: Botanists say that most of the flowers do not have sap throughout the day, but rather at certain times of the day and this period does not exceed more than three hours. Moreover, not all the flowers offer their sap at a fixed time time; some have sap in the morning, some at noon and while others in the afternoon. The honeybee is both a botanist as well as punctual. It knows the flowers and the time of availability of sap in each flower and thus, approaches each at its designated times.7 The honey bee then changes the flower sap into a substance that is not only sweat and pleasant, but also colorful and energizing. The honey produced inside the bee’s body is a unique food of this world that resists putridity. And above all, as stated in the holy Qur’an, it is a cure to human diseases:
“Wherein is healing for mankind. (16:69)”
Hundreds of books have been written about the bee and its life, which shows Allah’s embracing Mercy toward this apparently small, but valuable creature.
Allah’s Guidance; a Valuable Blessing
The Omnipotent Allah has willed to place human being in a corner of the world for a limited time, out of Mercy, allowing him to benefit from all the blessings that are prepared through the processes of the ethereal elements like the clouds and the winds, the sun and the moon. He has bestowed on humans a myriad of fruits, vegetables, and seeds, together with halal (pure) meat obtained from different creatures from the territory of the skies, the earth and the seas.
Allah has granted the necessary equipment to humans for establishing their life. Human beings should rely on their minds and free will to choose the path of religion and guidance which is a unique blessing, for the right path is so clearly defined by the Heavenly Books, especially the Qur’an, the holy Prophets (as), and Imams (as). By doing so, man recognizes his duty and responsibility towards his Creator and rightfully tries to fulfill these duties, so that he may reach perfection. Human beings should attempt to work for the Hereafter during the limited period of time that they have in this world and strive for attaining Allah’s satisfaction and His paradise.
If man contemplates on all the material as well as spiritual blessings granted by the Almighty, he discovers that His general Mercy has surrounded both the apparent and the hidden sides of the heavens and the earth. Man himself is cloaked to such an extent in Allah’s Mercy and His Beneficence that no other creature, even the nearest angel, is like him.
At this point, human beings should insightfully begin their spiritual journey to serve Allah and reach His countenance, not disregarding to serve Allah and His servants. They should humbly pray and worship Allah, with all their organs, at every point in time and beseech Him.
By choosing the right path that is Allah’s manifested guidance together with fulfilling the duties and serving His servants, humans, as asserted by the Holy Qur’an, will be granted great reward and Allah’s paradise.
If man commits a sin due to ignorance or negligence during his lifetime, but regrets and returns to Allah by beseeching him for repentance and compensation, Allah will forgive him. It is recommended that repentance should be accompanied by du’a’ Kumayl on Thursday night; the night of Mercy and the descent of Allah’s Blessings to the servants.
قُلْ يَا عِبَادِي الَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُوا عَلَى أَنْفُسِهِمْ لا تَقْنَطُوا مِنْ رَحْمَةِ اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ.
Say: O my people who have been prodigal against yourselves, do not despair of God’s mercy; surely God forgives sins altogether; surely He is the All-forgiving, the All-compassionate. (39:53)
There are so many verses in the holy Qur’an that end with the phrases such as:
إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ.
Allah is All-forgiving, All-compassionate. (2:173)
وَاللَّهُ رَءُوفٌ بِالْعِبَادِ.
Allah is gentle with His servants. (2:207)
وَاللَّهُ يَدْعُو إِلَى الْجَنَّةِ وَالْمَغْفِرَةِ.
Allah invites into the Garden, and forgiveness by His grace. (2:221)
أَنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ حَلِيمٌ.
And know that Allah is All-forgiving, All-clement. (2:253)
وَاللَّهُ يَخْتَصُّ بِرَحْمَتِهِ مَنْ يَشَاءُ.
But Allah singles out for His Mercy whom He will. (2:105)
وَاللَّهُ ذُو الْفَضْلِ الْعَظِيمِ.
And Allah is of infinite bounty. (2:105)
إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَفُوًّا غَفُورًا.
Allah is All-pardoning, All-forgiving. (4:43)
إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ تَوَّابًا رَحِيمًا.
Allah is Relenting, Merciful. (4:16)
وَهُوَ أَرْحَمُ الرَّاحِمِينَ.
And He is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy. (12:64)
إِنَّ رَبَّكَ وَاسِعُ الْمَغْفِرَةِ.
Surely your Lord is liberal in forgiving (53:32).
Traditions about Allah’s Mercy
Abu Sa’id Khadri has narrated from the holy Prophet (S):
When the sinful believers are sent to the Hell, the fire becomes cold for them until they are brought out. Then Allah calls on the angels: Bring them to the Paradise, because they are subjected to My infinite Mercy and Compassion.
It is narrated from the Prophet’s Household:
When the Day of Resurrection is established, the Almighty gathers the believers together and tells them: ‘I forgive your sins as they make you indebted to Me, pardon each others’ sins so that you can enter paradise.’
It is also narrated that on the Day of Resurrection, Allah calls on each of His servant: O My servant! I granted you blessings, but you committed sins. As I increased My blessings for you, you added your transgression. The servant bends his head from shyness. Allah calls: O My servant! Raise your head, since I forgave you at the same moment that you committed the sin.
Another tradition reads:
When a servant is brought before Allah on the Hereafter, she/he bends head and bursts into tear due to shame. The Almighty calls: When you committed sin cheerfully I did not make you ashamed. Now that you are not sinning and are bitterly ashamed, how can I punish you? I forgive your wrongdoing and allow you to enter My paradise.
It is narrated from the Messenger of Allah (S) who said:
Allah has a hundred kinds of Mercy, one of which He grants in this world, covering His servants with it, and He reserves the other ninety nine for the Day of Resurrection with which to endow His servants.8
The great narrator, Shaikh Saduq, has narrated from an infallible Imam:
When the Day of Resurrection is established, Allah’s Mercy is manifested and the wrongdoers are forgiven in crowds to such an extent that the outcast Satan becomes envious!
An important tradition states that when a believer servant is placed in grave, the grave is covered while friends and acquaintances return, leaving him alone the All-Compassionate Allah calls him, out of Mercy: O My servant! You are left alone in the darkness and those for whose pleasure you committed the sin and whose satisfaction you preferred over mine, have gone away. Now I grant My Mercy to you such that people are surprised. Then He calls on the angels: O My angels! My servant is lonely, alienated, and forlorn and is My guest. Go help him and open an entrance to paradise for him! Bring him all kinds of flowers and foods! Then leave him alone, because I will be his companion until the Day of Resurrection!9
Stories of Allah’s Mercy
It is narrated that on the Day of Resurrection, the servant is called to account and his letter of deeds, full of sins, is given to his left hand. When getting the letter, the servant states “bismillahi (In the Name of Allah)”, out of habit, seeking Mercy of Allah. Once he opens it, he finds the letter of his deeds blank and exclaims with astonishment: “There is nothing to read.” The angels say: “There were your sins written in this letter, which were erased due to the verse you recited, and Allah forgave all your sins.”10
Jesus Christ and the sinner
In a tradition we read that one day Prophet Jesus (as) went along a road with his apostles, when a notorious sinner known for his immorality and wickedness saw them. He began to sincerely regret his previous sins, saw himself damned, and burst into tears, seeking Allah’s forgiveness. Then he thought with himself: “I have not done a good deed in all my life so I do not deserve to accompany the apostles.
But since they are Allah’s friends I should follow them.” So he pursued them and called them. One of the apostles turned and looked at the man who was renowned for impiety and said: “O Jesus! How can this evildoer follow us? Which religion allows him to accompanying us? Send him away and ask him not to follow us, as his sins may make our lives inauspicious!”
Jesus (as) was beginning to think how he could expel that man when the Almighty revealed to him: “O Jesus! Tell your proud apostle to resume his deeds, because We removed all his good deeds for the contemptuous look that he had on the remorseful sinner. And give good tidings to Our sinner servant that We forgave his sins and redirected him to guidance due to his repentance from past deeds.”11
The Sinful Youth
Mulla Fat’h Allah al-Kashani in the exegesis “Minhaj al-Sadiqin”, and Ayatollah Kalbasi in the book “Anis al-Layl” have narrated: “In the time of Maliki Dinar, a sinner youth died. Because of his being a transgressor, people did not shroud or bury his body. While sleeping, Maliki Dinar dreamed of Allah telling him: “Go and bury the body of Our servant in the cemetery of the pious believers, after washing and shrouding it.” Malik answered: “O Allah! He was among the impious people. How could he become so near to You?” He was answered: “When dying, that sinner wept and said:
يَا مَنْ لَهُ الدُّنْيا وَالآخِرَةُ ارْحَمْ مَن لَيسَ لَهُ الدُّنْيَا وَالآخِرَةُ!
‘O the Master of this world and the Hereafter! Pity the one who has nothing in the world nor in the Hereafter!’
O Malik! Which suffering servant has come to Us and we did not cure him? And which deprived servant has come to Us and We did not grant him his wish?”12
In the time of Mansur Ibn ‘Ammar, who was among the Gnostics, a rich man decided to organize a sinful ceremony. So, giving his servant four drachmas, he sent him to the market to buy food for serving the guests.
When going to the market, the servant passed by the assembly of Mansur Ibn ‘Ammar and said to himself: “I’d better stand here and listen to what Mansur Ibn ‘Ammar says.” He heard Mansur asking help for a poor from the assembly, saying: “Who will give me four drachmas so that I will ask four things for him from Allah?”
The servant of the rich man thought to himself: “It is better to give the money to Mansur and benefit from his prayer, rather than buying food and drinks for the sinners with this money.” So the servant gave the money to Mansur and said: “Ask four things for me from Allah!” Mansur said: “What would you like me to ask for you from Allah?” The servant replied: “First, ask Allah to free me from the slavery of my master! Second, ask Allah to help my master regretful! Third, that He return this four drachmas to me in some way! Fourth, that the Almighty forgive my sins and that of him, his servants and his guests altogether!”
Mansur prayed for the servant and he returned to his master without buying anything. The rich man asked his servant: “Where were you?” “O master! I gave four drachmas and bought four prayers.” The servant replied. The rich man asked about the four prayers. The servant said in reply: “First, that Allah make me free from slavery.” The master said: “I make you free in Allah’s path.” “Second, that you repent.” “I do repent,” the master replied. “Third, that Allah return me the four drachmas”
The rich man gave him another four drachmas. “And fourth,” said the servant “that the Almighty forgive you, me and all your guests.” The master answered: “I did what I could. But this last one is beyond my ability.” At night, the master dreamed of Allah revealing to him: “O servant! You did your duty, out of mercy, though you are very poor indeed. It is beyond Our Infinite Mercy that We do not do Our duty. Thus, We forgave you, your servant, and all those present in your gathering.”
Meeting the Generous Allah
A wise man crossed a road where he saw a group of people expelling a young man from town, because of his corruption. A woman, who was weeping uncontrollably, followed them. The wise man asked about the woman and found that she was the young man’s mother. The wise man pitied the mother and mediated for him before the group, saying: “Forgive the young man this one time, and if he resorts to corruption again, you should then expel him from town.”
Later, the wise man returned to the same neighborhood and heard a voice crying behind a door. He thought that the young man has been expelled from the town, due to his corruption and his mother was crying in his absence. He knocked at the door and the young man’s mother opened it. The wise man asked about the woman’s son.
The woman replied: “He has died, but his death was not an ordinary one. When death approached, he said: ‘Do not inform the neighbors of my death. I have annoyed them immensely and they have reproached me much. I don’t want them to be present on my body. Wash and shroud my body yourself and bury this ring with me. I have just bought it and “bismillahir-rahmanir-rahim” is written on it. Ask Allah to forgive me while you stand beside my grave.’ I did as he had willed and when I was returning from his grave, it was as if I heard him saying: ‘Go and relax mum! I met the Generous!’”13
Repentance After Repentance
The great Persian poet, Attar, narrates in his “Mantiq Al-Tiyr”: After committing sin after sin, a sinner decided to finally repent for his previous deeds. However, his carnal soul made him repeat his previous sins but he repented again. He violated his repentance once more and by then was so drenched in sins that he could experience the worldly punishment of his crimes.
Finally he found out that his life, which he had spent in corruption, was coming to an end. He wanted to repent, but he was too ashamed to do so. Like a wheat grain on the fire, he was burning in despair, until the dawn in which he heard a hidden caller saying: “O sinner! The Compassionate says: ‘When you first repented I accepted it, but you broke your promise. I granted you respite to repent again and accepted it, while I could punish you. Still you committed sins and sank yourself in wrongdoing. If you want to repent now, do so and I will accept your repentance.’14
Prayer of a Lost is Answered
Attar narrates in “Mantiq al-Tayr”: One night, Gabriel was by Sidratul Muntaha15, when he heard the Almighty saying labbayk16, in reply to someone Gabriel did not know. He wanted to know who was the one who deserved to be answered by Allah, but found no one in all the heavens and the earth, although, he still heard Allah repeating his reply. He searched again but saw nobody of such rank before Allah.
He asked the Almighty: ‘O Allah! Direct me to your servant whom you have answers!’ He was answered: ‘Watch Rome!’ Gabriel looked and saw an idolater in a temple crying and calling an idol. Gabriel was astonished by this and said: ‘Uncover the truth for me! How comean idolater calls his idol and You answer him out of Mercy?’ Gabriel was replied: ‘My servant’s heart had become so hard that he had lost his way. But I am pleased with the way he worships, hence I reply to him so that he may find the right path.’ At the same moment, the idolater began to call the Unique Allah!17
Change from the Unlucky Book to the Lucky Book
The author of “exegesis of fatihat Al-Kitab”, which is one of the most important scientific and Gnostic books written by a scholar after the age of al-Faydh al-Kashani, narrates that:
In the Israelites, there was a pious worshipper who had secluded himself from other people, and remained in his own solitude. He had worshipped Allah so devotedly day and night that all the angels has befriended him. Gabriel, too, who was the guardian of heavenly secrets, asked the Almighty to be allowed to descend in order to meet the pious man. He was ordered: ‘Look into the Lawhul Mahfuz18 to see his position!’
Gabriel looked and found the pious man’s name amongst the unlucky. He was surprised at the unpredictability of fates, ceased the desire of meeting him, and said: ‘O Allah! No one can stand against your verdict and tolerate these peculiarities.’ He was called: ‘Since you have wished to see him for a while, now go and meet him and tell him what you saw.’
Gabriel descended into the pious man’s convent to find a slim and weak individual who was praying enthusiastically and wholeheartedly; sometimes standing in front of the altar while at other times humbly prostrating on the soil before Allah. Gabriel greeted him and said: ‘O pious man! Do not get yourself into trouble! Because your name is written among the unlucky.’
Hearing this, the pious smiled like a new flower that has blossomed with the morning breeze, and as a melodious nightingale on seeing the flower began reciting ‘Praise be to Allah.’
Gabriel said: ‘Poor man! How can you call ‘Praise be to Allah’ at this miserable story? You should be gloomy, rather than delighted!’
The old pious replied: ‘Do not speak this way, because I am the servant and He is my Master. A servant would not wish anything beyond his Master’s will. He has the power to do as He is inclined, and take me where he wills. Praise be to Allah that if I do not deserve going to paradise, I am needed as the wood for the hell!’
Gabriel returned to his own spot while seeing the state of this man who was so excited at his condition. Allah ordered him to look at the Divine Memory to see what the painter of “Allah blots out, and He establishes whatsoever He will…”19 has drawn and what the creator of “And Allah does what He will…”20has painted. Gabriel looked and saw the pious man’s name among the lucky. He was astonished and said: ‘O Allah! What is the secret of this story? And what is the reason for shifting his name from the unlucky to the lucky?’
He was answered: ‘O the trustee of revealing secrets! When you informed the pious of his stance he did not groan, but he was patient and surrendered himself to My will and his destiny; he said ‘Praise be to Allah’, calling Me with all My praiseworthy names. So I was inclined to name him among the lucky instead of the unlucky, out of Mercy.’21
- 1. Ofoq-e Danesh: 11.
- 2. Gozashte va ayande-ye jahan : 20-27.
- 3. Ofoq-e Danesh: 118.
- 4. Ofoq-e Danesh: 118.
- 5. Gozashte va ayande ye jahan : 51-70
- 6. Neshane ha-ie az ‘ou : 1/174.
- 7. Neshane ha-ie az ‘ou : 2/92.
- 8. Mahajjat Al-Bayza’: 8/384, Bab fi sa’ati rahmati Allah.
- 9. Traditions on Allah’s Mercy are explicitly narrated in Bihar al-Anwar: 7/ 286, Bab 14 ma yazharu min rahmatihi ta’ala fil qiama, Mahajjat Al-Bayza’: 8/383, Bab fi sa’ati rahmati Allah, the exegesis of fatihat Al-Kitab and Quran exegesis.
- 10. The exegesis of Fatihat Al-Kitab: 74.
- 11. The exegesis of Fatihat al-Kitab: 63.
- 12. Anis al-Layl: 45.
- 13. The exegesis Ruh Al-Bayan: 1/337.
- 14. Anis al-Layl: 45.
- 15. The farthest lote-tree a tree in the seventh heaven
- 16. Saying: “Here I am.”
- 17. Anis al-Layl: 46.
- 18. Divine memory tablet on which human destinies or deeds are recorded.
- 19. “يمحو الله ما يشاء ويثبت” (13:39).
- 20. “ويفعل الله ما يشاء”(14:27).
- 21. The exegesis of fatihat Al-Kitab: 107.