"Know that at the beginning of Islam the Prophet used to court people's friendship and he made their hearts incline to him. He made them love belief and adorned it in their hearts and he treated them gently to encourage them. He said to his Companions; 'You are sent to make things easy. You were not sent to scare people away.' He said, 'Make things easy and do not make them hard. Soothe and do not scare away.'"
The reasons why the Prophet pardoned some of those who harmed him It might be asked why the Prophet did not kill the Jew who said to him, "Death be upon you" when this is a curse, and why he did not kill the other man who said in this respect, "This is a dividing out by which the face of Allah is not intended." When he annoyed the Prophet by saying that, the Prophet said, "Musa was harmed by worse than this," and was patient. And why he did not kill the hypocrites who used to harm him often.
Know that at the beginning of Islam the Prophet used to court people's friendship and he made their hearts incline to him. He made them love belief and adorned it in their hearts and he treated them gently to encourage them. He said to his Companions; "You are sent to make things easy. You were not sent to scare people away." He said, "Make things easy and do not make them hard. Soothe and do not scare away."
He said, "Let it not be said that Muhammad killed his Companions." The Prophet cajoled the hypocrites and unbelievers, was cheerful in their company and lenient to them and endured their harm. He was patient when they were coarse. But it is not permitted for us to be patient with them in such cases. Allah says, "You will continue to come upon some act of treachery on their part, except for a few of them, so pardon them and overlook." (5:15) Allah says, "Repel with that which is better and the one between whom and you there is enmity will be as if he were a close friend." (41:35) That was because people at the beginning of Islam needed to be brought close. People are unanimous about that.
Once Islam was firmly established and Allah had given it victory over all other deens, any such detractor that the Muslims had power over and whose affair was well-known was put to death. A case in point is that of Ibn Khatal and others whom the Prophet said should be should killed on the Day of the Conquest and those among the Jews and others whom it was possible to kill by assassination. There were others who were captured but rectified their behaviour before they came into the Prophet's company and joined the group of those who manifested belief in him. Among such people who had harmed him were Ka'b ibn al-Ashraf, Abu Rafi', an-Nadr ibn al-Harith and 'Uqba ibn Abi Mu'ayt.
The same applied to another group who could have been killed with impunity like Ka'b ibn Zuhayr and Ibn az-Zaba'ra and others who harmed the Prophet but then surrendered and met him as Muslims.
The inward parts of the hypocrites were veiled and the Prophet judged according to the outward. Most of these things were uttered by them in secret and among people of their own sort. Then they swore by Allah that they had not said them and uttered words of belief.
In spite of this, the Prophet desired to make them return to Islam. The Prophet was patient with their faults and their coarseness as all the Resolute Prophets were patient until many of these people returned both inwardly and outwardly to Islam and were as sincere in secret as they appeared openly. Then Allah helped many of them and some of them established the deen as wazirs, helpers, defenders and Ansar as the traditions attest.
Because of this, some of our Imams have questioned whether their statements were confirmed enough with the Prophet to raise a complaint. A single person who did not have the rank of testimony might have transmitted them -such as a child, a slave or a woman. Taking life is only permitted when there are two just witnesses. This can be applied to the affair of the Jews' greeting. They twisted it with their tongues and did not make it clear.
Don't you see how attention was drawn to this matter by A'isha. If the Jew had clearly enunciated it, she would not have been the only person to recognise it. That is why the Prophet informed his Companions about what the Jews were doing and the lack of sincerity in their greeting and the deceit it contained through the twisting of their tongues and how they were really attacking the deen. He said, "When a Jew greets one of you, he says, 'Death be upon you,' so say 'and upon you'."
Similarly, one of our companions in Baghdad said "The Prophet did not kill the hypocrites in spite of what he knew about them. It has not been related that a clear proof was established regarding their hypocrisy. That is why the Prophet left them alone. Furthermore, the matter was secret and inward while their outward was Islam and belief and they were among the people of the dhimma and treaty and proximity. People were also new to Islam and could not distinguish the bad from the good. It is known that some of the Arabs who are mentioned as being suspected of hypocrisy are among the group of believers and the Companions of the Messenger and the helpers of the deen according to outward judgement of them. If the Prophet had killed them for their hypocrisy when it had not emerged from them because he knew what they concealed in themselves, those who were hostile would have found something to go on about, fugitives would have been suspicious and the impetuous would have spread lies. More than one person would have been alarmed and feared the company of the Prophet and coming into Islam. The claimant would have made false claims and the wrong-acting enemy would have thought that he was killed out of enmity and desire for revenge." Malik ibn Anas also said something to this effect.
That is why the Prophet said, "Let it not be said that Muhammad killed his Companions." The Prophet said, "Those are the ones whom Allah has forbidden me to kill." This is not the same as applying the outward judgements to the Companions - such as the hadd-punishments for fornication, killing and similar things when the crimes were evident and people in general knew about them.
Muhammad ibn al-Mawwaz said, "If the hypocrites had openly shown their hypocrisy, then the Prophet would have killed them."
Qadi Abu'l-Hasan ibn al-Qassar and Qatada spoke regarding the commentary of Allah's words, "If the hypocrites do not stop and those in whose hearts is illness and those that make havoc in the city, We will urge you against them and then they will only be your neighbours a little. Cursed they will be wherever they are found, they will be seized and all killed. The sunna of Allah..." (33:60-62) and said that it means when they openly display hypocrisy.
Muhammad ibn Maslama related in the Mabsut from Zayd ibn Aslam that Allah's words, "O Prophet, strive against the unbelievers and the hypocrites and be harsh to them," (9:75) abrogates what came before it.
One of our shaykhs said that perhaps the words of the bedouin who said, "This is a dividing out by which the face of Allah is not intended," and "Be just!" were not understood by the Prophet as an attack or suspicion. He saw them as an error of opinion regarding the matters of this world and as striving for the best interests of people. He did not think anything of them and saw them as belonging to the kind of harm which should be forgiven and endured. That is why he did not punish him.
Something similar is said about the Jews for saying, "Death be upon you." There was no clear curse in it nor supplication except for death which all men must meet. It was said that what they meant was, "May you dislike your religion," "death" meaning boredom and disgust. This is a supplication for the deen to become boring which is not a clear curse. Therefore al-Bukhari has a section called, "The Chapter on when the dhimma or other people curse the Prophet by allusion." One scholar has said that the allusion is not a curse, but rather to cause harm. We have already stated that cursing and harm are the same in respect of him.
Qadi Abu Muhammad ibn Nasr deals with this hadith by quoting some of what has already been mentioned. It is not mentioned in this hadith whether this Jew was one of the people of the dhimma and those subject to treaty or from those with whom the Muslims were at war. Things established by proof are not abandoned in favour of mere probability. The most suitable and evident reasons for the Prophet not punishing him was the intention to seek friendship and trying to bring such people around to the deen - perhaps they would believe. That is why al-Bukhari puts the hadith of "The Sharing-out and the Khawarij"under the title "Chapter: Whoever gave up fighting the Khawarij in order to create friendship and so that people might not harbour an aversion to him."
The Prophet forebore what the Jews had done when he was bewitched and poisoned, which is more terrible than being cursed, until Allah helped him and gave him permission to kill those Jews who had acted against him and to drive them out of their fortresses and to cast terror into their hearts. He prescribed emigration for those of them he wished, removed them from their houses and demolished their homes at their own hands and the hands of the believers. He openly cursed them and said, "Brothers of pigs and monkeys." He said that the swords of the Muslims could be used against themand removed them from their neighbourhood and caused their land, homes and property to be inherited by others so that the word of Allah would be uppermost and the word of those who rejected underneath.
People might say that it has come in the sound hadith from 'A'isha that the Prophet never took revenge on his own behalf for anything that happened to him unless the respect of Allah was violated, then he took revenge for the sake of Allah. Know that this does not necessarily mean that he did not take revenge against those who cursed him or harmed him or called him a liar. These actions contravene some of the inviolable things of Allah and so the Prophet took revenge for them. What he did not take revenge for was those things which were connected to bad behaviour in word or action toward himself or his property which were not intended to harm him, but were merely part of the natural coarse and ignorant disposition of the bedouins or the insolent nature of man in general, such as the bedouin pulling his cloak until it made a mark on his neck or the man raising his voice in his presence or the bedouin arguing about the Prophet buying his horse to which Khuzayma testified. Another example was when two of his wives supported one other against him and other such things which it is best to overlook.
One of our 'ulama' has said that it is haram to harm the Prophet by any action, even if it is an allowable (mubah) action. In respect of men other than the Prophet, permitted actions are allowed, even if they harm someone. A proof is found in the general statement, "Those who harm Allah and His Messenger, Allah has cursed them in this world and the Next." (33:58)
In the hadith about Fatima, the Prophet said, "She is part of me. What harms her harms me. I do not make haram what Allah has made halal, but the daughter of the Messenger of Allah and the daughter of the enemy of Allah can never be together with the same man. "
Another example of his forbearance might have been something said by an unbeliever to harm him at a time when the Prophet still hoped that he would later become Muslim, such as when he forgave the Jew who had bewitched him, the bedouin who wanted to kill him and the Jewess who poisoned him -although it is also said that he killed her.
forgave this sort of harm to himself from the People of the Book and
the hypocrites, desiring to bring about their friendship and that
of others as we have already confirmed. Success is by Allah.