I have a colleague at work who is not Muslim. When I try to call him to Islam and tell him that Islam is a great religion, and how the Prophet Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) is the greatest of mankind, and the greatest person who ever trod this earth, and that he is a mercy to the worlds and indeed to all creatures, he always replies by saying: How can Muhammad be a mercy to the worlds when he cut off people’s hands and feet and crucified them, and even left them in the desert to die(Saheeh al-Bukhaari)? And he killed the Jews in front of their wives then raped them? He believes that the words mercy and kindness must be omitted from any translation and he says: you will never make me believe in a God who burns people until their skins have gone, then will give them new skins in order to burn them again, and will repeat that for eternity, and this is in the Qur’an; is this a mercy and kindness in your eyes? I hope that you can explain, because I tried to tell him that this is not true, or that these things are not correct, but he comes to me with hadeeths that support what he says, and he asks how could the Prophet cut off the heads of seven hundred Jews in the marketplace of Madinah in a single day, then take their wives and children as slaves and captives? I do not know how to respond to him, and I feel very distressed. I hope you can help me.
Yes, Allah, may He be exalted, did indeed send His Messenger Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) as a mercy to the worlds, as He, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And We have sent you (O Muhammad SAW) not but as a mercy for the Alameen (mankind, jinns and all that exists)”
Al-Haakim narrated in al-Mustadrak (100) that Abu Hurayrah said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “O people, I am but a divinely-bestowed mercy.” Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami‘, 2345
Some people accepted this mercy and some refused it.
As-Sa‘di (may Allah have mercy on him) said: He is His mercy and a guide to His slaves. So those who believe in him accepted this mercy, were grateful for it, and lived in accordance with it, whereas others rejected it and responded to the blessing of Allah with ingratitude, and refused to accept the mercy and blessing of Allah.
Tafseer as-Sa‘di (p. 532).
Hence Allah, may He be exalted, said of His Messenger (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him): “for the believers (he SAW is) full of pity, kind, and merciful” [at-Tawbah 9:128].
So he is a mercy to the worlds and kindness to the righteous; but he is vengeance against the disbelievers and punishment for the evildoers.
If a person rejects mercy, he will not be one of its people. This is well known and well established in people’s minds on the basis of both Islamic teaching and reason. If he is not one of the people of mercy, then he will be one of the people of punishment. Thus the rulings of sharee‘ah are in accordance with sound reason and are supported by fair examination.
These people whose hands and feet the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) cut off and left them in the open did not accept the mercy of Allah; they spread mischief in the land, shed blood that was protected by Islamic law, and harmed the slaves of Allah. So it was essential to eradicate them and rid the land and people of them. Such people cause trouble and spread mischief, and if no one puts a stop to them with a firm hand, they will not be prevented from spreading mischief in the land. Thus they become like a diseased limb in the body, when it is injured and becomes infected, and the infection slowly starts to spread; then there is no option but to cut it off and eliminate it; if it is not eliminated and is left as it is, the entire body will die because of it.
Al-Bukhaari (6390) and Muslim (3163) narrated from Anas that eight men from ‘Ukl came to the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), and they swore allegiance as Muslims, but they found that the land did not suit them and they fell sick. They complained about that to the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), and he said: “Why don’t you go out with our herdsman to the camels and get some of their milk and urine?” They said: Yes. So they went out and drank some of their milk and urine, and they got better. Then they killed the herdsman and drove away the camels. News of that reached the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), and he sent men after them. They were caught and brought, and he ordered that their hands and feet be cut off and their eyes put out
Abu Qilaabah said: These people had stolen and killed and disbelieved after having believed, and they waged war against Allah and His Messenger. Narrated by al-Bukhaari (226).
These people were evildoers; they are to society what a diseased limb is to the body, and must be eradicated. This is part of perfect wisdom and mercy by means of which security is achieved in society. Evildoers can learn from what happened to these people and thus repent or refrain. But as for leaving them with no deterrent to stop them and others who would spread mischief in the land, that is tantamount to helping them in their evil doing and inciting people like them to commit similar actions. In that case the land would be ruined and people would not feel safe for their own lives, their honour, their children and their property. Anyone who studies history will find that this is undoubtedly true.
Based on that, the hadd punishment for waging war against Allah and His Messenger has been prescribed by Allah, may He be exalted, in the verse (interpretation of the meaning):
“The recompense of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and do mischief in the land is only that they shall be killed or crucified or their hands and their feet be cut off on the opposite sides, or be exiled from the land. That is their disgrace in this world, and a great torment is theirs in the Hereafter.”
This ruling is the utmost justice, wisdom and mercy. That is indicated by the fact that Allah says, immediately after that, (interpretation of the meaning):
“Except for those who (having fled away and then) came back (as Muslims) with repentance before they fall into your power; in that case, know that Allah is OftForgiving, Most Merciful”
So Allah encourages people to repent and stop spreading mischief, and He punishes the evildoers and wreaks vengeance upon them so as to deter others like them from harming people. Is this not perfect wisdom and mercy?
Those who object to the religion, laws and rulings of Allah are concerned about those hands and feet that are cut off because of the evildoing of their owner, but they do not pay attention to this mischief that has been done to the people, whose lives, families and wealth have been affected because of these wrongdoers.
With regard to the killing of the Jews of Banu Qurayzah, they broke the treaty that had been made between them and the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) at a time when the Confederates had surrounded him on all sides, and the Arabs were launching a joint campaign against the Muslims, and the enemy was coming at them from above them and from below them, as Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):
“O you who believe! Remember Allah’s Favour to you, when there came against you hosts, and We sent against them a wind and forces that you saw not (i.e. troops of angels during the battle of Al-Ahzaab (the Confederates)). And Allah is Ever All-Seer of what you do.
When they came upon you from above you and from below you, and when the eyes grew wild and the hearts reached to the throats, and you were harbouring doubts about Allah.
There, the believers were tried and shaken with a mighty shaking.”
The Jews broke their treaty with the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) and wanted to eradicate the Muslims and put an end to them altogether. So they formed an alliance with the party of the Shaytaan in order to achieve that; they became united behind a common goal, which was to put an end to Islam and its people.
If these people had been able to do what they wanted, which Allah by His mercy prevented them from achieving, then Islam and its people would have been wiped out and mankind would have remained until the Day of Judgment in a state of misguidance and disbelief.
What these Jews did of breaking the treaty and forming an alliance with the mushrikeen to wage war on the Muslims is one of the worst types of mischief in the land; it indicates that they had no respect for any treaty or promise, which is something well-known from them throughout the ages.
When Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, granted victory to His Prophet and His slaves the Muslims, these people who committed treason were brought, and they agreed to accept the verdict of Sa‘d ibn Mu‘aadh willingly and by their own choice. His verdict concerning them was in accordance with the ruling of Allah, which was that their fighters should be executed and their women and children taken captive, as it says in al-Bukhaari (2716) and Muslim (3314).
Jaabir ibn ‘Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: They were four hundred. Narrated by at-Tirmidhi (1508); classed as saheeh by him and by al-Albaani.
But the question now is: why did Safiyyah bint Huyayy (may Allah be pleased with her) agree to marry the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) when he had killed her father – who was one of the leaders of the Jews – and had killed her husband and her paternal uncle?? How did that come about? And how did she agree to it?
They will say that she agreed because she was afraid of him!
So why did she not apostatise after the death of the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him)? Why did she not flee? Why did she live and die believing in him, obeying him and loving him, after what he had done to her and her family?
None of these misguided objectors dares to ask this question!
At-Tabaraani narrated in al-Mu‘jam al-Kabeer (177) that Ibn ‘Umar said: There was some greenness (i.e., bruising) around Safiyyah’s eyes, and the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “What is this greenness around your eyes?” She said: I said to my husband: I dreamt that a moon fall into my lap. He slapped me and said: Are you hoping to marry the king of Yathrib? She said: Nothing was more hateful to me than the Messenger of Allah killing my husband and father. The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) kept apologizing to me and said: “O Safiyyah, your father used to incite the Arabs against me, and he did such and such, and such and such,” until that feeling went away.
Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in as-Saheehah (2739)
With regard to this objecter saying “he killed the Jews in front of their women folk then raped them,” this is false and is a lie and fabrication. The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) forbade killing women and children and hired workers in war. Abu Dawood (2295) narrated that Rabaah ibn Rabee‘ said: We were with the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) during a campaign, and he saw the people gathered around something. He sent a man, and told him: “Go and see what these people have gathered for.” He came back and told him that they had gathered around a woman who had been slain. He said: “This one could not have been fighting.” Khaalid ibn al-Waleed was in charge of the vanguard, so he sent a man and said: “Tell Khaalid that no woman or worker is to be killed.” Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood.
Among the Jews whom the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) took captive, Allah blessed many of them with Islam; that was by Allah’s mercy towards them.
An-Nasaa’i (3376) narrated that ‘Atiyyah al-Qurazi said: On the day of Sa‘d’s verdict on Banu Qurayzah, I was still a boy and they were not sure about me, but they found that I did not yet have pubic hair, so I was allowed to live, and here I am living among you.
Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh an-Nasaa’i.
In other words, he was still a minor so he was not killed; rather they let him live, then Allah blessed him with Islam and he said these words speaking of Allah’s blessing to him.
These people say what they say on the basis of lies, ignorance or misunderstanding, and their disbelief makes them accept fabrications; so do not pay any attention to them.
With regard to the verse in which Allah, may He be exalted, says of the disbelievers in Hell (interpretation of the meaning): “Surely! Those who disbelieved in Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) We shall burn them in Fire. As often as their skins are roasted through, We shall change them for other skins that they may taste the punishment. Truly, Allah is Ever Most Powerful, All-Wise” [an-Nisa’ 4:56] – here Allah, may He be exalted, is telling us about those who denied the signs of Allah and rejected His Messenger; He will burn them with Fire and roast them in it; every time their skins are burnt and roasted through, He will replace them with other skins, so that they may taste the punishment. See Tafseer at-Tabari, 8/484
Who told these people that Allah will have mercy on the disbelievers and evildoers?
Or who told them that the humiliating punishment that Allah has prepared for disbelievers on the Day of Judgment is part of His mercy and kindness?
Do they think that Allah will have mercy on those who do not deserve mercy?
Or that Allah will treat the Muslims like the evildoers? Or that He will regard the pious as being like the immoral?
Will He treat those who sought to spread mischief, ruin and destruction like those who were righteous and strove to put things right?
The mercy of Allah is only for the doers of good among those of His slaves who believed in Him and in His Books and Messengers; as for those who stubbornly denied and rejected, Allah will not have mercy on them and theirs will be a painful punishment. Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Surely, Allah’s Mercy is (ever) near unto the gooddoers”
“He said: (As to) My Punishment I afflict therewith whom I will and My Mercy embraces all things. That (Mercy) I shall ordain for those who are the Muttaqoon (pious), and give Zakat; and those who believe in Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs and revelations, etc.)”
“The believers, men and women, are Auliya (helpers, supporters, friends, protectors) of one another, they enjoin (on the people) Al-Maroof (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam orders one to do), and forbid (people) from Al-Munkar (i.e. polytheism and disbelief of all kinds, and all that Islam has forbidden); they perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat) and give the Zakat, and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah will have His Mercy on them”
“Verily! Those who believe not in the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) of Allah, Allah will not guide them and theirs will be a painful torment”
“Declare (O Muhammad SAW) unto My slaves, that truly, I am the Oft-Forgiving, the Most-Merciful.
And that My Torment is indeed the most painful torment”
So Allah gave warning; He sent His Messengers, revealed His books and made manifest His signs, and He established clear proof, giving glad tidings to the believers and warning the disbelievers. So whoever was content with disbelief and chose it over faith will enter Hell, and he will have no one to blame but himself; by doing so he the worst of people in wronging his own soul and in transgressing against the rights of his soul.
If these people had an atom’s weight of fear in their hearts, that fear would lead them to believe and submit, even if that was only for fear that this threat and stern warning would come to pass and befall them. But they will never believe or submit; rather they argue and strive to extinguish the light of Allah.
So remain steadfast in adhering to your religion, O Muslim, and do not let those who have no certainty of faith cause you to falter.
If it were said to a rational person: Do not drink this poison, because if you drink it you will die, then he drinks it even though he is of sound mind and is aware of what he is doing, then who is to blame? Is it Allah Who created the poison and decreed death through it? Or is it the snake from which the poison was extracted? Or is it this man who drank it willingly?
Just as we submit to the divine decree and do not object to it, by the same token we must submit to the laws and not object to them.
You should not engage in argument with these people and you should point out to them the teaching of Islam that promote good, righteousness and proper conduct. Tell them how Islam spread throughout the world, and how people entered it in crowds, and how those who had previously been its enemies became its troops and supporters.
Why did ‘Ikrimah ibn Abi Jahl become a Muslim when Muhammad had killed his father?
Why did Umm Habeebah bint Abi Sufyaan become Muslim and marry the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) at the time when her father was one of his bitterest enemies and staunchest opponents?
Why did Hind bint ‘Utbah become Muslim when Muhammad had killed her father, her paternal uncle and her brother in a single battle?
You should understand that the religion of Allah is true, and that Allah does not break His Promise, and that He is the most merciful of those who show mercy, and that He sent His Messenger Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) as a mercy to the worlds.
Let these people look at contemporary leaders and what they do to people who oppose them.
What would they say about America and what it has done to the peoples of the earth on the grounds of spreading democracy and values?
If this person who is objecting is a follower of Judaism or Christianity, then let him look in the Bible and see how the Israelite prophets fought those who disagreed with them and did not spare any man, woman or old person.
If he is a communist, then let him look at what Stalin and his followers did.
If he belongs to one of these groups, and he thinks that the truth is to fight for the liberation of people and rid them of oppressive regimes, then this is proof against him.
To sum up, mercy has its people and punishment and vengeance have their people. The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) was sent with mercy, just as he was sent with jihad and fighting his enemies. He is a mercy to all the worlds, both those who agree with him and those who disagree with him. As for those who agree with him, the matter is clear. As for those who disagree with him, it is by his conveying to them the message of their Lord and establishing proof against them, and not hastening the punishment for them.
Part of that mercy is to remove the oppressive group that is controlling the hearts and minds of the people around them, after warning them so that the majority may enjoy security and freedom. This is the philosophy of jihad as prescribed in Islam.
And Allah knows best.
And Allah knows best.