Muhammad (SAWA), the Prophet of Mercy for Entire Creation
Dr. Yahya Jahangiri Suhrawardi
Researcher at Maram Institute
Visiting professor at Zimbabwe University
The word 'Islam' is related to the word 'salaam' (the daily greeting of the Muslims) meaning peace. Nothing in the teachings of the Prophet or his life represents anything other than peace. And he lived up to this title showing compassion to Muslims and non-Muslims, friends and foes, humans and animals alike. It was his kindness and noble qualities that won people's hearts and not the sword. The first pact that he concluded with the Jewish minority on coming to Medina was a peace treaty.
In his personal life, he never hit a woman or child, never scolded his servants, and never held a personal vendetta. When he went to preach his message in the town of Taif, a few miles away from Mecca, the people set loose a mob of ruffians on him. They called him names and threw stones at him till his shoes were full of blood. God sent the Archangel Gabriel to ask him if he wanted this town destroyed. Bleeding and beaten, he still forgave them.
He was forgiving not just in weakness but more so when he gained victory and had the power to punish. For 13 years he suffered inhuman torture at the hands of his people who rebuked him and inflicted him with every kind of suffering, eventually forcing him to migrate to Medina, and then waged war on him for five years.
When he conquered Mecca without bloodshed as a victor leading an army of 10,000, the city lay at his feet. Instead of a massacre in the name of ‘jihad’, plundering or even public beheadings, he asked the Meccan unbelievers who were awaiting his decision about them: "How do you expect me to treat you?" They responded unanimously: "You are a noble one, the son of a noble one." He announced to them his decision: "You may go free! No reproach this day shall be on you; may Allah forgive you."
He forgave his bitterest. Is this the image of a turbaned terrorist? Has the world ever seen such mercy? Compare this with what happen nowadays in the modern word.
Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) was sent to all humankind as the Comforter, Guide, Messenger of glad tidings from God, and Cautioner, as Allah states in the Holy Qur’an:
"And we have not sent you, except as a mercy to the worlds." Quran 21:107
Women were very badly treated in those times. The Noble Prophet gave them honour and dignity at par with men in the community. One of the companions reports that "We did not have much regard for women while we were in Mecca, but they were better treated in Medina. Allah's Messenger established women's rights through his sayings and commandments, which improved their position and status."
Allah’s Messenger was particularly compassionate towards children. When he saw a child crying, he sat beside him or her and shared his or her feelings. He felt the pain of a mother for her child more than the mother herself. Once he said: "I stand in prayer and wish to prolong it. However, I hear the cry of a child and cut the prayer short for the anxiety which the mother is feeling.”
He would take children in his arms and embrace them. He was once hugging his beloved grandsons, Hasan (AS) and Husayn (AS), When Aqrah ibn Haabis told him, ‘I have got ten children. So far, I have not kissed any one of them.’ Allah’s Messenger responded: "The one who does not treat others with mercy will not be treated mercifully.”
His mercy and compassion was so deep and vast in sense that not only human beings hut also even animals and plants would benefit from it. The love and compassion of Allah’s Messenger for all kinds of creatures was not of the kind claimed by today’s ‘humanists’. He was sincere and balanced in his love and compassion.
The Prophet forbade his companions to keep the unintelligent creatures hungry or thirsty, to disturb or to overburden them. He commended that kindness and putting them at ease were meritorious acts tending to bring man closer to Allah.
One day, he told to his companion the story of two women: "A woman of loose morals ultimately went to paradise because she gave water to a dog dying of thirst in the desert. And another woman was tortured and put in Hell because of a cat which she had kept locked till it died of hunger.”
The Prophet said: "A traveler who was thirsty saw a well on his way. He got inside the well and when she came out he saw a dog licking mud due to thirst. The man realized that the dog was as thirsty as him, so he got into the well again, filled is leather sock with water and carried it out holding it with his teeth. Thus, he quenched the thirst of the dog. Allah was pleased with this act of kindness and pardoned his sins.” The Companions asked: "O Messenger of Allah, is there recompense in the matter of beasts and wild animals also?” The Prophet replied: "There is recompense in regard to every creature that has a living heart.”
Once on return from a military campaign, some Companions took away the chicks of a bird from their nest to stroke them. The mother bird came back and when it could not find its chicks in the nest, it began to fly around screeching. When informed of the matter, Allah's Messenger became angry and ordered the chicks to be put back in the nest.
Abdullah bin Ja’far (at-Tayyar) narrates: Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) visited garden with his friends. In the corner was a very thin, weak and tired camel. As soon as the camel saw Prophet Muhammad (SAWA), it burst into tears. The Noble Messenger immediately went to see it, stayed with it for a while, then he called on the owner of the garden and scolded him and ordered him to take good care of the animal.
As the most astounding Messenger of God, he embraced the humankind with love that includes all humanity and existences. Here, let’s remember the mission of Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) as the Holy Qur’an unveils:
"I was sent to the people as mercy.”
No doubt that in him mercy talked, mercy walked, and mercy lived on the earth.