Whenever a Muslim starts reading any chapter in the Holy Quran we say: "In the name of GOD the compassionate the All-merciful". Both are derived from the word rahma, which is variously translated as mercy, compassion, and benevolence. Rahma is an abstract noun derived from the concrete noun rahim, "womb." God says in the Quran, "My mercy embraces everything" (7:156), this means that God has mercy on the entire universe. So Mercy is a key principal in Islam. In the Holy Quran God Almighty says: "We sent thee not save as a mercy for the peoples." (21:107)
The whole reason why God sent all prophets, peace and blessings be upon them all, was MERCY. HE wants us to see the right path, not because HE needs our worship, but to adjust our lives, teach us how to deal with each other in a way that makes life easier for all of us. So the main idea is MERCY and LOVE not slavery and force.
In Islam we believe man has a choice in life. That is why God says in the Holy Quran: "There is no compulsion in religion." (2:256). GOD refused to oblige humans to anything even worshipping HIM. HE gave us our minds, created countless proofs of HIS existence and supervision over us and left us to look around and explore till we voluntarily choose HIM. Consequently Compassion and mercy envelope all Islamic rulings.
In another verse GOD says: "O ye who believe! Whoso of you becometh a renegade from his religion, (know that in his stead) Allah will bring a people whom He loveth and who love Him" (5:54). Look at with whom GOD will replace those who exit Islam, not the mighty or the rich but those bound to GOD by love and also notice that HE mentioned HIS love to them before their love to HIM.
Abdullah bin 'Amr narrated that the Messenger of Allah said: "The merciful are shown mercy by Ar-Rahman (The Merciful). Be merciful on the earth, and you will be shown mercy from Who is above the heavens. The womb is named after Ar-Rahman, so whoever connects it, Allah connects him, and whoever severs it, Allah severs him." (In Jami at-Tirmidhi, Chapters on Righteousness And Maintaining Good Relations With Relatives ).
Ibn 'Umar and 'Aishah, May Allah be pleased with them) reported that the messenger of GOD, peace and blessings be upon him, said: "Jibril kept recommending treating neighbours with kindness until I thought he would assign a share of inheritance".(Al-Bukhari and Muslim).
Abu Hurairah, May Allah be pleased with him, reported that our noble Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, also said, "By Allah, he is not a believer! By Allah, he is not a believer! By Allah, he is not a believer." It was asked, "Who is that, O Messenger of Allah?" He said, "One whose neighbour does not feel safe from his evil".(Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Mercy in Islam extends to embrace every living soul. Abu Huraira reported from Allah's Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, where he said:"A woman got into Hell-Fire because of a cat whom she had tied, and thus it could not eat, and she did not let it free so that it could devour the vermin of the earth, until it died." (Sahih Muslim-The Book of Virtue, Good Manners and Joining of the Ties of Relationship)
In Islam, Mercy transcends over justice, During 640 A.D., Arabia suffered from serious draught. There were no rains, and as such there was no cultivation. That led to serious famine. Under such severe circumstance Omar Ibn El-Kattab, the Caliph, suspended the application of the theft prescribed punishment.
1- When Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, returned to Mecca after his emigration to Medinah, the Meccans, who prosecuted, tortured and killed Muslims for thirteen years that the Muslims had to emigrate secretly to save their lives, thought that he was going to severely punish them but what did our Noble Prophet say?
The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, asked, " people of Quraish, what do you think I am to do to you?"
They said, "All good, a noble brother and the son of a noble brother." He said, "I say to you as Yusuf (Joseph) said to his brothers, 'No blame will there be upon you today.' Go, you are the free ones."
2- "The Golden age of Jewish culture" that's what the Jews call the era in Spain when they were ruled by Muslims rulers. This truly contradicts the inquisition era they faced when ruled by non-Muslim rulers. As a matter of fact, we can never summarize the value of mercy in Islam in just few pages, the verses the sayings of our noble Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and the historical examples are countless.
Love and compassion are not dreams. They are real meanings on which humanity must lean if we want to survive. Islam made these concepts a reality, that's why all cultures within the old Islamic states flourished and kept their identity intact. A religion who wants us to transcend in our values can never be violent or accept violence. Those who spread violence in the name of Islam are the furthest people from Islam.