Part 6 – Series on the Shamaa’il (the noble character and sublime conduct) of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)

The Noble Akhlaaq of Rasulullah in Regard to the Treatment of Women and Slaves

عن عائشة رضي الله عنها قالت ما ضرب رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم بيده شيئا قط إلا أن يجاهد في سبيل الله ولا ضرب خادما ولا امرأة (الشمائل المحمدية للترمذي، الرقم: 331)

Translation:

Hazrat Aa’ishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) mentioned that apart from Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) fighting in the path of Allah Ta‘ala, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) never ever hit anything with his blessed hand (whether human or animal, to cause it pain). And Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) never (ever) hit a servant (a slave serving him or a free person) nor a woman.

Commentary:

In this Hadith, Hazrat Aa’ishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) explained the mubaarak and noble character of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) when dealing with the entire creation, whether human beings or animals.

She mentioned that apart from jihaad, which was the right of Allah Ta‘ala, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) never caused pain to any creation for his personal self. Even if pain was caused to him, he forgave the person who caused him pain and overlooked his ill treatment. In fact, after forgiving those who inflicted pain upon him, he never ever reminded them of their ill treatment, but showed them greater love, compassion and kindness.

The Muhadditheen explain that though Hazrat Aa’ishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) excluded the occasion of jihaad, the corporal punishments which are commanded by Shari‘ah to be meted out to criminals are also included in this exclusion, as these punishments are part of the rights of Allah Ta‘ala and were upheld by Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) in the cause of deen. However, it should be noted that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) would not personally carry out the hudood (corporal punishments), but would instruct certain Sahaabah to carry it out.

In certain Ahaadith, it is reported that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) would hit the animal to spur it on while traveling. However, this hitting was not one of inflicting pain, as Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was considerate and took care to not cause the animal pain when spurring it on. In other words, the Rasul of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was so compassionate that at that time, he hit it in a gentle manner to encourage it to move, yet did not cause it any pain. It is for this reason that Hazrat Aa’ishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) mentioned that the Rasul of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) did not cause pain to any creature during his mubaarak life.

A clear proof mentioned in the Ahaadith, that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was gentle when he mounted the animals and rode them, is the narration of Abu Dawood Shareef. In this narration, it is mentioned that once, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) intended leaving and going to the outskirts of Madinah Munawwarah. Hazrat Aa’ishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) accompanied him, but when she sat on the conveyance which was not completely tame, she was a little hard with the animal. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), with complete compassion, immediately advised her to be gentle with the animal and said, “O Aa’ishah! Be gentle with the animal, for this quality of gentleness is such that it creates beauty in anything it is added to, and if it is removed from anything, it causes it to become ugly.” (Sunan Abu Dawood #4808)

In the above Hadith, though the hand was mentioned “Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) never ever hit anything with his blessed hand”, it includes causing any type of pain with any limb of his mubaarak body. However, since the hand is generally used to inflict pain, the hand was mentioned in specific.

Though at the beginning of this Hadith, Hazrat Aa’ishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) negated Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) showing any form of hostility or hitting any living creature, which included all humans and animals, at the end of the Hadith, she made specific mention of him not hitting servants and women.

The reason for Hazrat Aa’ishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) making specific mention of servants and women is that generally, people take advantage of servants and women, as they are under the authority of the master and husband and are considered weak in society. Hence, when Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) would not even hit servants and women, then one can well understand the extremely high level of compassion and gentleness which he possessed.

The Ulamaa explain that it is permissible for a parent to discipline the child by hitting him, on condition that the parent disciplines the child according to the limits of Shari‘ah. If one exceeds the limits of Shari‘ah then one will be sinful in the sight of Allah Ta‘ala. The details of this mas’alah can be found in the kitaabs of Fiqh.

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