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The Prophet’s Character

The Prophet’s Character

By: Abu Aaliyah (Surkheel Sharif)

This is a short piece translated from Ibn Qudamah's Mukhtasar Minhaj al-Qasidin. It distills a picture the Qurʾān and ahadeeth build up of the Prophet's virtues and character, peace be upon him: integrity, honesty, steadfastness, courage, kindness, compassion, courtesy, and other qualities too numerous to list. To say the Prophet's is a life well documented is an understatement. There is hardly an aspect of his life which did not come under the scrutiny of his close companions, who left for posterity all that they saw him do or hear him say. The reason: to know what the Prophet, peace be upon him, did, is to know what we all should do. The Qur'an describes him as a beautiful example:

Surah Al-Ahzab; 21

 

There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allāh an excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allāh and the Last Day and [who] remembers Allāh often. [Surah Al-Ahzab: 21]

So the Prophet's sunnah, Qur'an aside, is the very notion of Islam itself – emulation of which becomes the life work of a believer in his or her journey to God and the Afterlife.

'God's Messenger, peace be upon him, was the mildest of people and also the warmest and most generous of them. He would mend his own sandals, patch his own clothes and help his family with the daily errands. He was very shy; shyer than a virgin in her chamber.

He would respond to the invitation of slaves, visit the sick, walk alone [without guards or fanfare], allow others to saddle-up with him on his mount, accept gifts, eat food that was sent as a gift; though he never consumed anything that had been given as charity. He did not have enough dates with which to be sated, nor was he sated with barley-bread for more than three consecutive days. He would eat whatever food was readily available and he never criticised food. He never ate reclining, and ate from what was nearest to him.

He loved perfumes and disliked foul odours. He honoured people of virtue, and kept affectionate ties with nobles and dignitaries. He never snubbed anyone and would accept the excuse of those who presented excuses.

He would joke, but never would he utter anything untrue. He laughed, but not loudly. He would not let any time pass without being in the service of God, exalted is He, or being engaged in whatever was essential for his own self-development.

He never cursed women, nor abused servants. Nor did he strike anyone, except for in jihad in God's cause. He did not exact revenge for his own sake, but did so when God's limits had been transgressed. If he was presented with two options he took the easier of the two, unless it entailed disobedience or the severing of ties – in which case he would be the furthest away from it.

Anas remarked: “I served him for ten years and he never once rebuked me in the least; nor did he say about anything I had done, 'Why did you do it?' or anything I had not done, 'Why did you not do it?'”

His description in the Torah is: “Muḥammad, the Messenger of God and My Chosen Servant. He is neither harsh nor severe. He does not shout in the market places, nor repay evil with evil, but instead he pardons and forgives” …

He would sit in an assembly wherever it was convenient and would mingle among his Companions as one of them, such that when strangers came they couldn't distinguish him from others, save after inquiring as to who he was. He would take to long periods of silence, but when he did speak he did so measuredly and clearly, repeating himself so that he would be understood. He used to pardon, even when he was in a position to punish, and he would not confront anyone with what they did not like.

He was the most truthful of men, one who most fulfilled his trusts and commitments; the easiest going of people, the most affable, and the most generous in friendship. Whoever gazed upon him unexpectedly, was awe-stricken by him; whoever knew him, loved him. His Companions, whenever they spoke about worldly affairs, he would join in with them; and when, in recollecting their pre-Islamic days, they would laughed, he would simply smile. He was also the bravest of men. One Companion recalled: When the fighting became intense, we would seek shelter behind God's Messenger, peace be upon him.'1

 

1. Mukhtasar Minhaj al-Qasidin (Damascus: Maktabah Dar al-Bayan, 1999), 157-8.

This article was originally posted here.

allah muhammad quran

About Abu Aaliyah

Abu Aaliyah is the founder of The Jawziyyah Institute, a leading institute for Islamic moderation and contemporary thought in the United Kingdom. Sidi Abu Aaliyah has been in involved in Dawah and Islamic teachings for the last 14 years. He has translated a number of books from the Arabic language into English such as "The Exquisite Pearls". Abu Aaliyah's written works and audio lectures can be found online.

8 comments

  1. Great article… makes me feel so good!

    Jazakallahu khairan Abu Aaliyah.

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  2. Jazakallahu khairan for the reminder of his exceptional character (peace be upon him) for such reminders benefit the believers.May Allaah grant us the ability to emulate him to the best of our ability. Ameen.

    Unfortunately many Muslims go into extremes when it comes to the Prophet. A group of Muslims do not respect and honour the Prophet sufficiently nor do they consider following his Sunnah as an important part of our deen. They dismiss what he (peace be upon him) suggests or commands by saying ‘Its just Sunnah’ whereas the sahaba strived to follow any such commands because it was Sunnah!

    The other extreme group of Muslims venerate him (peace be upon him) to the point they commit shirk by calling upon him and asking him for things he has no power or authority to grant nor can he hear their dua! They also claim he is alive and other false claims.

    May Allaah Subhana wa ta’ala enable us to give him the respect he (peace be upon him) deserves and follow the middle path. Ameen

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  3. By the way [54:23] reference of the Qur’an is probably not the one the author intended. Which ayah was being referred to?

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  4. jazakallah a very good article.

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  5. Great article… makes me feel so good!
    Every human being should be follow The Prophet’s Character

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