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Chapter 75: Forgiveness of the Ignorant

Under category : The book of Miscellany
4245 2008/11/22 2024/07/18
Article translated to : العربية

allah, the exalted, says:

"show forgiveness, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the foolish (i.e., don't punish them).'' (7:199)

"so overlook (o muhammad (pbuh)), their faults with gracious forgiveness.'' (15:85)

"let them pardon and forgive. do you not love that allah should forgive you?'' (24:22)

"and who pardon men; verily, allah loves al-muhsinun (the good-doers)'' (3:134)

"and verily, whosoever shows patience and forgives, that would truly be from the things recommended by allah.'' (42:43)

643. `aishah (may allah be pleased with her) reported: i asked the prophet (pbuh) "have you ever experienced a day harder than the day of the battle of uhud?'' he replied, "indeed, i experienced them (dangers) at the hands of your people (i.e., the disbelievers from amongst the quraish tribe). the hardest treatment i met from them was on the day of `aqabah when i went to ibn `abd yalil bin `abd kulal (who was one of the chiefs of ta'if) with the purpose of inviting him to islam, but he made no response (to my call). so i departed with deep distress. i did not recover until i arrived at qarn ath-tha`alib. there, i raised my head and saw a cloud which had cast its shadow on me. i saw in it jibril (gabriel) (pbuh) who called me and said: `indeed, allah, the exalted, heard what your people said to you and the response they made to you. and he has sent you the angel in charge of the mountains to order him to do to them what you wish.' then the angel of the mountains called me, greeted me and said: `o muhammad, allah listened to what your people had said to you. i am the angel of the mountains, and my rubb has sent me to you so that you may give me your orders. (i will carry out your orders). if you wish i will bring together the two mountains that stand opposite to each other at the extremities of makkah to crush them in between.''' but messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "i rather hope that allah will raise from among their descendants people as will worship allah the one, and will not ascribe partners to him (in worship).''
[al-bukhari and muslim].

commentary:  in the vicinity of al-madinah stands a mountain, called uhud, where the `battle of uhud' took place. it was in this battle that the prophet's face was wounded, one of his molars was broken and he fell into a pit dug by `amr ar-rahib. besides, his uncle, hamzah (may allah be pleased with him) was martyred and the disbelievers mutilated his body. `aqabah was a place at ta'if where messenger of allah (pbuh) rode up from makkah and met the worst experience. or, it could be that the incident occurred somewhere at mina where, during the hajj season, he urged the different clans to accept the message of islam so as to seek their help to establish the true religion. qarn ath-tha`alib is also the name of a place which is the miqat (transit-point where pilgrims assume the state of ihram) of the najd people.

this hadith also reflects the marvellous character of messenger of allah (pbuh) that he never rebuked the ignorant and those who caused him harm, nor did he ever avenge anybody on grounds of personal hostility. secondly, he would endure all forms of hardships in the way of allah with patience and endurance. he never became furious over his harassers, rather he prayed for their guidance. no doubt, the prophetic life-pattern perennially provides inspiration to preachers and religious instructors. the responsibility of preaching is not a bed of roses but a thorny path to tread on. it is not the welcome and applause which is meted out to him, but people's taunts, reproaches and insults are heaped on the preacher. consequently, patience, self-possession, self-control and tolerance are vital to braving trials and tribulations in the way of allah.

644. `aishah (may allah be pleased with her) reported: messenger of allah (pbuh) never hit anything with his hand neither a servant nor a woman but of course, he did fight in the cause of allah. he never took revenge upon anyone for the wrong done to him, but of course, he exacted retribution for the sake of allah in case the injunctions of allah about unlawful acts were violated.

commentary: for explanatory comments, the reader may refer to hadith no. 641.

645. anas (may allah be pleased with him) reported: i was walking with messenger of allah (pbuh) who was wearing a najrani cloak with a very thick border when a bedouin happened to meet him. he took hold of the side of his cloak and drew it violently. i noticed that the violence of jerk had bruised the neck of messenger of allah (pbuh). the bedouin said: "o muhammad! give me out of allah's wealth that you possess.'' messenger of allah (pbuh) turned to him and smiled and directed that he should be given something.
[al-bukhari and muslim].

commentary: this hadith also highlights the prophet's sublime morality, patience and self-control. he smiled away the discourtesy of the bedouin and bade the offering of a gift to him.

646. ibn mas`ud (may allah be pleased with him) reported: i can see the messenger of allah (pbuh) look like one of the prophets of allah whose people beat and made him bleed while he was wiping the blood from his face and supplicating: "o allah, forgive my people because they know not.''
[al-bukhari and muslim].

commentary: the `ulama' say that by relating the painful incident of a prophet, messenger of allah (pbuh) in fact implied his own experience at the hands of his people. indeed, this expresses his extreme numbleness that he vaguely described his bitter self-experience without bringing into light the unthinking persecutors of his nation.

647. abu hurairah (may allah be pleased with him) reported: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "the strong man is not the one who wrestles, but the strong man is in fact the one who controls himself in a fit of rage.''
[al-bukhari and muslim].

commentary: people are usually impressed by the physical power and strength of somebody. but the real strength of a man lies in the fact that he should be able to wrestle with his passions in a fit of anger and avoid committing an act for which he may subsequently regret. this is a common observation that wild anger leads to many a wrongdoing of which man repents later on or sheds tears over the ruin resulting from it.

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