The third manifestation: The Prophet, pbuh, was keen on giving a good treatment to the “People of the Book”, and sought to close the doors that lead to their being exposed to any harm. I have read an episode to the effect that at the time of the Prophet, pbuh, there was a small Christian community living in a quarter by the name of Suq al-Nabt .I cannot remember any case of any Christian being killed during the life time of Muhammad, pbuh, while, regrettably, the Catholics under Karlos V killed in 1521 more than half a million Christian Protestants, and burnt 230 thousand Protestants, as well. Dear audience, the Prophet’s meeting with the delegation of Najran Christians reflects his good treatment of Christians of his time . Najran was a neighborhood close to Mecca. Its inhabitants were Christians who came to Medina and were well received by the Prophet, pbuh. He expounded to them the truth of Islam and left them to make their own choice, which they did. They chose to stick to their faith, and he left them alone. Then they asked him to send one of his companions to help them in the administration of their affairs and solve their problems. He said he would send them a trustworthy man, Abu Obaidah bin Al-Jarrah, whom he called “The Trustee of this nation”.
In another episode, the Prophet pardoned the Jewish woman who had put poison in the food she offered to him. He also forgave Labid, the Jew who had tried to harm him. He told his wife, Aisha, that he had pardoned him because he did not want to provoke people, out of mercy for all of them.The fourth manifestation: Among the objectives of the Quran, which the Prophet, pbuh, sought to realize, was the integration of the People of the Book in the community, through permitting Muslims to marry their women, mix with them socially, and eat their food.The Prophet, pbuh, used to accept their invitation to eat, to visit the sick among them, and to offer his condolences in their afflictions. The Holy Quran has sympathized with the Najran Christians whose king had burnt them on account of their faith, and God menaced him with torture.The fifth manifestation: The Prophet, pbuh, has demonstrated to the People of the Book the distortion and changes that had occurred in their religion. Such a step was painful to them, though it was a bitter frankness and among the manifestations of mercy. The proverb says, “Your friend is the one who frankly tells you the truth (about yourself) and not the one who (merely) believes you.” Having done that, he left them to make their free choice.
The sixth manifestation: The Prophet, pbuh, has secured the possessions of the Jews and the Christians, their lives, their places of worship and even their food and drinks. He left them completely free in respect of what they eat and drink, provided this did not hurt the feelings of Muslims in light of the well known rule: “Harm should not be inflicted nor should any harm be reciprocated.”These manifestations have been provided, without limitation, for they are much more than was mentioned. They are merely instances that clearly indicate the extent of the mercy of the Prophet, pbuh, towards the followers of other religions.It was a good coincidence, dear audience, that the divergent view of the nature of Jesus Christ had clearly surfaced during the time of the Byzantine Hercules, who was a contemporary of Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, (575-642). The Byzantines used to say that Christ had two natures, a divine one and a human one, while his subjects in Egypt and Syria believed that the Word was incarnated and became flesh and blood and that god became Christ. These were the Jacobeans. The differing parties did not know that at the time they held such widely different views, there was Muhammad, pbuh, who had the full truth.
It should be pointed out, dear audience, that the manifestations of mercy emanating from the Prophet, pbuh, towards those adversaries, has come to be a way of dealing with the People of the Book by the Muslim rulers who succeeded him, as I have pointed out that Muslims are bound to follow the Prophet, pbuh, in all his sayings and deeds.I have gone through the pages of history and found that the Muslim’s treatment of Christians did not depart from the way drawn for them by the Prophet, pbuh, and I can regrettably say that the history of the Prophet, pbuh, with the Quraish unbelievers has repeated itself, as the history of Muslims with Christians is similar thereto.The Muslims have treated Christians with forgiveness, mercy and tolerance, while the Christians have treated Muslims with utter cruelty in many cases in Spain, the Inquisition Courts and the Crusades.I apologize for this digression, but this is the information I have come across to and wished to share with you. I hope that you follow up on them in their sources. Let me remind you of what we have said in the first lecture in respect of the wretchedness of humanity before the advent of Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, in all aspects of life. These conditions have been recognized by all who have written thereon. Hence, the advent of Muhammad, pbuh, was a mercy to all humanity.
All those who have studied the aforementioned conditions have conceded that there were cruelty and wrong doing therein, and all who have studied the life of the Prophet, pbuh, have admitted the existence of the manifestations of mercy in all aspects thereof.This view will help us in understanding God’s statement, “We have not sent thee but as an evidence of Our mercy towards all the worlds” (Al-Ambiyaa’ - 107)It was necessary that the system of mercy be complete and include all creatures, for it is inconceivable that people should be merciful towards one another, and practice forms of cruelty and torture towards other creatures, be they animals or birds. We have pointed out that morality is indivisible.I would not be far from the truth if I say that the practice of mercy towards other than humans is a form of gradual education that implants this quality of mercy in the character of human beings. Thus, it is not easy for a person to simply divest himself of some qualities that preclude the exercise of mercy towards his brothers in humanity, such as selfishness, the desire of vengeance and hating those who harm him. It is as though mercy towards animals is a means and an end at the same time.
When the Prophet, pbuh, says to his companions, “He who does not show mercy will not be shown mercy” and “Have mercy on those on earth and He Who is in Heaven will have mercy on you,” his companions, who were Arabs, the well known masters of rhetoric, understood from such statements that what is required of them is the general and universal mercy if they were to benefit from the mercy of God, and not one that is confined to a certain category or particular genus of creatures.Because the inhabitants of the earth that are referred to in the statements of the Prophet, pbuh, are those who are close and remote, friends and foes, young and old, males and females, animals and birds, none of them will receive God’s mercy unless they practice it, out of conviction and love for all of them.The Prophet, pbuh, has specifically enjoined against forms of sport in which animals are a part thereof and are subjected to injury. Thus bull-fighting is outlawed (haram), cock-fighting is haram, and taking animals and birds as targets to be shot at is haram. This culture has been implanted in the minds of the companions of the Prophet, pbuh. Thus, Abdullah bin Omar passed by some people who were targeting a bird to which they aim there arrows, and said that God curses those who do such things and the Messenger of God, pbuh, has cursed those who take any living creature as a target.
Dear audience, my admiration for this approach has increased when I read what psychologists have said that a person who sees pictures of animal torturing or the scenes of cruelly and killing will develop a cruel heart and a daring in his character that makes such scenes seem natural and ordinary, and will no longer be inclined to be merciful or tolerant towards others.In brief, the Prophet, pbuh, does not wish to see on earth any picture of cruelty or torture, and does not wish to see any remainder of behavior, whatsoever, that is devoid of mercy, towards any creature whatsoever.We can say, in contemporary terms, that the Prophet, pbuh, has sought to issue a legislation that provides for the elimination of every behavior that is contrary to mercy, in all its forms and manifestation and in all fields of life.I agree, in this respect, with those who say that the mercy of the Prophet, pbuh, was, at first, out of the ordinary for the conscience of humanity, in view of the remoteness of the reality of spiritual life from the actual facts of life. But ever since then, humanity has come closer and closer to the horizons of these principles, and their oddness have given way to normalcy in the conscience of humanity and has adopted and implemented them, albeit under different names,All humanity has been affected, willy or nilly, consciously or unconsciously, by the morality of mercy which was preached by Muhammad, pbuh, and the shades of mercy are still operative for those who seek such shades.Dear audience, I detect some sort of boredom and distraction, and I believe that I am responsible for this academic approach. As some of you have stopped taking notes, I renew my promise to provide you with hard copies of these lectures.I promise you something else after a short break, namely, to move on to another topic that is quite attractive to you. See you soon.
 Al-Tabari, Jame’ al-Bayan ‘an ta’weel Al-Qur’an,
 See Ibn Atiyyah, Al-Muharrar Al-wajeez, pp.1296-1297.
 See the Exegesis of Al-Tabari, v.17, p.106; see also Al-TaHreer wat Tanweer, v.17, p.167.
 SaHih Muslim, the Section on the absuse of animals and others, tradition 6613.
 Reported by Tirmidhi, in the Section on Thaqif and Bani Hanifah, tradition 3942.
 For details of all this, see Dr. Adel Al-Shadi, the Book on hypocrisy and its effect on the Life of the Nation. A Quranic Study, p.360ff
 See Al-Zamakhshari, Al-Kashaf, v.1, p.491; A-Alosi, The Spirit of Meanings, v.10, p.127.
 Muhammad Rashid Ridha, Tafseer al-Manar, v. 10, p.519 ff.,
 See Ibn Taimiyyah, Compendium of Fatwas, v.28, p.617 ff.
 Imadduddine Khalil, A Study of the Biography((of the Prophet) , sixth impression, 1982, Al-Risalah Foundation, Dar Al-Nafaes, Beirut.
 Dr. Khaled Al-Qassem, Dialogue with the People of the Book, p. 90, first impression, 1414, Dar Al-Muslim, Riyadh.
 For the details of this story, see Ibn Al-Qayyem, in Zad Al-Miád, v.3, p.643.
 See Jamil Baiham, The Philosophy of Muhammad, p.47, with some adaptation.
 Reported by Bukhari, the Section on the Mercy towards People and Animals, tradition 6013.
 Reported by Abu Dawood, in the Section on Mercy, tradition 4941.
 Reported by Muslim in the Section on The Enjoining Against the Cruelty to Animals, tradition 1958.
 Sayed Qutub, In the Shades of the Quran, v.4, p.2401.