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Meaning of the Hadith of mercy

Question

What’s the meaning of “the One in the heavens” in the following Hadith, because we know that Allah is beyond having limits placed on Him.

ارْحَمُوا مَنْ فِي الْأَرْضِ يَرْحَمْكُمْ مَنْ فِي السَّمَاءِ

“Be merciful to those on the earth and the One in the heavens will have mercy upon you.”

 

Answer

The translation you have provided above is very literal.

The commentators have explained it to mean:

1. ‘Be merciful to those on earth, and the One [whose mercy engulfs the inhabitants] of the sky will be merciful to you too.’

Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) used this parable because the inhabitants of the sky are much more than those on Earth. This explains the vastness of Allah’s mercy.

(Sharh Ibn Raslan, Hadith: 4941 & Faydul Qadir, Hadith: 4489)

 

2. It could also mean:

‘Be merciful to those on earth, and the inhabitants of the sky [i.e, the Angels] will be merciful to you too.’

(Faydul Qadir, Hadith: 4489)

 

Note: When translating texts like this literally, it is always best to provide the accompanying explanation to avoid confusion. Or else, it would be safer to provide the explanatory translation as I have given above.

 

 

And Allah Ta’ala Knows best,

 

Answered by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar