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Allāh (الله) is the proper name of God, and humble submission to His Will, Divine Ordinances and Commandments is the pivot of the faith. He is unique (Wāḥid) and inherently one (ʾAḥad), all-merciful and omnipotent.


The Qur'an (القرآن) represents the words of Allāh revealed to Prophet Muhammad, arabic محمد (Peace be upon him) through the archangel Gabriel (جبريل).The Holy Prophet's message transformed the society and moral order of life in the Arabian Peninsula through reorientation of society as regards to identity, world view, and the hierarchy of values.

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The preferred religion

Al-Islam (الإسلام) is the monotheistic and Abrahamic way of life articulated by the Qur'an & by the teachings & the normative example (the Sunnah or سنة & Hadith or حديث‎) of Prophet Muhammad (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم), the conclusive prophet of Allāh. A person with this belief is a Muslim (مسلم‎).


The Life of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ)

 Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) : A Mercy to the World


Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) is the best role model for all humankind. Among his outstanding virtues and characteristics, he was an extraordinary husband, a perfect father, and a unique grandfather. He was also a great statesman, judge, and spiritual leader. His most distinctive quality, however, was the fact that he was a blessing to all in both word and deed. He infused justice, love, and dignity in all those around him. He spread the power of brotherhood to the extent that it became exceptional in human history. Affirming that these grand virtues were bestowed on him by Allah the Almighty and that He prepared His loyal messenger to call for the true religion, is part of one's belief.

The Qur'an describes the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) as merciful and kind to the believers. Allah the Almighty says, 
{Now hath come unto you a Messenger from amongst yourselves: it grieves him that ye should 
perish: ardently anxious is he over you: to the Believers is he most kind and merciful.) 
(At-Tawbah 9:128)

 The Prophet's Love for Mankind
The Prophet Muhammad is introduced in the Qur’an in these words:
[And We have not sent you forth but as a mercy to mankind. ] (Al-Anbiyaa’: 107)

This shows that his distinctive quality was that he was a blessing incarnate in word and deed.

According to a tradition recorded in the Sahih of Imam Muslim, when the Prophet’s opponents greatly increased their persecution, his Companions asked him to curse them. At this the Prophet replied, “I have not been sent to lay a curse upon men but to be a blessing to them.” His opponents continued to treat him and his Companions unjustly and cruelly, but he always prayed for them.

Once he was so badly stoned by his enemies that the blood began to spurt from all over his body. This happened when he went to Ta’if, where the Hijaz aristocracy used to while away their summer days. When he attempted to call them to Islam, instead 

of listening to his words of wisdom, they set the street urchins upon him, who kept chasing him till nightfall. Even at that point, when he was utterly exhausted and bleeding from head to foot, all he said was, “O my Lord, guide my people along the true path, as they are ignorant of the truth.”

His heart was filled with intense love for all human kind irrespective of caste, creed, or color. Once he advised his Companions to regard all people as their brothers and sisters. He added, “You are all Adam’s offspring and Adam was born of clay.”

All this tells us what kind of awareness he wanted to bring about in man. His mission was to bring people abreast of the reality that all men and women, although inhabiting different regions of the world, and seemingly different from one another as regards their color, language, dress, culture, etc., were each other’s blood brothers. Hence a proper relationship will be established between all human beings only if they regard one another as sisters and brothers. Only then will proper feelings of love and respect prevail throughout the world.

According to a hadith, the Prophet once said, “A true believer is one with whom others feel secure. One who returns love for hatred.” The Prophet made it clear that one who would only return love for love was on a lower ethical plane. We should never think that we should treat people well only if they treat us well. We should, rather, be accustomed to being good to those who are not good to us and to not wronging those who harm us.

The Prophet once borrowed some money from a Jew. After a few days the Jew came to demand 
payment of his debt. The Prophet told him that at that moment he had nothing to pay him with. The Jew said that he wouldn’t let him go until he had paid him back. And so the Jew stayed there, from morning till night, holding the Prophet captive. At that time the Prophet was the established ruler of Madinah and could have easily taken action against him. His Companions naturally wanted to rebuke the man and chase him away. But the Prophet forbade this, saying, “The Lord has forbidden us to wrong anyone.” The Jew continued to hold the Prophet captive until the following morning. But with the first light of dawn, 
the Jew was moved by the Prophet’s tolerance, and he thereupon embraced Islam. In spite of being a rich man, he had detained the Prophet the day before on account of a few pence. 
But now the Prophet’s noble conduct had had such an impact on him that he was willing to give all his wealth to the Prophet, 
saying, “Spend it as you please.”

According to another hadith, the Prophet once said, “By God, he is not a believer, by God, he is not a believer, by God, he is not a believer, with whom his neighbors are not secure.” This hadith shows how much he loved and cared for all human beings. One of the lessons he taught was that we should live among others like flowers, and not like thorns, without giving trouble to anybody.

In another hadith the Prophet said, “If a believer is not able to benefit others, he must at least do them no harm.” This shows that to the Prophet the man who becomes useful to others leads his life on a higher plane. But if he fails to do so, he should at least create no trouble for his fellow men. For a man to be a really good servant of God, he must live in this world as a no-problem person. There is no third option.

The Prophet’s own example was testified to by Anas ibn Malik, who served the Prophet for ten years. He said that the Prophet never ever rebuked him. “When I did something, he never questioned my manner of doing it; and when I did not do something, he never questioned my failure to do it. He was the most good-natured of all men.” Such conduct gained him the respect even of his enemies, and his followers stood by him through all kinds of hardship and misfortune. He applied the principles on which 
his own life was based in equal measure to those who followed his path and to those who had harmed or discountenanced him.

In the present world, everyone’s thinking, tastes, aptitude, likes, and dislikes can never exactly coincide. For many reasons, differences do arise in this world. But then, what is the permanent solution to the problem? The solution lies in tolerance. The Prophet’s entire life served as a perfect example of this principle. According to his wife `A’ishah, “He was a personification of the Qur’an.”

That is to say, the Prophet molded his own life in accordance with the ideal pattern of life that he presented to others in the form of the Qur’an. He never beat a servant, or a woman, or anyone else. He did, of course, fight for what was right. 

Yet, when he had to choose between two alternatives, he would take the easier course, provided it involved no sin. No one was more careful to avoid sin than he. He never sought revenge on his own behalf for any wrong done to him personally. Only if God’s commandments had been broken would he mete out retribution for the sake of God. It was such conduct which gained the Prophet universal respect.

In the early Makkan period when the antagonists far exceeded the Prophet’s Companions in number, it often happened that when the Prophet would stand to pray, his detractors would come near him and whistle and clap in order to disturb him, but the Prophet did not even once show his anger at such acts. He always opted for the policy of tolerance and avoidance of confrontation.

When the opposition became very strong, the Prophet left Makkah for Madinah. But his antagonists did not leave him in peace. 

They began to attack Madinah. In this way a state of war prevailed between the Muslims and non-Muslims. Since the Prophet avoided war at all costs, he strove to bring about a peace agreement between him and the Makkans. After great efforts on his part, the non-Muslims agreed to the finalizing of a 10-year peace treaty, which was drafted and signed at Al-Hudaybiyyah.
While the Hudaybiyyah treaty was being drafted, the Makkans indulged in a number of extremely provocative acts. For instance, the agreement mentioned the Prophet’s name as “Muhammad the Messenger of Allah.” They insisted that the phrase “the Messenger of Allah” be taken out and replaced by “son of Abdullah.” The Prophet accepted their unreasonable condition and deleted the appellation with his own hands. Similarly, they made the condition that if they could lay their hands on any Muslim they would make him a hostage, but if the Muslims succeeded in detaining any non-Muslim, they would have to set him free. The Prophet even relented on this point. For the restoration of peace in the region, the Prophet accepted a number of such unjustifiable clauses that were added by the enemy. In 
this way he set the example of peace and tolerance being linked with one another. If we desire peace, we must tolerate many unpleasant things from others. There is no other way to establish peace in society.

Once the Prophet was seated at some place in Madinah, along with his Companions. During this time a funeral procession passed by. On seeing this, the Prophet stood up. One of his Companion remarked that the funeral was that of a Jew. The Prophet replied, “Was he not a human being?”

This incident illustrates how an atmosphere of mutual love and compassion can be brought about in the world only when we consciously rise above all insidious demarcation of caste, color, and creed. Just as the Prophet did, we, too, must look at all men as human beings who deserve to be respected at all events.

Perfection of the Prophet's Mercy

It is argued by many scholars that the central ethos of Islam is mercy, as it takes precedence over all other values and virtues such as justice, peace, knowledge, and benevolence. In his momentous work Mercy: The Stamp of Creation, Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah establishes the transcendence as well the epitome of mercy in God actions, attributes, and creation as well as in the Prophet, his life and example, and how is this translated in Islam into an existential, theological, legal, moral, and spiritual commitment and accountability to mercy.

The Perfection of Prophetic Mercy:

  • The Mercy of the Prophet (PBUH) with Mankind

  • The Mercy of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) with Family and Children

  • His Mercy with Children, Orphans, Widows, and the Sick

  • His Mercy with Animals

    • The Mercy of the Prophet (PBUH) with Mankind

      God Almighty says, “And We have not sent you but as a mercy to the worlds.” (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21:107). Prophet Muhammad 

      (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) and his House, is the Prophet of mercy, sent by God as a mercy to all mankind; believers, non-believers, and hypocrites. His mercy sheltered all humanity: men, women and children. Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) was merciful to all creatures including animals and birds. God almighty describes Muhammad’s pity, kindness, and mercy to all the creatures:

      “Certainly a Messenger has come to you from among yourselves; grievous to him is your falling into distress, excessively solicitous respecting you; to the believers (he is) compassionate,” (At-Tawbah 9:128).
      It was even perceived by some that God favored Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him 
      and his house) by describing him by two of His names. It was narrated that a man asked Prophet Muhammad for charity. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) gave it and then asked the man, “Have I dealt with you rightfully?” 
      The man answered, “no, and you have not dealt with me in a beautiful manner either.” The Muslims then got angry and rose up. Then he (the Prophet) waved them to stop. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) went home and sent him something. He then asked him once more, “Are you content?” the man answered, “Yes, I am. May Allah reward you with kindness in your family and kin.” The Prophet then said, “You said what you said and it left something in my companions’ hearts. So, what if you repeat what you have just said now before them, to take away what is in their hearts towards you?” The man agreed. In the evening or the day after, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) told his companions, “This man showed his dissatisfaction so I 
      increased what I gave him to let him be satisfied.” He turned then to the man and asked him “isn’t that right?” The man answered: “Yes, may God reward you with kindness in family and kin.”

      The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) then commented, “The example of me and this (man) is like that of a man whose camel went astray. People following the camel only increased its unwillingness. The man called to them, ‘leave me and my camel alone. I am more gentle and knowledgeable about it.’ He then turned to the camel, offering it some vegetation from the earth. He then called it back until it came forth, kneeled down, put the saddle on it and rode it away. Had I left 
      you with what the man said you would have killed him and he would go to Hellfire” (Ahmed).

      It was also narrated that Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) said, “I do not want any one of you to tell me off about any of my Companions. I want to go out to (meet) you with a free heart.” (Abu Dawud).

      His pity and mercy to his people were manifested in lightening their load, making their obligations easy, in avoiding certain things for fear that they would become obligations upon the people. Among his sayings in this regard is, “was it not for fear of tiring my nation, I would have asked them to use a miswak (tooth stick) with each ablution.” His mercy was reflected in what he said about the Qiyam-Al-Layl (Night Vigil Prayer), meaning that one should not do it all night long; continuous fasting; and his disliking to enter the Ka`bah so that his nation would not become obstinate [about following him in that]. 

      His mercy was also manifested in his prayer that God might turn his cursing of any one of them unto mercy. Whenever he heard a child crying during prayers, he used to shorten the prayer1.
      Prophet Muhammad prayed to God, “O Allah! Whoever I insulted or cursed, turn this into charity, mercy, a prayer, cleansing, and an immolation with which you bring him closer to You on Doomsday.” When his people did not believe him, Jibreel (the Archangel) came to him and said, “God Almighty heard the sayings and accusations of your people and He, Almighty, asked the angel of the mountains to obey any order from you against them. The angel of the mountains called Prophet Muhammad and said, “Ask for whatever you want, and I would crush them with the akhshabin (surrounding mountains).” Yet, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) said, “No, but I hope that Allah will bring out of their offspring people who worship Allah alone with no associates.”

      Ibn Al Monkader narrated that Jibreel told Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him and his house), “God commanded the sky, the earth and the mountains to obey your orders.” The Prophet answered, “I delay my nation and Maybe Allah will induce them to repentance.” A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said, “Never was the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) left to make a choice between two matters but he would prefer the easier among them.” Ibn Mas`ud (may 

      Allah be pleased with him) told us that Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) preferred “positive” preaching to preclude pessimism and boredom A’ishah narrated that she once found difficulty in riding a horse, so she kept reining it in repeatedly. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) then said, “You must have gentleness2.”

      Among the examples of his general mercy is his mercy with the hypocrites by saving them from death and captivity for their outward following of Islam in this life. From his comprehensive mercy is his mercy with the non-believers by lifting the punishment of annihilation in this world. As for past nations, when Allah, majestic in His praise, sent them a messenger and they disbelieve him, they would be and tortured and annihilated. 

      God almighty tells us how nations of Noah, `Aad, Thamoud, and Lout and others were tortured and how were they rewarded for their mockery.As for the infidels among the nation of Muhammad, their general chastisement by annihilation was lifted in honor of this gracious Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) whom Allah, majestic in His praise, has sent as mercy for the worlds.

      The Mercy of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) with Family and Children

      In his Hadith, Imam Moslem narrates that `Amr Ibn Sa`id reported that `Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “I have never met one more merciful with children. He also said, “Ibrahim (the Prophet’s son) was being breastfed by a wet nurse in a village on the outskirts of Madinah. He (the Prophet) used to rush to enter the house with smoke coming out of it (the wet nurse’s husband was a metal smith). The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) would take his grandson, kiss him, and then return him. So when Ibrahim died, the Prophet said, “Ibrahim is my son. He died while still suckling. Verily, he will have two wet nurses to breastfeed him in Paradise.” Meaning they will complete his 
      two-year weaning period, as he died at sixteen or seventeen months of age.” (An-Nawawi)
      His mercy with his family was shown in the way he used to assist them with housework.
      Al-Aswad mentioned that he asked `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) what the Prophet did at home. She answered, “He was humble in the common service of his family. But, when time for prayer came, he used to go and pray.” He (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) was not like tyrannical men. A lot of times, he (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) used to serve himself. It’s mentioned in Ahmad’s Mosnad and others that `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said, “The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) used to sew his clothes, mend his sandals, and do what other men do in their homes.”

      His Mercy With Children, Orphans, Widows, and the Sick.

      The two sheikhs (Bukhari and Muslim) narrate on the authority of `Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) that Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) said, “I start the prayers, intending to lengthen them. I then hear a child crying so I make them shorter, knowing how emotional a child’s mother gets.” 

      An example of his mercy (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) with the children is that he used stroke their heads and kiss them. It was mentioned in the two books of Al -Bukhari and Muslim that `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said that the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) kissed Al-Hassan and Al-Hussein (his grandsons) while Al-Aqra’ ibn Hobis Al Tamimi was present. So Al Aqra’ said, “I have ten children. I have never kissed any of them!” 

      Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) looked at him and said, “He who does not have mercy will not have mercy upon him.”

      It is in the two authenticated books that `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said, “A nomad once told Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him and his house), “you kiss the children and we never do!” Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) said, “Has Allah withdrawn mercy out of your hearts?” Meaning that he who has mercy in his heart for children drives him to kiss them. And he who gets mercy withdrawn from his heart withholds from kissing them.

      The two sheikhs and At-Tirmidhi narrate that Al-Bara’ (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “I saw the Prophet of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) carrying Al-Hassan on his shoulder, saying, “Oh Allah! I love him so love him.”At-Tirmidhi narrates that `Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) was asked, “Which member of your family do you love the most?” He said, “Al-Hassan and Al-Hussein.” He used to tell Fatimah (may Allah be pleased with her), “Bring me my two sons” and then he would embrace them closely, may 
      Allah be pleased with them.

      Among the examples of his mercy and his love to please children happy that whenever he (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) was given the first of the harvest of fruits, he would give it to give it to the children in his circle. At-Tabrani, said that Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them) said that the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) used to hold the first of any seasonal harvest, he used put it on his eyes then on his lips and say “Oh Allah! Like you have made us see its beginning (of the season), allow us to see its end.” Then he would give it to any child sitting around him3.”
      An example of his mercy was his crying on the passing of his son Ibrahim (may Allah be pleased with him). On the authority of `Anas (may Allah be pleased with him), “The Prophet of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) entered the room while Ibrahim was dying. Upon that, his eyes started dropping tears. Then `Abdur-Rahman ibn `Awf said, ‘Even you, messenger of Allah!’ Then he said ‘Oh Ibn `Awf! It is but mercy.’ He continued (crying) some more and then said, “The eyes weep, the heart is full of grief, and we are nothing but that which does not please our Lord. Verily, we are sorrowed for your departure O! Ibrahim.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).

      On the authority of Osama Ibn Zaid (may Allah be pleased with him and his father) when the Prophet of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) was handed his daughter’s son who was dying, his eyes flooded with tears (peace and blessings be upon). Sa`d then told him, “What is this, Prophet of Allah!” He said, “This is a mercy that exalted Allah has made in the hearts of His servants. And surely Allah has mercy to merciful ones among His servants.” (Agreed upon)

      From his mercy is that he (peace and blessing be upon him and his house) never used to disdain from walking along with a widow or with a poor person and fulfill their needs 4. 

      He used to visit weak and sick Muslims and attend their funerals 5. He used to treat orphans well and charitably. He used to commend people to sponsor them and treat them with excellence and he also used to announce the consequent virtues of that saying, “I and a patron of an orphanage are as close in Paradise (while waving with the index and middle finger and parting them 6.” He also said that the best house in Muslim houses is the one with an orphan being treated well in it. 7”

      Of his mercy is when he used to see any of his companions in a state of stress or misfortune, he would feel deep sorrow for that, have pity, and cry, being affected by the circumstances. He went once with `Abdur-Rahman ibn `Awf and others to visit Sa`d Ibn `Obabah. Upon seeing him, he cried and everyone with him then cried 8. He cried and kissed `Othman Ibn Maz`oun after he died. `A’ishah then said that she saw the tears of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) flow on 

      `Othman’s cheeks 9. In another version, it was narrated that The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) kissed `Othman between his eyes and cried for a long time 10.

      His Mercy With Animals

      He (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) used to commend having mercy on animals. He used to forbid his companions from hurting them, tiring them, overburdening them with heavy loads for long periods, torturing them, or pushing them beyond their limits, for that is a form of suffering.
      Once the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) passed by a camel that was so emaciated its back was one with its abdomen. Upon that, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) said, “Fear Allah with regard to livestock. Ride them in a fitting way and eat them when they are in good condition.11”
      He once entered the garden of man from the Ansar (Muslims of Madinah) and there was a camel. When the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) saw the camel it froze and its eyes started watering. Then the Prophet of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) came to it and rubbed its ears so it calmed down. Then the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) said, “Who is the owner of this camel? 
      Whose camel is this?” A young man from the Ansar told him (peace and blessings be upon him and his house),”O Messenger of Allah, it belongs to me.” Then he told him (peace and blessings be upon him and his house), “Do you not fear Allah with regard to this beast which Allah has let you own? It complained to me that you starve it and tire it by overworking it and using it beyond its capacity.”

      He (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) used to forbid burdening an animal by keeping it standing or sitting on it for a long time unnecessarily. He saw some people sitting on animals so he commented, “Keep them safe and sound when riding them and when leaving them, don’t use them as chairs for your side talks in the streets and markets. A ridden animal might be better than its rider and might remember and mention God more than its rider does.”

      Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) called not to kill even a frog and he said, “Its croaking is tasbeeh (praising God).” 

      Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) once said, “A woman was doomed to enter the Fire because of a cat. She imprisoned it and neither fed it nor set it free to eat the rodents of the earth.” 

      Prophet Muhammad also called for not harassing animals by goading them to hurt or cause harm to each other.
      Prophet Muhammad warned against any human being causing a bird to feel panic about its little offspring. Someone took two chicks of a bird (hamra), which came in panic searching for its chicks. Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him and his house) then asked, “Who has distressed it by taking its chicks?” Then he asked them to return the chicks. The Prophet once passed by a burned out anthill. When the Prophet saw it he asked, “Who has burned it?” When he was informed of who had 
      done it, he said, “Only the Lord of Fire has the right to punish with fire.”

      It was also reported that Prophet Muhammad prohibited the killing of a bird for the sake of pleasure and not for a specific beneficial need, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) said, “Anyone who would kill a bird, this bird would come on Doomsday and say, “God, this person killed me for pleasure and not for benefit.”

      It was also reported that Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) called for mercy and perfection in slaughter. He saw a person preparing a lamb, laying it down while he was still sharpening his knife. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) then commented, “Do you want to kill it twice? Sharpen your knife before you lay it down.” 

      He prohibited taking any animal or any living creature as a target for shooting.

      Outstanding Forgiveness of the Prophet

      Another great quality of Muhammad was that he never took revenge on anyone for personal reasons and always forgave even his firm enemies. His wife `A'ishah reported that Allah's Messenger was not unseemly or obscene in his speech, nor was he loud-voiced in the streets, nor did he return evil for evil, but he would forgive and pardon. The people of the Quraysh rebuked him, taunted and mocked at him, beat him and abused him. They tried to kill him and when he escaped to Madinah, they waged 
      many wars against him. Yet when he entered Makkah victorious with an army of 10000, he did not take revenge on anyone. He forgave all. Even his deadliest enemy, Abu Sufyan, who had fought so many battles against him, was forgiven, as was anyone who stayed in his house.

      `Abdullah ibn Ubayy, the leader of the hypocrites of Madinah, worked all his life against Muhammad and Islam and left no stone in trying to defeat his mission. He withdrew his three hundred supporters in the Battle of Uhud, which almost broke the backbone of the Muslims. He engaged in intrigues and acts of hostility against the Prophet of Islam and the Muslims. He tried to discredit Allah’s Messenger by spreading slander about his wife `A’ishah. About this incident Almighty Allah says: "Lo! They who spread the slander are a gang among you. Deem it not a bad thing for you; nay, it is good for you. Unto every man of them will be paid that which he has earned of the sin; and as for him among them who had the greater share therein, his will be an awful doom." (An-Nur: 11) Yet Muhammad forgave him and offered his funeral prayer and prayed Allah to forgive `Abdullah. But afterwards, Allah revealed: "And never (O Muhammad) pray for one of them who dies, nor stand by his grave. Lo! They disbelieve in Allah and His Messenger, and they died while they were evil doers." (At-Tawbah: 84)

      An Abyssinian slave who had killed Muhammad’s beloved uncle Hamzah in the Battle of Uhud was also forgiven when he embraced Islam after the victory of Makkah. The wife of Abu Sufyan, who had cut open Hamzah’s chest and torn his liver and heart into pieces in the Battle of Uhud, quietly came to the Prophet and accepted Islam. He recognized her but did not say anything. She was so impressed by his magnanimity and stature that she said, "O Allah's Messenger, no tent was more deserted in my eyes 
      than yours; but today no tent is more lovely in my eyes than yours."

      Habar ibn al-Aswad was another vicious enemy of Muhammad and of Islam. He had inflicted a grievous injury to Zaynab, daughter of the Prophet. She was pregnant when she emigrated from Makkah to Madinah. The polytheists of Makkah obstructed her and Habar ibn al-Aswad intentionally threw her down from the camel. She was badly hurt and miscarried as a result. Habar committed many other crimes as well. He wanted to run away to Persia but then he came to Muhammad, who forgave him.

      Muhammad 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." (Al-A`raf: 199)
      He always repelled evil with good, 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 exact image of the following 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." (Fussilat: 34) 

      The Prophet's Mercy Towards the Elderly

      In the last years, the world has witnessed a remarkable interest in the elderly. Many international conferences and symposiums were held to deal with the issues and problems they encounter. In 1982, the first initiative to care for the elderly was declared as the United Nations declared the ninth decade of the 20th century "the decade of the elderly." 
      In 1983, the World Health Organization adopted the slogan "Add Life to Years." In addition, the UN conference held in Madrid in 2002 adopted a plan of action to solve the problems of the elderly in various countries around the world. The outcome of these conferences, however, was just sweet promises and plans without any actual application. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), on the other hand, was a pioneer in this field. He taught caring for the elderly irrespective of sex, 
      color, or religion, and he himself set a great example in practicing the principles he taught. This article highlights Islamic teachings related to treating the elderly, and gives glimpses of how the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) put them in effect.

      A Duty of the Young

      AnasibnMalik (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "If a young man honors an elderly on account of his age, Allah appoints someone to honor him in his old age." (At-Tirmidhi; ranked hasan by Al-Albani)

      The Prophet here advises the young of the Muslim society, who will be tomorrow's elderly, to honor the elderly. Continuous application of this Prophetic advice helps bridge the gap between generations and spreads an atmosphere of love and understanding between the young and the old. Consider here also the generalization in the Prophet's words: "If a young man honors an elderly;" the hadith requires honoring the elderly regardless of their color or religion.

      In another hadith Muslims are told to be merciful to all people, Muslim and non-Muslim:Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "By Him in Whose hand my soul is, Allah does not bestow His mercy except on a merciful one." They (the Companions) said, "All of us are merciful." The Prophet replied, "Not only that each of you has mercy upon the other, but to have mercy also upon all people." (Abu Ya`la; authenticated by Al-Albani)

      A Sign of Reverence for Allah

      Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "It is out of reverence to Allah to respect the white-headed (aged) Muslim." (Abu Dawud; ranked hasan by Al-Albani)

      In the hadith above, the Prophet considered respecting the elderly a way to show reverence for the Almighty. He linked reverence for the Creator and His creatures with veneration of the All-Powerful and the weak elderly. The hadith implies all kinds of respect and care for the elderly: Health care, psychological care, social care, economic care, ending illiteracy, providing education, and other forms of care that the international community calls for today.

      In one hadith, the Prophet disavows those who do not venerate the elderly and considers them alien to the Muslim society: He is not one of us who does not show mercy to our young ones and esteem to our elderly. (At-Tirmidhi and Ahmad; authenticated by Al-Albani)

      Practical Examples

      Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "The young should (initiate) salutation to the old, the passerby should (initiate) salutation to the sitting one, and the small group of persons should (initiate) salutation to the large group of persons." (Al-Bukhari)
      In the hadith above, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) gives practical examples of Islamic etiquette and starts with a token of respect to the old. Thus the young should take the initiative toward the aged in greeting and also helping, showing kindness, visiting, advising, phoning, and so on.Similarly, giving priority to the elderly in different situations is a token of respect and honor to them:

      It was narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "Jibreel ordered me to give priority to the elderly." (Al-Fawa'id, Abu Bakr Ash-Shafi`i; authenticated by Al-Albani)

      The Prophet also ordered Muslims to "start with the elderly" when serving a drink or the like (Abu Ya`la; authenticated by Al-Albani).
      In addition, the Prophet ordered that priority be given to the old concerning leading prayers:
      Malik ibn Al-Huwayrith (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet said, "When the time for prayer is due, one of you should announce Adhan and the oldest among you should lead the prayer." (Al-Bukhari)

      This hadith does not contradict the other hadith that gives priority in leading the prayer to one who is distinguished in recitation and memorization of the Qur'an. The two criteria are to be considered, as reported in the hadith of Mas`ud Al-Ansari (may Allah be pleased with him):

      The Prophet said, "The person who is best versed in the recitation of the Book of Allah should lead the prayer; but if all those present are equally versed in it, then the one who has most knowledge of the Sunnah; if they are equal in that respect, then the one who has immigrated (to Madinah) first; if they are equal in this respect, then the oldest of them." (Muslim)

      Furthermore, according to Prophetic guidance, the elder are worthier to start cnversation. Once, Huwayyisahand Muhayyisah, the sons of Mas`udibnKa`b, and `Abdur-RahmanibnSahlcame to the Prophet to discuss a certain matter with him. `Abdur-Rahman, who was the youngest of them all, started talking. Thus, the Prophet said, "Let the eldest (among you) speak first" (Al-Bukhari).

      Easy Rulings for the Elderly

      Shari`ah always adopts leniency and ease with persons having excuses, such as the elderly. This can be noticed in expiations and obligations required from them.
      The best evidence of easing expiations for the elderly is the story of Khawlah bint Tha`labah, which was mentioned at the beginning of Surat Al-Mujadilah. Her aged husband, Aws ibn As-Samit, who was also her cousin, pronounced zhihar (declaring her unlawful to him as a wife, while at the same time not divorcing her so she can remarry). Thereupon the general Islamic ruling concerning zhihar was revealed:

      (Those who put away their wives (by saying they are as their mothers) and afterward would go back on that which they have said, (the penalty) in that case (is) the freeing of a slave before they touch one another [that is, have intercourse]. Unto this you are exhorted; and Allah is Informed of what you do. And he who finds not (the wherewithal), let him fast for two successive months before they touch one another [that is, have intercourse]; and for him who is unable to do so (the penance is) the feeding of sixty needy ones.) (Al-Mujadilah 58:3–4)

      After this revelation the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) spoke to Khawlah:The Prophet said to Khawlah, "Let him free a slave." She said, "O Messenger of Allah, he does not have the means to do that." The Prophet said, "Then let him fast for two consecutive months." She replied, "By Allah, he is an old man; he is not able to do that." 
      So the Prophet told her, "Then let him feed sixty poor people with a wasaq (a measure equal to approximately 132.6 kilograms) of dates." She said, "O Messenger of Allah, he does not have that much." The Prophet then promised to help him by giving him an amount of dates; after all this he did not forget to advise the lady, "Take care of your cousin properly." (Tafsir of Ibn Kathir, vol. 8)

      Concerning obligations, Islam exempts the elderly who cannot bear fasting the month of Ramadan from observing this obligation, but requires them to feed a poor person for each day that they miss. Also, the elderly who cannot pray standing up are allowed to pray sitting down; if they cannot pray sitting down, they are allowed to pray lying on a side.
      In addition, it is authentically reported that the Prophet once rebuked Mu`adh ibn Jabal when he led people in prayer and prolonged it:
      The Prophet said to him, "O Mu`adh! Are you putting the people to trial? [Thrice] It would have been better if you had recited Sabbihisma Rabbika-l-a`la [Surah 87], Wash-shamsi wa duhaha [Surah 91], or Wal-layli idhayaghsha [Surah 92], for the old, the weak, and the needy pray behind you." (Al-Bukhari)

      Also, Islam allowed the elderly who cannot perform Hajj to delegate another person to perform it on their behalf. Al-Fadl narrated that a woman from the tribe of Khath`am came to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and said, "O Allah's Prophet! The obligation of Hajj has become due on my father while he is old and weak, and he cannot sit firm on the mount; may I perform Hajj on his behalf?" The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) replied, "Yes, (you may)" (Muslim).

      Examples of the Prophet's Mercy

      Having discussed the Islamic code of treating the elderly, itis now appropriate to give some practical examples from the Prophet's life. We will see him listening politely and respectfully to an elderly polytheist, seeking to release an elderly man captured by Quraish, and honoring an elderly person and ordering him to improve his appearance. Listening to an elderly polytheist respectfully. IbnKathir, in his biography of the Prophet, narrated that `Utbah ibn Rabi`ah, one of the chiefs of Makkah's polytheists, came to the Prophet trying to dissuade him from his call. He addressed the Prophet in a ridiculing manner, "Are you better than `Abdullah (the Prophet's father)? Are you better than `Abdul-
      Muttalib (the Prophet's grandfather)?" But the Prophet did not respond to those degrading remarks. `Utbah continued, "If you say that they are better than you, then they worshiped the gods you criticize; and if you claim that you are better than they, you can proclaim this loudly in order to be heard. You exposed us before the Arabs until it was spread among them that the Quraish has a magician or a monk. Do you want us to unsheathe the sword and engage in a bitter war until annihilation?"

      When `Utbah noticed the politeness of the Prophet, he changed his offensive tone and continued, "Oh my nephew! If you desire money and wealth by preaching what you are preaching, we will collect enough for you from our own. We will make you the wealthiest of all of us. If it is chieftainship that you desire, we are ready to make you our paramount chief, so that we will never decide on a matter without you. If you desire rulership, we will make you our ruler. And if this condition that you call revelation is a jinn whose grip you cannot escape from, we are ready to call the most distinguished physicians of time to examine you, and we will spend generously till you are completely cured. For sometimes a jinn seizes hold of a victim totally till the former is exorcised."

      When `Utbah finished his impudent speech, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) asked him politely, "Is that all, Abu Al-Walid?" "Yes," he replied. "Then listen to me," the Prophet said to him. "I will," agreed `Utbah. Then the Prophet recited the beginning of Surat Fussilat (41).

      Seeking to release an elderly captive. In his biography of the Prophet, Ibn Hisham reported that when the Muslims captured `Amr ibn Abi Sufyan ibn Harb in the Battle of Badr, it was said to Abu Sufyan, "Pay for the ransom of your son `Amr." 

      However, Abu Sufyan answered, "Must I lose twice! They have killed Handhalah and now I must pay for the ransom of `Amr! Let him stay with them, they can keep him as long as they wish." 

      Afterwards an old man called Sa`d ibn An-Nu`man of the tribe of Banu `Amr ibn `Awf departed for Makkah to perform `Umrah. In spite of the critical political conditions, especially after the Battle of Badr, Sa`d ibn An-Nu`man thought that he would not be captured in Makkah since the Quraish did not harm pilgrims. However, Abu Sufyan attacked him and held him hostage until the Muslims in Madinah released his son. Some people of the tribe of Banu `Amr ibn `Awf went to the Prophet (peace and 
      blessings be upon him) and told him what had happened to their relative. They asked him to give them the son of Abu Sufyan to free Sa`d ibn An-Nu`man from captivity. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) released the son of Abu Sufyan without a ransom and then sent him to his father who, consequently, released the old man.

      Treating the elderly gently. IbnKathir tells the following in his biography of the Prophet. When the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) entered Makkah in Ramadan AH 8 (January 630) and entered the Sacred Mosque, Abu Bakr brought his father, Abu Quhafah, to the Prophet to embrace Islam. When the Prophet saw him, he said to Abu Bakr, "Why didn't you leave the old man at his house and I would've gone to him there?" Abu Bakr said, "You are more deserving of him coming to you than 
      he is of you going to him." The Prophet seated Abu Quhafah in front of him and honored him. Then he passed his hand on Abu Quhafah's chest and asked him to embrace Islam and Abu Quhafah did. The Prophet, noticing that Abu Quhafah's hair was white, directed that his hair be dyed.

      These are just few examples of the Prophet's gentleness, mercy, and respect towards the elderly. These examples, and many others, translate the sublime Islamic code of ethics for treating the elderly and provide Muslims, generation after generation, with a practical model that they should follow. Such care for the elderly is in line with the Islamic principle of the dignity of the human being and with the spirit of solidarity and mercy that pervades the Muslim society.

      The Prophet’s Care for Children

      Children are a great blessing from Allah. With their tender hearts, children can be molded into righteous people only with a positive and tender approach. Islam considers children to be an amanah (trust) given to the family and says it is fard (obligatory) for the family to raise a child in a righteous manner. One should not favor one child over another. In Islam, both male and female children should be treated equally and should be loved and cherished. The children have certain rights over their parents; it is the family’s obligation to shelter, feed, clothe, educate, support, nurture, and love them.

      In today’s world many parents are so immersed in worldly life that they forget to pay attention to their children. Many parents think that providing financial support for their child is enough. The fact is, financial support alone doesn’t fulfill a parent’s duty towards their child. One can only win a child’s heart through love and a gentle attitude. 

      It is the child’s right to be loved and cherished.

      I remember that, as a child, I yearned for the attention of my family, but being in a joint family—my family and my uncle’s family lived together and a few other cousins stayed with us as their parents were working abroad—did not give me the opportunity to experience the kind of attention I expected. My parents felt that they should not express their love for their children in front of others, as people might think they were favoring us. As a child (and even now), I heard people saying “We need not to express our love to prove that it is there, it is enough to have a loving heart.” But the fact is that only when one expresses love to a child will the child feel more confident and stronger. Children have the capacity to easily distinguish when there is a difference in the attitude of the adults. Whether an adult shows or does not show love will have a significant impact on a child. Hence, we adults have to be conscious with our behavior in the child’s presence and be constantly aware of the emotions we project to our children.Nowadays, we see people have become hardhearted so that their attitude towards children is unpleasant. There are some who show much partiality toward one gender, and there are some 
      who don’t treat others’ children with the same kindness or affection which they show to their own children. It is common to see even people who claim that they act on the Qur’an and Sunnah showing less interest in playing with their children or giving them the due attention or expression of love.

      The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is the model for the whole of humankind. His attitude towards children was always compassionate and merciful. Being fond of children, Prophet Muhammad showed great interest in playing with them. His involvement in children’s games shows us the great importance in playing with our children. He would have fun with the children who had come back from Abyssinia and tried to speak in Abyssinian with them. 

      It was his practice to give lifts on his camel to children when he returned from journeys. Prophet Muhammad never held back his love for the children and always expressed his fondness to them. In one hadith Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated: I went along with Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) at a time during the day but he did not talk to me and I did not talk to him until he reached the market of Banu Qainuqa`. He came back to the tent of Fatimah and 
      said, “Is the little chap (meaning Al-Hasan) there?” We were under the impression that his mother had detained him in order to bathe him and dress him and garland him with sweet garland. Not much time had passed that he (Al-Hasan) came running until both of them embraced each other, thereupon Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “O Allah, I love him; love him and love one who loves him.” (Muslim)

      Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him), the servant of the Prophet, had another recollection:
      I never saw anyone who was more compassionate towards children than Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him). His son Ibrahim was in the care of a wet nurse in the hills around Madinah. He would go there, and we would go with him, and he would enter the house, pick up his son and kiss him, then come back. (Muslim)

      The Prophet’s love for children was not restricted to his children and grandchildren. The scope of his mercy and affection embraced all children, and he showed the same interest and gentleness to his Companion’s children. The following hadith narrated by Usamah ibn Zaid (may Allah be pleased with him) shows this humane aspect of the Prophet’s personality:
      Allah’s Messenger used to put me on (one of) his thighs and put Al-Hasan ibn `Ali on his other thigh, and then embrace us and say, “O Allah! Please be merciful to them, as I am merciful to them.” (Bukhari)
      Some people who were not able to understand the power of expressing love to children wondered why the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) played with children and took such an interest in them. Narrated Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him), Allah’s Messenger kissed Al-Hasan ibn `Ali while Al-Aqra` ibn Habis At-Tamim was sitting with him . Al-Aqra` said, “I have ten children and have never kissed one of them.” 
      The Prophet cast a look at him and said, “Whoever is not merciful to others will not be treated mercifully.” (Al-Bukhari)

      The Prophet was always concerned about everyone’s thought and feeling. The following hadith narrated by Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) proves his thoughtful character:
      The Prophet said, “(It happens that) I start the prayer intending to prolong it, but on hearing the cries of a child, I shorten the prayer because I know that the cries of the child will incite its mother’s passions.” (Al-Bukhari)

      The Prophet was always patient and considerate with children and took great pain not to hurt their tender feelings.
      Narrated Abu Qatadah: “The Messenger of Allah came towards us while carrying Umamah the daughter of Abi Al-`As (Prophet’s granddaughter) over his shoulder. He prayed, and when he wanted to bow, he put her down, and when he stood up he lifted her up.” (Al-Bukhari)

      In a another hadith,
      Narrated Umm Khalid: I (the daughter of Khalid ibn Said) went to Allah’s Messenger with my father and I was wearing a yellow shirt. Allah’s Messenger said, “Sanah, Sanah!” 
      (`Abdullah, the narrator, said that sanah meant “good” in the Ethiopian language). I then started playing with the seal of prophethood (between the Prophet’s shoulders) and my father rebuked me harshly for that. Allah’s Messenger said, “Leave her.” 

      The Prophet, then, invoked Allah to grant her a long life thrice. (Al-Bukhari)

      In another narration we see the Prophet’s tolerance towards children.
      Narrated `A’ishah: The Prophet took a child in his lap … and then the child urinated on him, so he asked for water and poured it over the place of the urine. (Al-Bukhari)
      Finally I would like to add another saying of the Prophet that proves that Muslims should be conscious to treat their sons and daughters justly:
      “Fear Allah and treat your children [small or grown] fairly (with equal justice).” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
      From all the above hadith we see Prophet Muhammad’s attitude toward children is an example for the whole human race that shows how to treat them and cherish them at all times.

      The Prophet and the People who Opposed him

      Bleeding from head to toe, battered and exhausted, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was faced with a choice. 

      Should he or should he not seek to destroy the people who had just humiliated him by having their children chase him out of town while throwing stones at him? And what was his crime? All he wanted to do was to share his message and seek to benefit his people.

      Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was in At-Ta’if, a lush town of green palm trees, fruit and vegetables, about 50 miles southeast of his arid hometown Makkah. He was hoping that perhaps the people of this town would be receptive to his message, which had been rejected by most of the Makkans for more than a decade. However, the people of At-Ta’if proved just as cruel and intolerant as his own people. Not only did they scorn his message of Allah's Oneness, they turned their 
      youth against him. In the face of this misery, the Angel Jibreel (Gabriel) was sent and presented him 
      with an option: the whole town could be destroyed, by Allah's will, for their arrogance and hatefulness.
      He (peace and blessings be upon him) could have done it. He could have asked that those children who pelted him with stones be finished off along with their intolerant parents, but he didn't! No, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) told the Angel not to destroy the people of At-Ta’if. Instead of cursing the children of this town, he prayed for their salvation.

      That is just one example of how this man, whom Allah describes as a "mercy to mankind" (Qur’an 21:107) dealt with those who opposed him. It is just one of the many examples in the life of a person who faced constant death threats, actual attempts on his life, and abuse and humiliation at the hands of those threatened by his simple yet profound message: there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger.

      The people of At-Ta’if were not the only ones who tasted this mercy. It was his habit to pray for his enemies all the time. 

      Two of his most bitter enemies, Abu Jahl and `Umar were also the objects of his prayers.
      The Prophet made similar Du`as (supplications) for his people on a regular basis: "O Allah! Guide my people, for they know not," he would pray, as he and his followers were beaten, humiliated, scorned and ridiculed.
      On another occasion, some Companions came to the Prophet and said: "O Messenger of Allah! The tribe of Daws have committed disbelief and disobeyed (your commands). Supplicate Allah against them!" Contrary to the people’s expectations, the Prophet said: "O Allah! Guide Daws and let them come to us." (Reported by Al-Bukhari).

      These are just a few glimpses at how the Prophet dealt with those who opposed him. His opponents were not just people who fought his message on an intellectual level, they were individuals bent on destroying him, his family, his followers and Islam itself.

      Contrast this nobility with some ignorant believers today who are found cursing others and praying for the destruction of the world. We do not know the aims of individuals. We do not even know ourselves. So let's keep making Du`a’ that we stay on the right path and that Allah will guide others to it as well. We must not play God by assuming we know where others will end up.

      When Allah tells us in the Qur’an about the kind of behavior which leads to receiving a good reward and the character which takes people to the Hellfire, He is saying this so that people may adopt the correct behavior and avoid Hellfire by abandoning what He forbade for our own good. Those verses are not meant to be a criterion for us to determine where others will end up. That knowledge is only with Allah, the Lord of the universe.
      Our Prophet was a mercy to all human beings. Any person may turn to Islam regardless of his original religious background. 
      We, as his followers, must live and spread this message today at a time when hatefulness and ugliness towards each other has become the norm. We must also remember that most Muslims do not face the kind of opposition to Islam that the Prophet and his Companions faced in their day. Then should it not be easier for us to deal in the way of the Prophet with those who oppose us, which is usually done out of ignorance?

      The Prophet With Non-Muslims

      In the Qur’an, Allah commands believers to
      [Be upholders of justice, bearing witness for Allah alone, even against yourselves or your parents and relatives. Whether they are rich or poor, Allah is well able to look after them. Do not follow your own desires and deviate from the truth. ] (An-Nisaa’ 4:135)

      With the rules he imposed on Muslims, his just and tolerant attitude towards those of other religions, languages, races, and tribes, and his way of not discriminating between rich and poor, but treating everybody equally, Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) is a great example to all of mankind.

      Allah says this to His Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) in one verse,[They are people who listen to lies and consume ill-gotten gains. If they come to you, you can either judge between them or turn away from them. If you turn away from them, they cannot harm you in any way. But if you do judge, judge between them justly. Allah loves the just.] (Al-Ma’idah 5:42)

      The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) abided by Allah’s commands, even with such difficult people, and never made any concessions in his implementation of justice. He became an example for all times with the words [My Lord has commanded justice] (Al-A`raf 8:29).

      A number of incidents testify to the Prophet’s justice. He lived in a place where people of different religions, languages, races, and tribes all coexisted. It was very difficult for those societies to live together in peace and security and check those who sought to spread dissension. One group could become aggressive towards and even attack another over the slightest word or action. Yet, the justice of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was a source of peace and security for those other communities, just as much as it was for Muslims. During the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), Christians, Jews, and pagans were all treated equally. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) abided by the verse [There is no compulsion where the religion is concerned] (Al-Baqarah 2:256), explaining the true religion to everyone, but leaving them free to make up their own minds.In another verse, Allah revealed to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) the kind of justice and conciliation he needed to adopt towards those of other religions:
      [So call and go straight as you have been ordered to. Do not follow their whims and desires but say, “I believe in a Book sent down by Allah and I am ordered to be just between you. Allah is our Lord and your Lord. We have our actions and you have your actions. There is no debate between us and you. Allah will gather us all together. He is our final destination.] (Ash-Shura 42:15)

      This noble attitude of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), being in total harmony with the morality of the Qur’an, should be taken as an example of how members of different religions today should be treated.

      The Prophet’s justice brought about understanding between people of different races. In many of his addresses, even in his final sermon, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) stated that superiority lay not in race, but in godliness, as Allah states in the verse [Mankind! We created you from a male and female, and made you into peoples and tribes so that you might come to know each other. The noblest among you in Allah’s sight is that one of you who best performs his duty. Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.] (Al-Hujurat 49:13)

      Two hadiths report that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said,

      “You are sons of Adam, and Adam came from dust. Let the people cease to boast about their ancestors.” (Abu Dawud) 

      “These genealogies of yours are not a reason to revile anyone. You are all children of Adam. No one has any superiority over another except in religion and taqwa (godliness).” (Ahmad) 

      During his final sermon, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) called on Muslims in the following terms:
      “There is no superiority for an Arab over a non-Arab and for a non-Arab over an Arab; or for white over the black or for the black over the white except in piety. Verily the noblest among you is he who is the most pious.”

      The agreement that was made with the Christians of Najran in the south of the Arabian Peninsula was another fine example of the justice of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). One of the articles in the agreement reads, The lives of the people of Najran and its surrounding area, their religion, their land, property, cattle, and those of them who are present or absent, their messengers and their places of worship are under the protection of Allah and guardianship of His Prophet.

      The Compact of Madinah, signed by the Muslim immigrants from Makkah, the indigenous Muslims of Madinah, and the Jews of Madinah is another important example of justice. As a result of this constitution, which established justice between communities with differing beliefs and ensured the protection of their various interests, long years of enmity were brought to an end. One of the most outstanding features of the treaty is the freedom of belief it established. The relevant article reads

      The Jews of Banu `Awf are one nation with the Muslims; the Jews have their religion and the Muslims have theirs. Article 16 of the treaty reads,
      The Jew who follows us is surely entitled to our support and the same equal rights as any one of us. He shall not be wronged nor his enemy be assisted.The Prophet’s Companions remained true to that article in the treaty, even after his death, and they even practiced it with regard to Berbers, Buddhists, Brahmans, and people of other beliefs.

      One of the main reasons why the golden age of Islam was one of peace and security was the Prophet’s just attitude, itself a reflection of Qur’anic morality.
      The justice of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) also awoke feelings of confidence in non-Muslims, and many, including polytheists, asked to be taken under his protection. Allah revealed the following request from the polytheists in the Qur’an, and also told the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) of the attitude he should adopt towards such people.

      [If any of the idolaters ask you for protection, give them protection until they have heard the words of Allah. Then convey them to a place where they are safe. That is because they are a people who do not know. How could any of the idolaters possibly have a treaty with Allah and with His Messenger, except for those you made a treaty with at the Masjid al-Haram? As long as they are straight with you, be straight with them. Allah loves those who do their duty.] (At-Tawbah 9:6-7)

      In our day, the only solution to the fighting and conflict going on all over the world is to adopt the morality of the Qur’an, and, like the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), never to depart from the path of justice, making no distinction between different religions, languages, or races.

      The Prophet's Care for People With Special Needs

      The civilized world has recently paid attention to people with special needs. This started after it had cast aside corrupt, racist theories calling for neglecting them on the false grounds that people with special needs are not of any benefit to the society. A report issued by the United Nations International Labour Organization in 2000 estimated the number of those with special needs to be more than 610 million, out of which 400 million live in developing countries. According to the World Bank's statistics, this category represents 15 percent of the world's population.

      In Early Societies

      A cursory look at the history of the West shows the blatant neglect and persecution of people with special needs that culminated in killing disabled babies in some old European societies. Superstitious beliefs were responsible for this setback. For example, it was believed that people suffering from intellectual disabilities were possessed by devils and evil spirits. Even philosophers and scholars held such ideas. The laws of the legendary lawgiver of Sparta , Lycurgus, and the Athenian philosopher and lawmaker Solon allowed getting rid of those who had disabilities that made them unable to work or engage in war. Moreover, the renowned philosopher Plato came and declared that those who have special needs are a malicious category constituting a burden on the society and a damaging factor to his Republic. Likewise, English philosopher Herbert Spenser (1820-1903) called on the society to deny those with special needs any kind of help, claiming that this category constitutes a useless, heavy burden for a society to carry.

      Whereas, the pre-Islamic Arabs - though they used to kill their female babies for fear of possible disgrace - were less hardhearted and more compassionate toward those afflicted with adversities and the chronically ill. They, however, abstained from sharing food or sitting at a meal with those who had special needs.

      When the world was floundering between theories that called for the execution of the mentally disabled and other theories that called for employing them in drudgery, the East and the West, at long last, rightly arrived at the idea of the perfect care for people with special needs. That being the case, we, on the other hand, do see how our Messenger, the educator and teacher, (peace and blessings be upon him) was so merciful toward this type of people.

      The Prophet and People With Special Needs

      It is narrated on the authority of Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) that a woman, somewhat mentally defected, said, " O Messenger of Allah! I have a need that I want you to meet. He responded, "O mother of so and so, choose the way you like to walk in so that I may know your need and meet it." He walked with her in some route until she had her need fulfilled (Muslim).

      This is, of course, a proof of his forbearance, humility, and patience in answering the needs of those with special needs. 

      It, also, serves a legal proof that a ruler is obligated to care for people with special needs, socially, economically, and psychologically, and that the ruler should fulfill their needs and grant their requests.

      The forms of such care include, but are not restricted to the following:
      • Medication and regular check-up

      • Proper education and training

      • Assigning some workers to take care of them

      Following this merciful Prophetic course, `Umar ibn `Abdul-`Aziz (may Allah be pleased with him) asked rulers of the provinces to send him the names of all those blind, crippled, or with a chronic illness that prevented them from establishing salah. So they sent him their names. He, in turn, ordered that every blind man should have an employee to guide and look after him, and that every two chronically ill persons - those with special needs - be attended by a servant to serve and care for them (Ibn Al-Jawzi).The same course was taken by Umayyad caliph Al-Waleed ibn `Abdul-Malik (may Allah have mercy on him). 

      The idea of the establishment of institutes or centers for the care of people with special needs was his. In AH 88 (707 CE), he ordered the establishment of a foundation specialized in looking after them. Doctors and servants, paid fixed stipends, were employed in this foundation. He granted a regular allowance to persons with special needs, and told them, "Do not beg people." Thereby, he made them sufficient enough to not beg others. In addition, he appointed employees to serve all those who were disabled, crippled, or blind (Ibn Kathir, At-Tabari).

      Honoring Them and Meeting Their Needs

      It happened in a well-known incident that Prophet Muhammad frowned at the face of a blind man, `Abdullah ibn Umm Maktoum (may Allah be pleased with him) when he came to ask the Prophet about a Shari `ah matter. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was sitting at that time with a group of noble and high-placed people attempting to win them over toward Islam. Although the blind man did not see nor perceive his frowning face, yet Allah (the Mighty and Exalted) blamed His Messenger for doing this, saying what means in the Qur'an, (He frowned and turned away, that the blind man came to him. And what makes you realize whether he would possibly (try) to cleanse himself? Or that he would constantly remember, and the Reminding would profit him?) (`Abasa 80:1-4).
      Afterwards, the Prophet used to meet that blind man with a welcoming and smiling face, saying to him, "Welcome to a man for whom my Lord has blamed me!" (Al-Qurtubi).

      Forgiving the Fool and the Ignorant

      The beloved Prophet's mercy toward those with special needs, his forgiveness to the ignorant and his forbearance toward the fool did most evidently emerge in the battle of Uhud (Shawwal AH 3/ April 624 CE). It is reported that when the Prophet headed along with his army toward Uhud, intending to pass by a farm owned by a blind hypocrite, the latter insulted the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). The blind man picked a handful of dust and insolently said to the Prophet, "By Allah, if I am certain that none but you will be affected by it, I will definitely throw it at you." The Companions of the Prophet were about to kill that blind person, but the Prophet forbade them, saying, "Leave him alone"(Ibn Kathir).

      The Prophet did not capitalize on the fact that the blind man was weak; he did not order that he be killed or even harmed, though the Muslim army was on its way to battle and the situation was critical and the nerves were tense. Despite this, when the blind hypocrite stood in the army's way and said what he said and did what he did, Allah's Messenger refused but to forgive and pardon him, as it is not becoming of Muslim fighters, let alone the Prophet, to attack or harm those who are handicapped and disabled. It was his approach to behave kindly toward them, take a lesson from their condition, and supplicate Allah to cure them.

      Consoling Them

      It is reported on the authority of `A'ishah(may Allah be pleased with her) that she said,"I heard Allah's Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) say, 'Allah, Glorified and Exalted be He, revealed to me that whosoever takes a route of seeking knowledge, the route to Paradise will be made easy for him, and that I (Allah) will reward the one whose two dear things (that's his eyes) were taken away from him with Paradise" (Al-Baihaqiandauthenticated by Al-Albani).

      The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), addressing all who have illnesses and disabilities, said, "No Muslim is pricked with a thorn, or anything larger than that, except that a hasanah will be recorded for him and a sin will be erased as a reward for that"(Al-Bukhari and Muslim).

      There exists in these Prophetic texts andhadith qudsi comfort and glad tidings for everyone with a certain disability; if they exhibit patience at their adversity, being content with the trial Allah has afflicted them with, anticipating the reward from Allah alone for their disability, Allah will recompense their with Paradise.

      `Amr ibn Al-Gamouh was a lame man. However he insisted on participating with the Muslims in the battle of Uhud where he was martyred. The prophet passed by his body and said, "As though I could see you walking with this leg of yours, being heard, in Paradise" (Authenticated by Al-Albani).

      It is narrated that the Messenger of Allah left Ibn Umm Maktoum twice as his successor in Madinah to lead the prayer, though he was blind (Ahmad).
      And it is reported on the authority of `A'ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) that Ibn Umm Maktoum was a muezzin of Allah's Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) though he was blind (Muslim).
      It is narrated via Sa`id ibn Al-Mosayyab (may Allah have mercy on him) that when Muslims would go on their expeditions, they used to leave those among them who were chronically ill, submit the keys of their doors to them, saying, "We have made it lawful for you to partake of our houses' food" (Ar-Razi).

      Al-Hasan ibn Muhammad said, "I entered upon Abi Zayd Al-Ansari, who called out the Adhan and Iqamah while he was sitting." He added, "a man advanced and led us in prayer. That man was lame whose leg was hit in the Cause of Allah, the Exalted" (Al-Baihaqi).

      Thus was the Prophet's society, a society that was marked by mutual support, cooperation, and unity in consoling, honoring, and respecting those with special needs. For all of this, the course of the merciful Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was the role model in dealing with those who have special needs.

      Visiting Them

      Visiting the sick in general, and the disabled in particular, was legislated by Islam for the purpose of relieving their suffering. A disabled person, compared to a sound one, is closer to withdrawal, isolation, a pessimistic view, and psychological illness. So, neglecting the disabled in social occasions, such as visits and marriage, is wrong.

      The Prophet used to visit the sick, pray for them and console them, instilling confidence in their souls and covering their hearts and faces with happiness and joy. He could once go to someone in the outskirts of Madinah particularly to answer a simple need of his or hers or to perform salah in the house of an afflicted one, as granting of his or her request.

      An example of this was `Etban ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him); he was a blind man from Ansar. He said to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), "I wish that you, O Messenger of Allah, would come and perform salah in my house so that I would take it as a place of prayer." As a reply, the Prophet promised to visit him and perform prayer, so humbly saying, "I will do, if Allah so wills."

      `Etban said, "Allah's Messenger and Abu Bakr came early in the morning. Allah's Messenger asked for permission to enter, which I gave." Without sitting, he immediately entered and said, "In which part of your house do you like me to pray?" I pointed to a certain place in the house, so the Messenger of Allah stood and started praying and we, in turn, stood and he lined us in a row. He performed a two-rak`ah prayer, ending it with taslim (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).

      Praying for Them

      The mercy of the Prophet of Islam toward people with special needs was so manifest as well when he legislated the supplication for them as a way to encourage them to endure afflictions. He desired to create will and build resolve in their souls.Once a blind man entered into the presence of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and said, "Supplicate Allah to cure me." He (peace and blessings be upon him) replied, "I shall supplicate if you will, yet it would be better for you if you choose to keep patient." The man asked the Prophet to make du`aa' for him. Then, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) ordered him to perform wudu' well and say the following du`aa': 
      "My Lord, I implore you and turn to you, having your Prophet Muhammad as an intercessor for me, so that my need may be answered. O Lord, make him an intercessor for me and accept his intercession." (At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah)
      A woman, who would usually have epileptic fits, came to the Prophet and said, "I do have epileptic fits that, as a result, cause parts of my body to be revealed. So, pray to Allah for me."
      To this came the reply of the Prophet, "If you will, be patient and Paradise will be your reward. And if you will, I shall supplicate Allah to cure you."
      She said, "I choose patience." Then she said, "But parts of my body to be revealed, so pray to Allah that this will not happen." And the Prophet prayed for her. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

      Prohibition of Mocking Them

      "Cursed is he who misleads a blind person away from his path"(Hadith)
      People with special needs, in some societies of Europe, were taken as objects of mockery, amusement, or fun. The handicapped would, therefore, find themselves stuck between two fires: the fire of exclusion and isolation on one hand, and the fire of derision and malicious joy on the other. Accordingly, the society would turn, within itself, into an abode of estrangement, persecution, and separation.
      However, Islamic law came to forbid ridiculing all people in general, and the afflicted in particular. Allah the Exalted revealed most evident Quranic verses stressing the prohibition of such an ignorant attribute of pre-Islamic era; these verses read what means:
      (O you who believe,let not a folk deride a folk who may be better than they (are), not let women (deride) women who may be better than they are; neither defame one another, nor insult one another by nicknames. Bad is the name of lewdness after faith. And whoso turneth not in repentance, such are evil-doers.) (Al-Hujurat 49:11)
      It is also authentically reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "Pride is the rejection of the truth and looking down at people" (Muslim). Perhaps the afflicted one is higher in rank in Allah's sight and has a precedence over people in terms of knowledge, jihad, piety, chastity, and good manners. Let alone the general and decisive rule set by the Prophet: "Indeed, Allah has made your blood, your wealth, and your honor forbidden for you, one to another" (Al-Bukhari).
      Additionally, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) has warned in such a strict manner against misleading the blind away from their path or harming them or making them an object of fun and mockery: "Cursed is he who misleads a blind person away from his path" (Authenticated by Al-Albani).

      This carries a severe threat for those who take the congenital defects as a method of fun, amusement, or derision, and for those who look down at those who are defected. People afflicted with certain defects could be a brother or sister, father or mother, son or daughter, tested by Allah, so that we may take a lesson from their condition and recognize the power of Allah; not for the purpose of making them an object of entertainment and fun.

      Breaking Their Isolation

      The pre-Islamic society used to boycott people with special needs, isolate them, and prevent them from leading normal lives, such as their right to marriage or even interaction with people.
      Before Islam, people of Madinah used to prevent the lame, the blind, and the diseased from sharing food with them, because they deemed them disgusting. On this, Allah the Exalted revealed what means, (No blame is there upon the blind nor any blame upon the lame nor any blame upon the sick nor on yourselves if you eat from your houses, or the houses of your fathers, or the houses of your mothers, or the houses of your brothers, or the houses of your sisters, or the houses of your fathers' 
      brothers, or the houses of your fathers' sisters, or the houses of your mothers' brothers, or the houses of your mothers' sisters, or (from that) whereof you hold the keys, or (from the house) of a friend. No sin shall it be for you whether you eat together or apart.But when you enter houses, salute one another with a greeting from Allah, blessed and sweet.Thus Allah maketh clear His revelations for you, that haply you may understand.) (An-Nur 24:61)
      It is indicated here that there is no harm in jointly partaking of food with the sick, the blind, and the lame. They are people just like ourselves, having the same rights as ours. 
      So, Muslims do not boycott, isolate, or forsake them, for the most honorable among Muslims in Allah's sight are the most pious, regardless of anything else. Besides, there is a hadith that reads "Allah looks at neither your appearances nor your wealth; rather, He looks at your hearts and your deeds" (Muslim).
      Thus, the Qur'an has been revealed as a mercy for people with special needs, consoling, relieving, and supporting them. It saves them from the most dangerous psychological diseases that may affect them if they happen to suffer from isolation and withdrawal from social life.

      Unlike what some societies had done, Islam permitted people with special needs to marry, for they have hearts, emotions, and feelings, just like others. The right to marriage was, therefore, established for them so long as they have the ability needed for that.They have rights as well as obligations. Muslims did not exploit the weakness of those with special needs; Muslims did not take away their due rights or deny them their rightful property. It is narrated that `Umar ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) said, "If any man marries a woman who is insane or leper and touches her (i.e. have intercourse with her), then the whole dower becomes due to her" (Ahmad).

      Removing Difficulties and Hardships

      Among the forms of mercy toward people with special needs is the fact that Shari`ah takes them into consideration with regard to many of the obligatory rulings, removes the difficulties they might encounter, and makes things easy for them.
      On the authority of ZaydibnThabit(may Allah be pleased with him), the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) dictated to him the verse that says what means: (Those of the believers who sit still … are not on an equality with those who strive in the way of Allah with their wealth and lives) (An-Nisaa' 4:95).He said, "IbnUmm Maktoum came while the Prophet was dictating it to me to write it down, and said, 'O Messenger of Allah, if I was capable of jihad, I would certainly do;'" he was a blind man. Zayd ibn Thabit further said, "Then, Allah, Almighty and Exalted be He, revealed to His Messenger, (other than those who have a (disabling) hurt)" (An-Nisaa' 4:95). (Al-Bukhari)

      Relieving the burdens of people with special needs, Almighty Allah says what means: 
      (There is no restriction on the blind, nor is there restriction on the lame, nor is there restriction on the sick. And whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger, He will cause him to enter Gardens from beneath which rivers run; and whoever turns away, He will torment him with a painful torment.)(Al-Fath 48:17)

      Thus, Almighty Allah absolved them from the obligation of jihad in the battlefields. They may carry arms and go to battle voluntarily only. An example of this is the story reported by Ibn Hisham of `Amr ibn Al-Gamouh (may Allah be pleased with him) in the battle of Uhud. He was a lame man who had four sons who used to engage alongside the Messenger of Allah in all serious events. When the Day of Uhud drew so nigh, they wanted to keep him back, telling him, "Allah the Glorified and Exalted has excused you!" So he went to the Messenger of Allah and said, "My sons want to prevent me from going out to fight with you. Yet, by Allah, I wish to tread with this crippled leg of mine in Paradise! The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) replied, "As for you, Allah did indeed excuse you, so you are not obligated to engage in jihad." Then the Prophet said to his sons, "Do not keep him back; perhaps Allah will grant him martyrdom." Ibn Hisham went out with the army and fell a martyr on the Day of Uhud (Ibn Hisham).

      Nevertheless, the relief enjoyed by the handicapped under the Islamic law is distinguished by balance and moderation. A disabled person should be relieved in proportion to his disability and be obligated according to his ability. Al-Qurtubi says, Verily, Allah absolved the blind from the duties that necessitate eyesight, the crippled from the duties that involve walking or cannot be done with lameness, and the sick from the duties canceled on account of sickness, such as fasting, the conditions and pillars of salah, and jihad and so forth. (Al-Qurtubi)

      The blind and the insane are examples of this; the former is charged with all the Shari`ah obligations except for certain duties such as jihad. As for the latter, Allah Almighty has absolved them from all obligations. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) made it clear that three types of people are not accountable: "a sleeping person till he wakes up, a child till he grows up, and an insane person till he turns sane" (Ibn Majah).

      A madman shall not be punished in any way, no matter what mistakes he may make or crimes he may commit.

      Thus was the approach of the Prophet in dealing with people with special needs at a time the rights of those people were not recognized whatsoever by any people or regime. So, the Islamic law came and defined the comprehensive and perfect care for people with special needs. It has put them on a good place within the priorities of the Muslim society. It has legislated the forgiveness of the fool and ignorant among them. It has honored their afflicted ones, especially those who have certain talents, useful crafts, or successful experiences. It has also encouraged visiting and praying for them. It has prohibited ridiculing them. It breaks their isolation and boycott, lightens the rules for them and absolves them from their obligations. 

      Excellent indeed is the law of Islam and its Prophet!

      The Prophet's Compassion for His Companions

      Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was a compassionate man, full of love and understanding. He took an interest in the physical and spiritual problems of his friends, relatives, and all those around him, and he took all appropriate measures to ensure their health, security, and happiness. He took them under his wing and always bore in mind their lot in the hereafter by encouraging them to remain godly. These features of the Prophet, which are examples for all of 
      humanity, are referred to in the Qur'an:
      [A Messenger has come to you from among yourselves. Your suffering is distressing to him; he is deeply concerned for you; he is gentle and merciful to the believers.](At-Tawbah 9:128)
      [And lower your wing (in kindness) unto those believers who follow you.] (Ash-Shu`araa' 26:215)

      Since the Companions of the Prophet took him as a model, they made the appropriate sacrifices as mentioned in the Qur'an, behaving with empathy and compassion toward one another. A verse speaks of the sacrifices the faithful made for the sake of one another:[Those [the Ansar, Muslims of Madinah] who were already settled in the abode, and in belief, before they [the Muhajirun; immigrants from Makkah to Madinah] came, love those who migrated to them and do not find in their hearts any need 
      for what they [the immigrants] have been given and prefer them to themselves, even if they themselves are needy. It is the people who are safeguarded from the avarice of their own selves who are successful.] (Al-Hashr 59:9)

      The faithful, who were taught by the Prophet and abided by the verses of the Qur'an, behaved thoughtfully even toward prisoners of war. The Qur'an tackles this point:
      (They give food, despite their love for it, to the poor and orphans and captives (saying): "We feed you only out of desire for the Face of Allah. We do not want any repayment from you or any thanks. Truly We fear from our Lord a glowering, calamitous Day.) (Al-Insan: 8-10)
      The Prophet reminded his Companions to be merciful, and he was the greatest model for them in this regard:
      "Those who show mercy will receive the mercy of the Most Merciful. Have mercy on those who are on earth, so that the One in heavens will have mercy on you." (At-Tirmidhi)

      "Those who show no mercy will be shown no mercy" (Al-Bukhari)
      "I swear by Whom my soul is in His Hand, you will not enter Paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another. Do you want me to guide you to something that if you practice, you will love one another? Spread greeting with peace [As-salam `alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh;Islam's salutation] among you." (Muslim)

      Out of that affection and thoughtfulness he felt toward the faithful, the Prophet asked Allah to forgive their mistakes. Mind Allah's instructions to the Prophet on this subject in the following verses:
      [And ask Allah to forgive them (Muslim women). Verily, Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful.] (Al-Mumtahana 60:12)

      [Know then that there is no true god except Allah and ask forgiveness for your wrongdoing, and for the men and women who believe.] (Muhammad 57:19)

      [If they ask your permission to attend to their own affairs, give permission to any of them you please, and ask Allah's forgiveness for them. Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful.] (An-Nur 24:62)

      In another verse, Allah tells the Prophet to pray for the faithful:
      [Pray for them. Your prayers bring relief to them. Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.] (At-Tawbah: 103)
      As this verse reveals, the Prophet's prayers would bring the faithful peace and tranquility. It must not be forgotten that only Allah grants peace of mind and tranquility to the heart. Allah makes the prayers of His Messenger, whom He has appointed as guardian and protector of the faithful, a means whereby they come by comfort and ease. Our Lord's love and compassion and His protection and mercy for the faithful are most clearly represented in the morality of the Prophet.

      How the Prophet Instilled Brotherhood among Muslims

      Sure, Islam isn’t racist; almost any Muslim will tell you that. But Islam’s very strong stance against racism and prejudice wasn’t just demonstrated in words and principles: [O Mankind, We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other. Verily the most honored of you in the sight of God is he who is the most righteous of you] (Al-Hujurat:13). It was also evident in the Prophet’s establishment of the mu’akhah brotherhood) system.
      About six months after the Muslims of Makkah had left their homes, livelihoods, and, in many cases, their families, for the sake of Allah and immigrated to Madinah, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) established a system that would bring together Muslims of two different cities and different tribes.

      The Muslims who had left Makkah were called Muhajirun, immigrants to Madinah; they had left their homes for the sake of Allah. They were now homeless and more or less penniless in Madinah. They needed help.

      Enter the Muslims of Madinah. They became the Ansars (helpers) of their Muhajirun brothers and sisters in faith.
      They Were Not Just “Roommates”
      Bringing Muslims together (Mu’akhah), coming from the same root as akh “brother” in Arabic, means a system of making people brothers. The Prophet paired one Muhajir with one Ansar. They were not just temporary roommates. They became brothers in the truest sense. Not only did the Ansar Muslim provide the Muhajir Muslim with food, shelter, and clothing. 

      He offered him consolation, support, and true Muslim fellowship.

      Although there were no set rules, every one of the Ansar who got a Muhajir as his brother gave an equal share in his property and belongings to his Muhajir brother.
      In the bad old days of Arab tribal enmity and prejudices, the mu’akhah system was truly revolutionary. It gave the Muhajirun a chance to rebuild their lives in their new home, while creating a deep bond of love and affection between Muslims of two very different cities.

      The regional differences between people, languages, and culture, despite smaller distances as compared to today, were great.

      So it was perhaps strange for people at the time to think of an Arab and a non-Arab living together as brothers.

      For instance, Bilal ibn Rabah, an African Muhajir and an ex-slave, was paired as a brother with Abu Rawahah `Abdullah ibn `Abdul Rahman. And they were brothers, not mere roommates. A black man and an Arab. Who could have imagined this state of affairs in the pre-Islamic tribal Arabia?

      They Even Used to Inherit from Each Other

      This brotherhood was even more important than the blood relationship, since it was based on faith, not genetics or blood. This existed to such a degree that initially, the Muslim brothers in mu’akhah would inherit from each other. However, later 

      on, this practice was abrogated.The mu’akhah system is clearly an example of Islam’s solid commitment to the establishment of a brotherhood based not on color, language, race, or ethnicity, but purely on faith. Muslims today need to remember this system and our community leadership should be proactive to implement the Islamic ideals.

      Be Gentle, Even in Punishment

      There are clear examples of how caring the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was, even to those of his Companions who slipped and violated Islamic rules.
      The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) always showed exemplary care for those who accepted the message of Islam. He would not deny his care to anyone, even when they might have perpetrated a serious violation of Islamic teachings. Indeed, he received everyone with a smile, and was genuinely pleased to meet his followers. He never showed anyone that he was not welcome at any time. This was absolutely genuine. The Prophet is not known to have ever wished ill for anyone, not even those who opposed him and took a hostile attitude towards Islam. While he dealt with the enemies of Islam in a serious way, seeking to stop their hostility, he was keen that they also should consider Islam. Therefore, he was never tired of advocating his message, even to the most hardened of its enemies, such as Abu Jahl and Huyay ibn Akhtab.

      Yet, public behavior may not indicate one's true feelings. We sometimes speak about adopting a diplomatic attitude when we deal with those who are outspoken in their hostility to Islam. What is meant here is to show friendliness, even though it is not genuine. The aim is to reduce the hostility of such people. While this may be expedient and may be acceptable if it prevents harm and hardship, it does not change the fact that the outward appearance does not reflect true feelings.
      It is pertinent to ask whether the Prophet resorted to such pretense in his dealings with people. In answering that, we may quote the following reported by `Amrah bint `Abdur-Rahman, a scholar who belonged to the generation that succeeded the Prophet's Companions:
      I asked `A'ishah, "What was the Prophet like when he was alone?" She answered, "He was the most caring, most generous of people, always smiling and laughing, may Allah shower His blessings on him." (Ibn Hibban, Ibn Kathir)

      Another version of this quotation goes as follows: "Allah's Messenger was the most friendly and generous of people. He was just like anyone of you, except that he was always smiling and laughing."

      This is a report by one of the closest people to the Prophet, his wife `A'ishah, answering a specific question on his manners when he was at home, not attended by anyone of his Companions. The questioner, a lady scholar of Hadith, was keen on learning the Prophet's genuine attitude in a situation when one does not need to hide his feelings. Indeed, we often breathe a sigh of relief when we are left alone after having had to put up a less-than-genuine friendly attitude. But we are told here that the 

      Prophet did not do that. On the contrary, he was kind, caring, and generous, with a smile on his face in all situations. This is the perfect attitude.

      Indeed, his care for his followers surfaced in all situations, even with those who committed some serious violations of Islamic teachings. The following story illustrates this.

      Once a man was brought to the Prophet because he had been drinking alcohol. The Prophet told his Companions to give him a beating. Abu Hurairah, the reporter of the hadith said:
      One person beat him with his hand, another with his robe. When it was over and the man was leaving, some of us said to him, 
      "May Allah humiliate you." The Prophet said to us, "Do not say that to him because you would be helping Satan against him. 

      Say instead, 'May God have mercy on you.'" (Al-Bukhari, Ahmad, Abu Dawud, and Ibn Hibban)
      We see here how the Prophet taught his Companions to be genuinely caring. We have to clarify first that the man was beaten because this is the punishment for drinking in Islam. When a person drinks, he loses some of his mental power; thus his sensitivity is reduced. Admonition is not effective with him. He has to be made to feel the effects of his offense, and this can only be done by beating him. The physical pain would sharpen his senses so as to bring him back to the proper level, when he will feel the shame he brought upon himself.

      Yet the Prophet did not approve of anyone going beyond what is prescribed as the proper punishment. When some of those who took part in beating the man added a curse, praying that God should humiliate the man, the Prophet ordered them not to do so. 
      He explained this by saying that cursing the man would help Satan against their brother in faith. This means that if the punishment were carried beyond the appropriate level, it would start to be counterproductive. Satan would use it to try to seduce the man again into committing further sins, either by repeating the same one or doing other prohibited acts.
      Another hadith which attains a superior grade of authenticity is reported by Abu Hurairah:
      A man came to the Prophet and said, "I am perished!" The Prophet asked him what was the matter, and the man said, "I have had intercourse with my wife during the day in Ramadan." 
      The Prophet asked him whether he could free a slave. The man answered in the negative. The Prophet then asked him, "Can you fast two consecutive months?" The man answered again in the negative and said that he could not. The Prophet's next question was "Can you feed sixty needy people?" Once more, the man answered in the negative. The Prophet told him to sit down. After the man sat for a while, a large container was brought to the Prophet full of dates. The Prophet said to the man, "Take this and give it away in charity." The man said, "Is there anyone poorer than me and my family to give it to?" The Prophet laughed heartily that his back teeth were apparent. He then said to the man, "Take it and feed it to your own family." (Related in all six authentic anthologies and by Malik, Ahmad, and others)

      This hadith outlines the atonement for the grave offense of having sexual intercourse with one's wife during the day of fasting. The man who does it will need to free a slave in addition to his repentance of this sin. If he cannot afford this, or in our situation today when, by the grace of God, slavery has been abolished, the atonement takes the form of fasting. If the man cannot do it because of physical weakness or old age, then he should feed sixty needy people, two meals each.
      In this case, the Prophet's Companion who committed this offense could not afford to buy a slave, and was too weak to fast. 

      He was also too poor to feed anyone. The Prophet's caring attitude is seen here when he told the man to sit, hoping that something would come up which could help him. When a sufficient quantity of dates was brought to the Prophet, he gave it to the man and told him to give it away in charity. This would have been the atonement. This means that the Muslim state or the Muslim community could help an offender in making the atonement for a serious sin he might have committed.
      A special case came up when the man pleaded his own poverty. He wondered whether he could give the dates to anyone poorer than himself. In another version, the man said, "By Allah, no household within the two barren areas surrounding Madinah is poorer than my own family." Hence the Prophet said to him, "Then eat the dates with your family. This will do for your atonement, but it will not do for anyone else in future."
      This means that for the offender to feed his own family by what he pays in atonement for a sin is not permissible, except in this special case that the Prophet treated as an exception. It is a clear example of how caring the Prophet was, even to those of his Companions who slipped and violated Islamic rules.

      The Prophet's Forgiveness of His Enemies

      Anas, a close Companion of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) reported, "A Jewish woman brought a poisoned lamb to the Prophet, and he ate of it. When the woman was brought to him, people suggested, 'Shall we kill her?' The Prophet said, 'No.' I have recognized the effects of that poisoning in the Prophet's throat ever since." (Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawood, Ahmad, and others).

      Following the Prophet's example in any situation is to make sure of choosing the right course of action. Some people may think that this applies to matters of religion only. In Islam there is no differentiation between religious and "worldly" matters. Everything in people's lives is evaluated from the Islamic viewpoint. Hence the Prophet's example provides guidance to us in all spheres of life.
      It is needless to say that this applies, in perhaps greater measure, to social behavior and relations with other people. It is important to study how the Prophet treated other people in a comprehensive range of situations in order to understand the Islamic approach to social relations. Here, we are giving a few brief notes on one characteristic that manifested itself in the Prophet's behavior in a variety of situations. That characteristic is forgiveness of one's enemies.

      Perhaps the description "a personal enemy" cannot be attached more appropriately than to one who tries to kill someone. When the attempt is the result of careful plotting, then the hostility is deeply rooted. During his life, the Prophet had many enemies who plotted against his life. One such attempt took place soon after the Prophet won the battle of Khaibar that he fought against the Jews of Madinah, resulting in the destruction of the Jewish military power in Arabia. Khaibar fell to the 

      Prophet after a long siege culminating in a fierce fighting to win several of the many forts of which this Jewish stronghold consisted.

      In order to appreciate the significance of the story quoted in the hadith at hand, we have to remember that the Prophet was the head of the Islamic state, in addition to his being a Prophet and a messenger from Allah to all humankind. In any state, an attempt on the life of the president or monarch is always viewed very seriously. Anyone caught making or preparing to make such an attempt is normally charged with high treason and with making an aggression on the state and all its people. Such a person hardly ever escapes the death penalty. Yet the immediate reaction of the Prophet was that the woman must not be killed. 

      Moreover, there was no question about the identity of the perpetrator of that ghastly attempt on the life of the Prophet. The woman herself brought the lamb and told the Prophet that she had prepared it as a present to him.When the woman was brought before the Prophet, he asked her about her motives. She did not deny having poisoned the lamb. She said, "I thought that if you were truly a Prophet, you would not be harmed. If you were a king (meaning that if his claim to prophethood was 
      false), then I would have rid people of you."

      When that woman contemplated her attempt, she must have realized that if she were to be successful, she would have avenged the defeat of her people. She was certain that the Prophet accepted any gift given to him and always tried to please the person who gave him a gift by eating from it if it was food or using it if it was something to be used. Moreover, she realized that the Prophet would not be the only one to eat of that lamb. Any of his Companions who would be attending with him would be invited to join him in his meal. Quite a number of them, probably some of the leading figures, would die with 
      him. That could very well have been the outcome of her attempt. Indeed one of them, Bishr ibn Al-Baraa' was the first to eat. The Prophet himself ate one or two bites. He immediately signaled his Companions to stop. He told them, "Do not touch it. One of its organs is telling me that it is poisoned." Bishr ibn Al-Baraa' soon died.
      The Prophet himself complained of the effects of the poison for the rest of his blessed life. Anas, who continued in the Prophet's service for 10 years until he passed away, was able to recognize the change that affected the Prophet as a result of this poisoned lamb. She must have used a very powerful poison to produce such a lasting effect. It is indeed reported that the Prophet said during his illness, just before passing away, that he continued to complain from the poisoned food he ate at Khaibar. For this reason, a number of scholars have argued that the Prophet was also a martyr. That means that Allah has given him the honor of being a martyr in addition to the honor of being a Prophet and a messenger.
      In the light of the foregoing, the Prophet's tendency to forgive that woman, which was manifested in his immediate reaction to the suggestion of his Companions that they should kill her, is highly significant. He always forgave even the most hardened of his enemies, if the choice to forgive was his. In this case, it was his own life that was the immediate target of that woman. Allah foiled her attempt and the Prophet was inclined to forgive her.

      Most hadiths and history books give this report the same as it has been given in this article. They do not mention whether the woman, who incidentally, was called Zainab bint Al-Harith, was punished in anyway. Indeed, Al-Bukhari includes this hadith in his highly valuable compilation entitled Al-Adab Al-Mufrad under the chapter heading "Forgiveness of other People."

      It is mentioned, however, by a number of scholars that the Prophet subsequently ordered that the woman be executed. There is no contradiction between his earlier forgiveness of her and subsequent punishment. The Prophet first pardoned her for making an attempt on his life. Her attempt failed and he survived. He himself was the only one who had the authority to forgive her, since the attempt was made on him personally. Her punishment was for killing one of his Companions (i.e. Bishr ibn Al-Baraa') 
      who ate of the poisoned lamb.It is well known in Islam that no one, not even the Prophet, has the authority to waive punishment when one of the crimes for which a particular punishment is prescribed by Almighty Allah Himself. One of these is murder, which earns capital punishment. Once it is 
      established beyond doubt that a certain person has committed a murder, no one may pardon 
      or reduce such person's punishment. This applies to all similar crimes such as theft, adultery, and highway robbery.

      This means that while the Prophet was always prepared to pardon an offender who might try to injure or kill him, he could not pardon a murderer, because it is the responsibility of the head of the state to make sure that Allah's law is implemented. When it came to personal injury, harm, or insult, the Prophet never hesitated to pardon such offenders. The Prophet pardoned the Jewish woman for plotting to assassinate him. She was, however, executed for poisoning to death one of his Companions.

      The Ideal Husband

      Prophet Muhammad personifies the roles of perfect father and husband. He was so kind and tolerant with his wives that they could not envisage their lives without him, nor did they want to live away from him. He married Sawdah, his second wife, while in Makkah. After a while, he wanted to divorce her for certain reasons. She was extremely upset at this news and implored him, "O Messenger of Allah, I wish no worldly thing of you. I will sacrifice the time allocated to me if you don't want to visit me. But please don't deprive me of being your wife. I want to go to the hereafter as your wife. I care for nothing else" (Muslim).

      The Messenger did not divorce her, nor did he stop visiting her.

      Once he noticed that Hafsah was uncomfortable over their financial situation. "If she wishes, I may set her free," he said, or something to that effect. This suggestion so alarmed her that she requested mediators to persuade him not to do so. He kept his faithful friend's daughter as his trusted wife.

      Separation Calamity

      All of his wives viewed separation from the Messenger of Allah as a calamity, so firmly had he established himself in their hearts. They were completely at one with him. They shared in his blessed, mild, and natural life. If he had left them, they would have died of despair. If he had divorced one of them, she would have waited at his doorstep until the Last Day.

      After his death, there was much yearning and a great deal of grief. Abu Bakr and `Umar found the Messenger's wives weeping whenever they visited them. Their weeping seemed to continue for the rest of their lives. Muhammad left an everlasting impression on everyone. 

      At one point, he had nine wives and dealt equally with all of them and without any serious problems. He was a kind and gentle husband, and never behaved harshly or rudely. In short, he was the perfect husband.

      A few days before his death, he said, "A servant has been allowed to choose this world or his Lord. He chose his Lord" (Al-Bukhari). Abu Bakr, intelligent and smart, began to cry, understanding that the Prophet was talking about himself. His illness got worse daily, and his severe headache caused him to writhe in pain. But even during this difficult period, he continued to treat his wives with kindness and gentleness. He asked for permission to stay in one room, as he had no strength to visit them one by one. His wives agreed, and the Messenger spent his last days in `A'ishah's room.

      Most Beloved

      Each wife, because of his generosity and kindness, thought she was his most beloved. The idea that any man could show complete equality and fairness in his relationships with nine women seems impossible. For this reason, the Messenger of Allah asked God's pardon for any unintentional leanings. He would pray, "I may have unintentionally shown more love to one of them than the others, and this would be injustice. So, O Lord, I take refuge in Your grace for those things beyond my power." (At
      What gentleness and sensitivity! I wonder if anyone else could show such kindness to his children or spouses. When people manage to cover up their lower inborn tendencies, it is as if they have done something very clever and shown tremendous willpower. But they sometimes expose these very defects unconsciously while bragging of their cleverness. The Messenger, despite showing no fault, sought only God's forgiveness.

      His gentleness penetrated his wives' souls so deeply that his departure led to what they must have felt to be an unbridgeable separation. They did not commit suicide, as Islam forbids it, but their lives now became full of endless sorrow and ceaseless tears.

      The Messenger was kind and gentle to all women, and advised all other men to follow him in this regard. Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas described his kindness as follows:
      `Umar said: One day I went to the Prophet and saw him smiling. "May God make you smile forever, O Messenger of God," I said, and asked why he was smiling. "I smile at those women. They were chatting in front of me before you came. When they heard your voice, they all vanished," he answered still smiling. On hearing this answer, I raised my voice and told them, "O enemies of your own selves, you are scared of me, but you are not scared of the Messenger of God, and you don't show respect 
      to him." "You are hard-hearted and strict," they replied. (Al-Bukhari )

      `Umar also was gentle to women. However, the most handsome man looks ugly when compared to Joseph's beauty. Likewise, `Umar's gentleness and sensitivity seem like violence and severity when compared to those of the Prophet. The women had seen the Messenger's gentleness, sensitivity, and kindness, and so regarded `Umar as strict and severe. Yet `Umar shouldered the caliphate perfectly and became one of the greatest examples after the Prophet. He was a just ruler and strove to distinguish right from wrong. His qualities enabled him to be caliph. Some of his qualities might seem rather severe; however, those very qualities enabled him to shoulder very demanding responsibilities.


      The Prophet did consult with his wives. The Messenger discussed matters with his wives as friends. Certainly he did not need their advice, since he was directed by revelation. However, he wanted to teach his nation that Muslim men were to give women every consideration. This was quite a radical idea in his time, as it is today in many parts of the world. He began teaching his people through his own relationship with his wives. For example, the conditions laid down in the Treaty of Hudaybiyah 
      disappointed and enraged many Muslims, for one condition stipulated that they could not make the pilgrimage that year. They wanted to reject the treaty, continue on to Makkah, and face the possible consequences. But the Messenger ordered them to slaughter their sacrificial animals and take off their pilgrim attire. Some Companions hesitated, hoping that he would change his mind. He repeated his order, but they continued to hesitate. They did not oppose him; rather, they still hoped he might 
      change his mind, for they had set out with the intention of pilgrimage and did not want to stop half way.
      Noticing this reluctance, the Prophet returned to his tent and asked Umm Salamah, his wife accompanying him at that time, what she thought of the situation. So she told him, fully aware that he did not need her advice. In doing this, he taught Muslim men an important social lesson: There is nothing wrong with exchanging ideas with women on important matters, or on any matters at all.

      She said, "O Messenger of God, don't repeat your order. They may resist and thereby perish. Slaughter your sacrificial animal and change out of your pilgrim attire. They will obey you, willingly or not, when they see that your order is final" (Al-Bukhari). He immediately took a knife in his hand, went outside, and began to slaughter his sheep. The Companions began to do the same, for now it was clear that his order would not be changed.

      Counsel and consultation, like every good deed, were practiced by God's Messenger first within his own family and then in the wider community. Even today, we understand so little about his relationships with his wives that it is as if we are wandering aimlessly around a plot of land, unaware of the vast treasure buried below our feet. 

      Two Halves

      Women are secondary beings in the minds of many, including those self-appointed defenders of women's rights as well as many self-proclaimed Muslim men. In Islam, a woman is part of a whole, a part that renders the other half useful. We believe that when the two halves come together, the true unity of a human being appears. When this unity does not exist, humanity does not exist — nor can prophethood, sainthood, or even Islam.

      Our Prophet encouraged us through his enlightening words to behave kindly to women. He declared, "The most perfect believers are the best in character, and the best of you are the kindest to their families" (Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi). It is clear that women have received the true honor and respect they deserve, not just in theory but in actual practice, only once in history — during the period of Prophet Muhammad.

      This World or the Next

      The wives of the Messenger were given the choice of remaining with him or leaving:[O Prophet, say to your wives: "If you desire the life of this world and its glitter, then come! I will provide for your enjoyment and set you free in a handsome manner. But if you seek God, His Messenger, and the Home of the Hereafter, verily God has prepared for you, the well-doers among you, a great reward."] (Al-Ahzab 33:29)
      A few of his wives who wanted a more prosperous life asked, "Couldn't we live a little more luxuriously, like other Muslims do? Couldn't we have at least a bowl of soup every day, or some prettier garments?" At first sight, such wishes might be considered fair and just. However, they were members of the family that was to be an example for all Muslim families until the Last Day.

      The Messenger reacted by going into retreat. The news spread, and everyone rushed to the mosque and began to cry. The smallest grief felt by their beloved Messenger was enough to bring them all to tears, and even the smallest incident in his life would disturb them. Abu Bakr and `Umar, seeing the event in a different light as their daughters were directly involved, rushed to the mosque. They wanted to see him, but he would not leave his retreat. Eventually, on their third attempt, they gained entry and began to rebuke their daughters. The Messenger saw what was happening, but only said, "I cannot afford what they want" (Muslim).

      The Qur'an declared [O wives of the Prophet! You are not like any other women] (Al-Ahzab 33:32).
      Others might save themselves by simply fulfilling their obligations, but those who were at the very center of Islam had to devote themselves fully so that no weakness would appear at the center. There were advantages in being the Prophet's wives, but these advantages brought responsibilities and potential risks. The Messenger was preparing them as exemplars for all present and future Muslim women. He was especially worried that they might enjoy the reward for their good deeds in this 
      world and thereby be included in [You have exhausted your share of the good things in your life of the world and sought comfort in them](Al-Ahqaf 46:20).

      Life in the Prophet's house was uncomfortable. For this reason, either explicitly or implicitly, his wives made some modest demands. As their status was unique, they were not expected to enjoy themselves in a worldly sense. Some godly people laugh only a few times during their lives; others never fill their stomachs. For example, Fudayl ibn `Iyad never laughed. He smiled only once, and those who saw him do so asked him why he smiled, for they were greatly surprised. He told them, "Today I learned that my son `Ali died. I was happy to hear that God had loved him, and so I smiled" (Abu Nu`aym, Hilyat al-Awliya'). 

      If there were such people outside of the Prophet's household, his wives, who were even more pious and respectful of God and regarded as Mothers of the Believers, would certainly be of a higher degree.

      It is not easy to merit being together with the Messenger in this world and the hereafter. Thus, these special women were put to a great test. The Messenger allowed them to choose his poor home or the world's luxury. If they chose the world, he would give them whatever they wanted and then dissolve his marriage with them. If they chose God and His Messenger, they had to be content with their lives. This was a peculiarity of his family. Since this family was unique, its members had to be unique. 

      The head of the family was chosen, as were the wives and children.

      The Messenger first called `A'ishah and said, "I want to discuss something with you. You'd better talk with your parents before making a decision." Then he recited the verses mentioned above. Her decision was exactly as expected from a truthful daughter of a truthful father: "O Messenger of Allah, do I need to talk with my parents? By Allah, I choose Allah and His Messenger" (Muslim).

      `A'ishah herself tells us what happened next: "The Messenger received the same answer from all his wives. No one expressed a different opinion. They all said what I had said." They did so because they were all at one with the Messenger. They could not differ. If the Messenger had told them to fast for a lifetime without break, they would have done so and endured it with pleasure. However, they endured hardship until their deaths.

      Some of his wives had enjoyed an extravagant lifestyle before their marriage to him. One of these was Safiyyah, who had lost her father and husband and had been taken prisoner during the Battle of Khaybar. She must have been very angry with the Messenger, but when she saw him, her feelings changed completely. She endured the same destiny as the other lives. They endured it because love of the Messenger had penetrated their hearts.

      Mothers of the Believers

      Safiyyah was a Jew. Once, she was dismayed when this fact was mentioned to her sarcastically. She informed the Messenger, expressing her sadness. He comforted her saying, "If they repeat it, tell them, 'My father is Prophet Aaron, my uncle is Prophet Moses, and my husband is, as you see, Prophet Muhammad, the Chosen One. What do you have more than me to be proud of?'"

      The Qur'an declares that his wives are the Mothers of the Believers (Al-Ahzab 33:6). Although 14 centuries have passed, we still feel delight in saying "my mother" when referring to Khadijah, `A'ishah, Umm Salamah, Hafsah, and his other wives. We feel this because of him. Some feel more love for these women than they do for their real mothers. 
      Certainly, this feeling must have been deeper, warmer, and stronger in the Prophet's own time.

      The Messenger was the perfect head of a family. Managing many women with ease, being a lover of their hearts, an instructor of their minds, an educator of their souls, he never neglected the affairs of the nation or compromised his duties.

      The Messenger excelled in every area of life. People should not compare him to themselves or to the so-called great personalities of their age. Researchers should look at him, the one to whom angels are grateful, always remembering that he excelled in every way. If they want to look for Muhammad they must search for him in his own dimensions. Our imaginations cannot reach him, for we do not even know how to imagine properly. God bestowed upon him, as His special favor, superiority in every field.

      The Prophet: An Ideal Father & Grandfather

      Prophet Muhammad was an extraordinary husband, a perfect father, and a unique grandfather. 

      He was unique in every way. He treated his children and grandchildren with great compassion, and never neglected to direct them to the straight path and to good deeds. He loved them and treated them tenderly, but did not allow them to neglect matters related to the afterlife. He showed them how to lead a humane life, and never allowed them to neglect their religious duties or to become spoiled. His ultimate goal was to prepare them for the hereafter. His perfect balance in such matters is another dimension of his divinely inspired intellect.

      Anas ibn Malik, the Messenger's servant for 10 continuous years, says, "I have never seen a man who was more compassionate to his family members than Muhammad." (Muslim) If this admission were made just by us, it could be dismissed as unimportant. 

      However, millions of people, so benign and compassionate that they would not even offend an ant, declare that he embraced everything with compassion. He was a human like us, but God inspired in him such an intimate affection for every living thing that he could establish a connection with all of them. As a result, he was full of extraordinary affection toward his family members and others.

      All of the Prophet's sons died. Ibrahim, his last son, died in infancy. The Prophet often visited his son before the latter's death, although the Prophet was very busy. Ibrahim was looked after by a nurse. The Prophet would kiss and play with him before returning home. (Muslim) When Ibrahim took his last breaths, the eyes of the Prophet started shedding tears. `Abdur-Rahman ibn `Awf said, "O Allah's Messenger, even you (weep)!" The Prophet said, "O Ibn `Auf, this is mercy." Then he wept 
      more and said, "The eyes shed tears and the heart grieves, and we will not say except what pleases our Lord, O Ibrahim ! Indeed we are grieved by your separation." (Al-Bukhari)
      The Messenger was completely balanced in the way he brought up his children. He loved his children and grandchildren very much, and instilled love in them. However, he never let his love for them be abused. None of them deliberately dared to do anything wrong. If they made an unintentional mistake, the Messenger's protection prevented them from going even slightly astray. He did this by wrapping them in love and an aura of dignity. For example, once Hasan or Husain wanted to eat a date 
      that had been given to be distributed among the poor as alms. The Messenger immediately took it from his hand, and said, "Anything given as alms is forbidden to us." (Ibn Hanbal, Muslim) In teaching them while they were young to be sensitive to forbidden acts, he established an important principle of education.

      Whenever he returned to Madinah, he would carry children on his mount. On such occasions, the Messenger embraced not only his grandchildren but also those in his house and those nearby. He conquered their hearts through his compassion. He loved all children.
      He loved his granddaughter Umamah. He often went out with her on his shoulders, and even placed her on his shoulders while praying. When he prostrated, he put her down; when he had finished praying, he placed her on his back again. (Muslim) He showed this degree of love to Umamah to teach his male followers how to treat girls. This was a vital necessity; only a decade earlier, it had been the social norm to bury infant or young girls alive. Such public paternal affection for a granddaughter had never been seen before in Arabia. 

      The Messenger proclaimed that Islam allows no discrimination between son and daughter. How could there be? One is Muhammad, 
      the other is Khadijah; one is Adam, the other is Eve; one is 'Ali, the other is Fatima. For every great man there is a great woman.

      As soon as Fatimah, the daughter of the Messenger, entered the room where the Messenger was, he would stand, take her hands, and make her sit where he was sitting. He would ask about her health and family, show his paternal love for her, and compliment her. Fatimah, knowing how fond he was of her, loved him more than her own self. Her great mission was to be the seed for godly people. She always watched her father and how he called people to Islam. She wept and groaned when the Messenger told her that he would die soon, and rejoiced when he told her that she would be the first family member to follow him. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim) Her father loved her, and she loved her father.