Overall Meaning: Meaning of Mercy:
Rahmah linguistically: It is tenderness and affection. Rahmah is also used for that which causes it, like provision and rainwater. [248] al-Sihah, al-Jawhari (5/1929); Maqayis al-Lughah, Ibn Faris (2/498); Lisan al-`Arab, Ibn Manzur (12/230).
Rahmah technically: It is tenderness which necessitates beneficence to the one being shown mercy. It is sometimes used for pure tenderness, and sometimes for beneficence without tenderness. [249] al-Mufradat, al-Raghib (1/347). It is also said: It is tenderness in the self which inspires the doing of good to he whom it passes. [250] al-Tahrir wa al-Tanwir, Ibn `Ashur (21/26).

Essence of Mercy:
Ibn al-Qayyim said, “Mercy is a characteristic which necessitates for benefit and goodness to reach the slave even if his self hates it and it is arduous upon it. This is true mercy. The most merciful of people upon you is the one who is stringent with you in facilitating your benefit and warding off harm from you.” [251] Ighathat al-Lahfan, Ibn al-Qayyim (2/174).

Commandments of mercy and encouragement towards it in the Qur’an and Sunnah:
❖ Allah, blessed and exalted, says, “Praise belongs to Allah, Lord of the worlds, the Lord of Mercy al-Rahman , the Giver of Mercy al-Rahim.” (al-Fatihah: 2, 3) Allah named Himself with these two names of mercy. Ibn `Abbas, Allah be pleased with them both, said, “al-Rahman: the tender; al-Rahim, who is affectionate with His slaves in providing for them. They are two tender names, one more so than the other.” [252] Reported by al-Bayhaqi in al-Asma’ wa al-Sifat (82).
❖ Allah, in His perfect mercy, accepts the repentance of those who repent, and overlooks those who do wrong. Allah, exalted, says, “Then Adam received some words from his Lord and He accepted his repentance: He is the Ever Relenting, the Most Merciful.” (al-Baqarah: 37); and He says, exalted, “And there are others who have confessed their wrongdoing, who have done some righteous deeds and some bad ones: Allah may well accept their repentance, for Allah is most forgiving and merciful.” (al-Tawbah: 102)
❖ al-Nu`man ibn Bashir, Allah be pleased with them both, said, “The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, ‘The believers in their endearment, compassion, and affection to one another are like a body. If a part of it is in distress, the rest of the body is feverish and unable to rest.’” [253] Reported by al-Bukhari (6011) and the wording is his, as well as Muslim (2586).
❖ `Abdullah ibn `Amr ibn al-`As, Allah be pleased with them both, said, “Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said, ‘Those who show mercy will be shown mercy by the Lord of Mercy. Have mercy on those in the earth and the One in heaven will have mercy on you.’” [254] Reported by Abu Dawud (4941) and this is his wording, as well as al-Tirmidhi (1924), and Ahmad (6494). al-Tirmidhi said, “It is sound, authentic.” al-`Iraqi authenticated it in al-Arba`un al-`Ashariyyah (125).

Categories of mercy:
There is that which is praiseworthy in mercy as a virtue - this is the standard - but potentially that which is blameworthy as well. What is praiseworthy has already been described and evidenced from the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Chosen One ﷺ, and so there is no need to repeat those meanings here. 

As for that which is blameworthy, then it is that which causes some repeal of, or reluctance to enact, one of the penal punishments or commandments of Allah. An example of this is one who has pity on someone who committed a transgression deserving a legal punishment, so tries to let him off and pardon him, thinking this is mercy from him. This is not mercy at all. Mercy is enacting the penal code on the transgressor, kindness is in admonishing him from his wavering, and returning him from his misguidance by establishing Allah's law.

Another form of blameworthy mercy is that which corrupts the one being shown mercy. This is seen in parents who are overly lenient with their children such that they do not discipline them out of mercy and affection for them. They cause their children’s corruption without realising.

Its categories in terms of intrinsicness and acquisition:
The mercy that the slave wishes to have is of two types: 
(1) Intrinsic mercy: Which Allah has placed in some of His slaves, and made them have gentleness and mercy with the creation. 
(2) Acquired mercy: Which is the type the slave works to internalising through any means that allow him to gain it. [255] Bahjat Qulub al-Abrar, al-Sa`di (p.270).

Benefits of mercy and its impacts:
1- It is a means to gaining Allah’s mercy and His forgiveness. Those who have mercy in their hearts are especially promised it from Allah as a reward for their mercy with others. 
2- Whoever adorns himself with it is emulating the Prophet ﷺ. 
3- From its fruits is that its possessor gains Allah’s love and the love of the people. 
4- It is a mighty cornerstone of a sound, cohesive Muslim society. 
5- Depending on his mercifulness will the slave’s station be with Allah. 
6- Having mercy is proof that Islam is a religion of mercy, unlike its enemies’ accusations against it: that it is a violent, bloodthirsty religion. 
7- It is a quality which manifests with all the creation of Allah: Man and animal, near and far, Muslim or non-Muslim. 

Forms of mercy:
A ruler’s mercy with those whom he rules, avoiding what will put them through difficulties.
Being moderate in worship and not burning out oneself spiritually.
Encouraging oneself and others to be good to women, being gracious to them.
Having sympathy with one’s children and affection for them, being saddened if they are afflicted with harm
Being merciful with those whom one commands of slaves, servants, workers, or others.

Means to having the characteristic of mercy:
1- Reading the biography of the Prophet ﷺ, contemplating its major events, emulating him ﷺ in his mercy therein. 
2- Accompanying the merciful and mixing with them, furthering oneself away from those of a harsh, crude nature. 
3- One organically acquires the characteristics of those he accompanies. 
4- Raising children upon this great quality, instilling it within the. If a child grows up having been shown mercy and he knows it, it becomes part of his nature. 
5- Knowing the reward of those who show mercy, and that they are those who will achieve the mercy of Allah; as well as knowing the punishment of those with harsh hearts. All this induces one to be merciful. 6- Knowing the beautiful consequences of having this quality and the fruits that are reaped by the merciful in both lives. 
7- Mixing with the weak, poor, and needy. This softens the heart and instills mercy within one. 
8- Seeking out Allah’s mercy and its causes. Allah, blessed and exalted, only shows mercy to those who show mercy. 

Examples of mercy:
`A’ishah, Allah be pleased with her, the wife of the Prophet ﷺ, asked him, “Did you encounter a day more intense upon you than Uhud?” The Prophet ﷺ replied, “Your people have truly troubled me, and the worst I received from them was on the day of `Aqabah, when I presented myself to Ibn `Abd Yalil ibn `Abd Kulal, but he did not acquiesce to my request. So I departed, overwhelmed with sorrow, and proceeded on until I found myself at Qarn al-Tha`alib. I lifted my head towards the sky to see a cloud shading me unexpectedly. I looked up and saw Jibril in it. He called me saying, ‘Allah has heard your people’s words to you, and how they responded to you. Allah has sent to you the Angel of the Mountains so that you may command him to do whatever you wish to these people.’ The Angel of the Mountains called and greeted me, and then said, ‘Muhammad, command what you wish. If you like, I will fold al-Akhshabayn over them.’” The Prophet ﷺ replied, “Rather, I hope that Allah will let them beget children who will worship Allah alone, associating none with Him.” [256] Reported by al-Bukhari (3231) and this is his wording, as well as Muslim (1795).
❖ `A’ishah, Allah be pleased with her, said, “A poor woman came to me along with her daughters. I gave her three dates. She gave a date to each of them and then she took up one date and brought that to her mouth in order to eat it, but her daughters expressed desire for it. She then divided the date that she intended to eat between them. This deed of hers impressed me and I mentioned it to Allah’s Messenger ﷺ. Thereupon he said, ‘Verily, Allah has assured the Garden for her - or He has saved her from the Fire.’” [257] Reported by Muslim (2630).
❖ al-Hafiz `Umar ibn `Ali al-Bazzar said, “Someone I trust narrated to me that the Sheikh - meaning Ibn Taymiyyah - Allah be pleased with him was passing by some alleyways and some poor person supplicated Allah for him. The Sheikh recognised his need but had nothing with him to give. He took off a garment that he was wearing and gave it to him, saying, “Sell it for some amount and spend it.” He apologised for not having carried something with him to give.” [258] al-A`lam al-`Aliyyah fi Manaqib Ibn Taymiyyah, Siraj al-Din (p. 65).

Quotes and poetry about mercy:
❖ Al-Manfaluti said, “Mercy is a small word, but between it and its utterance is a difference like that between the sun in its appearance and the sun in its reality. If people are compassionate, there would not be among them anyone who goes hungry, poor, or humbled. Tears would cease from the eyes, sides would find rest on their beds, and mercy would do away with suffering in society just as the morn wipes away the darkness of the night.” [259] Mu’allafat Mustafa Lutfi al-Manfaluti al-Kamilah (p. 88).
❖ al-Hafiz Zayn al-Din al-`Iraqi,
“If you show not mercy to the destitute when needy,
Nor the pauper when he complains of having nothing;
How then can you hope for mercy from the Merciful?
The Merciful shows mercy to he who shows mercy.” [260] Sayd al-Afkar, Husayn ibn Muhammad al-Mahdi (2/171).