By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi, New Age Islam
A good human
being is identified as kind even towards his enemies. He does not deprive them
of the rights that they deserve as his human counterparts. He does not punish
his enemies any more than would be just, but if possible tries to forgive them.
Such was the blessed attribute that the holy prophets of Allah Almighty
–including Sheath, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and the final messenger Muhammad
(peace and blessings of Allah be upon all of them)— brought to the world so as
to encourage forgiveness, good treatment and justice towards the entire
Kindness towards the Friends and Foes Alike in Islam
speaking, people are good and just only towards their friends, relatives,
nations and country. But, Islamic standards of goodness and justice go beyond
the considerations of race, colour, nation, religion, creed, relatives and
non-relatives. Islam has ordained Muslims to put equal weights on the scales of
justice towards their friends and enemies alike.
It is believed
that a good Muslim is one who implements the Islamic teachings mentioned in the
Quran and Sunnah of the prophet Muhammad [peace and blessings of Allah be upon
him] in all walks of his life. For such a Muslim it is essential to know in
advance that adopting attribute of forgiveness and justice towards enemies is
as important as many other teachings of Islam.
Become tenaciously firm on justice, bearing witness (merely) for the sake of
Allah even if (the witness) is against your own selves or (your) parents or
(your) relatives. Whether the person (against whom is the evidence) is rich or
poor, Allah is a greater Well-Wisher of them both (than you are). So do not
follow the desires of your (ill-commanding) selves lest you swerve from
justice. But if (whilst giving evidence) you twist your statement or evade (the
truth), then Allah is indeed Well Aware of (all the works) that you are
verse makes firm resolution for Muslims facing the enduring conflict between
self-interest and justice. It commands them to be just, even if it is against
their narrowly defined self-interest or against their relatives or in favour of
their enemies. Some people protect their self-interest by committing violence
and injustice to others. But Islam forbids this sort of self-interest. These
verses remove narrow-mindedness, reminding us that the true protector of
interests of all mankind is Allah Almighty and He will protect our interests
when we follow His command to be just and kind towards the entire humanity.
It is clear from
the above that Islam does not permit any favouritism when doing justice between
relatives and non-relatives. According to another verse of the Quran, Muslims
are commanded to do justice even when they are dealing with their enemy. The
common tendency of ignorant people is to do injustice towards the enemy. This
tendency was as true in the pre-Islamic period (Jahiliyyah) as it is today. But
Islam categorically forbids this tendency. It was an unprecedented example for
all mankind in terms of doing justice.
“O you, who
believe, Stand firm for Allah, giving testimony with justice- and do not let
the enmity of anyone tempt you not to do justice. Be just; that is nearer to
piety [Taqwa] and fear Allah; indeed Allah is Well Aware of your deeds. It is
Allah’s promise to those who believe and are righteous, that for them will be
forgiveness and a great reward, and those who disbelieve [i.e. who do act of Kufr]
and deny Our signs - it is they who are the people of the hell. (Surah Maidah5:
This speech of
Allah has been directed towards those who are believers. Stand firm for Allah
means stand firm for acting according to the commands of Allah. Do not let the
enmity of anyone prevent you from doing justice.
explained this verse: “وَدَلَّتِ
الْآيَةُ أَيْضًا عَلَى أَنَّ كُفْرَ الْكَافِرِ لَا يَمْنَعُ مِنَ الْعَدْلِ
عَلَيْهِ” meaning “This verse
shows that the unbelief of the unbeliever does not prevent him from enjoying
justice”.(Tafseer Al-Qurtubi 5:8)
further said, “This phrase “La Yajrimannakum [do not let…prevent you]”
means that you should not let your hatred of a people cause you to transgress
the truth and engage in falsehood or swerve from justice to oppression” (Jamiul
Ahkam fi Al-Quran by Al-Qurtabi)
command of Allah is an act of Kufr [disbelief] that will take its perpetrator
to the eternal hell. So, doing justice even towards the enemy is a command of
Allah, even if the enemy are non-Muslims or unbelievers. Those who disbelieve
this command of justice will have to face the torment of Hell. The command of
justice mentioned in the Quran is a categorical statement for all cases; the
application and the meaning of which can’t be changed in any circumstances.
behaviour of justice and forgiveness is conspicuously demonstrated in the fact
that the prophet Muhammad [peace and blessings of Allah be upon him] never took
revenge on anyone on his own behalf but forgave even his staunch enemies.
Consequently, this ideal attribute of the prophet softened many hard-hearted
men, playing a pivotal role in attracting the pagans towards willingly
embracing Islam and Muslims.
Ahadith, whenever any issue of legal retaliation was brought to the Prophet, he
would always recommend his Ummah for being patient and pardoning the criminal.
Anas bin Malik
reported: "مَا رَأَيْتُ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ
عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ رُفِعَ إِلَيْهِ شَيْءٌ فِيهِ قِصَاصٌ إِلَّا أَمَرَ فِيهِ
never saw a case involving legal retaliation being referred to the Messenger of
Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, except that he would command
pardoning the criminal. (Sunan Abu Dawud 4497, Source: Sahih)
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 At-Tirmidhi)
said, “Do not be people without minds of your own, saying that if others treat
you well you will treat them well, and that if they do wrong you will do wrong.
Instead, accustom yourselves to do good if people do good and not to do wrong
if they do evil.” (Sunan At-Tirmidhî)
reported: I met the Messenger of Allah and I started speaking, taking his hand
and saying, “O Messenger of Allah, tell me about virtuous deeds.” The Messenger
of Allah, peace be upon him, said, “O Uqbah, reconcile whoever cuts you off,
give to whoever deprives you, and turn away from whoever wrongs you.”
hadith it is reported that the prophet said, “You shall keep relationship with
one who cut it off from you, you shall give one who disappointed you, and you
shall pardon on who oppressed you, Whoever wants an increase in his sustenance,
increase in life [and riddance from a horrible death], should fear Allah and be
helpful and kind towards his relatives”. (Al-Mu’jam Al-Kabir by Tabrani,
Hadith: 14158, Musnad Ahmad 17915, 17797, MajmauzZawaid: 13473, Musannaf Abdur Razzaq:
20237 and Mustadrak of Hakim: 3873, 7394)
(peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) As Mercy Personified
says: “And We have not sent you but as a mercy to the worlds.” (Al-Anbiyaa’
that the prophet’s distinctive quality was that he was the embodiment of a blessing
in word and deed, not only for a particular Muslim community but for the entire
world. His impassioned engagement and dedication was just with the distribution
of love, peace and tranquillity among all mankind.
According to a
tradition recorded in Sahih Muslim, when the Prophet’s opponents greatly
increased their persecution, his Companions asked him to curse them. At this,
the Prophet replied, “I have not been sent to lay a curse upon men but to be a
blessing to them.” His opponents continued to treat him and his Companions
unjustly and cruelly, but he always prayed for them.
Once, while the
prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was on the way to Ta’if
where the Hijaz aristocracy used to while away their summer days, he was so
badly stoned by his enemies that the blood streamed from all over his body.
When he attempted to call them to Islam, instead of listening to his words of
wisdom, they set the street urchins upon him, who kept chasing him till
nightfall. Even after all this, he did not curse them. When he was at all
exhausted and bleeding from head to toe, all he said was, “O my Lord, guide my
people along the true path, as they are ignorant of the truth”.
According to a
hadith, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) once said, “A
true believer is one with whom others feel secure and one who returns love for
hatred.” The Prophet made it clear that we should never think that we should
treat the people well only if they treat us well. Not only Love for love but we
should be rather accustomed to being good towards and forgiving those who
nurture hatred for us.
another hadith, the Prophet once said, “By Allah, he is not a believer, by
Allah, he is not a believer, by Allah, he is not a believer, with whom his
neighbours are not secure.”
teaches us that we should live with others like flowers, and not like thorns,
without giving trouble to anybody. One of the great qualities of Muhammad
(peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was that he never sought revenge on
his own behalf for any wrong done to him personally. Only if God’s commandments
had been broken, would he mete out retaliation for the sake of Allah Almighty.
“A'ishah reported that Allah's Messenger was not unseemly or obscene in his
speech, nor was he loud-voiced in the streets, nor did he return evil for evil,
but he would forgive and pardon”. The people of the Quraysh rebuked him,
taunted and mocked at him, beat him and abused him. They tried to kill him and
when he escaped to Madinah, they waged many wars against him. Yet, when he
entered Mecca victorious with an army of 10000, he did not take revenge on
anyone. He forgave all. Even his deadliest enemy, Abu Sufyan, who had fought so
many battles against him, was forgiven, as was anyone who stayed in his house.
Prophet was seated along with his Companions at some place in Madinah. During
this time a funeral procession passed by. On seeing this, the Prophet stood up.
One of his companions remarked that the funeral was that of a Jew. The Prophet
replied, “Was he not a human being?”
One old woman
made a habit of throwing rubbish on the Prophet Mohammed (peace and blessings
of Allah be upon him) whenever he passed through her house. Prophet Mohammed
(peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had to pass through her house daily
on the way to the mosque. Even when the old woman threw rubbish on him, he
would pass silently without showing any anger or annoyance. This was a daily
One day when
Prophet Mohammed (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was passing by, the
woman was not there to throw the rubbish. The Prophet stopped and asked the
neighbour about her well-being. The neighbour informed Prophet Mohammed (peace
and blessings of Allah be upon him) that the woman was sick and lying on the bed.
The Prophet went to her house and politely asked for her permission to enter
her house. When he reached her house, the old woman thought that he had come
there to take revenge when she was unable to defend herself because of her
sickness. But the Prophet assured her that he had come to her, not to take any
revenge, but to see her and to look after her needs, as it was the command of
Allah Almighty that if anyone is sick, a Muslim should visit him and should
help him if his help is needed. The old woman was greatly moved by this love
and kindness of Prophet Mohammed (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).
By the example
of greatness of Prophet Mohammed (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him),
she understood that he was truly the Messenger of Allah and Islam was the true
religion. She accepted Islam at once by reciting the Shahadah.
are many Ahadith [plural of hadith in Arabic] which show how he developed the
notions of peace, kindness, forgiveness and justice regardless of religion, caste,
colour etc. There is a message that, if we desire peace, we must tolerate many
unpleasant things from others. There is no other way to establish peace in
society. The outstanding perfection of his prophetic mercy can be attributed to
mankind, family, children, orphans, widows, sick and animals.
Love and Kind
Treatment for the Enemies in the Bible
of doing justice and kindness towards the enemies is also fully endorsed by the
following teachings of the bible containing Old Testament [aka the Jewish
Tanakh or the Hebrew Bible] and New Testament.
“If your enemy
is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink”.
(Old Testament aka the Hebrew or Jewish bible, Proverbs 25:21)
“You have heard
that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you,
love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, But I tell you, love
your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (The first book of New
Testament, Matthew 5:43-44)
“27 But to you
who are listening I say: Love your enemies; do good to those who hate you, 28
bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps
you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do
not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if
anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you
would have them do to you. 32 If you love those who love you, what credit is
that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to
those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34
And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to
you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love
your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get
anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the
Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful,
just as your Father is merciful”. (The third book of New Testament, Luke
mentioned texts of the Bible, except the use of word “Father”for God, are
true and in agreement with the message of Islam. O that, the radical-minded
Christians and Jews could understand and practice such true message of the
what the position of Islam, Christianity and Judaism is about forgiveness and
justice even towards the enemies— I find it difficult to express in word how shocked
I am at the current state of the adherents of all these three religions. On the
one hand, hospitals, schools, public buildings and innocent civilians in
Palestine and other Muslim countries are off and on bombarded and destroyed,
but some European leaders are seen uttering only one memorized sentence ‘Israel
has right to defend’. Perhaps some educated people of Europe and such
supporters of Israel do not know that no one has any right to commit attacks
over hospitals, houses, schools and innocent civilians of Palestine and other countries.
On the other hand, the terrorist organizations containing ISIS,
Tahreek-e-Taliban, Boko Haram and Al-Qaeda etc. have caused greater destruction
and wanton killings of civilians including mostly Muslims. It has been
acknowledged from the above that Islam, Christianity and Judaism command their
adherents to treat even their enemies kindly and justly, then what stops us
from loudly raising our voices that all these religions are not responsible for
any of such merciless acts. Hence, blaming any of the religions is mere
stupidity. It is high time Muslims, Christians and Jews uphold and exercise the
teachings of justice and kindness enshrined in their respective religions,
whether they regard one another as friends or foes.
A regular Columnist with New Age Islam, Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi is an Alim
and Fazil (Classical Islamic scholar) with a Sufi background and
English-Arabic-Urdu Translator. He completed the Classical Islamic Sciences
from a Delhi-based Sufi Islamic seminary Jamia Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia with
specialization in Tafseer, Hadith and Arabic. He completed his Alimiat and
Fazilat respectively from Jamia Warsia Arabic College, Lucknow and Jamia
Manzar- e- Islam, Bareilly, U.P. He did his graduation in Arabic (Hons) and
post-graduation (Arabic) from Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi
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As the essential level of forgiveness is totally lost today in the Islamic community, other religions and their philosophical aspects never could take root, being drowned in the blind belief of Mazhab/Religion system.
That system was a man made system, based on blind belief/superstition to control society.
Ghulam you are mingling spirituality with
politics. How do the
mainstream non-Muslims look at the Palestinian issue? The Jews were there in
the Palestine before the birth of Islam. Many Jewish prophets mentioned in the
Holy Koran were born there. Israel nation was established with the approval of
the world body UNO, after the massacre of six million Jews by the Nazis. The
area of Israel is only about 9000 sq. miles, in contrast to five million sq.
miles of Arab lands. The total Jewish population is 14 million and six million
is living in Israel, whereas the total Arab population is 420 million among the
1600 million Muslims. One atomic bomb is enough to wipe out Israel or make it
unliveable. I agree that Israel use excessive force on Palestinians. That is
deplorable. However it is for the Hamas leaders to decide before attacking
Israel with missiles brought from Iran or Hezbollah. When hundreds of minority
communities are peacefully living in a federal system all over the world, why
the Muslims, in Palestine, Kashmir, Mindanao cannot live peacefully under a
It looks unfair in the eyes of Non-Muslims to
perpetually highlight the Palestinian problem while ignoring the plight of 35
million Kurdish Muslims who live among the adjoining four Muslim countries (Syria,
Iran, Iraq Turkey) and clamour for an autonomous state.
Ghulam, have you
ever thought of the inevitable question, that when Turkey can mercilessly bomb
fellow Kurdish Muslims how can the Jews tolerate the Hamas attacking Israel? If
Israel is defeated you would know the consequences. Millions of Muslims would
take Jewish girls as their slaves, just as Arab sheiks are buying and selling
20,000 Syrian girls from refugee camps. What is needed is forgiveness and reconciliation.
Pope John Paul II had shown the way. He publicly confessed the atrocities done
to the Jews by the Catholics and sought forgiveness.
It is a silly
thing to equate the actions of West with that of the ISIS, Al-Qaida , Boko
Haram and Taliban. The West want to defend the only tiny democratic Jewish nation
which was established by the UNO. They pay a heavy price; 90% of Muslims hate
the West. France kept Ayatollah Khomeini in safe custody, against the wishes of
Shah of Iran. Now US keep Mohmmd Gulen in safe custody against the wishes of Turkey a fellow NATO member.