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The Forgiveness of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) shown to Non-Muslims

“We have sent you as a mercy for all the worlds.” (Al-'Anbyā' 21:107)

By M. Abdulsalam / 16 Jan 2013

The Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of Allah be upon him, was described as a “Mercy for all the Worlds”, as Allah said in the Quran:

“We have sent you as a mercy for all the worlds.” (Al-'Anbyā' 21:107)

The recipients of this quality were not limited to just the Muslim nation, but it also extended to non-Muslims, some of who spent all their effort trying to harm the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and his mission. This mercy and forgiveness is clearly demonstrated in the fact that the Prophet, may the mercy and blessings of Allah be upon him, never took revenge on anyone for personal reasons and always forgave even his staunch enemies. Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) said that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) never took revenge on his own behalf on anyone. She (may Allah be pleased with her) also said that he never returned evil for evil, but he would forgive and pardon. This will, Allah willing, become clear after a deep analysis of the following accounts of his life.

In the earlier portion of his mission, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) traveled to the city of Taif, a city located in the mountains nearby to Mecca, in order to invite them to accept Islam. The leaders of Taif, however, were rude and discourteous in their treatment of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Not being content with their insolent attitude towards him, they even stirred up some gangs of the town to harass him. This riff-raff followed the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) shouting at and abusing him, and throwing stones at him, until he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was compelled to take refuge in an orchard. Thus the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had to endure even more obstacles in Taif than he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had had to face in Mecca. These ruffians, stationed either side of the path, threw stones at him until his feet were injured and smeared with blood. These oppressions so grievously dejected the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and plunged him into in such a state of depression that a prayer, citing his helplessness and pitiable condition and seeking the aid of Allah, spontaneously came from his lips:

“O Allah, to You I complain of my weakness, lack of resources and humiliation before these people. You are the Most Merciful, the Lord of the weak and my Master. To whom will You consign me? To one estranged, bearing ill will, or an enemy given power over me? If You do not assign me any worth, I care not, for Your favor is abundant upon me. I seek refuge in the light of Your countenance by which all darkness is dispelled and every affair of this world and the next is set right, lest Thy anger should descend upon me or Your displeasure light upon me. I need only Your pleasure and satisfaction for only You enable me to do good and evade the evil. There is no power and no might but You.”

The Lord then sent the angel of mountains, seeking the permission of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) to join together the two hills and crush the city of Taif, between which it was located. Out of his great tolerance and mercy, the Messenger of Allah(peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) replied,

“No! For, I hope that God will bring forth from their loins people who will worship God alone, associating nothing with Him.” (Saheeh Muslim)

His mercy and compassion was so great that on more than one occasion, Allah, Himself, reprimanded him for it. One of the greatest opponents of Islam and a personal enemy, was Abdullah bin Ubayy, the leader of the hypocrites of Medina. Outwardly proclaiming Islam, he surreptitiously inflicted great harm to the Muslims and the mission of the Prophet. Knowing his state of affairs, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) still offered the funeral prayer for him and prayed to Allah for his forgiveness. The Quran mentions this incident in these words:

“And do not pray [the funeral prayer, O Muhammad], over any of them who has died - ever - or stand at his grave. Indeed, they disbelieved in Allah and His Messenger and died while they were defiantly disobedient.” (At-Tawbah, 9:84)

Abdullah bin Ubayy worked all his life against the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and Islam and left no stone unturned so as to bring him into disrepute and try to defeat his mission. He withdrew his three hundered supporters in the battle of Uhud and thus almost broke the backbone of the Muslims at one stroke. He engaged in intrigues and acts of hostility against the Prophet of Islam and the Muslims. It was he who tried to bring shame to the Prophet by inciting his allies to falsely accuse the Prophet’s wife, Aisha, of adultery in order to discredit him and his message.

The mercy of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) even extended to those who brutally killed and then mutilated the body of his uncle Hamzah, one of the most beloved of people to the Prophet. Hamzah was one of the earliest to accept Islam and, through his power and position in the Quraishite hierarchy, diverted much harm from the Muslims. An Abyssinian slave of the wife of Abu Sufyan, Hind, sought out and killed Hamzah in the battle of Uhud. The night before the victory of Mecca, Abu Sufyan accepted Islam, fearing the vengeance of the Prophet, may the mercy and blessings of Allah be upon him. The latter forgave him and sought no retribution for his years of enmity.

After Hind had killed Hamzah she mutilated his body by cutting his chest and tearing his liver and heart into pieces. When she quietly came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and accepted Islam, he recognized her but did not say anything. She was so impressed by his magnanimity and stature that she said, “O Messenger of Allah, no tent was more deserted in my eyes than yours; but today no tent is more lovely in my eyes than yours.”

Ikrama, son of Abu Jahl, was a great enemy of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and Islam. He ran away after the victory of Mecca and went to Yemen. After his wife embraced Islam, she brought him to the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) under her protection. He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was so pleased to see him that he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)  greeted him with the words: “O emigrant rider, welcome.”

Safwan bin Umaya, one of the chiefs of Mecca, was also a great enemy of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and Islam. He promised a reward to Umair ibn Wahab if he managed to kill the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). When Mecca was conquered, Safwan ran away to Jeddah in the hope of finding a berth that would take him to Yemen by sea. Umair ibn Wahab came to the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and said, “O Messenger of God! Safwan ibn Umayya, a chief of his tribe, has run away from fear of what you might do to him and threatens to cast himself into the sea.” The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) sent him a guarantee of protection and, when he returned, he requested the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) to give him two months to come to a decision.. He was given four months, after which he became a Muslim by his own will.

Habir ibn al-Aswad was another vicious enemy of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and Islam. He inflicted a serious injury to Zainab (may Allah be pleased with her), daughter of the Noble Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) when she decided to migrate to Medina. She (may Allah be pleased with her) was pregnant when she started her migration, and the polytheists of Mecca tried to stop her from leaving. This particular man, Habbar bin al-Aswad, physically assaulted her and intentionally caused her to fall down from her camel. Her fall had caused her to miscarry her baby, and she herself, was badly hurt. He had committed many other crimes against Muslims as well. He wanted flee to Persia but, when he decided to come to the Noble Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)  instead, the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) magnanimously forgave him.

The tribe of Quraish the were archenemies of Islam and, for a period of thirteen years while he peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)  was still in Mecca, they would rebuke the Noble Prophet peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), taunt and mock him, beat him and abuse him, both physically and mentally. They placed the afterbirth of a camel on his back while he prayed, and they boycotted him and his tribe until the social sanctions became unbearable. They plotted and attempted to kill him on more than one occasion, and when the Holy Prophet peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)  escaped to Medina, they rallied the majority of the Arab tribes and waged many wars against him. Yet, when he entered Mecca victorious with an army of 10,000, he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did not take revenge on anyone. The Noble Prophet peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)  forgave all of them.

Rarely in the annals of history can we read such an instance of forgiveness. Even his deadliest enemy Abu Sufyan, who led so many battles against Islam, was forgiven, as was any person who stayed in his house and did not come to fight him.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was all for forgiveness and no amount of crime or aggression against him was too great to be forgiven by him. He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was the complete example of forgiveness and kindness, as mentioned in the following verse of the Quran:

“Keep to forgiveness (O Muhammad), and enjoin kindness, and turn away from the ignorant.” (Al-'A`rāf, 7:199)

He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) always repelled evil with the good of forgiveness and kind behavior for, in his view, an antidote was better than poison. He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) believed and practiced the precept that love could foil hatred, and aggression could be won over by forgiveness. He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) overcame the ignorance of the people with the knowledge of Islam, and the folly and evil of the people with his kind and forgiving treatment. With his forgiveness, he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) freed people from the bondage of sin and crime, and also made them great friends of Islam. He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was an epitome of the verse of the Quran:

“Good and evil are not alike. Repel evil with what is better. Then he, between whom and you there was hatred, will become as though he was a bosom friend.” (Fuşşilat, 41:34)

 

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