Every year, on the 12th of Rabi‘ Al-Awal, Muslims around the world commemorate the birth of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), according to the majority of Muslim scholars. He (PBUH) was born at a time when the Arabian Peninsula and the whole world suffered from all forms of ignorance, backwardness, wickedness and conflicts between the Persian and Roman empires. Before his birth, the Arabian Peninsula was an arena where all kinds of religious, social, economic, and political chaos and disorder were rampant. Idolatry was so prevalent in the society to the extent that every tribe used to worship an idol different from the other. It is narrated that people used to worship stones, and when they found a better stone than the first, they would abandon it and worship the new one. The present article is going to focus on the aspect of Prophet’s mercy to all creatures, whether humans or non-humans.
Before talking about the aspect of mercy in the Prophet’s life, it is worth noting that the world was awaiting the coming of the Chosen Prophet, Muhammad (PBUH). Most of the previous Messengers referred to his coming. Jesus, for instance, gave glad tidings of the Prophet as Allah says, “And [mention] when Jesus, the son of Mary, said, ‘O children of Israel, indeed I am the Messenger of Allah to you confirming what came before me of the Torah and bringing good tidings of a Messenger to come after me, whose name is Ahmad.’” In addition, the Prophet was, within a short period of time, able to deliver the world from the darkness of disbelief and oppression to the light of faith and justice. He changed the world from a state of depression, chaos and disorder to renaissance, discipline, and stability.
God’s mercy on the Prophet is extended to the community that is supposed to follow the Prophet and support him. God’s mercy for the Prophet generates the Prophet’s mercy for the believers, as stated in the verse which says, “So 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.”
Mercy was the ultimate objective of the Prophet’s message for maintaining humanity. This is clearly shown in the verse where Allah (Glory be to Him) says, “And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds”. Those who explore the Prophet’s message from its beginning to end will discover that itis based on one theme: mercy. This is what really the Prophet (PBUH) confirmed in the Hadith in which he says “O People! I am only mercy gifted to you!”
The Prophet (PBUH) not only showed mercy and kindness to his companions, but to his enemies as well. Concerning his mercy to his companions, Anas said, “I served the Prophet, (PBUH) for ten years. He never said 'uff' to me and he never questioned me about anything I had not done, asking, ‘Why didn't you do it?’ or questioned me about something I had done, asking ‘Why did you do that?’” Moreover, one day, the Prophet kissed his grandson, al-Hassan Ibn ‘Ali, in the presence of Al-Aqra' Ibn Habis. Thereupon he remarked, “I have ten children and I have never kissed any one of them.” Messenger of Allah (PBUH) looked at him and said, “He who does not show mercy to others will not be shown mercy.”
The Prophet completely rejected monasticism, saying: “By Allah, I am more submissive to Allah and more afraid of Him than you; yet I fast and break my fast, I do sleep and I also marry women. So he who does not follow my tradition in religion, is not from me (not one of my followers).”
Reviewing the biography and the history of the battles of the Prophet, one finds out that the Prophet’s mercy was not different even when he dealt with his enemies. Consider the Prophet’s instructions to his companions when he used to dispatch them to fight unbelieves. He used to say, “Fight in the Name of Allah and in Allah's cause. Fight those who disbelieve in Allah, do not act treacherously, mutilate, or kill a child.” Once the Prophet saw a woman killed during one of the battles. So, he denounced this deed saying to his companions, “This is not one with whom fighting should have taken place.” The Prophet has been sent as a mercy not an invoker of curse. In addition, Tufail Ibn ‘Amr came to the Prophet (PBUH) and said, “May the Daus (tribe) be perished as they disobeyed and refused to accept Islam. So, invoke Allah against them.” But the Prophet (PBUH) said, “O Allah! Give guidance to the Daus (tribe) and bring them (to Islam)!”
Prophet Muhammad was the embodiment of mercy, as he showed this mercy to everything around him. He used to treat animals kindly. He taught his companions that animals are a part of Allah’s creation and thus they should be given due care and attention. In our Islamic tradition a man was admitted into Paradise due to his good behavior with a dog. It was narrated that “a man saw a dog eating mud from (the severity of) thirst. So, that man took a shoe (and filled it) with water and kept on pouring the water for the dog till it quenched its thirst. So Allah approved of his deed and made him to enter Paradise.” On the contrary, a woman got into hill-fire due to her bad behavior with a cat. It was narrated that a woman got into Hellfire because of a cat that she had tied, and thus it could not eat; the woman did not let it free so that it could devour the vermin of the earth, until it died.
From the Islamic perspective, the rules relating to slaughtering animals are fully explicit and strict. The key principle in slaughtering animals is to be careful to alleviate animals’ pain and suffering. It was narrated that the Prophet (PBUH) said, “Verily, Allah has prescribed proficiency in all things…When you slaughter an animal, do it in the best possible way; and any of you should sharpen his blade so that the animal may be spared from the suffering of the slaughtering.”
 The sources generally agree that the Prophet was born on Rabi ‘al-Awal, on Monday, the Year of the Elephant. However, there is a difference among scholars about the exact day.
 See Sahih al-Bukhari,
 A simple word for showing annoyance.