What Happens If People Do Not Live by The Qur'anic Understanding of Mercy?
The only way that ensures a peaceful and happy life for a community is the exercise of mercy as defined by the Qur'an. Failing to incorporate this model in daily life makes unrest, disorder and injustice take root in society. That is simply because, where mercy is absent, cruelty must exist. In a society harassed by cruelty, its members suffer both physical and spiritual harm. Indeed, the news bulletins we listen to every day make this point most obvious; they are full of the cruelty inflicted on people; people who starve, mothers who beg on the streets to feed their children, those who are oppressed, attacked or beaten, those who live in abject poverty in tents, people who commit suicide or fight for a loaf of bread… The main reason for all this misery is the cruelty and mercilessness brought about by disbelief.
Other than the concept of mercy as revealed by the Qur'an, which stems from the fear and love of Allah, there is no reason that would prevent an individual from committing wicked deeds. In a society where people do not feel true mercy, there is nothing to prevent them from abusing women and children, murdering people for theft, leaving orphans on the streets and committing many similar misdeeds.
In a society devoid of the Qur'anic understanding of mercy, the well-off do nothing to ensure the well-being of the poor, the rights of those who are unjustly treated remain undefended, and no shelter is provided for those who sleep out on streets. Unless there is something to be gained, no one troubles to help another. While there are people out on the streets starving to death, the affluent throw huge amounts of food—enough to feed hundreds of people—into the garbage. Similarly, people stoop to such venality as pursuing vested interests, perpetrating fraud or violating others' rights.
Again, the members of such a society do not take any serious action again of fraud, injustice and falsehood, but simply keep their mouths shut. They never aspire to solve the problems of others and even consider this a vain endeavour. Therefore, a system emerges in which no one feels responsible for another, no one takes any risks to protect others and no one stands up for others' rights.
The cruel and merciless oppress the weak as they please. In an environment in which people do not live by the Qur'anic mercy and good values instilled by religion, unrest, trouble and cruelty become all-pervasive.
However, it should be borne in mind that one who is merciless primarily causes harm to himself. One who ignores the right guidance of his conscience and indulges in cruelty can never be at peace with himself. That is because, deep inside, he does suffer the pangs of conscience. Every once in a while, his conscience gives him pain; he stumbles upon a person in need and recalls that he does not help the poor although he could if he wanted to. Similarly, every time he acts selfishly, his conscience bothers him. The only way to ease his conscience is to follow its dictates. That is because, conscience is the power that leads one to Allah's approval and the Qur'an. That is because, by nature, man attains happiness only when he follows the voice of his conscience.
No matter how the individual strives to forget or suppress his mercilessness or avoids acknowledging the injustice and unfairness around him, his conscience never allows him to forget his cruel attitudes.
In a society in which Islamic morality is adopted, overall peace and security prevail. People feel assured that they will definitely receive help when they need support. Those having adequate means never leave the poor and the homeless in despair. Children are raised in healthy environments where they are offered due care and love. The strong never oppress the weak. Nobody violates others' rights. Means are allocated fairly, thereby offering everyone favourable conditions in which to live. The number of cruel people diminish and cruelty disappears. Everyone is entitled to have access to medical care, and a clean and comfortable environment, no matter whether they are rich or poor.
Hence, the only way to be saved from the chaos and the cruelty which is caused by irreligion is to live by standards of mercy described in the Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.
Moreover, turning away from cruelty to mercy is just a matter of reforming one's intentions. This will bring the individual a blissful life both in this world and beyond. Indeed, this change will make him recognise the perfection of the values of the Qur'an. Besides, Allah promises to forgive the wrongdoings of those who decide to eschew cruelty and live by the values of the Qur'an:
But if anyone repents after his wrongdoing and puts things right, Allah will turn towards him. Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surat al-Ma'ida: 39)