Divine compassion and Prophetic mercy assign special importance to forgiveness and tolerance. As God the Most Gracious is merciful to all people, His Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is merciful and compassionate to all believers (Qur’an, 9:128). God’s clear order to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is to embrace forgiveness. The verse Adopt the way of forbearance and tolerance, and enjoin what is good and right, and withdraw from the ignorant ones (Qur’an, 7:199) indicates this.
By the blessing of God, the Prophet succeeded in establishing unity among people by acting with compassion and mercy. If he had treated the people around him severely and rudely, they would have left him and their unity would have collapsed (Qur’an, 3:159).
Since God and the Messenger of God are merciful and compassionate to believers, those who take the divinely prescribed ethics and the prophetic character as their example should obviously treat one another with mercy and compassion. Therefore, those who have received the Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) message can never be severe, arrogant, antagonistic, or hostile.
Furthermore, God Almighty advises His Messenger to be forgiving and to consult people by asking for their ideas (Qur’an, 3:159; 42:38) since exchanging ideas increases feelings of unity and cooperation while reducing tension between people. As a result, a desire for change that transforms hatred into peace and serenity appears in society.
According to the Messenger of God, people are equal before God as the teeth of a comb are equal. Characteristics like language, ancestry, race, wealth, and poverty are not signs of superiority.4 In the thirteenth verse of the chapter Al-Hujurat, the creation of humankind from a female and a male, the division of humanity into ethnic groups or nations and tribes in order to know one another, and the importance of fearing God in order to become valued in God’s view are pointed out.
The verse approves having an identity and being known by an identity; nonetheless, it rejects the abuse of affiliation (to different gender, social or ethnic groups) as a means of superiority. Thus, it assesses a person’s honor and value in terms of universal values that he or she gains through his or her own will and effort, and not in terms of gender or ethnic ties, which are not obtained through free will.5
In Islam, the individual is considered as a person that gains value within the society, as someone who is responsible to the community in a social context.
According to Islam, the life of a human being is a trust from God, irrespective of his or her ancestry, color, or language, and hence should be protected meticulously. The main idea in Islam is to praise God the Almighty (Qur’an, 1:1; 6:45), to show compassion to creation. Humankind is the best of all creations (Qur’an, 17:70) and is created of the best stature (Qur’an, 95:4). So, every human deserves respect by nature; approaching them with lenience, tolerance, and humility is certainly virtuous. Hence, staying away from hatred and having a tolerant attitude is essential for humanity.
God the Almighty asks from the Messenger of God (peace be upon him) in particular and from all Muslims in general to be forgiving (Qur’an, 42:37; 3:134). Thus, God loves good attitudes such as spending and serving for the sake of humankind at all times under all circumstances, forgiving people, and avoiding doing something wrong when we become angry.
Even if one has the right to retaliate in response to an evil action, forgiveness is more appropriate for those who are more pious. The Qur’an enlightens all humanity on this issue: The recompense of an evil deed can only be an evil equal to it; but whoever pardons and makes reconciliation, his reward is due from God. Surely He does not love the wrongdoers (Qur’an, 42:40; see also Qur’an, 42:43).
Besides, each of us lives on the path that God has ordained for him or her. For this reason, it is important to emphasize serving rather than fighting. God says in the Qur’an (5:48), Strive then together as if competing in good works, and also, Say: Every one acts according to his own character (made up of his creed, worldview and disposition), and your Lord knows best who is guided in his way (17:84). Therefore, individuals should not dispute and fight over their different ideas to satisfy their ambitions and self-interests. Rather, on the contrary, they should compete to show good character and to serve in the best way; they should support each other not in wrongdoing, but in doing good.