The Prophet of Allah – sallallaahu alayhi wasallam – Shaykh Aadil Davids

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THE PROPHET OF ALLAH (i)
by Shaykh Aadil Davids

Physical Qualities

Barraa Ibn ‘Aazib (Radhiallaahu Anhu) described the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) as the ‘most handsome person with the most outstanding character’, and reported that the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) was ‘medium in height, with broad shoulders and with his hair sometimes reaching his earlobes’. ‘I have never seen a beauty matching the Prophet’s & after I saw him once wearing a red cloak,’ he said. (Bukhaari).

When Barraa (Radhiallaahu Anhu) was asked whether the brightness of the face of the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) resembled a sword he replied, ‘No! His face resembled the full moon.’ (Bukhaari)

Anas Ibn Maalik (Radhiallaahu Anhu) said, ‘In my entire life, I did not touch anything as tender and soft as the hands of the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) – not even thick or ordinary silk. I have yet to experience a more clean and fresh fragrance than that which emanated from Allaah’s Messenger (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam).’ (Bukhaari /Muslim)

Abu Bakr (Radhiallaahu Anhu) saw some grey hair on the head of the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam). He asked the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) for the causes of this grey hair. The Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) answered, ‘Quraanic verses in chapters Hood, Mursalaat, ‘Amma and Kuwwirat brought me this grey hair’. He also developed some grey hairs in his beard. (Tirmidhee)

Hygiene

The Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) cared very much for oral hygiene. He was reported to say that, were it not that his people would be overburdened, he would have commanded them to brush their teeth before each prayer. (Muslim)

Hudhaifa (Radhiallaahu Anhu) said that the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) brushed his teeth whenever he woke up. (Muslim)

Shuraih Ibn (Haain) (Radhiallaahu Anhu) reported from Aai’sha (Radhiallaahu Anha) that the first thing that the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) did as he entered his house was brush his teeth. (Muslim)

Character

Aaisha (Radhiallaahu Anha) stated that, ‘The Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) never used foul language and never entertained people with obscene jokes. He was well behaved when he entered the market places. His habit was not to repel evil with mutual evil. He was forgiving and could grant pardon.’ (Ahmad)

Husain (Radhiallaahu Anhu) the grandson of the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) asked his father, Ali (Radhiallaahu Anhu), about the Prophet’s (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) conduct. Ali (Radhiallaahu Anhu) replied, ‘He was always cheerful, gentle and mild. There was no rigidity or coarseness in his conduct. He was neither a faultfinder nor a boisterous person and he steered away from any kind of futile engagement.’

The Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) encouraged the achievers and never deprived anybody of hope. He refrained from boasting, hoarding wealth and involvement in matters that did not concern him as well as from using sharp rebukes and exposing people with the intention to disgrace and defame.

While speaking, he addressed matters constructively with the objective of good for all. His audience remained motionless as they gave him their undivided attention.

Birds could find a safe place to sit on their heads during these sessions (being so preoccupied in his comments). None of his listeners would interrupt while he spoke. They waited until he completed his discussion and the person who then requested to participate was allowed to address the group first, followed by the second and the third and so on. Participants were treated with respect – each was allowed to finish his statement without objection or interference – and everybody would listen to him attentively. Sometimes visitors to Madina were harsh as they questioned him about Islaam, but he was always polite and tolerant towards them. When a person spoke in his company, he would not object unless the person spoke incorrectly, and then he would either stop the speaker or stand up and leave the conversation.

The Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) laughed at things that were humorous and was excited by things that excited his Companions. With regards to the needy, he encouraged those less needy to support them. He objected to being praised excessively and tolerated it only as a way of being shown thanks for his kindness. (Tirmidhee)

He never missed an opportunity to teach and to educate. All his recorded Hadiths are clear testimony to his love of guiding people to truth and correct behaviour.

Sense of Humour

The Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) played with and enjoyed the company of children. He loved Abu Umair (Radhiallaahu Anhu) and always played with him. One day the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) saw that he was depressed. The Companions told him that it was because his nughair (bird) had died. The Prophet (Radhiallaahu Anhu) tried to make him laugh and said, ‘Abu Umair! What happened to Nughair?’ (Bukhari)

The Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) also enlivened the aged. Anas Ibn Maalik (Radhiallaahu Anhu) related the story of the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) and the Bedouin, Zaahir Ibn Haraam (Radhiallaahu Anhu). The Bedouin was selling his commodities in the market. The Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) approached him from behind and, clasping his arms around Zaahir (Radhiallaahu Anhu), challenged him to release himself from the grip. Then the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) called to those who passed by, ‘Who wants to buy this slave?’ Laughing and still in the Prophet’s (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) grip, Zaahir responded, ‘There is no market for me. Nobody would want to buy me,’ because his old, deformed body made him unattractive. The Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) replied, ‘But by Allaah, you are priceless and invaluable.’ (Ahmad)

He set clear limitations for his jokes. Aa’isha (Radhiallaahu Anha) said, ‘He smiled a lot but when he laughed, you could never see his uvula.’ (Bukhari/Muslim)

The Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) told Abu Huraira (Radhiallaahu Anhu) that in his jokes was always an element of truth. (Ahmad) Thus the saying ‘Always a true word spoken in jest’ is applicable to the Prophet’s (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) sense of humour.

Ability to Weep

Abdullaah Shakheer (Radhiallaahu Anhu) informed his son, Mutrif (Radhiallaahu Anhu), that he met the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) as he was praying. He said that he heard a whistling sound from the chest of the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) resembling the sound of a boiling kettle as he was weeping. (Abu Dawood)

Asmaa bint Umais (Radhiallaahu Anha) said that the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) came to her house. He grabbed the children, hugged and kissed them and only then he called the rest of the family. Asmaa (Radhiallaahu Anha) realised that something must have happened to her husband Ja’far (Radhiallaahu Anhu), who was fighting in the Jihaad. Asmaa (Radhiallaahu Anha) said she asked him, ‘Are you coming with news about Ja’far, O Prophet of Allaah?’ He answered, ‘Yes! He was martyred today.’ All those who gathered there left their seats and started to weep, including the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam). The Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) returned to his Companions and instructed them to prepare food for the family. (Ibn Sa’d/Tirmidhee/Ibn Maajah)

Sa’d (Radhiallaahu Anhu) wanted to know from the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) why he wept at the martyrdom of his people. He replied, ‘This weeping comes from the compassion Allaah placed into the hearts of His lovers. He endows with mercy and compassion only those who are merciful and compassionate.’ (Bukhaari)

The Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) cried when his son Ibraheem passed away. Abdurrahmaan Ibn ‘Auf (Radhiallaahu Anhu) asked the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) why he was crying. The Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said to him, ‘You know, Ibn ‘Auf, this is the mercy which we share with others.’ He also said, ‘Yes, the eye is crying, the heart is sad, but we utter words that are pleasing to Allaah. The departure of my son, Ibraheem, causes us great grief.’ (Bukhaari)

Abdullaah Ibn Mas’ood (Radhiallaahu Anhu) said that he was surprised when the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) asked him to read the Quraan to him. He believed that the Quraan came directly to the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) and thought that he did not need to hear it from somebody else. The Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) comforted him, saying, ‘I love to listen to the Quraan read by somebody else.’ So he read from chapter an-Nisaa. When he recited the verse, ‘How will it be then, when we bring from each nation a witness and we bring you (Muhammad) as a witness against your people’, he saw tears streaming from the Prophet’s (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) eyes. (Bukhaari)

Humility

He was the living Quraan, said Aa’isha (Radhiallaahu Anha).

The Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) himself declared that his whole mission was to approximate perfect behaviour in humans.

He detested excessive praise of himself. Umar Ibn Khattaab (Radhiallaahu Anhu) related that the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, ‘Do not extol me as the Christians did to Jesus, the son of Mary. I am a servant of Allaah and can be called ‘His Prophet.’ (Abu Dawood)

He abhorred people calling him ‘The elite among us’, The son of the elite’, ‘Our Lord’ and ‘Son of our Lord’. He detested titles and preferred to be called ‘Muhammad, the son of Abdullaah’ or ‘Prophet of Allaah’. He advised that nobody should elevate him higher than the status that Allaah assigned for him in the Quraan. (an Nasaa’ee)

Abu Sa’eed al Khudri (Radhiallaahu Anhu) stated that the modesty of the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) was usually more than that of a veiled young girl, but when he witnessed any violation of the sacred teachings of Allaah the aversion and anger was clearly visible in his face. (Bukhaari)

Anas Ibn Maalik (Radhiallaahu Anhu) reported that the love and respect accorded to him by his people was given to no other leader. Despite knowing his sublime position by Allaah, the Companions would never stand up from their seats to greet him when he entered their presence. They knew that he would object to it. (Ahmad)

‘If I were to be invited to eat trotters of sheep or cows or if they were given to me as gifts I would proudly accept such gestures of goodwill,’ the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said. (Bukhaari)

‘None shall enter Paradise with a grain of boast or pride still in the heart,’ declared the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam). (Muslim)

Abu Huraira (Radhiallaahu Anhu) spoke about the terrible warning of the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) against proud people. He warned that he who is boastful and walks around showing off his glamorous clothes and long hair may slip and Allaah will split the earth under him. Then he will slide into the chasm, only to get out on the Day of Judgement.’ (Bukhaari/Muslim)

Patience and Gentleness

Anas (Radhiallaahu Anhu) was walking with the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) when a Bedouin approached them and took hold of the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam). The Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) was wearing the Najraani garment, which had a thick edging. The Bedouin pulled the garment violently and the edges left marks on the Prophet’s (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) body as a result of his pulling. The Bedouin demanded his portion of the Zakaat, shouting, ‘Muhammad! Give the command (to the Companions) to give me the money of Allaah which Allaah placed in your care!’ Anas (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) looked at him and smiled. He instructed that the Bedouin be given from the money (in the community chest). (Bukhaari/Muslim)

When the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) returned from Hunain after the battle, Bedouins ran behind him, asking him for money. They forced his camel against a tree. Then they snatched away his upper garment. He demanded that they return his garment, saying, ‘Return my garment. Do not imagine that I am stingy! I swear by Allaah that I would have distributed all my money between you – even if it had amounted to all these plants you see around you. Then you would certainly not find any excuse to call me stingy, a coward or a liar.’ (Baghawi in Sharh as Sunnah)

Abu Huraira (Radhiallaahu Anhu) related the incident of a Bedouin entering the Mosque of the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) and starting to urinate. The Muslims were furious and wanted to punish the Bedouin, but the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) stopped them. He asked them to take a bucket of water and pour it over the urine. He reminded them, ‘Your mission is to facilitate matters, not to complicate them.’ (Bukhaari)

When Aa’isha (Radhiallaahu Anha) asked the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) to describe his most terrible experience, an experience more difficult to bear than the battle of Uhud, he replied, ‘Your people caused me many unbearable experiences.’ But the worst experience was the day of Aqaba. He said, ‘I presented Islaam to Ibn Abdu Yaalail Ibn Abdu Kalaal and he rejected my offer. I departed in a state of depression and recovered only when I arrived at Qarn Tha’aalib. As I raised my head, I saw a cloud over me providing me with shade. Then I saw angel Gabriel in the clouds. He called me and said, “Allaah knows that your people rejected you. And he knows about your proposal to them. I am sending to you the Angel of the mountains who will be at your command.” The Angel appeared and greeted me. Then he advised me to instruct him to fold the mountains upon those rejecters of faith.’ The Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) added to this tale by stating, ‘I wish only that Allaah take from their children to worship Allaah alone, associating no partners with Him.’ (Bukhaari/Muslim)

Zaid Ibn Su’nah (Radhiallaahu Anhu) approached the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam). He looked at the Prophet with fury in his eyes and grabbed him, holding his upper garment and shirt together. ‘Don’t you want to settle your debt, Muhammad?’ he asked aggressively. Umar (Radhiallaahu Anhu) saw this and was so angry that his eyes turned. Umar (Radhiallaahu Anhu) shouted at him, ‘Enemy of Allaah! Is it real what I hear and see (the disrespect towards the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam)? By Allaah! I will cut off your head with this sword – I am just wary about what the Prophet will say if I do it.’ The Prophet looked at Umar (Radhiallaahu Anhu) in absolute tranquillity and said, ‘You could have done better if you instructed this man to be more gentle in his request for settlement of the debt. For me you could have advised to settle in a good spirit. Take this man and settle his dues. Add twenty saa’a (cubic measures) of dates!’ Zaid (Radhiallaahu Anhu) could not grasp why the Prophet had added to his claim. Umar (Radhiallaahu Anhu) taught him that it was the way of the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) to subdue his anger.

Zaid (Radhiallaahu Anhu) then revealed to Umar (Radhiallaahu Anhu) that he was really a Jewish rabbi who wanted direct proof of the Prophethood of Muhammad (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) and said that would explain to Umar (Radhiallaahu Anhu) the reason for his behaviour towards the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam). He said that he was not convinced of the Prophet’s claim but after this incident the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) had convinced him of at least two qualities which he wanted to test himself: that he is more gentle than irrational and his gentleness sharpens at times when others would have lost their rationality. Zaid (Radhiallaahu Anhu) remarked, ‘So I bear testimony that I am pleased with Allaah as my Lord and Islaam as my way of life. I am pleased to accept Muhammad as my Prophet. You are witness that I donate half of my wealth to the community of Muhammad.’ Umar (Radhiallaahu Anhu) said, ‘You mean part of the community. Your wealth is not enough to cover the community as a whole.’ Zaid (Radhiallaahu Anhu) retracted and said, ‘Part of the community.’ He went back to the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) and announced his Islaam. (Haakim in his Mustadrak)

The Companions returned from Makkah having completed the Umra (minor pilgrimage). Aa’isha (Radhiallaahu Anha) was particularly contented with her acts of worship. She went to the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) and proudly said to him, ‘Prophet of Allaah! I prayed all my prayers in full and I saw you shorten your prayers. I fasted and I saw you did not fast on the journey.’ The Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam), who was licensed to shorten prayers and eat while travelling, did not waste time arguing his position. He said to her gently, ‘You did well, Aa’isha!’ (Sunan an Nasaa’ee)

Courage

The will and determination to stand against the tyrannical leaders of this world from the unsophisticated enemies in Makkah to the sophisticated Byzantine and Persians empires is sufficient to prove the courage of this mighty Prophet of Allaah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam).

The Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) unlike other world leaders, participated in the battlefield against the enemy. Sahl ibn Sa’d (Radhiallaahu Anhu) described how the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) damaged one of his teeth during the battle of Uhud. He also received a cut to his head and flood streamed down his face. Faatima (Radhiallaahu Anha), his daughter, cleaned the wound to his head while Ali (Radhiallaahu Anhu), her husband, used a shield to hold the water. (Bukhaari)

Abbaas (Radhiallaahu Anhu) related that the Muslims were led into a trap at the battle of Hunain. When they realised it they started to withdraw but the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) did not do the same, in fact, he moved forward. Abbaas (Radhiallaahu Anhu) said, ‘I held to the reins of his camel fearing that he moved too fast into the enemy ranks.’ The Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, ‘I am the Messenger of Allaah. This is the truth! I am a son of ‘Abdul Muttalib’.’ (Muslim)

Ali (Radhiallaahu Anhu) a brilliant warrior, described how, as the battle intensified, the two armies came face to face and he and the other warriors sought to cover the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) in order to protect him. ‘We found him always closer to the enemy line than all other warriors.’ (Muslim/Baghawi)