Reported by Estebsar (Muslims converts Website) – The Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) actively promoted peace, tolerance and compassion for all non-Muslim minorities. He was prepared to live in peace with the followers of other monotheistic religions, especially Judaism and Christianity.
The Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) laid down the foundations to provide legal and constitutional protections for religious minorities. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) tried hard to deliver a message of peace, tolerance, justice and faith to humanity his entire life. The Holy Quran states that he was “sent as a mercy to the worlds”. (Ch. 21, Verse 107). His words and actions even depicted as such.
Though Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was insulted many times during his life, he never responded in the same manner. Rather, his approach was with kindness.
The undeniable evidence of pinnacle of religious tolerance and clemency in Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) life, are as follows:
First, in the early Makkan period when the enemies of the new religion far exceeded the Prophet’s (PBUH) companions in number, it often happened that when the Prophet would stand to pray, his foes would come near him and whistle and clap in order to disturb him, but the Prophet would not even once show his anger at such acts. He always opted for the policy of tolerance and avoidance of confrontation.
Second, even the letters that the Prophet (PBUH) wrote to the rulers of various countries and nations around Arabia are interesting documents for our discussion. In none of the letters does the Prophet (PBUH) threaten them of a military aggression if they did not accept the message of Islam. The letter to the Christian King of Abyssinia ends with the words: “I have conveyed the message and now it is up to you to accept it.
Third, When Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) migrated to Medina, he found that besides those who had accepted Islam, there was a large Jewish community in that city but this did not bother him. He did not contemplate on forcing them into the Fold of Islam, instead, he made a peace agreement with them and called them Ahlul Kitab—the people of the Scripture. This was indeed the supreme example of tolerance shown towards the followers of other religions. This agreement between the first Muslim community and the Jewish community in Medina shows the sense of justice portrayed in the Prophet’s (PBUH) character in dealing with minorities. It also clearly shows that the Prophet (PBUH) did not spread Islam, even in the city of Medina, by force;
on the contrary, he promoted peaceful co-existence with followers of other faiths, especially Jews and Christians.
Forth, the Treaty of Sinai: in the year 2 A.H. the Prophet of Islam (PBUH) signed a treaty with the Christians of Sinai Land which was written by Imam Ali (A.S). A part of that treaty reads: “I (Prophet Muhammad) promise that I will not change their priests and monks nor do I expel them from their worshipping places. I do not prohibit their pilgrims from their travels, nor do I destroy their churches. I do not convert any churches to mosques and whichever Muslim does so has violated God’s covenant… Muslims should not force them to anything. They must be kind to them and respect them all… Should their churches require any repair, Muslims should help them as much as they can and they should allow Christians practice their rituals…”
Fifth, the treaty of Najran: Najran was a village in the border of Yemen. The following treaty was signed between the Prophet and the Christians of Najran in the year 9 A.H. in a situation that Muslims with no doubt had an upper hand over the Christians, and yet the Prophet (PBUH) did not take advantage of their situation. A part of the treaty reads: “No priest or monk should be expelled from his church or its surroundings. No Muslim has the right to humiliate them. Our army shall not occupy their lands…”
It is interesting to note that when the delegate of the Christians of Najran came to Medina to negotiate the treaty it was the time of their prayer. They asked the Prophet of Islam (PBUH) if they could pray beforehand. The Prophet (PBUH) gave them the permission to pray in the Mosque, where they all prayed facing the east.
Sixth, the pinnacle of religious tolerance and clemency was provided by the Prophet (PBUH) upon his victorious entry to Makkah after long years of suffering and persecution by the non-Muslim Makkans. The Prophet (PBUH) and his companions endured redicule and scorn poured on them by the Makkans who had implacable hatred and enmity against Muslims. The long years of bitter, cruel and sustained persecution, all the fighting, the hardship and suffering and the loss of a lot of dear and devoted companions; all these were laid aside at the moment of triumph, banished from mind and forgiven in the name of the Lord.
The clemency of the Prophet (PBUH) was unparalleled in the history of mankind for the accused were told that they were free. Giving a pledge to this effect, the Prophet (PBUH) informed the Makkans they were free and there was no reproof against them. The glorious act of unconditional forgiving has no similar act available on record. There occurred no retaliation, no dispossession, no enslavement, no execution, no looting and no kidnapping and dishonoring of women by the conquerors. Clearly, the Prophet (PBUH) molded his own life in accordance with the ideal pattern of life that he presented to others in the form of the Quran revealed to him by God. What Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) achieved was not less than opening a new chapter of tolerance and justice in world history.