Character and Conduct of Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam)
(Source: Ihya-Ulum-Id-Din by Imam Ghazzali (r.a.) Revival of Religious Learnings-
English Translation by Fazlul Karim Publisher Darul-Ishaat Karachi Pakistan)
DATE: 450-505 (A.H.) 1058 -1111 A.D.
All praise is due to Allah who created the universe and taught. His greatest Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) (peace be upon Him) the best good manners, purified his character and conduct and adopted him as His friend. He gives grace to follow the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) to one who wishes to make his character and conduct beautiful. He deprives one to follow whom he wishes to destroy. Open good conduct is the fountain of secret good conduct. The movements of the bodily limbs are the results of thoughts of mind and the external actions are the result of character and conduct. To make efforts in recognizing Allah and the acquisition of wonderful secret powers are the fountains of actions.
The light of this secret power is expressed outwardly and makes the body beautiful and gives rise to good attributes after removing evils. The man who has got, not fear in mind, has got not fear expressed in his bodily limbs. The beauty of the conduct of prophethood is not expressed in a man whose mind is not illumined with the light of Allah. I intended to gather together in this chapter the ways of the life of his ways in the first and second parts of this book. I do not wish to repeat them here.
Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam)’s Learning Through the Quran
The Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) used to invoke and pray to the Almighty Allah to grant him good manners and good treatment with the people and to adorn him with good character and conduct. He use to say in his invocation: “O Allah, make my constitution and conduct good. He used to pray: O Allah, save me from bad character and conduct. Acceptance of his prayer is seen in the following verse. Invoke me, I will respond to you 2:186. Allah revealed the Quran on him and through it He taught him good manners. His character is the Quran. Sa’ad (Radihiallaho Anho) reported: Once I went to Ayesha (Radihiallaho Anha) and her father and asked them about the character and conduct of the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) to which Ayesha (Radihiallaho Anho) replied: Don’t you read the Quran? I said: Yes. She said: The character of the Messenger of Allah is the Quran. His conduct is expressed in the following verse:
Take to pardon, enjoin good and turn away from the illiterate.
Allah says: Allah enjoins justice, kindness, giving charity to the relatives and prohibits indecencies, evils and rebellion -16:90.
Have patience at the disasters that befall on you. It is a difficult task. It is difficult to have patience and to forgive.
Allah says: Pardon and forgive them. Allah loves the doers of good. Allah says: Don’t you like that Allah should forgive you?
Allah says: Remove evil with what is good, as a result the enmity that exists between you and him will be removed and he will become your friend.
Allah says: Those who appease their wrath, those who pardon people, Allah loves the doers of good.
Allah says: Give up conjectures in most cases, as some conjecture is sin. Don’t spy and don’t back-bite one another.
In the battle of Uhud, when the cover of the head of the Prophet fell down and he became separated from his companions, blood was oozing out from his face and he said wiping his blood: How will the people get salvation who dyed the face of the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) with blood while he calls them towards their Lord? Then Allah revealed this verse:
“‘You have got no hand in the matter. This was only for teaching him good manners.
The verse concerning the teaching of good manners to the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) are many in the Quran. It was the first object of Allah to teach the Prophet good manners and good character and conduct. For this reason, the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) said: I have been sent to completed good conduct. Allah praised the character of the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) by saying! You are surely on sublime character. The Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) explained it to the people: Allah loves good character, hates bad character.
Ali (Radhiallahho Anho) said: I wonder for a Muslim who does not do benefit to his brother Muslim who stands in need of it. If he hopes for rewards and fears punishment, he should hasten towards good conduct as it shows the path of salvation.
A man asked Ali (Radhiallahho Anho): Have you heard it from the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam)? He said: Yes, I have heard better advice from him. When the prisoners of the tribe of Hatem Tai were brought to him, a girl came to him out of them and said: O Muhammad, if you wish, release me, but don’t dishonour me before the tribe of the Arabs. I am the daughter of the leader of my people and my father was the caretaker of my people. He used to set free the captives, feed the hungry, spread peace and did never return any beggar at the time of his need. I am the daughter of Hatem Tai. The Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) said: O girl, what you have mentioned about his qualities are the attributes of a believer. The Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) said to his companions. Let her be free as her father lewd good character and conduct.
Abu Burdah-b-Niyar stood up and said: O Messenger of Allah, does Allah love good conduct? The Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) replied: By One in whose hand there is my life, None shall enter paradise except one who has got good conduct.
The Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) said: Allah adorned Islam with good character and beautiful actions. Good company, good manners, modest talk, doing good to others, feeding, spreading peace, visiting the ill pious or sinner, following the bier of a Muslim, treating good with a neighbour believer or non-believer, showing honour to a Muslim having honour to accept invitation, to forgive, to set disputes among the people, to give charity, to greet first, to pardon the faults of the people, to give up songs, instrument of songs and jests which Islam prohibited not to backbite, to speak truth, to give up miserliness, greed, deceit, to give up bad treatment with enemy, not to cut off blood tie, to give up bad conduct, pride, glory, haughtiness, indecencies, hatred rebellion, enmity, oppression, etc., all these are the attributes of a believer.
Anas (Radhiallahho Anho) reported that the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) did not give up good advice and enjoined us to stick to it. He used to warn us from backbiting and prohibited it. The following verse is sufficient to prove it: Allah loves justice and doing good to others. Muaz (Radihiallaho Anho) said: The Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) advised me thus: O Muaz, I advise you: fear Allah, speak the truth, fulfil promise, pay up trust, give up breach of trust, save your neighbour, show kindness to orphans, be modest in talk, spread peace, do good deeds, hope less, stick to fifth earn knowledge about the Quran, love the next world, fear rendering of accounts and lower your aim. O Muaz, I forbid you: Don’t tell a truthful man lair, don’t follow any sin, don’t disobey any judge, don’t be a leader, don’t disobey a just judge, and don’t create disorder in land. I give you instruction: Fear Allah while passing by each stone, tree, and heaps of earth. Make repentance anew after committing any sin. Repent secretly for secret sin and openly for open sin.
Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam)’s Character and Conduct
The Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) was the most patient among men, the bravest, the best judge, and one who pardoned most. His hand did not touch any strange woman. He was the greatest charitable man. He did not pass a single night hoarding any dirham or dinar. Whenever any excess money came to him and if he did not then get anyone to accept it as charity, he did not return home till he gave it to the poor and the needy. He did not store up for more than a year the provision of his family members which Allah was pleased to give him. He used to take one fifth of what easily came to him out of dates and wheat. What remained in excess, he used to give in charity. He used to give away in charity to one who begged anything of him, even out of his stored up provision.
He used to repair his shoes, join his wives in their labours and cut meat with them. He was the most shy among men and could not stare at anyone for long. He accepted invitation of slaves and free men and presentation of even a cup of milk. He did not use the properties of Zakat and used to accept the invitation of the widows and the poor. He used to speak the truth even though it was sometimes a cause of trouble to himself and his companions. He used to say: I Don’t accept any invitation of any infidel. He used to bind stones in his bell for appeasing his hunger and eat whatever he got. He did not return any present and did not take precaution in any lawful food. If he got dried grapes in lieu of bread, he ate them. If he got baked meat, he ate it. He used to eat whatever he got of bread, wheat, sweets, and honey. He considered milk as sufficient if he did not get any other food. He used not to take food leaning against a pillow or upon a high table. Soles of his two feet served as his towel. He used not to eat bread consecutively for three days till he met Allah. it was a voluntary act on his part. He used to accept invitations of marriage, attend the sick and the diseased and attend the funerals. He was the most modest without pride and his tongue was most eloquent without prolongation of his speech.
His constitution was the most beautiful. No worldly duties could keep him busy. He used to put on whatever he got. His ring was made of silver and he used to put it on in the little finger of his right or left hand. He used to take his servant behind his back on any conveyance, whether it was horse, camel or ass. Sometimes he walked bare footed, sometimes he had no turban or cap on his head.
He used to go even to a distant place to see sick, love scents and hate stench or bad smell, sit with the poor and the destitute, eat with them, honour those possessing honour, advise them to do good deeds and show kindness to the relatives. He did not treat harshly with anybody and accepted excuse offered to him. He used at times to cut jokes without falsehood and not burst into laughter.
He held innocent sports and plays as lawful, played with his wives and held races with them. He used to drink milk of camels and goats along with his family members and give them equal shares in foods and dresses. He passed no time uselessly except for Allah. He used to walk in the gardens of his companions for recreation. He did not hate the poor for their poverty, not fear the kings for their mighty power. He used to call the people, high or low, towards Allah. Allah adorned him with all the qualities, and good administration although he was illiterate. His boyhood was spent along with the shepherds and he used to graze sheep and goats. He was an orphan and his parents died in his infancy.
Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam)’s Good Manners
If the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) abused anybody, he used to give him compensation and show him kindness. He did never curse any woman or slave. Once when he was in the battle field, he was asked: O Messenger of Allah, it would have been better if you had cursed them. He said: Allah sent me as a mercy and not as a great curser. When he was asked once to curse a particular person or an unbeliever, he did not curse him but on the contrary prayed for his welfare. He never beat anybody with his own hand except in the way of Allah. he did not take any revenge for personal wrongs but he used to take it for preservation of the honour of Allah.
He used to select the easier of two things and kept away if there was any sin there in or anything to cut off relationship. He used to fulfill the needs of anyone who required his help, whether a slave or a freeman. Anas (Radhiallahho Anho) said: By One who sent him as a Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam), he never said to me. Why have you done this or why have you not done this? His wives also did not rebuke me. If there was any bed of the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam), he used to sleep on it or else he used to sleep on the ground. Allah described the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) in the Torah Muhammad the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) of Allah, His chosen servant, without harshness, not roaming in the streets, not returning evil for evil. He is prone to pardon. He is forgiven. His birth is at Mecca, his migration to Ta’ba and his reign in Syria. He and his companions put on Ijar around their waists and call towards the Quran and wisdom. He makes ablution of his bodily limbs. Similar is his description in Injil (New Testament).
Another trait of his characters is that he used to salute first one whom he met with. He used to wait at a place where he was to meet a man. He used not to withdraw his hand from anybody till he first withdrew his hand. When he met with any of his companions, he used to handshake with him, hold his hand, enter his fingers unto his fingers and hold them firmly. He did not stand up or sit without remembering Allah. When anybody sat by him at the time of his prayer, he used to make it short and say to him: Have you got any need? When he fulfilled his need, he returned to his prayer.
His assembly was not different from that of his companions, as he sat where he went. He was not found sitting among his companions spreading out his legs. He used to sit mostly facing the Ka’ba and honour one who came to him. Even he used to spread his own sheet of cloth for one with whom he had no relationship. He used to give his pillow to one who came to him and everyone thought that the Prophet honoured him more . Whoever came to him could see his face.
He used to call his companions by their surnames with honour and he used to give one surname to one who had no surname. He used to call the women by the names of their issues and call others by their surnames. He used to call the boys by their surnames for which their hearts were inclined to him. He used to get angry last of all and was very affectionate and kind in dealing with the people. Nobody could speak loudly in his assembly. He used to recite: O Allah, Thou are pure, all praise is for Thee. I bear witness that there is no deity but Thee. I seek forgiveness from Thee and turn to Thee.
Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam)’s Words and Laughter
The Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) was the greatest of the Arabs in oratory and sweet speech. He said: I am the greatest orator among the Arabs. He used to speak little. When he talked, he did not talk much. His talks fell gradually from his lips like pearls. Ayesha (Radhiallahho Anha) said: the Messenger of Allah used to talk like you. They said: The Messenger of Allah used to talk little and everything was expressed in this short talk. In his speech, there was no defect of excess or shortness. The words come one after another like pearls. Whoever heard them remembered them. He was sweetest in talk among his companions. He said to keep silent for long and have no talk without necessity. He used not to talk evil words and what he talked was just. He did not use ornamental words. His companions did never dispute before him. He used to say: Don’t beat one verse of the Quran by another as it has been revealed for many purposes. He used to smile much before his companions and teeth then were exposed to view.
It was reported: Once a desert Arab came to the Prophet whose face became changed at seeing him. Seeing anger in his face, the Arab said: By One who sent him as a true Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam), I will not ask him till he smiles. Then he said: O Messenger of Allah, we heard that Dajial (Anti-Christ) will come with Sarid for the people. Then the people will remain hungry. My parents be sacrificed to you. Do you forbid me to eat it till I am destroyed? Do you order me to eat it with satisfaction? Shall I talk infidelity after faith in Allah? The Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) laughed at this, so much so that his teeth were exposed to view. Then he said: It is not that, rather Allah will make you free from the food from which he made the believers free.
At the time when the Quran was being revealed to him, he used to smile most when something happened, he entrusted it to Allah, kept himself free from his own strength and ability and said in invocation: O Allah, show me truth in a true manner or give me grace to give it up, save me from doubt so that I may not follow my passion without Thy guidance. Make my desire to obey Thee. Take pleasure from the peace of my mind. Show me the different shades of truth. Thou guidest to the straight path whomsoever Thou willeth.
Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam)’s Manners in Eating
The Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) eat whatever he got. To him, the best food was what all partook of. When the dining cloth was spread, he used to say: In the name of Allah, O Allah, make it a sift to express gratefulness that there might be gifts in paradise. Whenever the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) sat to eat, he used to sit as praying man sits, not placing one leg upon another and say: I am a mere servant, I eat as a servant eats. He used not to take any hot food and said: There is no grace in it and Allah will not feed us with fire, so make this food cold. He used to eat whatever was presented to him with three fingers with the help of the fourth finger at times. Once a tiffin made of clarified butter, honey and wheat presented to him. He eat it and said: How good it is. He used to eat bread, curry, dates and salt. Of all the fresh fruits, the dearest to him was grapes, cucumber and water melon.
He used to eat gourd with bread and sugar and sometimes with dates. His ordinary meal consists of dates and water. Sometimes he mixed milk with dates. Meat was his most favourite curry. He said: Meat increase the power of hearing and is the king of foods in this world and the next. Had I prayed to my lord for eating meat everyday, He would have granted it. He used to eat cooked meat with gourd. He liked gourd and said: It is the fruit of a plant of my brother Jonah. The prophet said to me: O Ayesha (Radhiallahho Anha) when you cook meat, mix therewith much water as it makes the broken hearted strong. He used to eat the meat of hunted birds but he did not himself hunt or follow game.
He used to eat bread with butter and like goats neck and thigh. He liked gourd among curries, vinegar condiment, dried dates among dates. He prayed for three things and said: These have come from paradise and they are medicines for poison and insomnia. He liked among curries creepers of yellow newer and carrot. He disliked the meat of reservoir of urine. He did not eat several things of goat genital organ, female organ, blood, urinal meat, goitre, gall bladder, etc. He did not eat onion and garlic, nor condemned them. He used to eat what he liked and did not eat what he did not like. He did not like to eat the meat of lizard and cockroach, neither did he prohibit them to be eaten. He used to lick up his dish with his hand and said: Most blessing is in the remnants of food.
He used to lick up his fingers after meal so much so that they assumed reddish hue. He used not to cleanse his hands with towel till he licked up his fingers well and said: Nobody knows in which food there is blessing. When he finished his meal, he used to say: O Allah, for Thee is all praise. You have given me food and drink and given me satisfaction. So praise to Thee without expiation and farewell and being not free there from. He was accustomed to wipe his hand well and then wash his hands and mouth with excess water and take the name of Allah each time. He used to drink water in slow degrees and not hastily in one breath. He used not to blow breath in the cup of water at the time of drinking and supply food to one by his side.
Once he was given milk and honey mixed together but he refused to drink it saying: Two drinks at the same time and two curries at the same time! He said: I don’t make them unlawful but I consider them bad for rendering accounts on the resurrection day as they are additional things in this world. I like modesty and Allah raises up one who humbles himself for Allah. He lived in his house more bashful than an unmarried girl. He used not to order for preparation of any food and eat whatever was given to him and remain silent if not given.
Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam)’s Manners in Dress
The Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) use to put on sheet, gown, shirt and whatever he got. Green dress used to please him but most of his dresses were white. He said: Give your living men to dress with white garments and dress your dead therewith. He used to put on gown for Jihad. His shirt was long up to his thigh. He had only one shirt dyed with saffron with which he led prayers. Sometimes he put on only one shirt up to his thigh and say: I am only a slave. I put on garment as a slave puts on. He had two special garments for Jumma prayer which he did not put on at other times. Sometimes he had only one garment with which he cohabited with his wives. He had a black garment which he gifted away.
Omme Salma said: What fault has this black garment committed? He replied: I had put it on. She said: You look more beautiful if the black garment mixes with your beautiful constitution. Sometimes, he used to go out putting on a seal tied with thread in his hand. He used to impress his letters with seal and say: It is better to put seal in letter than back-biting. He used to put on cap under his turban. If he had no turban, he used to put on cap. Sometimes, he took off his cap from his head and fixed it in front as a prayer-stake. When he had no turban and cap, he covered his head with a sheet of cloth. He had a turban named Sahhab which he presented to Ali. (Radhiallahho Anho)
Whenever he put on a garment, he began from his right side and said: All praise is due to Allah who has given this garment to cover my private parts and to express adornment. When he wished to put off his garment, he began from his left side. When he put on a new garment, he gave his old cloth in charity to a poor man and said: If a Muslim gives his wearing garment to another Muslim, nobody except Allah will dress him. He remains in the custody of Allah till that cloth remains with him, be he alive or dead. His bed was made of grape-covers and refuges. It was two yards long and one yard and one cubit board.
He had the habit of naming animals, arms and properties. The name of his standard was Iqab, he had his swords named Zulfiqer, Makhzam, Rejab, and Kazib. The middle portion of his swords was moulded with silver. He used to wear belt of leather which had three rings of silver. The name of his arrow was Katum, of his shield Kafur, of his camel Qaswah, of his donkey Duldul, another donkey Ekab and of his goat Aynah whose milk he used to drink. He had an earthen pot, which he used as an ablution pot and drink water therefrom.
Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam)’s Pardon
The Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) was the most patient among men and the most forgiving inspite of having power to take retaliation. If anybody presented to him any necklace of gold or silver, he used to give it to some of his companions. One day, a desert Arab stood up and said: O Muhammad , if Allah ordered you to do justice, I don’t see you doing it. He said: Woe to you! Who will do better justice to you after me? When he was about to go, the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) said: Take him to me with humility. The Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) was taking silver coins for the people in the cloth of Bilal in the battle of Khaiber. One man said to him: O Messenger of Allah, do justice. The Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) said to him: Woe to you, if I don’t do justice, who will do justice after me? If I do not do justice, I shall be ruined and suffer loss. Omar (Radhiallahho Anho) then said: Should I not kill him as he is a hypocrite? He said: May Allah save him! In that case, people will say that I kill my companions.
Once the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) was in a certain jihad. At one time, the unbelievers found the Muslim heedless. So one of them raised a sword upon the head of the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) and asked him: Who will prevent me to kill you? He at once replied: Allah, immediately the sword fell down from his hand and the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) took it up and said: Who will prevent me to kill you? He said: Hold it firmly. The Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) said: Say, I bear witness, that there is no deity but Allah and that I am His Messenger. He said: I have got no envy against you, I shall not kill you. I shall not go with you and I shall not join those who fight against you. Then the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) set him free. The man went to his tribe and said: I have come to you today from the best man.
Anas (Radhiallahho Anho) reported that a Jewess mixed poison in the food of the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) at Khaiber. When he began to eat it, he got smell of the poison and stopped eating. The woman was brought to the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) who asked her about the poisoned food. The woman said: I intended to kill you. He said: Allah will not give you that power. The companions exclaimed: Should we not kill her? The Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) said: Don’t kill her. One day a Jew enchanted the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam), Jibril gave this information to the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam). He took out the enchanted thing and came round, but took no revenge against the Jew.
Ali (Radhiallahho Anho) said: The Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) sent Jubair, Meqdad and myself to a certain place and said: Go on till you reach Raojakhak where you will find a woman with a letter which you must take from her. We then reached the place and told the woman to deliver the letter so us. The woman denied knowledge of any letter. She was then compelled to deliver the letter to us. We then came therewith to the Prophet. It was written therein, from Hateb-b-Ali Bala’a to the polytheists of Mecca, etc. This letter was written to inform them secretly the affairs of the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam). The Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) said: O Hatib, what is the matter? He said: O Messenger of Allah, don’t hasten inflicting punishment on me. I have mixed with my people. the Refugees who are with you have got at Mecca their relatives who look after their families there. It was my object that though I have got no relationship with the Quraish, I would find such a man among them who will take care of my relatives there if I show kindness to them. I have not done it in a state of infidelity. I have not done it after accepting Islam being satisfied with infidelity. I have not done it being a retrograde. The Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) said: This man has spoken the truth. Omar (Radhiallahho Anho) said: Give us order to kill this hypocrite. The Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) said: He joined the battle of Badr with us. Who will inform you that the Almighty Allah addressed the warriors of Badr saying: Do whatever you like. Allah has forgiven you.
Once the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) distributed the booties when an Ansar stood up and said: Allah is not pleased with this distribution. When it was mentioned to the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam), his face turned red and he said: May Allah show you mercy. My brother Moses was given such troubles, but he remained patient. The Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) said: Let nobody communicate any thing of my companions, as I wish that at the time when I come to you, I come with a sound mind.
Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam)’s Objects of Dislike
The skin of the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) was thin and his interior and exterior were clean. His pleasure and wrath were exposed in his face. When he got very angry, he used to touch his head repeatedly. He used not to disclose to anybody what appeared to him bad. One day a man dyed his body with yellow colour came to the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam). He dislike it but did not say anything till he went. When he departed, he said to the people: If this man is asked to give up yellow colour, it would be better. Once a desert Arab passed water in presence of the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) within the mosque. The companions were about to assault him when the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) said to him: These mosque are not for passing urine and for uncleanness.
Once a desert Arab came to the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) and begged something from him. He gave it to him and said: I have treated well with you. The desert Arab said: Never, you have not treated well with me. At this, the companions got angry but the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) prohibited them to do any harm to him. Then he went to his room and brought something for him to eat and said: I have done you benefit. Then he said: May Allah bless your family and relatives. The Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) said to him: What you said first seemed unpleasant to my companions. If you like, say to them what you have said to me just now. What is in their mind will then vanish. He said: I shall say it to them. At another time, when the desert Arab came, the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) said: I added what the desert Arab told me. It seemed to me that he was pleased with it. I asked him: Are you satisfied: Yes, may Allah bless your family and relatives. The Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) said: The smile of the desert Arab in relation to me is like that of a man who had a camel which went out. It went faster fearing the people who followed it. The driver of the camel hinted: You all go away and leave the camel and myself alone. I know it better and shall show kindness to it. The driver of the camel gave it some food and called it towards him. When it came, he loaded it and rode upon it. When the desert Arab used harsh words, he would have entered Hell had I not prohibited you to take revenge upon him and assault him.
Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam)’s Generosity
The Holy Prophet was the greatest charitable man. His charity during Ramadan was greatest. Nothing could prevent him from it. Ali (Radhiallahho Anho) narrated the qualities of the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) and said: His hand of charity of spread to its utmost and his tongue was the most truthful. His conduct was the most modest and he was the most honourable in lineage. Fear struck one who saw him first. Whoever mixed with him loved him. One who praised man begged something to the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) in the name of Islam and it was given to him. He begged him something further and it was also given to him, and that was one flock of sheep which were grazing between two hillocks. He went to his people and said: Accept Islam because Muhammad gives so much that he does not fear poverty for that. He did never deprive one who begged something from him.
Once 10,000 dirhams were brought to the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) which he distributed among his companions. After that, a man came to him and begged him something. He said: I have got now nothing, but still I am giving you something after purchasing it. It was done accordingly. Omar (Radhiallahho Anho) said: O Messenger of Allah, Allah has not imposed burden on you over which you have got no control. His words did not appear pleasing to the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam). That man said: Spend and do not fear poverty from Allah. The Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) then smiled and pleasure was visible in his face. Once when he returned from the battlefield of Hunain, the desert Arabs came to him and begged from him so much that he was compelled to take shelter to a corner of a tree. They caught his sheet and he said: Give back my sheet to me. Had I had sheep to the number of these thorny plants, I would have distributed them all to you and you would not have found me a miser or a coward.
Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam)’s Bravery and Heroism
The Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) was the greatest hero and brave man. Ali (Radhiallahho Anho) said: In the battle of Badr, we all stood surrounding the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam). He braved the enemies and we found him bravest on that day. He said: When fight began and friends and foes met with one another, we feared for the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) as he was closest to the enemies. Nobody went so near the enemies than him. When he passed order for fighting, he got pleased and prepared himself. He was seen at that time most superior in strength. Imran (Radhiallahho Anho) said: The Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) attacked the enemy who came to him first. The companions said that the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) had then a firm hold on the enemy. In the battle of Hunain, when the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) was surrounded by the enemies, he alighted from his mule and said: I am surely the Messenger of Allah. There is no untruth in it. I am the descendant of Abdul Muttableb. He was on that day the bravest of all.
Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam)’s Modesty and Humility
Inspite of the lofty position of the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam), he was the most humble and modest. Ibn Amer (Radhiallahho Anho) reported: I saw the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) throwing stones at Jamrah riding on a camel. There was no assault in it, no driving out and no saying: Go aside, go aside. He sat on a sheet of cloth on the back of a mule and took someone behind him. He used to visit the sick, follow the biers, accept invitations of servants and slaves, repair shoes and sew garments. He used to help his family members in their household duties. His companions used not to stand up in his honour as they know his dislike for it. He used to salute the children when passing by them.
One day a man was brought to the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) and he was afraid to see him. The Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) said: Be quiet, I am not a king. I am a son of an humble Quraish woman who used to eat gourd. He used to sit with his companions like an ordinary man. Whenever any stranger came to see him, he could not at first recognize him till he was introduced to him. Ayesha (Radhiallahho Anha) said: May Allah sacrifice me to you, eat learning as it easier for you. The Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) leaned towards the ground so much that it seemed that his head would touch the ground. He used to say: I shall take meal like the eating of a slave and sit like the sitting of a slave. He used not to eat in plates while he lived.
Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam)’s Figure and Constitution
The Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) was neither long stature nor short. When he walked alone, he appeared like a middle stature man. If a man of long stature walked with him, his figure looked longer. When two men of long stature walked by his two sides, he appeared longest, but when they became separate from him, the people called them long men. The Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) was of middle stature. He was pretty, neither too white, nor too brown. He was of pure reddish hue. Some one praised him saying. His limbs which confronted the sun, such as face and neck, appeared more whitish than reddish colour. The sweats of his face were like pearls and more perfumed than musk. His hair was very pretty, neither straight nor curly. When he combed them, they appeared like lines in sands. It is said that his hair was kept flowing up to his shoulders, sometimes he parted his hair into four parts and each two parts were let off through his two ears. Sometimes he kept his hair above his ears and his neck then appeared shining like pearls. Grey hairs were found in his head and beard. Their number was not more than seventeen. The Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) had a most pretty constitution. Some gave the smile of his beauty to that of the full moon. His forehead was wide and the place between his eyebrows was bright like pure silver and eye-balls were black tinged with reddish hue. The hair of his eye lashes were profuse. His nose was thin and his teeth were neither separated, nor united. When they were exposed at the time of his smile or laugh, they shone like lighting. His lip was most beautiful and the ends of his face was the most soft. His face was smooth and nose not long. His beard was thick and he did not trim it. He used to clip his moustache. His neck was the most beautiful, neither long, nor short. If the rays of the sun fell on his neck, it appeared like a cup of silver mixed with gold. His chest was board. It was even like a mirror and white like the moon light. There was a thin line of hair extending from his chest up to the navel and there was no other hair over his belly. There were three lines in his belly. His apparel covered one line. His shoulders were wide and there was hair over them. The place between his shoulders was wide and therein there was impression or seal of prophethood inclined a little towards the right shoulder. There was a spot mixed with black and yellow colours. There was hair around it which appeared like the hair of a horse. He had hands full of flesh and his fingers were like silver sticks and his palms were softer than wool and were so full of scent that it seemed that otto was applied to them. Sweet scent was attached to the hand of a person who handshake with the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam). If his pure hand touched the head of a boy, he could be recognized among boys owing to the sweet scent of his hand. His thighs were full of flesh and his constitution was proportionate and beautiful. In his latter days, he became rather fleshy but he was without grease like his first stage of life.
The Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) walked firmly and steadily. He said: concerning constitution I am similar to Adam but in character and conduct I am similar to Abraham. He said: I have got ten names near my Lord, (1) Muhammad (praised), (2) Ahmad (most praised), (3) Maui (remover of infidelity), (4) Aqeb (coming last), (5) Hasher (all appearing after me), (6) messenger of mercy, (7) messenger of repentance, (8) messenger of fights, (9) Muqfi (last of all prophets) and (1) Qasem (embodiment of all virtues).
Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam)’s Miracles
The character and conduct of the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam), his actions, his habits, management of affairs, his treatment with the different classes of people, him showing the straight path to them, his wonderful answers to different difficult and subtle questions, his untiring efforts for the good of people, his good guidance regarding the open laws of Shariat all these matters lead one to the conclusion that these were beyond the power of a man without help of an unseen hand. It is impossible on the part of a hypocrite or a liar. The people testified by seeing his constitution and qualifications that he was a great truthful man sent by Allah.
Allah gave him these qualities though he was illiterate and had no education and lived always with the illiterate Arabs. Being illiterate, orphan and weak, how could he acquire such good character and conduct, such knowledge about Allah without worldly knowledge? His true and correct knowledge about the earlier Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) show that he is a true messenger of Allah, because he knew these truths by revelations. How could he know what was beyond man unless he received revelation? His miracles prove that he is a true Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) of Allah.
Some of his Miracles with Help of Allah
(1) When the Quraish of Mecca told the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) to divide the moon into two parts, the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) invoked Allah who split the moon into two portions and it was clearly visible to the people present.
(2) At the time of the siege of Medinah by the allied armies for more than one month, the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) supplied provision to all the people.
(3) At another time, he satisfied eighty people with food with only four muds of maize and one little goat.
(4) Once the daughter of Basher had a few dried grapes with which the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) fed all his soldiers to their satisfaction and there remained also something in excess.
(5) Once water began to gush forth from the fingers of the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam), so much so that his soldiers drank to their hearts content and also made ablution therewith.
(6) Once there was no water in a well at Tabuk and it dried up. The Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) threw a little water from his ablution to the well and immediately it gushed forth so profuse water that thousands of soldiers drank it to their satisfaction.
(7) At another time, there was no water in a well at Hudaibiyah. The Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) threw the remaining ablution water into it which immediately gushed forth abundant water. Fifteen hundred men drank it to their satisfaction.
(8) Once the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) threw a handful of dust towards the faces of his enemies as a result of which they instantly became blind. Soon after this verse was revealed: When you throw, you did not throw, but Allah threw it.
(9) The Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) used to deliver sermon standing on the trunk of a palm tree in the mosque, when it was replaced by another, the trunk began to emit mild sound which was heard by all his companions. When he touched it with his hand, it became calm.
(10) Once the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) told the Jews to make Mobahala (that is whoever is a liar, he will die), but the Jews gave the news next morning that they feared to make it for fear of their lives. This is mentioned in the Quran.
(11) The Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) warned Osman (Radhiallahho Anho) of a great danger as a result of which he would enter paradise. History bears testimony that he was murdered in his very house while he was reading the Quran. The Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) told Ammer that a rebellious party would kill Osman. It is true that they murdered him.
(12) Once a man joined Jihad in the way of Allah. The Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) said about him that he would enter Hell. Then it was seen that he committed suicide.
(13) When the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) was on his way towards Medina on migration, one Suraqa-b-Malek was following him to capture him in expectation of a reward, but the feet of his horse was sunk in dust in the act. When he sought the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam)’s help to escape from the danger, he prayed for him. This continued for three times and the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) prayed for him each time. After being released for the third time, the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) gave him this prophecy in his almost helpless condition, that he would soon wear the bangles of Persian King Khosroe. After the conquest of Persia by the Muslims, these bangles were procured from the kind and were given to him for wearing.
(14) Aswad Ansari was a liar and claimed prophethood during the life time of the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam). He was a resident of Sana’a in Yemen. One night he was found assassinated in that town. In that very night, the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) gave his death news to the people and he named Feroze Daifami as his murderer.
(15) During the night of migration to Medina, one hundred Quraish surrounded the house of the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) to kill him, but he went out of their clutches throwing dust on their heads for which they could not see him going out.
(16) Once the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) gave the prophecy to some of his companions: The last man among you will die of arson. It after wards occurred that it came true.
(17) Once the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) called two trees to cover him to give him the opportunity of urinating. The two trees shifted from their sites, covered him from public view and went away to their old sits after he finished his call of nature.
(18) The Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) was of middle stature, but when he walked, two long men by his sides, he was seen the longest of them.
(19) The Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) said: I will kill Abu-b-Hani in the battle of Uhud. In the battle, the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) inflicted a minor injury on him and as a result he expired.
(20) Once the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) was given food mixed with poison to eat. He who ate it first expired, but the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) lived for four years even after taking that food. That food told the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam): There is poison in me.
(21) In the battle of Badr, the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) mentioned the fate of the leaders of the Quraish. This happened exactly as he said.
(22) The Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) said to his daughter Fatema: You will meet me first after my death. She died six months after the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam).
(23) Once the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) said to his wives: She who is longer in hand will meet me first after my death. Jainab (Radhiallahho Anha) was the most charitable among his wives and she died first after the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam).
(24) A certain camel had not milk in its udder. As soon as the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) touched its udder, it began to give milk. Abdullah-b-Mausd embraced Islam on seeing this miracle of the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam).
(25) Once one eye of a companion went out of its socket. The Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) restored it to its site and his eye sight increased more.
(26) The greatest living miracle of the Holy Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) is the Quran which stands even today. He threw challenge to the people to produce a chapter like it. The Quran says: Say, if jinn and mankind gather together to bring a book like this Quran, they won’t be able to bring like it even though they help one another. So nobody was successful to bring a book or even a sentence like it, up to this time. This alone is a sufficient and living testimony that the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) Muhammad (peace be upon Him) is a true messenger of Allah.
1. The Qur’an on Muhammad’s (S) Persona
Indeed there is for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern (Qur’an 33:21)
The Qur’an gives us a glimpse of Muhammad’s (S) personality in various verses.
With Allah’s grace, you behaved with them with a kind heart. For if you were vengeful or hard hearted, they may have abandoned you. (Qur’an 3:159)
On another occasion the Qur’an addresses its listeners in the following fashion,
Among you is a Messenger who is distressed by your difficulties. He is anxious for your welfare, and is generous towards the believers. (Qur’an 9:128)
And Muhammad (S) is the bearer of glad tidings and mercy as well as a warner. And have We not sent you as a mercy unto the worlds. (Qur’an 21:107)
And have We not sent you but as a bearer of glad tidings and a warner unto all mankind (Qur’an 34:28)
The Qur’an extols Muhammad’s (S) high character.
Verily you are of a high and noble character. (Qur’an 68:4)
In addition, talks about the qualities one would acquire by following him.
Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered Prophet, whom they find written down in the Torah (Old Testament) and Injil (The book revealed to Jesus). He bids them to the seemly and prohibits the unseemly; Allows unto them things clean and forbids unto them things unclean; And relieves of them of their burden and the shackles which have been upon them. Those who believe in him and side with him and support him and follow the light which has been sent down with him; Those shall fare well. (Qur’an 7:157)
2. Personal Traits (Appearance, Dress, Likes and Dislikes)
Prophet Muhammad (S) is reported to have been of medium height, well proportioned with a fair complexion. He had a wide forehead, closely-knit eyebrows, and wide-set black eyes with long eyelashes. His face was lightly fleshy and the mouth was wide. He had a long neck, relatively large head, and broad shoulders. His beard was thick, and his wrists and shoulders were hairy. The palms of his hands were broad and fleshy. The wrists were long, the ankles thin, and the arches of the feet somewhat high. His physical appearance and charisma invariably impressed people. When someone remarked to Jabir bin Samurah that the Prophet’s face shone like a sword, he replied, “No, it shines like the sun and the moon.”
On the Prophet’s back, between the shoulders, there was a raised oval the size of a pigeon egg. Jabir bin Samurah is quoted in the traditions recorded by both Muslim and Tirmadhi as saying, “I saw a pigeon egg sized raised fleshy area between the Prophet’s shoulders.” Another description speaks about a collection of moles near the left shoulder, which is sometimes called the seal of the Prophet.
His hair was usually shoulder length. At the conquest of Makkah, people noticed his hair was lying on the shoulder in four bundles. As the Prophet preferred the “People of the Book” to the Mushrikun (disbelievers), and because the Mushrikun parted their hair, the Prophet initially wore his hair without a part. However, according to Tirmadhi, as later the Mushrikun practically disappeared, the Prophet no longer felt that he had to be careful not to look like them and started parting his hair. He frequently oiled his hair, and combed itevery other day; very few of his hair had turned gray. The Prophet used to walk fast, leaning forward slightly, as if he were walking downhill. His conversation was very sweet and pleasant. He used to speak carefully and in concise sentences so that the listeners often remembered every word of what they had heard. When he wanted to emphasize something, he repeated it several times. Often, when speaking, he appeared to be gazing at the sky.
The most touching description of Muhammad (S) is recorded in the words of Khadijah . Consoling him when he was awed and shaken by the first revelation, she said, “Allah will never make you sad. You share the burden of those who have loans they cannot pay, you help the poor, you are a great host, you uphold justice, and you help people in need.”
Muhammad (S) had an acute sense of justice and fair play. This was seen most clearly when he dealt with his enemies. Once, the body of a companion (Abdullah, cousin of Muhayyisah) was found in a ditch in the town of Khaybar, an exclusively Jewish town. It was clear that he had been murdered. Muhayyisah asked for a judgment of retribution against the people of Khaybar. The Prophet asked Muhayyisah if he had witnessed the crime and Muhayyisah replied he had not. However, he suggested that the Jews from Khaybar should be brought in to take an oath that they did not commit the murder. The Prophet said that that would be unfair and instead gave the just recompense from the general treasury.
It was common in pagan Arabia for the people from a higher class to be judged by a more lenient standard. Once, a woman from the Quraysh was caught stealing, and one of the companions requested leniency because she was from the tribe of Quraysh. Muhammad’s (S) face showed signs of some anger. He said, “Banu Isra’il were ruined because they were tough in punishing the poor and were lenient toward the rich.”
4. Simplicity and Egalitarianism
Muhammad (S) ate anything that was offered to him, so long it was within the bounds of what had been prescribed as acceptable in Islam. He wore anything that was available. Frequently, his clothes were old and rough. In fact, he disliked fancy clothes and formality. He sat down anywhere on the floor, whether on a reed mattress or the bare floor. He frequently wrapped himself in a woolen blanket and sometimes slept in it. His mattress was an animal skin stuffed with date bark. He felt no hesitation or embarrassment in helping with household chores.
The rich and the poor, the free and the slave, the Quraysh and the non-Quraysh were treated alike. Food was shared equally, manual labor (as in the construction of the Masjid at Madinah and the digging of the trench) was shared equally, and above all, justice was meted out equally.
The Prophet could never say no to a request. Once, when someone asked for his help, he replied, “I have nothing to give this time.” He then went with that person to ‘Umar’s house to get the needed help. Many a time, he purchased something from a person and gave it back to the same individual as a donation. He disliked keeping any “dinar” (gold coins) for more than three days. At the time of his death, he was practically destitute by choice. Despite his position in the society, he lived a simple and modest life without any luxuries.
6. Attitude Toward the Disenfranchised, the Displaced, the Dispossessed and the Disabled
Although the Qur’an never explicitly banned slavery, Muhammad (S) did everything possible by word and action to get rid of it. Freeing a slave was considered an act of high charity. Slaves were allowed to buy their own freedom, and they were to be treated like family members. He would encourage people to use phrases like “my son” and “my child” when referring to slaves. The attitude that slaves were to be treated like family members explains the curious and unique phenomenon of slave kings and rulers in Muslim history. Both in India and Egypt, kings nominated their favorite slave to succeed them to the throne, resulting in slave dynasties of kings which lasted several generations.
Another group of abused and dispossessed in the society was women. He was able to achieve dramatic changes in the status of women. I will discuss the issue in some detail later in this paper.
7. A Gracious Host
Muhammad (S) took great pleasure in personally serving his guests. It was not uncommon for him to serve whatever he had at home and let his family go hungry. He liked giving gifts and was also pleased to accept them. “Send each other gifts. It will increase love and affection.”
However, he would not accept favors. When Abu Bakr gave him a camel for the ride during Hijrah (Migration), he paid Abu Bakr for it. Even the land on which the first Masjid was built in Madinah was not accepted without compensating its owner.
8. Dislike of Begging, Monastic Behavior and Excessive Praise
The Prophet Muhammad (S) is recorded as saying, “It is better to carry wood on your back and sell it, than beg.” On another occasion, he said, “On the day of reckoning, begging will be like a blemish on the face of the beggar.”
He said begging is permitted in three extreme situations. First, for someone who is literally drowning in debt, he may beg until his needs are met. Second, when someone is affected by a sudden financial tragedy, he may beg until he is back on his feet. Third, if someone is starving he may beg.
Some of Muhammad’s (S) companions considered adopting monastic behavior for self-purification and attainment of greater spirituality. When the Prophet heard of this, he called them in and expressed his displeasure. He said, “Your body has a right over you, so do your eyes and so does your wife.” Some companions would fast daily. He admonished them not to fast for more than three days in a month (except during Ramadan). When one of the companions insisted that he had the strength to fast more often, Muhammad (S) allowed him to fast every other day, saying, “This was Dawud’s (David) (as) practice.”
He particularly disliked excessive praise. When someone would start praising him, he would immediately stop him. On another occasion, when someone started reciting poetry in his praise, he stopped him by saying, “Do not praise me excessively—; I am but a servant of Allah.”
9. Promises and Pacts
Muhammad (S) always kept his word. The Makkans used to call him al-Amin (the trustworthy) even before he received the Wahy (revelation). When Negus, the Christian ruler of Ethiopia, was interrogating the Muslims who had migrated to Ethiopia about Muhammad’s (S) character, one of his questions was, “Does your Messenger keep his word?” The answer was, “Yes; always!” Whether it was the “Covenant of Madinah” or the “treaty of Hudaybiyah” all pacts were honored scrupulously.
Muhammad (S) never took personal revenge and forgave easily and quickly. There are many instances when he took verbal and even physical abuse imperturbably. Sometimes his companions would become very upset at the insulting and arrogant behavior of the Quraysh. He would cool them down and urge them to forgive. He forgave even his worst enemies. His forgiveness and grace toward Hind, on whose urging Hamzah was murdered and mutilated, stands as a witness to his extraordinary compassion. He was always courteous to the Munafiqun (hypocrites) and even the pagans (Kuffar) in the community. He knew that some of the hypocrites would participate in congregational prayer and even in some battles. He was fully aware of the fact, but never confronted them.
11. Desire To Spread Literacy and Education
Although personally unlettered he loved education. The acquisition and spread of knowledge was considered a sacred duty. He frequently ransomed prisoners of war if they promised to teach Muslims to read and write. “The ink in a scholar’s pen”, he is reported to have said, ” is more precious than the blood of a martyr.”
12. Public Display of Affection
He was a very affectionate man and had no hesitation in displaying it. Whenever he met Fatimah, his daughter, he would greet her very warmly. This love for her daughter was not tainted by even a trace of favoritism.
Because of all the hard manual work Fatimah had to do at home, like carrying water from the well in the “mishk” (water skin) and using a hand mill to crush grain into flour, her hands had black and blue marks and calluses. Yet, Muhammad (S) would not allot her a servant. They were allotted preferentially to those who fought in the battle of Badr.
Muhammad (S) liked humor. He smiled a lot and enjoyed playing with children. There are multiple examples of his gentle sense of humor.
Once, an old woman came up to him and asked for paradise. He said, “Old women do not enter the paradise.” The woman started crying. As she started leaving the room, the Prophet, showing his subtle sense of humor, stopped her and said, “Old women will become young before entering the heaven.” (Tirmadhi)
One of his companions was Zahir, who used to trade in metal objects. Once the Prophet was passing by the bazaar, he saw Zahir and playfully grabbed him from behind and said, “Will anyone buy this slave?” Zahir laughed and said, “O Messenger of Allah, whoever buys this slave will be in loss.” The Prophet smiled and said, “In Allah’s eyes, your value is high.”
On another occasion, a man approached the Prophet and asked him for a camel to ride. The Prophet said, “I would give you a camel’s child”. The man said, “O Messenger of Allah. What will I do with a camel’s child?” The Prophet smiled and said, “Is there any camel who is not the progeny of a camel?”
Studying reports in Sirah (biography of the Prophet) and Hadith literature, Muhammad’s (S) personality emerges as that of a thoughtful, introspective individual, who lived a modest life. He was easily accessible to even the poorest in the community, disliked excesses in behavior, had a gentle sense of humor, was profoundly God conscious, and was single-mindedly devoted to establishing socio-economic justice.
The defamous image created by some authors of a man who was cunning, cruel, unjust, power hungry, and given to debauchery is such a fiction that it must astound any serious scholar of Muhammad’s (S) life. In fact, upon reviewing the biographical literature of religious leaders, it is difficult to come up with another example in which a religious or world leader has been so misrepresented, vilified and calumniated.
The Physical Description and Beauty of the Prophet
Ali (RA) described the noble features of the Prophet (may Allah peace and blessings be upon him): “Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) was neither assertively tall, nor reticently short, and he was an average-sized member of the population. His hair was neither crisply curled nor lank; it was loosely curled. He was neither plump nor chubby-cheeked, and in his face there was a rounded quality. He was white with a reddish tinge, dark black-eyed, with long eyelashes. He had splendid kneecaps, elbow joints and shoulder blades, free from hair. He had a strip of hair from the top of the chest to the navel. The palms of his hands and the soles of his feet were thickset. When he walked, he moved as if he were descending a declivity, and when he looked around, he looked around altogether. Between his shoulders was the Seal of Prophethood, for he is the Seal of the Prophets. He was the best of the people in generosity, the most truthful of the people in speech, the gentlest of them in temperament, and the noblest of them in social intercourse. If someone saw him unexpectedly, he was awestruck by him, and if someone associated with him knowingly, he loved him. His describer says: “I have never seen the like of him (Allah bless him and give him peace), neither before him nor after him.” (Shama’il Tirmidhi)
It is related from Jaabir (Radiallahu anhu) that he said: “I once saw Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘alayhi Wasallam on the night of a full moon. On that night he wore red clothing. At times I looked at the full moon and at times at Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘alayhi Wasallam. Ultimately I came to the conclusion that Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘alayhi Wasallam was more handsome, beautiful and more radiant than the full moon.” (Shama’il Tirmidhi)
3c.2. The Seal of Prophethood
Abdullah bin Sarjas Radiyallahu ‘Anhu says: “I came to Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam while there were people sitting in his company. I went around to the back of Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam (The narrator may have done this physically). Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam understood what I was trying to do. He removed the sheet (body wrap) from his back. I saw the place of the Seal of Prophethood between his two shoulders. It was like a cluster surrounded by til (moles) which appeared to be like a wart. I came before Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam and said to him. May Allah forgive you (or Allah has forgiven you, as is mentioned in Surah Fath, ‘That Allah may forgive you, your former and your latter sins’). Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam replied: ‘May Allah forgive you too’. The people said to me that Rasulullah Sallallahu’Alayhi Wasallam has made du’aa for your maghfirah (forgiveness). I replied: ‘Yes, and for you too, because Allah Ta’aala has said: ‘O Muhammad, seek forgiveness for yourself and the Mu’min males and females also”‘. (Shama’il Tirmidhi)
3c.3. The Blessed Hair of the Prophet
Qataadah bin Da’aamah As-Sadusi relates: “I asked Anas R.A., ‘How was the hair of Rasulullah (SAW)?’. He replied: ‘It was not very twisted, nor very straight. It had a slight twist and was a bit curled, and reached till his ear-lobes’”. (Shama’il Tirmidhi)
Anas bin Maalik R.A. reports:”I did not count more than fourteen white hair on the head and beard of Rasulullah (Sallallahu alaihe wasallam)”. (Shama’il Tirmidhi)
3c.4. The Prophet’s Garments
Ummi Salamah Radiyallahu ‘anha relates: “Of all the clothing, Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam preferred wearing the qamis (Thowb, kurtaa) the most”. (Shama’il Tirmidhi)
Bin Abbas (RA) says that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) used to say, “Choose white clothing, as it is the best clothing. And bury your dead in it.” (Shama’il Tirmidhi)
3c.5. The Prophet’s Sandals
Qatadah reports, ” I asked Anas (RA) to describe the sandals of Allah’s Messenger (SAW) and he replied, ‘Each sandal had two straps.” (Shama’il Tirmidhi)
Abu Hurairah (RA) relates that the Prophet (SAW) said,”Whenever one of you puts on his shoes, he should begin with the right, and when he removes his shoes he should begin with his left. The right foot should be first when putting on, and last when removing. ” (Shama’il Tirmidhi)
3c.6. The Prophet’s Ring
Bin Umar (RA) narrates that,”Allah’s Messenger (SAW) had a ring made of silver. He used it as a stamp on letters, but did not always wear it.” (Shama’il Tirmidhi)
3c.7. The Prophet’s Sword
Anas (RA) reports that< “the handle of the sword of the Prophet of Allah was made of silver.” (Shama’il Tirmidhi)
3c.8. The Prophet’s Turban
Bin Umar (RA) reports, “when the Messenger of Allah fastened an amamah, he used to put the shamlah between his shoulders.” (Shama’il Tirmidhi)
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