To read the second part of this series, please click here: https://lubnah.me.ke/the-greatness-of-prophet-muhammad-p-b-u-h-pt-2/

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE PROPHET (P.B.U.H)

The characteristics our prophet had should be a guide for all those taking up the da’awah path which is tough and filled with challenges.

1. He had good behaviour:
As stated earlier from the many examples of the prophet’s good behaviour, we get to see how he was able to affect and draw people into Islam.
Allah (S.W) states in surat Imran verse 159:
“So by mercy from Allah, [O Muhammad], you were lenient with them. And if you had been rude [in speech] and harsh in heart, they would have disbanded from about you. So pardon them and ask forgiveness for them and consult them in the matter. And when you have decided, then rely upon Allah . Indeed, Allah loves those who rely [upon Him].”
A very good example of his exemplary manners was that there was an old woman who would always throw trash in the way of the prophet peace be upon him just to irritate him. The old woman would do that every day. Then came a day where the prophet didn’t find any trash on his way. He decided to inquire about the old woman and he was told that she was sick. The prophet went to visit her and offer any assistance needed. The old woman was very ashamed and humbled at the same time by the actions of the prophet and his genuine concern. Seeing his compassion, the old woman became convinced that Islam is the true religion and that Muhammad, aleyhi ssalam, is indeed a prophet.

2. He was honest and truthful always:
Abu Dharr reported: I said, “O Messenger of Allah, will you not appoint me as a leader?” The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, struck my chest with his hand and he said, “O Abu Dharr, you are weak and it is certainly a position of public trust. Verily, on the Day of Resurrection it will only result in regret except for one who fulfills its rights and discharges its duties.”
In another narration, the Prophet said, “O Abu Dharr, I see you are weak and I love for you what I love for myself. Do not command even two people and do not manage the property of an orphan.” [Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 1825]

3. He had patience and forbearance through the worst phases:
‘In the tenth year of prophethood (just after the death of his uncle Abu Talib and his wife Khadijah), the prophet peace be upon him set out on foot towards Taif, about 60 kilometres from Makkah, in the company of his freed slave Zaid ibn Harithah inviting people to Islam. Contrary to his expectations, the general atmosphere was terribly hostile. For ten days he stayed there delivering his message to all of the noble people, one after another, but all to no avail. Stirred up to hasten the departure of the unwelcome visitor, the foolish and their servants hooted him through narrow lanes, pelted him with stones and obliged him to flee from the city pursued by a merciless crowd. Blood flowed down both his legs and Zaid, trying to shield him was wounded in the head. The crowd did not cease until they had chased him two or three miles across the sandy plains to the foot of the surrounding hills. There, tired and exhausted, he took refuge in one of the numerous fruit farms and rested against the wall of a vineyard. He was tired and wounded but confident of the help of his Lord and said this dua:

“Oh Allah! To You alone I complain of my weakness, my insufficient ability and my insignificance before the people. You are the most Merciful of the Mercifuls. You are the Lord of the helpless and the weak. O Lord of mine! Into whose hands would you abandon me: into the hands of an unsympathetic distant relative who would angrily frown at me, or to the enemy who has been given control over my affairs? But if Your Wrath does not fall on me, there is nothing for me to worry about. Your pardon is ample enough for me. I seek protection in the light of Your face, which illuminates the darkness, fixing the affairs in this world as well as in the hereafter. May it never be that I should incur Your wrath, or that You should be wrathful to me. And there is no power nor resource, but Yours alone.” [The Sealed Nectar, page 162-163]

Urwah bin Az’zubair that Aishah narrated to him that she asked the prophet: ‘Have you experienced a worse day than Uhud?’ He answered: ‘Your tribes have troubled me a lot and the worst trouble was the trouble on the day of ‘Aqabah when I presented myself to Ibn ‘Abd Yalil bin ‘Abd Kulal and he did not respond to my demand. So I departed, overwhelmed with excessive sorrow and proceeded on and could not relax till I found myself at Qarn Ath-Tha’alib, where I lifted my head toward the sky to see a cloud shading me unexpectedly. I looked up and saw Gabriel in it. He called me saying, ‘Allah has heard what your people said to you, and their reply to you. Allah has sent the angel of the mountains to you so that you may order him to do whatever you wish to these people.’ The angel of the mountains called upon me and greeted me, and then said, ‘O Muhammad! Order what you wish, if you like, I will let Al-Akhshabain fall on them.’
The prophet (S.A.W) said, ‘No, I hope that Allah will let them beget children who will worship Allah alone and will worship none besides Him.’ [Sahih Bukhari 1/458, sahih Muslim 2/109]

The Prophet decided to spend a few days in Nakhlah (a place situated between Makkah and Ta’if). His idea was to send someone from there to one of the chiefs of Quraysh so that he might procure ‘security’ for him and then he might enter his birth-place under the protection of some such person.

However, he could not find at Nakhlah anyone who might go to Makkah on his behalf. Later he left Nakhlah for Mount Hira. There he met a Khaza’i Arab and asked him to go to Makkah and speak to Mut’am bin Adi, who was one of the towering personalities of Makkah, for his (i.e. the Prophet’s) ‘security’.
The man went to Makkah and conveyed the message of the Prophet to Mut’am. Although Mut’am was an idol-worshipper he accepted the request of the Prophet and said: “Muhammad should come straight to my house. My sons and I shall protect his life”.

The Prophet entered Makkah at night and went direct to the house of Mut’am and spent the night there. Soon afterwards the Prophet left Makkah for Madina and the beginning of the year of ‘migration’ Mut’am passed away in Makkah. The news of his death reached Madina and the Prophet remembered him for his goodness. After the Battle of Badr, Quraysh were returning to Makkah after having sustained great loss and leaving behind a number of persons, who were captured by the Muslims, the Prophet remembered Mut’am and said: “If Mut’am had been alive and had asked me to release all the captives or to gift them to him, I would not have rejected his request”. [www.al-islam.org, Chapter 23: Journey to Ta`if]

Muhammad, aleyhi ssalam was not only patient but also encouraged and insisted for his companions to do the same.
“Khabbab bin Al-Aratt reported: We complained to the Messenger of Allah regarding the persecution inflicted upon us by the disbelievers while he was lying in the shade of the Ka’bah, having made a pillow of his cloak. We submitted: “Why do you not supplicate for our prevalence (over the opponents)?”. He replied, “Among those people before you, a man would be seized and held in a pit dug for him in the ground and he would be sawed into two halves from his head, and his flesh torn away from his bones with an iron comb; but, in spite of this, he would not wean away from his Faith. By Allah, Allah will bring this matter to its consummation until a rider will travel from San’a’ to Hadramout fearing none except Allah, and except the wolf for his sheep, but you are in too much of a hurry”. [Al-Bukhari].

The Prophet made Duas (supplications) for his people on a regular basis: “O God! Guide my people, for they know not,” he would pray, as he and his followers were tortured, humiliated, scorned and mocked.

4. He was forgiving:
As from the narration in the previous point about his trip to Taif, the prophet had an opportunity to let the people there to perish yet what he did is pray that their children are guided into Islam. This was despite the very bad treatment they gave him and how they injured both him and zaid ibn Harith.
Another instance where he showed his forgiving nature is during the conquest of Makkah where the Muslims were victorious in gaining control of the holy land. The prophet peace be upon him addressed the quraish and said,
‘O you people of Quraish! What do you think of the treatment that I am about to accord to you?’
They replied: ‘O noble brother and son of noble brother! We expect nothing but goodness from you.’
Upon this he said: ‘I speak to you in the same words as Yusuf (the prophet Joseph) spoke unto his brothers. He said: ‘No reproach on you this day,’ [12:92] go your way, for you are freed ones.’ [The Sealed Nectar, page 466-467]

 Qa’b bin Zuhair bin Abi Sulma was a famous poet in Central Arabia during the early years of prophethood. When the prophet peace be upon him conquered Makkah, his brother Bujair reverted to Islam and stayed with the prophet in Madina. Qa’b was disturbed by the news of his brother’s conversion and started composing satirical poems about his brother being a Muslim, insulting the prophet and Islam in general. For this reason, it was ordered that he should be killed wherever and whenever he was found. It should be noted that during that period, poetry was used as a propaganda tool and several poets were slain for insulting the prophet and Islam.
Bujair thereafter wrote a letter to his brother informing him about his impending death if he did not seek peace from the prophet peace be upon him who would never reject anyone’s forgiveness or flee right away.

Terrified by his brother’s letter and with his own tribe members repeating that he will be killed, Qa’b decided it was best to seek peace and protection from the prophet aleyhi ssalam. He therefore went to Madina and found the prophet. He sat face to face with the Prophet, put his hand on top of the Prophet’s hand. The Prophet nor the companions, did not know him in person.

“O Allah’s Apostle, Q’ab bin Zuhair will repent, become a Muslim and he will come to you to ask for your forgiveness and protection. Would you accept to see him, if I bring him to you?”’ The Prophet said, ‘Yes’ then Q’ab added: ‘O Allah’s Apostle, I am Q’ab bin Zuhair.’

A companion of the Prophet from among Ansar (Helpers) grabbed Q’ab and said ‘Allow me, O Allah’s Apostle, allow me and I will severe the head of this enemy of Allah from his body.’ Allah’s Apostle told him: ‘Let him go. For he has come here with repentance and he has rid himself of denial.’

Q’ab, who was rejoiced at being granted the forgiveness of Allah’s Apostle, began to recite his qasidah by the name of Banat Suad (Suad went away, Suad is gone). The poem is one of the most famous poems in Islamic history. The poem itself started with a description of a woman, Suad who had left, a love story as any classic Arabic poem. It is during the quarter last bit of the poem is when Qa’b describes the prophet so magnificently. When he finished his recitation of the qasidah with excitement and a shaky voice, the Prophet stood up with a pleased face and he placed his cloak (burda) on Qa’b back to show appreciation. The poem was thus nicknamed ‘the burda’

(You can find Qa’ab’s full conversion story at ‘newmuslimtube.com’: Seerah of Prophet Muhammad 84 – Conversion of Ka’b ibn Zuhayr ~ Dr. Yasir Qadhi)

Here is part of the poem talking about the prophet aleyhi ssalam:
They say God’s messenger threatens me.
Before the messenger of God
one hopes for pardon.
Go easy,
guided by the one
who gave you the Qur’an
and spelled out its warnings.
Don’t take me at the word
of the lie-smiths.
Though talk of me spreads,
I did no wrong.
If an elephant
stood in my place
and heard
what I hear
It would shake in terror
and stay shaking
until it received the messenger’s grace,
God willing.
{I cut through the empty regions,
my armor the darkness
when the cloak of night
had fallen,}
To put my hand,
not to withdraw it,
in the hand of the vengeful,
whose word is law.
That one was more terrible
when I addressed him
and was questioned
and my lineage examined,
Than a prey-snatcher,
mawler of the lion’s lair,
his den in the belly of cAtham,
ringed with thickets,
That sets out at dawn
to feed twin cubs
with human flesh thrown in the dust,
dismembered.
When he confronts his equal,
he cannot,
by sacred law,
leave him unbroken.
In fear of him the wild ass
starves to the bone,
shunning forage.
Men do not cross his wadi,
Except for the brave and bold one there,
the shreds of his garments
and his weapons about him,
carrion for beasts of prey.
The messenger is a sword
lighting the way,
forged in India,
a sword of God, unsheathed. (The most famous line of the poem)
Among a band of Quraysh
someone spoke,
in the belly of Mecca
when they gave themselves-away!
They left, and left behind
arrows with broken heads,
the weak in battle,
the leaners, the unarmed.
Eagle-nosed vanquishers
clothed in Davidian weave,
through the dust of war
their chain-mail
Brilliant, streaming
in double arrays of coils
like the branches of the shrivel-vetch,
coil on doubled, twisted coil.
They side like white camels
protected by a hard blow
when the enemy, stunted, dark-faced,
run away.
They don’t parade their satisfaction
when their spears strike home,
nor do they cut and run
when they take the blow.
Spear thrusts land
at their throats.
At the pool of death
they have no plans to flee.

[Source: Banat Su ‘ ad: Translation and Interpretive Introduction. Michael Anthony Sells. Haverford College. 1990]

5. He was wise, mindful and compassionate:
Abu Umamah reported: A young man came to the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and he said, “O Messenger of Allah, give me permission to commit adultery.” The people turned to rebuke him, saying, “Quiet! Quiet!” The Prophet said, “Come here.” The young man came close and he told him to sit down. The Prophet said, “Would you like that for your mother?” The man said, “No, by Allah, may I be sacrificed for you. People would not like it for their mothers.” The Prophet said, “Would you like that for your daughter?” The man said, “No, by Allah, may I be sacrificed for you. People would not like it for their daughters.” The Prophet said, “Would you like that for your sister?” The man said, “No, by Allah, may I be sacrificed for you. People would not like it for their sisters.” The Prophet said, “Would you like that for your aunts?” The man said, “No, by Allah, may I be sacrificed for you. People would not like it for their aunts.” The Prophet placed his hand on him and he said, “O Allah, forgive his sins, purify his heart, and guard his chastity.” After that, the young man never again turned to anything sinful.
In another narration, the Prophet said to him, “Then hate what Allah has hated, and love for your brother what you love for yourself.” [Musnad Aḥmad 21708]

6. He was very humble
The prophet peace be upon him was so humble such that when any visitor would come upon him and the sahaba, they wouldn’t know who is the prophet until they ask, ‘Who amongst you is Muhammad?’ This is because lived a very simple life and mingled and ate with all his companions without regarding himself better or of a higher status than them.
During the building of the prophetic mosque in Madina, the prophet peace be upon him, contributed to building the mosque by carrying adobe bricks and stones together with the Muhajirun and Ansar. Through his actions that day, he taught his people enduring lessons on equality, companionship, and respect.

In another narration, the prophet peace be upon him said, “I eat as a slave eats, and I sit as a slave sits. Since indeed I am a slave. [Sahih: Related by Ibn Sa’ad in At-Tabaqat (1/371) and Shaykh Al-Albani authenticated it in Sahih al-Jami’ (no. 8).]

Again, he said, “Do not over praise me as the Christians over-praised ‘Isa son of Maryam. Indeed, I am only a slave. So call me the Slave of Allah and His Messenger. [Related by Al-Bukhari (6/345]

7. He was informed
The prophet peace be upon him, despite his inability to read and write and with even less experience of traveling around the world, he was informed and knew what was happening around him. It is for this that during the fifth year of prophethood and after a lot of suffering and torture, the prophet advised the sahabas to migrate to Abyssinia (Ethiopia).

‘The prophet peace be upon him knew that Ashamah, who held the title of Negus, king of Abyssinia was a fair ruler who would not wrong any of his subordinates. So he permitted some of his followers to seek asylum there in Abyssinia. In Rajab of the fifth year of prophethood, a group of twelve men and four women left for Abyssinia. Among the emigrants were ‘uthman bin Affan and his wife Ruqayya bint Rasulillah (peace be upon them)

To be continued…

P.S I am not a scholar and this is my little effort in spreading the knowledge therefore in case of any mistake/correction/addition needed in this article about the prophet (p.b.u.h) and his life, kindly email me at: info@lubnah.me.ke.

***

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A freelance writer, journalist, poet and blogger venturing mainly in social and community issues, study and analysis of behaviour and life, and the plight of the under-dogs in the society. 'I feed on human stories.'

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