The Prophet, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, was noted for superb eloquence and fluency in Arabic. He was remarkable in position and rank. He was an accurate, unpretending straightforward speaker. He was well-versed in Arabic and quite familiar with the dialects and accents of every tribe. He spoke with his guests using their own accents and dialects. He mastered and was quite eloquent at both Bedouin and town speech. So, he had the strength and eloquence of Bedouin language as well as the clarity and the decorated splendid speech of the town's people. Above all, there was the help of Allah embodied in the revealed Verses of the Qur'an.
His stamina, endurance and forgiveness, while he was in a commanding position; his patience and firmness in unfavourable conditions, were all talents, attributes and qualities Allah Himself had given him. Even wise men have their shortcomings, but Allah's Messenger, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, unlike everybody, the more he was hurt or injured, the more gentle and patient he became. The more rudeness and ignorance anybody exercised against him, the more enduring he became.
'Aishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said: “Whenever Allah's Messenger, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, was given the opportunity to choose between two affairs, he would always choose the easiest and the most convenient. But if it be sinful, he would be as far as he could from it. He never took revenge for himself; but when the sanctity of Allah was violated, he would avenge it. That would be for Allah's sake not for himself.”
He was the last one to get angry and the first to be satisfied. His hospitality and generosity were matchless. His gifts and endowments manifest a man who does not fear poverty. 1
Ibn 'Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “The Prophet, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, was the most generous. His generosity would be at its extreme during Ramadan when the angel Gabriel used to come to see him. Gabriel used to visit him every night of Ramadan and review the Qur'an with him. Verily, Allah's Messenger was more generous at giving bounty or charity than the blowing wind.”
Jabir, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “The Prophet, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, would never deny anything he was asked for.” 2
His courage, his bravery and his might were distinct. He was the most courageous. He witnessed awkward and difficult times and stood fast at them. More than once, brave and daring men fled; yet he stood with full composure facing the enemy without turning his back. All brave men must have experienced fleeing once or have been driven off the battlefield at a time, except the Prophet, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him. 'Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “Whenever the fight grew fierce and the eyes of fighters went red, we used to resort to the Prophet for help. He was always the closest to the enemy.” 3
Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “One night the people of Madinah felt alarmed. People went out hurriedly towards the source of sound, but they found the Prophet already coming back from there. He was on a horse belonging to Abu Talhah which had no saddle over it, and a sword was hanging from his neck, and he said to them: ‘There was nothing to be afraid of.’” 4
1 Sahih Al-Bukhari 1/503.
2 Sahih Al-Bukhari 1/503.
3 Ash-Shifa' 1/89.
4 Sahih Al-Bukhari 1/407, Sahih Muslim 2/252.
He was the most modest, and the first one to cast his eyes down.
Abu Sa'id Al-Khudri, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “He was shier than a virgin. When he disliked something, we could read it on his face. 5 He did not stare at anybody's face. He would always cast his eyes down. He would look at the ground more than the sky. The most he would look at someone was by glancing. He was willingly and modestly obeyed by everybody. He would never name a person whom he had heard ill-news about something he hated, instead he would say: 'Why do certain people do so....”
A verse of poem by Al-Farazdaq fits him very well and is one of the best to be said of him:
“He casts his eyes modestly, but the eyes of others are cast down due to his reverence, and words issue out of their mouths only while he is smiling,”
The Prophet, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, was the most just, the most decent, the most truthful at speech, and the most honest of all. Those who have exchanged words with him, and even his enemies, acknowledge his noble qualities. Even before the Prophethood he was nicknamed Al-Ameen (i.e., the truthful, the trustworthy). Even then, in al jahiliyyah, they used to turn to him for judgment and consultation. Al-Tirmidhi reported 'Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, saying that he had been told by Abu Jahl that he (Abu Jahl) said to Allah's Messenger, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him: “We do not call you a liar; but we do not have faith in what you have brought.” 6
5 Sahih Al-Bukhari 1/504.
6 Mishkatul-Masabih 2/521.
In His Book, Allah the Exalted said about them:“It is not you that they deny, but it is the Verses (the Qur'an) of Allah that the Zalimun (polytheists and wrongdoers) deny.” [Qur’an 6:33]
Even when Heraclius asked Abu Sufyan: “Have you ever accused him of lying before the ministry of Prophethood?” Abu Sufyan said: “No.”
He was the most modest person and far from being arrogant or proud. He forbade people to stand up for him as other people usually did for their kings. Visiting the poor, the needy and entertaining them were some of his habits. If a slave invited him, he would accept the invitation. He always sat among his friends as if he were an ordinary person among them. 'Aishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said that he himself used to repair his shoes, sew or mend his dress and do what ordinary men did in their houses. He used to check his own clothing. Milking the sheep and catering for himself were some of his normal jobs. 7
The Prophet, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, was the most truthful to his pledges, and it was one of his qualities to establish good and steady relationship with his relatives. He was the most merciful, gentle and sociable of all people. His way of living was the simplest one. Ill-manners and indecency were two qualities completely alien to him. He was decent, and did not call anybody names. He was not the sort of person who cursed or made noise in the streets.
He did not exchange offences with others. He pushed back an offence or an error by forgiveness and overlooking. He did not allow others to walk behind him. He did not feel himself superior to others, not even to his slaves as far as food or clothes were concerned. Whoever served him would be served by him too. 'Ugh' — the sound of expressing disgust was never used by him towards any of his servants; nor did he ever blame his servant for something or leaving something undone. Loving the poor and the needy and entertaining them or participating in their funerals were acts the Prophet, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, always observed. He never showed disgrace to a poor man for his poverty.
Once he was travelling with his Companions and when it was time to have food prepared, he asked them to slaughter a sheep. A man said; “I will slaughter it,” another said: “I will skin it out,” a third one said: “I will cook it.” So, Allah's Messenger, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, said: “I will collect wood for fire.” They said: “No. We will do that work,” “I know that you can do it for me, but I hate to be privileged. Allah hates to see a servant of His privileged to others.” So, he went and collected firewood. 8
7 ibid 2/520,
8 Khulasatus-Siyar p, 22.
Hind bin Abi Halah, may Allah be pleased with him, described him: “Allah's Messenger was always contemplative, thinking. He had no rest (i.e., for long). He only spoke when it was necessary. He would remain silent for a long time and whenever he spoke, he would talk with his full mouth and clear words, he never suppressed the words by speaking out of the corners of his mouth. His speech was comprehensive. He spoke inclusively and decisively. It was not excessive nor was it short of meaning. It was friendly. It was in no way dishonouring. He glorified the bounty of Allah; even if it were little. If he had no liking for some food, he would neither praise nor criticize.
He was always in full control of his temper and he never seemed angry unless it was necessary. He never got angry for himself nor did he avenge for himself. It was for Allah's sanctity and religion that he would be angry.
Whenever he pointed at a thing, he would do so with his hand, and he would turn it round to show surprise. If he were angry, he would turn both his body and face aside. When he was pleased, he cast his eyes down. His laughter was mostly smiling. It was then that his teeth were revealed like hailstones.
He never spoke unless it was something closely relevant to him. He confirmed the brotherhood relationship among his Companions; and thus he made them intimate and did not separate them or implant enmity among them. Those who were honourable with their peoples, were honoured and respected by him and were assigned rulers over their own peoples. His cheerfulness was never withdrawn at anyone's face; even at those whom he warned his people from or those whom he himself was on the alert.
He visited friends and inquired about people's affairs. He confirmed what was right, and criticized the unpleasant, and tried to undermine it. He was moderate in all affairs. He deemed himself equal to others and was not privileged. He would never act carelessly, lest others should get neglectful. Each situation was dealt with in its proper due. Righteousness was his objective; he was never short of it or indifferent to it. People who sat next to him were the best of their people and the best of them all were, for him, those who were most caring. For him, the greatest ones and the highest in rank were the best at providing comfort, cooperation and help.
Remembrance of Allah was important to him and he did so whenever he sat down or stood up. No certain place was assigned for him to sit in. He would sit at the end of the group, next to the last person. He ordered people to do the same. He entertained his participants in social gatherings alike so that the one addressed would think that there was no one honoured by the Prophet but himself. Whoever sat next to him or interrupted him in order to ask for his advice about an affair of his, would be the first to start the talk and the one to end it, The Prophet, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, would listen to him patiently until he ended his speech. He never denied a request to anyone, if unapproachable, then a few gratifying words would work instead.
His generosity of spirit, broad mindedness, and tolerance could embrace all people and entitled him to be regarded as a father to them all. In justice, all of them were almost equal. Nobody was better than another except on the basis of piety. A favoured one, to him, was the one who feared Allah most. His assembly was a meeting of kindness, modesty, patience and honesty; voices were not raised there nor cries, and inviolable things were never considered to be violable there. Fearing Allah and worship were their means to sympathy and compassion. They used to revere the old and have mercy on the young. They helped the needy and entertained strangers.
Allah's Messenger, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, was always cheerful, easygoing, pleasant-tempered and merciful. He was never rude or rough or indecent. He would neither blame nor praise excessively. He overlooked what he did not desire, yet no one would be despair of him. He especially kept himself away from three habits: hypocrisy, excessiveness, and what was none of his concern. People did not fear him in three areas: he neither degraded or blamed them nor did he seek the defects or shortages of others. He only said things whose reward was Divinely desirable. When he spoke, his listeners would attentively listen casting down their heads. They only spoke when he was silent. They did not have disputes or arguments about who was to talk. He who talked in his presence would be listened to by everybody until he finished his talk. Their talk would be about the topic discussed or delivered by the first speaker. Allah's Messenger, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, used to laugh at what they laughed at and admired what they admired. He would always show patience with a stranger's harsh speech. He used to say: “When you see a person seeking an object earnestly, assist him to get his need. And never ask for a reward except from the Giver of the rewards, i.e. Allah.” 9
Kharijah bin Zaid, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “The Prophet, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, was the most honoured among the people with whom he sat. His limbs could hardly be seen. He was often silent and rarely talked when speech was not a necessity. He turned away from those whose speech was rude or impolite. His laughter was no more than a smile. His speech, which was decisive, was neither excessive nor incomplete. Out of reverence and esteem and following the example of their Prophet, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, the Companions' laughter in his presence would also be a smile as well.” 10
9 Ash-Shifa' 1/126.
10 Ash-Shifa' 1/107.
On the whole the Prophet, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, was ornamented with peerless attributes of perfection. Indeed, he was brought up, educated and taught by Allah. He was even praised by Allah: “And verily, you (O Muhammad) are on an exalted standard of character.” [Qur’an 68:4]
Those were the attributes and qualities that the Prophet, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, enjoyed which made the hearts and souls of the people close to him, draw near to him and love him. Those traits made him so popular that the restraint and enmity of his people grew less and they started to embrace Islam in large crowds.
This description is in fact no more than a quick glance at the Beloved Prophet's perfection. No one can ever claim to be possessed of full knowledge or complete mastery of the great attributes of the greatest man in this universe. No one can ever give him, the top of perfection and his due description. He was a man who always sought Allah's light, and to such an extent that he was wholly imbued with the Qur'anic approach.
O Allah! Send Your blessings (and the Magnificent Words of Yours) upon Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, as You have sent blessings upon Ibrahim and the family of Ibrahim. You are Worthy of all praise, All-Glorious. O Allah! Bless Muhammad and the family of Muhammad as You have already blessed Ibrahim and the family of Ibrahim. You are Worthy of all praise, All-Glorious.
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