Principles alone are not a sign of a nation’s nobility and humanity. How often have we seen nations which proclaim the loftiest principles to people when they treat them in the cruelest, cheapest manner, totally lacking in humanity and mercy! What the colonialists have done in our countries is no secret and the record of their atrocities and cruelty is well known to us. So let us look at the reality of how these principles were applied in our civilization, after which some will be shamed and some will be honored, where we are distinguished from all other peoples and we stand-alone, with no other people or civilization sharing our humane tendencies.
Let us start with the Messenger of Allah (Blessings and Peace be upon him), who is the pioneer of our civilization and the one who laid down its foundations and laws, the true expression of its attitude, aims, and mission. We do not know of any Prophet, Messenger, or the righteous person who was tormented, persecuted, and hurt in the course of his mission as happened to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) for thirteen years in Makkah, where it was all plots, persecution, insults, and torment for him and his followers, and conspiracies against his life and the life of his Companions. And ten years in, which was an ongoing series of struggles and battles. He never took off the garments of war until the Arabian Peninsula finally submitted in Islam, shortly before his death! Those who fight wars and wield the sword, who fight and are fought against, who are subjected to enmity and persecution, are usually the people with the strongest blood-lust and the greatest thirst for vengeance. But what was the attitude of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) in the wars he fought? How did the founder of the civilization apply the principles he had proclaimed to people?
When the Muslims were defeated at Uhud, because they had gone against the command of the Messenger (peace be upon him), and his enemies surrounded him and sought to kill him, and his Companions were prepared to defend him to the death, he emerged from the battle wounded; his molar had been broken, his face had been cut and two rings of chain mail had penetrated his cheek. Some of his Companions said to him, “Why do you not pray against them, 0′ Messenger of Allah?” He said to them, “I was not sent as a curse, rather I was sent as a caller and as mercy… ‘O’ Allah, guide my people, for they do not know. “These are the words of truth which are forced to wage war; these are the words of a Prophet who did not wage war out of the desire to shed blood, but rather from the desire to guide those who had gone astray.
During the battle of Uhud, the Lion of Allah, Hamzah (may Allah be pleased with him), the paternal uncle of the Prophet (Blessings and Peace be upon him), and one of the most famous Arab heroes, was slain. He was killed by a man called Wahshi, at the incitement of Hind, the wife of Abu Sufyaan. When the hero fell, Hind took out his liver, then she chewed it as an act of vengeance. Later on, Hind became Muslim, as did Wahshi.
What did the Messenger of Allah do? He did no more than to pray for forgiveness for Hind, and before Wahshi became Muslim he said, “If you can live far away from us, then do so.” This is all that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) did with the one who had killed his paternal uncle Hamzah and the woman who had chewed his liver. In one of the wars, he saw a woman from among the enemy who had been killed, and he got angry and denounced that, saying, “Did I not forbid you to kill women? Such a one would not have fought.” Such was the Messenger of Allah who waged war according to these humane principles whilst he was fighting battles and leading the troops.
When Makkah was conquered and the Messenger of Allah (Blessings and Peace be upon him) entered it in victory at the head of ten thousand of his heroes and troops, and Quraysh surrendered and stood beneath his feet at the door of the Kaaba, waiting for the ruling of the Messenger after they had resisted him for twenty-one years, he did nothing more than to say: “O’ Quraysh! What do you think I will do with you?” They said, “Good … (you are) a noble brother, son of a noble brother.” He said, “Today I say to you what my brother Yusuf (Joseph) said before: …No reproach on you this day; may Allah forgive you, and He is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy! (Quran 12:92) Go, for you are free.”
This was Muhammad, the Messenger, the one who taught mankind well, not a murderous leader who was striving for his own glory and power, intoxicated with victory. The story of his Companions and the Caliphs after him in their wars and conquests was along the same lines. They applied these principles and did not lose control even during the most intense moments of war. They did not forget their principles in the greatest victories of conquest.