The Prophet (saas) practiced only that which was revealed to him
one of the most important characteristics, frequently mentioned with regards to the prophet (saas) in the qur'an, is that he only practiced what allah revealed and asked of him, with no concern about what others might think. important figures and members of other religions at the time wanted him to impose rules that would benefit them. although these people were more numerous and powerful, the prophet (saas) was punctilious about abiding by allah's commandments and the qur'an. allah tells us the following in one verse:
when our clear signs are recited to them, those who do not expect to meet us say, "bring a qur'an other than this one or change it." say: "it is not for me to change it of my own accord. i follow nothing except what is revealed to me. i fear, were i to disobey my lord, the punishment of a dreadful day." say: "had allah so wished, i would not have recited it to you nor would he have made it known to you. i lived among you for many years before it came. will you not use your intellect?" (surah yunus: 15-16)
those are allah's signs which we recite to you with truth. you are indeed one of the messengers.
in a number of verses of the qur'an, allah warned the prophet (saas) about the conduct of his people. for instance:
and we have sent down the book to you [muhammad] with truth, confirming and conserving the previous books. so judge between them by what allah has sent down and do not follow their whims and desires deviating from the truth that has come to you. we have appointed a law and a practice for every one of you. had allah willed, he would have made you a single community, but he wanted to test you regarding what has come to you. so compete with each other in doing good. every one of you will return to allah and he will inform you regarding the things about which you differed. judge between them by what allah has sent down and do not follow their whims and desires. and beware of them lest they lure you away from some of what allah has sent down to you. if they turn their backs, then know that allah wants to afflict them with some of their wrong actions. many of mankind are deviators. (surat al-ma'ida: 48-49)
the prophet (saas) told people repeatedly and determinedly to do nothing but that which allah had revealed to him. one verse concerning this superior morality of the prophet (saas) reads:
say: "i do not say to you that i possess the treasuries of allah, nor do i know the unseen, nor do i say to you that i am an angel. i only follow what has been revealed to me." say: "are the blind the same as those who can see? so will you not reflect?" (surat al-an'am: 50)
alongside that determination and constancy in the way of allah, the prophet (saas) told people about the true religion in the best and most pleasing manner. comparing the prophet (saas) to the great majority of people will be very helpful in understanding his superior qualities. most people, now as in the past, are consumed with desires, longings and passions. although the great majority believe in religion, they are unable to overcome those obsessions. instead of giving up those desires, they make concessions when it comes to their religious obligations. they fail to carry out some of those obligations out of concern, for instance, over what their spouses, relatives or friends might say. or, they are unable to give up habits that are unacceptable to the religion. they therefore interpret religion according to their own interests, accept those rules which suit them, and reject those which do not.
the prophet (saas) never made any concessions to what such people wanted. he conveyed the qur'an to mankind with no alteration to what allah had revealed, taking no one's personal interests into account, and did so simply in the spirit of fear of allah. allah speaks of the prophet (saas)'s godliness (taqwa) in the qur'an:
by the star when it descends, your companion is not misguided or misled; nor does he speak from whim. it is nothing but revelation revealed, taught him by one immensely strong, possessing power and splendour [i.e., gabriel]...(surat an-najm: 1-6)
know that the messenger of allah is among you. if he were to obey you in many things, you would suffer for it.however, allah has given you love of faith and made it pleasing to your hearts, and has made disbelief, deviance and disobedience hateful to you. people such as these are rightly guided. (surat al-hujurat: 7) prophet (saas)'s trust in allah: an example to all people
those situations the prophet (saas) was involved, as they are related in the qur'an, demonstrate his resignation, and submission to allah. for instance, the prophet (saas)'s words when he and his friend were hiding in a cave after leaving mecca are one of the finest examples of that submission. the qur'an says:
if you do not help him, allah 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, allah is with us." then allah 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 allah which is uppermost. allah is almighty, all-wise. (surat at-tawba: 40)
whatever the situation might have been, the prophet (saas) always submitted to allah, in the knowledge that there was beauty and goodness in all that he created. these words of the prophet (saas) to his people as related in the qur'an 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 allah has ordained for us. he is our master. it is in allah that the believers should put their trust." (surat at-tawba: 50-51)
the prophet (saas), by his submission to allah, was an example to all muslims, and he warned that people would never have the power to alter anything that came from allah:
5"… when you ask for anything ask it from allah, and if you seek help in allah. know that if the people were to unite to do you some benefit they could benefit you only with what allah had recorded for you, and that if they were to unite to do you some injury they could injure you only with what allah had recorded for you. the pens are withdrawn and the pages are dry."
6every believer who abides by the sunnah of the prophet (saas) has to face every calamity with the same submission as he, and to have faith that there is beauty and good in everything. we must not forget that the prophet muhammad (saas), one of allah's most god-fearing servants, was also tested with great difficulties and trying circumstances.
there were people ready to create various kinds of difficulty in the communities he addressed. they tried to plot against the prophet (saas) by behaving hypocritically. polytheists refused to abandon the religion of their ancestors, others asked the prophet (saas) to bring them a sign to suit their best interests, they tried to kill, arrest or exile the prophet (saas), and, basically, placed all kinds of difficulties in his path.
the prophet (saas) was always patient with the unbelievers. he continued to communicate the religion of allah and to instruct muslims in the qur'an while he protected them from danger. the source of that determination, success and courage lay his strong faith in allah, his godliness and submission. the prophet (saas) always knew that allah was with him, as when he was in the cave, and that every situation was ordained by allah. he had faith that everything came from allah and would result in the best possible outcome. the following hadith of the prophet (saas) is an example of his submission:
"strange are the ways of a believer for there is good in every affair of his and this is not the case with anyone else except in the case of a believer for if he has an occasion to feel delight he thanks [allah], thus there is a good for him in it, and if he gets into trouble and shown resignation (and endures it patiently), there is a good for him in it."
7the prophet (saas) always did his best, whatever the situation, though knowing that the outcome depended on allah. he relied on and trusted in him. in return for that submission, allah granted him strength and success.
allah instructed the prophet (saas) to be patient in the face of those who made problems for him, and he was faithful to that prescription throughout his life. one verse says:
they have the word, "obedience!" on their tongues but when they leave your presence, a group of them spend the night plotting to do other than what you say. allah is recording their nocturnal plotting. so let them be and put your trust in allah. allah suffices as a guardian. (surat an-nisa': 81)
the words the prophet (saas) was commanded to say in another trying situation also reveal his godliness and submission:
if they argue with you, say, "i have submitted myself completely to allah, and so have all who follow me." say to those given the book and those who have no book, "have you become muslim?" if they become muslim, they have been guided. if they turn away, you are only responsible for transmission. allah sees his servants. (surah al 'imran: 20)
one comment by the prophet (saas) regarding the recompense awaiting those who demonstrate submission is as follows:"if you put your faith completely in allah, he will arrange for your sustenance in the same way as he provides for the birds. they go out in the morning with their stomachs empty and return filled in the evening."
8the prophet (saas)'s words and actions are the best possible models for believers. that is why every believer who finds himself faced with a difficulty of any sort, or a situation he does not like, must think of the verses of the qur'an and the fact that allah creates everything; adopt the submission of the prophet (saas) and accept the destiny chosen for him by allah.