GLIMPSES OF THE HOLY PROPHET
MUHAMMAD (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam)
By Haseen Ahmad Azizul Haq
Biographers (particularly those in the West) are amazed at the success of the Holy Prophet Muhammad's mission and his victorious march as a leader of mankind.
No reformer, no king, no warrior, has ever been able to influence mankind as did Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.). In twenty three years he transformed the savage Arabs into the best organised body of men, although circumstances were heavily against him. That is admitted even by the writer in the Encyclopaedia Britannica.
"At the time of Muhammad's (S.A.W.) birth and youth nothing seemed less likely than that the Arabs should presently make their triumphal entrance into the history of the world as victors over Greeks and Persians."
The facts of Prophet Muhammad's life and his unique conquest over the hearts of his followers are unquestionable. The other conquests over the Greeks and the Persians followed as a consequence of his conquest of hearts.
Such a fascinating, honourable, charming and lovable man deserves to command the respect and obedience of all mankind.
When Hazrat Ayesha (R.A.) was questioned about the Holy Prophet she used to say:
"He was a man just as yourselves; he laughed often and smiled much."
"But how would he occupy himself at home?"
"Even as any of you occupy yourselves. He would mend his clothes, and cobble his shoes. He used to help in my household duties; but what he did oftenest was to sew. If he had the choice between two matters, he would choose the easier one if no sin accrued therefrom. He never took revenge excepting where the honour of God was concerned. When angry with any person, he would say: 'What hath taken such a one that he should soil his forehead in the mud!'"
Prophet Muhammad's creed was free from suspicion and ambiguity, and Qur'aan Majeed is a glorious testimony to the unity of God. Rejecting the worship of idols and men, of stars and planets, on the rational principles that whatever is born must die, that whatever rises must set, Prophet Muhammad's (S.A.W.) rational enthusiasm confessed and adored an infinite and eternal Being without form or place, without issue or similitude, present to our most secret thoughts, existing by the necessity of His own nature and deriving from Himself all intellectual perfection.
His was the hard struggle of the man who is led onwards by a nobler destiny towards the liberation of his race from the bondage of idolatry.
He preached with unswerving purpose amidst frightful persecutions; insulted and outraged, he held on in his path of reproof and reform.
It is a noble feature in the history of the Prophet of Arabia, and one which strongly attests the inspired character of his teachings and the intensity of his faith and trust in God, that those who knew him best, who lived with him and noted all his movements, were his most sincere and devoted followers.
The Holy Prophet hated nothing more than lying; and whenever he knew that any of his followers had erred in this respect, he would hold himself aloof from them until he was assured of their repentance.
He did not speak rapidly, running his words into one another, but enunciated each syllable distinctly, so that what he said was imprinted in the memory of every one who heard him.
He used to walk so rapidly that the people half ran behind him, and could hardly keep up with him.
His Habit in Eating
He never ate reclining, for Gabriel had told him that such was the manner of kings; nor had he ever two men to walk behind him. He used to eat with his thumb and his two forefingers; and when he had done with, he would lick them, beginning with the middle one. When offered by Gabriel the valley of Mecca full of gold, he preferred to forego it; saying that when he was hungry he would come before the Lord lowly, and when full, with praise.
A servant-maid being once long in returning from an errand, the Prophet felt annoyed, and said:
'If it were not for the law of retaliation, I should have punished you with this tooth-pick' (i.e. with an inappreciably light punishment)."
His Custom at Prayer
He used to stand for such a length of time at prayer that his feet would swell. When remonstrated with, he said:
"What! Shall I not behave as a thankful servant should?"
To the great, his affability to the humble and his dignified bearing to the presumptuous, procured him respect, admiration and applause. His talents were equally fitted for persuasion or command. His simple eloquence rendered impressive by the impression of a countenance wherein awfulness of majesty was tempered by an amiable sweetness, exited emotions of veneration and love, and he was gifted with that authoritative air of genius which alike influences the learned and commands the illiterate. As a friend and a parent, he exhibited the softest feelings. With all that simplicity, which is so natural to a great mind, he performed the humbler offices.
was shown by his riding upon asses, by his accepting the invitation even of slaves, and when mounted by his taking another behind him, he would say;
'I sit at meals as a servant doeth, and I eat like a servant for I really am a servant;'
and he would sit as one that was always ready to rise. He discouraged (supererogatory) fasting, and works of mortification.
His Straitened Means at Medina
Hazrat Ayesha (R.A.) tells us that for months together the Prophet did not get a full meal.
"Months used to pass," she says again, "and no fire would be lighted in the Holy Prophet Muhammad's house, either for baking bread or cooking meat."
"How, then, did ye live?"
"By the 'two black things' (dates and water), and by what the citizens used to send unto us; the Lord requite them! Such of them as had milk cattle would send us a little milk. The Prophet never enjoyed the luxury of two kinds of food the same day; if he had flesh there was nothing else; and so if he had dates; so likewise if he had bread".
His Refusal to Make Personal Use of Tithes
While he accepted presents he refused to use anything that had been offered as alms; neither would he allow anyone in his family to use what had been brought as alms,
'For,' said he, 'alms are the impurity of mankind' (i.e. that which cleanses their impurity). His scruples on this point were so strong that he would not eat even a date picked up on the road, lest perchance it might have dropped from a tithe load!'
His Appearance, Habits, etc.
He used to wear two garments. His izaar (undergarment) hung down three or four inches below his knees. His mantle was not wrapped round him so as to cover his body, but he would draw the end of it under his shoulder.
He used to divide his time into three parts: One was given to God, the second allotted to his family, the third to himself. When public business began to press upon him, he gave up one half of the latter portion to the service of others.
When he pointed he did so with his whole hand; and when he was astonished, he turned his hand over (with the palm upwards). In speaking with another, he brought his hand near to the person addressed; and he would strike the palm of the left on the thumb of the right hand. Angry, he would look downwards. He often smiled, and, when he laughed, his teeth used to appear white as hailstones.
In the interval allotted to others, he received all that came to him, listened to their representations, and occupied himself in disposing of their business and in hearing what they had to tell him.
The view taken by Thomas Carlyle of the Prophet of Islam is too original, just and striking.
"The deep hearted, son of the wilderness" writes he, "with his beaming black eyes, and open social deep soul, had other thoughts in him than ambition. A silent great soul he was one of those who cannot but be in earnest, whom nature herself has appointed to be sincere, while others walk in formulas and hearsays, contented enough to dwell therein, this man could not screen himself in formulas; he was alone with his own soul and the reality of things. The great mystery of existence glared in upon him, with its terrors, with its splendour; no hearsays could hide such unspeakable fact, "Here am I!" such sincerity as we named it, has in truth something of divine. The word of such a man is a voice direct from nature's own heart. Men do and must listen to that or to nothing else; all else is wind in comparison." (Carlyle's Works Vol. VI, P. 225).
(Courtesy: Yaqeen International)