15 Nov Hilm (Gentleness).Part4
The Prophet responded to words and actions that were turned against him with maturity, compassion, and kindness. He exhibited akhlaq to a level that others could never possibly reach. Abu Said al-Khudri narrates,
“The Prophet was distributing the spoils from the Battle of Hunayn to the Companions who had fought.He gave a bit more from the captured property to some of the Companions. Among them were Aqra ibn Habis and Uyayna ibn Hisn, who each received a hundred camels. When this happened Dhu al-Khuwaysira of the house of Tamim came to him and objected, saying, ‘O Messenger of God! Do not swerve from equality and justice. By God, this distribution cannot be pleasing to God!’ The Prophet was saddened and answered, ‘Shame on you, if I do not act justly, who will? For if I do not carry out justice, I will earn a terrible punishment. May God’s mercy be on Moses, he was patient in the face of worse insults than this.’”
Another time the Prophet was in the mosque with the Companions, sitting and talking with them. A Bedouin entered and prayed two rakats of salat, then opened his hands and prayed, “O God, have mercy on me and on Muhammad. Do not have mercy on anyone else.” When the Prophet heard him praying thus, he said, “You are limiting God’s great and wide mercy,” thus correcting the Bedouin’s mistake.
A little later, the Bedouin got up, went to a corner of the mosque, and urinated there. When the Companions saw what he was doing they jumped up to stop him. The Prophet, however, in- tervened and told them, “Leave him alone. Let him see what he has done. Later, go and wash it with a bucket of water, for you have been sent to make the way easier, not to complicate.” Then he called the Bedouin to his side and told him, “Mosques are not for relieving ourselves or for any other kind of uncleanness. They are made for the remembrance of God, praying, and reading the Qur’an.”
This incident happened in the mosque that our Prophet had helped build with his own hands for the purpose of worship; the man had made a very great error. But the Prophet knew that the Bedouin had not done so intentionally, but rather out of ignorance.
It is only when one is confronted with repulsive behavior that a display of understanding, tolerance and gentleness can be truly meaningful; it is at such times that being forgiving and forbearing are most difficult. Indeed, anyone can be patient and calm during normal situations. Just as he was in every other way, the Prophet was extraordinary in his hilm and gentleness. In fact he was utterly unique; it would be impossible to find his equal.
Anas ibn Malik tells of another example of the hilm and gentleness of the Prophet:
“I was walking with the Prophet. He was wearing a garment made of rough Najran fabric. A Bedouin came running up behind the Prophet, grabbed his robe and yanked it back. His garment was torn and his neck rubbed raw by this roughness.” The man had yanked it so hard and the fabric was so rough that it left an angry welt on the Prophet’s neck. Then the man said, “O Muhammad! Load my camels with grain. For the possessions you hold do not belong to you nor to your father.”
The Bedouin’s behavior was rude and uncouth, and the Prophet was troubled. He turned to the man and said, “First apologize, for you have injured me.” The Bedouin retorted, “No, I will not apologize.” The Prophet was trying to guide him in the way of courtesy, but the other man was unconcerned. The Prophet then turned to the Companions and, ignoring the man’s incivility, instructed them, “Load one of this man’s camels with barley, and the other with dates.” The man, satisfied, went away. The Companions were surprised by the Prophet’s kind treatment of this rude Bedouin.