It is very difficult for the worldly kings and heads of state to fulfill all the promises they make. It is written in history that Henry III, promised many times to fulfill the conditions of the Great Oath, but always broke his promise. (History of England, Col Garret).
Adolph Hitler always disregarded the agreements entered into by his country. He declared the papers on which these accords were signed as rubbish. He wanted to conquer France. While en route, he ran over Belgium, and thus devastated and plundered a sovereign country. In the life of the Holy Prophet, we find a completely different picture, witnessing which leaves a man amazed. Such personification of loyalty! Could any reasonable person dare to compare him who was so committed to the fulfillment of his oaths and pledges with worldly minded kings?
Abu Raf’e was a non Muslim slave. He presented himself to the Holy Prophet in his capacity as a representative of the Quraish tribe of Makkah. When his eyes beheld the brilliant blessed countenance of the Holy Prophet, the disbelieving heart of this slave suddenly became illumined with the light of truth. His heart that had been chained in the bondage of hundreds of idols, suddenly became free. He thus became a servant of the One God. The light of the truth of Islam and the Holy Prophet lighted up his heart. He told the Holy Prophet that he did not want to return to the disbelieving Makkans. The Holy Prophet instructed: I can not break my oath of Hudaibiyya by permitting an emissary to stay with me. You must return to Makkah at this time. If you still believe in Islam once you get there, then you may come back. Upon hearing this directive of the Holy Prophet, Abu Raf’e went back. (Abu Daud, Baab-ul-Wafa bil E’hd).
What happened at the time of the Truce of Hudaibiyya will remain unparalleled in human history. Soon after the treaty was signed, between the Muslims and the Makkans, Abu Jandal, son of Suhail (Makkan’s emissary) staggered into the Muslim camp where the agreement had just been signed. He was wearing handcuffs and chains and was wounded and exhausted. He said, “O Prophet of God, I have embraced Islam, and because of my faith I am tortured by my father, as he is here today I got a chance to escape, and managed to come here”. One of the clauses of the agreement between Makkans and the Muslims said that if any Makkan accepts Islam and comes to the prophet, he will be returned to Makkah, The Prophet was very moved to see this deplorable state of a newly converted Muslim, he had not yet spoken, when Suhail intervened and said that the agreement had been signed and Abu Jandal would have to go back with him. The Muslims saw this young convert, a brother of brothers, wounded, driven to desperation because of the ill treatment by his father; they could not endure to send him back. They unsheathed their swords and seemed determined to die or save this brother. Abu Jandal again and again implored the Prophet in a very moving manner not to hand him back to the tyrants. The Holy Prophet was very distressed by his plight and pleaded repeatedly with Suhail to let Abu Jandal stay, but Suhail was adamant. As Abu Jandal was dragged away, the Holy Prophet said to him in a distressed tone, “O my dear Abu Jandal, have patience and do not loose your composure. Put your trust in Allah, He will provide a way out for you and other victims. We are unable to help you as the treaty has been signed and prophets do not go back on their words”. (Bokhari, Kirab-ul-Shoroot).
There is another incident of the fulfillment of oaths and pledges from the life of the Holy Prophet. It was the time of the Battle of Badr. The battle was raging on. The army of the disbelievers was fully armed with all their weapons, and was free of any worries. Their number exceeds one thousand. On the other hand, there are a much smaller number of Muslims, hungry for days and thirsty. They possess no spears. The swords that they had were made of wood. They possessed no horses or any other means of riding. But they did have Allah and His Holy Name. In this delicate situation two Muslims, Abu Huzaifa bin al-Yaman and a Companion of the Holy Prophet arrived from Makkah. They stated to the Holy Prophet that they had been permitted by the disbelievers to reach him on condition that they should not participate in the battle. Upon hearing this, despite the dire need of more men in his camp, the Holy Prophet declares; You must both go back. We shall fulfill our promise under every circumstance. We need only the support of God Almighty and nothing else. (Muslim, Baab-ulWafaa bit ehd, Vol It, p. 89).
The world has seen thousands of kings. Do we find in the reign of any of them an example of the fulfillment of an oath or a promise of this type at all? Especially under such circumstances?
The poison of personal vendetta, which keeps them uneasy and on edge every moment, is also found abundantly in worldly kings. After taking revenge, they still do not find peace and contentment. Then we study the life of the most highly dignified King of Madinah and Islam, who possessed an elevated position amongst the Prophets. We find that every event of his life bears testimony to the fact that he was completely free from and devoid of the slightest trace of this poisonous trait. A philosopher says: Revenge is a requirement of the nature of man, The one who is the target of injustice seeks revenge not only from his persecutor, but from humanity in general (Magazine Fasana, April 1433). The world has recorded the histories of the worldly kings. It is very rare to find a king who may not be affected by this negative emotion. History tells us about Napoleon, who directed his son to seek revenge simply to fulfill his own personal motives. In the life of the Holy Prophet we find forgiveness, instead of revenge. His Wife’ Hazrat Ayesha says: the Holy Prophet never ever lock revenge in any personal matter, except on one who disobeyed a commandment or directive of God Almighty (Bokhari, Kitab-ul-Adab, vol. 2, p. 94).
There is an incident from the early days of his mission in Makkah. The Holy Prophet had gone to Taif, a small town near Makkah, for the purpose of preaching. The people of Taif welcomed him by raining stones on him. As a result his blessed feet were stained with his own blood. Despite severe physical harm, the Holy Prophet reacted by praying, for their guidance and improvement: O Lord grant them wisdom and give them understanding of the truth of Islam. (Bokhari, Ghuzva-e-Tail. Moreover, in the ninth year of Hijra, (the calendar that begins from the date of Holy Prophet’s migration from Makkah to Madinah), a group from these very people came to visit Madinah. Disregarding the past completely, the Holy Prophet himself took care of all the obligations of a host. He arranged for all their needs and comforts, and made arrangements for them to stay in the Holy Mosque. All this was done with the greatest respect and dignity for the guests. (Abu Daud, Zikr Taif).
This was the King, who bestowed upon even those who were the enemies of his very life, goodly treatment, care, and comfort. The King of both the material and spiritual Worlds, had the courage to forgive and forget, the worst of offences against himself. What a glorious, merciful and gracious King indeed!
The history of the Holy Prophet is full of the accounts of his love even for blood thirsty enemies. The Holy Prophet was subjected to every suffering and pain during his stay in Makkah. Tyranny upon tyranny, and injustice upon injustice were heaped upon the Holy Prophet and his near and dear ones. The kind of sufferings he went through are difficult to find in human history. He was made to walk upon beds of thorns. Heaps of filth and dirt were thrown upon him. He was defiled by being called all kinds of abusive names. All kinds of nefarious schemes and plans were hatched and carried out to make him fail in his mission. His companions were dragged on the burning sands of Arabia. They were disfigured by having burning coals placed on their bodies. Ten years later, this King of both the Worlds, entered Makkah as a victorious commander. He possessed full power under the waving flag of success and accomplishment. He had power and capability to revenge, no disbeliever could utter a word against Him. He greeted these venomous enemies with the news of their complete forgiveness. He declared for all:
Go, today you are all forgiven and free. You shall not be subjected to any hardship today (Muslim, Fatah Makkah, Vol. ll, p. 86).
Can history present the instance of any king or Caesar, who might have presented to the world an example of such great forgiveness and mercy? Nat only this, but every single prominent enemy of the Holy Prophet and of his followers were forgiven one by one. Abu Sufyan, who was the Head of the Makkans in each and every battle of the disbelievers against the Muslims, was arrested on this occasion, and came before the presence of the Holy Prophet. The Holy Prophet treated him with great courtesy, love and affection. He declared his house as the abode of peace, that anyone who entered in the house of Abu Sufyaan shall be granted peace and safety (Muslim, Vol. 2, Fatah Makkah, p. 86).
The enmity of Abu Jahl towards the Holy Prophet was not hidden from anyone. When Abu Jahl’s son, Akramah, was brought to the Holy Prophet by his wife, he declared: O you who migrated, blessed be your return (Mishkaat, Kitab-ul-Adab).
Toynbee accuses the Holy Prophet of having used force and pressure. He says that upon arrival in Madinah, he bid farewell to his elevated spiritual station of prophethood, and manifested himself as an ordinary king. He accused him of using force and coercion. How unjust and cruel an allegation this is! We have mentioned a few incidents above from the life of the Holy Prophet. They show his kind treatment and forgiveness of his bitterest enemies. The grand hearted gestures that the Holy Prophet displayed are reproduced above, and the testimony of Non-Muslim writers is mentioned above under the heading, “Fall of Makkah in the eyes of other historians”. Can anyone show us any examples of such behavior anywhere else? He forgave at the time of fall of Makkah when the neck of every enemy of Islam was literally under the sword of Islam. The guarantee of their life at that time, was solely dependent on the forgiveness and mercy of the Holy Prophet. History bears witness that not one among his enemies was put to the sword in retaliation. No sign of any vengeance is visible anywhere. Contrast this with the account of William the Conqueror and some of the other worldly leaders that is preserved in the annals of history. 1t is recorded that despite the fact that it was the fault of his own men; William the Conqueror, put his opponents to the sword. The sharp contrast between the noble character of the Holy Prophet and the detestable and ugly example of injustice and cruelty of William the Conqueror is clear.
This is not a hidden or secret issue. Worldly kings and Caesars love money, and possess a great greed for wealth. For them, wealth is power. They keep thinking of getting richer and richer. Seeing any well off person among their own people displeases them. History records the incident of King Henry VII, when he went to meet the Earl of Oxford. After visiting the Earl, when the king was about to leave, the soldiers of the Earl of Oxford put on their uniforms and lined up in a straight line to show respect for the king. The King thanked his host for his hospitality, In addition, he ordered him to pay a large sum as a fine. (History of England, p. 70, Col Garrett).
In the last days of his rule, Henry VII had become extremely greedy. As a result he had become very unpopular. He always remained eager to snatch money from everyone. One of his Ministers named Martin, invented a scheme for extracting money from all the subject. The scheme was designed in such a way that neither the wasteful rich nor the miserly ones could escape. (Ibid. p. 73).
Contrast the attitude of Henry VII with the Holy Prophet. Towards the end of his ministry, when he ruled the whole of Arabia, sometimes so much of wealth and gold reached Madinah that it was heaped up in mounds. But, the night did not pass before all of it was distributed among the people by the prophet. Hazrat Abu Dhar, one of His companions (may Allah be pleased with him) was in the company of the Holy Prophet as they passed by mount Uhad. The Holy Prophet said, If the mountain of Uhad was to become gold for me, make sure all of it is distributed immediately. I would be very unhappy if even one dinar (coin) is left with me on the third night. (Bokhari, Vol. ll, p. 56)
Indeed, the habit of the Holy Prophet was precisely that if he had cash or ready money in his home, he would not rest till all of it was distributed. On one occasion, a tribal chief of Fadak, sent the Holy Prophet four camels laden with grain. Hazrat Bilal, sold the grain in the town. He repaid a loan of the Holy Prophet that was owed. He then informed the Holy Prophet about the remaining balance. The Holy Prophet replied: So long as anything remains, I cannot go home. Hazrat Bilal said: Your Holiness, what can I do, I cannot find any one in need. So the Holy Prophet spent that night in the Mosque. The next day, Hazrat Bilal informed: O Messenger of Allah! Allah has relieved you of the responsibility. The remainder has also been distributed. The Holy Prophet thanked Allah and went home, (Abu Daud, Baab Qabool Hidaya Almushrikeen).
This was the character of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon Him). Toynbee writes that after leaving Makkah, and arriving in Madinah, he acquired Caesar-like powers, that he became devoid and bereft of the high moral qualities and holy practices of a Prophet. Toynbee should have provided at least one example of a worldly king who displayed these types of moral qualities and adopted such practices: who may have cared for the poor in this manner, who may have distributed wealth among the poor in a similar way and who may have kept his own self so far away from the love of money.