Islamic Clemency and Mercy in Narration 1

Islamic clemency and mercy has been reflected in the various and numerous narrations, to some of which we refer hereunder:

Affection is the Basis of Religion

Imam Sadiq (as) says:

هل الدین الا الحب! ان الله عز و جل یقول: قل ان کنتم تحبون الله فاتبعونی یحببکم الله

"Is religion anything save affection and mercy?! (Then he reasons: because) The Almighty God says: "If you love God, obey my instructions (Prophet (S) to be loved by God." (1)

That is to say, the motive for obeying divine instructions is love and affection towards God.

We read in another narration from Imam Baqir (as):

الدین هو الحب و الحب هو الدین

"Religion is affection, and affection is religion."(2)

Sometimes intellectual reasoning is man’s motive for doing something, and sometimes his love and affection make him do something. Are these two motives similar?

God sets love between the spouses for continuation of human generation. If logic and intellectual reasoning served to be man’s motive for survival of its generation, and for instance if he thinks:

“One shall marry for survival of its generation to have offspring and bear all the related troubles and difficulties “or “Since I need help for when I become old and weak, and need someone to help and support me, then, I shall marry to have children”.

If one’s motive for marriage is any of above intellectual reasoning, only one per hundred would undertake to marry and bear the numerous hardships, problems and failures of matrimony and breeding.

However, the sexual attraction and love leads humans towards marriage despite of all its problems so that they accept and bear all hardships voluntarily, and rather, spend their entire life for their children to raise them and help them to learn to walk and talk. Right! The motive of love and affection causes such strange and amazing power.

It is applicable to the religious programs too, and for this reason the above narrations have stressed on love and affection. If you are a lover, you will be led to divine obedience and will undertake its hardships. If you are a lover of Imam of the Time (as), it will be easy for you to obey his orders and fight with vices and evils. Right!
Love and affection facilitates tasks. Is the religious doctrine which promotes the motive of its followers to be affection and love and introduces a religion equal to love and affection, be the religion of violence?

Islamic Mercy in the Battlefield

Islamic clemency and mercy is so extensive that it appears in the battlefield too. In other words, Islam renders such importance to affection, benevolence and clemency that it recommends it to its followers even in the center of violence and harshness! On this account, we find remarkable points in this respect in the narrations concerned with manners and rules of warfare, one of which is referred to hereunder:

Imam Sadiq (as) says: When Islam’s Prophet (S) decided to send soldiers to the battlefield; he called and reminded them the rules(3), (so that if a soldier disregarded the rules, he was reproached):

سیروا بسم الله و بالله و فی سبیل الله و علی ملة رسول الله

“Depart towards the battlefield (but not for sensual desires; rather), in the name of God and for His consent, and with a pure intention for Him free from any non-godly motive and act as per the Islamic programs (which will be explained later).”

“Do not betray ( لا تغلوا )”

: What is meant by this phrase? Three possible concepts could be understood: First: Do not betray when distributing war spoils. It has also been mentioned in some other Qur’anic verses to divide what belongs to the government and leadership, and what for the warriors shall be distributed among them fairly.

Second: The previous warriors may have betrayed each other in some affairs others than spoils. Third: Not only must you not betray your mate warriors, but also do not betray your enemies, and fight with them chivalrously.

“Do not mutilate (“و لا تمثلوا )

: Do not mutilate the corpse of your enemy after killing him. It has been narrated from Islam Prophet (S): Even if a wild dog attacked you, and you killed it. You are not authorised to mutilate it.(4) “Do not deceive”: If you agreed for peace with your enemy, and signed cease fire with him, respect your promise and contract, and do not violate it. Muslim is one who is faithful even to the promise and contract he binds with his enemies. Hazrat ‘Ali (as) writes to his brave commander, Malik al-Ashtar: If a contract and promise is concluded between you and your enemy, or you gave refuge to him, be faithful to your promise, and trustful to what you have undertaken, and do not spare your life for your promise, because none of divine obligations is similar to fulfillment of promise, in which all people in the world agree despite of all different thoughts and desires they may have.(5)

لا تقتلوا شیخا فانیا و لا صبیا و لا امرأة

“Do not attack the weak and unable people who do not participate in the war, and do not kill the feeble old men, children and ladies.”

و لا تقطعوا شجراً الا ان تضطروا الیها

“Do not cut trees, unless you have to!”

Studying these high rules and prudent and advanced instructions, one finds and is surprised with magnificence of Islam and scope of Islamic mercy. The Islamic clemency is even extended to the center of violence, and it includes even the trees. Prophet (S) orders his soldiers not to cut any tree at the time of war and battle, and not to hurt nature, unless the trees impede progress of Muslim soldiers and host of Qur’an. In this case, there is no problem for cutting them as much as necessary.

Continue in the next article: ( Islamic Clemency and Mercy in Narration 2 )



1. Mizan ul-Hikmah, chapter 658, narration 3097 (Vol. II, p. 215)

2. Nur’uth-Thaqalayn, Vol. 5, p. 285, narration 49

3. Wasa’il ush-Shi’a, Vol. 11, p. 43

4. Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 42, p. 246 & 257

5. Nahjul Balaghah, letter 53