By: Khursheed Alam Dawood Qasmi*
Allah, the Almighty sent the Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) as a mercy for all the worlds. His mercy, compassion and kindness were shown to each and every one. There can’t be a greater mercy than that after his arrival, the people wandering in darkness, accustomed to oppression, devoid of good morals and unaware of the culture and civilization, being blessed with light of Islam, enlightened the whole world and presented a high example of the humanity. All the creations of Allah Almighty: humans, Jinns, animals, plants etc. benefited from his mercy. Every sensible person witnessed the truth of words of Allah: “And We have not sent you but as mercy for all the worlds.” (Al-Ambiya: 107) If a question is raised, how is the Prophet (SAWS) mercy for the person who didn’t respond to his Call and didn’t accept his messenger-hood? The answer to this question has been given by Abdullah bin Abbas (RA) in the commentary of the above verse. He says: “Those who believe in Allah and the Last Day, the mercy has been written for them in this world and in the Hereafter. Those who don’t believe in Allah and His Messenger (i. e. remain disbelievers, for them he (SAWS) is a mercy in this world by the way that) they were saved from the punishment of being sunk into the ground and being pelted with stones from the sky, from which the previous nations suffered. (Tafseer Ibn Kathir: 5/387) Here in this article, some examples of the mercy, compassion, forgiveness and clemency of Allah’s Messenger (SAWS) for Non-Muslims are being presented.
Hardship in Taif and Mountains’ Angel:
The Messenger of Allah (SAWS) went to Taif to convey the message of Allah in the month of Shawwal of the 10th year of the prophethood. He (SAWS) stayed in Taif for 10 days. He (SAWS) invited the chiefs of Taif: Abd Yalil, Habib and Masood towards Islam. They didn’t respond to the message, they troubled him (SAWS) and behaved harshly. He (SAWS) departed overwhelmed with excessive sorrow. They set the street urchins of Taif after him to pelt stones at him (SAWS). They did so in the way that his whole body was cover with blood. Bearing this hardship, he (SAWS) proceeded on and couldn’t relax till he (SAWS) reached Qarn Tha’alib. When he (SAWS) lifted his head towards the sky, he saw a cloud shading him. There was Jibril (AS) in it. He called him saying: Allah has heard what the people said and replied back to you. Allah has sent the mountains’ angel to you so that you may order him to do whatever you wish to these people. The mountains’ angel called upon him and greeted him and said: “O Muhammad (SAWS)! You may order whatever you wish! If you wish, I will let Al-Akhshabain (the two mountains on the both sides of Makkah known as Abu Qubais and Qu’aeiqia’an, Fathul Bari: 6/316) fall on them.” The Prophet (SAWS) replied: “I hope that Allah will let them beget children who will worship Allah Alone, will worship none besides him.” (Sahih Bukhari: 3231)
The reply of the Prophet (SAWS) to the mountains’ angel shows the high level of character, mercy, kindness, compassion, affection and patience regarding the disobedient and heartless people of Taif. It happened because the Almighty Allah had sent him as the mercy for the entire universe. If the Prophet (SAWS) had given permission to the angel to go ahead with his plan of letting the mountains fall on them, those unfortunate people would have been crushed and the earth would have been cleaned from them.
Plan to Murder Allah’s Messenger (SAWS):
The incident which took place with a Bedouin; while the Prophet (SAWS) was coming back on the occasion of the battle of Zaat Al-Riqa’, is very important in regard to trust in Allah, forgiveness, mercy and bravery of Allah’s Messenger (SAWS). He (SAWS) went to fight a battle towards Najd along with his companions. While returning, they passed through a valley full of thorny trees. The time of the afternoon nap overtook them. They had a halt there for a nap. The companions dispersed amongst the thorny trees seeking the shade of the trees to rest and have a nap. The Messenger of Allah (SAWS) took shelter under an acacia tree to have a nap hanging his sword on it. The companions were slept. Suddenly they heard the Messenger of Allah (SAWS) calling them. They came to him (SAWS). To their utter surprise, they found a bedouin sitting with him.
Allah’s Messenger (SAWS) informed them that when he (SAWS) was sleeping, the bedouin took his sword, which was hanging on the tree, out of its sheath. When he (SAWS) woke up, the bedouin said to the prophet (SAWS) while the naked sword was in his hand: ‘Who can save you from me?’ The prophet (SAWS) replied: ‘Allah.’ The Prophet (SAWS) didn’t punish him for that rather let him go back. (Sahih Bukhari: 4135)
The name of that bedouin was Ghaurath son of al-Harith. Following such dangerous incident and the plan of murder, the Messenger of Allah (SAWS) didn’t avenge; while having full power and strength over that Non-Muslim bedouin. He (SAWS) neither troubled him because of his crime, nor did he show his power over him to retaliate. He (SAWS) showed his mercy and forgave him. Apparently, it was the result of his mercy and kindness that the bedouin embraced Islam according to a narration. (Fathul Bari: 7/428)
Releasing a Non-Muslim Captive:
Thumama (RA) was the chief of the Banu Hafinah tribe of Yamamah. It is situated between Makkah and Yemen. Once Thumamah (RA) planned to murder the Prophet Muhammad (SAWS); but he failed in his planning. The Messenger of Allah (SAWS) made Duaa: “O Allah give me power over him!” (Al-Sunan Al-Kubra Lil-Baihaqi: 18031) The Dua was answered and the same happened. He was captured by the army under the leadership of Muhammad bin Muslimah Ansari (RA). He was brought Madinah and was tied to one of the pillars of Masjid Nabavi. The Messenger of Allah (SAWS) went to him and said: “O Thumamah! What thoughts do you entertain of me?” Thumamah replied: “I only harbour good thoughts of you. If you execute me, you will be executing a person who deserves it and if you extend your munificence towards me, you will be extending it to one who is grateful and if you desire wealth, ask whatever you wish.” This situation continued for three days; but he didn’t accept Islam. On the third day, the Prophet (SAWS) said: “Release Thumamah.” (Sahih Bukhari: 4372)
This point is remarkable that the Prophet (SAWS) ordered to release a non-Muslim captive who had planned to kill him in the near past, though he didn’t get success in his planning. Then after having full power over him to take revenge, he (SAWS) released him. Definitely, it was his mercy that he (SAWS) released him. It should be also noted that just after being released, Thumamah (RA) embraced Islam. Then he left for Makkah for Umrah. When Thumamah reached Makkah, a disbeliever said to him: “You have become an atheist by renouncing your Deen?” Thumamah (RA) replied: “No! I have become a Muslim with Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah (SAWS).” Thumamah (RA) then added: “No, by Allah! Not a single grain of wheat will come to you form Yamamah, unless the Prophet (SAWS) approves it.” (Sahih Bukhari: 4372)
Letter of the Prophet (SAWS) to Thumamah (RA) For Grain Supply:
Thumamah (RA) came back to his hometown: Yamamah. He imposed a grain blockade on Makkah and cut off all food supplies to them. Now, the people of Makkah, the Quraish were in the trouble. They were forced to write to the Messenger of Allah (SAWS) pleading with him and referring him about their family ties. They wrote to the Prophet (SAWS): “You command maintenance of favourable family ties. After all, we are from the same family. We request you to write to Thumamah instructing him to resume supply of the food grains.”
It is recorded in the history that these are the people (Quraish and Kinanah) who boycotted the Banu Hashim and the Banu al-Muttalib, because of the Prophet (SAWS) and his companions for a period of three years. They were forced to stay in the valley of Abi Talib. The Quraish, Kinanah etc. had made a mutual agreement that they would sever all business dealings, marriage etc. with the Banu Hashim and the Banu al-Muttalib as long as they don’t hand over the Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) to them. They were not letting the merchants to reach them to sell anything. They had imposed a kind of grain blockade on the Prophet (SAWS) and his companions staying in the valley. On this occasion, the Messenger of Allah (SAWS) didn’t want to take revenge; rather he showed his kindness and human love wholeheartedly and wrote a letter to Thumamah (RA). He (SAWS) instructed him in the letter to let the food stuff go to Makkah.
Prayer of Guidance for the People of Daus:
Tufail Dausi (RA) had arrived Makkah and embraced Islam. Then he returned to his homeland. Following the migration of the Prophet (SAWS), he came to Madinah. Once he went to Daus, his homeland. He invited the people of his tribe towards Islam; but they refused to accept his invitation. After returning, he came to the Prophet (SAWS) and said: “O Allah’s Messenger (SAWS)! The people of the Daus tribe disobeyed and refused to follow you (to embrace Islam); so invoke Allah against them.” The people said, “The tribe of Daus is ruined (if the Prophet (SAWS) would invoke Allah against it.).” The Prophet (SAWS) said: “O Allah! Give guidance to the people of Daus, and let them embrace Islam”. (Sahih Bukhari: 2937)
Similar to the previous narration, we find one another narration about the Thaqif tribe. On the occasion of the battle of Taif, when the Muslims laid siege to this town; the Thaqif began raining down arrows on the Muslims. The companions requested the Messenger of Allah (SAWS) to invoke Allah against the people of Thaqif; but he (SAWS) didn’t want that the Thaqif should be destroyed. He (SAWS) wanted guidance for them. So, he expressed his kindness and prayed for them. The companions said: ‘O Messenger of Allah (SAWS)! Thaqif has razed us with their arrows. So, supplicate to Allah against them!’ The Prophet (SAWS) replied: ‘O Allah! Guide The Thaqif!’ (Then the whole tribe embraced Islam.) (Sunan Tirmidhi: 3942)
Death of a Hypocrite & Kindness of the Prophet (SAWS):
Famous hypocrite, but let me say the chief of the hypocrites, Abdullah, son of Ubayy died. His son, Abdullah (RA) was a sincere Muslim and the companion. He came to Allah’s Messenger (SAWS) and requested him to grant his Qamis (Shirt) so that he could shroud his father in it. He (SAWS) gave him. Then he asked the Prophet (SAWS) to perform the funeral prayer for him. The Messenger of Allah (SAWS) got up to perform the funeral prayer for him. Umar (RA) stood up and got hold of the garment of Allah’s Messenger (SAWS) and said: “O Allah’s Messenger (SAWS)! Will you offer the funeral prayer for him; while your Lord has forbidden you to offer the prayer for him?” The Messenger of Allah (SAWS) said: “But Allah has given me the choice by saying: ‘Whether you (O Muhammad) ask forgiveness for them (hypocrites) or ask not forgiveness for them- (and even) if you ask seventy times for their forgiveness -‘ (Al-Taubah: 80) so I will ask more than seventy times.” Umar (RA) said: “But he is a hypocrite!” The narrator says: However, Allah’s Messenger (SAWS) offered the funeral prayer for him. Then Allah revealed: “And never (O Muhammad) pray (funeral prayer) for anyone of them (hypocrites) who dies, nor stand at his grave. (Al-Taubah: 84) (Sahih Bukhari: 4670)
Here is an important point that the Prophet (SAWS) gave his Qamis for shrouding that chief of the hypocrites and perform his funeral prayer. It is him who cheated the Prophet (SAWS) on the day of the battle of Uhud. He deserted the Muslims together with his followers, reducing the strength of the Muslims by three hundred. Despite that fact, the Messenger of Allah (SAWS) showed his kindness for such a hypocrite; until he (SAWS) was stopped by the Almighty Allah clearly not to offer the funeral prayer for a hypocrite. The history can’t cite an example of the character which may match the character of the Prophet (SAWS).
Revenge of the Battle of Uhud:
The battle of Uhud took place in Shawwal 3rd Hijrah. In this battle, 70 companions, sixty-four of Ansar and six of Muhajirin, were martyred. Hamzah (RA), the beloved uncle of the Prophet (SAWS) was one of them. The martyrs were mutilated by the non-Muslim enemies. It made the companions furious. They had planned that if they had such chance, they would take its revenge in the same manner. Then the day of the Conquest of Makkah came. Allah the Almighty revealed the verse: “And if you punish them, then punish them with the like of that with which you were afflicted. But if you have patience with them, then it is better for those who are patient.” With the intention of revenge, a companion said: “There shall be no Quraish after today.” He meant that the Quraish would be wiped out; because the Muslims were in the position to take revenge of the battle of Uhud on the day of the Conquest of Makkah. In such situation, the Messenger of mercy and kindness Muhammad (SAWS) said: “We will have patience and we will not punish.” (Musnad Ahmad: 21229) According to another narration, the Messenger of Allah (SAWS) said: “Leave the people, except for four.” (Sunan Tirmidhi: 3129) Briefly, the Prophet (SAWS) declared the general amnesty for the people of Makkah despite their well-known enmity, curtly and tyranny against the Muslims.
Conquest of Makkah and General Amnesty:
After the Conquest of Makkah, Allah’s Messenger (SAWS) entered Al-Masjid Al-Haram. He (SAWS) made Tawaaf of Ka’bah. The door of Ka’bah was opened. He (SAWS) entered the Ka’bah. Then coming out the Ka’bah, he (SAWS) found a crowd of people gathered in Al-Masjid Al-Haram. The Chieftains of Quraish were waiting for him to see that what he (SAWS) was going to do against them. They had not embraced Islam then. The Messenger of Allah (SAWS) was standing at the door of Ka’bah. He (SAWS) addressing the people, said at a point in his speech: ‘O group of Quraish! What do you say and think (I am going to do to you)?’ They replied: ‘We say you are a brother and the son of a kind and forbearing uncle.’ He (SAWS) said: ‘I am saying to you the same thing which Yusuf (AS) said (to his brothers): “No reproach upon you today! May Allah forgive you, and He is the Most-Merciful of all the merciful.” (Yusuf: 92) Following this announcement of the general amnesty, “They went out of the Ka’bah as they have been raised from the graves. Then they embraced Islam.” (Sharhu Ma’ani Al-Athar: 5454)
Battle of Hunain and Returning the Captives:
There is a valley between Makkah and Taif is called Hunian. There were two tribes: Hawazin and Thaqif living in that valley. Following the Conquest of Makkah, they planned to attack the Muslims of Makkah. When the Prophet (SAWS) heard of their preparation for attack, he (SAWS) sent Abdullah (RA), a companion for an investigation. When the fact was established, the Prophet (SAWS) made preparation and advanced towards Hunain on 8th Shawwal of 8th Hijrah with an army of 12,000 men. There were 10,000 men who had come from Madinah to Makkah and 2000 men from Makkah who were new Muslims. The war started in the early morning of the 10th Shawwal. The Hawazin and Thaqif tribes were lying in ambush. They were very good archers. As the Muslim army reached the valley of Hunain, the enemies attacking the Muslims began raining down arrows on them from all sides. The Muslims were scattered and defeated in the beginning. Within a few moments, the tables turned and the enemies were defeated badly. Seventy enemies were killed. The battle ended in a decisive victory for the Muslims. The Muslims got the booty which comprised 6000 prisoners of war, 24000 camels, 40000 goats and 4000 ounces of silver.
The booty was gathered at a place called Ji’irranah. Showing his kindness and mercy, the Prophet (SAWS) didn’t distribute the booty and captives hoping that their relatives would come to request to free them. However, when none came to request, the Prophet (SAWS) began distributing the booty and the captives.
After the booty had been distributed among the recipients, a delegation of the Hawazin came to Allah’s Messenger (SAWS). They embraced Islam. They requested to return their wealth and captives to them. The Prophet (SAWS) was a mercy for the entire universe; so he became soft-hearted hearing their request and decided to return their captives. Then he (SAWS) got up among the Muslims and said: “Your brothers have come to you with repentance and I see (it logical) to return their captives. So, whoever of you likes to do that as a favour, then he can do it. And whoever of you likes to stick to his share till we give him from the very first booty which Allah will give us, then he can do so.” The Muslims said: “We do that willingly as a favour, O Allah’s Messenger (SAWS)!” (Sahih Bukhari: 4318) (It means that they agreed to return the captives willingly to the delegation of the Hawazin Tribe.)
It is noteworthy that the Hawazin tribe first decided to attack the Muslims. They prepared for war. They fought war against Muslims according to their plan. As the end, they were defeated. Their people were made captives. Then they came to the Messenger of Allah (SAWS) requesting to free their captives and return their wealth. In such situation, the Prophet (SAWS) didn’t behave like a ruthless ruler with those people; rather he showed his kindness and mercy for them. Not to speak of returning the captives of his own share; even he (SAWS) suggested his companions to return the captives to them. They obeyed his suggestion and returned the captives of their shares.
Prohibition of Killing Women and Children in War:
Nowadays, some countries consider themselves to be on the highest level of civilization. They think that whatever they practice in the name of culture and civilization should be adopted by the whole world. They are so much proud of their civilization and culture that they consider all other religions and civilizations, found in the world, revolving around the extremism or conservativeness. But the modern world has observed with its opened eyes that these so-called civilized and cultured nations decide in a few days that such and such a country and its ruler are a threat to the world, they have mass destructive weapons and whenever they want, they will destroy the region.
Under the cover of this fabricated story, the so-called civilized country starts bombarding a country, the whole world turns a blind eye and the conscience of none forces him to speak the truth and oppose such madness. Then in a few days, the country is destroyed. Its civilians, elderly citizens, housewives and even the children are not excluded from the attack. A good number of them are killed mercilessly. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) was also the Commander-in-Chief of thousands of brave army men. When the enemies forced him to fight wars; he fought against them. But he (SAWS) didn’t like the oppression and tyranny; rather, he proved himself to be wise, sensible and mercy for one and all at all the times. The people including the enemies benefited from His mercy and kindness on every occasion; even in the war. He didn’t command his army to attack the elderly, housewives, children, priests and saints; but he commanded to avoid attacking such people even in the war. It is in a narration that a woman was found slain during one of the campaigns of the Messenger of Allah (SAWS). Then he (SAWS) prohibited killing the women and the children. (Sahih Muslim: 1744)
Study of Biography of the Prophet (SAWS):
The aim and goal of this article is to present that the Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) was not only a mercy for his friends, not only he dealt with his companions with forgiveness and kindness; but he was a mercy also for the entire humanity. He didn’t show his kindness and mercy only to his companions; but also to his enemies. He (SAWS) proved to be a mercy for non-Muslims as well. Today, under the cover of the freedom of expression and speech, the teachings of the Prophet (SAWS) are targeted, his pious life is mocked and various questions are raised against him. The biography of the Prophet (SAWS) is the most preserved one with the authentic chains. Those who have any question or objection about his great personality and noble character, they should first study the biography of the Prophet (SAWS). When they study it; for sure, they will find that he (SAWS) was a humanitarian person. He worked for the betterment of the human being. He tried his level best to bring the misled people on the straight path. He also showed favour to his enemies and forgave them on several occasions. Then it is hoped that the questions and objections will be resolved automatically, In Shaa Allah.
* The author is Head: Islamic Department, Moon Rays Trust School, Zambia, Africa and can be accessed at firstname.lastname@example.org