Were Sahabah (Companions) Never Merciful Towards Non-Believers? By, Mufti Muhammad Shafi

The Qualities, Merits and Special Marks of the Noble Companions (R.A)

مُّحَمَّدٌ رَّ‌سُولُ اللَّـهِ وَالَّذِينَ مَعَهُ أَشِدَّاءُ عَلَى الْكُفَّارِ‌ رُ‌حَمَاءُ بَيْنَهُمْ

Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and those who are with him are hard against the disbelievers, compassionate among themselves. (48:29).


From this point onwards the merits of the noble Companions (R.A) of the Holy Prophet (ﷺ) are described. Although the immediate addressees of the verse are the noble participants of Hudaibiyah and bai’at-ur-Ridwan. But on account of the generality of words, all blessed Companions (R.A) are included in the description, because a Sahabi or Companion is one who embraced Islam, saw the Holy Prophet (ﷺ) and accompanied him, even for a short time.

Allah Ta’ala, on this occasion, describes the messenger-ship of the Holy Prophet (ﷺ) ، and makes a prophecy to the effect that not only would Islam prevail in Arabia, but would also eventually triumph over all other religions. In addition, He has described the qualities, the merits, and the special marks of the noble Companions (R.A). The severe test which they had to undergo at the time of the Treaty of Hudaibiyah has also been described. The passage describes that they never wavered from the path of rectitude despite the fact that the Treaty was against their firm belief and heartfelt emotions, and despite the fact that they could not enter the sacred Mosque, and had to return without performing Umrah. In these unfavorable circumstances, they displayed unusual obedience of the Holy Prophet (ﷺ) and their strength of faith. The blessed Companions (R.A) have been described here fully because the Holy Prophet (ﷺ) is the Final Messenger and there shall be no prophet or messenger after him. He left behind him the Book of Allah and the paradigm of noble Companions (R.A) to follow. Specific injunctions have been laid down to emulate their pattern of life. Therefore, the Qur’an too describes the merits of the blessed Companions (R.A) ، and encourages and emphasizes to follow their model of life.

The first quality of the Companions (R.A) mentioned here is that they are hard against the unbelievers and merciful to one another. It was proven time and again that they were harsh against the unbelievers. They sacrificed all their ethnic and tribal relations for the sake of Islam. This was especially demonstrated on the occasion of Hudaibiyah. The tenderness of the blessed Companions was especially demonstrated when Islamic brotherhood [mu’akhat] was created between Muhajirs [emigrants from Makkah] and Ansar [helpers from Madinah]. Ansar invited the Muhajirin to share with them in their holdings. The Qur’an describes this quality of the blessed Companions (R.A) first because nothing they practiced – whether friendship or enmity, love, or hatred – was for any selfish reasons. Everything was for the sake of Allah and His Messenger – and this is the highest degree of perfect faith. In a Hadith recorded by Bukhari, the Holy Prophet (ﷺ) has said,

مَن أحبّ اللہ و أبغض للہ فقد استکمل ایمانہ

“He who loves for the sake of Allah and hates for the sake of Allah has attained the highest degree of faith.”

This means that anyone who has subjugated his friendship, love, hatred, and enmity under the Will of Allah has perfected his faith.

This clarifies another point: The Companions’ being hard against the unbelievers does not imply that they were never tender towards any non-believer. In fact, it means that where Allah and His Messenger enjoins them to be hard against the non-believers, they would simply comply without taking into account the relations of kinship or friendship. As far as kind and equitable dealing with them are concerned, the Qur’an itself promulgates:

لَّا يَنْهَاكُمُ اللَّـهُ عَنِ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يُقَاتِلُوكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ وَلَمْ يُخْرِ‌جُوكُم مِّن دِيَارِ‌كُمْ

“Allah does not forbid you from those who did not fight you on account of faith, and did not expel you from your homes, that you do good to them, and deal justly with them.” (60:8).

There is a large number of incidents where Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) and the blessed Companions (R.A) displayed their kindness and compassion to the helpless and needy unbelievers. Treating them with justice and equity is the general injunction of Islam. No activity flouting justice and equity is permissible even in the field of a pitched battle.

SOURCE: Maariful Quran, By Mufti Muhammad Shafi, Vol 8, Page 103 to 105.


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