"We have not sent you (O Muhammad) but as a universal (Messenger) to men giving them glad tidings and warning them (against sin) but most men understand not." (Quran: 34/28)
"Indeed in the Messenger of Allah (Muhammad) you have a good example to follow for him who hopes for (the Meeting with) Allah and the Last Day, and remembers Allah much." (Quran: 33/21)
Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) Allah’s Messenger to the Whole Mankind
Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h was Allah's great Prophet and Messenger like Jesus, the Son of Mary. The Prophet's mission, however, is universal. Allah (S.W.T.) meaning: (the Exalted, Most Glorious) tells mankind that Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) is no more than a Messenger (Quran: 3/144), the unlettered Prophet who believes in Him and His Words (Quran 7/158). He is the Seal of the Prophets and the true universal Messenger of Allah to the whole mankind (Quran: 33/40). Allah (S.W.T.) makes this very clear:
"We have not sent you (O Muhammad) but as a universal (Messenger) to men giving them glad tidings and warning them (against sin) but most men understand not." (Quran: 34/28)
The Messenger (p.b.u.h.) possesses an exalted (standard of) character (Quran 68/4) and an excellent exemplar for him who hopes in Allah (S.W.T.) and the Final Day, and who remembers Allah (S.W.T.) much (Quran 33/21). Allah (S.W.T.) endowed him with exalted standard of character for us to follow. Every aspect of his life has been fully dealt with, providing complete guidance to the whole mankind. For our guidance, Allah (S.W.T.) commands us to believe and obey His Messenger (p.b.u.h.):
"Say (O Muhammad to mankind): ‘If you (really) love Allah then follow me (i.e. accept Islamic Monotheism, follow Quran and the Sunnah), Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.’ Say (O Muhammad): ‘Obey Allah and the Messenger (Muhammad).’ But if they turn away, then Allah does not like the disbelievers." (Quran: 3/31)
"O mankind! Verily, there has come to you the Messenger (Muhammad) with the truth from your Rabb (Sustainer, Lord). So believe in him, it is better for you. But if you disbelieve, then certainly to Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth. And Allah is Ever All-Knowing, All-Wise." (Quran: 4/170)
"O you who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger (Muhammad) and render not vain your deeds." (Quran: 47/33)
It is a must that we obey Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.). Allah (S.W.T.) tells us that he who obeys His Messenger (p.b.u.h.) obeys Him:
"He who obeys the Messenger (Muhammad) has indeed obeyed Allah, but he who turns away, then we have not sent you (Muhammad) as a watcher over them." (Quran: 4/80)
Allah (S.W.T.) sent His Messenger with Guidance and the religion of truth to make it prevail over all religions. He says:
"It is He (Allah) Who has sent His Messenger with Guidance and the Religion of Truth that he may proclaim it over all religion even though the Pagans may detest (it)." (Quran: 61/9)
Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) being the True Messenger of Allah (S.W.T.) not only sincerely believes and testifies to the Oneness of Allah, the Only True God, Who Alone deserves all praises and true worship, but also teaches the same universal message. In one of his teachings we learn how he teaches us to glorify and testify Allah (S.W.T.) as True:
“Ibn Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him) narrated that when the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) got up at night to offer the Tahajjud (midnight) prayer, he used to say: “O Allah! All the praises are for you. You are the Holder of the heavens and the earth, and whatever is in them. All the praises are for You. You have the possession of the heavens and the earth and whatever is in them. All the praises are for You. You are the Light of the heavens and the earth and all the praises are for You. You are the King of the heavens and the earth and all the praises are for You. You are the Truth and Your Promise is the truth, and to meet You is true. Your Word is the truth and Paradise is true, Hell is true, all the Prophets are true, Muhammad is true, and the Day of Resurrection is true. O Allah! I surrender (my will) to You. I believe in You and depend on You, repent to You, and with Your help I argue (with my opponents, the non-believers). And I take You as a Judge (to judge between us). Please forgive me my previous and future sins; and whatever I concealed or revealed. And You are the One Who makes (some people) forward and (some) backward. There is none to be worshipped but You.” (Bukhari 2/221, 9/482 and 534)
If you are among those who have read some of the countless distortions written against Islam and the Prophet (p.b.u.h.), time has come that you believe in him as the true Messenger of Allah (S.W.T.) to all humanity. Verily, Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) is the true universal messenger and the final Prophet of Allah. In fact, he is known as the As-Siddiq and Al-‘Amin (the Truthful and the Trustworthy). Many non-Muslims who knew and listened to him during his time, embraced Islam because of his truthfulness. Indeed, Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) is true and he teaches nothing but the Truth. Above all, he teaches us the worship of the One True God, which is the very essence of the true religion, Islam. For your salvation, believe in Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) as the true, final Messenger of Allah (S.W.T.) and believe in the Message with which he was sent. Believe in Islam as the true religion from Allah (S.W.T.). Take admonition from the following authentic Hadith:
“Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (p.b.u.h.) said, ‘By Him in Whose Hand is the life of Muhammad, he amongst the community of Jews or Christians hears about me; but does not affirm his belief in that with which I have been sent (i.e., Islam) and dies in his state (of disbelief), he shall be but one of the denizens of Hell-Fire.’” (Muslim 1/ 284)
The Life of Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.)
Birth and Prophethood:
Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) was born on the twelfth (12) of Rabiul Awwal 53 B.H. (570 A.D of the Christian era) in a noble family of Banu Hashim ancestry. However, he was not fortunate enough to have been born wealthy as he was born an orphan. His father, Abdullah bin Abdul Muttalib, died of sickness at the age of 25 on a trading journey to Syria, leaving his wife Amenah only a few months pregnant.
His grandfather, Abdul Muttalib, who was the chief of Makkah at that time, showed pride in him as Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) compensated him for the loss of his son who died in the prime of his youth. His mother showed affection for her son as she awaited the best nurses to come and take care of him: The tradition at that time was that nurses would come from the desert seeking to be the custodians of the children of nobility in return for good pay and gifts. Giving that Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) was not wealthy all nurses turned away from him, Halimah of the Banu Saad tribe was one of them, but when she could not find any other child she was ashamed to return home empty-handed, so she went back and took Muhammad, and since then Allah showered his mercy on her; for instance animals started giving plenty of milk after they had been dry. Therefore, she and her husband felt they were blessed to have taken Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) and became very attached to him.
Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) spent five years with Banu Saad during which nothing out of the ordinary happened except one told incident which scared Halimah and became known as “the splitting of his chest.” When he was playing with the other boys Jibril held him, threw him down, split his chest, took out his heart and took out a clump from it and said: “this is Satins portion of you.” Then he washed him in a basin made of gold with the water of Zam Zam, then sealed his chest and returned him where he was. (Anas, Muslim and Ahmed) The boys ran to Halimah and said Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) has been killed. They came back and found him alive but pale.
Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) returned to Makkah at the age of five to his mother and grandfather who took good care of him, but the days refused to allow him tranquility among those tender hearts, as his mother died during a visit to Madinah to visit her husband’s grave. She took Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) and his maid Umm Aiman with her. On the way back, she fell very sick and died in Abwaa leaving Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) with Umm Aiman.
His grandfather always took good care of him and never left him alone, he took him to all public gatherings. However, at the age of eight, Abdul Muttalib died leaving him into his uncle Abu Talib’s care. Since Abu Talib had many children and was not wealthy, Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) insisted on sharing the burdens of life with him. He went with his uncle on a trading journey to Syria at the age of thirteen. He met a monk called Bahira during the journey who looked at his face and the sign on his back (the sign of Prophethood) and asked Abu Talib: “What is this boy to you?” ‘My son he said.’ “His father should not be alive.” Said Buhira. Abu Talib then said, ‘Yes, in fact he is my brother’s son’ and told him the rest of the story. The monk said “Now you are telling me the truth. Take him back and be careful of the Jews over him.”
Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) then returned to Makkah and resumed his life, working as a shepherd in his early life. He did not acquire knowledge or education from a monk or a philosopher or sorcerer, as was the norm then. Instead he read through the pages of life and took what he found good. He combined the good qualities of discipline with spiritual purity, rightness and contentment.
In this manner, he entered his third phase of life and got acquainted with his first wife Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her) who was a merchant woman of nobility and wealth. She had heard of his truthfulness and trustworthiness, so she offered him to take her trade to Syria (before marrying him). He was 25 years old and she was 40 years old when they got married. Their marriage lasted until she died at the age of 65.
The Message of Islam:
Every year, Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) used to leave Makkah to spend Ramadan in the cave of Hira where he used to meditate and worship for self-purification away from the falsehood of Jahilia. In this cave, He met with the heavenly host and listened to the voice of the angel telling him to read. He knew that he had become a Prophet of Allah (p.b.u.h.) and that it was Jibril, the ambassador of revelation who came to him; then the mission’s struggle began.
Quraish spared no efforts to fight Islam and persecuted those who embraced it. The Prophet (p.b.u.h.) and his companions abused, ridiculed, humiliated, accused of indulging in magic, and the weak and oppressed believers were tortured until they disbelieved, died or swooned (as they had no clan to defend them).
In spite of all that Islam grew stronger, so Quraish decided to change strategy and agreed not to buy, sell or intermarry with Muslims or those who approved of their religion, protected them or sympathized with them. They wrote this agreement which was called “The General Boycott” on a piece of parchment and hung it inside the Kabah as a secret pact. Therefore, Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) and his followers were forced into confinement in the Vale of Banu Hashim where they were cut off of any assistance. This boycott lasted three long years during which only the bond of faith kept the hearts together and gave them strength. It ended after Hisham Ibn Amr (who felt very upset about the terrible plight of Muslims) gathered some clans around him and agreed to break the pact. They went to Makkah to tear the parchment and to their surprise they found that the worms had already eaten it up except the words: “In Your name O God.”
After ten years of suffering for the mission of Islam, Muhammad suffered the loss of his wife Khadijah and his uncle Abu Talib, in other words, he had lost his public life, as his uncle defended him and protected him from any calamity, and his private life, as Khadijah loved, supported and shared with him the miseries and pains of the Dawah.
Muhammad’s Attractive Leadership:
Muhammad led a very ordinary life yet the life style he practiced offered an example for others to follow. So this is an invitation to search through the Prophet’s (p.b.u.h.) lifestyle and adopt what he did in his daily activities.
To start with read what Al Hasan (son of Ali) said about the Prophet of Allah (p.b.u.h.) “Doors are not locked under him, nor do door keepers stand for him, and trays of food are not served to him in the morning or the evening. He sits on the ground and eats his food from the ground. He wears coarse (rough) clothes and rides on a donkey with others sitting behind him, and he licks his fingers after taking food.”
His regular deeds:
His habits were really simple in all aspects of his life as we see. He never started any activity without saying “In the name of Allah.”
General Conduct in Living with People:
Allah’s Messenger (p.b.u.h.) used to say Salam when he would arrive to a place where people were seated and when he wished to leave, he also said Salam as “the former is as appropriate as the latter.” (Abu Dawud)
He did not like people exalting him “He came out once leaning on a stick and a group of people stood up, he said: don’t stand up as foreigners stand up exalting each other therewith.” (Abu Dawud)
When visiting people, he used to ask permission to enter saying “Peace be upon you, may I enter.” (Abu Dawud) and when his guests were leaving he used to go with them to the door of the house.
Allah’s Messenger (p.b.u.h.) used to receive gifts and to give gifts back. (Bukhari) and he said “Make gifts to one another for a gift removes rancor from the chest.” (Tirmithi)
At home, he used to serve his family. Aisha was asked about what the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) used to do in his house, she said “He used to work for his family, that is to serve his family, and when the prayer time came, he went out for prayer.” (Bukhari)
Death of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.)
The pains of sickness attacked the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) since the ending of Safar of the eleventh year. Once he fainted and his family put medicine in his mouth. When he awoke, he showed his dislike of that. During his illness he would supplicate “O Allah help me in the pangs of death.” (Bukhari: narrated by Aisha)
He was warning Muslims -- even when he was in the throes of death -- that they should stay committed to monotheism by saying “Allah’s curse be upon the Jews and Christians, they took their Prophets’ graves as mosques.” (He was warning them against the action.) (Bukhari and Muslim)
The last thing the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) did before his death (according to Aisha): “He lay down in my lap, brushed his teeth harder than he had ever done before”, then his eyes were fixed and he was saying ‘Nay, the Companion on high from paradise.’ -I said to myself “You were given the choice and you have chosen, by Him who sent you with the Truth. Then, he passed away.” (Bukhari)
This was a brief study of the Prophet’s (p.b.u.h.) way of life. It must be stressed that we will never really understand the Sirah unless we study the Quran and Sunnah.
Praise and Glory be to Allah, we seek Allah’s forgiveness and we turn to him in repentance.
His Attributes and Manners
Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) combined both perfection of creation and perfection of manners. This impression on people can be deduced by the bliss that overwhelmed their hearts and filled them with dignity. Men’s dignity, devotion and estimation of Allah’s Messenger (p.b.u.h.) were unique and matchless. No other man in the whole world has been so honored and beloved. Those who knew him well, were fascinated and enchanted by him. They were ready to sacrifice their lives for the sake of saving a nail of his from hurt or injury. Being privileged by lots of prerogatives of perfection that no one else had been endowed with, his Companions found that he was peerless and so they loved him.
Here, we list a brief summary of the versions about his beauty and perfection. To encompass all, this is, admittedly, beyond our power.
Beauty of Creation:
Describing Allah’s Messenger (p.b.u.h.), who passed by her tent on his journey of migration, Umm Ma‘bad Khuza‘iyah said to her husband:
“He was innocently bright and had broad countenance. His manners were fine. Neither was his belly bulging out nor was his head deprived of hair. He had black attractive eyes finely arched by continuous eyebrows. His hair glossy and black, inclined to curl, he wore long. His voice was extremely commanding. His head was large, well formed and set on a slender neck. His expression was pensive and contemplative, serene and sublime. The stranger was fascinated from the distance, but no sooner he became intimate with him than this fascination was changed into attachment and respect. His expression was very sweet and distinct. His speech was well set and free from the use of superfluous words, as if it were a rosary of beads. His stature was neither too high nor too small to look repulsive. He was a twig amongst the two, singularly bright and fresh. He was always surrounded by his Companions. Whenever he uttered something, the listeners would hear him with rapt attention and whenever he issued any command, they vied with each other in carrying it out. He was a master and a commander. His utterances were marked by truth and sincerity, free from all kinds of falsehoods and lies.”
Ali Bin Abi Talib (May Allah be pleased with him) describing him said: “Allah’s Messenger (p.b.u.h.) was neither excessively tall nor extremely short. He was medium height among his friends. His hair was neither curly nor wavy. It was in between. It was not too curly nor was it plain straight. It was both curly and wavy combined. His face was not swollen or meaty-compact. It was fairly round. His mouth was white. He had black and large eyes with long haired eyelids. His joints (limbs) and shoulder joints were rather big. He had a rod-like little hair extending from his chest down to his navel, but the rest of his body was almost hairless. He had thick hand palms and thick fingers and toes. While walking, he lifted his feet off the ground as if he had been walking in a muddy remainder of water. When he turned, he turned all. The Prophethood Seal was between his shoulders. He is the Seal of Prophets, the most generous and the bravest of all.
His speech was the most reliable. He was the keenest and the most attentive to people’s trust and was very careful to pay people’s due in full. The Prophet (p.b.u.h.) was the most tractable and the most yielding companion, seeing him unexpectedly you fear him and venerate him. He who has acquaintance with him will like him. He who describes him says:
“I have never seen such a person neither before nor after seeing him.”
Jabir bin Samurah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported that Allah’s Messenger (p.b.u.h.) had a broad face with reddish (wide) eyes and lean heels.
Abu Tufail said: “He was white, good-looking. He was neither fat nor thin; neither tall nor short.”
Anas bin Malik (May Allah be pleased with him) said: “He had unfolded hands and was pink-colored. He was neither white nor brown. He was rather whitish. In both his head and beard there were as many as twenty gray hairs, besides some gray hairs at his temples.” In another version: “and some scattered white hairs in his head.”
Abu Juhaifa (May Allah be pleased with him) said: “I have seen some gray color under his lower lip.” Al-Bara’ said: “He was of medium height, broad-shouldered; his hair went up to his earlobes. I saw him dressed in a red garment and I (assure you) I have never seen someone more handsome. At first he used to let his hair loose so as to be in compliance with the people of the Book; but later on he used to part it.”
Bara also said: “He had the most handsome face and the best character.” When he was asked: “Was the Messenger’s face sword-like?” “No,” he said: “it was moon-like.” But in another version: he said, “His face was round.” Rabi Bint Muawwidh said: “Had you seen him, you would have felt that the sun was shining.” Jabir bin Samurah said, “I saw him at one full-moony night. I looked at him. He was dressed in a red garment. I compared him with the moon and found that he was better than the moon.”
Abu Huraira (May Allah be pleased with him) said: “I have never seen a thing nicer than Allah’s Messenger (p.b.u.h.). It seems as if the sunlight were moving within his face. I have never seen one who is faster in pace than Allah’s Messenger (p.b.u.h.). It seemed as if the earth had folded itself up to shorten the distance for him. For we used to wear ourselves out while he was at full ease.”
Kab bin Malik (May Allah be pleased with him) said: “When he was pleased, his face would shine with so bright light that you would believe that it was a moon-piece.” Once he sweated hot at Aishah’s, and the features of his face twinkled; so I recited a poem by Abu Kabeer Al-Hudhali:
“If you watch his face-features, you will see them twinkling like the lightning of an approaching rain.”
Whenever Abu Bakr saw him he would say:
“He is faithful, chosen (by Allah), and calls for forgiveness. He shines like a full-moon light when it is far from dark (clouds).”
Umar used to recite verses by Zuhair describing Haram bin Sinan:
“Were you other than a human being, you would be a lighted moon at a full-moon night.” Then he would add: “Thus was Allah’s Messenger (p.b.u.h.).”
When he got angry his face would go so red that you would think it were “an inflected red skin-spot with pomegranate grains on both cheeks.” Jabir bin Samurah said: “His legs were gentle, delicate and in conformity. His laughter is no more than smiling. Looking at him will make you say ‘He is black-eyed though he is not so.’”
Ibn Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him) said: “His two front teeth were splinted so whenever he speaks, light goes through them. His neck was as pure and silvery as a neck of doll. His eyelids were long-haired but his beard was thick. His forehead was broad; but his eyebrows were like the metal piece attached to a lance, but they were unhorned. His nose was high-tipped, middle-cambered with narrow nostrils. His cheeks were plain, but he had (little hair) running down like a rod from his throat to his navel. He had hair neither on his abdomen nor on his chest except some on his arms and shoulders. His chest was broad and flatted. He had long forearms with expansive palms of the hand. His legs were plain straight and stretching down. His other limbs were straight too. The two hollows of his soles hardly touch the ground. When he walks away he vanishes soon; but he walks at ease (when he is not in a hurry). The way he walks seems similar to one who is leaning forwards and is about to fall down.”
Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) said: “I have never touched silk or a silky garment softer than the palm of the Prophet’s (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him); nor have I smelt a perfume or any scent nicer than his.” In another version, “I have never smelt ambergris nor musk nor any other thing sweeter than the scent and the smell of Allah’s Messenger (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).”
Abu Juhaifa said: “I took his hand and put it on my head and I found that it was colder than ice and better scented than the musk perfume.”
Jabir bin Samurah — who was a little child then — said: “When he wiped my cheek, I felt it was cold and scented as if it had been taken out of a shop of a perfume workshop.”
Anas said, “His sweat was pearl-like.” Umm Sulaim said: “His sweat smelt nicer than the nicest perfume.”
Jabir said: “Whoever pursues a road that has been trodden by Allah’s Messenger (p.b.u.h.) will certainly scent his smell and will be quite sure that Allah’s Messenger (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) has already passed it.” The Seal of Prophethood, which was similar in size to a pigeon’s egg, was between his shoulders on the left side having spots on it like moles.
The Perfection of Soul and Nobility:
The Prophet (p.b.u.h.) was noted for superb eloquence and fluency in Arabic. He was remarkable in position and rank. He was an accurate, unpretending straightforward speaker. He was well-versed in Arabic and quite familiar with the dialects and accents of every tribe. He spoke with his entertainers using their own accents and dialects. He mastered and was quite eloquent at both Bedouin and town speech. So he had the strength and eloquence of Bedouin language as well as the clarity and the decorated splendid speech of town. Above all, there was the assistance of Allah embodied in the revealed verses of Quran.
His stamina, endurance and forgiveness — out of a commanding position — his patience and standing what he detested — these were all talents, attributes and qualities Allah Himself had brought him on. Even wise men have their flaws, but Allah’s Messenger (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), unlike everybody, the more he was hurt or injured, the more clement and patient he became. The more insolence an ignorant anybody exercised against him the more enduring he became. Aishah said:
“Allah’s Messenger (p.b.u.h.) whenever he is given the opportunity to choose between two affairs, he always chooses the easiest and the most convenient. But if he is certain that it is sinful, he will be as far as he could from it. He has never avenged himself; but when the sanctity of Allah is violated he would. That would be for Allah’s not for himself. He is the last one to get angry and the first to be satisfied. His hospitality and generosity were matchless. His gifts and endowments manifest a man who does not fear poverty.”
Ibn Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him) said: “The Prophet (p.b.u.h.) was the most generous. He is usually the most generous of all times in Ramadan, the times at which the angel Gabriel (p.b.u.h.) comes to see him. Gabriel used to visit him every night of Ramadan and review Quran with him. Verily, Allah’s Messenger (p.b.u.h.) is more generous at giving bounty or charity than the blowing wind.” Jabir said:
“The Prophet (p.b.u.h.) would never deny anything he was asked for.”
His courage, his succor and his might are distinguishable. He was the most courageous. He witnessed awkward and difficult times and stood fast at them. More than once brave men and daring ones fled away leaving him alone; yet he stood with full composure facing the enemy without turning his back. All brave men must have experienced fleeing once or have been driven off the battlefield at a round at a time except the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) Ali said: “Whenever the fight grew fierce and the eyes of fighters went red, we used to resort to the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) for succor. He was always the closest to the enemy.”
Anas said: “One night the people of Madinah felt alarmed. People went out hurriedly towards the source of sound, but the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) had already gone ahead of them. He was on the horseback of Abu Talhah which had no saddle over it, and a sword was slung round his neck, and said to them: ‘There was nothing to be afraid for.’”
He was the most modest and the first one to cast his eyes down. Abu Saeed Al-Khudri said: “He was shier than a virgin in her boudoir. When he hates a thing we read it on his face. He does not stare at anybody’s face. He always casts his eyes down. He looks at the ground more than he looks sky-wards. His utmost looks at people are glances. He is willingly and modestly obeyed by everybody. He would never name a person whom he had heard ill-news about — which he hated. Instead he would say: ‘Why do certain people do so....’” Al-Farazdaq verse of poem fits him very much and the best one to be said of:
“He casts his eyes modestly but the eyes of others are cast down due to his solemnity and words issue out of his mouth only while he is smiling.”
The Prophet (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is the most just, the most decent, the most truthful at speech, and the most honest of all. Those who have exchanged speech with him, and even his enemies, acknowledge his noble qualities. Even before the Prophethood he was nicknamed Al-Ameen (i.e. the truthful, the trustworthy). Even then — in Al-Jahiliyah — they used to turn to him for judgment and consultation. In a version by Tirmidhi, he says that Ali had said that he had been told by Abu Jahl that he (Abu Jahl) said to Allah’s Messenger (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him): “We do not call you a liar; but we do not have faith in what you have brought.” In His Book, Allah, the Exalted, said about them:
“It is not you that they deny, but it is the Verses (Quran) of Allah that the Dhalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers) deny.” (Quran: 6/33)
Even when Heraclius asked Abu Sufyan: “Have you ever accused him of lying before the ministry of Prophethood?” Abu Sufyan said: “No.”
He was the most modest and farthest from being arrogant or proud. He forbade people to stand up at his presence as other people usually do for their kings. Visiting the poor, the needy and entertaining them are some of his habits. If a slave invited him, he would accept the invitation. He always sat among his friends as if he were an ordinary person of them. Aishah said that he used to repair his shoes, sew or mend his dress and do what ordinary men did in their houses. After all, he was a human being like others. He used to check his dress (lest it has some insects on). Milking the she-sheep and catering for himself were some of his normal jobs. The Prophet (p.b.u.h.) was the most truthful to his pledges, and it is one of his qualities to establish good and steady relationship with his relatives — ‘Selat-Ar-Rahem’. He is the most merciful, gentle and amiable to all people. His way of living is the simplest one. Ill-manners and indecency are two qualities completely alien to him. He was decent, and did not call anybody names. He was not the sort of person who cursed or made noise in the streets. He did not exchange offences with others. He pushed back an offence or an error by forgiveness and overlooking. Nobody was allowed to walk behind him (i.e. as a bodyguard). He did not feel himself superior to others not even to his slaves (men or women) as far as food or clothes were concerned.
Whoever served him should be served by him too. ‘Ugh’ (an utterance of complaint) is a word that had never been said by him to his servant; nor was his servant blamed for doing a thing or leaving it undone. Loving the poor and the needy and entertaining them or participating in their funerals were things the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) always observed. He never disgraced a poor man for his poverty. Once he was traveling with his Companions and when it was time to have food prepared, he asked them to slaughter a she-sheep. A man said: I will slaughter it, another one said: I will skin it out. A third said: I will cook it. So, Allah’s Messenger (p.b.u.h.) said: I will collect wood for fire. They said: “No. We will suffice you that work.” ‘I know that you can do it for me, but I hate to be privileged. Allah hates to see a slave of his privileged to others.’” So he went and collected fire-wood.
Let us have some of the description of Hind bin Abi Halah: “Allah’s Messenger was continually sad, thinking perpetually. He had no rest (i.e. for long). He only spoke when it was necessary. He would remain silent for a long time and whenever he spoke, he would end his talk with his jawbone but not out of the corners of his mouth, i.e. (snobbishly). His speech was inclusive. He spoke inclusively and decisively. It was not excessive nor was it short of meaning. It was amiable. It was in no way hard dishonoring. He glorified the bounty of Allah; even if it were little. If he had no liking for someone’s food, he would neither praise nor criticize.
He was always in full control of his temper and he would never get seemed angry unless it was necessary. He never got angry for himself nor did he avenge himself. It was for Allah’s sanctity and religion that he always seemed angry.
When he pointed at a thing he would do so with his full hand-palm, and he would turn it round to show surprise. If he were angry he would turn both his body and face aside. When he was pleased, he cast his eyes down. His laughter was mostly smiling. It was then that his teeth which were like hail-stones were revealed.
He never spoke unless it was something closely relevant to him. He confirmed the brotherhood relationship among his Companions; and thus he made them intimate and did not separate them or implant enmity among them. Those who were honorable with their peoples, were honored and respected by him and were assigned rulers over their own peoples. His cheerfulness was never withdrawn at anyone’s face; even at those whom he warned his people from or those whom he himself was on the alert of. He visited friends and inquired about people’s affairs. He confirmed what was right and criticized the awful and tried to undermine it. He was moderate in all affairs. He was equal to others and was not privileged. He would never act heedlessly, lest the others should get heedless. Each situation was dealt with in its proper due.
Righteousness was his target; so he was never short of it, nor indifferent to it. People who sat next to him were the best of their people and the best of them all were — for him — those who provided common consultations. For him, the greatest ones and the highest in ranks were the best at providing comfort and co-ordination and succor. Remembrance (of Allah) was a thing he aimed at and established whenever he sat down or stands up. No certain position was assigned for him to sit on. He sat at the end of the group, seated next to the last sitter in the place. He ordered people to do the same. He entertained his participants in social gatherings alike so that the one addressed would think that there was no one honored by the Prophet Allah’s Messenger but himself. He whoever sat next to him or interrupted him in order to ask for his advice about an affair of his, would be the first to start the talk and the one to end it. The Prophet (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) would listen to him patiently till he ended his speech. He never denied a request to anyone, if unapproachable, then few gratifying words would work, instead.
His magnanimity, broad mindedness his tolerance could embrace all people and entitled him to be regarded as father for them all. In justice, all of them were almost equal. Nobody was better than another except on the criterion of Allah fearing. A favored one, to him, was the most Allah fearing. His assembly was a meeting of clemency, timidness, patience and honesty. Voices were not raised in rows or riots. Inviolable things were never violable. Fearing Allah and worship were their means to sympathy and compassion. They used to esteem the old and have mercy on the young. They assisted the needy and entertained strangers.
Allah’s Messenger (p.b.u.h.) was always cheerful, easy, pleasant-tempered and lenient. He was never rude or rough nor clamorous or indecent. He was neither a reproacher nor a praiser. He overlooked what he did not desire, yet you would never despair of him. Three qualities he disposed of: hypocrisy, excessiveness, and what was none of his concern. People did not fear him in three areas: — for they were not qualities or habits of his —: He never disparaged, or reproached nor did he seek the defects or shortages of others. He only spoke things whose reward was Divinely desirable. When he spoke, his listeners would attentively listen to him casting down their heads. They only spoke when he was silent. They did not have disputes or arguments about who was to talk. He who talked in his presence would be listened to by everybody till he finished his talk. Their talk would be about the topic discussed or delivered by their first speaker. Allah’s Messenger (p.b.u.h.) used to laugh at what they laughed at and admired what they used to admire. He would always show patience with a stranger’s harshness at talk. He used to say:
“When you see a person seeking an object earnestly, assist him to get his need. And never ask for a reward except from the reward-Giver, i.e. Allah.”
Kharijah bin Zaid said: “The Prophet (p.b.u.h.) was the most honored among the people with whom he sat. His limbs could hardly be seen. He was often silent and rarely talked when speech was not a necessity. He turned away from those whose speech was rude or impolite. His laughter was no more than a smile. His speech, which was decisive, it was neither excessive nor incomplete. Out of reverence and esteem and following the example of their Prophet (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), the Companions’ laughter at his presence — was smiling, as well.”
On the whole the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) was ornamented with peerless attributes of perfection. No wonder to be like that for he was brought up, educated and taught (Quran) by Allah. He was even praised by Allah:
“And verily, you (O Muhammad) are on an exalted standard of character.” (Quran: 68/4)
Those were the attributes and qualities that the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) enjoyed which made the hearts of souls of the people close to him, draw near to him and love him. Those traits made him so popular that the restraint and enmity of his people grew less and they started to embrace Islam in large crowds.
This description is in fact no more than a rapid review or rather short brief lines of Muhammad’s aspects of full perfection. Trying to encompass the whole perfect picture of the Prophet (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). No one can ever claim to be possessed of full knowledge or complete mastery of the great attributes of the greatest man in this universe. No one can ever give this man, the top of perfection, his due description. He was a man who always sought Allah’s light, to such an extent that he was wholly imbued with Quranic approach.
O Allah! Send your blessings (and the Holy Words of Yours) upon Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, as You have sent blessings upon Ibrahim and the family of Ibrahim. You are worthy of all praise, All Glorious.
O Allah! Bless Muhammad and the family of Muhammad as You have already blessed Ibrahim and the family of Ibrahim. You are worthy of all praise, All Glorious.
The Prophet as the Model for Truthfulness and Trustworthiness
The Prophet (p.b.u.h.) is known as Siddiq and Ameen (the Truthful and the Trustworthy). People during his time, except the most arrogant unbelievers among them, believed him as such. The following Hadith for instance tells us:
Ibn Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him) narrated that when the Verse:
"And warn your tribe of near kindred.” (26:214) was revealed, Allah’s Messenger (p.b.u.h.) went out, and when he had ascended Safa mountain, he shouted, ‘O Sabahah!’ The people said, "Who is that?” "Then they gathered around him, whereupon he said, ‘Do you see? If I inform you that cavalrymen are proceeding up the side of this mountain, will you believe me’ They said, “We have never heard you telling a lie.” Then he (p.b.u.h.) said, ‘I am a plain warner to you of a coming severe punishment.’ Abu Lahab said, "May you perish! You gathered us only for this reason?” Then Abu Lahab went away. So the Surat: "Perish the hands of Abu Lahab!” (111:1) was revealed.” (Bukhari 6/495)
The Prophet (p.b.u.h.) is known to have always told the truth even when he joked with his Companions. In fact, he even cursed those who make lies just to make people laugh:
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) narrated that when they said, “Messenger of Allah, do you make jokes with us!” He (p.b.u.h.) replied, ‘I say nothing but the truth.’” (Tirmidhi 4885)
Mu'awiyah Ibn Jaydah al-Qushayri (May Allah be pleased with him) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (p.b.u.h.) said, “Woe to him who tells things, speaking falsely, to make people laugh thereby. Woe to him! Woe to him!” (Abu Dawud 4972)
We, the Du'at (Dawah makers) should emulate the great Messenger of Allah. We must fear Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) and always tell the truth. As Muslims, we are expected to be truthful and trustworthy:
“O you who believe! Fear Allah and be with those who are truthful.” (Quran: 9/119)
“That Allah will reward the people of Truth for their Truth, and punish the Hypocrites if that be His Will, or turn to them in Mercy; for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Quran: 33/24)
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (p.b.u.h.)said, “A Muslim is one from whose tongue and hand the Muslims are safe and a believer is one in whom people place their trust in regard to their life and wealth.” (Tirmidhi 33 and Nasa'i)
To be truthful, we should equip ourselves with the knowledge of the Truth. This is one of the reasons why we need to seek correct knowledge of Islam, as much as possible. We should always be ready with whatever questions non-Muslims ask about Islam. If we do not know or are not sure of the answer(s) then we have to be frank. We can delay the answer and ask somebody who is knowledgeable (an Imam or a Muslim scholar) to answer the question. Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) and His Messenger (p.b.u.h.) enjoin us to ask those who know:
“... Then ask those who have been reading the Book from before you...” (Quran: 10/94)
“...If you realize this not, ask of those who possess the Message.” (Quran: 16/43)
Abdullah Bin Amr As (May Allah be pleased with him) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (p.b.u.h.) heard some people disputing about Quran. Thereupon he said: “It was because of this that those gone before you had perished. They set parts of the books against the others (whereas the fact is) that the Book of Allah has been revealed with one part confirming the others. Therefore, do not falsify some parts with the others and speak only that which you know; that which you do not know, refer it to one who knows it well.” (Tirmidhi 237, Ahmad and Ibn Majah)
We should never attribute something that has no basis in Quran and Sunnah to the Prophet (p.b.u.h.), or to Islam as a whole. We should take admonitions from the following warnings:
Ali (May Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) said, “Do not tell a lie against me for whoever tells a lie against me (intentionally) then he will surely enter the Hell-fire.” (Bukhari 1/106 and Ibn Majah 1/31)
Salama (May Allah be pleased with him) narrated that he heard the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) saying, “Whoever (intentionally) ascribes to me what I have not said then (surely) let him occupy his seat in Hell-fire.” (Bukhari 1/109)
Wathila bin Asqa (May Allah be pleased with him) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (p.b.u.h.) said, “Verily, one of the worst lies is to claim falsely to be the son of someone other than one’s real father; or to claim to have had a dream one has not had; or to attribute to me what I have not said.” (Bukhari 4/712)
Abdullah Ibn Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (p.b.u.h.) said: Be mindful when transmitting a Hadith from me. (Transmit) only that which you know (very well) for he who intentionally lies about me will find his abode in Hell-Fire.” (Tirmidhi 232)
There are many Islamic teachings on truthfulness that should inspire us to be truthful. We can share them to non-Muslims. Non-Muslims should know that we, the true Muslims, adhere to truth for we are certain that Islam is the religion of Truth. Islam teaches truthfulness. It enjoys its followers to adhere to truthfulness and refrain from lies as shown in the following authentic teachings:
Abdullah (May Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) said, “Truthfulness leads to Birr (righteousness) and Birr leads to Paradise. And a man keeps on telling the truth until he becomes a Siddiq (truthful person). Falsehood leads to Fujur (i.e., wickedness, evil-doing), and Fujur leads to the (Hell) Fire, and a man may keep on telling lies till he is written before Allah, a liar.” (Bukhari 8/116 and Muslim 4/6307-6310)
Abdullah (May Allah be pleased with him) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (p.b.u.h.) as saying, “It is obligatory for you to tell the truth, for truth leads to good deeds and good deeds lead him who does them to paradise. If a man continues to speak truth and makes truth his objective, he will be recorded in Allah’s presence as eminently truthful. Avoid falsehood, for falsehood leads to wickedness and wickedness leads to hell. If a man continues to speak falsehood and makes falsehood his objective, he will be recorded in Allah’s presence as a great liar.” (Muslim 4/6309)
We must include in our prayers that Allah will give us the best character and manners, which include being truthful. We should also avoid situations or things that will lead us to make lies. One of these is debt as the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) warns us in the following Hadith:
Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) narrated that the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) used to invoke Allah in the prayer saying, “O Allah, I seek refuge with you from all sins, and from being in debt.” Someone said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! (I see you) very often you seek refuge with Allah from being in debt.’ He replied (p.b.u.h.), “If a person is in debt, he tells lies when he speaks, and breaks his promises when he promises.”” (Bukhari 3/582)
In everything we do, we must fear Allah and always tell the truth. Telling lies do great harms to us especially in the eternal world. If we die without asking Allah’s forgiveness and we are recorded in His presence as liars, then we will have a terrible punishment in the Hereafter. As much as possible, we must avoid telling lies. We must take warning from the following Hadith:
Samura bin Jundub (May Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) said, “I saw (in a dream) two men came to me.” Then the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) narrated the story (saying), “They said, 'The person, the one whose cheek you saw being torn away (from the mouth to the ear) was a liar and used to tell lies. And the people would report those lies on his authority till they spread all over the world. So he will be punished like that till the Day of Resurrection.’” (Bukhari 8/118)
To non-Muslims who invent lies against Allah Subhanahu WA Ta'ala, it is our duty to warn them to refrain from their disbeliefs. They should take lessons from the many clear Signs of Allah, being the Only God worthy of our sincere worship and stop associating partners with Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala. They should fear Allah’s curse and severe punishment in the Hell-Fire:
“And those who believe in Allah and His messengers they are the Truthful and the martyrs in the eyes of their Rabb. They shall have their Reward and their Light. But those who reject Allah and deny Our Signs, they are the Companions of Hell-Fire.” (57:19)
“Who does more wrong than those who invent a lie against Allah? They will be turned back to the Presence of their Rabb and the witnesses will say, ‘These are the ones who lied against their Rabb!’ Behold! The curse of Allah is on those who do wrong!” (11:18)