The Prophet of Islam, from the aspect of ethics was the most eminent of men and a perfect human being. He possessed all good qualities to perfection and was pure of all evils and bad manners. The criteria of morals, which are mentioned in Islam and Quran, were personified in the being of His Eminence as Ayesha, his wife and other companions have also admitted.
Abu Darda says: I asked Ayesha about the morals and manners of the Holy Prophet (S). She said: The morals of the Prophet were based on Quran. He was pleased with whatever Almighty Allah was pleased with and was angry at whatever Almighty Allah was angry with.1
He was having such excellent morals that Quran has praised him and said with regard to him:
وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلَى خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٍ
“And most surely you conform (yourself) to sublime morality.” (68:4)
Although in this short treatise it is not possible to explain all the great manners and morals of the Messenger of Allah (S), we would try to mention some of them here:
Amirul Momineen (a.s.) in the description of the Holy Prophet (S) says:
In generosity, he was ahead of all the people. He was the bravest of all. He was most truthful, loyal and had a kind disposition. He was the most social person. Whoever encountered him initially was influenced by his awe and after meeting him and being in his company used become fond of him. I have neither seen anyone like His Eminence before or after that.2
Anas ibn Malik has said with regard to His Eminence: He had the most excellent manners, was most forbearing and generous of the people. It never happened that they asked something from him and he refused.3
Ayesha says: The Holy Prophet (S) was not bad mannered lacking morals and he was not of those who raised a hue and cry in the markets. He did not recompense a bad deed with a bad turn; on the contrary he always forgave mistakes.4
Husain ibn Ali (a.s.) has narrated from his father that he said:
The Holy Prophet (S) was always cheerful, good natured and soft spoken; he was never nasty, bad natured and fault-picker and he ignored that which he did not like. He never disappointed anyone. He had purified his self from three things: Argumentation, extravagance and vain acts. In three things he had nothing to do with anyone: He was never harsh and a fault finder; he was never inclined to expose the secrets and hidden deficiencies of others; he never spoke, except when it entailed gaining heavenly rewards.5
Anas ibn Malik says: I went to the Holy Prophet (S) to find him wearing a dress with a coarse edge. A Bedouin came to His Eminence, held his garment and pulled it roughly in such a way that I saw its signs on his shoulder; then he said: Muhammad, give me some of Allah’s wealth. The Holy Prophet (S) looked at him and smiled; then he ordered his men to give something to that man.6
The Prophet of Islam (S) diligently observed the manners of society. He was extremely humble and kind. He treated all Muslims equally, respected all and expressed his love for them. He asked the well-being of those who were absent and visited the sick. He was present in funeral ceremonies. He accorded respect to children and greeted them first.
Abu Qatada has said with regard to His Eminence. Despite that grade and status, his humility exceeded that of other people. When he came to a group of companions, they stood up to pay respect to him, but he said: Do not honor me like the Persians who stand to pay respect to each other. I am the servant of God and I eat and drink like them. The Holy Prophet (S) sometimes used to be astride a donkey and also made another person sit behind him. He visited the poor to show his support and interacted with the underprivileged and even accepted invitations of slaves. When he entered an assembly, he took a seat in the last row.7
Jarir says with regard to the Messenger of Allah (S): He joked and spoke jovially with his friends. He also played with children and seated them in his lap. He accepted the invitation of all; visited the sick in the farthest corner of the city; accepted the excuse of those who committed mistakes.8
Anas says: The Holy Prophet (S) never stretched his legs before others. He saluted first whenever he met someone. He shook hands with his friends. He never stretched his legs before his companions. He accorded respect to all who came to meet him. Sometimes he used to spread out his cloak for the visitor to sit on or gave him that on which he was himself sitting. He addressed his companions with their agnomen (Kunyah) and called them with the best of names. He never interrupted when others spoke.9
Ibn Masud says: A person wanted to speak to the Holy Prophet (S), but began to tremble at the awe of His Eminence. The Prophet said: Take it easy. I am not a king. Rather, I am the son of a lady who ate dried meat.10
Abu Dharr says: The Messenger of Allah (S) was seated among the companions when a poor man entered the assembly; but he could not recognize the Holy Prophet (S) without asking who the Prophet was.11
Anas says: The Messenger of Allah (S) passed by some children and greeted them.
He also says: When the Holy Prophet (S) did not see one of the companions for three days, he inquired about his well-being. If he were on a journey, he used to pray for him and if he was in town he used to go and meet him; if he was sick he paid a visit to him.12
Ayesha says: The Holy Prophet (S) never beat up his servants and he never hit anyone except in Holy war (Jihad).13
Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) said: The Messenger of Allah (S) distributed his attention equally to all his companions and looked at them for equal duration of time.14
As a result of the good morals and manners of the Holy Prophet (S) people were attracted to him and accepted his call as the Quran has said:
فَبِمَا رَحْمَةٍ مِنَ اللَّهِ لِنْتَ لَهُمْ وَلَوْ كُنْتَ فَظّاً غَلِيظَ الْقَلْبِ لَانْفَضُّواْ مِنْ حَوْلِكَ فَاعْفُ عَنْهُمْ وَاسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ وَشَاوِرْهُمْ فِى الْأَمْرِ فَإِذَا عَزَمْتَ فَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُتَوَكِّلِينَ
“Thus it is due to mercy from Allah that you deal with them gently, and had you been rough, hard hearted, they would certainly have dispersed from around you; pardon them therefore and ask pardon for them, and take counsel with them in the affair; so when you have decided, then place your trust in Allah; surely Allah loves those who trust.” (3:159)
The treatment of Messenger of Allah (S) at home to his wives and children was extremely kind and friendly. He expressed love to them, was always cheerful and good natured to them. He helped them in household chores. He was never harsh and overlooked their mistakes. He was very kind to children and even played with them.
Anas says: The Messenger of Allah (S) helped the people his family members in household chores. He milked the goats, mended his shoes and did not transfer the burden of his tasks on others. He fed the animals, swept the house, tied the camels, ate with his servants, kneaded the dough and purchased groceries.15
Anas, the servant of the Messenger of Allah (S) says: I was in the service of the Holy Prophet (S) during his journey as well as at home. He never said: Why you did this? Or why you did not do that?16
Umrah says: I asked Ayesha: How did the Holy Prophet (S) behave with his family members? She replied: He was most soft spoken and the most magnanimous person, he was cheerful and smiling.17
Jabir says: One day I came to the Holy Prophet (S) and saw that Hasan and Husain were mounted on his back and he was moving on all fours and saying: You have the best of the mounts and you also are the best of the riders.18
The life of His Eminence was extremely simple and without any frills. His house was small and made up of clay. The floor was covered with a piece of mat and his food mostly consisted of barley bread and dates. Many a times it so happened that he did not even have this meager food and went hungry for a day or more. His clothes were simple and he mended his own shoes. But his simplicity was not due to poverty or deprivation, because he also possessed the strength to work and also had a share in war booty and public treasury.
His simplicity was because he wanted to be at the same level as that of the people of the early period of Islam who were mostly poor. The Holy Prophet (S) was the leader of Islamic community; therefore he refrained from luxuries so that it would be easy for others to bear difficulties. He distributed equitably the funds from public treasury. His and his relatives’ share was never more than the share of others. On the contrary, sometimes he even gave his own share to the needy.
Ibn Abbas narrates:
One day Umar came to the Holy Prophet (S) to find that the mat on which he was sitting had left an imprint on his side. He said: O Messenger of Allah (S), if you had only procured a nice carpet for yourself. The Holy Prophet (S) replied: What do I have to do with the material world? My simile in the world is like the simile of a rider traveling on a hot day and who sits under a shade for an hour; then moves on.19
Sometimes a month passed on Aal Muhammad without their kitchen fires being kindled. Their food was nothing more than dates and water, except when cooked meat was brought for them.20
Ibn Abbas says: Sometimes many day and nights passed on the Prophet and his family when they did not have any food and they went to sleep hungry.21
Ayesha says: The Holy Prophet (S) passed away when his family had been hungry continuously since the last three days had not eaten wheat bread.22
It is mentioned in Uyunul Athar that: The Messenger of Allah (S) passed away from the world while his coat of mail was pawned with a Jew for a dirham to cover his household expenses.23
The Messenger of Allah (S) was the most devoted person to worship and he accorded great importance to the worship of Allah. He was very fond of ritual prayer and he remarked: The light of my eyes is in ritual prayer.24
He performed the obligatory prayers at the earliest hour and with concentration. He also recited the supererogatory and recommended prayers. He used to rise up in the last part of the night as Almighty Allah says in Quran:
وَمِنَ الَّيْلِ فَتَهَجَّدْ بِهِ نَافِلَةً لَّكَ عَسَى أَن يَبْعَثَكَ رَبُّكَ مَقَاماً مَّحْمُوداً
“And during a part of the night, pray Tahajjud (the midnight prayer) beyond what is incumbent on you; maybe your Lord will raise you to a position of great glory.” (17:79)
The Holy Prophet (S) was always engrossed in the remembrance of God. During the blessed month of Ramadan he paid more attention to ritual prayer and worship of God. He prayed so much that his legs got swollen and finally the following verse was revealed:
طَه / مَآ أَنزَلْنَا عَلَيْكَ الْقُرْآنَ لِتَشْقَى
“Ta Ha. We have not revealed the Quran to you that you may be unsuccessful.” (20:1-2)
Mughira ibn Shoba says with regard to the worship of the Prophet:
He stood in ritual prayer at such length that his legs were swollen and he was told: Has God not forgiven your past and future sins? He replied: Should I not be a thankful servant of Allah?25
Anas says: The Messenger of Allah (S) used to always be engrossed in the remembrance of God and he never committed any vain act.26
Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) says:
The Messenger of Allah (S) was in the chamber of Ummu Salma one night. Ummu Salma awoke and could not find the Holy Prophet (S) in bed. She became suspicious and arose and searched for him around the house. She found him in a corner; he was standing with his hands raised to the heavens; he was weeping and saying: O Allah, never take away from me the good sense of doing good.27
He also said:
It was the habit of the Holy Prophet (S) that he used to remain in Etekaf at the Masjid during the last ten days of the month of Ramadan. A tent was pitched therein from him. He used to gather his bed and get ready for worship.28
Abu Bakr said to the Prophet:
O Messenger of Allah (S), your hair has grayed. He replied: Surah Hud, Surah Waqiyah, Surah Mursalat, Surah Naba and Surah Takwir have caused it.29
Abu Dharr says:
The Messenger of Allah (S) stood in prayer throughout the night and recited the following verse: “If Thou shouldst chastise them, then surely they are Thy servants; and if Thou shouldst forgive them, then surely Thou art the Mighty, the Wise.”30
The Holy Prophet (S) always entreated to Almighty Allah with humility and sincerity to bestow him with good manners. In his supplications, His Eminence said: My Lord, improve my manners and morals. He also prayed: O Lord, Keep me free of bad morals and manners.
God answered his prayers and revealed the Quran on him and disciplined him through Quran and the Quran became his nature. Saad ibn Hisham says: I asked Ayesha about the morals and manners of the Holy Prophet (S). She said: Have you not read the Quran? I asked: Why? She said: The morals of the Prophet are same as Quran.
Morals of the Prophet are taken directly from revelation and Quran. By way of examples see the following:
خُذِ الْعَفْوَ وَأْمُرْ بِالْعُرْفِ وَأَعْرِضْ عَنِ الْجَهِلِينَ
“Take to forgiveness and enjoin good and turn aside from the ignorant.” (7:199)
إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالْإِحْسَنِ
“Surely Allah enjoins the doing of justice and the doing of good (to others)…” (16:90)
وَاصْبِرْ وَمَا صَبْرُكَ إِلَّا بِاللَّهِ
“And be patient and your patience is not but by (the assistance of) Allah.” (16:127)
وَ اصْبِرْ عَلَى مَآ أَصَابَكَ إِنَّ ذَ لِكَ مِنْ عَزْمِ الْأُمُورِ
“…and bear patiently that which befalls you; surely these acts require courage.” (31:17)
وَلَمَن صَبَرَ وَغَفَرَ إِنَّ ذَلِكَ لَمِنْ عَزْمِ الْأُمُورِ
“And whoever is patient and forgiving, these most surely are actions due to courage.” (42:43)
فَاعْفُ عَنْهُمْ وَاصْفَحْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِينَ
“…so pardon them and turn away; surely Allah loves those who do good (to others).” (5:13)
وَلْيَعْفُواْ وَلْيَصْفَحُواْ أَلَا تُحِبُّونَ أَن يَغْفِرَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ
“…and they should pardon and turn away. Do you not love that Allah should forgive you?” (24:22)
ادْفَعْ بِالَّتِى هِىَ أَحْسَنُ فَإِذَا الَّذِى بَيْنَكَ وَ بَيْنَهُ عَدَاوَةٌ كَأَنَّهُ وَلِىٌّ حَمِيمٌ
“Repel (evil) with what is best, when lo! he between whom and you was enmity would be as if he were a warm friend.” (41:34)
وَالْكَظِمِينَ الْغَيْظَ وَ الْعَافِينَ عَنِ الْنَّاسِ
“…and those who restrain (their) anger and pardon men.” (3:134)
اجْتَنِبُواْ كَثِيراً مِّنَ الظَّنِّ إِنَّ بَعْضَ الظَّنِّ إِثْمٌ وَلَا تَجَسَّسُواْ وَلَا يَغْتَب بَّعْضُكُم بَعْضاً
“…avoid most of suspicion, for surely suspicion in some cases is a sin, and do not spy nor let some of you backbite others.” (49:12)
In the above verses and hundreds of other verses Almighty Allah has mentioned good morals and manners and advised the Prophet and his followers to follow them and He has also listed the bad habits and morals and asked them to keep away from them. The Holy Prophet (S) himself observed good manners and morals and kept away from bad manners and morals, in such a way that he can be called as the personification of the morals and manners of Quran as Ayesha had described him with this title. That is why Almighty Allah said with regard to him:
وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلَى خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٍ
“And most surely you conform (yourself) to sublime morality.” (68:4)
The Holy Prophet (S) himself acted on good manners and by his word and speech, continuously advised the Muslims to observe good manners and morals and said: I have been sent to perfect morals. Therefore hundreds of traditions have been recorded from the Prophet of Islam with regard to ethical problems and recorded in books of traditions.
Good morals and preferable manners can be considered as most important factors of his popularity and influence among the Muslims. Since they did what he told them to do and agreed to what he said. The same point is mentioned in Quran:
فَبِمَا رَحْمَةٍ مِنَ اللَّهِ لِنْتَ لَهُمْ وَلَوْ كُنْتَ فَظّاً غَلِيظَ الْقَلْبِ لَانْفَضُّواْ مِنْ حَوْلِكَ
“Thus it is due to mercy from Allah that you deal with them gently, and had you been rough, hard hearted, they would certainly have dispersed from around you…” (3:159)
Faiz Kashani has narrated from Abul Bakhtari that he said with regard to the Prophet: The Prophet never spoke ill of the believers and if by chance he uttered something harsh, he made amends for it immediately by doing a good turn to them. He never cursed his women or servants. During battles, His Eminence was urged to curse the enemies, but he said: I have been sent for mercy and guidance and not to curse. Whenever he was suggested to curse Muslims or infidels, especially or generally he used to rather pray for them.
He never beat anyone; except that it should be for the sake of God. He never sought revenge to any offence, except if it had been an affront to God. He never had two options to choose from, but that he chose the easiest of them. Except that it should be a cause of sin or breaking off of relations as he kept away from it more than anyone else. No free man or slave ever came to him with a request, but that he hastened to help him or her immediately.
Anas says: By God, the Messenger of Allah (S) never ordered me to do something which I did not like. And he never said: Why didn’t you do it? And if his family members scolded me for that job, he said: Leave him, because there is a job he has accomplished. The Messenger of Allah (S) never spoke in a harsh manner, if the bed was made for him, he slept on it and if not, he slept on bare floor.
His manners were such that he greeted all those he met. He never interrupted others while they spoke and waited patiently for others to finish speaking.
When he shook hands he never retrieved his hand before the other person. When he met any of the companions, he shook hands with them. He took their hand in his hands and interlaced his fingers with theirs and held them firm. He never arose or sat down without mentioning God. If a person came to meet him when he was praying, he shortened his prayer and asked: Do you want something from me?
After fulfilling his need, he again continued his prayer. He never occupied a special place in assemblies and he took any seat that was vacant. He never stretched his legs in front of others, lest there should be less space for others; except when ample space was available. He mostly sat facing the Qibla. He greeted all those who came to meet him and he even spread out his cloak for the visitor to sit on even though he was not related to him. Whoever came to meet him was urged to sit in the seat of the Prophet.
He was respectful to one and all in such a way that each of them was convinced that he or she was the most respected person in view of the Prophet. He paid equal attention to all those who were present in the assembly. His gathering was in a halo of modesty, humility and trust. Allah has said with regard to him:
“Thus it is due to mercy from Allah that you deal with them gently, and had you been rough, hard hearted, they would certainly have dispersed from around you.”
He addressed his companions with their agnomen (Kunniyat) in order to accord them respect and please them. He selected an agnomen for whosoever who did not have it already. He even selected agnomens for ladies who had children and those who did not have any children. He gave agnomen even to children in order to please them. He was angered by people only after a long time and used to become happy very soon. He was most beneficial for the people. He never raised his voice in his assemblies. When he arose from a gathering, he said: “Glory be to You, O Allah, and praise be to You. I witness that there is no god except You. I seek Your forgiveness and turn to You in repentance.” He then said: Jibraeel has taught me as such.31
The Holy Prophet (S) was the most forbearing person. He was most inclined than others to forgive despite having the power to retaliate. One day he distributed gold and silver necklaces among his companions, which were a part of public treasury. A Bedouin stood up and objected: Has God not ordered you to observe justice? I do not consider you just in this distribution. He said: Who else other than me would deal with you in such a just manner?
When that man wanted to go away, the Prophet said: Call him back. Jabir has narrated that the Holy Prophet (S), after the Battle of Hunain distributed silver coins among the people, which were obtained as war booty. A man said: O Messenger of Allah (S), distribute equitably. The Holy Prophet (S) said: If I am not just, who else would be? If it is so, I would be causing harm. At this moment Umar stood up and said: O Messenger of Allah (S), he is a hypocrite; allow me to strike off his head. The Holy Prophet (S) disallowed him and said: I seek the refuge of Allah from committing such a deed as people would say: Muhammad kills his own companions.
During one of the battles, when the Messenger of Allah (S) was in a safe place away from the battle, an opponent came and stood at his head with a naked sword and said: Who can save you from me? The Holy Prophet (S) just said: God. At that moment the sword fell from his hand. The Prophet picked it up immediately and said: Now who can save you from me? He replied: Although the sword is in your hand, you are the best wielder of the sword.
He said: Say: I testify that there is no god, except Allah. He said: I will not fight you and I am going out of the battlefield. The Holy Prophet (S) left him alone. That man went back to his people and said: I am coming from the best of men.
Anas says: A Jew woman decided to poison the Holy Prophet (S) through poisoned roasted meat and she came to His Eminence with this intent. The Holy Prophet (S) asked about her intention. She said: I want to eliminate you. He said: God forbid that such thing should really happen. Companions asked: Did you not eliminate her? He replied: No.
His Eminence, Ali (a.s.) said: The Messenger of Allah (S) told me, Zubair and Miqdad to reach Raudha Khak as soon as possible. There we would see a litter with a woman carrying a letter. We should take the letter from her and bring it to the Prophet. We set out immediately and reached the stated place soon. We decried the litter on which that woman was seated. We brought her down and said: Give us the letter that you are carrying. She said: I have nothing with me. We said: You are definitely carrying a letter; give it to us or we would kill or strip you and take it from you. She was compelled to take out the letter she had concealed in her hair and hand it over to us. We brought the letter to the Holy Prophet (S).
He opened it and it was written therein: This is the letter of Hatib ibn Abi Balta to some polytheists of Mecca. The letter divulged to the polytheists an administrative secret of Muslims. The Messenger of Allah (S) got Hatib arrested and asked: Why have you written this letter? He replied: O Messenger of Allah (S), emigrants who have migrated from Mecca to Medina, have relatives in Mecca who can defend their family members there. But I don’t have any supporters in Mecca. Through this letter, I intended to do a good turn to the Meccans so they might have a soft corner for my family in Mecca. What I did was not due to infidelity or apostasy. The Holy Prophet (S) accepted his excuse and said: You are right. Umar ibn Khattab, who was present there, said: Allow me to execute this hypocrite. The Holy Prophet (S) said: This man had participated in Battle of Badr; it is possible that he may gain divine forgiveness.
The Holy Prophet (S) said:
Do not narrate any defects of my companions to me, because I would like to meet you with a pure heart.32
A Bedouin came to the Holy Prophet (S) and asked for something. The Holy Prophet (S) gave something and asked: Have I done a favor to you? He replied: No, you have not. Muslims became furious at the audacity of that man and wanted to punish him. The Holy Prophet (S) signaled that no one should do anything to him. After that he arose and entered his chamber and sent someone to bring that man.
Then he gave another quantity to him and then asked: Have I done a favor to you, are you happy? He replied: Yes, O Messenger of Allah (S), you have done a favor to me; may God give you a good reward for it. The Holy Prophet (S) said: You uttered those words and angered the companions; I feel that it would be appropriate if you should repeat these words to them so that they may not harbor malice to you. That man said: I will do that.
The next day that man came to the Masjid. The Holy Prophet (S) told the companions: Yesterday you heard those words from this gentleman; I invited him home and gave him some more till he was satisfied. The Bedouin also said: Yes, I am satisfied; may God give you a good reward.
The Messenger of Allah (S) said: The simile of myself and this man is the like the simile of a man whose camel has fled. People chase the camel to apprehend it, but as much they chase it, as much further it flees. The camel owner tells the people: Leave my camel alone. I know better how to control it. At that moment he takes up a bunch of grass and waves it at the camel and in this way calms down the beast gradually. The camel slowly kneels down before him. Then he puts the litter on its back and mounts it. I also dealt with that Bedouin in the same manner. If you had killed him on hearing those words, you would have entered Hell.33
When Imam Ali (a.s.) described the fine qualities of the Holy Prophet (S); he said as follows: He was the most forgiving and generous of all. He was most cheerful, truthful, loyal, soft-natured and magnanimous. His awe left its mark on the people. Anyone who came across him started liking him. He had no equal before or after him. He did not spurn any beggar without giving him anything. A person asked something from His Eminence, and he was given a large number of sheep. That man returned to his folks and remarked: Accept the faith that Muhammad is propagating. He is generous in giving and he does not fear poverty.
He never said ‘no’ to anyone who asked him for something. One day seventy thousand dirhams were presented to him and he distributed all of it the same day. A beggar asked for something but since he had nothing, he told him: Presently you may buy whatever you need on credit, and as soon I get something, I would repay your debt. Umar said: O Messenger of Allah (S), God has not asked for anything on which you have no control. The Prophet was not pleased by this suggestion. The beggar said: O Messenger of Allah (S), be generous and do not fear poverty. The Holy Prophet (S) smiled at these words and the signs of joy became apparent on his face.
When Battle of Hunain was over, Bedouins of the surrounding area gathered around the Prophet and asked for a share in the booty. The Holy Prophet (S) was forced to take refuge in a tree and they even snatched his cloak. He said: Give back my cloak. If I had as many camels as these stones I would distribute them among you and you will not find me miserly, lying and timid.34
Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) said: A man came to the Holy Prophet (S) and gave twelve dirhams. Since his garments had become old, he gave the twelve dirhams to Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) and said: Buy a dress for me. Ali (a.s.) says: I went to the market and purchased a dress for twelve dirhams and returned to the Prophet. He looked at the dress and said: I don’t like it. Would the seller take it back? I said: I don’t know. Then I took the dress back and said: The Messenger of Allah (S) did not like this dress, can you cancel the transaction?
He replied: Yes. He took the dress and returned the twelve dirhams. I took the money and returned them to the Holy Prophet (S). Then I came to the market with him to buy another dress. On the way we saw a female slave weeping by the roadside. The Holy Prophet (S) asked what the matter was and she said: My master had given four dirhams to me and asked me to make some purchases. But somehow I lost the money. Now I cannot dare to go back home. The Messenger of Allah (S) gave her four dirhams and said: Go home.
After that we continued on our way to the market and bought a dress from His Eminence, for four dirhams. The Prophet put on the dress and said: Praise be to Allah. On way back home we saw a man having nothing to wear and he was saying: God will dress in garment of Paradise one who gives me something to wear. The Messenger of Allah (S) gave the dress he had purchased for himself.
We went to the market for the second time and bought a dress from the remaining four dirhams. He put it on and thanked the Almighty. We were returning home when we saw that same slave girl and she still sitting there. The Messenger of Allah (S) asked: Why have you not returned home? She replied: Since I was very late I feared beating. The Holy Prophet (S) said: Come I will accompany you home and recommend your case with your master. He came to the house of that slave girl and said: Peace be on you O people of the house. No one replied till he repeated it thrice.
The third time, the owner of the house responded: And peace be on you, O Messenger of Allah (S). The Prophet asked: Why did you not reply the first time? He replied: I heard your Salam but I wanted you to repeat it. The Messenger of Allah (S) said: Your slave girl has returned late; do not punish her for it. He said: I have emancipated this slave girl as a mark of respect for you. The Messenger of Allah (S) said: Praise be to Allah. I have not seen any twelve dirhams more blessed than these. Two persons got clothes and a slave girl was freed.35
Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) said: A beggar approached the Messenger of Allah (S) and asked for something. Since the Holy Prophet (S) was not having anything to fulfill the needs of that beggar, he told the companions: Is there anyone who would lend me something? A person said: O Messenger of Allah (S), I will. He said: Give four loads of dates to this beggar; I will return them to you later on. The Ansari man handed over the dates to the beggar. After some days, he came to the Prophet and demanded him to return the dates that he had loaned.
The Messenger of Allah (S) said: I will do so if God wills. The Ansari man approached him a number of times asking for his dates and the Prophet every time assured: I will do so if God wills. After a period of time he again came to the Prophet and asked: Why do you not fulfill my demand? The Prophet said: I will do so if God wills. Ansari man said: Till when would you go on saying if God wills, if God wills? The Prophet smiled and told the companions: Is there anyone who can lend me a quantity of dates? A man agreed and the Prophet told him to give eight loads of dates to that man. That Ansari said: I am not asking for additional loads. He said: They also belong to you.
In spite of having such a great position, the Messenger of Allah (S) was an extremely humble person. Ibn Aamir says: I saw the Messenger of Allah (S) during the stoning of Satans (Jamarat). He was astride a camel and was stoning without exercising any sort of formalities.
He rode a donkey without a saddle and at the same time had another person with him. He visited the sick and attended funerals; he accepted the invitation of slaves; mended his own shoes and patched his clothes. He cooperated with his family members in household chores. Companions did not stand up to pay respect to him as they knew that he did not like it. He greeted children.
Sometimes when a person trembled in his awe, he said: Take it easy, I am not a king. I am the son of a lady who ate dried meat. He sat among companions in such a way as if he was one of them. A poor man entered the assembly; but could not recognize the Prophet so that he may ask him about something. Hence companions fixed a special place for him.
Ayesha said to the Prophet: While eating, recline on something so that you are comfortable. The Messenger of Allah (S) brought his head near the ground and said: No, I eat and sit like slaves.
He accepted the invitation of all those who invited him for dinner. When he sat with companions, if they talked about matters related to the hereafter, he spoke with them but if they discussed food and drinks or worldly matters, he joined their discussion as a friendly gesture.36
Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) said: Once a foster sister of the Holy Prophet (S) came to him. He became very happy to see her, spread out his sheet for her and made her sit thereon and talked happily with her. When she left, her brother arrived. The Holy Prophet (S) did not display as much welcome for him. When companions asked he said: “She is more respectful to her father.”37
Imam Husain (a.s.) says: I asked my father about the jobs the Prophet did inside his house. He said: How he spent his time at home was left to his own discretion. When he entered the house, he divided his time into three parts: a part for worship; a part for his family and remaining for his personal chores.
From the time reserved for himself also, he divided it between himself and others and he fulfilled their needs. In the part reserved from others, he gave first preference to the excellent and religious persons and in that also he gave precedence to each of them as per his merit. Some of them had one need and some two and others had more. He fulfilled their demands and solved their problems and problems related to people in general.
He decided a matter and then said: Those who are present must convey the mentioned problems to those who are absent. He also said: Convey to me the needs of those who have no access to me. One who conveys the needs of the needy to the ruler; Almighty Allah on Judgment Day makes his feet more steadfast. In this manner, problems were presented to him and he did not allow that during this time they should discuss other matters. In these meetings, companions used to be present as visitors, but they did not disperse without getting social and intellectual benefits.38
Imam Hasan (a.s.) said: At that moment I asked my father what the Prophet did outside the house? He replied: The Messenger of Allah (S) never spoke, except when it was beneficial. He was such that companions became attached to him and did not disperse from him. He accorded respect to the leader of every tribe and retained him as the head of his clan. He warned people about discord and mischief. He used to protect himself from people without misbehaving with them. He used to be affable to his companions. He used to be informed about news and happenings in the society through public. He supported good works and condemned the evil acts and deeds.
He used to exercise caution in all matters and was never careless, lest those who are actually in charge of them should be careless and lazy and he was prepared in all circumstances. He was never shortcoming in truth and neither did he exceed the limits. His relatives were the best of human beings. The most honorable among them were those who dispensed good advice and were well-wishers. The best in his view was one who was most helpful to his brothers.39
Imam Hasan (a.s.) said: Then I asked my father about the behavior of the Prophet in gatherings. He replied: He never sat down or stood up except with the mention of God. He never reserved a special place for himself in a gathering and he prohibited such a thing. When he entered an assembly, he took any place that was vacant and advised the same to his companions. He paid equal attention to all those who were present there, so that no one should think that others are being preferred. He used to wait patiently for the other person to conclude his statement before he would speak up.
Anyone who asked him for something either had his need fulfilled or he pleased him through his words. People used to be satisfied with his manners and he was like a father to them. All were in fact equal in his view. His gathering was full of forbearance, modesty, patience and trust. In his gathering, voices were not raised. The down-trodden people were not humiliated and their mistakes were overlooked. The people of the gathering were equal and as brothers and in observance of piety, they competed with each other. They observed absolute humility. They accorded respect to the elderly and were kind to youngsters. They preferred the needy over their own selves. They looked after outsiders who visited their town.40
Now Imam Hasan (a.s.) asked about the behavior of the Prophet with his neighbors. Imam Ali (a.s.) said: He was always jolly in nature, cheerful and soft-natured. He was never harsh and cruel. He never shouted or spoke ill of anyone. He did not pick faults and was also not a flatterer.
He used to ignore what he disliked. He did not disappoint others and did not kill the hopes of the hopeful. He refrained from three things: Arguments, speaking too much and talking of useless things. In three things, he had nothing to do with anyone: He never condemned or scolded anyone nor picked fault in anyone. He never spoke except when it carried divine rewards. When he spoke, the people of the gathering used to become absolutely quiet as if a bird was sitting on their heads.
When he became quiet people spoke up, but did not object or argue with him. When his lips moved, all fell silent so that he may conclude his statement. When the people laughed, the Messenger of Allah (S) also laughed and if they expressed astonishment he also expressed amazement. He tolerated the harsh words of some people and demands of strangers. Companions also, for the sake of Prophet and to attract his attention helped strangers and needy persons. The Messenger of Allah (S) used to advise the companions that they should do their best to fulfill the needs of the needy. He did not accept the adoration of anyone, except that it should be for a favor. He never interrupted anyone before he could conclude what he was saying.41
The Holy Prophet of Islam (S) valued the young people and the power of youth and he time and again advised his companions to know the value of youth. That they should accord respect to their personalities and pay special attention to their upbringing, give them responsibilities and protect them. The Prophet also did the same, so that others would follow his example. We present some examples of this as follows:
In the early period of Islam, Asad ibn Zurarah and Zakwan came from Medina to Mecca. They met the Holy Prophet (S) during one of the rituals and accepted Islam through his propagation and recited the formula of faith. When they decided to return to Medina, they requested the Holy Prophet (S) to send someone with them to teach the people Quran and invite them to Islam.
The Messenger of Allah (S) appointed Musab ibn Umair, who although a youth was well versed with the Holy Quran, to accompany Asad and Zakwan to Medina and to propagate Islam. Also that he should lead the prayers and recite the Quran and sermons to them. Musab came to Medina and initiated his propagation. Since he was a worthy youth, energetic, accomplished and determined, people, especially the youth accepted his call and Islam became popular in Medina. After some days, Musab wrote to the Messenger of Allah (S) about the conversion of the people of Medina to Islam.42
The Holy Prophet (S) at the time of departing for the Battle of Hunain appointed Itab ibn Usaid, a youth of twenty-one, as the governor and congregation leader of Mecca and asked him: Do you know, where and on whom have I appointed you as governor? I have appointed you as the ruler of the sanctuary of God; after that he repeated thrice: Be nice to the folks of the sanctuary.
He fixed for him a salary of a dirham per day. In the administration of Mecca, Itab was kind and merciful to believers and was strict and rough with the opponents. He was very strict about attendance in congregation prayer. He delivered very nice sermons. One day he said in his speech: The Prophet has fixed a dirham for me every day and I remain content with it without asking anyone for more.43
A few days before his passing away, the Messenger of Allah (S) decided to dispatch an army to confront the Romans and with this aim gave the command of the huge army to Usamah ibn Zaid, a boy of seventeen. He was made the commander of all emigrants (Muhajireen) and helpers (Ansar). He told him: Camp at such and such place on the outskirts of the town till people join your forces and he ordered emigrants and helpers to join Usamah’s army and not to keep away from it. Some companions did not join under the pretext that Usamah was too young to be a commander. When this information reached the Holy Prophet (S), in spite of the fact that he was severely ill, he came to the Masjid, mounted the pulpit and after praise and glorification of God said:
What is it that I hear about the commandership of Usamah? And under the pretext that he is too young, some are not joining his army. Previously also you had objected to the commandership of his father. By God, Usamah is indeed capable of leading the army and he is the best for it. Join his army and obey his commands.44
- 1. Al-Bidaya wan Nihaya, Vol. 6, Pg. 37.
- 2. Biharul Anwar, Vol. 16, Pg. 263.
- 3. Uyunul Athar, Vol. 2, Pg. 329.
- 4. Uyunul Athar, Vol. 2, Pg. 331.
- 5. Makarimul Akhlaq, Vol. 1, Pg. 13.
- 6. Al-Bidaya wan Nihaya, Vol. 6, Pg. 43.
- 7. Uyunul Athar, Vol. 2, Pg. 333.
- 8. Uyunul Athar, Vol. 2, Pg. 331.
- 9. Uyunul Athar, Vol. 2, Pg. 333.
- 10. Biharul Anwar, Vol. 16, Pg. 329.
- 11. Biharul Anwar, Vol. 16, Pg. 229.
- 12. Makarimul Akhlaq, Vol. 1, Pg. 19.
- 13. Tabaqat Ibne Saad, Vol. 1, Pg. 367.
- 14. Biharul Anwar, Vol. 16, Pg. 28.
- 15. Uyunul Athar, Vol. 2, Pg. 334.
- 16. Al-Bidaya wan Nihaya, Vol. 6, Pg. 39.
- 17. Al-Bidaya wan Nihaya, Vol. 6, Pg. 39.
- 18. Biharul Anwar, Vol. 43, Pg. 285.
- 19. Makarimul Akhlaq, Vol. 1, Pg. 25.
- 20. Al-Bidaya wan Nihaya, Vol. 6, Pg. 58.
- 21. Uyunul Athar, Vol. 2, Pg. 335.
- 22. Al-Bidaya wan Nihaya, Vol. 6, Pg. 57.
- 23. Uyunul Athar, Vol. 2, Pg. 334.
- 24. Jamiul Ahadith Shia, Vol. 20, Pg. 25.
- 25. Al-Bidaya wan Nihaya, Vol. 6, Pg. 60.
- 26. Al-Bidaya wan Nihaya, Vol. 6, Pg. 46.
- 27. Biharul Anwar, Vol. 6, Pg. 217.
- 28. Biharul Anwar, Vol. 6, Pg. 273.
- 29. Al-Bidaya wan Nihaya, Vol. 6, Pg. 67.
- 30. Al-Bidaya wan Nihaya, Vol. 6, Pg. 65.
- 31. Mulla Mohsin Faiz Kashani, Muhajjatul Baidha fee Tahdheebul Ahyaa, Vol. 4, Pg. 128-132.
- 32. Muhajjatul Baidha, Vol. 4, Pg. 145-148.
- 33. Muhajjatul Baidha, Vol. 4, Pg. 149.
- 34. Muhajjatul Baidha, Vol. 4, Pg. 149-150.
- 35. Biharul Anwar, Vol. 16, Pg. 14.
- 36. Muhajjatul Baidha, Vol. 4, Pg. 151-152.
- 37. Biharul Anwar, Vol. 16, Pg. 281.
- 38. Makarimul Akhlaq, Vol. 1, Pg. 11.
- 39. Makarimul Akhlaq, Vol. 1, Pg. 12.
- 40. Makarimul Akhlaq, Vol. 1, Pg. 12.
- 41. Makarimul Akhlaq, Vol. 1, Pg. 13.
- 42. Biharul Anwar, Vol. 19, Pg. 10-11.
- 43. Seerat Halabi, Vol. 3, Pg. 120.
- 44. Biharul Anwar, Vol. 21, Pg. 410; Tarikh Yaqubi, Vol. 2, Pg. 113.