some of those who surrounded the prophet (saas) 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 behavior could make others uncomfortable. for instance, verses speak of people entering houses by the back instead of the front, arriving when the prophet (saas) was dining, or else taking up his time by talking for a long time. the prophet muhammad (saas), 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 behavior that would make others uncomfortable, and thus won their sympathy, teaching them through patience and perseverence. that comportment made him an excellent example for all believers.
our lord, who possesses infinite love and compassion, assisted the prophet (saas) in this matter and supported him with the verses, one of which says:
you who believe! do not go into the prophet's rooms except when you are invited to come and eat. do not wait there while the food is being cooked. however, when you are called, go in, and when you have eaten, disperse, not remaining there to chat with one another. doing that causes annoyance to the prophet though he is too reticent to tell you so. but allah is not reticent with the truth... (surat al-ahzab: 53)
accounts by his companions give many examples of the prophet (saas)'s courteous and considerate behavior. because of his being both a messenger of allah and a head of state, the prophet (saas) 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, he exhibited understanding, patience and a desirable attitude.
as can be seen from incidents recounted by those around him, the prophet (saas) was most kind, above reproach, amiable and thoughtful. he practiced the rules of courtesy and politeness in the best and most ideal way throughout his entire life.
aisha (r.a.) described the exquisite morality she saw in the prophet (saas) in these terms:
"the prophet (saas)'s nature was the qur'an". 28
anas bin malik (ra), who was raised in the prophet (saas)'s household and served him for many years, spoke of his matchless kindness:
"allah's messenger (saas) that when he 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."29
"ibn 'umar reported that allah's messenger (saas) changed the name of asiya (disobedient) and said: 'you are jamila (i.e.good and handsome)'."30
"whenever one spoke to him the other would keep quiet and listen till he would finish."31
"anas bin malik (ra) says: 'i remained in the service of the rasulullah (saas) for ten years. he never once told me 'oof.' when i did something, he never asked me why did you do so? when i did not do a certain task, he never asked me why i did not do it'."32
the prophet (saas) 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 (saas) is still teaching by means of his words, attitudes and behavior, and is a most noble guide and teacher.