As for compassion, tenderness and mercy to all creation, Allah said about him: "Grievous to him is what you suffer, anxious for you, compassionate is he, merciful to the believers." (10:128) Allah says: "We only sent you as a mercy to all the worlds." (21:107)
Part of his excellence is that Allah gave him two of His names, saying: "merciful, compassionate to the believers."
Ibn Shihab said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, went on a raid [and he mentioned Hunayn]. The Messenger of Allah gave Safwan ibn Umayya a hundred camels, then a hundred, then a hundred." Ibn Shihab said, "Sa'id ibn al-Musayyab related that Safwan said, 'By Allah, he gave me what he gave me. He was the most hated of people to me and he continued to give to me until he was the most beloved of people to me.'
It is related that a bedouin came asking for something from him. He gave the man something and said, "Have I been good to you?" The bedouin said, "No, you have not and you have not done well." The Muslims became angry and went for him. The Prophet indicated that they should hold off. Then the Prophet got up and went into his house. Then the Prophet sent for him and added something to his gift and said, "Have I been good to you?" The bedouin replied, "Yes, may Allah repay you well in family and tribe." The Prophet said, "You said what you said and that angered my Companions. If you like, say what you said in my presence in their presence so as to remove what they harbour in their breasts against you." He said, "Yes." He came back later and the Prophet said, "This bedouin said what he said and then we gave him more. He claims that he is content. Isn't that so?" He said, "Yes, may Allah repay you well in your family and tribe." The Prophet said, "The example of this man and me is like a man who has a she-camel who bolts from him. People chase it and they only make it shy away more. The owner calls to them to stay clear of him and his she-camel, saying, 'I am more compassionate and better to it than you.' He goes in front of it and takes some clods of dirt and drives it back until it comes and kneels. He saddles and mounts it. If I had given you your heads when the man said what he said, you would have killed him and he would have entered the Fire."(Al-Bazzar from Abu Hurayra)
It is related that the Prophet said, "None of you should come to me with anything about any of my Companions for I do not want to go out to you except with a clear heart.” (Abu Dawud and at-Tirmidhi from Ibn Mas'ud)
Part of his compassion towards his community was that he made things easy for them. He disliked doing certain things out of the fear that they would become obligatory for them. He said, "If I had not been compassionate to my community, I would have commanded them to use the siwak every time they did wudu'.” (Muslim and al-Bukhari.)
There is also the tradition about the night prayer and the one forbidding them to fast continuously and the one about his dislike of entering the Ka'ba lest it became incumbent on his community and his desire that his Lord should make his curse against them a mercy to them. When he heard a child weeping, he would shorten the prayer.
An instance of his compassion was that he called on his Lord and made a compact with Him saying, "If ever I curse a man or make an invocation against him, make it zakat for him and mercy, prayer, purification and an act of drawing-near by which he will draw near to you on the Day of Rising.” (Muslim and al-Bukhari and Abu Hurayra)
When his people rejected him, Jibril came to him and said, "Allah has heard what your people say to you and how they reject you. He has ordered the angels of the mountains to obey whatever you tell them to do." The angel of the mountains called him, greeted him and said, "Send me to do what you wish. If you wish, I will crush them between the two mountains of Makka." The Prophet said, "Rather, I hope that Allah will bring forth from their loins those who will worship Allah alone and not associate anything with Him.” (Muslim and al-Bukhari and the Six Books)
Ibn al-Munkadir related that Jibril told the Prophet, "Allah has ordered heaven, earth and mountains to obey you." He said, "Reprieve my community. Perhaps Allah will turn to them." (Mursal hadith)
'A'isha said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was never given a choice between two things but that he chose the easier of the two."
Ibn Mas'ud said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was careful when he admonished us, fearing he would tire us." (Muslim and al-Bukhari)
'A'isha was riding an unruly camel which was recalcitrant and started to hit it repeatedly, The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "You must have compassion." (Al-Bayhaqi)
Excerpted from Ash-Shifaa
© Madinah Press 1991
Translated by Aisha Abdarrahman Bewley