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The Prophet of Mercy (1) – Forgiving Foes

Who was Prophet Muhammad? How did he embody the Islamic message of mercy, compassion and forgiveness? What was so incredible about this man that he is loved dearly by almost two billion Muslims around the world, despite the fact that he passed away fourteen hundred years ago? Islam is based on the Qur’an and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad. The Qur’an describes the Prophet Muhammad as a “mercy to all creation”. Muslims around the world believe that the Prophet Muhammad was a man who preached peace, justice, compassion, tolerance and forgiveness to one’s foes. For instance, the Prophet Muhammad said, “’Whoever suffers an injury done to him and forgives (the person responsible), Allah will raise his status to a higher degree and remove one of his sins” (Sunan al-Tirmidhi). There are countless Muslim traditions about the life of Prophet Muhammad which clearly illustrate his forgiveness to others, some of which are listed below. First, however, a review of the Muslim experience in Makkah is necessary.   The torture suffered by the Muslims in Makkah When Prophet Muhammad began to preach the message of Islam in Makkah, the Quraysh responded with extreme hostility and persecution of the small group of Muslims. In 613CE, the Quraysh resorted to outright torture [1]. Bilal ibn Rabah was made to lie down in the burning heat while a boulder was placed on chest, all the while the Quraysh demanded that he recant his faith [2]. Sumayyah bint Khayat, an innocent Muslim woman, was murdered with a spear thrust through her pelvis, making her the first to be killed for accepting Islam [3]. Her son Ammar...