We must first define Islam according to the dictionary: Islam is a proper noun, denoting those who adhere to the religion of Islam. The word ‘islam’ means showing submission and acceptance of what the Prophet brought from God. It denotes devotion to God and submission to His commands.


THE ALMIGHTY SAID: Surely the religion with Allah is Islam[1] while the concept of mercy linguistically basically denotes tenderness, kindness and sympathy, compassion for people, the merciful conduct of one towards another. Technically the term may be employed at times for tenderness in the abstract, at times for charity. From the Al-Ghanī lexicon I cite the following about the Arabic word ‘revenge’: ‘Niqma (pl. niqam)  as in ‘his niqma was severe’, i.e. His punishment’.[2]

If we assume, for the sake of argument, that Islam is a religion of mercy for peoples / non-Muslims, is this equitable? It is not because Islam declares the adherents of other religions – such as Jews, Christians and Sabaeans – as ‘Disbelievers’ if they do not believe in the faith. This corresponds to the verse: 

Fight those who have been given the Scripture but do not believe in Allah, nor in the latter day, and those who do not prohibit what Allah and His Messenger have prohibited, nor follow the religion of truth, until they pay the tax readily while in a state of subjection.[3]

So the Qur’ānic text that says And we sent you only as a mercy to the worlds [4] contradicts this and also the hadith of the Prophet himself 

I have been commanded to fight against the people till they testify ‘There is no true god except Allah’ and that Muḥammad is His slave and Messenger, and to establish the Prayer and to pay Zakāh; and if they do this, then their blood and property are secured except by the rights of Islam, and their accountability is left to Allah.[5]

Neither Islam nor even the Prophet has ever been a mercy to the worlds

That is, neither Islam nor even the Prophet has ever been a mercy to the worlds.

As for the Muslims themselves, Islam for them is also not a religion of mercy even though they are its followers. It is actually a vengeance and a scourge for them, for the Prophet of Islam also says that all the Islamic denominations will go to Hell except one, as the following hadith indicates:

 My nation will be divided into seventy-three sects, all of which except one are in Hellfire,[6]

and until now it is not known which one of these sects will go to Heaven, and who are the rest of the sects that are to be eternally in Hellfire. On the other hand, Muslims themselves are divided, sectarian and differ among themselves; the Sunnīs call the Shi‘ites al-Rawāfiḍ (‘Refusers’[7] ), the Shi‘tes call the Sunnis alNawāṣib [8] while some declare the rest of the sects such as the Sufis and Ahmadis to be outright infidels. All declare against the Jews and Christians who follow:

The path of those upon whom Thou hast bestowed favours. Not the path of those upon whom Thy wrath is brought down, nor of those who go astray.[9]

and which, according to the interpretation of Ibn Kathīr:

ascribes in particular ‘wrath’ for the Jews whom Allah has cursed and brought His wrath upon[10] and in particular ‘astray’ for the Christians who went astray before and led many astray and went astray from the right path. [11]

As for the Muslims themselves, Islam for them is also not a religion of mercy even though they are its followers

If we go back to the definition of Islam that holds that (‘Islam manifests submission and acceptance of what the Prophet brought from God, which is devotion to God and submission to His commands’, the definition itself is problematic. Does Islam mean submission to what Muḥammad commanded and brought from God? And who is to confirm that what Muḥammad commands is actually from God? Moreover, why does God command to fight the rest of His servants who do not believe in Islam as a religion? And if this is the case, why did God send messengers other than Muḥammad –  Moses, John the Baptist and Christ? Would it not have been better for God to limit Himself exclusively to ‘Muḥammad’?

One should point out that all of the above does not mean that Muslims generally partake in vengeance against others, since if there are some defects or problematic elements in a faith, this does not mean that the matter should be gauged against all the followers of that faith, against all Muslims. 

Muḥammad as Messenger and Islam as a set of creeds, texts, hadiths and Sunna, cannot constitute a ‘mercy’ to the worlds because these have spawned extremism and takfir. They have preached non-acceptance of the Other and have not recognized the existence of non-Islamic religions, for all the size of the globe and the various religions, denominations, sects and ideas that it contains. Even though there is a Qur’ānic text that runs:  Unto you your religion, and unto me my religion[12] the shaykhs of Islam interpret this text in their own way, quoting the tafsīr of Ibn Kathīr:

According to al-Bukhārī what is said is: You have your religion (kufr) and I have a religion (Islam).

In sum, mercy is tenderness and kindness in dealing with the Other, while revenge is devoted to causing affliction and injustice to the life of the Other. The intelligent reader will understand this.

[1] Qur’ān III (Āl ‘Imrān), 19.

[2] ‘Abd al-Ghanī Abū al-‘Aẓm, Al-Ghanī, 1421 AH / 2001 AD.

[3] Qur’ān IX (al-Tawba), 29.

[4] Qur’ān XXI (al-Anbiyā’), 107.

[5] Cf. Riyāḍ as-Ṣāliḥīn 1076

[6] Sunan Ibn Mājah 3993;

[7] See Glossary: ‘Rāfiḍī’.

[8] See Glossary: ‘Nāṣibī’.

[9] Qur’ān I (al-Fātiḥa), 7.

[10] Qur’ān V (al-Mā’ida), 60.

[11] Qur’ān V (al-Mā’ida), 77.

[12] Qur’ān CIX (al-Kāfirūn), 6.