Muhammad Ibn Abdullah, The Prophet of Islam (2)

Muhammad Ibn Abdullah, The Prophet of Islam (2)


He devoted a part of every night, sometimes half of it and sometimes one third or two thirds of it, to worship and adoration. Though his whole day was preoccupied, especially during his stay at Madina, he never curtailed the time of his worship. He found complete satisfaction in his worship and communication with his Lord. His worship was an expression of love and gratitude and was not motivated by a desire of securing paradise or by a fear of Hell. One day one of his wives asked him why after all he was so devoted to his worship? His reply was: "Should I not be thankful to my Lord?"

He fasted very often. In addition of fasting during the whole month of Ramazan and a part of the month of Sha'ban, he kept fast every other day. He always passed the last 10 days of the month of Ramazan in seclusion in the mosque, where he devoted his whole time to worship. Nevertheless, he told others that it was enough to observe fast for three days every month. He used to say that each one should carry out the acts of worship according to one's capacity and should not exert oneself more than one can bear, for such an exertion has an adverse effect. He was against monastic life, escape from worldly involvement and renunciation of family life. Some of his companions had expressed an intention to lead a monastic life, but he censured and reproved them. He used to say: "Your body, your wife, your children and your friends all have a claim on you and you must fulfil your obligations".

He prolonged his acts of worship while performing them singly, and sometimes was busy with his pre-dawn prayers for hours. But he tried to shorten his prayers while in congregation. In this respect he considered it essential to have a regard for the aged and weakest among his followers, and counseled others also to his follow his example.

Austerity and Simple Living: 

Simple living was one of the principles of his life. He took simple food; wore simple clothes and travelled in a simple manner. He slept mostly on a mat, set on bare ground and milked his goat with his own hands. He mounted saddle-less animals and did not like anybody to walk by his side while he was riding. His staple food mostly comprised barley bread and dates. He mended his shoes and patched his clothes with his own hands. Though he led a simple life, he did not advocate the philosophy of asceticism, and believed that it was necessary to spend money for the good of society and other lawful purposes. He used to say: "What a nice thing wealth is, if obtained through legal means by a man who knows how to spend it".

He also said: "Wealth is a good aid to piety".

Resolution and Perseverance: 

He had a wonderful willpower which permeated among his companions also. The total period of his Prophethood was entirely a lesson in resolution and perseverance. In his lifetime several times the conditions so developed that no hope was apparently left, but he never allowed the idea of failure to enter his mind, nor was his conviction of his final success ever shaken for a moment.

Leadership, Administration and Consultation: 

Though his companions carried out every order of his without any hesitation and repeatedly said that they had an unflinching faith in him and were willing even to plunge themselves into a river or a fire if he ordered them to do so, he never adopted any dictatorial methods. In regard to the matters about which he had received no specific instructions from Allah, he consulted his companions and respected their views, and thus helped them develop their personality. On the occasion of the Battle of Badr he left the questions of taking military action against the enemy, choosing the camping ground, and as to how the prisoners of war should be dealt with, to the advice of his companions. On the occasion of Uhud he made consultation as to whether the Muslim troops should fight from within the city of Madina or should go out of the city. He consulted his companions on the occasion of the Battles of Ahzab and Tabuk also.

The kindness and tolerance of the Holy Prophet, his anxiety to seek the forgiveness of the sins of his community, his giving importance to his companions and his consultations with them were the main factors which contributed to the wonderful and great influence that he exercised over his companions.

The Holy Qur'an points out this fact when it says: 

"It is by the mercy of Allah that you (the Prophet) were lenient to them, for if you had been harsh and hard-hearted, they surely would have left your company. Therefore pardon them and implore Allah to forgive them. And hold consultations with them in regard to the conduct of affairs. Once you are resolved, put your trust in Allah. Allah likes those who put their trust in Him" (Surah Ale Imran, 3:159)

Regularity and Orderliness: 

All his actions were governed by regularity and orderliness. He worked according to a well drawn time-table, and urged others also to do likewise. His companions under his influence were fully disciplined. Even when he considered it necessary not to disclose certain decisions lest the enemy should get an inkling of them, his companions carried out his orders without any argument. For example, once he said that they would move the next day. Next day all those who were ordered proceeded with him without knowing the final destination of which they came to know only in the last moments. Sometimes he ordered some people to move in certain direction, gave a letter to their commander and said that he should open it on reaching such and such point and act according to the instructions given in it. They acted accordingly. Before reaching that particular point they did not know what was their destination and for what purpose they were going. In this way he kept the enemy and his spies in the dark and often took them unawares.

Capacity to Listen to Criticism and Dislike of Flattery and Undue Compliments: 

Sometimes he had to face the criticism of his companions, but without being harsh to them, he explained his decision and gained their agreement and concurrence. He absolutely disliked flattery and undue compliments. He used to say: "Throw dust on the face of the flatterers". He liked solid work. He was in the habit of doing things correctly and firmly. When Sa'd ibn Mu'az died and was laid in his grave, the Holy Prophet with his own hands placed the bricks and stones in their right place on the grave and made them firm. He said: "I know that before long all this will be mined, but I like things to be done correctly and efficiently".

Fight Against Weak Points: 

He did not exploit the weak points and the ignorance of his people. On the other hand he tried to rectify their weaknesses and acquainted them with what they did not know. The day his 17 months old son expired, by chance the sun was eclipsed. People said that the solar eclipse was due to the calamity suffered by the Holy Prophet. He did not keep quiet in the face of this silly notion, but ascended the pulpit and said: "Men! the moon and the sun are the two signs of Allah. They are not eclipsed on account of the death of anybody".

Possession of the Necessary Qualities of Leadership: 

He had the maximum qualities of leadership such as the sense of knowing men, firmness, determination, boldness, having no fear of the possible consequences of a necessary action, foresight, capacity of bearing criticism, recognition of the ability of others, delegation of powers to others in accordance with their ability, flexibility in his personal matters, rigidity in regard to the matters of principle, giving importance to others, promotion of their intellectual, emotional and practical talents, refraining from despotism, not demanding blind obedience, modesty and humility, simplicity and contentment, dignity and elevation of manners and great interest in organizing human resources. He used to say: "If three persons of you travel together, choose one of you as your leader and commander".

At Madina he organized a special secretariat, and appointed a group of persons for performing specific job. There were scribes of revelation who wrote the Holy Quran. Some people were entrusted with the job of drafting and writing special letters. Some recorded the deeds of legal transactions. Some others were made responsible to keep financial records. Still some others were responsible for drafting agreements and treaties. All these details are recorded in the books of history such as Tarikh by Ibn Wazih, al-Ya'qubi, at-Tanbih wal Ishraf by Mas'udi, Mu'jam al-Buldan by al-Bilazari and at-Tabaqat by Ibn Sa'd.

Method of Preaching: 

In preaching Islam his method was gentle and mild, not harsh and severe. He mostly relied on arousing hope and avoided threatening and frightening. To one of his companions, whom he sent for preaching Islam, he said: "Be pleasant and do not be harsh. Tell the people what may please them and do not make them disgusted".

He took active interest in the propagation of Islam. Once he went to Taif for this purpose. During the Hajj season he used to call upon various tribes and convey the message of Islam to them. Once he sent Imam Ali and on another occasion Mu'az bin Jabal to Yemen for preaching. Before going to Madina himself he sent there Mus'ab bin Umayr to preach Islam. He sent a good number of his companions to Ethiopia. Besides escaping from the persecution of the Makkans, they propagated Islam there and paved the way for the acceptance of Islam by the Negus, the king of Ethiopia and 50% of the population of that country. In the sixth year of migration he wrote letters to the heads of a number of States in the various parts of the world and intimated them about his Prophethood. About hundred letters which he wrote to various personalities are still extant.

Encouragement of Knowledge: 

He encouraged his companions to acquire knowledge and literacy and with this end, he made it compulsory for their children to learn reading and writing. Further, he ordered some of his companions to learn the Syriac language. He often said: "It is obligatory on every Muslim to seek knowledge".

Some of his other sayings are: "Wherever you find a useful piece of knowledge, acquire it. It does not matter if you find it with a disbeliever or a hypocrite".

"Acquire knowledge even if you have to go to China for that purpose"

This emphasis on knowledge was the reason why the Muslims so speedily spread to all corners of the world in search of it and secured the scientific works wherever they found them. The Muslims not only translated these works, but took to research themselves also, and thus they became a connecting link between the ancient cultures of Greece, Rome, Iran, Egypt and India and the modern culture of Europe. In the course of time the Muslims themselves became the founders of one of the grandest civilizations and cultures in human history, known to the world as the Muslim civilization and culture.

The Holy Prophet's character and behaviour like his sayings and his religion were comprehensive and all-sided. History does not at all remember any personality who like him ever attained perfection in all human dimensions. He was really a perfect man


"Man and universe" By martyred teacher "Ayatullah Mutahhari".