The phrase la’allakum turhamoon, translated as “that you may attain God’s mercy” is repeated eight times in the Quran. Looking at these 8 mentions provide a good Quranic guide for attaining the Mercy of Allah SWT, a guide for those who love the Quran and respect its advice and recommendations. Below are the eight mentions in the Quran followed by my analysis.
Surat Al `Imran
And obey Allah and the Messenger that you may attain God’s mercy. [Quran 3:132]
And this [Quran] We have bestowed from on high, a blessed one: follow it, then, and be conscious of God, so that you may attain God’s mercy. [Quran 6:155]
Why, do you deem it strange that a tiding from your Sustainer should have come unto you through a man from among yourselves, so that he might warn you, and that you might become conscious of God, and that you may attain God’s mercy? [Quran 7:63]
When the Qur’an is recited, listen to it and pay attention that you may attain God’s mercy. [Quran 7:204]
Hence, [O believers,] be constant in salah, and give zakah, and obey the Messenger, so that you may attain God’s mercy. [Quran 24:56]
Said [Salih to the erring ones]: Why do you seek to hasten the coming upon you of evil instead of hoping for the good? Why do you not, rather, ask God to forgive you your sins, so that you may attain God’s mercy? [Quran 27:46]
When they are told, “guard yourselves against what is before you and what is behind you, in order that you may attain God’s mercy,” [they turn away]. [Quran 36:45]
The believers are brothers of one another; therefore create reconciliation between your brothers and fear Allah, that you may attain God’s mercy. [Quran 49:10]
Here are the actions that these verses command us so that we may attain God’s mercy:
- Having taqwa [fear and mindfulness of God and protection of oneself from displeasing God] [3 times]
- Respecting the Quran and following it [3 times]
- Obeying the Messenger [SAW] [2 times]
- Obeying Allah [SWT] [1 time]
- Making istighfar [praying to God for forgiveness] [1 time]
- Performing salah [1 time]
- Giving zakah [1 time]
- Helping, fixing and improving the relationships between the believers. [1 time]
The numbers add up to more than 8 because many of the verses contain multiple commands. Obeying Allah is mentioned only once even though it is the most important command, maybe because whichever command you follow you are obeying Allah. The command to obey Allah can be considered a reference to every other command in the Quran.
Of note here is the command for islah
[helping and improving relationships] between the believers. If you are in need of Allah’s mercy (and who isn’t?), trying to have an active role in improving people’s relationships will inshAllah
lead to good results.
In Quran 7:24 above, it is said “when the Quran is recited”, which means that the reciter could be anyone, including yourself. The command is to pay attention when the Quran is recited. Which means that when you read Quran and recite Quran, if you do your best to pay attention to your recitation, Allah will,inshAllah
look down on you with loving mercy at such a time, be it a small chapter recited during salah
. And the best time to recite the Quran is when you are standing in salah
, especially at night after the isha
prayer, for at such a time you’d be obeying Allah’s extremely important command in Surat al-Muzammil that today unfortunately 99% of Muslims feel free to ignore:
O you who are wrapped in your clothing. Spend the night in standing, except for a little. Half of it, or decrease a little from it, or increase a little on it. And recite the Quran in tarteel (in a beautiful manner and without hurry). [Quran 73:1-4]
“The night” in this verse means the period between the `isha
prayer and the fajr
prayer. Half of the night for me is 5 and a half hours where I’m writing this in Sulaimaniyyah, Iraq in February. When the verse says add a little to it or decrease a little from it, it means either to do this recitation for one third of the night, half of the night, or two thirds, as it becomes clear at the end of the chapter.
According to a hadith
from `Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, when this chapter was revealed to the Prophet, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, the Prophet and a group of the dedicated believers with him used to stand up in prayer for so long at night that their feet would swell. They weren’t sure just how much of the night to stand to please Allah, so they would often end up standing until dawn (since they had no accurate ways of measuring time). This state went on, according to `Aisha, for a whole year until the last verse of the chapter was revealed:
Indeed, your Lord knows, [O Muhammad], that you stand [in prayer] almost two thirds of the night or half of it or a third of it, and [so do] a group of those with you. And Allah determines [the extent of] the night and the day. He has known that you [Muslims] will not be able to do it [perfectly] and has turned to you in forgiveness, so recite what is easy [for you] of the Qur’an. He has known that there will be among you those who are ill and others traveling throughout the land seeking [something] of the bounty of Allah and others fighting for the cause of Allah . So recite what is easy from it and establish prayer and give zakah and loan Allah a goodly loan. And whatever good you put forward for yourselves - you will find it with Allah . It is better and greater in reward. And seek forgiveness of Allah . Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. [Quran 73:20]
In this verse Allah’s mercy, kindness and understanding is shown. Allah says to “recite what is easy” of the Qur’an. Unfortunately most take this to mean “recite it when you have absolutely nothing else to do.” But the verse subtly tells us, those of us who are dedicated to Allah and love His book, which excuses are valid in Allah’s eyes: illness, travel, and being engaged in war.
Therefore if you are one of those who are truly dedicated to Allah, I recommend that you make it your goal to carry out this command of dedicating at least one third of the night to reciting the Quran in prayer. Unfortunately excuses are too easy to find to avoid carrying out this command. But we should never forget that an entire chapter of the Quran
is dedicated to this one command. And that the elite group of Muslims who were with the prophet took it (very) seriously and carried it out. If we wish to be like them and to be in their ranks (and even compete with them as the Quran commands), we should never ignore this command like most Muslims do. Because we aren’t most Muslims. We are [inshAllah
and by the grace of Allah] Allah’s chosen ones:
Those who listen to what is said and follow the best of it: [for] it is they whom God has graced with His guidance, and it is they who are [truly] people of understanding! [Quran 39:18]
One quick excuse that I have said to myself too often is that “I haven’t memorized the entire Quran, I will stand the night in prayer when I finish memorizing it!” [even though I wasn’t actively memorizing]. This is forgetting the fact that the chapter was revealed at the earliest days of Islam when little of the Quran was revealed. Therefore what you know of the Quran could possibly more than what many of the Prophet’s companions knew at the time, yet they carried out the command.
Therefore to truly carry out this command we should either spend at least one third of the night in salah
in which we recite Quran, or we should spend it in memorizing the Quran to make it possible for us to recite it in salah
And for those who don’t speak Arabic they should dedicate the night to learning. However as I have learned many times, we shouldn’t let secondary goals get in the way of our Quran reading. Therefore whatever you do to make it possible to carry out God’s command, you should continue to read Quran so that you can stay close to Allah. You can for example dedicate one third of the night to reading the Quran (in the language you understand) and to reciting the Quran you know in prayer, and another third to learning Arabic or memorizing Quran.
In all of this we shouldn’t forget that Allah [SWT] is very kind and merciful and we shouldn’t lose hope if we fail sometimes. What’s important is to constantly guard ourselves against insincere excuses.
One important note is to not look down on those who don’t try to carry out this command. Because as the last verse of the chapter (73:20) says, even at the time of the Prophet, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, only “a group” of the believers carried this command out. Those of us who are (or wish to be) the vanguard of the ummah
, its intellectuals, those who “listen to what is said and follow the best of it”, those who always try to do what’s right and good, those are the ones this command is meant for. The vast majority of the population will not be eager believers regardless of how much we wish them to be.
AND [remember:] We have not created the heavens and the earth and all that is between them without [an inner] truth; but, behold, the Hour [when this will become clear to all] is indeed yet to come. Hence, forgive [men’s failings] with fair forbearance. [Quran 15:85]
Therefore if you wish to help people, do it in a beautiful way and with kindness, without criticism or humiliation. And if this fails then leave them alone in a non-aggressive and beautiful manner as the Quran commands:
and endure with patience whatever people say, and avoid them with a comely avoidance.
And pray for them, but don’t say you are praying for them in a passive-aggressive manner, since that’s not the attitude of the one who loves and follows Allah’s book.
The more knowledge we gain and the closer we get to Allah, the more kind, humble and non-patronizing we should become among people and the more beloved it should make us to them. For the true believer is needless, kind, and giving, and people love those who are like this. If your Islam is stressing your relationships and creating aggression in you toward others, there is probably something wrong with your heart and your understanding of Islam and the Quran.
May Allah guide us and shower His mercy upon us and forgive our sins and errors.
And to Allah all knowledge belongs. Whatever good there is in this, it is from Allah, and whatever bad and wrong from myself.