Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) – The Epitome of Love and Mercy to All19 Oct 2021
This week, as we celebrate the birth of the Mercy to Mankind, there is no better way of honouring him than to bring to light incidents from his pure life, in which he manifested the most sublime morals and the most pristine of principles, especially when it comes to other people. On numerous occasions, the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him, has shown us that all of humanity is deserving of respect and love regardless of their ethnicity, gender, class, status or occupation. And that the sinner is as deserving of warmth, kindliness and support as the saint.
At a time when bloodshed and discord appears to be rampant in all parts of the world, the priceless lessons we can derive from him are more relevant than ever. In this piece I wish to shed light on some of the many ways that the Holy Prophet of Islam, through his noble manners, fought intolerance and eliminated barbarianism in a time that very much mirrors some of the hostile conditions and hate-filled agendas that we witness in this day and age.
A Mercy to Other Faiths
Contrary to the narrative surrounding the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) that is promoted among orientalist circles, the Holy Prophet was a man of immense tolerance towards other faith groups. Under his political rule in Medina, which he established in 622 AD, where many Christians and Jews resided, they were free to practise and worship in their churches and synagogues. They were allowed to live alongside the Muslim population in harmony, with dignity and protection under the constitution of Medina, as drafted by the Holy Prophet.
Once, the Holy Prophet was sitting at a place in Medina, with his companions, and a funeral procession passed by. On seeing this, the Holy Prophet stood up. One of his companions said “this funeral is that of a Jew,” to which the Holy Prophet responded, “was he not a human being?” This foundation of tolerance and acceptance of other faiths is reflective of the overall message of Islam.
A Mercy to Women
The Holy Prophet (pbuh) was also the kindest to the women. He is narrated to have said “the best of you are those who are the best (in character) to their women.”On many occasions, the Holy Prophet manifested the utmost level of respect and mercy towards his beloved wife, Lady Khadijah and his daughter, Lady Fatima (peace be upon them). He would often speak fondly of his wife Khadijah, and praise her in her absence. He is narrated to have said “She believed in me when no one else did, she embraced Islam when people disbelieved me; and she helped and comforted me when there was no one to lend me a helping hand.”
Similarly, his love for his daughter Fatima was unmatched. Whenever Fatima would enter his room, he would stand up for her and kiss her, and sit back in his place. In pre-Islamic Arabian society, where burying one’s daughters alive was common practice, this level of love and kindness which he showed for his wife and daughter was revolutionary, and an act of defiance against the barbaric practices of the time.
A Mercy to Children
Another lesson of love that we can derive from the life of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) is the mercy he showed towards children. He would often carry his grandchildren Al-Hassan and Al-Hussain (pbut) on his shoulders and say, “Surely, whoever loves me, and loves these two (pointing towards Hasan and Hussain) will be with the Holy Prophet in paradise.”
It has also been reported by Abu Huraira that Al Aqra bin Habis saw the Holy Prophet (pbuh) kissing Al-Hassan. He said “I have 10 children and I have never kissed any of them.” The Holy Prophet responded saying “He who does not show mercy (towards his children), no mercy would be shown to him.”
A Mercy to Those Who Were Hostile to Him
On many instances, the Holy Prophet faced aggression and insults from those who opposed him and his message, and instead of cursing them or retaliating, he would pray to Allah for their forgiveness and salvation.
There is one incident often narrated regarding the Holy Prophet’s kindness, where a woman would throw rubbish at him whenever he would pass by her house in Makkah. He would always remain silent and show no anger or annoyance at her, despite this being a daily occurrence. However, one day when the Prophet was passing by, the woman did not throw rubbish at him. He stopped and asked the neighbour about her well-being. The neighbour informed him that she was unwell, in bed, to which the Prophet asked permission to visit the woman.
When he entered the house, the woman thought he had finally come to take revenge while she was vulnerable and unable to defend herself. But to her amazement, the Prophet assured her that he had come, not to take revenge, but rather to look after her needs, as it was the command of Allah that one should visit the sick and help them when they are in need. The old woman was moved by his mercy and love, and finally understood that he was truly the Prophet of God, and that Islam was the true religion. She accepted Islam at once.
During times of war, his way of dealing with the opposing side was always with compassion and mercy. It has been narrated that “Whenever the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) wanted to dispatch an army, he would request them to come to him and he would tell them: ‘Go in the name of God, the Exalted. Seek perseverance from Him and fight for His cause. Do not steal from the war booty. Do not mutilate the disbelievers. Do not kill old men, children or women. Do not kill monks who live in caves. Do not uproot trees unless you are forced to do so. Do not burn palm trees nor destroy them. Never poison the water of the idol worshippers. Do not be deceptive nor treacherous. If a Muslim gives asylum to an idol worshipper, he is a refugee until he hears the word of God and Islam is presented to him. If he accepts, he is your brother in faith. If he does not accept, he is to be returned to a safe place (amongst his own people).“
A Mercy to the Vulnerable
The Holy Prophet (pbuh) was loving and merciful to the vulnerable among society, especially the widows, the orphans, the slaves and the poor. He would treat his subordinates with kindness and respect, despite the norm at the time being the complete opposite. Anas ibn Malik said “I worked for the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) for ten years and not once did I even hear him say ‘uff’ to me and he never asked me, ‘Why did you do this’ or ‘Why didn’t you do that?’
Furthermore, the Holy Prophet greatly encouraged his nation to take care of the widows and the poor people, and is narrated to have said, “One who cares for the widows and the poor is like the one who fights in the way of Allah or those who spend their days fasting and their nights praying.
One day, a man came to the Holy Prophet and complained that he feels hardness in his heart. The Holy Prophet responded and said “Would you like that your heart becomes soft and that you acquire what you need? Be merciful with the orphan, pat his head, feed him from what you eat. This will soften your heart and enable you to get what you need.
He is also narrated to have said regarding looking after the orphans that “I and the guarding of an orphan will be in the Garden of Paradise like these two” (his two fingers – side by side). The incidents which show his good-nature and softness towards the vulnerable truly touch the heart, and encompass the very essence of his immaculate personality.
These are but a few drops from the ocean of lessons that we can learn from the Holy Prophet (pbuh), and apply into our own lives, if we truly wish to follow in his footsteps and embody his message. A true believer must deal with others with tenderness, especially towards those with whom it is hardest – our own enemies. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) teaches us to tame our egos, show restraint, and to act with patience and forbearance with those who show us hostility and arrogance, for surely, it may be through our gentle mannerism that their hearts are opened and they are guided towards the perfect path of Islam.