Kindness in the Sacred Life of the Greatest Messenger of Allah
“It is by Allah’s mercy that you are gentle to them, had you been harsh and hardhearted, surely they would have dispersed from around you. Therefore, excuse them; Plead for forgiveness for them and consult them in the affairs”. (3:159)
In the above verse, Allah (SWT) has pointed out and praised one of the most important characteristics of His messenger (S.A.W.), which played a significant role in attracting the people towards Islam; and that is of what has been termed as Al-Rifq.
Al-Rifq in Arabic means: Kindness, Gentleness, Mildness & Friendliness.
[History tells us that the battle of ‘Uhud was the toughest battle, which the Muslims fought against the pagans of Quraysh.
In this battle, the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) had instructed the Muslims not to leave their positions until they were told to do so. They did not follow the instruction; They left their positions in greed of getting their hands on the booty, and as a result, they were attacked and surrounded by their enemies; In order to save their lives, some Muslims escaped to the nearby mountains leaving the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) and some of his companions behind to deal with the situation; Many so-called prominent companions were among those who fled.
After the battle of ‘Uhud, these Muslims deserved to be punished. But, the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) did not punish them. Instead, he (S.A.W.) dealt with them gently and with mildness.] (Tafseer-e-Namuna)
It was in regard to this behaviour that Allah (SWT) praised His Prophet (S.A.W.).
The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) has said, “If gentleness could have been a creature perceived by eyes then it would have been the most beautiful of all creations of Allah (SWT)”. (Bihar al-Anwaar)
He (S.A.W.) also said, “Wherever gentleness is exhibited, it adorns the place”. (Kanzul-‘Ummaal)
One of the benefits of being gentle with others is that ‘gentleness leads to peaceful solution of problems’. Whenever two people, or two groups of people quarrel with each other, and neither of them shows gentleness, their problem will never be solved. As soon as one of them shows gentleness, the other mellows down and an agreement is reached between them.
“Gentleness leads to peace” (Mizan al-Hikmah)
In olden days, it would just take a small thing to trigger a big war between two tribes. The war would last for years killing many people and destroying families. Islam put a stop to this by introducing the concept of being ‘gentle’ and ‘forgiving’ to each other.
[Once a Bedouin Arab came to Madina and visited the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) to seek his guidance and advice. The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) said to him: “Do not lose your temper” and said nothing more than this.
The man returned to his tribe. When he arrived among his people, he noticed a serious problem had occurred. Few young men of his tribe had stolen some things from the other tribe and they had retaliated. As a result, they had gradually reached a stage of waging war against each other and had come out face to face with their weapons for the confrontation.
He immediately sought for his armour and taking up his weapon joined his tribe to fight against the other tribe. Suddenly, he recollected the words of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.), “Do not lose your temper”. He was soon in deep thoughts asking himself: Why have I become so excited? Why have I taken up my weapon to shed blood? What made me so furious? Thereupon, he left his weapon and came forward to address the other tribe. He said, “What is this war for? If few ignorant men from our tribe have committed transgression against you, I am ready to recompense from my personal wealth. So there is no reason to jeopardize our life and shed blood for nothing”. When the opposite side heard this magnanimous proposition from this man, their generosity and zeal was aroused and they said in reply: “We are in no way inferior to you. Now that it is so, we will forgo our demands”. Consequently, both the parties retreated to their tribes.] (Usul al-Kaafi)