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LANALLAH __Islamic BlogZine__
Sunday, February 12, 2006

Extracts from Mercy for the Worlds:
by Shaykh Zulfiqar Ahmad(db)
Read entire article or Download the PDF here

A Recipe for Anger

A person is naturally very angry when he begins thinking about revenge, and the Messenger of Allah has given great guidance on how to conquer such anger. It is transmitted in the hadith collections of Bukhari and Muslim that at one time the Messenger of Allah said, �The strongest man is not the one who can overcome people with his strength, but one who controls himself when in a fit of rage.�

It is transmitted in another fascinating hadith that the Messenger of Allah said, �Allah loves the person who controls his anger.� This is something that Muslims need to pay close attention to and understand within the depths of their hearts. Whenever angry, one should reflect on whether it is better to carry through with one�s anger or to forgive and calm down, as a result of which Allah will love him. It is one thing to love Allah, but a totally different thing to be loved by Allah and become His beloved.

The Holy Quran instructs the Messenger of Allah to tell the people, �If you profess to love Allah then follow me, and Allah will love you.� Indeed such is the grandiose example and teaching of our Prophet, that we will become the beloved of Allah if we follow his sunnah.

Forgiveness for Enemies

The beautiful examples from the Prophet�s glorious life are too numerous for one discussion. It is one matter to forgive peoples� small mistakes, but quite another to forgive a sworn enemy.

Hadith literature tells us that once the Messenger of Allah and his Companions (Sahabah) were outside Madinah where they stopped to rest in the early afternoon. The Sahabah suggested that the Messenger of Allah rest under a tree that offered cool shade against the sweltering heat. The rest of the Sahabah dispersed to rest and nap under other trees.

Meanwhile, an unbeliever happened to be traveling past this place and noticed the Prophet of the Muslims lying under a tree with his sword hanging by one of the branches. He was overjoyed at this unique opportunity and seized the sword, determined to strike down the Prophet of Islam. The Messenger of Allah woke up at that exact moment and the unbeliever said, �Who can save you from me now O Muhammad []?�

To this the Messenger of Allah said �Allah!� with such devotion and power that terror seized the unbeliever. He started trembling and dropped the sword. The Messenger of Allah picked up his sword and said, �Now tell me who will save you from me?�

At this the unbeliever started begging for his life, highlighting the Prophet�s mercy toward the people. Listening to his pleas the Messenger of Allah immediately forgave this sworn enemy who would have himself spared no time in murdering the Prophet. The Prophet of Islam said, �Go, for I have forgiven you� and therefore laid a shining principle for all mankind to follow because he was sent as a mercy to all creation.

The unbeliever was astonished that the Messenger of Allah would forgive such an unforgivable action, and the Prophet�s merciful words touched his heart. He said, �O Messenger of Allah, you have forgiven me; now please make me a Muslim so that Allah may forgive me also.� Thus this person accepted Islam at that moment. This is such one glorious example of mercy that we find in the life of the Messenger of Allah.

Amama bin Athal was an idolater who would ponder and reflect on killing the Messenger of Allah. One day he was captured by the Sahabah, who brought him into the Mosque of the Prophet and tied him to one of the pillars. The Messenger of Allah had heard of his plotting and now saw him when he entered the mosque. Coming close, the Messenger of Allah asked, �What were you plotting and what should we do with you?�

Amama bin Athal said, �If you kill me that is your right, but I have heard a great deal about your mercy and am confident that you will show forgiveness.� The Prophet�s exemplary character was so renown that sworn enemies would not lose hope of his mercy even when in chains and with no chance of escape. Hence even in that state Amama bin Athal was confident that his life would be spared.

The Messenger of Allah smiled and said to the Sahabah, �Forgive and release him.� The Sahabah were stunned by this but were compelled to obey, and so untied Amama�s ropes. He was now free, but the Prophet�s words and spiritual attention had impacted Amama�s heart. He said, �You have untied these physical ropes, and now please connect my spiritual rope to my Allah and make me Muslim so I may repent from all my previous sins.� Saying this he accepted Islam.

The people in Hadrat Amama�s home village were very receptive towards Islam when he returned and started preaching, and were shocked to learn that the Quraish would persecute such a noble man as the Messenger of Allah. Since the town was a large wheat exporter, the people decided to stop exporting their crop to the Quraish. This served as a shock for the Quraish since it signaled the beginnings of rebellion from tribes previously subjugated by them. The leaders of Makkah now realized that if Islam could influence people in their own backyard as it were, then someday it would span the globe. The Messenger of Allah and the Sahabah have left beautiful and fascinating examples of character for us.

Advent of the Messenger and Liberation of Makkah

The Messenger of Allah came into such an atmosphere and prohibited vengeance toward another man if that vengeance were to be driven solely by selfish desire.

A famous story is one of Hadrat Ali in which he had overpowered an enemy on the battlefield and was about to deliver the final blow. At that moment the enemy spat at him in hatred. In the heat and emotion of battle Hadrat Ali immediately stepped back. His enemy was dumbfounded as to why, and asked, �Why have you pulled back from killing me?�

Hadrat Ali answered, �I was previously fighting you for the Cause of Allah and would have killed you for His sake. However, because you have spat at me I cannot be sure whether my personal anger has tainted my sincerity towards killing you solely for Allah. I have stepped back because I might have to account for this on the Day of Judgment.�

Can we even begin to comprehend the level of self control in these people? Can we even begin to comprehend their magnanimity? The Prophet�s beautiful example was a beacon for them and hence they would forgive the worst of enemies.

When the Messenger of Allah and the Muslims set off from Madinah during the march leading to the conquest of Makkah, various tribes also joined them along the way. At that time it was custom for an army to cook at just one or two central locations and distribute the food to all, but the night that they stopped outside Makkah the Messenger of Allah instructed everyone to prepare their own food. The Sahabah did not understand his reasoning but dispersed in groups of two and three and prepared their own food. The result was that the whole valley became bright with the light of hundreds of individual bonfires.

The Quraish of Makkah had heard that the Muslims were advancing on Makkah and so Abu Sufyan was dispatched as a scout. He was terrified at the sight of so many bonfires and realized that no one in Makkah would survive if such a large army started towards the city. In the morning he arranged a meeting with Hadrat Abu Bakr who brought him to the Messenger of Allah. Amazed at the thousands of people whose hearts had been blessed with the wealth of Islam, Abu Sufyan also entered the fold of Islam and became Hadrat Abu Sufyan. The Messenger of Allah was pleased that one of the leaders of Quraish had finally accepted the truth.

Hadrat Abu Bakr was an extremely wise and intelligent man, and so when the army got underway the next morning he stood with Hadrat Abu Sufyan at a location from which the latter could see each platoon as it passed by. Hadrat Abu Bakr wanted Hadrat Abu Sufyan l to clearly see the strength of the Muslim forces. Hadrat Abu Sufyan was amazed because almost every second or third man he saw had been an unbeliever at one time.

Having seen the strength of the Muslims, Hadrat Abu Sufyan mounted his horse and reached Makkah before the Muslim army. There he convened a meeting with the other leaders of Quraish and advised them that their only hope was to surrender otherwise the massive Muslim force would massacre them if they chose to resist. The Quraish leaders hence decided that they would not resist the advancing army.

Hadith states that the road to Makkah was desolate in front of the Muslim army. Before the Migration (Hijra) to Madinah, the Prophet had pleaded with Allah clutching the cloth of the Kaa�ba that he did not want to leave. In reply Allah had promised:

He Who hath given thee the Quran for a law will surely bring thee home again [28:85]

The Messenger of Allah had been thrown out of this city years previously, and now he was at the head of an army of his loving Sahabah. The stage was set to enter Makkah as a victorious army enters a conquered city in pomp and glamour. However, the Messenger of Allah was beyond such behavior and taught another important lesson to the Muslim nation at this occasion.

The Messenger of Allah was astride his camel and advancing before the main troops with tears of joy streaming down his face. Hadith states that his head was bowed so low in humility it would at times touch the camel�s neck. He was reciting various praises and supplications: �There is no god save Allah: He has no partner and His is all sovereignty. All praise is due to Him, and He is powerful over everything. There is no god save Allah alone, Who fulfilled His promise, helped his servant, and alone routed the confederates.� The Messenger of Allah entered Makkah in this state of humility and gratitude.

As the army entered Makkah the Quraish were terrified at the prospect of facing the people whom they had tortured and ridiculed for over thirteen years. Today those same people whose relatives were killed by the Quraish, who were made to endure countless and unimaginable hardship and torture, were returning to their home city as victors. Today the tide was turned and the swords were in the other hands, and the once proud Quraish were trembling in fear that they would be torn to pieces and their women shamed and dishonored.

Upon entering the Grand Mosque approaching the Kaa�ba the Messenger of Allah announced, �Today whoever stays in his house will be safe.� This announcement alone is staggering and monumental when we reflect upon how savagely the conquered are usually treated by their conquerors. At this time Hadrat Abu Bakr requested that Hadrat Abu Sufyan�s residence be declared a safe house since he was a leader and had since accepted Islam. Hence the Prophet added that whoever took shelter in Hadrat Abu Sufyan�s a house would also be safe.

When the Messenger of Allah came in front of the Kaa�ba one of the first among the Quraish to venture forward was Hinda, Hadrat Abu Sufyan�s wife. This was the same Hinda who had had the Prophet�s dear and noble uncle martyred. She had then disemboweled the body and arranged the organs in a necklace around her neck. At that time she had been deluding herself that she had defeated Hadrat Hamza, but was unaware that she was the one who would be defeated.

Hinda came forward and repented because she was now very ashamed. The Messenger of Allah was so merciful to all that he even forgave this woman who had committed such evil. Wahshi was the man who had martyred Hadrat Hamza at Uhud, and knew that if captured he would surely be killed. He thus crept up carefully through the back streets and in this way confronted the Messenger of Allah, wishing to repent for his crimes. Allah had given His Messenger such remarkable character and fortitude that he even forgave Wahshi of the murder of his beloved uncle and accepted him into the fold of Islam.

The rest of the Quraish leaders then came forward, and the Messenger of Allah asked, �What do you think we should do with you now?� The Quraish were masters at diplomacy and said, �We are family, and so you should treat us as a brother would treat his brothers.� Hadrat Sa�ad bin Ubada was seated nearby and said, �Today is the Day of War and the day that we cleanse the Kaa�ba of your false gods.�

The Quraish grew frightened at hearing this and feared once again for their lives. Hadrat Abu Sufyan approached the Messenger of Allah and told him what this Companion (Sahabi) had said. Hadrat Sa�ad bin Ubada had been carrying the banner of Islam, and the Messenger of Allah took it from him and handed it to Hadrat Sa�ad�s son as a reprimand for having made such a statement.

The Messenger of Allah then got up and announced, �Today is a blessed day: a Day of Mercy in which we shall honor the Kaa�ba!� He again turned to the Quraish and asked what should be done with them. This time they answered, �We are your brothers, and if you choose to kill us that is your right. However, if you forgive us then you will find us ever desirous of your mercy.�

The Messenger of Allah replied, �Yes you are indeed my brothers, but have treated me the same way that Hadrat Yusuf�s e brothers treated him. Today I reply to you the same way that Hadrat Yusuf e replied to them.�

This day let no reproach be (cast) on you: Allah will forgive you and He is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy.� [12:92]

Hence all of Makkah was granted full amnesty that day; the Quraish were astounded and could not believe what they had heard. They returned to their homes uncertain whether they could trust such an amnesty and remained apprehensive of any retaliation. Hence both men and women of the Quraish stayed awake that following night worrying that the Muslims might enter anytime to rape and kill them. However, these people were used to living in another time in which they knew nothing else but such violence and were unfamiliar with the magnificence of Islam.

The Messenger of Allah also retired home after finishing the day�s business and the Quraish thought that the Muslims would now pounce upon them in the dead of night. They stayed awake in worry and terror but a good portion of the night passed and everything was silent. The streets of Makkah were empty and there was not as much as a knock on the door.

The Makkans were surprised and so some of them worked up enough courage to venture out of their homes into the streets to see where the Muslims were and what they might be doing. Searching thus they reached the Kaa�ba and were even more surprised at what they saw.

Some of the Muslims were standing in prayer to their Lord while some were kissing the cloth of the Kaa�ba and supplicating. Others still were lost in reading of the Holy Quran while others were weeping in prostration. The Quraish were stunned by this display because they had never seen conquerors that would cry with such humility to anyone. However, they knew nothing of the Muslims who had spent all night in worshipping the true Lord of Kaa�ba. These people who had been thrown out of their homes, never to be able to see the Kaa�ba again and now they were weeping in gratitude at having been allowed to worship there again.

The next morning the Quraish admitted to themselves that the Muslims were truly the people on the Straight Path, for being conquerors they never laid a hand on the vanquished but only spread their hands out in gratitude and repentance to Allah. Hence that day the inhabitants of Makkah started coming forward in large numbers to accept Islam at the hand of the Messenger of Allah.

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