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The Mercy of the Prophet Muhammad

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The Prophet Muhammad is a much maligned person these days amongst several critics of Islam, according to them, the Prophet Muhammad was a violent, and merciless person that disregarded the well being of those that were not on his side. Such arguments are often made by taking some historical events during the Prophet’s lifetime, and completely twisting them from their proper context.

The truth of the matter is that anyone that properly studies the life of the Prophet Muhammad will see that he demonstrated several acts of kindness, and mercy throughout his lifetime. Acts of kindness and mercy that we as society could greatly learn from, as well benefit from.

In this article I will simply bring up two major examples of the Prophet Muhammad’s mercy, and what makes these two examples very important, is that these two examples of the Prophet’s mercy, was done when he was in a position of power, when he was in a position to do the complete opposite, when he was in a position to do everything his critics often accuse him of.

The first example comes from the Muslim conquest of Makkah, when the Prophet Muhammad led 10,000 Muslims to the city of Makkah, after a peace treaty between the Muslims and Pagan Makkan’s was violated by the latter. Once the Muslims managed to conquer the city, with barely any blood being shed, the following took place:

'0 people of Quraysh! What do you think I will do with you?' One of them, Suhayl ibn Amr, who had fought against the Prophet, replied on behalf of the Makkans: 'We think (you will treat us) well, noble brother, son of a noble brother.' A radiant smile flashed across the face of the beloved Prophet of God and, in a spirit of magnanimity and tolerance, he said: "I shall speak to you as Yusuf [Joseph] spoke unto his brothers: 'There is no reproach against you today; God will forgive. He is the most Merciful and the most Compassionate.' " (Quran,12:92) And he added: 'No more responsibility burdens you today. 'Idhhabuu... wa antum at-tulaqaa - Go, for you are free.' (Ibn Ishaque)

The Prophet Muhammad practiced the greatest act of mercy during this incident, the Prophet Muhammad asked the Pagan inhabitants of the city what they thought he would do to them, these were the very same Pagans that had essentially oppressed both the Prophet Muhammad and Muslim community in Makkah before the Muslims emigrated away. And so what does the Prophet Muhammad do to these people? He openly tells them that no revenge shall be taken against them, that God forgives them, and they are free to go and do as they please.

Why is this such an excellent example of mercy and kindness? Because the Prophet was in a clear position of power to have extracted a heavy revenge amongst the Pagan population, yet in his position of power, he decided to forgive them. 

The second example of the Prophet Muhammad’s mercy is his encounter with his uncle’s killer, Wahshi Ibn Harb:

"After the Battle of Uhud, I continued to live in Makkah for quite a long time until the Muslims conquered Makkah. I then ran away to Ta'if, but soon Islam reached that area as well. I heard that however grave the crime of a person might be, [Muhammad] forgave him. I, therefore, reached [Muhammad] with Shahadatayn on my lips. Muhammad saw me and said "Are you the same Wahshy, the Ethiopian?" I replied in the affirmative. Thereupon he said: "How did you kill Hamza ibn Abd al-Muttalib?" I gave an account of the matter. Muhammad was moved and said: "I should not see your face until you are resurrected, because the heart-rending calamity fell upon my uncle at your hands".  (Ibn Ishaque)

So rather than taking his revenge against his uncle’s killer, whom he was close with, and loved, he let’s his uncle’s killer go free, simply telling him he doesn’t want to ever see him again.

In conclusion these two examples of the Prophet Muhammad’s mercy (and there are many more that can be shown) demonstrate the fact that he was nothing like the man Islamophobes claim he was, and that rather, he has set forward a very excellent standard for all of us to follow. 

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