Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his household) is
the finest example of a perfect man in every sense of the
term. He was a paragon of virtue and is the best exemplar
for the human race. The Almighty distinguished him from all
and sundry by instilling in his sublime personality such
fine qualities as modesty, truthfulness, kindness, patience,
loyalty, honesty, courage, bravery, generosity, magnanimity,
wisdom and the like.
By studying his lofty character and the amazingly simple
life he led with his household, companions, wives and
others, we are apt to learn valuable lessons from his
conduct and accordingly mould our own lifestyle.
Our society could never be an Islamic one unless we
sincerely tread the footsteps of Allah's final Messenger to
mankind, heed his sayings, observe his glorious actions and
attitudes, and most important of all follow them, as the
faithful among his companions did.
In short, Allah the most Glorious enjoins upon us to take
the Prophet's behaviour as an example, because he guides us
to virtue and righteousness:
(Certainly you have in the Messenger of Allah an
excellent exemplar for him who hopes in Allah and the latter
day and remembers Allah much.) Holy Qur'an (33:21)
Now, we shall study some aspects of his admirable character:
Contemplation and Wisdom
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his household)
always used to contemplate the Greatness and Majesty of
Allah, the Glorious and the welfare of the human race. He
closely followed the affairs of his people and the spreading
of the light of Islam. He talked only when necessary and
when he did, his speech was devoid of any rhetoric and
unnecessary words. It was precise, to the point and full of
Punctuality and Daily Schedule
He was punctual, active and energetic, and led an orderly
life in the strict sense of the word. His day was divided
into four periods:
1. A time for worship.
2. A time for his household (Ahlul-Bayt) and wives, during
which he behaved like any ordinary family-man giving the
finest example of social behaviour.
3. A time for rest and contemplation.
4. A time for public affairs such as receiving Muslims,
looking into their needs and requirements, answering their
questions, teaching them the tenets of Islam and expounding
to them the glorious verses of the Holy Qur'an.
Following are some of his wise sayings on the importance of
Blessed be my people for their early rising up.
Too much sleep does away with both religion and the world.
O People, you have certain (special) characteristics, so get
to (emphasise) them and you have an end, so get to (be
prepared for) it..., a servant of Allah should take (make
provisions) for himself from his self: from his world (life)
for his hereafter, during his youth before his old age, and
in life before death. By the One in whose hand is Muhammad's
soul, after death there will be no blaming and after this
world there is nothing except Paradise or Hell.1
Modesty and Simplicity
He was the finest embodiment of modesty, and deeply abhorred
arrogance and haughtiness. Almost all of his companions in
the early days were poor and oppressed people, as he was the
champion of the downtrodden and the defender of the deprived
His house was simple and modest, built of clay bricks, palm
leaves and trunks. His food was simple like that of the
poor, consisting mostly of barley bread. There were
occasions when he might skip that meager meal too. He
socialized with his companions as one of them:
talking, listening, smiling and displaying a sense of
humour. Sometimes he might join in their laughter to cheer
their sprits up. He would visit them when they fell sick or
accept an invitation for a meal irrespective of whether the
person concerned was poor, a slave or any other. In case a
companion of his died, he used to participate in the funeral
procession, walking alongside the bier.
Owing to his great modesty, he normally preferred riding a
mule while moving around, using a saddle made of date-palm
fiber. Sometimes he also rode his she-camel. If he was
riding and somebody wished to accompany him on foot, he
would ask him either to mount behind, and if the man
declined out of respect, he would ask him to go ahead and
await him at the fixed place, because he did not like the
sight of people following him on foot, while he himself was
So modest was he that he hated to see people rising to their
feet when he entered an assembly. And on entering he used to
sit at the nearest vacant spot, so that his companions might
not think that he was sporting an air of superiority over
them. His magnetic personality drew love and respect from
all. He used to sit on the ground, even while eating, and
slept on the ground with a simple mat serving as his bed. He
greeted even small boys, as well as women. If some man shook
hands with him, he would not unclasp his hand till the other
did it first.
Once, a Christian chieftain named Adi bin Hatim al-Ta'i,
came for an audience with the Prophet of Islam, who happened
to be sitting on a cushion. On seeing the visitor he took
the cushion from underneath and offered it to his Christian
guest, himself preferring to sit on the ground. This
admirable display of modesty by the great Prophet so deeply
affected Adi bin Hatim al-Ta'i, that the Christian chief
immediately embraced Islam.
This is how Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his
household) taught us best of morals and excellent manners.
By living a simple and ordinary life and treating everybody
alike with courtesy and respect, he was able to spread the
light of Islam. His immaculate personality and lofty
character, coupled with his honesty and wisdom, attracted
multitudes of people towards truth and justice.
Kindness and Generosity
The Messenger's social ties with his companions portrays the
most wonderful picture of Islamic brotherhood ever heard of.
The following narratives give us a glimpse of his firm ties
with the society in which he lived:
Anas bin Malik, who used to frequent the Prophet's assembly,
says that whenever the Prophet missed any one of his
companions for a period of three days, he used to inquire
about that person, would pray for him and if he happened to
be ill, would pay him a visit.
Another companion Jarir bin Abdullah, says that once the
Prophet entered a house, and soon it was full of people.
When Jarir went in, he found no vacant spot and therefore
sat outside. The Prophet observing Jarir took a piece of his
clothing, rolled it up and threw it, indicating him to
spread it underneath him. Jarir says he caught hold of the
clothing, put it on his face and kissed it.
The above actions of the Prophet provide us the finest
example of a leader unaffected by power and position whereas
when we look at the lives of despots and other petty
potentates, we see them sporting arrogant airs, trying to
humiliate people, and always keeping a distance from the
oppressed and the downtrodden.
It will not be out of context here to cite another example
from the Prophet's life. Once a man came to the Messenger of
Allah but on entering his presence, started trembling with
fear. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his household)
seeing the visitor terribly shaken and nervous, smiled and
comforted him with utmost tenderness, saying: "Be at
ease. I am no king but the son of a Quraishite woman who
used to eat dried meat"
How wonderfully he comforts a frightened Arab nomad, who
accustomed to the days of Jahiliyah was scared to death on
entering the Prophet's presence. This is one of the many
instances which prove that he is the Mercy for the human
race and not one of those power-drunk despots who kill and
terrorise Allah's creatures.
Such supreme examples of kindness and generosity helped
build a strong and coherent society and spread love and
affection among the believers. Therefore it is obligatory
for Muslims to learn a lesson from these admirable manners
and tread the brilliant path blazed by Prophet Muhammad
(peace be upon him and his household). All Muslims should
endeavour to acquire these lofty morals; especially those
invested with power and authority, so that peace, love and
harmony may prevail all around. If it is a real Islamic
society, it will naturally be just and free, where everyone
can defend their right and even advise those in authority if
they happen to err.
Courage and Valour
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his household) was
second to none in Allah's creation, beginning from Adam till
eternity. He was an excellent exemplar of the noblest
manners and merits including courage and bravery. His valour
was a byword among his contemporaries, for he stood up
gallantly against the heaviest odds, endured pain and
injuries and victoriously fought, overcame and showed mercy
to the stone-hearted infidels of ignorant Arabia.
Magnanimity is the finest form of valour and the Prophet
excelled in this particular field, forgiving enemies and
freeing multitudes from injustice, oppression, servitude and
Following are some of the glimpses of his many gallant
He endured pain and sufferings for thirteen long years in
Makkah, inviting people to Islam, without once being
over-awed by the sheer force and numbers of arrogant
Jahiliyah. And all these single-handedly without any group
or supporters except his few weak but devoted followers.
After migrating to Medina he organized an army to defend
against the idolaters and he himself led the faithful in
many a battle against overwhelming odds, always coming out
victorious. The Battles of Badr, Khandaq, Uhud, Khaibar,
Hunayn and the conquest of Makkah were some of the
His faithful and equally brave cousin Imam Ali (AS), who was
the standard bearer in several decisive battles and who
while defending Islam and the Prophet, sent many obstinate
bullies of ignorant Arabia to the eternal fire, describes
the Messenger's bravery as follows:
"You have beheld me on the day of Badr, all of us
took refuge with the Prophet (peace be upon him and his
household), and he was the nearest one to the enemy ranks.
He was on that day, the bravest of us all."
Anas bin Malik, a companion, describes the Prophet as the
bravest and the most generous of all men. Anas citing an
example says that one night Muslims heard loud noises coming
from outside the town. Thinking it to be enemy forces they
rushed out to the place from where the noises were coming
but to their surprise found the Prophet of Islam at the spot
well ahead of them. The incident indicates Prophet
Muhammad's (peace be upon him and his household) valour and
courage; how he sallied forth in the dark night alone to
trace the source of those strange sounds, without once being
scared of the enemy or whatever that lurked around.
A Perfect Family-Man
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his household) is
the supreme example of a family man. He was a loving
husband, an affectionate father and a doting grandfather. As
long as the faithful Khadija was alive, he never took
another wife. Even later on in life, when he had married
several women, he used to cherish the loving memory of the
His marriages were not for pleasure, but were a humanitarian
means to further the cause of Islam, as is evident from the
women he married. In the case of Sawda, Umm Salama and
Zeinab bint Khuzaima, it was to take care of poor and
helpless widows well in their middle-ages, while the
marriage to Juwairiyah was to grant her freedom from
Still others such as those to Umm Habiba, Safiya, A'isha,
Hafsa and Maimoona were meant for uniting some prominent
Arab tribes, who were often at loggerheads with each other,
and also to safeguard the internal political status of the
new-found Islamic State. And the marriage to Zeinab bint
Jahsh was for the sake of enacting a new law, because she
was the divorcee of his adopted son Zaid bin Hareth.
As the Holy Qur'an testifies, the Prophet married her in
order to put an end to the then prevalent belief that
adopted sons were like real sons and that wives or widows of
adopted sons were like daughter-in-laws. In short, the
philosophy behind his marriages was entirely revolutionary
and ushered in positive changes in ignorant Arabia.
He was an affectionate father and his only surviving child,
daughter Fatimah (SA), was dearer to him than life. His
famous Hadith: "Fatimah is a part of me, and whoever
annoys her (in fact) annoys me,"2 stands
as a firm testimony to this fact. History is a witness that
he used to stand up to greet his daughter. Many prominent
and wealthy Arabs had approached him for Fatimah's hand, but
he politely refused them, and according to divine
commandment married her to his faithful cousin, Ali (AS).
Hence Fatimah and Ali were the parents of his two grandsons
Hasan and Husayn; through whom the continuity of the
Prophet's noble progeny has been ensured. Hasan and Husain
were the apple of his eyes and he affectionately doted on
them. They used to play with him and accompany him to the
mosque. Once when the two grandsons were seated on his
shoulders, a companion remarked: "What an excellent mount."
to which the Prophet retorted: "What excellent riders too."3
Thus, Prophet Muhammad's (peace be upon him and his
household) behaviour with his illustrious Ahlul Bayt
(household) is a lesson for us. It was not blind love of a
doting father or grandfather as some may misinterpret but
was something divinely ordained as is clear from several
verses of the Holy Qur'an. Therefore, it is obligatory for
all Muslims to love and respect his chosen family, and
adhere to their radiant path, which is the only way to save
the Ummah from pitfalls.
Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds.
* Taken From: Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and
his household) A Brief Biography Published by: Al Balagh
1- Refer to our booklet 'Do not Waste Time', for the
importance of time in Islam.
2- Refer to: Sahih Bukhari: Fadha'il as-Sahaba; vol. 5.
Sahih Muslim: Fadha'il as-Sahaba. Sunan Abu Daud:
3- Refer to Mustadrak as-Sahihayn, Dhakha'ir al-Uqba etc.,