All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds, and peace and blessings upon the most noble of His prophets, Nabee Muhammad (SAW), his family, his companions and upon everyone who follows them with goodness until the Day of Judgement.
Allah’s purpose for the creation of mankind is that man should worship Him. To assist mankind in this regard Allah sent His prophets as a guide and a form of mercy unto humanity. All the prophets of Allah possessed bravery and determination, but on Muhammad (saw) Allah bestowed the greatest qualities that would make him a worthy leader. Prophet Muhammad (saw) is the prime of Allah’s servants, the best of His creation and the dearest of his servants towards Him.
Allah chose for Muhammad (saw) some of His own attributes thus distinguishing him from the other prophets. Allah named the Noble Prophet as ‘the Merciful’ when he said: ‘ A messenger has indeed come to you, from amongst yourselves. It grieves him that you should suffer, he is very anxious over you and to the believers he is most Kind and Merciful.’
Allah has an abundance of mercy that is specifically for the believers, and Allah has bestowed on the Prophet (saw) a great blessing by making him a mercy unto mankind and creation. Allah says: ‘And We have not sent you but as a mercy to all the worlds.’ ‘The worlds’ refers to man, Jinn, animals, trees, stones and the entire universe; therefore what an honour for Nabee Muhammad (saw)! This characteristic of mercy became manifested in the Prophet (saw) until it dominated his being and led him to excel to the greatest level of excellence. Thus Nabee Muhammad (saw) became a leader to man, a perfect example, a Guide and the greatest messenger to mankind.
This mercy that Allah had placed in the character of the Prophet (saw) manifested itself and impacted on all aspects of his life; it affected his interactions with not only his family and companions, but his enemies and all of creation as well. A few such examples will now be illustrated.
The Mercy of the Prophet (saw) to the Believers
This mercy was manifested in his dealings with the believing servants of Allah. Prophet Muhammad (saw) was like a ray of grace, kindness and thoughtfulness. His living example of excellence in all facets of life led to the believers trusting him and accepting his message as the final prophet of Allah. This meant that the Prophet (saw) was able to lead them to worship Allah as he should rightfully be worshipped. Through this mercy the Muslims became sincerely affectionate among themselves; they had mercy on each other and took each other as brothers. Therefore, some of the believers were a mercy for others like one body: if one part of the body is injured, the rest of it becomes unstable/imbalanced with pain and fever. Through the abundance of Allah’s mercy, the believers became the most merciful of people over themselves and their families; they managed the harm that the disbelievers inflicted upon them, and bore with patience the insolence of people as a mercy to them.
The Mercy of the Prophet (saw) to all of Mankind
The Prophet’s mercy was not limited to the companions; it encompassed all people. When Allah sent the Angel of the Mountains to crush the mountain over the disbelievers, the prophet interceded by saying: ‘No, perhaps Allah will bring out from their offspring who will worship Allah as One.’ He did not want their destruction and ruin even though they had injured and insulted him and his companions. Such was the mercy of Prophet Muhammad (saw)! The Prophet said to the people: ‘The Most Gracious will have mercy on those who have mercy, so have mercy for those on the earth, and the One in the heavens will have mercy on you.’ The Prophet is also reported to have said: ‘Whoever does not have mercy, will not be shown mercy.’ This is a general call to all humankind: the believer and the disbeliever, male and female, the young and the elderly. Nabee Muhammad (saw) is calling out to all people that this is the mercy of Allah so we should accept it properly and not let it go to waste, else our spiritual side will be wasted.
The Mercy of the Prophet to Small Children
It is narrated that the Prophet Muhammad (saw) was joking with the small children and kissing them while his companions were around and observing him. A man from the Bedouins went to the Prophet (saw) and said: ‘It is strange of you; you are joking with children and kissing them. I have ten children, and I have not kissed one of them!’ The Prophet replied: What can I do for you while Allah has certainly removed mercy from your heart?’ From this it can be concluded that great emphasis was placed on treating children with love, kindness and compassion, because they are the adults of the future and in turn would continue the cycle of love and mercy.
The Mercy of the Prophet (saw) to the Jinn
The Prophet Muhammad (saw) was sent as a messenger to the world of man and jinn; and just as he was a mercy to mankind he was a mercy to the jinns as well. The Prophet (saw) did not harm the jinns, nor did he cause them grief. The prophet (saw) advised his companions to fulfil the needs of the jinn by instructing them to not ‘clean yourselves with bones or dung, for indeed, it is the food of your brothers the Jinn.’
The Prophet (saw) as a Mercy to the Animals
The Prophet Muhammad (saw) came to mankind with a religion that says to them ‘There is not a thing, except that it glorifies His praise.’ This implies that everything in the universe praises Allah, including the animals. The Prophet (saw) admonished people that they should treat animals with kindness and mercy, as this was a means of pleasing the Almighty, and a means of showing gratitude to Him for having provided animals as a form of sustenance to man. It is narrated that a woman entered the fire of jahannam for not feeding a starving and thirsty cat, while a man was granted jannah for climbing down a well to get water for a thirsty dog. Thus the Prophet (saw), through his example and his teachings was a mercy unto the animals.
The Prophet as a Mercy to the Trees and Stones
The Prophet Muhammad (saw) was as merciful to the trees and stones as he was to any other creation. He used to advise his soldiers who were going to battle to not unnecessarily cut down a tree or destroy a nest. It is also narrated that before a mimbar was built for him, the Prophet (saw) would place his hand on the trunk of a cut date palm while he was lecturing. As soon as the mimbar was ready and the Prophet (saw) began using it, the trunk began to cry like a small child. When the Prophet (saw) heard it, he descended from the mimbar, placed his compassionate hand on it and did not take his hand away until the trunk calmed down. This was a great act of kindness and mercy
The Prophet Muhammad (saw) was indeed a distinguished person with an exemplary character. He was honoured with the Almighty’s attribute of mercy for the benefit of mankind and all of Allah’s creation. With this mercy
the Prophet (saw) was able to lead mankind to becoming more tolerant, more caring, more compassionate and more loving. We pray to Allah that all His servants will have mercy on each other, and through this attribute of mercy we become His dearest servants, Ameen.
Adapted from, Dr Jamaal Abu Hassaan, Lecturer of Uloomul Qur’aan and Tafseer, Zarqa Private University, Jordan. January 2007