Jun 11, 2010

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The Character of the Prophet (SAW)

Read the previous part: Etiquettes of the Prophet (SAW)

“And verily, you are on an exalted standard of character.” (Al Qalam:4)

3e.1. Mercy and Compassion

And We have sent you (O Muhammad SAW) not but as a mercy for the worlds. (Al Anbiya: 107)

And by the Mercy of Allâh, you dealt with them gently. And had you been severe and harsh¬hearted, they would have broken away from about you; so pass over (their faults), and ask (Allâh’s) Forgiveness for them; and consult them in the affairs. Then when you have taken a decision, put your trust in Allâh, certainly, Allâh loves those who put their trust (in Him). (Ali Imran:159)

Verily, there has come unto you a Messenger (Muhammad SAW) from amongst yourselves (i.e. whom you know well). It grieves him that you should receive any injury or difficulty. He (Muhammad SAW) is anxious over you, for the believers (he SAW is) full of pity, kind, and merciful. (al-Tawbah:128)

The Prophet (SAW), without a shadow of doubt, was the epitome of mercy. This is not only due to Allah describing him as such, but due to the manifestation of mercy in his character. There are two particular scenarios that stick out above the rest:

Narrated by Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-‘As: Verily the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) recited the words of Allah, the Great and Glorious, that Ibrahim uttered: My Lord! Lo! they have led many of mankind astray: “But whoso followeth me, he verily is of me” (al-Qur’an, xiv.35), and Jesus (peace be upon him) said: “If thou punisheth them, lo! they are Thy slaves, and if Thou forgiveth them–verily Thou art the Mighty, the Wise” (al-Qur’an, v.117). Then he raised his hands and said: O Lord, my Ummah, my Ummah, and wept. So Allah, the High and the Exalted, said: O Gabriel, go to Muhammad (though your Lord knows it fully well) and ask him: what makes thee weep? So Gabriel (p.) came to him and asked him, and the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) informed him of what he had said (though Allah knew it fully well). Upon this Allah said: O Gabriel, go to Muhammad and say: Verily We shall please thee with regard to your Ummah and shall not displease thee. (Sahih Al Muslim)

“Being a Prophet of absolute mercy, one who came to secure the happiness of mankind both in tis world and the next, Allah’s Messenger (SAW) entered Makkah, bowing on the back of his mule, as a victorious conqueror. He displayed no hint of self pride nor thought of either vengeance or retaliation. He proceeded toward the Ka’bah in utmost modesty and absolute gratitude to God, who had made him victorious in his sacred mission. He stopped at the Ka’bah and asked those who assembled there, ‘How do you expect me to treat you?’ You are a noble man, the son of a noble man’, they answered. Allah’s Messenger concluded, “No blame will there be upon you today. Allah will forgive you; and He is the Most Merciful of the Merciful.” (Yusuf:92) You can disperse.’

This marked the end of the polytheism in Makkah. While he was toppling down the idols at the Ka’bah one after the other, he recited, ‘Say, “Truth has come and falsehood has disappeared. Indeed falsehood is subject to disappearance.” And, almost all of the Makkans, who had been the enemies of Islam until one day before, acquired the honour of becoming companions to Allah’s Messenger (SAW). (al-Tabari)

3.e.2 Kindness to children

Anas b. Malik reported that Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) had the sublimest character among mankind. I had a brother who was called Abd ‘Umair. I think he was weaned. When Allah’s Messenger (may peace he upon him) came to our house he saw him, and said: Abu ‘Umair, what has the sparrow done? He (Anas) said that he had been playing with that. (Muslim)

3.e.3. Generosity

Anas bin Malik (RA) reported, “It never happened that Allah’s Messenger (SAW) was asked anything for the sake of Islam and he did not give. There came to him a person and he gave him a large flock (of sheep and goat) and he went back to his people and said, “My people, embrace Islam, for Muhammad gives so much charity it is as if he has no fear of poverty.” (Muslim)

Ibn Shihad reported that Allah’s Messenger (SAW) went out along with the Muslims and they fought at Hunayn, and Allah granted victory to His religion and to the Muslims. Allah’s Messenger (SAW( gave one hundred camels to Safwan bin Umayyah. He again gave him one hundred camels, and then again gave him one hundred camels. Sa’id bin al-Musayyib said that Safwan told him, “By Allah! Allah’s Messenger (SAW) gave me what he gave me, and he was the most detested person in my eyes. But he continued to give until he became the dearest to me.” (Muslim)

3.e.4. Justice

Aisha (RA) narrated, “The people of Quraysh became very worried about the Makhzumiya lady who had committed theft. They said, ‘Nobody can speak to Allah’s Messenger (SAW), except Usama bin Zaid who is the favorite of Allah’s Messenger.’ When Usama spoke to Allah’s Messenger about the matter, Allah’s Apostle said, ‘Do you interceded with me to violate one of the legal punishments of Allah?’ He then got up and addressed the people, saying, ‘O people! The nations before you went astray because if a noble person committed theft, they used to leave him, but if a weak person amongst them committed theft, they used to inflict the legal rulings on him. By Allah, if Fatimah, the daughter of Muhammad committed theft, I would have cut off her hand.” (Bukhari)

3.e.5. Patience

Narrated Khabbab bin Al-Arat: We complained to Allah’s Apostle (of the persecution inflicted on us by the infidels) while he was sitting in the shade of the Ka’ba. We said to him, “Would you seek help for us? Would you pray to Allah for us?” He said, “Among the nations before you a (believing) man would be put in a ditch that was dug for him, and a saw would be put over his head and he would be cut into two pieces; yet that (torture) would not make him give up his religion. His body would be combed with iron combs that would remove his flesh from the bones and nerves, yet that would not make him abandon his religion. By Allah, this religion (i.e. Islam) will prevail till a traveler from Sana (in Yemen) to Hadrarmaut will fear none but Allah, or a wolf as regards his sheep, but you (people) are hasty. (Bukhari)

3.e.6. Bravery and Courage

Bara bin Azab narrates, “In the battle of Hunayn, as Muslims were being taken out by archers, the people turned to the Messenger of Allah (SAW). Abu Sufyan bin Harith was leading the Messenger of Allah (SAW) mule. He got down, prayed, and invoked Allah’s help. He said, ‘I am the Prophet. This is the truth. I am the son of Abdul Mutallib. O Allah, descend your help.” Bara’ continued. “When the battle grew fierce, by Allah, we would seek protection by the Prophet’s side, and the bravest among us was he who confronted the onslaught in the front, by the Prophet’s side.” (Muslim)

3.6.7. Humility

Aisha (RA) narrated, “He used to remain busy serving and helping his household, and when the time for prayer came he would perform ablution and go for prayer. He would patch his own sandals and sew his own garments. He was an ordinary human being, milking his sheep, and doing his own chores.” (Shama’il Tirmidhi)

Being the Messenger of Allah (SAW), a living example for all the eternity, the discussion of his noble and great character would never come to an end. It is as the scholars have said, “Describing the greatness of Allah’s Messenger (SAW) is that ocean that knows no shore.” (Ibn Hajar Fath al Bari)

Read the next topics: The Exclusive Characteristics of Prophet (SAW)-1

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