Magnanimity which includes forgiving others ranks at the very top of all human virtues. If you are magnanimous you are one of the very best of humans no matter what your worldly status is. If you are someone who carries grudges in his heart against others you are a very ordinary person no matter how seemingly virtuous your deeds are. All prophets were magnanimous. We Muslims take pride in mentioning magnanimity of our prophet and rightly so. He forgave his worst enemies many times. If there are examples of him punishing the non-believers, they belong to the category of God’s instructions which he had to follow. A careful reading of the Qur’an gives a clear picture of his magnanimity, God’s concern for justice, and the manner the two realities interacted with each other.
I am mentioning two living examples of two non-Muslim couples, one Jew and one Christian, whose magnanimity surpasses my imagination of what lofty heights this virtue can attain in human beings. To me these two examples are worthy of being acknowledged and wholeheartedly praised by us even if they are not possible to be followed. Acknowledging an act as good many a times opens the way for doing it later.
Daniel Pearl was a journalist who was brutally murdered and butchered in the most barbaric way by the people who called themselves Jihadi Muslims. I had the misfortune of watching the video showing that ghastly act. The Jew parents of the late journalist responded to this tragedy by making it a lifetime project of their of promoting Jewish-Muslim understanding through dialogue. Daniel Pearl Foundation continues to work with Muslim scholars to bridge the unfortunate divide between the two religious communities. Professor S. Ahmad has been associated with them in their noble endeavours. What an act of magnanimity! What a revenge! You can read more about it here: http://www.danielpearl.org/about_us/dialogue.html
Many Muslims make it a point to ensure that they convince others that 9/11 was a Jewish conspiracy. Some of us have always been good at distorting history. But there was a repeat of 9/11 in London underground railway in 2005 which is described as 7/7. The fact that it was masterminded and executed by Muslims is beyond doubt. One of the victims of that tragedy was the twenty-eight years old chartered accountant, Helen Jones, the daughter of a devout Christian couple, Mr and Mrs David Gould. I had the pleasure of meeting this down-to-earth couple a few months ago. The Muslim lady who introduced me to them mentioned that it is now one of the lifetime projects of the couple to promote the cause of Muslims, the very religious group whose members were responsible for taking the life of their dear daughter! She informed me that at times when they have been approached to help out Muslims financially, they have been spontaneous in their response. See to have a glimpse of it: http://www.newsandstar.co.uk/news/carlisle_peace_march_to_be_led_by_man_who_lost_daughter_to_terrorists_1_631821?referrerPath=home
Can we imagine Muslims doing likewise to Christians and Jews? My head drops in shame when I ask myself this question.
The best example of a Muslim father doing likewise is that of Tariq Jahan who appealed to the protesters who were threatening riots on the murder of his son Haroon Jahan in August, 2011 in Birmingham, telling them: “Why do we have to kill one another? Why do we have to do this? Step forward if you want to kill your sons. Otherwise, go home — please.” http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2024375/BIRMINGHAM-RIOTS-Race-murder-victim-Haroon-Jahans-father-Tariq-calls-calm.html
It was indeed a brave gesture from a devastated father. It would have been a great contribution if someone would have taken the initiative at that time to let both Muslims and non-Muslims know from the teachings of the Qur’an how God wants all humans to be treated alike and how far removed from Qur’anic teachings are the views of those Muslims who create hatred against non-Muslims. That project is awaiting an initiative from a Muslim even now to match the efforts of the parents Daniel Pearl and Helen Jones.