It was narrated to Imam Mohammad Ibn Ali Ibn Al-Hussain (Abu Ja’far Al-Baqer) (RAA) that he met a group of scholars from Iraq and asked them: “Is it true that you relate the most hope-based verse in the Quran is in chapter 39 verse 53, where Allah (SW) says: {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.}?”

They replied in the affirmative.

Imam Abu Ja’far then said: “To us…” (meaning family of the prophet SAAW), “the most hope-based verse in the Quran is in chapter 93 (Surat Al-Duha) verse 5, where Allah (SW) says: {And your Lord is going to give you, and you will be satisfied.}”

Imam Abu Ja’far meant prophet Mohammad (SAAW) will not be satisfied until all his Ummah enter Heaven.

We are living at a time where so many trials and temptations are surrounding us, leaving many people doubtful of their faith and Deen, dropping many of its practices, and deviating away by following their whims and desires. I do not see that bringing people back to the path of righteousness is to focus mainly or solely on threatening them with punishment and Hellfire, as in many cases it has proven to have the opposite effect that it kept people distant and unable to connect with Islam.

We need to use the approach of trust and spreading hope in the Mercy of Allah (SW) to win as many hearts and minds as we can. We can hope that such an approach will make people see the beauty of Islam and keep them steadfast on their faith, and stronger and prouder of their identity. We also need to be examples of mercy and compassion with people in our lives because actions speak louder than words.

That does not mean to hide or ignore the general rulings in Islam about matters of life, but we need to avoid applying rulings on individuals, for that is only up to God at the Day of Judgment.

It was narrated that Imam Ahmad (RAA) said: “All Muslims will (eventually) enter Heaven. His students said: How is that O Imam? He said: Did you not hear the verse where Allah (SW) says: {Do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.}?”

They said: “Yes, but we read also that Allah (SW) said: {Those who avoid the major sins and immoralities, only [committing] slight ones. Indeed, your Lord is vast in forgiveness.} These slight sins are forgiven indeed but what about the major ones?”

Imam Ahmad said: “The prophet (SAAW) said, ‘I have saved my (special Dua request) as an intercession for people of major sins at the Day of Judgment.’ So, between the Mercy of Allah and the intercession of the prophet (SAAW), why would any of the followers of the prophet be outside Heaven?”

Scholars divided the attributes of Allah (SW) into attributes of Beauty and attributes of Might. Attributes of Might are like Al-Jabbar, Al-Qahhar and Al-A’theem. Attributes of Beauty are like Al-Rahman, Al-Raheem, and Al-Haleem. And of course, all attributes of Allah (SW) are of perfection.

But you can see that Allah (SW) introduced Himself in the opening chapter of the Quran (Al-Fatihah) by the attributes of Beauty (Al-Rahman & Al-Raheem).

So, you believers, you people of Islam, have mercy on people so Allah will have mercy on you. Instead of busying yourselves deciding who goes to Hell and who goes to Heaven, let us produce ideas of how to invite people to Heaven rather than condemning them to Hell. Let us renew our own paths to Heaven by focusing on our continuous repentance and self-improvement, and let us banish this arrogance of self-righteousness and judgment of others.

One person came to the late Imam Mohammad Al-Ghazali and said: “What is the ruling on someone who does not pray?” (He meant is he a kafir or not?) Imam Ghazali said: “The ruling is to take his hand and walk with him to the masjid.”

What a beautiful answer to help us understand that we owe people ways and methods to help them enter Heaven instead of perfecting the art of sending them to Hell!

May Allah shower His Mercy and Forgiveness on us and guide us to be reflections of His Mercy. Ameen.

By Sh Kifah Mustapha