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10 إضاءات حول ما قدمة نبينا محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم

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Aspects of Mercy
Aspects of Mercy

This is the seventh lecture of Dr. Adam and the audience is the same
audience. Comments on these lectures have multiplied in many fora,
newspapers and journals, the majority of which were positively
appreciative, though some were critical on the grounds that she
sometimes goes too far in adducing evidence and in analysis. There was
one source only that considered the lectures emotional in
character.There appeared an article in the University Magazine that
stated that  there was a mixture of emotions and family sentiments, and
that these lectures were family meals that are appropriate for all
members of the family, but they apparently remain points of view, which
were themselves admired by others, particularly those who were
previously interested in this topic.Dr. Adam never made any comments
regarding what was said about her lectures. This was remarked by others
attending here lectures, who would  have liked to hear something from
her, but no one wanted to bring up the matter or raise any questions in
that regard.

Dr. Adam started her lecture, as usual, by welcoming
her audience and then went on to say:“Other lectures have touched on
the relationship that exists among different aspects of ethics, and we
have sometimes reported the views of some specialists in the field of
ethics, which views indicated that a human personality cannot highlight a
certain ethical trait that would become closely associated with it,
unless such personality begins by applying other ethical traits and
identifies itself with universal values. We mentioned, in that respect,
the view of some scholars who maintained that ethical traits reinforce
one another, which confirms the previous view.I have intended the
following lines to be an introduction to this subject. You may remember
that someone in the audience had touched on this subject and that I said
at the time that it was a basic aspect of our topic and that we would
revert to it in some detail.However, it seems to me that before dealing
with this subject and with the illustrations of mercy that are
associated therewith, I am compelled to touch on the philosophy of war
in the life of Prophet Muhammad, pbuh. I must admit that I do not like
to talk about wars. I believe that you share this aversion with me and
do not desire to listen to what is connected with wars, whose stinking
odors bother all of us, in an age in which hidden thoughts have become
foul and people’s minds have become blinded.

We have felt
depressed as a result of hearing about wars and the horrible scenes of
blood and destruction associated therewith, so much so, that we were
under the impression that humanity had gone out of its mind, as it did
not know why the killer kills and why the victim was killed; why the
unjust has perpetrated their injustice, nor how the victim has avenged
himself.Our aversion to war, its news and consequences are among the
main reasons that have prompted us to talk about ethics and morality,
particularly the ethics of mercy. This is done in order to remind the
erring humanity that there is on earth something that is called mercy,
which may in many instances make it possible to dispense with war and
hatred, and so that humanity may realize that there is a person in whom
mercy was an eminent attribute throughout his life. It was the weapon
with which he fought his adversaries in many cases, at a time when they
fought him with force and cruelty. It was the means through which he
attracted many people to his message and succeeded in spreading mercy
among people.It is inevitable, however, to talk about mercy without
touching on war and its disasters. I hope we shall not be misunderstood
as being driven by emotion and compelled by our humane feelings to the
point of ignoring the conflict between good and evil in this world, or
as being oblivious of the causes of such conflict, whether they are
convincing and legitimate or not.

 

I would like to talk
about the subject of war in the life of the Prophet, pbuh, in the format
of several points, lest we should digress beyond our intended
objective, particularly as this subject is so controversial that
opinions diverge over it and is subjected to the influence of selfish
interests.

First, it has been established that the Prophet, pbuh,
has given permission to fight, to his companions, fifteen years after
the beginning of his mission. Thus fighting was authorized in the second
year of the Hegira, which is the view of the majority of scholars.[1]
This means that the years of fighting were only eight years, because the
mission of the Prophet, pbuh, lasted twenty three years.If we take into
account that the culture that prevailed at the time proscribed fighting
during the sacred months, which numbered four.  (“The number of months
in the sight of God is tywelve months in God’s decree on the day when He
created the heavens and the earth, ouf of these four are sacred
(Al-Tawbah, 36); and given that this culture was respected by the
Muslims and by their adversaries ــ If we take these facts into
account,  we must drop from the eight years about three years, which
constitute the sum total of the sacred months from each of the eight
years. Hence, the total period during which the Prophet, pbuh, was
allowed to fight was only five years out of the twenty three years of
his mission, as we have said.Second: The number of battles fought by the
Prophet, pbuh. was only nine battles, to which are added limited
fighting activities, in which he used to entrust to his companions the
performance of specific tasks that did not involve any killing or any
fighting.

Several scholars have attempted to count the number of
human losses during the time of the Prophet, pbuh, and they reported
conflicting figures. The highest figure did not exceed 1048 persons from
all parties, but I have ascertained that the number does not exceed
hundreds, at most, in eight years, in nine battles, and a number of his
minor campaigns.In the context of adducing figures, it is quite in order
to mention the number of people killed during the First and Second
World Wars only.The First World War:  or the global war that put an end
to all wars, is the one that took place between 1914 and 1918, during
which chemical weapons were used, for the first time., and in Which the
world had never  mobilized such a number of troops as it had done in
that War. In that war, civilians were bombed, from the sky for the first
time in history, and racial annihilations were practiced (9 million
military personnel, 7 million civilians, totaling 17 million
persons.)The Second World War, which erupted in 1937 in Asia and in 1939
in Europe, and ended in 1945 with the surrender of Japan. This war is
considered a universal war and the costliest in the history of humanity
on account of the wide expanse of the war and the multiplicity of the
theatres of the battles that took place. Many states were involved in
the conflict and the War claimed the lives of about 60 million human
beings, between military personnel and civilians (25 million military
personnel and 37 million civilians).

Yes, my dear audience!
Consider the painful figure of 77 million people killed in just two
wars, within about 12 years, of whom 44 million were civilians.But in
the age of mercy, in the life time of the Prophet, pbuh, there was
almost no civilian casualty, throughout 23 years of the confrontation
between the Prophet, pbuh, and his adversaries.In this context, allow
me, after those stunning figures, to reiterate the statement made by
Noam Chomsky: “I have taken these figures from history, and one must
clamor in protest and announce them in public.”[2] Third: The Prophet
has sought to avoid fighting, as much as possible, which the strong with
many potentials avoids, as he was aware that his objective had been
realized and many successes had been scored, without the need to fight.
This is a fact confirmed by fifteen years that elapsed without any
fighting, years that were full of accomplishments.It would be
interesting to illustrate this orientation by adducing what had happened
in the Battle of Badr, which was fought by the Prophet, pbuh, against
his Meccan adversaries. He had left Medina seeking no fighting, a fact
recorded by the Quran, when referring to the Prophet and his companions:
“and you would have liked to seize the less powerful one” (Al-Anfal,
7). This verse has revealed that the Prophet did not desire to fight,
but had been compelled to do so, finding no other alternative, as the
Prophet, pbuh, would never run away from his enemy.

Hours before
the start of the battle, he had hoped that Quraish would listen to
reason and be dissuaded from fighting, as is evidenced by the Prophet’s
statement to his companions hours before the start of the battle: “If
there is any good in one of them, it lies with the owner of the red
camel, for if they obey him they would be reasonable.”2,  meaning Otbah
ben Rabiaa, who had tried to dissuade Quraish from going to war, but did
not succeed and was overruled by Abu Jahl and those who were of his
opinion.On occasions, he used to change his routing in order to avoid
fighting, as he did when he was on his way, with his companions, to
perform Umrah (the Small Pilgrimage), and used to send mediators to his
adversaries to convince them of the damage and injuries that result from
war and of his desire of peace. This happened in the Hudaibiyah
Truce.[3] The Prophet always preferred to conclude treaties with his
adversaries and was eager to make same in order to close the door to
war. The number of treaties is almost equal to that of his military
campaigns. This is only an indication of his keenness on avoiding war.

Fourth:
When forced to fight, the Prophet, pbuh, would only fight in
self-defense or in defending his territory, even if he took the
initiative in the fighting. Thus, whenever he anticipated an imminent
danger, or had intelligence of some people preparing to fight him, he
would hasten to fight them, in fulfillment of the Quranic orders: “And
fight in God’s cause against those who wage war against you, but do not
commit aggression, for verily, God does not love aggressor ”
(Al-Baqarah, 190).At this juncture, a lady in the audience raised her
hand, and was given the floor. She introduced herself in a soft voice
which was not heard. She said she worked in the field of child-care and
had an interesting piece of information in this respect, which she
desired to share with the audience. Dr. Adam welcomed her offer, and the
lady said:“I have read an article which was read at a seminar on
child-care, copy of which I keep at my office. The article said that the
Prophet, pbuh, used to prevent children from joining him in
battles.Thus, it happened that when the Prophet, pbuh, was  reviewing
his army at the Battle of Bdr, he noticed that there were two boys,
Abdullah bin Omar and Al-Baraa bin Azib who had joined the army, and he
ordered them to go back to Medina[4], although they had tried to stand
on their tip toes to give an impression of their being old enough. But
their attempt failed, for the Prophet, pbuh, insisted on their going
back , though he was not sure there would be a fight. But in case
fighting would break out, he wanted to spare the boys the danger of
fighting, out of his mercy for them.”

The speaker paused and
asked if she could continue and Dr. Adam said, “Please do, but give me a
minute first, lest I should forget, to say that the Prophet pf Mercy
was keen on protecting children as a whole, and not merely the children
of Muslims. Thus he firmly ordered Muslims not to kill any children of
the enemy. This is illustrated by his order to Khaled bin Al-Walid not
to kill a child, a woman or a servant.[5]"The lady went on to say, “In
contrast to that, the UNICEF has published the figure of 300 thousand
children recruited in armies and participating in battles.[6]”She went
on to say, “You have mentioned in the First Lecture that the
Non-Governmental Organization “Medecins sans frontiers” has reported
that 2 million children were killed in the past few years, in wars and
conflicts.This encourages me to propose that in addition to the points
you have mentioned that a pointe be added on the eagerness of the
Prophet, pbuh, to keep away civilians, children and women from the wars,
and this explains why there were no civilian casualties in the wars he
fought.”Dr. Adam listened with great interest to the intervention of the
speaker and invited her to come forward to the podium and repeat her
magnificent statements, which she considered to form an important part
of her lecture, and that they would be added thereto.

The speaker
hesitated and wished to be excused, but Dr. Adam insisted, for a good
reason, saying, “the majority of the audience did not hear your
interesting speech. Hence it is necessary that you respond to the
invitation so that all would benefit therefrom.  I have decided that
your statements would constitute the fifth point.” The speaker stepped
forward feeling a bit shy and repeated what she had said to the
audience, who expressed admiration and appreciation.When she finished,
Dr. Adam thanked her once more, on her own behalf and on behalf of the
audience. Thereafter, another person in the audience stood up and said
that it seemed that the situation encouraged him to make a brief
intervention, which he thought was interesting and would show how eager
the Prophet, pbuh, was to protect children from all harm. Dr. Srah
thanked him and invited him to go ahead. He said, “Ibn Malek has
reported that the Prophet, pbuh, told parents to call home their
children after sunset.[7] I gather from this advice that the Prophet
,pbuh, wanted children to be at home before the advent of darkness, as
it is associated with possible harm to children.I believe that this is
an indication of the mercy of the Prophet, pbuh, towards children, which
we hope would be observed by parents in our time, and thank you for
giving me this opportunity.”Dr. Adam thanked the speaker for this
interesting and significant piece of information and his request that it
be included in the lecture and went on to say:

“I remember two
other events, which are relevant to our subject.The first: we have
already touched on it. It is the story of the first woman martyr in
Islam, Sumayyah bint (daughter) of Khabat, whom the enemies of the
Prophet, pbuh, did not hesitate to kill, while in contrast, when the
Prophet, pbuh, saw one of his enemies’ women killed, he was angry and
ordered his companions not to kill women.During the Battle of Hunain,
the Prophet, pbuh, saw a woman who had been killed and was surrounded by
onlookers. He was told she had been killed by Khalwed bin Al-Walid. The
Prophet, pbuh, said that she was not participating in the fighting and
sent some of his companions to tell Khaled Ibn Walid that the Prophet
ordered him not to kill a child, a woman or a servant.”

At this
point a person in the audience said, “I have read that women used to go
out with the Prophet during his battles. Is this true? If so, how can we
reconcile this with what you have just said?”She said, “this is true.
I  have read some texts that so indicate, and I read about the attitude
of the Prophet, pbuh, towards women. But what we should know is that
women remained behind the army, tending to the wounds of the fighters
and providing the men with water. They were far from the field of
battle, which is an indication of the esteem given to them when they
were given the opportunity to offer their services. Having them stay far
from the fighting is by way of mercy towards them.I would like, dear
Audience, to revert for a while to the refusal by the Prophet, bpuh, to
permit the two boys to accompany him to the field of battle. For no one
should wonder when seeing this picture of compassion of the Prophet,
pbuh, towards children.Another indication of his mercy is the fact that
he used to prolong his prostration in prayer in order not disturb a
child who has mounted his back, lest he should fall. This child was the
son of his daughter, Fatimah[8]The second: The Prophet’s companions saw
him carrying Omamah, the daughter of his daughter Zainab. When
prostrating, he would place her gently on the floor, and rising he would
carry her again. He probably did this lest she should fall off his
back, out of pity and mercy towards her. Now is it conceivable that he
who behaves like this with children, would allow them to accompany him
to his battles?

Dear audience,

This merciful Prophet,
pbuh., could not stand the sight of a bird being deprived of its chicks
and ordered his companions to return them to the mother, as we have
seen. It is inconceivable that he should see a human mother lose her
child and therefore he told the two boys to go back home, as we have
seen.Permit me to make an urgent appeal, in your name and mine, and a
sheer advice, to the whole of humanity, to search for Muhammad, pbuh.
Now, if they do not find him in person, they will definitely find him
through his noble and transcendent  principles, which humanity needs
today as never before.Thus, his behavior indicates that he was not
fighting individuals, but was fighting an authority which, if left
alone, would constitute a threat to Islam and its people, and hence, it
was necessary to remove it from the way in order to give individuals the
chance to make their own choice, without being affected by external
forces.Professor Aqqad says, “Islam is criticized on the grounds that it
had fought, with the sword, an idea that may be fought on the basis of
reason and proof. But he is not criticized for fighting with the sword
an authority that stands in his way and prevent him from addressing
those who are willing to listen to him, as an authority is removed only
by another authority, and subduing it by force is something
inevitable.”[9]

Dr. Adam went on to say, “At a previous lecture
it was maintained that principles needed force to preserve them in many
contexts, not in order to force them on people, but in order to protect
them and remove obstacles from their way.The West has not adhered to the
principle it had laid down, namely, he who hits you on your right
cheek, turn the other for him. Throughout history, many wars have
erupted in the name of Christ, of which he is absolutely innocent, which
wars claimed the lives of millions of people. No one can deny these
painful facts, and I do not wish to dwell too long on this issue.”Sixth:
The Prophet, pbuh, had a special way of preparing his army for
confronting his adversaries. Thus he never obliged anyone to go out to
fight, and used to exempt those who expressed personal reasons, to the
point that God Almighty reproached him for that, “May God pardon thee;
why did thou grant them permission ere it had become obvious to thee as
to who was speaking the truth and ere thou camest to know who were the
liars?” (Al-Tawbah, 43)  I seems that the Prophet, pbuh, was too ready
to accept excuses. Hence, reproach came to reveal the sincere excuses
and to expose the false ones.

This attitude does not contradict
his desire for his companions to accompany him in his campaigns, while
they themselves were only too eager to join him, to the point that a
quarrel would sometimes erupt between son and father as to which of them
shall join the Prophet, pbuh. This was the case with Saad bin
Khaithamah and his father in the Battle of Badr[10], and between Abi
Umamah and his uncle, over which of them shall stay with Abi Umamah’s
sick mother, as we have already seen.Going to war voluntarily is
different from fighting on compulsion without any regard for special
circumstances. This is being practiced by civilized armies these days,
where soldiers are sent to the battle field, in spite of their will.This
was clearly illustrated when the Prophet, pbuh, told one of his
commanders, Abdullah bin Jahsh, not to compel anyone to fight if he does
not wish to join the fighting. Thus in a message sent to him, he said ,
“Go forth, with God’s blessings, until you reach Nakhla, and do not
force any of your companions to go with you.”[11]

 he Prophet,
pbuh, used to give permission to certain individuals not to go with him
and to stay behind for personal reasons, some of which we have already
mentioned, and sometimes he would ask some of them to stat behind, as
when he asked Othman bin Affan to stay behind on account of his wife’s
illness[12], and gave permission to Abu Umamah to stay behind and look
after his sick mother. There are many similar cases.When such cases are
combined together, they constitute strong evidence that the Prophet,
pbuh, was not keen on fighting and that it was not a goal he sought to
attain. He has never been thirsty for fighting or killing. He has never
forgotten that he was sent as a mercy to mankind, and that he would use
mercy more than he used arms to confront his adversaries in some fields,
as did happen in fact.The view of the ethics scholars that “morality is
the art of controlling one’s desires” is clearly reflected in the
fighting philosophy of Muhammad, pbuh. He is in sharp contrast, in this
respect, with so many great leaders that humanity has witnessed, such
Alexander the Macedonian, Hulago, Napoleon, Hitler and others.

All
those have fought people who had nothing to do or had no enmity with
those leaders in the first place. However, the mundane motives, such as
fame and general and private interests, have prompted those leaders to
enter territory that was not theirs and fight innocent people who were
not their adversaries. They killed hundreds of thousands and destroyed
hundreds of cities, and the sum of all this was killing, destruction and
instability.On the other hand, the Prophet, pbuh, has fought those who
fought him and his followers, those who had eradicated them from their
land and had taken their possessions. Thus, he had the right to do that
under all laws, and yet he never did anything that indicates that he had
any passion for killing or that he was seeking to attain fame in this
field.

Both Christ and Muhammad, peace be upon both of them, have
preached mercy, tolerance and good deeds. But Christ was not able to
propagate what he was preaching or to realize it in actual fact as he
would have liked to do. This was because he had not found the necessary
force that protects mercy and makes way for it to reach all people, on
account of the hostility of the Jews and the existence of a Roman cruel
authority.But Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, did find this force with which he
removed the obstacles that stood in the face of the spreading of those
sublime principles. Thus the resort of the Prophet, pbuh, to force in
some cases was evidence of his eagerness to spread the culture of mercy,
tolerance, justice and good deeds. Otherwise, he could have preached
such ethics, as did his great predecessors, and then leave people alone
to choose or not to adopt such ethics or to turn away from them and do
the very opposite.But the Prophet of Mercy, who was sent as a mercy to
mankind, could not have done that because humanity would be the victim
that would pay a high price. The Prophet’s fighting was a mercy, so that
mercy would prevail among people without any obstacles or barriers.

Dear audience,

I
have gathered lots of information while preparing these lectures, which
I keep separately and I often feel inclined to share them with you,
because they reveal an aspect of fairness in the studies made about
those who have written about Muhammad, pbuh, other than his followers,
and I find this interesting to reveal. They, frankly, inspire a large
amount of confidence in many of the listeners. Therefore, allow me to
read to you what eminent scholars have to say on our subject, and I
apologize in advance if I have already mentioned some of them at
previous lectures.The Spanish orientalist, Jean Lake, says, “Muhammad’s
life cannot be described in a way that is better than God’s description
in the Quran, ‘And we sent thee as evidence of Our mercy towards the
worlds.’ (Al-Anbiyaa, 107). Muhammad was a real mercy.[13]The English
philosopher Thomas Carlyle says, “Muhammad, that great man, who was full
of mercy, good and tenderness, had ideas other than mundane greed and
intentions, other than the quest for authority and prestige.”[14]

Carlyle
also says, “The severe wars he fought against the Bedouin Arabs were
not devoid of scenes of force; but neither were they devoid of
indications of mercy, generosity and forgiveness. Muhammad did not
apologize for the first, nor did he boast about the
second.”[15]Commenting on the treatment by the Prophet, pbuh, of the
prisoners of the battle of Badr, the thinker, Lord Hudley, says, “Is not
this evidence that Muhammad was not characterized  by cruelty or thirst
for blood, as his adversaries allege; he rather always sought to avoid
the shedding of blood, as much as possible.”[16]The Great German
scholar, Bertley Saint Hiller, says, “The Prophet preached the religion
of one God. In his preaching, he was gentle and  merciful, even with his
enemies. His personality is characterized by two of the most sublime
qualities that characterize a human being, namely, justice and
mercy.”[17]