Have you heard of St. Isaac of Nineveh? He was born in Bet Qatraye, near present-day Bahrain, and was one of the early (Seventh Century) Saints of the Christian church. Just after the rise of Islam, George, the Patriarch of the East Syrian Nestorians (there were also West Syrian Monophysites and Chalcedonians), made him Bishop of Nineveh, but he resigned after only five months. The reasons for his resignation are hinted at in letters of the time. His view was much too extreme.
He loved mercy.
In his letters he constantly reminds us of the love one should have for mercy, which he believes is the foundation of adoration and humility. Here are his words:
And what is a merciful heart? It is the heart’s burning for all of creation, for men, for birds, for animals, even for demons.
Even for demons. Such mercy is unfathomable to most human beings. Isaac himself lived as an anchorite after his resignation as Bishop and eventually went to the monastery of Rabban Shabur in Iran, near the Persian Gulf. There he studied scripture so much he became blind and had to dictate his writings, many of which were on the stages of approaching communion with God. Such concepts are familiar to every darvish.
The Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) himself is said to have had a special fondness for East Syrian Christians, since it was apparently a Nestorian priest (Cyrus of Edessa) who had prophesized his mission.
Alhamdulillah, that such men existed.
I began this post with a question. I will ask another. Have you heard of anyone living today who is such a man or woman of mercy?