Understanding The Prophet's Life
From Issue: 466 [Read full issue]
Seek the Good in Everyone
We must recognise that every person who believes in Allah and in His Messenger cannot be devoid of some inborn good, however evil his practice may be. Involvement in major transgressions does not uproot a person's iman unless the transgressor deliberately defies Allah and scorns His commands. We have to heed the Sunnah of the Prophet who used to treat wrongdoers as a physician would treat a patient, not as a policeman would treat a criminal. He was very kind to them and always listened to their problems.
The following example illustrates this point: a Qurayshi adolescent once came upon the Prophet and asked permission to fornicate. The Prophet's Companions were so outraged by the young man's request that they rushed to punish him, but the Prophet's attitude was totally different. Calm and compose, he asked the young man to come closer to him and asked: 'Would you approve of it [fornication] for your mother?' The young man replied: 'No'. The Propohet said: '[Other] people also would not approve of it for their mothers'. Then the Prophet repeatedly asked the young man whether he would approve of it for his daughter, sister, or aunt? Each time the young man answered 'No,' and each time the Prophet added that '[Other] people would not approve of it for theirs'. He then held the young man's hand and said: 'May Allah forgive his [the young man's] sins, purify his heart, and fortify him [against such desires]' (Ahmad and Tabarani).
The Prophet's sympathetic attitude clearly indicates a gesture of goodwill, a conviction that inborn goodness of the human self outweighs the elements of evil which could only be transient.
Islam: The Way of Revival, "The Ethics of Dawa and Dialogue" - Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, pp. 224, 225