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The Prophet (saw) was a unique example of this sublime attitude, which encompassed all people. He did not repay their evil with evil, rather he repelled it with as attitude of forgiveness, commanding what is right, and turning away from the ignorant. He always repelled evil with something better.

Anas (ra) said:” I was walking with the Messenger of Allah, and he was wearing a Najraani cloak with a stiff collar. A Bedouin came up to him and grabbed him roughly, and I looked at the Prophet’s shoulder and saw the mark left by his collar because of this rough approach. Then the Bedouin said, ’O’ Muhammad, order that I be given some of the wealth of Allah that you have!’ The Prophet (saw) turned to him and smiled, then ordered that he be given something.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

The attitude of forgiveness was so deeply entrenched in his noble heart that he even forgave the Jewish woman who sent him poisoned mutton, as Bukhari, Muslim and others narrate:” This Jewish woman sent a gift of poisoned mutton to the Prophet. He and a group of his companions began to eat it, and then he said,’ Stop, it is poisoned!’ The woman was brought to the Prophet and he asked her,’ What made you do that?’ She said,’ I want to know if you were really a Prophet, in which case Allah would warn you and the poison would not harm you. If you were not a Prophet, then we would be rid of you.’ The companions asked, ’Shall we kill her?’ He said, ’No,’ and forgave her.”

When the tribe of Daws rebelled and refused to follow the commands of Allah and His Messenger, At-Tufayl ibn ‘Amr al-Dawsi came to the Prophet (saw) and said:” Daws have rebelled, so pray to Allah against them.” The Prophet faced the qiblah and raised his hands, and the people said,” They are finished!” but the Prophet, who was merciful and tolerant, and did not want to see the punishment of Allah befall people, prayed for Daws, saying,” O’ Allah, guide Daws and bring them here, O’ Allah, guide Daws and bring them here, O’ Allah, guide Daws and bring them here.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

The Prophet (saw) instilled in the Muslims’ hearts the attitude of always forgiving and being tolerant, even when faced with harshness and being boycotted. With the deep insight with which Allah had endowed him, he understood that people respond better to tolerance than to harshness. Therefore, when Uqbah ibn Amir (ra) asked him:” O’ Messenger of Allah, tell me the best of deeds,” he told him, “ O’ Uqbah, maintain ties with the one who cuts you off, give to the one who deprives you,

and do not seek revenge on the one who wrongs you.” In another report he said:” Forgive the one who wrongs you.” (Ahmad and Tabrani)

The Muslim who understands his religion is tolerant in his dealings with people, because he knows that there is nothing like tolerance for the good man in this world and the next. His tolerant, gentle, easygoing attitude opens the way to people’s hearts, and endears him to them, and it also earns him Allah’s pleasure, forgiveness and mercy.

This is what is stated clearly in the teachings of the Prophet (saw). Jabir (ra) reported that the Prophet (saw) said:” May Allah have mercy on the tolerant man, when he buys, when he sells, and when he demands payment.” (Bukhari)

Abu Mas’ud al-Ansari said:” The Prophet (saw) said:’ A man from those who were before you was brought to account and goodness was found in him, except that he was a man who used to mix with people; he was rich, and he used to order his employees to let off the one who was in difficulty. Allah said:’ We should be even more tolerant than him, so let him off.”” (Muslim)

One of the requirements of this tolerant attitude is that a person should appear cheerful, pleasant and friendly. All of this is part of having a good attitude, and is part of the good deeds encouraged by Islam. The Prophet (saw) said:” Do not think little of any good deed, even if it is just meeting with a cheerful countenance.” (Muslim). Great companion Jareer ibn Abdullah said:” The Prophet never saw me, after I embraced Islam, without smiling at me.” (Bukhari and Muslim).

The society which is infused with tolerance, friendliness and warmth between its members is a cohesive, friendly, civilized, human society which honours man, respects good manners and is filled with the highest human values. This is the Islamic society envisioned in the sources of Islam, the society which Islam seeks to establish, so that it would stand out from other communities. We can see the huge difference between this sublime society and the materialistic societies in which man suffers crushing emotional dryness, never smiling at a neighbour or relative, and hardly even smiling at his own friend, because he is too preoccupied and concerned with pursuing the needs of that materialistic life which has extinguished the flame of human emotion and spirituality and left him running in endless circle. (ends)

 

(Prepared by Ustad Abdul Muhaemin Karim)