The Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) had a very soft heart. He treated people gently. His wives may Allaah be pleased with them said that they could not recall an incident where he sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) scolded them harshly or hit them. He sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) was known for his gentleness. Allaah confirmed that this quality is an essential quality. Allaah Says (what means): "So by mercy from Allaah, [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. And when you have decided, then rely upon Allaah. Indeed, Allaah loves those who rely [upon Him]." [Quran 3:159] This was the quality of the Prophets, may Allaah exalt their mention, and this is the characteristic that all those who seek to guide others to Allaah must have. As it was essential for the Prophets, it is essential for us. It is essential for those who seek knowledge. It is essential for parents, with regard to their children. It is essential for all people. Softness of the heart is something that we cannot spend too much time on. With regards to children, Al-Aqra' Ibn Haabis may Allaah be pleased with him visited the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) and saw him kissing his grandson, Al-Hassan. Al-Aqra' may Allaah be pleased with him said, "I have ten children and I have never kissed anyone of them." The Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) said to him: "Whoever is not merciful will not be treated mercifully." [Al-Bukhaari] As for Al-‘Aqra’ may Allaah be pleased with him this was a point of pride, manhood - that one is not soft, that one is tough. So it is essential that parents show mercy to their children. If we look at a home where a father is kind and merciful with his children, we find a home that is full of happiness and joy. Mercy is something that we cannot live without. The reality for those seeking knowledge - as it is compulsory for us to seek knowledge of the Religion - is that if there is not, along with that knowledge, a soft heart, then we cannot taste the sweetness of that knowledge. As Al-Hassan Al-Basri may Allaah have mercy upon him had said: "If a man seeks knowledge, it will appear in his face, hands and tongue and in his humility to Allaah." The opposite is true - that nothing corrupts knowledge and Da'wah (calling people to Islam) more than the harshness of the heart. Where hearts have become hardened, the knowledge is of no benefit to the individual, nor can that individual benefit others with it. Softness of the heart is the characteristic of true Muslims. If it becomes absent, then a person's life is filled with distress and discomfort. This is the promise of Allaah. Those who lack hearts that are soft will lead woeful lives. As Allaah Says (what means):"…Then woe to those whose hearts are hardened against the remembrance of Allaah..." [Quran 39: 22] They are in obvious misguidance. Woe to those who hear the Quran and their hearts do not become fearful and humbled as a result of it. Woe to those whose eyes are reminded of the Words of Allaah, but they do not weep in fear of Him. Woe to those who are reminded of the Warnings of Allaah and they do not humble themselves to His Words. It is a curse to have a hardened heart and it is a blessing to have a soft heart. Those with hardened hearts suffer in this life, even though they may have all of the trappings of this life. What seems to be an enjoyable life is empty - it is filled with loneliness. They cannot find peace of mind and of heart because their hearts are hardened to Allaah … to belief in Allaah, to submission to Allaah. That is why Allaah Says (what means): "And whoever turns away from My remembrance -- indeed, he will have a depressed (difficult) life…" [Quran 20: 124] And (what means): "Those who have believed, and whose hearts are assured by the remembrance of Allaah. Unquestionably by the remembrance of Allaah are hearts assured." [Quran 13: 28] What is most beneficial in this life is a soft heart. We should strive to achieve it because everything else would be meaningless and useless if we do not have softened hearts. How do we achieve this? It is not a secret. It is not something known only to a few, handed down in special sessions and gatherings. As the Prophet, sallallsahu alayhi wa sallam, said: "I have left you on a clear white plain, whose night is like its day (i.e. clear). Anyone who deviates from it is destroyed." [Ahmad, Al-Haakim and Ibn Maajah] The way of the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) clarifies for us how to achieve a soft heart.