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Prophet Muhammad (PBUH); the Merciful Leader

Under category : His Mercy upon his Enemies
10134 2007/11/29 2024/06/17
Article translated to : العربية Español


researcher william muir discussed the manner with which the prophet muhammad (pbuh) treated his enemies; a manner that can only be described as full of mercy and pardon.


muir, while marking the event of ramadhan 8 a.h. (january 630 a.d.), the period when the prophet took over makka, wrote: “the long and obstinate struggle against his pretensions maintained by the inhabitants of his native city might have induced a haughty tyrant to mark his indignation in indelible traces of fire and blood. but mahomet (the prophet muhammad), excepting a few criminals, granted a universal pardon; and nobly casting into oblivion the memory of the past, with all its mockings, its affronts, and persecutions, he treated even the foremost of his opponents with a gracious and even friendly consideration.” [1]


similarly, washington irving [2] stated: “the whole conduct of mahomet, on gaining possession of mecca, showed that it was a religious more than a military triumph. his heart, too, softened toward his native place, now that it was in his power; (…), and his inclinations were all toward forgiveness.”[3]


the prophet was a merciful conqueror. he treated people with justice and rightfulness. he was neither an unfair invader nor a cruel tyrant.


“the makkans who had all along subjected him and his friends to the most barbarous tortures were given a general amnesty. what treatment a worldly conqueror would have meted out to them can easily be imagined. but the holy prophet’s forgiveness was unbounded. thirteen long years of persecutions and conspiracies were absolutely forgiven and forgotten.”[4] he forgave those people who, for long, tortured and displaced him and his companions, and killed a considerable number of his people.


john bagot glubb writes further on the topic: “thus, makka was taken without any significant bloodshed. (…) the prophet captured the hearts of people with the kindness and forgiveness he showed on the day of his victory.”[5]


moreover, emile dermenghem, an orientalist, spoke of the merciful conqueror and leader at the times of his victory: “the prophet muhammad (pbuh) in his final conquest proved the generosity of his spirit; a spirit unique of its kind. he ordered his men to free the weak, the elderly, children and women. he warned them not to destroy houses, thieve merchants, cut fruitful trees, and not to raise their swords except in cases of dire necessity. we even saw him blaming some of his leading men and substantially fixing their mistakes telling them that one soul is more worthy than the greatest of triumphs.”[6]


“in this manner came the prophet muhammad (pbuh), a mercy for mankind. he liberated humanity from the chains of ignorance, superstition and corruption.” [7] the prophet was as the belgian thinker henri masse described him: “resembling absolute mercy.”[8] this absolute mercy, as pointed by marcel boisard, is clearly evident in the prophet’s sayings (hadiths) and in his life. his words and actions never stopped creating the image of his generosity and modesty in people’s minds. furthermore, they kept bringing, to this day, his integrity, purity, kindness, and patience to peoples’ minds. just like history presented him as a great leader with a heart full of grace, it also showed the prophet as a democratic, vigorous, and leading statesman.[9]



in addition to his kindly manners towards his opponents, whom over he prevailed in his successful battles and conquests, prophet muhammad (pbuh) was sympathetic when treating criminals and enemies living in the islamic state despite their continuous attempts to create conflict between muslim brothers and to destroy the union between religion and the state. he was humane even to the spies and traitors who worked for enemies in other territories.


maulana muhammad ali wrote: “the holy prophet’s generosity even towards his enemies stands unique in the annuals of the world. ‘abd allahh ibn ubayy was a sworn enemy of islam; his days and nights were spent in plotting mischief against the faith, ever instigating the quraish and the jews to crush the muslims. yet at his death the holy prophet prayed to the lord to forgive him; he even offered his own shirt to enshroud his body.”[10]


the prophet of mercy, muhammad (pbuh), never took revenge of individuals who wronged him. ali continued in his book: “there were cases, no doubt, though very few and far between, in which punishment had to be inflicted. but all these were cases of ugly treachery by a people with whom forgiveness had lost its reformatory effect. to let such offenders go at large would have meant countenancing mischief. punishment was never given where there was the least chance for the success of forgiveness as a deterrent, if not a reformatory measure.”[11]




[1] william muir (1861): the life of mahomet and history of islam to the era of the hegira, v. 4, pp. 306-307.

[2] washington irving: an american orientalist who gave a great attention to the history of muslims in andalusia. of his works:

            1- life of mahomet (1849), with an appendix of islamic rules and their islamic sources.

            2- the conquest of granada (1859).

[3] washington irving (1850): mahomet and his successors, v. 1, p. 256.

[4] maulana muhammad ali (1993): muhammad the prophet, 7th ed., p. 165.

[5] john bagot glubb (1963): the great arab conquests.

[6] bushra zakhari mikhak’il: muhammad rasul allah: hakatha basharat bihi al-anajil, p. 50.

[7] maulana muhammad ali: muhammad the prophet.

[8] henri masse: l’islam (islam).

[9] marcel boisard: l'humanisme de l'islam (humanism in islam).

[10] maulana muhammad ali (1993): muhammad the prophet, 7th ed., p. 165.

[11] maulana muhammad ali (1993): muhammad the prophet, 7th ed., p. 165.



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