Mercy and Forgiveness
"We sent you not but as a mercy for all creatures" (Quran: 21/107)
The Prophet(pbuh) was a symbol of love and mercy. The Quran says: "We sent you not but as a mercy for all creatures" (Quran, 21:107). The most important feature of his mercy was that it was universal and not confined to the Muslims or to the Arabs. His mercy covered all members of humanity. Once he was asked to invoke a curse upon the non-believers. But he replied, in anger and said that he was not sent on the earth to curse but was sent only as a mercy. The Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) was extremely merciful to all, including his enemies and the unbelievers. Many sayings about incidents of his mercy towards men, women, children and animals are recorded in the pages of history.
Once, the Prophet (pbuh) kissed his grandson Al-Hasan ibn Ali, while Al-Aqra ibn Habis At-Tamimi was sitting with him. Al-Aqra said:
- "I have ten children and have never kissed one of them."
The Prophet (pbuh) cast a look at him and said:
- "Whoever is not merciful to others will not be treated mercifully." ( Hadith, Al-Bukhaari )
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) never took revenge for any personal injury to himself. He did not take revenge even on his deadly enemies and when they were all standing before him defeated and at his mercy after the victory of Meccah.
He was a true reflection of the Quranic verse as he exemplified the teachings that were all therein stated. It is said that the Prophet's mercy was seen in its most glorious and most magnanimous form in his forgiveness of his enemies at the height of his power and glory, when he had the power to take full revenge on them . But he forgave all his enemies and did not take revenge on any of them. His most admirable and praiseworthy act, is that he never took revenge on anyone for personal injuries to himself. It was reported by A'ishah that the Prophet that he never took revenge on anyone, on his own behalf, for anything (Muslim, 2327).
It is easy to teach high morals and lofty principles of love and mercy but quite another thing to practice them. The most distinctive quality of the Prophet(pbuh) was that he not only taught high principles to his people but also practiced them. He forgave those who had injured him, beaten him, and done everything to destroy him and his faith. All his deadly enemies, including Abu Sufyan, lkramah (son of Abu Jahl) and many other chiefs of Meccah, were among those who benefited from his forgiveness.
( pbuh = peace be upon him )
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