Description of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH)
The following is an excerpt from the book entitled "The Message of Mohammad", by Athar Husain. Among other things, it talks about some of the personal characteristics of the prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him), the final messenger of Allah (God). It has been edited slightly in order to reduce it's length. Care has been taken not to change the content inshallah. The topics include:
"as there is no darkness in the moonlit night so is Mustafa, the well-wisher, bright."
His blanket had several patches (Tirmizi). He had very few spare clothes, but he kept them spotlessy clean (Bukhari). He wanted others also to put on simple but clean clothes. Once he saw a person putting on dirty clothes and remarked,
"Why can't this man wash them." (Abu Dawud, Chapter "Dress").
"When Allah has blessed you with His bounty, your appearence should reflect it." (Abu Dawud)
"Cleanliness is piety".
Mode of living
"What have I to do with worldly things. My connection with the world is like that of a traveler resting for a while underneath the shade of a tree and then moving on."
He advised the people to live simple lives and himself practised great austerities. Even when he had become the virtual king of arabia, he lived an austere life bordering on privation. His wife Aiysha (ra) says that there was hardly a day in his life when he had two square meals (Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Vol.2, pg 198). When he died there was nothing in his house except a few seeds of barley left from a mound of the grain obtained from a Jew by pawning his armour (Bukhari, Sahih Bukhari, Chapter "Aljihad").
He had declared unlawful for himself and his family anything given by the people by way of zakat or sadaqa (types of charity). He was so particular about this that he would not appoint any member of his family as a zakat collector (Sahah-Kitab Sadqat).
His manners and disposition
"By the grace of Allah, you are gentle towards the people; if you had been stern and ill-tempered, they would have dispersed from round about you" (translation of Qur'an 3:159)
"Allah has sent me as an apostle so that I may demonstrate perfection of character, refinement of manners and loftiness of deportment." (Malik, Mawatta; Ahmed, Musnad; Mishkat)
"I am a Prophet of Allah but I do not know what will be my end." (Bukhari, Sahih Bukhari, Chapter "Al-Janaiz")
"O people of Quraish be prepared for the hereafter, I cannot save you from the punishment of Allah; O Bani Abd Manaf, I cannot save you from Allah; O Abbas, son of Abdul Mutalib, I cannot protect you either; O Fatima, daughter of Muhammad, even you I cannot save." (Sahahin)
"O Allah! I am but a man. If I hurt any one in any manner, then forgive me and do not punish me." (Ahmed, Musnad, Vol. 6 pg. 103)
"To honor an old man is to show respect to Allah."
"You did not think well of this man, but you treated him so well."
"He is a bad person in the sight of Allah who does not behave courteously and people shun his company bacause of his bad manners." (Bukhari, Sahih Bukhari)
"Let him who likes people to stand up in his honour, he should seek a place in hell." (Abu Dawud, Kitabul Adab, Muhammadi Press, Delhi).
He used to visit the poorest of ailing persons and exhorted all muslims to do likewise (Bukhari, Sahih Bukhari, Chapter "Attendance on ailing persons"). He would sit with the humblest of persons saying that righteousness alone was the criterion of one's superiority over another. He invariably invited people be they slaves, servants or the poorest believers, to partake with him of his scanty meals (Tirmizi, Sunan Tirmizi).
Whenever he visited a person he would first greet him and then take his permission to enter the house. He advised the people to follow this etiquette and not to get annoyed if anyone declined to give permission, for it was quite likely the person concerned was busy otherwise and did not mean any disrespect (Ibid).
There was no type of household work too low or too undignified for him. Aiysha (ra) has stated,
"He always joined in household work and would at times mend his clothes, repair his shoes and sweep the floor. He would milk, tether, and feed his animals and do the household shopping." (Qazi Iyaz: Shifa; Bukhari, Sahih Bukhari, Chapter: Kitabul Adab)
"In my childhood I used to fell dates by throwing stones at palm trees. Somebody took me to the Prophet (pbuh) who advised me to pick up the dates lying on the ground but not to fell them with stones. He then patted me and blessed me." (Abu Dawud)
- offering worship to Allah
- public affairs, and
- personal matters.
"O Allah, I die and live with thy name on my lips."
"All praise to Allah Who has given me life after death and towards Whom is the return."
On friday he used to give sermons after the weekly "Jumma" prayers. He was not annoyed if anyone interrupted him during the sermons for anything. It is stated that once, while he was delivering his sermon, a bedouin approached him and said, "O messenger of Allah, I am a traveler and am ignorant of my religion." The prophet (pbuh) got down from the pulpit, explained the salient features of Islam to him and then resumed the sermon (Tirmizi, Sunan Tirmizi).
On another occasion his grandson Husain, still a child, came tumbling to him while he was delivering a sermon. He descended and took him in his lap and then continued the sermon (Ibid).
Trust in Allah (swt)
"Dear uncle, do not go by my loneliness. Truth will not go unsupported for long. The whole of Arabia and beyond will one day espouse its cause." (Ibn Hisham, Sirat-ur-Rasul.)
"O my uncle, if they placed the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left, to force me to renounce my work, verily I would not desist thereform until Allah made manifest His cause, or I perished in the attempt." (Ibid)
"Allah will not leave me forelorn."
"By Allah, the day is near when this faith will reach its pinnacle and none will have to fear anyone except Allah." (Bukhari, Sahih Bukhari)
Then leaving his house for Madinah he asked Ali (ra) to sleep on his bed and told him,
"Do not worry, no one will be able to do you any harm" (Tabari, Ibn Hisham)
"We have set a barricade before them and a barricade behind them and (thus) have covered them so that they see not" (translation of Qur'an 36:9)
"Grieve not. Allah is with us."
"Allah will protect you from the people" (translation of Qur'an 5:67).
"Even if this man wanted to kill me, he could not." (Ahmed, Musnad, Vol.3 pg. 471)
"Why did you do this?" "To kill you," was her defiant reply. She was told, "Allah would not have allowed you to do it." (Muslim, Sahih Muslim.)
Again in the battle of Hunain, when the unexpected assault of the army had swept the Muslim force off its feet and a defeat seemed imminent, the Prophet (pbuh) did not yield ground. With trust in Allah (swt) he showed such courage that the Muslim army rallied behind him to win a signal victory.
Sakhar, a chief of a tribe, had helped Muhammad (pbuh) greatly in the seige of Taif, for which he was naturally obliged to him. Soon after, two charges were brought against Sakhar: one by Mughira of illegal confinement of his (Mughira's) aunt and the other by Banu Salim of forcible occupation of his spring by Sakhar. In both cases, he decided against Sakhar and made him undo the wrong. (Abu Dawud, Sunan Dawud, pg.80)
Abdullah Bin Sahal, a companion, was deputed to collect rent from Jews of Khaibar. His cousin Mahisa accompanied him but, on reaching Khaibar, they had separated. Abdullah was waylaid and done to death. Mahisa reported this tragedy to the Prophet (pbuh) but as there were no eye-witnesses to identify the guilty, he did not say anything to the Jews and paid the blood-money out of the state revenues (Bukhari, Sahih Bukhari Nasai).
A woman of the Makhzoom family with good connections was found guilty of theft. For the prestige of the Quraish, some prominent people including Asama Bin Zaid interceded to save her from punishment. The Prophet (pbuh) refused to condone the crime and expressed displeasure saying,
"Many a community ruined itself in the past as they only punished the poor and ignored the offences of the exalted. By Allah, if Muhammad's (My) daughter Fatima would have committed theft, her hand would have been severed." (Bukhari, Sahh Bukhari, Chapter "Alhadood")
Once, while he was distributing the spoils of war, people flocked around him and one man almost fell upon him. He pushed the men with a stick causing a slight abrasion. He was so sorry about this that he told the man that he could have his revenge, but the man said, "O messenger of Allah, I forgive you." (Abu Dawud, Kitablu Diyat).
In his fatal illness, the Prophet (pbuh) proclaimed in a concourse assembled at his house that if he owed anything to anyone the person concerned could claim it; if he had ever hurt anyone's person, honor or property, he could have his price while he was yet in this world. A hush fell on the crowd. One man came forward to claim a few dirhams which were paid at once. (Ibn Hisham, Sirat-ur-Rasul)
Once the Prophet (pbuh) visited Saad Bin Abadah. While returning Saad sent his son Quais with him. The Prophet (pbuh) asked Quais to mount his camel with him. Quais hesitated out of respect but the Prophet (pbuh) insisted: "Either mount the camel or go back." Quais decided to go back. (Abu Dawud, Kitabul Adab)
On another occasion he was traveling on his camel over hilly terrain with a disciple, Uqba Bin Aamir. After going some distance, he asked Uqba to ride the camel, but Uqba thought this would be showing disrespect to the Prophet (pbuh). But the Prophet (pbuh) insisted and he had to comply. The Prophet (pbuh) himself walked on foot as he did not want to put too much load on the animal. (Nasai pg. 803)
The prisioners of war of Badr included Abbas, the uncle of the Prophet (pbuh). Some people were prepared to forgo their shares and remit the Prophet's (pbuh) ransom but he declined saying that he could make no distinctions. (Bukhari, Sahih Bukhari, Chapter "Ransoms")
During a halt on a journey, the companions apportioned work among themselves for preparing food. The Prophet (pbuh) took upon himself the task of collecting firewood. His companions pleaded that they would do it and that he need not take the trouble, but he replied,
"It is true, but I do not like to attribute any distinction to myself. Allah does not like the man who considers himself superior to his companions." (Zarqani, Vol 4 pg. 306)
Kindness to animals
"Fear Allah in your treatment of animals." (Abu Dawud, Kitab Jihad).
During a journey, somebody picked up some birds eggs. The bird's painful note and fluttering attracted the attention of the Prophet (pbuh), who asked the man to replace the eggs (Bukhari, Sahih Bukhari).
As his army marched towards Makkah to conquer it, they passed a female dog with puppies. The Prophet (pbuh) not only gave orders that they should not be disturbed, but posted a man to see that this was done.
"Verily, there is heavenly reward for every act of kindness done to a living animal."
Love for the poor
"He is not a perfect muslim who eats his fill and lets his neighbor go hungry."
"Do you love your Creator? Then love your fellow beings first."
"It is diffucult for a man laden with riches to climb the steep path that leads to bliss."
"To give the laborer his wages before his perspiration dried up."
"Allah is gracious to him who earns his living by his own labor, and that if a man begs to increase his property, Allah will diminish it and whoever has food for the day, it is prohibited for him to beg."
"O Aysha, love the poor and let them come to you and Allah will draw you near to Himself." (Bukhari, Sahih Bukhari)
"This man was ignorant, you should have dispelled his ignorance; he was hungry, you should have fed him."
A debtor, Jabir Bin Abdullah, was being harassed by his creditor as he could not clear his debt owing to the failure of his date crop. The Prophet (pbuh) went with Jabir to the house of the creditor and pleaded with him to give Jabir some more time but the creditor was not prepared to oblige. The Prophet (pbuh) then went to the oasis and having seen for himself that the crop was really poor, he again approached the creditor with no better result. He then rested for some time and approached the creditor for a third time but the latter was adamant. The Prophet (pbuh) went again to the orchard and asked Jabir to pluck the dates. As Allah would have it, the collection not only sufficed to clear the dues but left something to spare (Bukhari, Sahih Bukhari).
His love for the poor was so deep that he used to pray:
"O Allah, keep me poor in my life and at my death and raise me at resurrection among those who are poor." (Nasai, Chapter: Pardon)