By Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi
As a matter of fact, the entire life and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) are based on universal harmonious values of mercy, compassion, forgiveness and general amnesty. This reality was clearly evidenced at the conquest of Makkah (Fath-e-Makkah) when the Prophet (pbhu) granted general amnesty for even his avowed and intense enemies, the pagans of Makkah who oppressed, attacked, mocked and tortured him for years. Today, the historical Islamic event of Fath-e-Makkah or conquest of Makkah should be recalled to remind Muslims of the Prophet’s infinite compassion for humanity and his deep concern for the lives and property of even his enemies. The event which happened on the 10th of Ramadan (11 January 630 AD) is a special reminder for the radical self-styled Islamists and jihadists who are inciting Muslims to engage in a continued Malhamah (revenge on enemies) to change their extremist attitudes and adopt the noble policy of Marhamah (forgiveness) enjoined by the Prophet of Islam (pbuh).
Just after the Prophet (pbuh) achieved the crowning victory over the Quraish of Makkah, he proclaimed general amnesty without the least emotion for retaliation. Some of his companions, overjoyed with triumph and zeal, spoke out: “Al-Yumu Yumul Malhamah” (today is the day of retaliation). But the Prophet (pbuh) strongly negated it and said: “La al-Yaumu Yaumul Marhamah” (No, today is the day of pardon and forgiveness).
The Prophet of peace (pbuh) graciously forgave the obstinate hate-mongers of the Quraish who had left no stone unturned in their nefarious attempts to assassinate him. They had severely wronged him and inflicted the gravest forms of injury and torture upon him. It was the same hardcore pagans of the Quraish who attacked the Prophet (pbuh) in violent ways and in different places. They fought the Prophet (pbuh) and his companions at the battle of Badr and Uhud, blocked them in the battle of trench and went to the extent of plotting dangerous conspiracies to kill him. They tortured, humiliated, scorned and mocked him and his followers in the village of Ta’if in Makkah. When they stoned the Prophet (pbuh) and made his feet to bleed, God sent the angel Gabriel who said to him:
“God 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 ask 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 Makkah.”
But 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.” (Reported by Bukhari)
The grave persecution inflicted by the Makkans upon the Prophet (pbuh) continued unabated. When they transgressed the limits, the Prophet’s companions asked him to curse them. But the Prophet of peace and mercy (pbuh) gently said: “I have been sent as a mercy for people and not to curse them” (Muslim).
The pagans of Makkah did not give up their atrocious attempts to attack the Prophet (pbuh) even after he migrated to Madina along with his followers. They pursued him and waged war against Muslims in Madina to put an end to Islam, which was growing fast among the poor and the downtrodden sections of Arab society. But even then, the Prophet’s (pbuh) pacifist nature and magnanimous peaceful behaviour remained unchanged. When the people of Quraish attacked him in the battle of Uhud, Prophet’s head suffered injury, his front teeth got smashed and the blood started to seep from his head. At the sight of this heart-wrenching incident, his beloved companion, Hazrat Umar (r.a) felt deeply pained and thereby said: “O Prophet of God, Curse them!” But again, the Prophet of mercy replied: “My Lord did not send me to curse. Rather, I was sent as a mercy.” Then he said: “O Allah, Guide my people!” (Hadith report authenticated by Al-Albani) This was his Prophetic characteristic of tolerance and mercy that God Himself has confirmed in his book: “And We have not sent you (O Muhammad) but as a mercy to mankind.” (The holy Quran 21:107).
After God granted the Prophet (pbuh) victory over his enemies of Makkah, they wondered if the Prophet (pbuh) would kill them all in retaliation as the conquerors did in the pre-Islamic Arabia. Having felt their unrest, the Prophet (pbuh) asked them: “O people of Quraish! What do you think I will do to you?” Aware of the Prophet’s mercifulness and nobility, they said in one unison: “You will do good to us, because you are a noble brother, son of a noble father, Abdullah and grand-son of a noble grandfather, Abdul Muttalib.”
Living up to his enemies’ good expectations from him, the Prophet of peace (pbuh) granted general amnesty and openly announced: “Go back your homes! You are all free!” Then, the Prophet (pbuh) recited a verse from the Qur’an, proving that what he did was in full synergy with the course of action adopted by the Prophet Joseph (pbuh): The Prophet proclaimed: I say as my brother Joseph said, “No blame will there be upon you today. Allah will forgive you; and He is the most merciful of the merciful.” (The holy Quran 12:92).
Even after the Prophet (pbuh) announced general amnesty, Ikrema, one of the avowed enemies of Islam and son of Abu Jahl, fought with Muslims and fled after a sudden defeat. Soon after this incident, Umm Hakim, Ikrimah’s wife, went to the camp of the Prophet (pbuh) and pleaded for his forgiveness, the Prophet (pbuh) immediately forgave him and promised his safety. Umm Hakim then came up to Ikrimah and said: “I have come to you from the most generous of men, the most righteous of men and the best of men, from Muhammad ibn Abdullah. I have asked him for an amnesty for you and he has granted it. So do not destroy yourself.” When Ikrimah appeared before the Prophet (pbuh), he said to him: “O Muhammad, if you think that I have also converted to Islam because of your forgiveness, then let it be clear that I have not become a Muslim. It would be fine if you could forgive me while I remain steadfast on my own faith, otherwise I leave.” The Prophet (pbuh) replied: Indeed, you can remain on your faith. You are free in every way.” Later, Ikrimah and other Quraish of Mecca who fought against the Muslims embraced Islam having been inspired by the Prophet’s noble character.
See how big world of difference is there between the Prophet’s sublime behaviour and the present-day self-styled Islamists’ virulent treatment with non-Muslims. The Prophet of Islam (pbuh) achieved the bloodless conquest of Makkah without revenging the most tenacious criminals of Makkah who attacked him, plotted to kill him, stoned him, made his teeth to bleed, cracked his jaw and split open his blessed face, peddled hate against his faith, murdered his beloved companions, deformed the dead body of his martyred and very endeared uncle, Hazrat Hamzah, and even eaten his liver with wild rancour.
On the contrary, much against the Prophet’s characteristic of peacefulness and forgiveness and in the same way as the Makkan pagans did, today’s Jihadists are killing innocent civilians, mutilating their dead-bodies, kidnapping girls, demeaning and torturing women, besieging the cities, destroying lives and properties of both Muslims and non-Muslims, vandalising the historical Islamic sites and shrines and burning down homes and schools. Don’t all these mindless acts of terror, violence and hate take us to the dark age of the Pre-Islamic era of Jahiliya (ignorance)?
The Prophet (pbuh) formed his Islamic state in Madina on the bases of firm and fair democratic principles and universal values. At a time when there was no conception of human rights organisations like UNO, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) ensured full liberty, rights and decent privileges to adherents of other faiths. He introduced a complete charter of human rights 1500 years ago, granting them freedom of faith, worship, expression, rituals and practices. Any kind of coercion or persecution inflicted in the name of religion was brazenly un-Islamic in his state. How can this Prophetic concept of state be linked with the virulent so-called Islamic state or caliphate that the terrorist goons of ISIS and other extremist outfits are dreaming to establish? First in Iraq and Syria and then in the whole world?
First posted on New Age Islam