Source : IslamOnline / 1 Feb 2013
In the early years of Muhammad’s (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) prophethood there was fierce persecution at the hands of the polytheists of Makkah. The holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and the new Muslims suffered terribly from chastisement, ridicule, slander, an unjust boycott and physical torture. In spite of this,the holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) remained steadfast, patient and took a non-reproachful attitude throughout those 14 years.
Even some of his relatives took part in the vanguard of assailants. His uncle, known in the Qur’an as Abu Lahab, threw stones at him and forced his sons to divorce their wives who were two of Prophet Muhammad’s daughters. Abu Lahab’s wife, apart from shouting profanities at him, used to tie bundles of firewood and thorns and throw it in Muhammad’s path. Neighbors threw goat dung on his back while he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) prayed.
In all cases the holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) would never return abusive language, slander or ridicule any of them. He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) would invoke Allah for help and justice, and in many cases ask Allah to guide them to Islam. While the Makkan polytheists were torturing the family of Yasser, Muhammad comforted them. The holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) raised his hand in prayer and said, “Be patient, you will verily find your abode in Paradise.”
Although the voice of Islam was public, the holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) advised some of his followers, particularly those who didn’t have a tribe or influential family to protect them, to conceal their faith. The Muslims were in a very weak position and it was in their best interests to show restraint from their enemies at all times.
The holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)taught love, restraint, patience and foreboding to all his Companions. These exemplary qualities formed the foundations of a good character for fellow Muslims.
The Strategic Planner
For the ultimate and long-term success of any mission it is vital to devise and implement a strategy. Despite the holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) being illiterate and new to leadership, at the onset of his prophethood he got ahead with planning. Just one important example of this is how he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and the early Muslims of Makkah made two secret pledges with the people of Madinah to instill peace and understanding between the Muslims of both cities. It was only after the second pledge - namely, the Greater Pledge of Aqabah - that the holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) assigned 12 people to quietly spread the message of Islam. This was 13 years after receiving his first revelation. It was through this gradual elucidation of Islam to the people of Madinah that mutual support, trust and sacrifice were fostered between them, preparing them for the eventful immigration of the Makkan Muslims to Madinah.
Even the actual immigration of the holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was cleverly planned to escape the pagan Arabs’ assassination attempts. It started during the night leaving his cousin, Ali, in his bed as a decoy. The holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and his closest friend and supporter, Abu Bakr, at first proceeded south, instead of north, to further dupe their assailants. Trusted persons delivered provisions throughout their route. They where greeted by the people of Madinah more than two weeks later.
Pre-Islamic Arab culture was fraught with racism. Arabic poetry, the pride of the Arabs, boasted of their perceived superiority as a race. When the holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) began to preach Islam to his fellow Arabs there was fierce opposition to most of his teachings including Islam’s egalitarianism between races, tribes and nations. The essence of this concept was embedded in the Qur’anic verse: “We have made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another.”
The holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), however, did more than talk about equality between races. He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) never showed favoritism towards any tribe, and he befriended many of those who did not belong to a high-ranking tribe.
Two of his closest friends were both former slaves. Bilal was from Abyssinia and Salman was from Persia. It is important to take the historic details into context. South Saharan Africans were commonly used as slaves and Persians at that time were a declining superpower vehemently hated by the Arabs. The holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) cherished the companionship of both men. Bilal, who was one of the first Muslims, was given the honor of chanting the call to prayer, or Adhan: the same chant that we hear from mosques all around the world today. Salman was known as a member of the Prophet’s household, although this was a title only given to the Prophet’s kin. Salman was an exception due to his close friendship with him.
Braving the Storm
Although prophets throughout time held extraordinary characteristics, it must not be forgotten that they were prone to all forms of human suffering.
The first revelation of the Qur’an descended upon the holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) when he was privately meditating in a cave in the desert. He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had no previous warning that he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was to be a prophet. When the Angel Gabriel appeared squeezing his chest telling him to read, he was exhausted and terrified. The holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) replied that he could not read and yet still Gabriel told him to read. After a third time he recited the words: “Read, in the name of your Lord Who created…”the holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) ran shaking to his wife for comfort and some sense of the matter. He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) asked her to cover him with his mantel as he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) shivered from fear. It was after speaking to a Christian monk, familiar with the scriptures, that he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) learned he was to be a Prophet. It took several months before he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) received the subsequent revelations and then became informed of his duty as God’s last messenger on earth.
For the holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), delivering the message of the Qur’an was a daunting task, as he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) knew too well how his fellow people would react. He knew about their greed, violence, idol worshipping and pagan tendencies. He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) expected that they would chastise him and consider him an enemy. He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) needed exemplary courage and guts to stand before his tribesmen and women and tell them that their concept of Allah and that of the forefathers will only destroy them.
Unquestionable allegiance to one’s tribe and family was sacrosanct. Never, in the history of pre-Islamic Arab tradition, written or unwritten, in conversation or poetry, did one publicly voice anger at a member of his tribe. Yet, in the Qur’an, there is the mention of the prophet’s uncle and his wife who will be thrown into hell for their denial of Allah’s Oneness and their aggressive ploys to stop the holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) from delivering his message.
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was not the type to voluntarily cross red tape, nor break the sacred taboos of his tribesmen. He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) actually respected many of the traditions of his people and held to them as long as they did not go against Islam. His character was considered flawless even among the most uncouth of them. Considering this public rejection of his family and people was so unprecedented and yet out of Muhammad’s (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) character, the Prophet’s people should have seen that these were not the words of their humble tribesman, but only of Allah.
This well-respected man, nicknamed ‘The Trustworthy’, suddenly had to challenge all the laws and customs of his people that went against the Oneness of Allah. This required tremendous courage even if it meant cutting ties with his kinsmen.
Model Father Figure
Despite Muhammad’s (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) duties as a Prophet and later as a statesman, his responsibilities at home remained within his priorities. Of his seven children only his four daughters survived, as his sons died in infancy. Although his daughters lived long enough to marry and have children of their own, only Fatima, his youngest, outlived him.
Muhammad’s (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) paternal emotions stretched beyond his own children and grandchildren. He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) fostered an orphan boy named Zaid and treated him as if he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was his own son to the extent that he was called Zaid ibn Muhammad. It was some time later after a revelation from Allah that he was told that only one’s natural child had the right to take the father’s name. Henceforth, Zaid was known as Zaid ibn Harith. But that didn’t diminish Muhammad’s (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) love for him.
Anas Ibn Malik, the famous narrator of hadith, used to do errands for the holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) when he was a young boy. When asked about his work with the Prophet, Anas said that the holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) never asked him: why did he do this and why did he not do that. He never scolded or shouted at Anas.
When Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to pass by young children, they would gather round to greet him. The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) would pass his hand over the cheek of every child making sure not to exclude any of them.
According to all the Hadith, the holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was known never to have chastised, beat or ridiculed any child - nor any adult for that matter. So many of the aspects of nurturing children found in good parenting books today are embedded in the skills of the holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) himself.
PROPHET MUHAMMADﷺ AS THE BEST ROLE MODEL
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is the best role model for all humankind. Among his outstanding virtues and characteristics, he was an extraordinary husband, a perfect father, and a unique grandfather. He was also a great statesman, judge, and spiritual leader. His most distinctive quality, however, was the fact that he was a blessing to all in both word and deed.
He infused justice, love, and dignity in all those around him. He spread the power of brotherhood to the extent that it became exceptional in human history. Affirming that these grand virtues were bestowed on him by Allah the Almighty and that He prepared His loyal messenger to call for the true religion, is part of one's belief.
The Qur'an describes the Prophet ﷺas merciful and kind to the believers. Allah the Almighty says, There has certainly come to you a Messenger from among yourselves. Grievous to him is what you suffer; [he is] concerned over you and to the believers is kind and merciful.(Quran Surah Tawbah 9:128)
And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds. (Quran Surah 21:107)
Mercy to Kids
Anas said that Prophet Muhammad ﷺ greeted children as he passed them, saying that he did so because he had observed the Prophet doing the same thing. ( Bukhari and Muslim)
Ibn `Abbas said that the Prophet used to hold the first of any seasonal harvest, he used put it on his eyes then on his lips and say “Oh Allah! Like you have made us see its beginning (of the season), allow us to see its end.” Then he would give it to any child sitting around him." (Tabarani)
When his guests brought children with them, the Prophet called them towards him and placed them on his lap. One day an infant urinated on his clothes. He simply poured water over the area but did not wash the clothes (as the infant was only breast-fed). ( Bukhari )
Prophet Muhammad used to set some kids in a row and saying, "I'll give such and such (i.e gift or so) to the one who come to me first." So they used to race and fall on his back and chest. (Ahmad)
Mercy to Women
Once many women relatives of Prophet Muhammad were sitting around him and talking loudly to him. When Omar came they all left, at which the Prophet laughed. Omar said, ", who, on hearing Omar's voice, had all hidden themselves from him. Omar, addressing them, said, "You fear me but do not fear Allah's Messenger." They all said, "." (Muslim)
Once the Noble Prophet was sleeping with his face covered in the apartment of Aisha. It was the day of Eid (Muslims' holiday) and young girls were singing. Abu Bakr entered the house and asked the girls to stop. The Prophet said, "Let them sing, it is the day of Eid for them." (Sahih al-Bukhari 3931)
He said: The most perfect Muslim in the matter of faith is one who has excellent behavior; and the best among you are those who behave best towards their wives. (Tirmidhi Vol. 1, Book 7, Hadith 1162)
He said, "Whoever [brings up] two girls till they come of age, will be in the next world along with me, like my two fingers joining each other." (Abu Dawud)
He said, "A believing man should not hate a believing woman; if he dislikes one of her characteristics, he will be pleased with another. (Muslim ,Book 1, Hadith 275)
He said, " “I start the prayers, intending to lengthen them. I then hear a child crying so I make them shorter, knowing how emotional a child’s mother gets.” ( Bukhari and Muslim)
Caliph Umar (The second leader after prophet Muhammad) wanted to limit the amount of dowry. Most Muslims agreed with him. but an old poor woman declared her disagreement. Umar didn't mute her. Instead, he heard her opinion which was proofed and then he said, "The lady is right and Umar is wrong."
Mercy to Orphans, Needers and Widows
From his mercy is that he never used to disdain from walking along with a widow or with a poor person and fulfill their needs . He used to visit weak and sick Muslims and attend their funerals . He used to treat orphans well and charitably. He used to commend people to sponsor them and treat them with excellence and he also used to announce the consequent virtues of that saying, “I and a patron of an orphanage are as close in Paradise (while waving with the index and middle finger and parting them .” He also said that the best house in Muslim houses is the one with an orphan being treated well in it. ” ( Bukhari and Ibn Majah)
Ibn Omar reported Allah's Messenger as saying, "A Muslim is a Muslim's brother; he does not wrong him. If anyone cares for his brother's need, Allah will take care of his need; if anyone relieves his brother's anxiety, Allah will remove from him one of his anxieties on the Day of Resurrection; and if anyone conceals a Muslim's secrets, Allah will conceal his secrets on the Day of Resurrection." ( Bukhari and Muslim)
Abu Hurairah reported Allah's Messenger as saying, ‘The best house among the Muslims is one where an orphan is well treated, and the worst house among the Muslims is one where an orphan is badly treated." (Ibn Majah)
Abu Omamah reported Allah's Messenger as saying, "If anyone caresses an orphan by moving his fingers in his hair, doing so only for God's sake, he will have blessings for every hair over which his hand passes and if anyone treats well ail orphan girl or boy under his care, he and I shall be like these two in Paradise," putting two of his fingers together. (Ahmad)
Abu Hurairah reported Allah's Messenger as saying, He who strives to serve a widow and a poor person is like the one who strives in Allah's way." He also reported that when a man complained to the Messenger of Allah of being hardhearted he said, "Show affection to the orphans and feed the poor." (Hakim)
Mercy to Domestic Workers
Once a man came to Prophet Muhammad and said, "O Allah's Messenger! How many times should I forgive the mistakes of slaves?" The Noble Prophet kept quiet. The man repeated his question three times, and the Prophet replied at the third time, "Forgive them seventy times every day." A man had two slaves but was not happy with them. He used to beat and abuse them but they did not change their ways. He complained to the Prophet and asked for his advice. Prophet Muhammad said that if his punishment was in proportion to their wrongs, well and good; otherwise Allah would punish him for his excess. On hearing this the man was upset and began crying. Prophet Muhammad recited from the Qur'an, "We shall set up scales of justice on the Day of Resurrection." (Quran 21:47) and observed that the man did not read the Qur'an. After this he said, "O Allah's Messenger, it is better that I release them from my possession. Be witness that they are now free."
Mercy to Animals
Aisha narrated that she once found difficulty in riding a horse, so she kept reining it in repeatedly. The Prophet then said, “You must have gentleness.” (Muslim)
Once the Prophet passed by a camel that was so emaciated its back was one with its abdomen. Upon that, the Prophet said, “Fear Allah with regard to livestock. Ride them in a fitting way and eat them when they are in good condition." (Abu Dawud)
He once entered the garden of man from the Ansar (Muslims of Madinah) and there was a camel. When the Prophet saw the camel it froze and its eyes started watering. Then the Prophet of Allah came to it and rubbed its ears so it calmed down. Then the Prophet said, “Who is the owner of this camel? Whose camel is this?” A young man from the Ansar told him, ”O Messenger of Allah, it belongs to me.” Then he told him (, “Do you not fear Allah with regard to this beast which Allah has let you own? It complained to me that you starve it and tire it by overworking it and using it beyond its capacity." (Ahmad and Abu Dawud)
He saw some people sitting on animals so he commented, “Keep them safe and sound when riding them and when leaving them, don’t use them as chairs for your side talks in the streets and markets. A ridden animal might be better than its rider and might remember and mention God more than its rider does." (Ahmad and Abu Yali)
Prophet Muhammad once said, “A woman was doomed to enter the Fire because of a cat. She imprisoned it and neither fed it nor set it free to eat the rodents of the earth.” ( Bukhari )
Prophet Muhammad warned against any human being causing a bird to feel panic about its little offspring. Someone took two chicks of a bird, which came in panic searching for its chicks. Prophet Muhammad then asked, “Who has distressed it by taking its chicks?” Then he asked them to return the chicks. (Abu Dawud)
The Prophet once passed by a burned out anthill. When the Prophet saw it he asked, “Who has burned it?” When he was informed of who had done it, he said, “Only the Lord of Fire has the right to punish with fire." (Abu Dawud)
Prophet Muhammad prohibited the killing of a bird for the sake of pleasure and not for a specific beneficial need, the Prophet said, “Anyone who would kill a bird, this bird would come on Doomsday and say, “God, this person killed me for pleasure and not for benefit." (An-Nasaai)
He saw a person preparing a lamb, laying it down while he was still sharpening his knife. Prophet Muhammad then commented, “Do you want to kill it twice? Sharpen your knife before you lay it down.” ( Bukhari and Muslim).