The more science and technology advances, the greater the need for the implementation of the teachings of divinely sent prophets throughout human societies, as science and technology provide only machines and instruments – they do not provide the means to prevent their misuse by humans. The rise in murders, felonies, cases of individual and corporate corruption and other crimes clearly point to this fact.
If morality, which forms a significant part of the teachings of the divinely appointed prophets does not prevail and govern over human society, not only will the advanced science and technology fail to ensure human peace and prosperity, but they will actually add to the problems and miseries.
Indeed, the only factor which can halter man’s restive soul and control his stormy instincts and passions, permitting him to utilize science and technology for prosperity and success in life is morality, which originates in faith in Allah (God).
The moral teachings and precepts of the divinely ordained prophets and their own moral conduct are the best means of leading humanity to their ideal life. It goes without saying that in both personal and social life, the observance of moral principles is required of everyone - however this requirement is much greater for those who must lead societies and guide the people, since:
First: The one who is the instructor of society must himself be a model of supreme moral behavior and excellent human characteristics so that he may be able to wipe out moral decay from the people’s hearts and minds. Obviously if he himself is lacking in morality, he will fail to lead the people to the path of humanity and virtue.
Secondly: The responsibility of leading the human society is so great and crucial that no one can successfully perform it unless he himself has perfect morals.
For this reason, Allah (God) selected His prophets from amongst those who possessed exalted spirits, great tolerance, extraordinary patience, and other excellent moral characteristics. It was with the weapon of morality that the divinely commissioned prophets overturned the debased societies which were plunged in corruption and through which they led the ignorant people who had gone astray, back to the path of virtue and salvation.
In the Noble Qur’an, Allah (SWT) has addressed the Prophet Muhammad (S):
“Thus it is due to the mercy from Allah that you deal with the people gently, and had you been rough and hard-hearted, they would certainly have dispersed from around you.” (3:159)
The sublime celestial morals of the Prophet Muhammad (S) brought about the waves of the revolution of Islam - first in the ‘Arabian society and afterwards throughout the world.
In the light of this all-embracing spiritual and intellectual resurrection, dispersion turned into unity; unchastity into chastity and virtue; idleness into hard work and industry; selfishness to altruism; and ‘Arab arrogance to modesty and affection. Men and women were trained to become models of good moral behavior and to possess altruistic manners. Indeed, the morals of the Prophet (S) were so sublime and praiseworthy that Allah (SWT) has regarded them as great by saying:
“And truly you (Muhammad) possess great morals.” (68:4)
The Noble Prophet of Islam (S) possessed the magnificent status of prophecy and divinely-granted leadership - but his manners in dealing with the people and his way of life were so simple and gentle that when he was among the people and a newcomer wanted to know about him, he had to ask, “Which one of you is the Prophet?”
The Prophet (S) treated everyone with great respect and considered nobility and honor to be owing to faith, piety, and good behavior. He was not interested in wealth or status, nor did he revere anybody for his riches or position.
The Noble Prophet (S) never attempted to retaliate against the insults not did he disrespect anyone – rather, he forgave people’s mistakes or their misconduct. His reaction to the torment and disregard of the ignorant people was forgiveness and tolerance..
The Prophet of Islam (S) was fond of scent and spent more money on buying perfume than on food. In addition, he used to brush his teeth frequently and washed his blessed hands both before and after meals.
Whenever the Messenger of Allah (S) was about to leave his house, he would look into a mirror or into water to ensure he looked presentable - he always left home with a clean, pleasant appearance.
The final Prophet (S) had great love for ritual prayers such that during the night, he would get up several times, brush his teeth, and then offer the most devoted prayers. He would stand worshipping Allah (SWT), talking sincerely to the Almighty Creator for such a long period that his legs became swollen.
The Noble Prophet (S) took lessons from watching the sky, moon, sun, and every other thing in nature - and these phenomena attracted him to their creator more than to themselves.
In short, the Noble Prophet of Islam (S) was a perfect model of all excellent virtues and sublime human qualities.
In such a small book, it is not possible to describe all his praiseworthy manners and morals. In fact, this work contains merely a pale reflection of his celestial, resplendent portrait so that people all over the world can make his morals and conduct their own model of behavior and learn divinely inspired and taught morality and the correct program for life from him.
We would like to sincerely thank Tahir Ridha Jaffer for rendering this important work of the late ‘Allamah Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Taba’taba’i into a fluent and easy to read English and pray that Allah (SWT) rewards him in full for his painstaking efforts to bring to light the Prophetic teachings as conveyed by the immaculate Ahlul Bayt (as) and that this work serves to guide all of us as we strive to perfect our morals and character.
We would also like to thank all of those people who have contributed towards the publication of this book - especially The Mohsin and Fauzia Jaffer Foundation, Inc. – your reward is with Allah and his Noble Prophet (S). Without the support of everyone involved, the publication of this important work would not have materialized.
May Allah’s greetings be upon the one who was the selected Prophet and the best of pious human beings and may the greetings of the Angels be upon the faithful.
May the Almighty Allah (God) help all of us to follow the blessed footsteps of the Noble Prophet (S), whose path is sure to lead us into eternal salvation and paradise.
Islamic Publishing House
22nd of August, 2006 ce
27th of Rajab, 1427 ah