v - Mercy for Relatives
Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) was very kind to his relatives and asked his followers to treat their parents and relatives with kindness. Abu Hurairah reported that a man asked Allah's Messenger, "Who is most deserving of friendly care from me?" He replied, "Your mother." He asked who came next and Prophet Muhammad replied, "Your mother." He asked who came next and he again replied, "Your mother." He again asked who came next and he replied, "Your father." And last of all, he replied, "Your nearest relatives."
He also reported Allah's Messenger as saying, "May he be humbled; may he be humbled; may he be humbled." He was asked about whom he was speaking. He replied, "The one, who, having one or both parents live to old age, does not enter Paradise (by treating them nicely)." Asma, daughter of Abu Bakr, sais that her mother, who was a non¬believer, came to her at the time of the treaty with the Quraishi. She asked Allah's Messenger, "My mother, who is ill-disposed towards Islam, has come to me. Shall I show her affection and treat her with kindness" The Prophet asked her to treat her mother with kindness.
Ibn Omar reported Allah's Messenger as saying, "One of the first acts of kindness is for a man to treat his father's friends in a kind manner after his death." Anas reported Allah's Messenger as saying, "He who wishes to have his provisions increased and his term of life prolonged should treat his relatives well." Abu Hurairah and many other companions reported Allah's Messenger as saying that Rahim (ties of kinship) is a word derived from the Compassionate One, (Al-Raheem). Allah said, "I shall keep connection with him who joins You and sever connection with him who severs you." Abdullah Ibn Abu Aufa told that he heard Allah's Messenger say, "Mercy will not descend on a people among whom there is one who severs ties of kinship."
Anas reported Allah's Messenger as saying, "By Him in Whose Hands is my soul, a man does not believe until he wishes for his brother what he does for himself." Abu Hurairah reported Allah's Messenger as saying "By Allah he does not believe," and he repeated it thrice. When asked to whom he was referring, he replied, "The one from whom his neighbour is not safe." Abdullah Ibn Amr reported Allah's Messenger as saying, best companion in Allah's sight is the one who is best to his companion, and the best neighbour in Allah's sight is the one who is best to his neighbour."
This is one of the principles put forward by Islam as a foundation for the whole structure of human relationships. "Treat your parents with great consideration. If either or both of them live with you in their old age, do not say a word of contempt to them, nor rebuke them but speak kind words to them; treat them with humility and tenderness and pray: 'Lord, be merciful to them just as they brought me up with kindness and affection.'” (Qur'an, 17:23-24) In Surah Luqmaan, we read, "And We have enjoined on man to be good to his parents, to show gratitude to Me and to your parents." (Qur'an, 31:14)
The essence of Islam is to serve Allah and be kind and good to one's fellow creatures: "Serve Allah, and join not any partner with him and show kindness and affection to your parents and to relatives and to orphans, and to the needy; and be considerate to your neighbours and to wayfarers.” (Qur'an, 4:36) The same commandment was given to nations of previous times: "Remember that We made a solemn covenant with the Children of Israel to this effect: Worship none but Allah; be good to your Parents, to your relatives, to orphans and to the helpless; and speak fair to the people. (Qur'an, 2:83)
v - Mercy for Orphans
Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) was kind to all people and asked his followers to be the same. He was especially kind to orphans and asked his companions to be kind to them. Thauban reported Allah's Messenger as saying, "Only supplication averts the decree (of fate), only kindness prolongs life, and a man is deprived of provision for a fault he has committed."
Ibn Omar reported Allah's Messenger as saying, "A Muslim is a Muslim's brother; he does not wrong him. If anyone cares for his brother's need, Allah will take care of his need; if anyone relieves his brother's anxiety, Allah will remove from him one of his anxieties on the Day of Resurrection; and if anyone conceals a Muslim's secrets, Allah will conceal his secrets on the Day of Resurrection."
Abu Hurairah reported Allah's Messenger as saying, ‘The best house among the Muslims is one where an orphan is well treated, and the worst house among the Muslims is one where an orphan is badly treated."
Abu Omamah reported Allah's Messenger as saying, "If anyone caresses an orphan by moving his fingers in his hair, doing so only for God's sake, he will have blessings for every hair over which his hand passes and if anyone treats well ail orphan girl or boy under his care, he and I shall be like these two in Paradise," putting two of his fingers together.
Abu Hurairah reported Allah's Messenger as saying, He who strives to serve a widow and a poor person is like the one who strives in Allah's way." He also reported that when a man complained to the Messenger of Allah of being hardhearted he said, "Show affection to the orphans and feed the poor."
vi - Mercy for Enemies & Unbelievers
Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) treated everybody, friend or foe, with kindness and taught his companions to do likewise. It is reported by Abu Basra Ghifari that when he was a non-believer he came to Madinah and stayed as a guest of the Messenger of Allah. He drank milk from all his goats at night but the Prophet did not say a word. That night he and all his family slept hungry.
A similar incident is reported by Abu Hurairah. One night a non-believer stayed as a guest of the Noble Prophet. One by one, he drank milk of all the seven goats, but the Prophet did not show any sign of anger or dislike towards him. Perhaps due to the Prophet's behaviour, next morning, the man embraced Islam and was satisfied with the milk of only one goat.
Abu Hurairah's mother, who lived with him in Madinah was a non-believer. She used to abuse the Noble Prophet, about which Abu Hurairah complained to him, but he prayed for her. Bilal was very close to Prophet Muhammad and managed his household. One day an unbeliever called him a Negro and said that he would not rest until he had made him tend his goats for him. Prophet Muhammad heard this conversation but did not say anything to the unbeliever.
The problem of hypocrites in Madinah was a great test for the Prophet and his companions, but he always treated them kindly and with great consideration. Abdullah Ibn Obayy and his followers embraced Islam, but at heart they were unbelievers and never really accepted Islam. Their behaviour at the time of the Battle of Uhud and on many other occasions was damaging to the cause of Islam, but Prophet Muhammad always treated them with kindness. When Abdullah Ibn Obayy died, Prophet Muhammad gave his cloak for his shroud.
Jews were extremely hostile to Prophet Muhammad and his mission, but he was always kind to them. Once he went to the house of a Jew to visit his sick son. He invited the boy to Islam but the boy looked towards his father for his permission. His father gave him permission and the boy embraced Islam. Once when the funeral of a Jew was passing, the Prophet stood up as a mark of respect for the dead. Once a Jew complained to him that a Muslim had slapped him. He called that Muslim at once and reprimanded him.
In the valley of Hudaibiyah while Prophet Muhammad was saying the morning prayer with his companions, seventy or eighty unbelievers came down quietly from the mountain of Taneem in order to kill the Muslims during prayer. They were caught and brought before him. He treated them well and released them all.
In fact, he treated all people with kindness under all circumstances and never showed any ill-will towards anyone or ill-treated anyone. Makhul reported Allah's Messenger as saying, "The believers are gentle and kind like a pliant camel which, when guided, lets itself be guided and when made to sit, even on stones, does so." Mu’aadh said, "The last injunction Allah's Messenger gave him when he put his foot in the stirrup was. "Treat people well, O Muadh."
Encyclopaedia of Seerah, Vol. 1
Edited by: Ajalur Rahmait
The Muslim Journal - Vol.29 No. 4