mercy toward his enemies
the prophet pbuh was a mercy for all humanity. allah the almighty described him as such, saying:
"and we did not send you [o muhammad] but as a mercy to the worlds." (21:107)
and the prophet rbuh himself said, "indeed, i was sent as a mercy." (muslim)
his mercy pbuh was a general mercy which included the believer and the non-believer. when tufayl ibn `amr ad-dausi may allah be pleased with him gave up hope on the guidance of his tribe he went to the prophet pbuh and said, "o messenger of allah, the tribe of daus has disobeyed and refused so supplicate to allah against them." the prophet rbuh faced the qiblah and raised his hands, and the people were certain that daus would be destroyed when he supplicated against them. but the prophet pbuh of mercy only said,
"o allah, guide daus and bring them [to islam]." (al-bukhari and muslim)
he rbuh supplicated for their guidance and not for their punishment or destruction because he only wished good for people and hoped for their success and salvation.
the prophet went to taif to invite its people to islam but they met him with denial and ridicule and encouraged street boys to throw stones at him until his feet bled. his wife, `a'ishah, related what happened after that: "i asked the messenger of allah if he ever had a day more difficult than that of the battle of uhud. he pbuh said,
'i endured much from your people, and the worst i endured from them was the day of al-`aqabah when i offered myself to ibn `abdi ya layl ibn `abdi kulal. he did not respond as i had wished, so i left, absorbed in my worries, and did not come around until i had reached qarn ath-tha`alib. i raised my head and found that a cloud had shaded me; i looked and there was jibreel within it. he called to me, "indeed, allah, the mighty and majestic, has heard what your people say to you and how they respond to you. he has sent you the angel of the mountains, so order him to do whatever you wish to them." the angel of the mountains addressed me, saying, "o muhammad! indeed, allah has heard what your people say to you and how they respond to you. i am the angel of the mountains and allah has sent me to you to order me to do whatever you wish. if you wish, i will crush them between the two mountains." but the messenger of allah replied, "rather, i hope that allah will bring forth from their loins those who will worship allah alone without any partner and not associate anything with him." (al-bukhari and muslim)
this was the mercy which enabled the prophet to forget his bleeding wounds and broken heart, only thinking of how to bring good to those people and bring them out from darkness into the light and guide them to the straight path.
and when the prophet pbuh conquered makkah, entering it with ten thousand warriors, allah gave him the decision concerning those who had abused and persecuted him, plotted his assassination, expelled him from his homeland, killed his companions and tortured them because of their religion. one of his companions said, "today is a day of massacre." but the prophet said,
"no, but today is a day of mercy."
then he pbuh went before the defeated people whose eyes were wide with fear and whose hearts were trembling, waiting to see what the victorious conqueror would do with them. their own custom was that of betrayal, vengeance and mutilation of those killed, as they had done to the muslims in the battle of uhud and elsewhere. but the prophet said to them,
"o quraysh, what do you suppose i should do with you?"
they replied, "what is good. you are a generous brother and the son of a generous brother." the messenger of allah replied, "go, for you are free." they felt as if they had been retrieved from their graves.
such an all-inclusive pardon was the result of mercy in the prophet's heart, which was so great that it included those enemies who had harmed him and his companions most. if not for his mercy such a pardon could not have occurred. how true were the words of the prophet when he said,
"i am but a bestowed mercy." (al-hakim)