In the world today, wherever you happen to look, it is seeped in evil and corruption. People have lost their humanity, their hearts have become crooked, sealed from the plight of their fellow man. We live in a time of incredible technological progress, yet we have forgotten the basic principles of compassion and kindness. It is a matter of great concern that we are steadily regressing into savages. We only look out for ourselves, pseudo-Darwinism; the survival of the fittest, where the strong devour the weak to progress. Islam does not endorse this mentality, it is not a religion where the strong oppress the weak.
The Holy Prophet (SAW) was known in the Quran by his moniker “a mercy to the worlds.” (21:107) He was an embodiment of righteousness and piety. Along with this, he was gentle and kindhearted. Verily,the Quran makes mention of this fact; “[O Muhammad], you were lenient with them. And if you had been rude [in speech] and harsh in heart, they would have disbanded from about you.” (3:159) This shows the importance of this trait, it was due to this characteristic that the Prophet (SAW) was so loved by his companions, and why so many people gravitated toward him. It was due to his exemplary conduct that the pugnacious Arabs flocked to him. And Allah is stating that if the Prophet (SAW) was hard-hearted then his devoted Followers would have left him, even with his lineage, his beauty, his intelligence, his reputation, all of these bounties would not assist him if he were harsh. It was the soft heart of the Prophet (SAW) which Allah bestowed him with, that enabled him overcome his enemies, nothing else.
The Prophet of Allah (SAW) has informed us that, “Allah loves gentleness and mildness in all matters” (Bukhari) Gentleness is the opposite of harshness and abruptness. We tend to become very aggressive in difficult situations, brothers especially are guilty of this, they become hot-headed and try to solve their problem with harshness. This way of handling matters only serves to aggravate the situation, not solve it.
It is due to the warped perception that men subscribe to, that being gentle is a sign of cowardice, and it is contrary to masculinity. This is the reason that situations which could have been solved peacefully and civilly, become blown out of proportion. If any brothers do subscribe to this ideology of corrupt masculinity and false bravado, then know that the strongest and manliest of men has stated: “Gentleness in whatever it may be, only adorns and enhances it” (Muslim) This should be enough of a reason to adopt gentleness and softness, it is not a sign of weakness, rather it is a sign of divine wisdom. Men everywhere should strive to attain this quality, it will only serve to benefit them and ease their affairs.
If, in opposition to this, a person wants to adopt a different approach. The approach of cruelty, of savagery, of belligerency then the Prophet (SAW) has informed his nation of their state; “He who is deprived of gentleness, is deprived of all goodness.” (Muslim) We do not need to look far, history is replete with figures who were ruthless. They were oppressive, they were abusive, they violated the rights of others. Everything that they earned through viciousness was taken from them. Their empires crumbled, their victories forgotten, their names tarnished. They were disgraced, they are remembered with contempt and disdain. And Allah will mete out justice on the Day of judgement.
The Prophet (SAW) has also said; “Indeed Allah is gentle, and He loves gentleness. He grants upon gentleness that which He grants not for harshness or for anything else” (Muslim) Allah grants such rewards for softness as is not granted for many other actions. This is because it is very tempting to act in callous manner, especially when one is enraged, but swallowing one’s anger and preferring mercy over retribution; that is extremely commendable.
Acting with mildness doesn’t just apply to acting that way with Muslims, or with the people who are amiable with you. No, it applies to those who wish to harm you also. The pure Wife of the Prophet (SAW), Aisha (RA) narrates that once a group of Jews visited the Prophet (SAW) and they said, “As Saamu Alaykum”, instead of “As Salaamu Alaykum.” As Saamu Alaykum means, “May death be upon you.” The Mother of the Believers Aisha (RA) says that she was alert and realised what they were saying. She angrily retorted, “May death be upon you and the curse of Allah as well.” The Prophet (SAW) said, “Take it easy, O Aisha. Allah is gentle, and he loves gentleness.” (Bukhari) Look at the magnificent character of the Prophet (SAW)! This can only be the reaction of a Prophet. Even though his enemies would act this way, with malicious words and brutal methods, he would show his perfect character. He would not get swayed, he showed us that contrary to popular belief, ones does not fight fire with fire, rather you fight fire with water. This is the Prophetic way.
May Allah give us the ability to emulate His Messenger (SAW). May he confer this trait of mildness upon us. May he make us true followers of Islam. Ameen.