(Note: This is the month of Rajab of the Islamic era On the 27th Muslims will celebrate the MI’RAJ SHAREEF DAY. I, therefore, think it proper to publish some articles on the various aspects of the life of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings Allaah be upon him, and hope that the Muslims will read these articles to the audience.)
“And We have not sent thee (O Muhammad) but as a mercy for the people of the world.”
(Al-Qur’aan, Chapter 21, section 7)
FORGIVENESS AND REVENGE
Forgiveness is a virtue very difficult to practise, because it has to fight against and conquer the most powerful of passions in the human heart, the lust for revenge. Among some barbarous peoples, revenge is regarded as a religious duty; among others, it is held to be a family obligation. Revenge is sweet, and its gratification brings a sense of relief and a feeling of satisfaction. In order to realise how difficult forgiveness is, let a man make a careful analysis of his own self.. He will see that his nature craves for revenge, and finds pleasure in its gratification. If anybody offends him, he seeks an immediate revenge and, if this is not possible, he harbours resentment against the offender and is always on the lookout for an opportunity to wreck vengeance on him. Vindictiveness is more or less born in human nature. There is also another terrible aspect to this passion. Revenge is apt to exceed all bounds of justice. Indeed, it knows no law. In most cases it goes out of all proportion to the wrong. Even an insulting look may lead to the destruction of whole families, and the greater the power possessed by the wronged party, the more terrible the revenge.
History abounds in instances where the original wrongs, however light, were avenged by indiscriminate massacres, destruction of an entire nation or the annihilation of a whole race. Space does not permit me to state those instances from history. With the exception of the solitary case of our Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) the whole range of history cannot produce a man who did not take revenge when his cruel enemies were completely at his mercy, and gave them a free pardon. For the full realisation of the grandeur of this phase of the Prophet’s character, a brief sketch of the wrongs inflicted upon him by his enemies throughout his lifetime is given below.
THE PROPHET’S HARDSHIP
When the Prophet began to preach his mission, the Quraish (his own people) received his claim with ridicule and contempt. They mocked him and called him insane. They called him a sorcerer, a juggler and an impostor. By their sneers, they thought they would cry him down. But when they found that he was in right earnest and was out to destroy idol worship, which was so dear to their hearts, and to establish the worship of one True God, they launched a determined campaign of active persecution which took different forms suggested by fanatical hatred. They scattered thorns in his way. They threw dust on him and pelted him with stones. Once, when he was engaged in prayer, Abu Jahl, his bitterest enemy, caused the entrails of a dead camel to be placed across his neck. Sometimes when the Prophet went round preaching, they set street boys after him, who called him all sorts of names and jeered at him. Sometimes Abu Jahl himself followed him, threw dust on him and called upon the people not to heed his words because he (Prophet) was a maniac. This continued every day for years until he left Mecca.
Once they shut him and his family in a hilly gorge where he was forced to remain for three years and suffered great privation. The Quraish took care to see that no provision should reach him. The little children cried with pangs of hunger, but their heartless persecutors heard these cries and laughed.
These bitter persecutions, however, could not damp the spirit of the Messenger of God. His speeches, which were full of Divine Fire, was not wholly thrown away and some people belonging mostly to the humble classes came into the fold of Islam. This added fuel to the fire of the Quraish, and they vented their rage on these helpless persons. They made them lie on hot sand and dragged them over rough ground, bruising their bodies. They made them lie on hot sand under the blazing Arabian sun, placed heavy stones on their bodies and tortured them in various other ways, but the poor victims (early Muslims) remained unshaken.
At last, these persecutions became so intolerable that the Prophet had to permit some of his down-trodden followers to migrate to Abyssinia where they were followed by the representatives of the Quraish, who insisted on their being handed over to them. But King Negus, after making an inquiry, refused to surrender these innocent refugees who had sought his protection and the Quraish had to come back disappointed. Certainly, if these poor Muslims had fallen into their hands, they would have met with a cruel death.
Nazir Ahmad (Simab) Muslim Missinonary.
No. 14 San Juan, Dated the 18th August, 1939.
(To be continued)
Continuation: Solitary Example of World History (Part Two)