The Perfection of Soul and Nobility
the prophet [pbuh] was noted for superb eloquence and fluency in arabic. he was remarkable in position and rank. he was an accurate, unpretending straightforward speaker. he was well-versed in arabic and quite familiar with the dialects and accents of every tribe. he spoke with his entertainers using their own accents and dialects. he mastered and was quite eloquent at both bedouin and town speech. so he had the strength and eloquence of bedouin language as well as the clarity and the decorated splendid speech of town. above all, there was the assistance of allâh embodied in the revealed verses of the qur’ân.
his stamina, endurance and forgiveness — out of a commanding position — his patience and standing what he detested — these were all talents, attributes and qualities allâh himself had brought him on. even wise men have their flaws, but the messenger of allâh [pbuh], unlike everybody, the more he was hurt or injured, the more clement and patient he became. the more insolence an ignorant anybody exercised against him the more enduring he became.
"the messenger of allâh [pbuh], whenever he is given the opportunity to choose between two affairs, he always chooses the easiest and the most convenient. but if he is certain that it is sinful, he will be as far as he could from it. he has never avenged himself; but when the sanctity of allâh is violated he would. that would be for allâh’s not for himself. he is the last one to get angry and the first to be satisfied. his hospitality and generosity were matchless. his gifts and endowments manifest a man who does not fear poverty." [sahih al-bukhari 1/503]
ibn‘abbas said: "the prophet [pbuh] was the most generous. he is usually most generous of all times in ramadan, the times at which the angel gabriel [aws] comes to see him. gabriel used to visit him every night of ramadan and review the qur’ân with him. verily the messenger of allâh [pbuh] is more generous at giving bounty or charity than the blowing wind."
"the prophet [pbuh] would never deny anything he was asked for."[sahih al-bukhari 1/503]
his courage, his succour and his might are distinguishable. he was the most courageous. he witnessed awkward and difficult times and stoodfast at them. more than once brave men and daring ones fled away leaving him alone; yet he stood with full composure facing the enemy without turning his back. all brave men must have experienced fleeing once or have been driven off the battlefield at a round at a time except the prophet [pbuh]. ‘ali said: "whenever the fight grew fierce and the eyes of fighters went red, we used to resort to the prophet [pbuh] for succour. he was always the closest to the enemy." [as-shifa 1/89]
anas said: "one night the people of madinah felt alarmed. people went out hurriedly towards the source of sound, but the prophet [pbuh] had already gone ahead of them. he was on the horseback of abu talhah which had no saddle over it, and a sword was slung round his neck, and said to them: ‘there was nothing to be afraid for.’" [sahih al-bukhari 1/407; sahih muslim 2/252]
he was the most modest and the first one to cast his eyes down. abu sa‘îd al-khudri said: "he was shier than a virgin in her boudoir. when he hates a thing we read it on his face. [sahih al-bukhari 1/504] he does not stare at anybody’s face. he always casts his eyes down. he looks at the ground more than he looks sky-wards. his utmost looks at people are glances. he is willingly and modestly obeyed by everybody. he would never name a person whom he had heard ill-news about — which he hated. instead he would say: ‘why do certain people do so....’"
al-farazdaq verse of poem fits him very much and the best one to be said of:
"he casts his eyes modestly but the eyes of others are cast down due to his solemnity, and words issue out of his mouth only while he is smiling."
the prophet [pbuh] is the most just, the most decent, the most truthful at speech, and the honestest of all. those who have exchanged speech with him, and even his enemies, acknowledge his noble qualities. even before the prophethood he was nicknamed al-ameen (i.e. the truthful, the truthworthy). even then — in al-jahiliyah — they used to turn to him for judgement and consultation. in a version by at-tirmidhi, he says that ‘ali had said that he had been told by abu jahl that he (abu jahl) said to the messenger of allâh [pbuh]: "we do not call you a liar; but we do not have faith in what you have brought." [mishkat al-masabeeh 2/521] in his book, allâh, the exalted, said about them:
"it is not you that they deny, but it is the verses (the qur’ân) of allâh that the zalimûn (polytheists and wrong-doers) deny." [al-qur'an 6:33]
even when heraclius asked abu sufyan: "have you ever accused him of lying before the ministry of prophethood?" abu sufyan said: "no."
he was most modest and far from being arrogant or proud. he forbade people to stand up at his presence as other people usually do for their kings.
visiting the poor, the needy and entertaining them are some of his habits. if a slave invited him, he would accept the invitation. he always sat among his friends as if he were an ordinary person of them. ‘aishah said that he used to repair his shoes, sew or mend his dress and to do what ordinary men did in their houses. after all, he was a human being like others. he used to check his dress (lest it has some insects on). milking the she-sheep and catering for himself were some of his normal jobs. [ibid 2/520] the prophet [pbuh] was the most truthful to his pledges, and it is one of his qualities to establish good and steady relationship with his relatives — ‘silat-ar-rahim’. he is the most merciful, gentle and amiable to all people. his way of living is the simplest one. ill-manners and indecency are two qualities completely alien to him. he was decent, and did not call anybody names. he was not the sort of person who cursed or made noise in the streets. he did not exchange offences with others. he pushed back an offence or an error by forgiveness and overlooking. nobody was allowed to walk behind him (i.e. as a bodyguard). he did not feel himself superior to others not even to his slaves (men or women) as far as food or clothes were concerned.
whoever served him should be served by him too. ‘ugh’ (an utterance of complaint) is a word that had never been said by him to his servant; nor was his servant blamed for doing a thing or leaving it undone. loving the poor and the needy and entertaining them or participating in their funerals were things the prophet [pbuh] always observed. he never contempted or disgraced a poor man for his poverty. once he was travelling with his companions and when it was time to have food prepared, he asked them to slaughter a she-sheep. a man said: i will slaughter it, another one said: i will skin it out. a third said: i will cook it. so the messenger of allâh [pbuh] said: i will collect wood for fire. they said: "no. we will suffice you that work." "i know that you can do it for me, but i hate to be privileged. allâh hates to see a slave of his privileged to others." so he went and collected fire-wood. [khulasa as-siyar p.22]
let us have some of the description of hind bin abi halah: "the messenger of allâh [pbuh] was continually sad, thinking perpetually. he had no rest (i.e. for long). he only spoke when it was necessary. he would remain silent for a long time and whenever he spoke, he would end his talk with his jawbone but not out of the corners of his mouth, i.e. (snobbishly). his speech was inclusive. he spoke inclusively and decisively. it was not excessive nor was it short of meaning. it was amiable. it was in no way hard discoroning. he glorified the bounty of allâh; even if it were little. if he had no liking for someone’s food, he would neither praise nor criticize.
he was always in full control of his temper and he would never get seemed angry unless it was necessary. he never got angry for himself nor did he avenge himself. it was for allâh’s sanctity and religion that he always seemed angry.
when he pointed at a thing he would do so with his full hand-palm, and he would turn it round to show surprise. if he were angry he would turn both his body and face aside. when he was pleased, he cast his eyes down. his laughter was mostly smiling. it was then that his teeth which were like hail-stones were revealed.
he never spoke unless it was something closely relevant to him. he confirmed the brotherhood relationship among his companions; and thus he made them intimate and did not separate them or implant enmity among them. those who were honourable with their peoples, were honoured and respected by him and were assigned rulers over their own peoples. his cheerfulness was never withdrawn at anyone’s face; even at those whom he warned his people from or those whom he himself was on the alert of. he visited friends and inquired about people’s affairs. he confirmed what was right and criticized the awful and tried to undermine it. he was moderate in all affairs. he was equal to others and was not privileged. he would never act heedlessly, lest the others should get heedless. each situation was dealt with in its proper due.
righteousness was his target; so he was never short of it nor indifferent to it. people who sat next to him were the best of their people and the best of them all were — for him — those who provided common consultations. for him, the greatest ones and the highest in ranks were the best at providing comfort and co-ordination and succour. remembrance (of allâh) was a thing he aimed at and established whenever he sat down or stands up. no certain position was assigned for him to sit on. he sits at the end of the group, seated next to the last sitter in the place. he ordered people to do the same. he entertained his participiants in social gatherings alike so that the one addressed would think that there was no one honoured by the prophet [pbuh] but himself. he whoever sat next to him or interrupted him in order to ask for his advice about an affair of his, would be the first to start the talk and the one to end it. the prophet [pbuh] would listen to him patiently till he ended his speech. he never denied a request to anyone, if unapproachable, then few gratifying words would work, instead.
his magnanimity, broad mindedness his tolerance could embrace all people and entitled him to be regarded as father for them all. in justice, all of them were almost equal. nobody was better than another except on the criterion of allâh fearing. a favoured one, to him, was the most allâh fearing. his assembly was a meeting of clemency, timidness, patience and honesty. voices were not raised in rows or riots. inviolable things were never violable. fearing allâh and worship were their means to sympathy and compassion. they used to esteem the old and have mercy on the young. they assisted the needy and entertained strangers.
the messenger of allâh [pbuh] was always cheerful, easy, pleasant-tempered and lenient. he was never rude or rough nor clamorous or indecent. he was neither a reproacher nor a praiser. he overlooked what he did not desire, yet you would never despair of him. three qualities he disposed of: hypocrisy, excessiveness, and what was none of his concern. people did not fear him in three areas: — for they were not qualities or habits of his —: he never disparaged, or reproached nor did he seek the defects or shortages of others. he only spoke things whose reward was divinely desirable. when he spoke, his listeners would attentively listen casting down their heads. they only spoke when he was silent. they did not have disputes or arguments about who was to talk. he who talked in his presence would be listened to by everybody till he finished his talk. their talk would be about the topic discussed or delivered by their first speaker. the messenger of allâh [pbuh] used to laugh at what they laughed at and admired what they used to admire. he would always show patience with a stranger’s harshness at talk. he used to say:
"when you see a person seeking an object earnestly, assist him to get his need. and never ask for a reward except from the reward-giver, i.e. allâh." [ash-shifa 1/126]
kharijah bin zaid said: "the prophet [pbuh] was the most honoured among the people with whom he sat. his limbs could hardly be seen. he was often silent and rarely talked when speech was not a necessity. he turned away from those whose speech was rude or impolite. his laughter was no more than a smile. his speech, which was decisive, it was neither excessive nor incomplete. out of reverence and esteem and following the example of their prophet [pbuh], the companions’ laughter at his presence — was smiling, as well." [as-shifa 1/107]
on the whole the prophet [pbuh] was ornamented with peerless attributes of perfection. no wonder to be like that for he was brought up, educated and taught (the qur’ân) by allâh. he was even praised by allâh:
"and verily, you (o muhammad [pbuh] ) are on an exalted standard of character." [al-qur'an 68:4]
those were the attributes and qualities that the prophet [pbuh] enjoyed which made the hearts of souls of the people close to him, draw near to him and love him. those traits made him so popular that the restraint and enmity of his people grew less and they started to embrace islam in large crowds.
this description is in fact no more than a rapid review or rather short brief lines of muhammad’s [pbuh] aspects of full perfection. trying to encompass the whole perfect picture of the prophet [pbuh]. no one can ever claim to be possessed of full knowledge or complete mastery of the great attributes of the greatest man in this universe. no one can ever give this man, the top of perfection, his due descrpition. he was a man who always sought allâh’s light, to such an extent that he was wholly imbued with the qur’ânic approach.
o allâh! send your blessings (and the holy words of yours) upon muhammad and the family of muhammad, as you have send blessings upon ibrâhim and the family of ibrâhim. you are worthy of all praise, all glorious.
o allâh! bless muhammad and the family of muhammad as you have already blessed ibrâhim and the family of ibrâhim. you are worthy of all praise, all glorious.