April 23rd 1616: William Shakespeare dies.

On this day in 1616, exactly 403 years ago, English playwright William Shakespeare died in Stratford-upon-Avon. To honour the memory of this greatest of Englishmen it seems fitting to rejoice in the Bard’s (perhaps unwitting) Islamic understanding of God and His attributes.

The Merchant of Venice, Act 4, Scene 1

The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God’s
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That, in the course of justice, none of us
Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy. I have spoke thus much
To mitigate the justice of thy plea;
Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice
Must needs give sentence ‘gainst the merchant there.


Hadith on Mercy:

God has decreed His mercy will prevail over His wrath

Abu Huraira reported:

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “When Allah decreed the creation, he wrote in his Book with him on his Throne: My mercy prevails over my wrath.”

Source: Sahih Bukhari 3022, Sahih Muslim 2751

Categories: English Literature, God, Islam, William Shakespeare

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