God has 99 names that describe His attributes. The first of these names is ‘Rahman’ which means the most merciful. This is a basic translation of what Muslims believe to be God’s most supreme and abounding quality that transcends all of His creation.
Muslims are reminded of this quality every day with the formula, ‘Bismillah al Rahman al Rahim‘ (In the name of God, the most Merciful, the most Compassionate) which is recited in every prayer and at the beginning of every action such as eating, before sleeping, after waking etc. It is also found at the beginning of 113 chapters of the Quran.
When asking for God’s mercy, there is a great sense of hope: “Say: O My servants who have transgressed against your own souls: do not despair of God’s mercy, for God forgives all sins.” (Quran, 39:53).
The Quran also says, “The Lord has made Mercy incumbent upon Himself.” (6:54). Muhammad is described to have been sent by God as a ‘Mercy to mankind’ (Quran, 21:107).
Although it is God’s greatest quality, it is also one that Muslims are expected to practise since it is mercy that allows all relationships to function, repair and flourish.