THE TESTIMONIES OF CONTEMPORARIES
Who Saw The Prophet's Private and Public
By Dr. M. H. Durrani
The Holy Prophet had the most excellent pattern of conduct which the world has ever seen. He showed character in all its phases like a jewel of many facets. If he had not led armies, he could not have served as a model for a general leading armies into battle. If he had not fought personally, he could not have been an ideal for a soldier laying down his life in the cause of truth, justice and freedom. If he had not made laws for the guidance of his followers, he could not have been regarded as an outstanding example to a legislator. If he had not decided cases, he could not have served as a light to judges and magistrates. If he had not married, he would have left men unguided in practically half of their everyday duties and could not have shown how to be a kind and affectionate husband and a loving father. If he had not punished the tyrants for the wrongs inflicted on innocent persons; if he had not overcome the persecution of his enemies and forgiven them; if he had not overlooked the faults of those attached to him, he could not have been an excellent pattern and a perfect model, as he is pronounced here. Indeed it is the distinguishing characteristic of his life that he not only gave practical rules of guidance in all walks of life, but gave by his life a practical illustration of all those rules. Thus no less an authority than God himself testified to his character.
TESTIMONY OF GOD
"And thou standest on an exalted standard of character." (68:4)
"You have indeed in the Messengers of God a beautiful pattern of (conduct) for anyone whose hope is in God and the Final Day. And who engages much in the remembrance of God." (33: 21).
Thus the highest testimony to the purity of the Prophet's moral character was given by God in the Qur'aan. Those who believe in the Qur'aan must have firm faith in the Divine testimony. As regards the unbelievers, they have fortunately got the best authentic historical proofs, the testimonies of contemporaries who saw him daily in his private and public life.
TESTIMONY OF MECCANS
When the Prophet had hardly crossed his teens, he founded the "Hilful Fadhool" the first recorded society for social and humanitarian service - a nucleus to serve the travellers, the neglected and the deprived ones. And soon his reputation as a truthful, sincere and trustworthy man began to spread far and wide; and all, without exception, friends and foes alike, used to call him "Al Amin", the Trusted One. Trusted indeed he was, for even though, later on, when the infidels were not yet ready to accept his message of God, they were still prepared to entrust their valuables with this Trusted One for safe custody. We see that even after 13 years of his preachings as a Prophet, the very infidels and his erstwhile enemies were still showing the same confidence in him as a man even though they were not prepared to accept him as a Prophet. Hence while migrating to Madina, the Prophet had numerous articles of trust with him, which he had to arrange for proper return to the owners in his absence. It is indeed one's character which shows the man. In this respect the Prophet set new standards before us, to judge man.
The second testimony of the ideal conduct of the Prophet is the unanimous acceptance of the Prophet as the best man to place the Black Stone in its appropriate place in the Ka'aba during the latter's reconstruction. When the quarrel over the placing of the Black Stone ensued between the rival contending parties and was about to conflagrate the whole of Arabia, the Prophet was chosen as the best man for this honourable task.
These two testimonies from the people are ample proof of showing him as the man. The Prophet set before us a good standard to judge man. When he was commissioned as a Prophet in the 40th year of his life, his character and conduct were open to constant discussion in the Public.
TESTIMONY OF ENEMY
Before embracing Islam, Abu Sufiyan who was the bitterest enemy, unequivocally testified thus to the sublime character of the Prophet before Heraclius, the Roman Emperor:
"He never told a lie, nor broke a promise, he enjoins upon us prayer, to pay Zakaat, to respect blood-ties and to abstain from fornication."
He also confessed that the Prophet maintained a patriarchal purity of character and conduct. What high testimony is necessary when highest tribute was paid by his bitter enemy before mighty emperor of that time.
TESTIMONY OF THE COMPANIONS
Take now the testimonies of his companions. They show that they had the highest admiration for his character and conduct. Had he been morally bankrupt, he would have been forsaken by his contemporaries. The very fact that he was accepted a true Prophet shows his pious life.
Jafar-Bin-Abi-Talib who had to migrate to Abyssinia as a result of severe persecutions by the Quraish, King Negus of Abyssinia asked him about the conduct of the Prophet in the presence of his enemies who demanded from King Negus the surrender of Jafar and his comrades. Jafar addressed the King thus:
"O King!" We were an ignorant people given to idolatory. We used to eat even carcasses of dead animals and do all kinds of disgraceful things. We did not fulfill our obligations and ill-treated our neighbours. The strong among us thrived at the expense of the weak till, at last, God raised a Prophet for our reformation. His descent, his righteousness, his integrity and his piety are well known to us all. He called us the worship of one God, and exhorted us to give up idolatry. He enjoined us to speak the truth, to make good our trusts, to respect ties of kinship and to do good to our neighbours. He taught us to shun everything foul and to avoid bloodshed. He forbade all manners of indecent things, telling lies, misappropriating belongings of orphans and bringing false accusation against the chastity of women. So we believed in him and acted upon his teachings."
Is any further proof of Prophet's sublime character necessary?
Ali Bin Abi Talib said that the Prophet was the most generous of men in generosity, the most truthful of men in tongue, the most affable in deportment, the most honourable of them in lineage. Whosoever saw him all of a sudden was full of reverence, whosoever associated with him loved him. One who described him said: I saw nobody like him after him.
TESTIMONY OF HIS ATTENDANT
Take now the testimony of his character from his domestic servant. Anas served the Prophet for ten long years. He said:
" I have served the Prophet for ten years, but he did neither say 'uff' (expression of dislike or disgust) to me nor 'why have you done this' or 'why have you not done that?"
When the servant said that the Prophet was the best man in conduct; who is there now to doubt the purity of his character?
The freed slave Zaid could not be separated from the Prophet even by his father. His uncle Abu Talib had the highest regard for him owing to his integrity of character and charming conduct. When the Quraish asked Abu Talib to give up Muhammad (Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam), he replied:
"Woe unto you! No tribe has ever deserted its chief - a chief who carefully guards everything worth guarding. He is not overbearing, nor is he so weak as to entrust his affairs to others. He is generous of heart and through his intercession rain falls. He shelters the orphans and widows."
TESTIMONY OF HIS WIVES
The testimony of an aged lady to the character of a young husband, and a young wife to the character of an old husband are the most significant.
When the Prophet was 25 years of age, Khadijah was 40 and widowed twice. She was rich and the proposal of marriage came from her. Why did she proposed to marry him? Because of his good reputation and pious life. One may ponder and ask why did he marry one who was 15 years senior to him. Was it for sexual enjoyment by a young man of 25 years coming from the most respectable parentage of Arabia? Could he not get a young virgin if he had really the desire to enjoy? No, he liked to conjoin his purity with the ideal character among women of his time who would help him, console him in distress and encourage him in his mission. Such was Khadijah, well known by the title of Tahera, meaning one possessing a pure character. Khadijah was 15 years older than the Prophet. There were possibilities of relation with other women who were more beautiful and youthful than she was. Did Khadijah suspect his faith or could his enemies accuse him of any shameful act? No, Khadijah greatly admired the exemplary chaste life he lived. Even after he was married, the Prophet used to spend his time mostly in worshipping and meditating in the Cave Hira, which he continued to do until he received the Divine Message at the age of forty. One day the Prophet came home from the Cave with troubled mind. She comforted him with these words:
"Fear not, my noble one, but rejoice. God will not forsake you in this affair nor expose you to shame. For you are good, kind and truthful. You are hospitable to the stranger, help and comfort the poor and support the virtuous in righteous deeds."
Thus her testimony about her husband is most valuable, as the wife has access to husband's heart. Khadijah accepted the truth of his words and the message he proclaimed she became the first follower of Muhammad (S.A.W.). Can a strong sexual man live so faithfully with a woman of her age till her death? The Holy Prophet did not even think of a second wife while she was alive. When she died he was fifty years old. The relationship between the Prophet and Khadijah was the most affectionate and cordial, and there was never a ruffle in the serene atmosphere of mutual love, affection and sympathy. None among the early historians could ever accuse him of anything of the sort leading towards an act which may resemble immodesty. In spite of this, in the opinion of his enemies, he became a lustful man because he married many times after the death of Khadijah, while he was occupied with tremendous task which no one had encountered before in history. He was faced with all kinds of humiliation, but he bore it with patience and never surrendered to his enemies nor appealed to God for their punishment.
TESTIMONY OF AISHA
There is no evidence of the Prophet having been content with one wife, till he was above fifty, turning suddenly to lust and passion in his advanced years. He was the man who proclaimed adultery as a capital sin. Alas! European writers condone adultery but condemn marriage! Muhammad (S.A.W.) led an exemplary life and was always legally married.
After the death of Khadijah, the Prophet (S.A.W.) married Sauda, and sometime after Hazrat Aisha, daughter of his devoted companion Abu Bakr. Why did he think of such marriage in his advanced years? Was it for sexual luxury? The answer is an emphatic "No". Sauda was than an old widow of 70 years, and Hazrat Aisha only a tender girl. Even after the marriage Aisha was not sent to the Prophet's household for three years. Were these marriages for sexual gratification? Why did he marry an old lady or a tender girl who could not be sent to the prophet's house for three years?
Because Sauda was one of the early converts to Islam with her husband Safwan Bin Amr, who was persecuted and died in the midst of the enemies of Islam. Naturally she sought shelter with the Prophet for whose mission her husband gave his life. The circumstances compelled the Prophet to take this old lady in marriage, because he did not want a woman to stay in his house without marriage. From the psychological point of view, this is not the practice of a man who is passionately fond of women to marry an old lady or to wait three years for satisfying his physical desires, rather than wed girls of suitable age. Such is not the trend of a passionate person. A lustful and passionate man tries to satisfy his animal longing as soon as he feels this troublesome urge in his spirit, not to wait patiently until the opportunity would arise several years later.
(Courtesy: Yaqeen International)