God is Gracious and Merciful

I find among Muslims, the same mentality as I did in many Christians, that God is waiting and ready to damn us all to hell. Every one’s focus is on what is haram (forbidden) and think that God is watching for us to make one step into disgrace. It is the same fire and damnation theme I saw in church growing up.

It frustrates me that they do not know God as I know Him. Do they not realize that in 113 of 114 surahs in the Quran, begin with Bismillahi Ar Rahman, Ar Raheem (In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful)? Why would this be reinforced throughout the Quran? Perhaps we are suppose to keep this view of God, our creator, in mind. We are not suppose to think of Him as vicious and vindictive God.

God created us, He knows our fallibility. In the Quran, it says, “And Allah wants to lighten for you [your difficulties]; and mankind was created weak.” (Surah Al Nisa: ayah 28). And He acknowledges that He knowingly made us impatient and hasty: “Man has been created hasty; very soon I shall show you My signs, do not be impatient,” (Surah Al Anbiya: aya 37) Yet, despite our flawed reality, God reminds us repeatedly that He is in fact gracious and merciful.

God gave us life despite us being sinful, impatient and weak. So why do we think of Him in such a dreadful light? “Say, “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.”” (Surah Az Zumar: ayah 53). Would it not be better that we be grateful and live the best life possible?

God even tells us to be grateful: “And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny [my favors], indeed, My punishment is severe.’ ” (Surah Ibrahim: ayah 7) But, we only look at all that is haram in this life instead of seeing all that is halal for us: seeing life as a limitation and not a blessing. He made Islam easy for us to live: “Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship…” (Surah al Baqarah: ayah 185)

Please, next time you want to start shaking your haram police finger at people, next time you want to judge someone as damned to hell, next time you want to box yourself up to spare your perfect self from mingling with the nasty world… all to preserve your heaven-bound self; remember that God is better than you see Him. He is not petty, heedless, and weak like us. He is omnipotent, exempt of those unsavory traits. He is indeed compassionate, gracious, merciful and loving.

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