Islamic Principles Enjoin Mercy And Condemn Aggression

The Divine religion of Islam is a religion of peace, mercy, tolerance, kindness and benevolence. It stands upright against all brutality, wanton violence, and viciousness in order to promote and protect justice and peace. Allah, the Most Benevolent, urged all Muslims to follow the pattern of Allah’s Messenger ( s) as follows: “By mercy from Allah, [O Muhammad], you were lenient with them. And if you had been rude [in speech] and harsh in heart, they would have disbanded from about you. So pardon them and ask forgiveness for them and consult them in the matter. And when you have decided, then rely upon Allah. Indeed, Allah loves those who rely [upon Him].”

Allah, the Wise and Sublime, characterizes the mission of Muhammad ( s) as a mercy to all, when He said: “We have not sent you but as a Mercy for all creation.”

The teachings of Islam call all Muslims to show mercy and kindness to all of the creation. The Prophet of Allah ( s) said: “The merciful and kind people will receive the Mercy of the Merciful Lord, Allah. Be merciful to people on earth, and Allah, Who is in Heaven, will grant you His Mercy.”

And in another version he said: “Allah would be Merciful to the merciful people. Be merciful to those on earth, and the One in Heaven would be Merciful to you.”
(Tirmidthi & Abu Dawood)

Allah's Messenger ( s) said: “You must be gentle. Verily, gentleness is not in anything except that it beautifies it, and it is not removed from anything except that it disgraces it.”

The Messenger of Allah, may the peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, said, “He who is deprived of forbearance and gentleness is, in fact, deprived of all good.”
(Reported by Muslim)

The Prophet ( s) said to his wife while educating her: “O Aisha, Allah is gentle and He loves gentleness. He rewards for gentleness what is not granted for harshness, and He does not reward anything else like it.”

The Messenger of Allah ( s) said to Ashaj Abdul-Qais, may Allah be pleased with him: “You possess two qualities that Allah loves, clemency and tolerance.”

Furthermore, Islam requires that mercy and kind treatment should be meted out to all people, even to the enemies of the Muslims captured during battle, as in the command of the Prophet of Allah ( s) when he said, “Be kind and merciful to the captives.”
( AlMu’jammal-Kabeer, 22/393)

If the Prophet ( s) gave this command to Muslims concerning the hostile enemies who are fighting against them, then the treatment towards the peaceful people would naturally be even better.

Never is any life to be taken unjustly. As Allah said: “And do not kill the soul which Allah has forbidden, except by right. And whoever is killed unjustly - We have given his heir authority, but let him not exceed limits in [the matter of] taking life. Indeed, he has been supported [by the law].”

More on this topic will be presented below, but here let us note that Islamic mercy and kindness, not to mention the prohibition of taking life unjustly, is not limited to human beings, but includes animals and all living creatures as well.

The Prophet of Allah, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, noticed someone shooting a little bird for fun and then leaving it to die for no reason, whereupon he said: “This little bird would supplicate its case before Allah the Almighty on the Day of Judgment, saying: ‘O My Lord! This man killed me for no reason to benefit by my death (like hunting for food which is allowed).’”
(Ahmed & Nasa’ee)

The companion Abdullah ibn Omar is reported to have passed by a group of young men who had captured a bird and set it up as a shooting target. He said: “Who placed this bird as a shooting target? May Allah's Curse descend on the person who did this! The Messenger of Allah ( s) said: ‘Allah, the Almighty curses the person who captures and sets any living creature as a shooting target.’”
(Bukhari & Muslim)

Allah’s Messenger ( s) commanded Muslims to show kindness in every action, even when slaughtering an animal, by the words: “Allah, the Almighty, prescribes perfection in every action... If you slaughter an animal [for eating], perfect your act of slaughtering. Sharpen your knife and be good, kind, and merciful to the animal you are about to slaughter. Give the slaughtered animal the best comfort you can while being slaughtered.”

The Messenger of Allah ( s) said: “Once a man suffered from thirst while he was walking on a journey. When he found a well, he climbed down into it and drank from it. Then he came out and saw a dog lolling its tongue from thirst and licking the ground. The man said, ‘This dog has suffered thirst just as I have suffered from it.’ He climbed down into the well, filled his shoe with water, and caught it in his mouth as he climbed up. Then he gave the dog a drink. Allah appreciated this deed, so he forgave him.” It was said, “O Messenger of Allah, is there a reward for charity even to the animals?” The Prophet said, “In every living being there is a reward for charity.”

Conversely a woman deserved the penalty and the wrath of Allah, the Almighty, and was to become one of the dwellers of the Fire of Hell, as a result of her cruelty to a cat. Allah’s Messenger ( s) is reported to have said: “A woman entered the Fire because of a cat which she had confined, neither giving it food, nor setting it free to eat from the vermin of the earth.”
(Bukhari & Muslim)

The list of the Prophet’s ( s) commands to Muslims to be kind, merciful, and kindhearted even to animals is endless. We only cite above a few examples. Some other examples include: Allah’s Messenger ( s) said, in great disappointment, while passing by a donkey that had been tattooed on its face: “May Allah’s Curse descend on the person who placed this tattoo on the face of the donkey.”

Allah’s Messenger ( s) is reported to have said while passing by a camel that appeared extremely thin from hunger: “Be mindful and honor the Commandments of Allah concerning these animals, which can’t express their needs by speech. Ride them while you keep them in good shape, and slaughter and eat them while you keep them in good shape.”
(Abu Da`ood)

If such was the mercy and kindness to animals and living creatures, what about the human being, who is given preference, honor and respect over all other creatures of Allah’s creation? The Omniscient and Almighty Allah honored man above all others, and enumerated His bounties to mankind: “We have certainly honored the children of Adam and carried them on the land and sea and provided for them of the good things and preferred them over much of what We have created, with [definite] preference.”

Indeed by obedience to Allah and the guidance revealed to His Messengers, man is honored, but by disobedience he falls into disgrace and dishonors himself by shameful and obnoxious deeds.