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The High Morality of the Prophet (P.B.U.H.)

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As a verse of the ’Qur a~n reveals, “… Mu’hammad is the Messenger of Allaah and the Final Seal of the Prophets.” (Surat al-A’hzaab: 40), the Prophet Mu’hammad (P.B.U.H.) was sent to mankind as the last prophet. He was a living example of the sublime morality of Allaah’s last revelation. He was a friend of Allaah and inspired humanity by his nearness to Him. He was His representative, noble in His eyes, and a friend to all believers.

As Allaah has revealed in another verse, “We will impose a weighty Word upon you...” (Surat al-Muzzammil: 5), he charged His last prophet, Mu’hammad (PBUH) with a heavy responsibility. Due to the Prophet’s (PBUH) strong faith in Allaah, he fulfilled that responsibility in the best possible way, called mankind to the path of Allaah and Islaam, and illuminated the way for all believers.

Although we have never seen the Prophet (P.B.U.H.), we can still do our very best to come to know his exemplary behaviour, his sayings and the pleasing morality he displayed, by means of the verses of the ’Qur a~n and the A’haadith (the sayings and teachings of the Prophet (PBUH)). We can try to be like him, in order to be close to him in the hereafter. People today, and the young in particular, take many individuals as role models, imitate the way they behave, speak and dress, and try to be like them.

Yet, since the great majority of these people are not on the right road themselves, they lack proper morality and attitudes. It is therefore a serious responsibility to lead people to the truth and the best morality and behaviour. A Muslim needs to try to emulate the behaviour and the morality of the Prophet Mu’hammad (P.B.U.H.). Allaah confirms that in a verse:

You have an excellent model in the Messenger of Allaah, for all who put their hope in Allaah and the Last Day and remember Allaah much. (Surat al-A’hzaab: 21)

Those Muslims who follow the way of the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) need to be foremost in their morality and behaviour, and to invite others to adopt that same morality. As the Prophet’s (P.B.U.H.) words, viz. “The most perfect believer in respect of faith is he who is best of them in manner,.”  make it clear, morality is one the most important components of true faith. It is therefore an important religious duty to learn about and practice the very best examples of it.

The Prophet’s (P.B.U.H.) trust in Allaah: An example to all people
Those situations the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) was involved in, as they are related in the ’Qur a~n, demonstrate his resignation, and submission to Allaah. For instance, the Prophet’s (P.B.U.H.) words when he and his friend were hiding in a cave after leaving Makkah are one of the finest examples of that submission. The ’Qur a~n says:

If you do not help him, Allaah did help him when those who disbelieved drove him out and there were two of them in the Cave. He said to his companion, “Do not be despondent, Allaah is with us.” Then Allaah sent down His serenity upon him and reinforced him with troops you could not see. He made the word of those who disbelieved undermost. It is the word of Allaah which is uppermost. Allaah is Almighty, All-Wise. (Surat at-Tawbah: 40)

Whatever the situation might have been, the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) always submitted to Allaah, in the knowledge that there was beauty and goodness in all that He created. These words of the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) to his people as related in the ’Qura~n are a telling instance of that submission:

If good happens to you it galls them. If a mishap occurs to you, they say, “We made our preparations in advance,” and they turn away rejoicing. Say: “Nothing can happen to us except what Allaah has ordained for us. He is Our Master. It is in Allaah that the believers should put their trust.” (Surat at-Tawbah: 50-51)

The Prophet (P.B.U.H.), by his submission to Allaah, was an example to all Muslims, and he warned that people would never have the power to alter anything that came from Allaah:

“… When you ask for anything ask it from Allaah, and if you seek help seek it from Allaah. Know that if the people were to unite to do you some benefit they could benefit you only with what Allaah had recorded for you, and that if they were to unite to do you some injury they could injure you only with what Allaah had recorded for you. The pens are withdrawn and the pages are dry.”

The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) ever only sought to please Allaah, expecting nothing in return from others

One of the fundamental tenets of Islaam is that a person must found his whole life on the love and fear of Allaah, and carry out all his obligations solely to win the good will and mercy of Allaah and to attain His Paradise. In one verse, Allaah tells believers: “Say: ‘My prayer and my rites, my living and my dying, are for Allaah alone, the Lord of all the worlds.’” (Surat al-An‘aam: 162)

In the following verse, believers are told to live their religion solely for Allaah, and not for any other purpose: “Except those who repent and put things right and hold fast to Allaah and dedicate their religion to Allaah alone, they are with the believers. Allaah will give the believers an immense reward.” (Surat an-Nisaa-: 146) Anyone who holds fast to Allaah, knows that there is no other god than Allaah, lives his life solely to gain His good pleasure, and never, ever abandons his faith in Him, shows he has true faith.

No sincere believer tries to gain the love, good will, praise of anyone other than Allaah in his actions and religious duties. The finest examples of such sincere believers are the Prophet Mu’hammad (P.B.U.H.) and other prophets (peace be upon them all).
   
The patience exhibited by the Prophet (PBUH) in the face of difficulty
Throughout the period of his mission, the Prophet Mu’hammad (P.B.U.H.) experienced all manner of difficulty. Deniers and polytheists, from among his own people, insulted him most terribly, even calling him a magician or a madman. Others wanted to kill him and even schemed to do so. Despite all that, the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) tried to teach people of all backgrounds and cultures about the ’Qura~n, and therefore about proper morality and good behaviour.

As is revealed in the verses of the ’Qura~n, some people had not the slightest idea of the basics of good manners, for which reason it never entered their minds that they might appal someone who possessed superior morality. The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) displayed the greatest patience in these circumstances, turning to Allaah and asking for His help in all situations and encouraging believers to patience and submission.  In the ’Qura~n, Allaah advises the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) to be patient despite the words of unbelievers:

So be patient in the face of what they say and glorify your Lord with praise before the rising of the sun and before it sets. (Surah ’Qaaf: 39)

Do not be grieved by what they say. All might belongs to Allaah. He is the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing. (Surah Younus: 65)

Believers must remember the kind of things Allaah’s Messenger (P.B.U.H.) was patient for, and take him as a model when dealing with their own difficulties. Those who despair at the slightest problem, who are unable to bear the smallest objection, who stop preaching the religion of Allaah, or who lose hope when their business dealings go wrong, must be aware that such behavior is incompatible with Allaah’s holy book and the sayings and deeds of the Prophet (P.B.U.H.). Believers must always be patient, take Allaah as their helper and give thanks to Him, adopt the superior morality of the Prophet (P.B.U.H.), and hope for the mercy, compassion and Paradise of our Lord.

The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) was always tolerant of those around him
Throughout his life, he showed an interest in each and every one, warned them about their mistakes and failings, and tried to educate them in all matters, from cleanliness to matters of faith. That compassionate, tolerant, understanding and patient attitude of his was the means by which many peoples’ hearts warmed to Islaam and developed a genuine love for the Prophet (P.B.U.H.). Allaah describes this pleasing attitude adopted by the Prophet (PBUH) towards those around him in the ’Qura~n:

It is a mercy from Allaah that you were gentle with them. If you had been rough or hard of heart, they would have scattered from around you. So pardon them and ask forgiveness for them… (Surah Al ‘Imraan: 159)

The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) never pressured those around him to accept the religion, nor imposed conditions on them. Instead he always used the pleasantest ways to tell them about it. He always supported the community of the faithful with his strong conscience, and was a benefactor to them at all times. On account of these traits, the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) is described in many verses as “your companion.” (Surah Saba-: 46: Surat an-Najm: 2, Surat at-Takweer: 22).

Those believers who were able to comprehend the conscientiousness of the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) regarded him as closer to them than all others, and humbled themselves towards him. In one verse, Allaah states:

The Prophet has closer ties to the believers than their own selves, and his wives are their mothers… (Surat al-A’hzaab: 6)

Imam Ghazaali, the great Islaamic scholar, summed up the Prophet’s (P.B.U.H.) treatment of those around him in light of the information found in the A’haadith:

“... Everyone thought that the Prophet honoured him more. Whoever came to him could see his face... He used to call his companions by their titles with honour and he used to give one title to whoever had no title... He was very affectionate and kind in dealing with the people... Nobody could speak loudly in his assembly.”

The Prophet’s (P.B.U.H.) human love, kind thoughts and compassion, which turned those around him to true religion and warmed their hearts to faith, is that superior morality which all Muslims should seek to reproduce.

The exemplary justice of the Prophet (P.B.U.H.)
In the ’Qura~n, Allaah commands believers to “Be upholders of justice, bearing witness for Allaah alone, even against yourselves or your parents and relatives. Whether they are rich or poor, Allaah is well able to look after them. Do not follow your own desires and deviate from the truth...” (Surat an-Nisaa-: 135). With the rules he imposed on Muslims, his just and tolerant attitude towards those of other religions, languages, races and tribes, and his way of not discriminating between rich and poor, but treating everybody equally, Allaah’s Messenger (P.B.U.H.)  is a great example to all of mankind.

The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) abided by Allaah’s commands, even with such difficult people, and never made any concessions in his implementation of justice. He became an example for all times with the words, “My Lord has commanded justice…” (Surat al-A‘raaf: 29).

During the time of the Prophet (P.B.U.H.), Christians, Jews and pagans were all treated equally. The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) abided by the verse “There is no compulsion where the religion is concerned…” (Surat al-Ba’qarah: 256), explaining the true religion to everyone, but leaving them free to make up their own minds. The noble attitude of the Prophet (P.B.U.H.), being in total harmony with the morality of the ’Qura~n, should be taken as an example of how members of different religions today should be treated. During his final sermon, the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) called on Muslims in these terms:

“There is no superiority for an Arab over a non-Arab and for a non-Arab over an Arab; nor for white over the black nor for the black over the white except in piety. Verily the noblest among you is he who is the most pious.”

In our day, the only solution to the fighting and conflict going on all over the world is to adopt the morality of the ’Qura~n, and, like the Prophet (P.B.U.H.), never to depart from the path of justice, making no distinction between different religions, languages, or races.

The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) was a bearer of glad tidings
In the verse “O Prophet! We have sent you as a witness, and a bringer of good news and a warner” (Surat al-A’hzaab: 45), Allaah describes the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) as a bearer of glad tidings and a warner. The Prophet (PBUH) always warned people against the sufferings to be experienced in Hell, and told them of the desirable future that awaited the good in this world, and of the infinite life of the Paradise in the hereafter. This characteristic of the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) is revealed in the ’Qura~n thus:

We have sent you with the Truth, bringing good news and giving warning. Do not ask about the inhabitants of the Blazing Fire. (Surat al-Ba’qarah: 119)

Those who take the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) as a model and abide by his Sunnah must, like him, give people the same glad tidings and warn them. The Prophet(P.B.U.H.) himself described how such people ought to behave:

“Make things easy for the people, and do not make it difficult for them, and make them calm (with glad tidings) and do not repulse (them).”

Giving welcome news increases believers’ enthusiasm and morale, and encourages them to be more determined and persevering in their labours in the way of Allaah. Someone who hopes to be rewarded with Paradise will of course have a very different attitude and state of mind than someone who regards those labours as monotonous, or carries them out of habit or a sense of obligation. That is why Allaah has commanded His Messenger (P.B.U.H.) to: “Spur on the believers.” (Surat an-Nisaa-: 84)

The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) relieved Muslims of difficulties
The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) lifted burdens from the faithful, and was a guide to them in tasks that they failed to understand properly, which, otherwise, had been too difficult. People are easily prone to making their lives difficult, and to imposing rules upon themselves, by which they falsely believe they have solved their problems.

This particular human characteristic is one of the reasons why the religion has been distorted through the years. Many societies have dreamed up rules that did not actually exist in the religion, and then made themselves and others believe that they would only be truly god-fearing when they adhered to them. One of the Prophet’s (P.B.U.H.) most important qualities was the way he lifted such burdens that people had imposed on themselves. Allaah speaks of that quality of the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) in a verse:

Those who follow the Messenger, the Ummi [illiterate], whom they find written down with them in the Torah and the Gospel, commanding them to do right and forbidding them to do wrong, permitting them good things and prohibiting them bad things, relieving them of their heavy loads and the chains which were around them. Those who believe in him and honour him and help him, and follow the Light that has been sent down with him, they are the ones who are successful. (Surat al-A‘raaf: 157)

The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) was most considerate and compassionate towards the faithful
The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) was a compassionate man, full of love and understanding. He took an interest in the physical and spiritual problems of his friends, relatives and all those around him, and took all appropriate measures to ensure their health, security and happiness. He took them under his wing, and always bore in mind their lot in the hereafter by encouraging them to remain godly. These features of the Prophet (PBUH), that are an example for all of humanity, are revealed in verses:

A Messenger has come to you from among yourselves. Your suffering is distressing to him; he is deeply concerned for you; he is gentle and merciful to the believers. (Surat at-Tawbah: 128)

The faithful, who were taught by the Prophet (P.B.U.H.), and abided by the verses of the ’Qura~n, behaved compassionately even towards prisoners of war. Verses speak of this, too:

They give food, despite their love for it, to the poor and orphans and captives: “We feed you only out of desire for the sake of Allaah. We do not want any repayment from you or any thanks. Truly we fear from our Lord a glowering, calamitous Day.” (Surat al-Insaan: 8-10)

The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) reminded his companions to be compassionate, and was the greatest model for them in that regard:

“Those who have mercy will receive the mercy of the Most Merciful. Have mercy on those who are on earth, the One in heavens will have mercy on you.”

The importance the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) attributed to cleanliness
As well as their purity of heart and morality, Muslims are also known for the cleanliness of their bodies, clothes, homes and the food they eat. A Muslim’s hair, hands, face and body must always be clean. His clothes must always be clean, neat and well cared for. The places where he works or lives must always be clean, tidy, sweet smelling and be a relaxing atmosphere. Once again, it is the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) who is the best example of this characteristic of Muslims. The Prophet also advises the faithful to be clean in one of the A’haadith:

“Surely, Islaam is pure, therefore be pure, because he can never enter Paradise who is not pure.”

The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) was always considerate and courteous
Some of those who surrounded the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) were less than well mannered and cultured. It can be seen from a number of verses that they could not understand how thoughtless they were and that their behaviour could make others uncomfortable. For instance, verses speak of people entering houses by the back instead of the front, arriving when the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) was dining, or else taking up his time by talking for a long time.

The Prophet Mu’hammad (P.B.U.H.), on the other hand, was very thoughtful, courteous, patient and civilized, and treated such people nevertheless with the greatest tolerance. Also, in the most pleasant manner, he warned those around him against behaviour that would make others uncomfortable, and thus won their sympathy, teaching them through patience and perseverance. That comportment made him an excellent example for all believers.

Because of his being both a Messenger of Allaah and a head of state, the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) was in constant contact with people from all walks of life, from the wealthy leaders of states and tribes to poor, defenceless women and orphans. He was able to communicate with and win the hearts of people whose social status, ways of life and customs were very different from one another, and he exhibited understanding, patience and a desirable attitude.

Anas Ibn Maalik, who was raised in the Prophet’s (P.B.U.H.) household and served him for many years, spoke of his matchless kindness:

“When Allaah’s Messenger (P.B.U.H.) shook hands with anyone he did not withdraw his hands till the other man withdrew his. Similarly, he did not turn away his face from anyone till that man turned his face to the other side. And he was never seen to put forward his knees in front of one with whom he was sitting.”

The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) taught thousands of people during his life, and was a means by which those who knew nothing of religion and morality came to be morally superior, well behaved, thoughtful and self-sacrificing. Even after his death, the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) is still teaching by means of his words, attitudes and behaviour, and is a most noble guide and teacher.


i  Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 40, Number 4665
ii Tirmidhi Hadith
iii  Imam Ghazzali’s Ihya Ulum-Id-Din, The Book of Religious Learnings, Islaamic Book Service, New Delhi, 2001, Volume II, p.240
iv  Prophet Mu’hammad’s Last Sermon (http://www.stanford.edu/~jamila/Sermon.html)
v  Sahih Bukhari, Volume 8, Number 146
vi  Tirmidhi Hadith
vii  Ahmad Diya’al-Din al-Kamushkhanawi, Ramuz al-Ahadith, vol.1, 96/2
vii Maulana Mu’hammad Manzoor No’mani, Ma’ariful Hadith, (Meaning and Message of the Traditions), Darul – Ishaat Publications, Karachi, Volume 4, p.334
Harun Yahya -

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