Description: The forgiveness of the Prophet r towards non-Muslims, even those who sought to kill him and opposed his mission throughout his life.
Part 2: More examples.
The mercy of the Prophet (Peace and blessings of Allah upon him) even extended to those who brutally killed and then mutilated the body of his uncle Hamzah t, one of the most beloved of people to the Prophet (Peace and blessings of Allah upon him). Hamzah was one of the earliest to accept Islam and, through his power and position in the Qurayshite hierarchy, diverted much harm from the Muslims. An Abyssinian servant of the wife of Abu Sufyan, Hind, sought out and killed Hamzah t in the battle of Uhud. The night before the victory of Makkah, Abu Sufyan accepted Islam, fearing the vengeance of the Prophet (Peace and blessings of Allah upon him). The latter forgave him and sought no retribution for his years of enmity.
After Hind had killed Hamzah she mutilated his body by cutting his chest and tearing his liver and heart into pieces. When she quietly came to the Prophet e and accepted Islam, he recognized her but did not say anything. She was so impressed by his magnanimity and stature that she said, “O Messenger of God, no tent was more deserted in my eyes than yours; but today no tent is more lovely in my eyes than yours.”
Ikramah, son of Abu Jahl, was a great enemy of the Prophet r and Islam. He ran away after the victory of Makkah and went to Yemen. After his wife embraced Islam, she brought him to the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings of Allah upon him) under her protection. He was so pleased to see him that he greeted him with the words:
“O emigrant rider, welcome.”
Safwan ibn Umayyah, one of the chiefs of Makkah, was also a great enemy of Muhammad (Peace and blessings of Allah upon him) and Islam. He promised a reward to Umair ibn Wahab if he managed to kill Muhammad r. When Makkah was conquered, Safwan ran away to Jeddah in the hope of finding a berth that would take him to Yemen by sea. Umair ibn Wahab t came to Muhammad r and said, “O Messenger of God! Safwan ibn Umayyah, a chief of his tribe, has run away from fear of what you might do to him and threatens to cast himself into the sea.” The Prophet r sent him a guarantee of protection and, when he returned, he requested Muhammad r to give him two months to come to a decision. He was given four months, after which he became a Muslim by his own will.
Habir ibn al-Aswad was another vicious enemy of Muhammad r and Islam. He inflicted a serious injury to Zainab, the daughter of the Noble Prophet r when she decided to migrate to Madinah. She was pregnant when she started her migration, and the polytheists of Makkah tried to stop her from leaving. This particular man, Habir ibn al-Aswad, physically assaulted her and intentionally caused her to fall down from her camel. Her fall had caused her to miscarry her baby, and she herself, was badly hurt. He had committed many other crimes against Muslims as well. He wanted flee to Persia but, when he decided to come to Muhammad (Peace and blessings of Allah upon him) instead, the Prophet magnanimously forgave him.
The tribe of Quraysh were archenemies of Islam and, for a period of thirteen years while he was still in Makkah, they would rebuke the Prophet r, taunt and mock him, beat him and abuse him, both physically and mentally. They placed the afterbirth of a camel on his back while he prayed, and they boycotted him and his tribe until the social sanctions became unbearable. They plotted and attempted to kill him on more than one occasion, and when the Prophet r escaped to Madinah, they rallied the majority of the Arab tribes and waged many wars against him. Yet, when he entered Makkah victorious with an army of 10,000, he did not take revenge on anyone. The Prophet r said to the Quraysh:
“O people of Quraysh! What do you think I will do to you?
Hoping for a good response, they said: “You will do good. You are a noble brother, son of a noble brother.”
The Prophet r then said:
“Then I say to you what Joseph said to his brothers: ‘There is no blame upon you.’ Go! For you all free!.”
Rarely in the annals of history can we read such an instance of forgiveness. Even his deadliest enemy Abu Sufyan, who led so many battles against Islam, was forgiven, as was any person who stayed in his house and did not come to fight him.
The Prophet r, was all for forgiveness and no amount of crime or aggression against him was too great to be forgiven by him. He was the complete example of forgiveness and kindness, as mentioned in the following verse of the Qur'an:
“Keep to forgiveness (O Muhammad), and enjoin kindness, and turn away from the ignorant.” (Qur'an 7:199)
He always repelled evil with the good of forgiveness and kind behaviour for, in his view, an antidote was better than poison. He believed and practiced the precept that love could foil hatred, and aggression could be won over by forgiveness. He overcame the ignorance of the people with the knowledge of Islam, and the folly and evil of the people with his kind and forgiving treatment. With his forgiveness, he freed people from the bondage of sin and crime, and also made them great friends of Islam. He was an epitome of the verse of the Qur'an:
“Good and evil are not alike. Repel evil with what is better. Then he, between whom and you there was hatred, will become as though he was a bosom friend.” (Qur'an 41:34)
Edited by the Prophet of Mercy team