By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi, New Age Islam
17 February 2017
Muslims believe the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to be their model to emulate. The Prophet’s model behaviour included model justice and forgiveness, which is demonstrated in the fact that he never took revenge on anyone on his own behalf but forgave even his staunch enemies. Consequently, this ideal attribute of the Prophet softened many hard-hearted men, playing a pivotal role in attracting the pagans towards willingly embracing Islam and Muslims.
According to a Hadith, whenever any issue of legal retaliation was brought to the Prophet, he would always recommend his Ummah for being patient and pardoning the criminal.
Anas bin Malik reported: “I never saw a case involving legal retaliation being referred to the Messenger of God, peace and blessings of God be upon him, except that he would command pardoning the criminal. (Sunan Abu Dawood 4497, Source: Sahih)
The Prophet said, “Whoever suffers an injury done to him and forgives (the person responsible), Allah will raise his status to a higher degree and remove one of his sins.” (Sunan At-Tirmidhi)
The Prophet said, “Do not be people without minds of your own, saying that if others treat you well you will treat them well, and that if they do wrong you will do wrong. Instead, accustom yourselves to do good if people do good and not to do wrong if they do evil.” (Sunan At-Tirmidhi)
Uqbah ibn Amir reported: I met the Messenger of Allah and I started speaking, taking his hand and saying, “O Messenger of Allah, tell me about virtuous deeds.” The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said, “O Uqbah, reconcile whoever cuts you off, give to whoever deprives you, and turn away from whoever wrongs you.”
In another Hadith it is reported that the Prophet said, “You shall keep relationship with one who cut it off from you, you shall give one who disappointed you, and you shall pardon on who oppressed you, Whoever wants an increase in his sustenance, increase in life [and riddance from a horrible death], should fear Allah and be helpful and kind towards his relatives”.
Allah Almighty says: “And We have not sent you but as a mercy to the worlds.” (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21:107).
This reflects that the Prophet’s distinctive quality was that he was the embodiment of a blessing in word and deed, not only for a particular Muslim community but for the entire world. His impassioned engagement and dedication was just with the distribution of love, peace and tranquillity among all mankind.
According to a tradition recorded in Sahih Muslim, when the Prophet’s opponents greatly increased their persecution, his Companions asked him to curse them. At this, the Prophet replied, “I have not been sent to lay a curse upon men but to be a blessing to them.” His opponents continued to treat him and his Companions unjustly and cruelly, but he always prayed for them.
Once, while the Prophet was on the way to Ta’if where the Hijaz aristocracy used to while away their summer days, he was so badly stoned by his enemies that the blood streamed from all over his body. When he attempted to call them to Islam, instead of listening to his words of wisdom, they set the street urchins upon him, who kept chasing him till nightfall. Even after all this, he did not curse them. When he was at all exhausted and bleeding from head to toe, all he said was, “O my Lord, guide my people along the true path, as they are ignorant of the truth”.
According to a Hadith, the Prophet once said, “A true believer is one with whom others feel secure and one who returns love for hatred.” The Prophet made it clear that we should never think that we should treat the people well only if they treat us well. Not only Love for love but we should be rather accustomed to being good towards and forgiving those who nurture hatred for us.
According to another Hadith, the Prophet once said, “By Allah, he is not a believer, by Allah, he is not a believer, by Allah, he is not a believer, with whom his neighbours are not secure.”
This Hadith teaches us that we should live with others like flowers, and not like thorns, without giving trouble to anybody. One of the great qualities of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was that he never sought revenge on his own behalf for any wrong done to him personally. Only if commandments of Allah had been broken, would he mete out retaliation for the sake of Allah Almighty.
His wife “A'ishah reported that Messenger of Allah was not unseemly or obscene in his speech, nor was he loud-voiced in the streets, nor did he return evil for evil, but he would forgive and pardon”. The people of the Quraysh rebuked him, taunted and mocked at him, beat him and abused him. They tried to kill him and when he escaped to Madinah, they waged many wars against him. Yet, when he entered Makkah victorious with an army of 10000, he did not take revenge on anyone. He forgave all. Even his deadliest enemy, Abu Sufyan, who had fought so many battles against him, was forgiven, as was anyone who stayed in his house.
Once, the Prophet was seated along with his Companions at some place in Madinah. During this time a funeral procession passed by. On seeing this, the Prophet stood up. One of his companions remarked that the funeral was that of a Jew. The Prophet replied, “Was he not a human being?”
One old woman made a habit of throwing rubbish on the Prophet whenever he passed by her house. The Prophet had to pass by her house daily on the way to the mosque. Even when the old woman threw rubbish on him, he would pass silently without showing any anger or annoyance. This was a daily event.
One day when the Prophet was passing by, the woman was not there to throw the rubbish. The Prophet stopped and asked the neighbour about her well-being. The neighbour informed upon him that the woman was sick and lying on the bed. The Prophet went to her house and politely asked for her permission to enter her house. When he reached her house, the old woman thought that he had come there to take revenge when she was unable to defend herself because of her sickness. But the Prophet assured her that he had come to her, not to take any revenge, but to see her and to look after her needs, as it was the command of God that if anyone is sick, a Muslim should visit him and should help him if his help is needed. The old woman was greatly moved by this love and kindness of the Prophet. From his example she understood that he was truly a Messenger of God and Islam was the true religion. She accepted Islam at once by reciting the Shahadah.
Besides, there are many Ahadith which show how the Prophet exemplified in his own life peace, kindness, forgiveness and justice regardless of religion, colour, ethnicity etc. From his example we learn that it is Sunnah of the prophet to tolerate many unpleasant things from others, adopting the attributes of kindness and forgiveness. But unfortunately, this beloved Sunnah is missing today in our life—not only missing but even some of us are working on the contrary to this Sunnah.
A regular Columnist with New Age Islam, Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi Dehlvi is an Alim and Fazil (Classical Islamic scholar) with a Sufi background and English-Arabic-Urdu Translator.