Some Examples of the pardons made by the Prophet and the Imams
One of the distinctions of the religious leaders was that, in addition to their verbal announcement of religion to the people, they were, in fact, the incarnations of religion.
They were themselves the manifestations of every moral principle that they enjoined upon the people. In other words, our religious leaders have been and are the perfect examples of Islam. It is up to us to reconcile all aspects of our material and spiritual life with those models. For those who are not well-informed of the biography of their religious leaders, we provide some examples of remission by these leaders with the hope that these will serve as a lesson in our lives.
There are many instances of forgiveness by the Holy Prophet (S), but from among them, we will only speak about the "Conquest of Mecca" After his ordainment, the Holy Prophet (S) resided in the Holy Mecca for thirteen years. In the course of these thirteen years the Holy Prophet (S) suffered much pain and heard many false accusations from the Meccans and the pagans of Quraish.
They even went so far as to accuse the Absolute wisdom (i.e. the Holy Prophet) of madness. They also pelted him with stones and threw dust on his head and face to the extent that he stated: "No prophet suffered so much annoyance as I did." The pagans of Quraish even planned to kill the Holy Prophet (S). Allah Almighty informed His prophet of this conspiracy, and the latter asked Ali (a.s) to sleep in his bed.
The prophet left Mecca at night. He stopped at a place from where Mecca was barely visible and cried, saying, "O dear home! Allah knows that I love you. If your inhabitants had not driven me out, I would have never left you and chosen any other city. I feel downcast in being separated from you." 1
After traversing a long distance, the Holy Prophet (S) settled in Medina, establishing that city as the seat for guiding people. In Medina, too, the people disturbed the Holy prophet's peace. They waged about 26 battles or military expeditions against Islam and the Muslims.
They killed the prophet's uncle in the battle of Uhud, taking out his liver and giving it to Hind. the wife of Abu Sufiyan as a souvenir. They even mutilated the pure organs of his body and wore them on their necks as necklaces. They filled the tender heart of the Prophet (S) with grief for his uncle.
When the Holy Prophet (S) saw his uncle in such a heart-rending situation, he said: "By Allah, I had never stood in a place like this which had so aroused my anger. If Allah grants me victory over the Quraish, I will do the same with seventy of them in return for the treatment meted out to my Uncle Hamzeh."At this point, Gabriel descended, bringing the following Holy verse:
وَإِنْ عَاقَبْتُمْ فَعَاقِبُوا بِمِثْلِ مَا عُوقِبْتُم بِهِ وَلَئِن صَبَرْتُمْ لَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لِّلصَّابِرِينَ
“And if you take turn, then retaliate with the like of that with which you were afflicted; but if you are patient, it will certainly be best for those who are patient” (16:126) 2
After the revelation of this Holy verse, the Prophet (S) stated: “I will be patient.”3
After enduring all this pain and misfortune, the following promise of Allah was materialized:
"Allah who has made the Quran incumbent upon you will one day return you to Mecca."
In the eighth year after the Hijrah, the Holy Prophet (S) ordered those who believed in Allah and in the day of Judgment to mobilize themselves for a battle. Some twelve thousand warriors of Islam, under the command of the Holy Prophet (S), set out for Mecca on the tenth day of the month of Ramadhan.4
Meanwhile, Abbas, the Propeht’s uncle, who had immigrated with his family from Mecca to Medina, came across the army of his nephew in a place called Zul-Halifa. Upon seeing his uncle, the prophet (S) was elated and said: “Yours is the last of all migration as mine is the last of all prophetic missions.”
He then ordered Abbas to send his family to Medina and to accompany the Messenger of Allah.
Long distances were speedily traversed until the Muslims reached a place 25 kilometers off the Holy Mecca. Abbas thought that if he could reach Mecca in advance of the army of Islam and persuade the Quraish to surrender, he would be able to prevent a bloodshed.
For this purpose, he mounted the mule of the Holy prophet and hurried set out for Mecca. When he reached a place called "Arak" near Mecca, he heard a conversation going on between Abu Sufiyan and Badeel Ibn Wurqa.
Abbas called Abu Sufiyan who, recognizing him, said, "May my parents be sacrificed for you! What has come up that you have returned with such haste?"
Abbas said, "Now the Holy Prophet (S), with twelve thousand determined men, is about to reach Mecca . You have no choice but to go along with me and see him so that I could ask him to pardon you. You should know that the front wing of the army is led by Umar ibn Khatab. If he gets hold of you, he will immediately kill you. "With these comments Abbas completely terrified Abu Sufiyan, mounted him on his mule, and took him to the Holy Prophet (S).
There, Abbas said: "O Messenger of Allah I have given quarter to Abu Sufiyan. "The Messenger stated, "He should embrace Islam, so that he could enjoy protection."
Then the Messenger of Allah turned to Abu Sufiyan and said: "What will you do with Lot and Habal?" Before Abu Sufiyan could answer, Umar ibn Khatab interrupted "and said," You must contaminate them with abomination, "Abu Sufiyan faced Umar and said, "Woe to you! Why do you use abusive words and interrupt my speech with my cousin?" Umar flew into a rage.
The Holy prophet prevented him from harshness. This further terrified Abu Sufiyan. The Holy prophet ordered his men to keep Abu Sufiyan in Abbas's tent at night. In the morning, Bilal made the call for prayer. Abu Sufiyan asked; "What is this call?" Abbas stated: "This is the Morning Prayer call which is recited by Bilal Habashi, the Muezzin (one who calls people to prayer) of the Holy Prophet."
Abu Sufiyan, astonishingly observed all the events: The Holy prophet got ready for ablution. The prophet's companions did not let a drop of the prophet's ablution water fall on the ground.
They caught each drop of it with eagerness and rubbed it on their heads and faces. With wonder, Abu Sufiyan said: "I observe things never seen in Qaisar and Kasra." For fear of his life, he uttered the formula for Islamic faith and embraced Islam.
To make the conquest of 'Mecca peaceful, Abbas asked the Holy prophet to grant a privilege to Abu Sufiyan in this conquest. He said: "O Messenger of Allah! If you deem it advisable, give a privilege to Abu Sufiyan, so that he would not have a feeling of contempt among the Quraish and not hatch plots." The Holy prophet noted: "Whoever enters Abu Sufiyan's house will be safe and whoever surrenders his arms, enters his own house, and closes the door on himself will be secure. Whoever enters Masjid Ul-Haram will also be in security."
A noteworthy point: Our honorable readers should not be kept in the dark about the fact that this privilege granted by the Holy prophet to Abu Sufiyan was well calculated. Although no tribe had wronged the Holy prophet and his followers as much as Abu Sufiyan and his family, and even though all their wrongful deeds were deeds, remembered by the prophet, he deemed it proper to give a privilege to Abu Sufiyan, so that conceit and vanity would not goad Abu Sufiyan to embark on war and bloodshed, and the conquest of Mecca be put through without such killings.
This was duly materialized, because the policy adopted by the' Holy prophet contented Abu Sufiyan as he thought that entry of the Muslims into Mecca had not marred his imaginary rank and position. Maybe this factor served, as one of the causes for issuing the following decree: "Whoever enters the house of Abu Sufiyan will be in safe quarter."
Dazzled and confused, Abu Sufiyan entered, Mecca. People were surprised at the actions of Abu Sufiyan, not knowing as to what had occurred. With a countenance telling his consternation, Abu Sufiyan said, "Woe to you, Muhammad is about to enter Mecca any minute with a huge army know that whoever enters my house will be safe.
Also whoever enters Masjid-Ul-Haram will be secure. "People rushed and reproached Abu Sufiyan. Even his wife, Hind slapped his face and cried out: "kill this old idiot!"
Finally, the Holy prophet entered his beloved homeland, the very home upon immigration from which he had felt deeply grieved. Allah ordered him not to grieve, for he would once more, return to this homeland in glory and honor. Allah's promise was true and it was duly materialized. The army of Islam reached Hajoon and the tomb of Hazrat Khadijah.
The Holy prophet performed the ceremonial bath in a tent or behind a curtain. Be then drew his sword, mounted the mule, and headed for Ka'aba while reciting chapter Fateh of the Holy Quran:
إِنَّا فَتَحْنَا لَكَ فَتْحًا مُّبِينًا لِّيَغْفِرَ لَكَ اللَّـهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِن ذَنبِكَ وَمَا تَأَخَّرَ وَيُتِمَّ نِعْمَتَهُ عَلَيْكَ وَيَهْدِيَكَ صِرَاطًا مُّسْتَقِيمًا
"Surely we have given to you a clear victory that Allah may forgive your community, their past faults and those to follow... (48:1-2)" 5
The fighters of Islam while surrounding the Holy prophet and uttering the Remembrance, entered Masjid-Ul-Haram. When the task of breaking the idols began, the Holy prophet recited the following verse:
وَقُلْ جَاءَ الْحَقُّ وَزَهَقَ الْبَاطِلُ إِنَّ الْبَاطِلَ كَانَ زَهُوقًا
" . . . The truth has come and the falsehood has vanished; surely falsehood is a vanishing (thing) (17:81)." 6
While reciting this Holy verse, the prophet pointed to the idols which were felled and smashed one after another. Several idols remained intact in the upper part of Ka'aba where they could not be reached by hand. The Holy prophet asked Ali to climb upon his shoulders and crash the idols. Ali climbed on the Prophet's (S) shoulders and smashed them.
After purging the sanctuary of Ka'aba from all signs of polytheism and idolatry, the prophet of Mercy laid his hands on both sides of the door to the Holy Ka'aba, and while facing the people stated: "Now what? What do you think?" They replied: "We say the blessing and believe in naught but it, for, you are our generous brother and the son of our generous brother; moreover, you are victorious over us.”
The Holy prophet was moved to pity and tears poured down from his eyes.
قَالَ لَا تَثْرِيبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْيَوْمَ ۖ يَغْفِرُ اللَّـهُ لَكُمْ ۖ وَهُوَ أَرْحَمُ الرَّاحِمِينَ
"I will utter what my brother Yusuf said:
" ... (There shall be) no reproof against you this day; Allah may forgive you, and he is the most Merciful of the merciful (12:92). " 7
Then he said: "Go! you are the ones who are set free!" The person who was raised as the sign of the mercy of Allah for the whole world pardoned all the offences and crimes of the Meccans. He remitted everyone including Hind, the wife of Abu Sufiyan, who had eaten up the liver of the prophet's uncle and who had made a necklace out of the organs of his body and worn it on her neck.
He granted pardon to "Gholam Wahshi" who had killed his uncle, while he had the power to inflict any kind of punishment and penalty on that killer.
Indeed, this is the policy of a person who told the people that all kindness is embodied in three characteristics:
• Forgiving one who has wronged you.
• Observing the bonds of relationship with regard to a relative who has broken ties with you.
• Forgiving one who has deprived you. The Holy Quran asks the Muslim people and the faithful followers of Islam to set the behavior and deeds of the Holy Prophet (S) as their model:
…لَّقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِي رَسُولِ اللَّهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ
" Certainly you have in the Apostle of Allah an excellent exemplar…(33:21)"8
According, to the aforementioned verse, if we desire to be a good Muslim, we must adapt all our actions to those of the Holy Prophet (S).
Ali (a.s) was the most patient and forgiving man of his time. A reference to his treatment towards the enemies is sufficient to depict the mercifulness of the heir to the Holy Prophet (S) for his pure followers.
Marwan Hakam, Abdullah Ibn Zubair, and Amr Ibn Al As, accompanied by Aisha, one of the wives of the Holy Prophet (S) deceived the people of Basra and incited them to wage war against Islam whose leader was Ali Ibn Abi Taleb. To safeguard the cause of Islam, Ali had to fight with them.
After Allah made His proof, namely Ali, triumphant over the deviated people and after All became dominant over them, all those who had waged the war to break the ranks of Muslims, were taken captive. The commander of the faithful set them all free without retaliating for their indecent deeds.
With kindness and without any objections, Ali sent to Medina the woman who had sat in a camel-litter exciting sedition. He even granted quarter to the people who had been deceived by his enemies, who had drawn swords on him and his children, and who had vituperated him. and his companions. Ali, furthermore did not allow any aggression against their property and children.
Likewise, in the battle of Saffain, Mawyah, the son of Abu Sufiyan, prevented the flow of water from the head fountain and thus did not allow the military-men of Ali to quench their thirst.
Ali (a.s) delivered a lecture following which his troops seized the source of water from the army of Mawyah, and drove it to a desert. The companions of Ali (a.s) said: "Let us now close water on them, so that they would die of thirst and there would be no need to fight with them." Ali noted: "By Allah, I will do no such thing. I deem my sword sufficient for achieving my ends. "He then ordered them to reopen the flow of water on Mawyah’s Army, so that it too, could meet its needs.
In their books, some scholars from among the Sunni brothers have related the following event: “One of the most reliable Sunni brothers has said: "I saw Ali in my dream and said: 'O commander of the faithful, when you conquered Mecca, you made Abu Sufiyans house a safe quarter for the Meccans and announced that whoever entered his house was safe, but in Karbala, they killed your children in such a savage way and spared no efforts in this regard. How is it so?”
Ali (a.s) replied: “Have you not heard the verse composed by Saifi’s son?” I said: “No.” he stated: “When you wake up, you can hear them from his own mouth.” The man said: “When I woke up. I hurriedly went to the house of Saifi’s son known as “Hais Ubais” and told him of my dream. As soon as he heard it, he cried out and wept passionately, saying, “By Allah, I composed these verses last night. I have not yet read them to anyone and Ali has ordered you to listen to them.”
He then read out the verse whose contents were as follows: “When we gained victory, we made remission our trade, but when you became victorious, you reddened the Abtah territory with blood. You made the murder and massacre of the captives lawful, while for many years, we had pardoned and freed them. This much difference between you and me is sufficient, for such as the tree is, such is the fruit."
After twenty one years of dictatorship Abdul Malik Ibn Marwan passed away in 86H. He was succeeded by his son Walid. To lessen the discontent of the people, Walid embarked on adjusting the system of caliphate and the mode of treatment with the people. He specifically set out to win the satisfaction of the people of Medina which was one of the two Holy cities of the Muslim's, and the center where the followers, the remaining companions of the prophet, and men of jurisprudence and hadith (Islamic tradition) lived.
For this reason, Walid deposed Husham Ibn Ismaeel Makhzooni, Abdulmalik's father-in-law, who formerly ruled as governor of Medina, had oppressed the people, and whose downfall was constantly desired by the people.
Husham Ibn Ismaeel had severely oppressed and insulted the people of Medina. Husham had given sixty lashes to Saeed Ibn Musayyeb, famous narrator of Islamic traditions and a figure respected by the people of Medina, for refusing to take the oath of allegiance. He then clothed him in coarse garments, mounted him on a camel, and took him all around Medina. Husham had wronged the family of Ali (a.s), especially Imam Zain Ul-Abeddin, chief and leader of Alavis (followers of Ali), more than anyone else.
Husham was removed from office by Walid. In his place, Walid appointed his young cousin, Umar Ibn Abdul Azeea, who was renowned for good intention and equity, as the governor of Medina. To get the wrongs off people's chest, Umar ordered his men to keep Husham Ibn Ismaeel in front of the house of Marwan Hakam.
He said that whoever had seen or heard a wrong deed from Husham should come and take revenge. People flocked there and using abusive language flung curses on Husham Ibn Ismaeel.
Husham Ibn Ismaeel was more anxious about Imam Ali Ibn AI-Hussein (a.s) and the followers of Ali (a.s). He said to himself that All Ibn Al-Hussein's vengeance of all the oppression and curses toward his honorable ancestors would be no less than killing him. On the contrary, the Imam told the followers of Ali (a.s):
"It is not our habit to kick the fallen and to avenge ourselves of the enemy after they are debilitated. On the contrary, we are accustomed to helping the down-trodden people."
When the Imam accompanied by a massive group of the followers of Ali (a.s), headed for Husham Ibn Ismaeel, Husham had turned pale. He expected death every minute. Contrary to his expectation, the Imam loudly said: "Peace be upon you", shook hands with him, and showed mercy to him, as is the normal practice when two Muslims meet one another. The Imam said: It If I can help you in any way, I am ready to do so."9
Indeed, these were several examples about the generosity, magnanimity, and remission of the leaders of Islam. These examples must always be followed by the adherents of the human nurturing school of Islam.
With so much recommendation concerning "Remission" what does "Penance by the lash” mean?
Maybe the honorable reader of this pamphlet would imagine that since all these Quranic verses and Islamic narrations recommend "remission," penance by the lash in Islam is against them.
As an explanation, it must be said that "remission" has been recommended as the personal right of every Muslim, that is to say, for the consent of Allah Almighty, a Muslim, believing in Allah, escalation of corruption and appearance of chaos. At such a time social security would be jeopardized and the property, life and reputation of the people would not remain immune from the aggression of corrupt and wicked persons.
For this reason, the Holy religion of Islam has attached more importance to carrying out "religious penance" than to granting "remission."
• Imam Muhammad Baqer (a.s) has said: "Carrying out one religious penance on the earth is more purifying than forty days of rain pouring down on the earth." 10
• Imam Muhammad Baqer (a.s) has noted: "Allah Almighty has not left out anything whatsoever that his servants might need until the Day of Resurrection, except that he has revealed it in a book and has expressed it to his prophet. He has maintained a "Limit" for everything and brought proof for it. For those who exceed the bounds, Allah Almighty has fixed "a religious penance: and punishment." 11
This precious statement of Imam Muhammad Baqer (a.s) clearly indicates that "religious penance" has been allowed in order to prevent the transgression of the aggressors; furthermore, it serves to preserve Allah's equitable criteria in the world; to eradicate disorder, oppression, extortion, and obstinacy; to enable the society, with all its classes, to live in welfare and security under the light of Islamic justice; and to safeguard human honor and values against the encroachment of capricious and spiteful persons.
Likewise, in the Islamic jurisprudence, it is stated that if three people bear witness concerning the religious penance for adultery without the presence of a fourth witness, all three just witnesses will be penanced because of marrying the reputation of a person without the existence of religious conditions.
Islam wants simultaneous with the punishment of an aggressor to safeguard the repute of people, women, men, poor, and rich.
Extremely subtle conditions for Enforcing Religious penance Islam has set forth very subtle conditions for proving an offence. If these conditions are strictly followed, perhaps even one percent error of judgment would not occur and no individual accused unreasonably.
Among these conditions, one pertains to the qualities of a judge. This issue has been discussed in detail by theologians in the book entitled Qaza (Judgment). Another issue pertains to the qualifications of the affiants. This subject has been dealt with in the book on testimony. Of course, this brief pamphlet, does not have the space to enumerate all of them. However, a brief reference will be made to the fact that proving an offence could take place in one of the following two ways:
• On the testimony of the witnesses: If just witnesses testify before a religious judge against a person, for instance, if they testify that such-and-such a person has committed theft, the judge must carry out the religious penance after the person’s offence if proved. The judge cannot grant pardon to him personally nor can he accept anyone's intercession except when the accused repents his sin before the judge prior to the testimony by the witnesses, and bears witness to his robbery before the judge following the testimony of the affiants. In this case the goods will be returned to the owner; but no longer will they sever the hand of this thief. 12
• On the confession of the guilty person: This means that if the guilty person goes before the judge and confesses his guilt, for instance, saying, "I have committed adultery and so I demand religious penance." and if the conditions and number of confessions are also reaused, then it is up to the judge either to carry out the "religious penance" in respect of the guilty person or to pardon him if he establishes the fact that the person has repented and confessed his offence out of remorse. 13
One of the traits of the pagan era was that the infirm, powerless, and weak people were always punished, while the influential and dignified people were beyond the reach of the law. They were never punished for their indecent deeds, After the Holy Prophet was ordained to prophetic mission, a group still retained this disposition.
Once a woman, who was influential and reputable among Arab tribes, committed robbery. The Messenger of Allah ordered his men to punish her and to sever her hand from four fingers. Because of the former status of that woman, a group went to the prophet to act as intercessor.
The Messenger of Allah (S) said; "The distinction of an Islamic society from other communities is that all people are equal before the law. Islam does not discriminate between the strong and the weak. By Allah, if Fatima, the daughter of Muhammad, had committed theft Muhammad would have cut off her hand as well. 14
- 1. Muntahi Al-A'mal, Volume 1, page 85.
- 2. The Quran, Chapter Nahl, Verse 126.
- 3. Muntahi Al-A'mal, Volume 1, page 62.
- 4. Lifestyle of Ibn Husham, Volume 2, pages 46 - 47.
- 5. The Quran, Chapter Fath, Verses 1-2.
- 6. The Quran, Chapter Bani-Israel, Verse 81.
- 7. The Quran, Chapter Yusuf, Verse 92.
- 8. The Quran, Chapter Ahzab, Verse 21.
- 9. Dastan Rastan, page 255.
- 10. Hudood Wasail, page 308.
- 11. Ibid, page 311.
- 12. Mabani Takmaleh Al Minhaj, Volume 1, page 185, problem 148.
- 13. Ibid, Volume 1, page 176, problem 140.
- 14. Islam and Human thoughts, page 670.