Great is that Lord who is unique in loving kindness and without peer in caressing servants. He bestows in testing, He is loyal to assurances. If we call Him, He hears, and if we do not, He knows. He is generous, loving, love-showing, and love-increasing; gentle, defect-hiding, excuse-hearing, a good God. His bounty is beyond all bounty, His generosity beyond all generosity, His mercy greater than all mercies, His love not like other loves.
2:233 Mothers shall suckle their children two whole years—for those who desire to complete the suckling.
The example given of utmost mercy is the mercy of mothers, but God’s mercy toward His servants is more than that, and His love is not like their love. Do you not see that He commands mothers to give milk to their children for two complete years, He urges them to nurture them, and He counsels them to take care of them? He does not confine Himself to the love of mothers and leave it at that. This is so that you will know that God is more lovingly kind to the servant than a mother is to her child.
Once Muṣṭafā was passing by when a woman with a child in her arms was baking bread. They had told her that God’s Messenger would be passing. She came forward and said, “O Messenger of God! We have heard you say that the God of the world’s inhabitants is more lovingly kind to His servants than a mother to her child.”
The Messenger said, “Yes, that is so.”
That woman became happy and said, “O Messenger of God! A mother would never toss her child into this oven.”
Muṣṭafā wept. Then he said, “God chastises in the Fire only those who refuse to say, ‘There is no god but God.’”
Kaʿb ʿUjra said that one day God’s Messenger said to his companions, “What do you say about a man slain in God’s path?” They said, “God and His Messenger know best.” He said, “He is in the Garden.” Then he said, “What do you say about a man concerning whom two just men have said that they knew nothing of him but good?” They said, “God and His Messenger know best.” He said, “He is in the Garden.” Then he said, “What do you say about a dead man concerning whom two just witnesses say that they never saw any good from him?” The Companions said, “He is in the Fire.” The Messenger said, “How badly you have spoken—a sinful servant and a forgiving Lord! Say: ‘Each acts according to his own manner’ [17:84].”
Part of His complete mercy and generosity to His servants is that tomorrow at the resurrection, a group will be taken and made to pass easily by the Scales, the Narrow Path, and the bridge over hell. They will arrive at the door of paradise and be told to halt. Then a letter will arrive from the Exalted Presence, a letter whose title is “The Eternal Love.” From beginning to end it will be rebuke and war with the friends. He will rebuke the servants as is appropriate to their state. The letter will say,
“My servants! Did I not create you gratis and sculpt you in a beautiful form? Did I not stretch out your stature? You were infants and did not know the road to your mother’s breast. I showed you. I brought forth pure milk as your food from the midst of blood. I made your mother and father kind to you and had them nurture you. I preserved you from water, wind, and fire. I conveyed you from infancy to youth, and from youth to old age. I adorned you with understanding and excellence, I decorated you with knowledge and recognition. I sculpted you with hearing and eyesight. I had you obey and serve Me. At the door of death, I kept My name on your tongue and My recognition in your spirit. Then I put you on the pillow of safety. I who am Beginningless and Endless—I did all these beautiful things for you. What did you do for Me? Did you ever give a dirham to a beggar for My sake? Did you ever give water to a thirsty dog for Me? Did you ever move an ant from the path out of mercy? “My servant! You did what you did, but I am ashamed to chastise you as is worthy for you. Instead, I will do what is worthy for Me. Go, for I have forgiven you so that you will know that I am I and you are you.”
Indeed, if a beggar goes before a king, they do not ask him what he has brought. They ask him what he wants.
O God, what could come from a beggar that would be worthy of You if it were not that You are worthy of what comes from a beggar? How can He not caress, when He is the most generous of the generous? How can He not forgive, when He is the most merciful of the merciful? How can He not pardon, when several times in the Qur’an He commands people to pardon? So pardon them [3:159], Let them pardon and forbear [24:22], Take to pardoning [7:199].”