Say, “O My servants who have committed excesses against their own souls! despair not of the mercy of Allah, surely Allah forgives all sins. Verily He is Most Forgiving, Merciful. And turn ye to your Lord, and submit yourselves to Him, before there comes unto you the punishment; for then you shall not be helped. (39:54-55)
In the Holy Quran, Allah the Exalted, in various verses in the context of various topics has drawn the attention of His servants that He is Most Forgiving and Ever Merciful. These verses that I have recited, in the first of them, this same subject has been discussed. And in it there is a beautiful message for every such person who is fearful of the punishment of God for having committed sins and wishes to absorb the Mercy of Allah and benefit from His Mercy and Forgiveness. Allah, the Exalted, says, “O My servants despair not My mercy. I am the Master and possess the Power to forgive your sins and wrap you in the raiment of My Mercy.” What a beautiful message and how it lifts our hopes and does away with hopelessness.
This is the very message which is saying to the people that hopelessness is a sin. This message takes us in the direction of saving us from weaknesses and keeping us away from the failures of life. This is so because it is hopelessness that often becomes the cause of weakness and lead one to failures. But hopelessness and failures cannot approach the one who comes under the Mercy of Allah, the Exalted.
This is the message that shows us the ways by walking upon which we can fulfill the commands of God and achieve the love of God so that by acquiring His nearness we may be able to go on benefiting from His Mercies.
Thus this message is a brightly lit up way for all who have lost their direction. This message is a message of life for all who have become spiritually dead. This message is the announcement of freedom for those caught in the clutches of Satan. How Lovely is our God Who looks upon us with such Loving looks, Who says repeatedly to those who believe in Him:
“Despair not of the mercy of Allah;” (12:88)
“none despairs of Allah’s mercy save the unbelieving people.” (12:88)
So if you claim to have faith, always be hopeful of receiving the Mercy and Forgiveness of God. You have become involved in some bad deeds due to your human frailties but you are not of those who have become lost or gone astray because it is only those who have become lost who lose hope of God’s Mercy. These are the people who do not believe in God Almighty. They do not believe in His Graciousness. Hopelessness is a characteristic of those who have gone astray.
Allah, the Exalted, says:
‘And who can despair of the mercy of his Lord save those who go astray?’ (15:57)
So certainly for those who are agitated and restless because of their own state of being, there can be no more comforting and more sympathetic message than this.
Not only this, our God then also says to us that He does not punish us immediately for our bad deeds, but rather:
And thy Lord is Most Forgiving, full of mercy. (18:59)
And why? Because:
Your Lord has taken it upon Himself to show mercy.. (6:55)
So He forgives those evil deeds that you do out of ignorance. So you should turn your attention towards reforming yourselves. If your attention will be towards His Mercy as you effect reformation then you should know that that Most Forgiving and Ever Merciful God is indeed Most Forgiving and Ever Merciful. And not only this that He is Most Forgiving and Ever Merciful, but He says:
My mercy encompasses all things...(7:157)
Here, the concept extends well beyond just applicability to those who believe. Here it is not just the believers who are being talked about. This Mercy reaches even those who do not believe. And for the believers it has been deemed obligatory. He can and does forgive all sins. This is what Allah, the Exalted, is saying. He is the Master. For Him to Forgive He is not constrained by anything. But does such a Loving and Merciful God’s Mercy and Love not require that we should increase our love for Him by obeying Him and acting upon His commandments and become closer to Him and try to the best of our abilities to get rid of our weaknesses and mend our sinful ways.
All these things that I have stated based on the teachings contained in the Holy Quran and similarly the traditions or narrations of this type of the Holy Prophet (sa) that reach us - all of them tell us that no one, no person is beyond the pale of effecting a reformation. No matter how far gone the situation of a person may have deteriorated, reform is still possible. Everyone can be reformed. Everyone can gain benefit of the Mercy of God Almighty so long as he tries truly to purify his heart and actions.
This article and the accompanying slide show are a summary of Friday Sermon of July 18th delivered by Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad at, the Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community