The Quality of Mercy

The Quality of Mercy

I have edited and rewritten a blog I wrote in Ramadan a few years ago. It still sounds so relevent for this month of mercy and forgiveness.

A Mufti in Saudi was brought to tears on a live TV program, when he received a question from Somalia.

Is my fast accepted if we have no Suhoor or Iftaar?”

It was on the 4th of Ramadan that I saw this tweet. The ensuing flood of emotions are difficult to describe. Not only did it bring tears to the eyes, but it made me immediately thank Allah, that I have the luxury to watch my calories and walk away from available food. It also set a train of confused thoughts, on the prevailing state of the world, which has culminated in this note.

Our own Prophet (saw) at one time broke his fast with salt and water, due to extreme lack of provisions, for three consecutive days. So I presume the distressed Somalian questioner, must have been duly answered. But the real issue is why was he in this sad situation at all. Is it not our responsibility to ensure people do not go hungry? And I divorce all religions and ethnicity in asking this. Should this not have been incumbent on us to help provide for this type of person. But here I am, sitting in my lounge, with ample food and maybe, a momentary bite of conscience! Soon, I will simply move on, till at some juncture a similar event will shake me up again – maybe another blog to salve the conscience. Sad!

Is this common throughout our human history? Unfortunately so! Man has been cruel to his fellow beings and if he wields power, he has been ever so nasty. We have seen events of mass exterminations, slavery, genocide, rape and pillage. Instances abound! Sacking of Rome; destruction of Baghdad; extermination in South America by the Conquistadores; the North American Indians; burning of Library of Alexandria; destruction of Delhi. The human race has taken its share with pride and paid in turn with sorrow.  Making a mockery of Shakespeare when he says,

The Quality of mercy is not strained

It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven.

It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.

The more I see it, the more it becomes obvious that we do not really care. In the past, cataclysmic events were isolated. Their effects reached us through the long arm of history through generations.  And yes, they did change us in a slow meaningful way. We learned by simple paring away of our evils; that it is wrong to enslave, that it is evil to rape, that it is cruel to torture. Mankind realised after two world wars and a couple of bombs that there is a better way. We signed the Geneva Convention, we made the United Nations and we set up social services to help the downtrodden and needy.

Having done this some 70 years ago, we applauded that life is better. But then Korean, Vietnamese, Gulf Wars and Afghan conflicts have taken us back again, into the arms of darkness. I think the problem is in the rendering of awareness. We are too aware. So, as Aurora and James Holmes massacres happened, we were bombarded for days on all channels. Fifty years ago, when the Boston Strangler was going through his serial murders, we did not know about it. We read about it years later.

So, paradoxically, CNN, BBC, Twitter, FB, blogs are all contributing to this creation of awareness and desensitization. There is a burning platform every day and we the public have become immune. This immunity means, we do not really care. We have lost our soul! Corporations doing CSR do not care; politicians pay lip service; even social workers are so burdened, that passion morphs into the mundane.

I am not sure how to get out of here. The first LiveAid was an amazing and moving event. Thirty years later there has been too much starvation, too many reports and too many pictures for it to move my soul.  The bad news is that the frequency and intensity of these events is increasing day by day. Or maybe it’s the way the reporting is dramatized. Very soon we will be a race who walks past the needy of our kind, without a hint of sympathy. Even a lioness does not do that to a needy of its own kind.

We need to take stock, contemplate deep and get back that Quality of mercy. Without it, we will shred ourselves to pieces in the name of living in a news savvy world.


About sarfarazar
I have been lucky! A long career with large scale organisations and some acclaim. Also, took time off to write, mentor and do some education and social development projects. I continue to mentor and help younger people in life. Inshallah, hope to write on various subjects in my blog.

10 Responses to The Quality of Mercy

  1. Major says:

    Too true. May Allah give u strength to help our fellow beings.

  2. Safdar says:


  3. Thought proving indeed for those who take thing granted! I am glad I break my fast with one date and a glass of water and there are many who do that – But there are many who waste the Naimat of Allah in greed!

    • sarfarazar says:

      Hammad that is one part of it..not to waste at all…but there is another part be conscious of others needs and be ready to help to the best of our ability…

  4. Atleast this is the level of faith still you have sir… The level where our empathies exist and may ALLAH grant us strength, faith and desire to live for others and help others and think of them..

    Here I remember what Quran says to us:

    “Wa Tasi mu bi hab-Lillah hey Jamiyon wa Tafarako”

    …. Lets be united and be aware of each other starting from ourselves with our neighbourhood…

    • sarfarazar says:

      Yes the right of the neighbour is very heavy…so much so that it is our responsibility to hunt down their need and resolve it to the best of our ability…

  5. Akber says:

    This year it has been even worse. We haven’t realized but imminently, we are in an undeclared world-war state. This was bound to happen. Humanity has become valueless. I read it somewhere on social network, that in Karachi, they kill a person for a mere Rs 5K. The genocides are happening everywhere. So if people are suffering, it’s because of the being of the same race. It’s not Mother Nature, neither is there any influence of extra-terrestrials. Man killing man is the in thing these days.

    • sarfarazar says:

      Yes ..but Karachi is not worse than Wana..where drones hover for hours and rain death from the air..the whole population is traumatised. And what do we do..we are desensitised to both Karachi and Wana. That is my point..our brains are full and we have no space to think or act..wish it were different.

  6. shaistayesha says:

    ‘The human race has taken its share with pride and paid in turn with sorrow’ – so true

  7. Umair Ali says:

    Sir I have a firm believe on this Hadith that “Allah helps His mankind as long as he (man) helps his brother”. The Allah’s command is clear, its depend on us how we want to help ourselves by helping others!

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