When one looks into the life of the Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam), one may draw on many examples to portray the high level of tolerance shown to people of other faiths.
Allaah bestowed upon him the best attitude and conduct, and the best way of dealing with people and situations, even though he was illiterate and could neither read nor write. He grew up poor in an ignorant desert land, tending sheep, an orphan with neither father nor mother. But Allaah taught him all good characteristics and good ways, and taught him the stories of earlier and later generations, and that which brings success and salvation in the Hereafter and happiness in this world, and showed him the way to focus on one’s duties and keep away from inessentials.
The prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) did not used to repay evil with evil; rather he would pardon and forgive. He got angry for the sake of his Lord but he did not get angry for his own sake. He would adhere to the truth even if that resulted in harm for himself or his companions.
It was narrated that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with him), the wife of Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was never given the choice between two things but he chose the easier of them, so long as it was not a sin. But if it was a sin he would be the furthest of the people from it. And the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) never took revenge for himself, unless the sacred limits of Allaah were transgressed, then he would take revenge for the sake of Allaah.” [Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 3367; Muslim, 2327]
The Prophet’s (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) tolerance, proves beyond doubt, the place of tolerance in Islam, for surely, the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) did not do things which was not part of Islam.
The stories, examples and proofs of the magnificent tolerant nature of final Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) are too numerous to mention in detail here. We will, Insha’Allaah (God willing) deal with every such examples in subsequent articles.
Let us take just one example in this article:
The tribe of Quraish were archenemies of Islam and, for a period of thirteen years while he was still in Mecca, they would rebuke the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam), taunt and mock him, beat him and abuse him, both physically and mentally. They placed the afterbirth of a camel on his back while he prayed, and they boycotted him and his tribe until the social sanctions became unbearable. They plotted and attempted to kill him on more than one occasion, and when the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) escaped to Medina, they rallied the majority of the Arab tribes and waged many wars against him.
What was the reaction of Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) towards his Makkan enemies when he entered Makkah and liberated it from idolatry and paganism?
In the wake of the Prophet’s (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) and the Muslims’ great victory and in the climax of their joy, rapture and happiness at coming back home to the Sacred City of Makkah – Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) gathered together the Makkans, who were afraid that he would harm or kill them in revenge for their past abuse and killing of Muslims.
Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) asked them,
“0 you people of Quraish! What do you think of the treatment that I am about to do with you?”
They answered, “You are a generous brother and the son of an honorable brother of ours.”
Then, the kind, tolerant, generous and merciful Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) forgave them, announcing: “No harm will come to you. You may go. You are free.” [See, Baihaqi #18055 and also, Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum (The Sealed Nectar) pg. 467]
It has been narrated on the authority of Abdullah b. Muti’ who heard from his father and said: I heard the Holy Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) say on the day of the Conquest of Mecca:
“ لاَ يُقْتَلُ قُرَشِيٌّ صَبْرًا بَعْدَ هَذَا الْيَوْمِ إِلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ ”
“No Quraishite will be killed hound hand and foot from this day until the Day of judgment.” [Sahih Muslim :: Book 19 : Hadith 4399 English translation]
The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) issued a general pardon to all its inhabitants, who were not only pagans but also those that had fought him for the longest time, and regarding whom many of those verses of fighting like (Qur’aan Surah 9 verse 5) had been revealed.
• Have you ever seen such a scene?
• Have you ever heard such a story?
• Can you sense the Prophet’s mercy?
• Will you still say that Islam isn’t a tolerant religion?
Rarely in the annals of history can we read such an instance of tolerance and forgiveness. This shows the real tolerant nature of Islam. Even after being tortured for years by those same Makkans and the Quraishite, the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) forgave them.
In contrast to the above, all throughout history, we have seen what atrocities various ‘super-power’ nations committed when they have unjustly attacked, invaded, and tortured others, throughout human history; And that too, just for the sake of this temporary world. And this continues, even today!