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His Manners and Ethics – The Prophet’s Courage (PBUH)

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51 2020/05/05 2020/06/06
Article translated to : العربية

Courage is one of the great manners that distinguish the Prophet, Peace Be upon him, it is a quality required in any leader. There is no stronger proof of courage than Allah’s command to the Prophet (Peace Be upon Him) in the Qur’an to fight alone and to incite the believers to fight: “So fight in the cause of Allah ˹O Prophet˺. You are accountable for none but yourself. And motivate the believers ˹to fight˺…” (An-Nisa’: 84)

When the Prophet obeyed His Lord, the Lord supported Him with soldiers from the believers and angels. He participated in battles as a leader who does not give himself an excuse not to take part in fighting, even though being a leader is an enough excuse not to take part physically. But, he never left the battlefield because of his courage, he was in the frontline, the nearest to the enemy. His courage did not let him leave the battlefield, even when it was OK for him to do so.

If the leader was a military expert who did not fear wars, and He stopped after the necessary battles that had to be waged, is not it a proof that He is a Messenger who only fought when He was commanded to fight. His good qualities come from the fact that He is a Messenger of Allah. [1]

Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, who was known to be a courageous soldier, said about the Prophet, Peace Be upon Him: “When the fighting became fierce and the two armies met, we used to seek the protection of the Prophet, Peace Be upon Him, to the extent that he (PBUH) would be the nearest to the enemy.”[Ahmad]

Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, said­ in another narration: “I can see ourselves seeking shelter behind the Prophet, Peace Be upon Him, on the day of Badr. He was the nearest to the enemy lines. That day he was the fiercest against them.”

Another proof of his courage is his confrontation with Qureish one day alone: Arwah bin az-Zubayr narrated from his father, from ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin al-‘Aas. He said: I said to him: What is the worst incident of aggression and hostility that you saw on the part of Qureish towards the Messenger of Allah? He said: I was present when their prominent figures met together one day in al-Hijr. They talked about the Messenger of Allah (Peace Be upon Him), and they said: We have never put up with anything like that with which we are putting up with from this man. He has accused us of being fools, slandered our forefathers, criticized our religion, divided us and reviled our gods, and the matter has become very serious – or words to that effect. Whilst they were like that, the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) came walking until he touched the corner (of the Ka ‘bah, where the Black Stone is), then he passed by them as he circumambulated the House. When he passed by them, they made fun of some of the words he was saying, and I could see from his face that it caused him pain. Then he moved on, then when he passed by them the second time, they made fun of him the same previous manner, and I could see from his face that it caused him pain. Then he moved on, then when he passed by them the third time, they made fun of him the same manner, then he said: “Listen to me, O Qureish! By the One in Whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, I have brought slaughter to you.” The people were so shocked that each man among them froze, as if there was a bird on his head, and those who had spoken most harshly to him before that began speaking to him with the kindest words, saying: Leave us, O Abu’l-Qaasim, for by Allah you have never been an ignorant man. So he (Peace Be upon Him) left them. The next day, they met together in al-Hijr, and I was with them. They said to one another: (Yesterday) you said how impatient you are becoming with him, and what you have heard about him and what he is saying, then as soon as he said something that alarmed you, you left him alone. Whilst they were talking about that, the Messenger of Allah (Peace Be upon Him) appeared and they rushed towards him as one and surrounded him, saying to him: You are the one who said such and such – referring to what they had heard about his criticism of their gods and their religion. The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: “Yes, I am the one who said that.” I saw one of them grab the neck of his garment, and Abu Bakr as-Siddeeq (may Allah be pleased with him) got up to defend him and said, weeping: Would you kill a man just because he says, my lord is Allah? Then they left him alone. That was the worst incident of aggression that I saw on the part of Qureish [Narrated by Imam Ahmad in his Musnad]

This situation proves the courage of the Prophet, Peace Be upon Him, he faced the entire Qureish and endured their harm in order to deliver the Message of Isalm. [4]

Once Qureish noble men gathered and met Abu Talib whom they addressed: "O Abu Talib, your nephew Muhammad is blaspheming our gods and criticizing our religion and faith, mocking at the deities and idols of our ancestors. Either you stop him from speaking ill of our belief, or set him free from your protection so that we stop him." But, Abu Talib's soft words and manner made them go, and Allah’s Messenger, Peace Be upon Him, continued His mission of calling people to Islam.

The hostility increased, and Qureish leaders kept talking about the Prophet, Peace Be upon Him, they criticized him and incited each other to take an action against him. They went to Abu Talib once again and said:

“O Abu Talib, you are an honorable man and you have a status among us. We asked you to stop your nephew from what he is doing, but you didn’t. By Allah, we will no longer remain silent while he dispraises our fathers, belittles our traditions, and insults our idols. Either you stop him, or we will fight both of you, till one of the teams perishes.” They left, and Abu Talib felt agonized due to the pain of abandoning his own people, their hostility against him, and their request to give up on Allah’s Messenger, Peace Be upon Him. He felt torn between the two.

Allah’s Messenger, Peace Be upon Him, thought that His uncle might give upon on protecting him. The Messenger said bravely to his uncle: “O my uncle, by Allah, if they put the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left on condition that I abandon this cause, before Allah has made it victorious, or I perish therein, I would not abandon it.” The Prophet’s eyes filled with tears, then he stood up and left. Abu Talib cried out to his nephew: “Come back, O Son of my brother! O my nephew, say what you wish, by Allah, I will never abandon you.” [5]

If we look at the Hijrah, we will find a lot of events showing the courage of Prophet Muhammad, Peace Be upon Him. The Prophet (PBUH) remained in Makkah after Allah commanded the Muslim to do Hijrah to Yathrub. The Prophet waited for Muslims to leave in groups seeking the north at night. They travelled in the desert, unafraid of what they might face and endured the pains of leaving home, family and wealth behind. They were looking forward to go to Yathrub where there was shelter and support. 

The Prophet stayed in Makkah till all the Muslims arrived to Yathrub, and only three believers remained in Makkah, the Prophet, Abu Bakr and Ali bin Abi Talib. This kind of firm leadership is quite rare in terms of bravery and patience. The leader of the Call confronted the violent rivals himself, without supporters, he remained in Makkah till all his supporters preceded him to Madinah, and he did not leave till he was sure that all the battalions of believers are safely in their new home. [6]             

The migration to Madinah, Hijrah, also shows the Prophet’s qualities as a smart and patient leader, the polytheists of Qureish got very hostile towards Allah’s Messenger, Peace Be upon Him, and the Muslims till they received the command to migrate. The Prophet, Peace Be upon Him, left for Madinah according to certain strategies and in total secrecy. The Prophet, Peace Be upon Him, kept the date of the Hijrah a secret even for Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him. The blessed travelers moved to the Cave of Thawr, and from there they traveled to Madinah.

This journey, with all its miracles and events, gave us great lessons. The first lesson is the faith that Allah’s Messenger instilled in the spirit of every Muslim till the Day of Judgment, when He was in the Cave of Thawr. A group of polytheists searching for Him stood at the opening of the cave, all they had to do to see him was just looking at their footsteps at the cave. At this critical time, Abu Bakr whispered at the Prophet’s ear: “O Allah’s Messenger, if any of them look at their footsteps, they will see us.” The Prophet, Peace Be upon Him, replied to Him firmly: “O Abu Bakr, what do you think of two, the third of whom is Allah?” Feeling the protection of Almighty Allah means not to fear anything! Almighty Allah confirms the incidents of the cave in the verse: “˹It does not matter˺ if you ˹believers˺ do not support him, for Allah did in fact support him when the disbelievers drove him out ˹of Mecca˺ and he was only one of two. While they both were in the cave, he reassured his companion, “Do not worry, for Allah is certainly with us.” So Allah sent down His serenity upon the Prophet, supported him with forces you ˹believers˺ did not see, and made the word of the disbelievers lowest, while the Word of Allah is supreme. And Allah is Almighty, All-Wise.” (At-Tawbah: 40)

 

The polytheists saw the spider web which Almighty Allah commanded it to build its web at the door of the cave, they could not believe that two men could enter the cave without tearing the spider’s web, they looked at their guide who led them to this place. The man was amazed and said: I do not know whether he went down into the earth, or went up to the sky. [7] 

He was a leader well-known for his bravery and heroism, he used to fight in the battlefield, and if the fighting becomes fierce, he would be the nearest to the enemy.” [8]

Once the people of Madinah panicked when they heard a sudden loud sound, they went out to find Allah’s Messenger on His way back, He went quickly before them to see what was that… He rode His horse and had his sword around his neck. He met them on his way back to Madina, and said to them: “Do not be afraid, do not be afraid” [9] 

He went out to explore the Madinah at night to make sure everything is OK, as the enemies threatened to attack and besiege the city. Going out at night to check out the city only proves his courage, because there are many men who could do that job for him while he stays at him home, but He, Peace Be upon Him, wanted to do that himself. He was not taken by fear and he did not assign anyone else with that task. [10]

No one equaled the Prophet, Peace Be upon Him, in bravery. He was the most courageous man. Here are some examples which prove His courage:

The great Companion Omran ibn Hussein said that whenever the Prophet confronted a group of soldiers, he would be the first to strike. The Prophet, Peace Be upon Him, used to go through the enemies’ lines lightly and quickly, His uncle, Al-Abbas used to take the bridle of the Prophet’s ride in order not to let Him combat the enemies inside their lines.

Ali bin Abi Talib said: (Whenever the fight grew fierce and the eyes of fighters went red, we used to resort to the Prophet (Peace Be upon Him) for succor. He was always the closest to the enemy.” [11]

In the Battle of Hunein, the Muslims faced the arrows of the polytheists in the early morning. They were throwing them fiercely and violently. They retreated and Allah’s Messenger remained standing while they were retreating on the right and the left. He was steadfast and kept saying loudly:

I am the Prophet, no lie… I am the son of Abdul Muttalib [12]

He strived his entire life in order to establish the foundations of the Islamic call, according to the Heavenly commands. He affirmed an ethical foundation in the spirits of the Muslims so that they become guidance to other nations. In the Prophet’s biography, we can find all images of mercy, kindness, bravery and striving in the Cause of Allah. [13]

A misconception and the refutation:

One of the great qualities of the Prophets, Peace Be upon Him, is that He was described by two contradicting features by the radical enemies of Islam. Some of them claim that the Prophet was too soft to fight, while others say that He had cruelty that incited him to attack and shed blood. Muhammad, Peace Be upon Him, is nothing of those two descriptions.

If His brave acts negate the misconception of being soft, or fearful, His entire life negates any sign of harshness. In every relationship with his family members, wet-nurses, companions, wives and his servants, there is a reflection of mercy and kindness.

We will not refer to the incidents mentioned by the radicals to refute the claim of shedding blood for no reason. Most of them are not proved, especially the claim that Allah’s Messenger, Peace Be upon Him, called for the killing of Asmaa Bint Marwan, the Jewish woman, because she used to slander Islam and Muslims. The Prophet, PBUH, actually banned the killing of women in a very direct statement, and He repeated this prohibition more than once. Some jurists even give fatwas not to kill women even if they are fighting Muslims, unless their danger cannot be stopped except when she gets killed.

The only incident that is worth mentioning is the killing of Ka’ab bin Al-Ashraf who used to defame Muslims, slander their religion, incite the enemies to fight them, plot to kill the Prophet, PBUH, and take part in every plan to destroy Islam. Ka’ab Bin al-Ashraf was in allegiance along with his people with the Muslims, he pledged to support the Muslims, fight who fight them, not to attack them, and to treat them as supporters, i.e. help them.

He breached the allegiance, and banded Arabs and the Jews together against Allah’s Prophet, Peace Be upon Him, and His companions. He went back to Madinah, and slandered Muslim women and said false claims against them.

It was narrated that a number of men went to kill him, they arrived at his fort. Abu Na’ilah, his foster brother called Him, so Ka’ab was about to go down for them. His wife said to Him: “You are a fighter, and fighters do not go

out at this hour.”

His wife was truthful when she described him as a fighter, he was a fighter who breached the allegiance and betrayed the people he had a pledge with. He betrayed the Muslims, and it was not safe to let him remain in his fort.

It is narrated that Prophet Muhammad, Peace Be upon Him, approved the killing of Ka’ab Bin al-Ashraf. Some European historians criticized it, and considered it a breach of fighting rules. 

According to the international law, what Ka’ab Bin al-Ashraf did equals the war prisoner who vows not to fight again, yet he fights. The International law obligates him to keep his pledge, and obligates his government not to send him in a mission that contradicts his pledge with the enemies. Also, if he fights them or shoots their allies, he will be deprived of being considered as a war prisoner. It is legal then to be under trial and to be sentenced to death, according to the law.

The international laws of our times sentence to death people who commit lesser crimes than that of Ka’ab Bin al-Ashraf, because his crime is more than only betrayal, he banded the enemies together against Muslims, plotted against them and violated their honors. Applying these rules is not harsh, because those rules are necessary at the times of peace in the same nation, let alone the times of wars when there is fighting with the enemies.

****

These were some glimpses of the Prophet’s manners, and how was he like after the Mission. Having these qualities made him the perfect role model of a human being. He was the best example in leadership, all presidents, fighters, politicians and thinkers may find in Him the reflection of the perfect human. [14]

Despite all that, the Prophet, Peace Be upon Him, used to supplicate to the Lord, as narrated by Aisha, may Allah Be pleased with her, saying: “O Allah! You made my physical form good, so make my character good!” (Narrated by Ahmad)

He used to seek refuge in Allah from the bad manners. Abu Hurirah, may Allah be pleased with him, said that the Prophet, Peace Be upon Him, used to supplicate saying: “O Allah, I seek refuge with You from opposing the truth, hypocrisy and bad manners.” (Narrated by Abu Dawoud, and An-Nissa’i)

References

  1. Abbas Mahmoud al-Aqaad, “Abqarayat Muhammad” (The Genius of Muhammad), Page 53.
  2. Yahya bin Abdullah al-Bakri, “Athar Mu’amalet ar-Rasoul fi nashr al-Islam” (The effect of the Messenger’s Treatment in spreading Islam)
  3. Issam Ad-Deen Sayid As-Sababt, The Prophet’s Morals and Manners, Page 57.
  4. Yahya bin Abdullah al-Bakri, “Athar Mu’amalet ar-Rasoul fi nashr al-Islam”
  5. Ar-Rawdh al-Anif, Second Part.
    http://sirah.al-islam.com/searchdisp.asp?offset=0&searchtext=لووضعوا+الشمس+في+يميني&searchtype=root&searchlevel=qbe&scope=all&f=rwd2001.htm
  6. Anwar al-Gindy, “Aqbas men al-Sirah al-Atirah” (Lights from the Prophetic Traditions) Page 94-95.
  7. Muhammad Abdou Yamany, “Natharat fi Ghazwat Badr” (Insights in the Battle of Badr)
  8. Anwar al-Gindy, “Aqbas men al-Sirah al-Atirah” (Lights from the Prophetic Traditions) Page 18.
  9. Previous Reference Page 54.
  10. Abbas Mahmoud al-Aqqad, “Abqarayt Muhammad” (The Genius of Muhammad), Page 53.
  11. Muhammad Abed Qinawi, Azaheer Nabawayah, P 217.
  12. Anwar al-Gindy, “Aqbas men al-Sirah al-Atirah” (Lights from the Prophetic Traditions) Page 134-135.
  13. Muhammad Abdul Rahman Abdul Latif, Fi Rehab al-Sirah [13]
  14. Anwar al-Gindy, “Aqbas men al-Sirah al-Atirah” (Lights from the Prophetic Traditions) Page 18.


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