The Prophet Muhammad (saw)
The Person
 

The Prophet : Not Offending and Not Being Offended

The Quran refers to the kindness of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) towards all creatures and his compassion and grace for humans: "There had come unto you a Messenger, one of yourselves, unto whom whatever that you are overburdened is grievous, full of concern for you, for the believers full of pity, merciful." (1)

In this verse, Allah gives the names Rauf (very compassionate) and Raheem (very merciful), both of which are of His names, to the Prophet. No other prophet before Muhammad had been given both of these names.

In human relations, the most important characteristic of understanding the other is being kind. Thanks to the Prophet's kind character, he was welcomed by people and had a special place in their hearts. After all, it is not genius or intellect, but character and consistency that affect people in human relations. In this respect, Allah orders: "It was by the mercy of Allah that you were lenient with them, for if you had been stern and fierce of heart they would have dispersed from round about you." (2)

The basis of human relations is to comprehend the addressee and realize that they too are human beings. Living a self-centered, egocentric life, disregarding other people is one of the weakest points in human relations. The people who are interested in human relations and personal development say that the basic point of human relations is "empathy", which means being able to step into someone else's shoes. When we look from this perspective, we see that the people who lived in the Age of Happiness always tried to please Prophet Muhammad with a feeling of compassion and love in their heart due to the fact that they admired his character and personality. The fact that the Prophet did not use his position to his own advantage, that he took the first step in meeting a common hardship and that he took the last slice when bread was shared out was noticed by others. When a loud noise was heard in Medina, he asked: "What has happened? What is that noise?" while other people were looking at one another in fear. He was the first to mount a horse and ride to the place where the noise had come from. After examining the situation, he comforted his Companions by saying "There is nothing to be afraid of." (3)

Moreover, he served food to hundreds of his Companions during a meal given by Jabir ibn Abdullah while a trench was being dug during the Battle of the Trenches and he was the last one to eat his meal (4). His altruistic, content attitude and his refusal to avoid risks were greatly admired by his Companions.

We see that Prophet Muhammad treated his Companions and all the people around him, starting with his family members, with compassion and mercy; he never caused anyone any harm.

Having continuous tolerance for people who crossed the line, not being offended and not offending others in these sorts of relationships is a difficult task. It could even be said that not being offended is more difficult than not offending others.

When warning people of the mistakes and wrongdoings that he observed in their behavior, Prophet Muhammad would say "What occurs to me that I see some of my brothers in such situations" (5) implying that he might have made a mistake in his observations. With these words, he meant to say: "My brothers should not act in this way, I may have misunderstood the situation."

Prophet Muhammad would respond with great maturity to all kinds of injustice and wrongs that were committed against him and would forgive errors. Moreover, when a Bedouin asked for more than his share of booty when it was being divided up, going so far as to grab the Prophet by the collar, the Prophet only smiled at him, satisfied his request and forgave him (6). This was because Allah had ordered: "(O! My Prophet) Follow the path of forgiveness; forgive; order what is right; mind not those who are ignorant!" (7)

Having continuous tolerance for people who crossed the line, not being offended and not offending others in these sorts of relationships is a difficult task. It could even be said that not being offended is more difficult than not offending others. This is because the act of offending someone is something that is dependent on the individual. You can control your hands, tongue and eyes, you can refrain yourself and you will not hurt or offend anyone. However, it is not possible to remain unaffected by the crude and immature behaviors of others. This is an impediment of desires and can only be overcome by a great heart. Prophet Muhammad never offended anyone as he was never offended. Among the Companions were those who acted without control, due to their Bedouin background. There were even people who attempted to urinate in Al Masjid al-Nabi. However, the Prophet did not become angry with these people and he showed great care to not offend those who had acted in such a way. He warned any of the Companions who overreacted to such behavior and he invited them to tolerance and to inoffensive and kind behavior (8). When a young man came to him to ask permission to commit adultery, the Prophet, without offending the young man, convinced him by asking him several questions that such a deed was wrong and dissuaded him (9)

When warning people of the mistakes and wrongdoings that he observed in their behavior, Prophet Muhammad would say "What occurs to me that I see some of my brothers in such situations" implying that he might have made a mistake in his observations. With these words, he was saying: "My brothers should not act in this way, I may have misunderstood the situation."

Excessive attitude and rude behavior that is essentially caused by immaturity and coarseness offend and sadden people and can break their hearts. The Prophets, who were the fountains of the river of Prophethood, and principally Prophet Muhammad, became models for humankind for how not to offend people and not to become offended. Moral virtues can only be learned from role models. The beauty experienced by the ummah (Islamic community) throughout Islamic history contains the traces of the noble personality and superior character of the Prophet of Allah. People can acquire socially acceptable traits as long as they can attain such characteristics. The philosophy of not offending and not being offended also generated a different form of beauty in the literature and many poets have reflected their feelings on this topic. Of these, Pertev Pasha describes it as follows:

Do not smell the rose that the nightingale is in love with, nor get hurt by its thorn;
if you get hurt by the thorn or fear it, you should not smell the rose.
Whoever loves the rose must bear its thorns.

Do not take interest in someone's lover other than Allah, nor become offended by anyone, considered strangers, other than Allah. If you are entranced by that which is mortal, you get hurt, as something mortal is ultimately bound to betray your trust.

Neither get cursed for your deeds nor get offended by the cries of others. The person who commits deeds that receive the curses of others does not have the right to be offended by the curses of others.

The best way is not being offended by others and not offending them. In one word, that is to have a benign heart.
 

1) Tawba, 9/128. Also see. Anbiya, 21/107.

2) Al-i Imran, 3/159.

3) Ibn Sa´d, Tabaqat, I, 373; Bukharî, Adab, 39.

4) Bukharî, Magazî, 29; Vakidî, II, 452.

5) See. Bukharî, Manakib, 25; Muslim, Salat, 119.

6) Bukharî, Humus 19, Libas 18, Edeb 68; Muslim, Zakat 128. Also see. Abu Dawud, Adab 1; Nasaî, Kasâme, 24; Ibn Majah, Libas 1.

7) Araf, 7/199

8) Bukharî, Wudû´ 58, Adab 80. Also see. Muslim, Taharet, 98-100; Abu Dawud, Taharet 136; Tirmithî, Taharet 112; Ibn Majah, Taharet 78.

9) Ahmed b. Hanbel, Musned, V, 256-257; Haysemî, Mejmau´z-zevâd, I, 129.

 

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