The lifestyle of the Prophet (peace be upon him) is the best example for each and every human being. He is the best example of a religious leader. He is the finest example of a state leader. He is the example to follow for those who enter the garden of divine love. He is the highest example of gratitude and humility for those who are showered with the gifts of God. He is the greatest example of patience and submission, in the most challenging times and places. He is the best example of generosity and of disinterest in collecting bounty. He is the finest example of compassion towards the family. His is the greatest example of mercy towards the weak, the lonely and the enslaved, and he is exemplary in pardoning the guilty.
If you are wealthy, contemplate the humility and generosity of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), who gained the hearts of the leaders who controlled all of Arabia!
If you are weak, adopt the example of the Prophet (peace be upon him) during the period he spent in Mecca under the rule of the oppressive and usurping polytheists.
If you are a triumphant conqueror, take your example from the life of the courageous Prophet (peace be upon him) who defeated his enemies in Badr and Hunayn.
If you lose a battle, may Allah protect you; remember the example of the Prophet (peace be upon him) who walked with dignity, courage and reliance on Allah among his martyred and wounded companions after the battle of Uhud.
If you are a teacher, contemplate the example of the Prophet (peace be upon him) who taught God’s orders by conveying his soft and sensitive enlightenment to the people of Suffa (Ashab al-Suffa) in the school at his Mosque.
If you are a student, bring to mind the example of the Prophet (peace be upon him) who sat on his knees before the Archangel, the Trustworthy Gabriel (Jibril al-Amin).
If you are a preacher or a sincere spiritual guide (murshid) for people, listen to the voice of the Prophet (peace be upon him), who spread wisdom to his companions.
If you aim to defend the truth, to convey it to others and lift it up, yet have no helper in this matter, then look at the life of the Prophet (peace be upon him), who proclaimed the truth in Mecca against the oppressors while inviting them to it.
If you have defeated your enemies, broken their resistance and triumphed over them, if you have destroyed the superstitions and declared the truth, then bring to your mind the example of the Prophet (peace be upon him) on the day he conquered Mecca. He entered this holy city as a triumphant commander, yet with great humility, sitting on his camel as if he were in the state of sajdah; that is prostration before God, as an expression of gratitude to Allah.
If you are a farmer, take your example from the Prophet (peace be upon him), who, after conquering the lands of Bani Nadr, Khyabar and Fadak, chose skilled people to develop and manage these lands in the most productive way.
If you are lonely, with no relatives, bring to mind the example of the orphan of Abdullah and Aminah, their most beloved and only innocent son.
If you are an adolescent, pay attention to the life of the Prophet (peace be upon him) who, as a young man and candidate for prophethood, served in Mecca as a shepherd, tending the sheep of his uncle Abu Talib.
If you are a businessman and travel for trade, think about the experiences of the Most Honored Person, Muhammad (peace be upon him) while leading the caravan from Mecca to Busra in Syria.
If you are a judge or a referee, bring to mind his justice and foresight when he solved the conflict among the tribes of Mecca over who should have the prestige of putting back the Black Stone (Hagar al-Aswad), as they were on the verge of killing each other.
Again, turn your eyes to history and consider the example of the Prophet (peace be upon him) as he, in his masjid in Medina, treated equally the poor in distress and the wealthy, and as he judged between them with utmost fairness.
If you are a husband, look carefully at the pure life style, the compassion and the deep feelings of the Prophet (peace be upon him) as an exemplary husband. If you are a parent, learn about the example of the father of Fatimah al-Zahra, and study the manner of the grandfather of Hasan and Husayn.
Regardless of your qualities and the state in which you find yourself, day or night, you will find him as the most perfect role model, teacher and guide.
He is so perfect a teacher that by following his example you can correct all your mistakes, eliminate chaos from your life and bring order to your life. Through his light and guidance, you can overcome the difficulties of life and attain real happiness.
As a matter of fact, his life is a bouquet composed of the most rare and elegant flowers and roses with the finest of fragrances.
If you observe justice prevailing over the world, if there is affection binding together the rich and the poor, if the wealthy in a society treat the poor compassionately by offering them timely help, if the strong protect the oppressed, if the healthy assist the ill, if the owners of wealth take good care of the orphans and feed the widows, then, be sure that all these virtuous acts have been inherited from prophets and their followers.
This fact is most easily observed in the life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). This is because he is the zenith of prophethood. Even impartial non-Muslims feel obliged to accept and appreciate his perfection. The English historian, Thomas Carlyle expressed his views about the Prophet (peace be upon him) in his book, On Heroes, Hero-Worship and the Heroic in History, where he chose the people of the highest caliber in various professions and analyzed their lives and work. For instance, Carlyle identifies those who deserve to be called the best poet, the best commander, etc. Carlyle, a Christian who confesses his faith in his book, determined, described and analyzed Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as the best among the prophets.
In the middle of this century in Lahey, Holland, a group of prominent scholars and thinkers choose who they thought were the hundred greatest people in world history, and they felt obliged to choose Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as the first on this list.
True virtue is that which is held by a person who is accepted and appreciated even by their opponents. The virtue and wisdom of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is accepted even by those who do not believe in the religion he brought. This is because the exceptional personality of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) gathered in itself the moral perfection that responds to various situations in different ways. Only the example of his life (sirah) can serve as a model to be followed by people from different stages and states of life. He constitutes the starting point for the education of humanity all over the world. He sprinkles light on the path of those who search for light. His guidance is an illuminating light for all who look for the right path; it is a light that never leads one astray. He is the sole guide of all of humanity.
The people who sat in his circle for guidance constituted a universe in which all kinds of people gathered. All nations, in spite of the differences in their languages, colors and types, as well as the diversity of their social and cultural levels, united in that circle. There was no restriction, no exclusion of any one from the circle. It was a feast of wisdom and knowledge that was not exclusive to one race, but rather approached humanity only from the angle of their humanity. Thus, there was no difference between the weak and the strong.
Consider the followers of our master, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). You will see the following distinguished figures: Najashi, the king of Abyssinia; Farwa, the leader of Ma’an; Zulkilah, the leader of Himyar; Daylami of Firuz; Marakabud who was from the leaders of Yemen; Ubayd and Jafar from the governors of Umman.
With another glance, you will see, in addition to kings and notable leaders, slaves and the poor, people with no one, such as Bilal, Yasir, Habbab, Ammar and Abu Fukayha, as well as the slave girls and women without supporters, such as Sumayya, Lubayna, Zinnira, Nahdiyya and Umm Abis.
Among his honorable companions, there were people with superior minds, bright ideas and strong opinions, as well as people who were skilled in the most delicate works; people who had a deep understanding of the secrets of the world and who had the ability to manage countries with wisdom and power.
The followers of the Prophet (peace be upon him) governed cities. They ruled provinces. People attained happiness through them. They experienced the taste of justice. His followers spread peace and tranquility. With him, human beings treated one other as brothers and sisters.
Lafayette, who laid the intellectual foundations of the 1789 French Revolution, examined all the existing legal systems before the proclamation of the Human Rights Declaration and realized the superiority of Islamic law, which he distinctly expressed as follows:
“O Muhammad! No one else has demonstrated the level you reached in establishing justice!”
The character and the spiritual strength of the Prophet (peace be upon him) were so powerful that they elevated a society that had been semi-savage, a people who were unaware of human history, to the stature of the companions; this is a stature that is beyond the reach of others. He united them under one religion, flag, law, culture, civilization and government.
He turned uncultivated and lawless people into educated human beings; he turned savages into civilized people, criminals and mean characters into the God-conscious. That is, he made them into extraordinary humans who lived in the awe and love of Allah.
A society that had not raised a notable figure for centuries produced many personalities ornamented with light and guidance. And they carried their enlightenment to the remote corners of the world; each carried a torch of faith, knowledge and wisdom. The light that had descended in the desert was distributed to all of humanity. The purpose of the creation of the world was realized.
Although he conquered the hearts of people as the ideal teacher, a position he attained in such a brief time that it cannot even be attained by the kings of this world, he continued his previous humble life, ignoring the mundane bounties that became easily available to him. As before, he lived as one of the poor in his humble dwelling built out of sun-dried bricks. He slept on a thin mattress stuffed with date leaves. He dressed modestly. He kept his standard of living below the standard of the poorest. At times, he could not find food and he had to tie a stone to his belly to suppress gnawing hunger, while, at the same time, he showed his gratitude to Allah. He continued his supplication and worship although his past and future sins had all been forgiven. He spent the night praying to such an extent that his feet became swollen. He sent the poor assistance immediately when it was called for. He was a source of happiness for the miserable and the lonely. He personally spent time with the most helpless people, despite his greatness. Furthermore, he protected them more than others with his endless compassion and tenderness.
On the day he conquered Mecca, a city where he was regarded by the people as the most powerful man, one of his countryman approached him. He asked trembling:
“O Messenger of Allah! Teach me Islam!”
He invited the man to relax by reminding him of the weakest point in his own life:
“Relax my brother! I am not a king, nor an emperor! I am the orphan of your old neighbor (meaning his mother) who used to eat sun-dried meat!”
With these words, he endowed to history the zenith of humility, a level which has not been attained by others.
On the same day, Abu Bakr, who was his friend in the cave during the Hijra, brought his father on his back because he was too old to walk. He wanted his father to be directly exposed to the message of the Prophet (peace be upon him). The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
“O Abu Bakr! Why did you cause inconvenience to your old father? Could I not go to him?”
Many countries entered willingly under his protection. His rule spread all over Arabia. He could do whatever he wished yet he never compromised his humility. He stated that he did not have power over anything; rather that everything is controlled by the power of Allah. Occasionally, he became wealthy. Caravans of camels flooded Medina with wealth. He distributed all that wealth to the poor and continued his humble life as before. He said:
“If I owned gold equal to the mountain of Uhud, I would not keep it more than three days except to pay my debts.”
Days used to pass without a fire burning in the house of the Prophet (peace be upon him) for him to cook on. Many times, he went to sleep hungry.
One day, Umar came to the blessed house of the Prophet (peace be upon him). He gazed at the room. It was almost empty. There was a mattress stuffed with date leaves. The Prophet (peace be upon him) was sleeping on it. The dry leaves of the mattress had left their prints on his blessed body. There was some barley flour in a corner. Next to it, there was a water container. Nothing else was in the room. His wealth consisted of these items; this was at a time when all Arabia bowed before his power. Umar sighed when he saw the situation. He could not keep himself from crying. As tears flowed from Umar’s eyes, the Prophet asked:
“Why do you cry, O Umar?”
“Why should I not cry? O Messenger of Allah! The emperors of Rome and Iran are luxuriating in comfort! Yet, Rasulullah is sleeping on a simple mattress filled with date leaves!”
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) comforted Umar and said to him:
“O Umar! Let Ceasar and the emperor of Iran (Kisra) enjoy this world! The enjoyment of the Hereafter is enough for us!”
In a similar incident, he said:
“What has this world to do with me? My relationship to this world is analogous to a traveler who travels on a summer day, sleeps under the shadow of a tree, then wakes up and goes his way.”
His approach to life was a perfect one.
His life is a perfect example for all his followers, be they rich or poor, strong or weak.
When he died, he did not own a single dirham or dinar, not a slave or a sheep. What he left behind consisted of a white female mule, a sword and some land in Fadak, which he had endowed as a charity. That is to say, he did not leave property. Furthermore, since he was worried that Muslims would try to give charity to those of his household, he forbade them from accepting it.
These examples exhibit that this unlettered person who was born in an uncivilized world is the true leader of all times past, present and future, and his example is beyond imitation.
He did not give any value to wealth, luxury, kingdom, fame or comfort. While he was struggling to establish faith in the One God (tawhid), the wealth and glory of this world appeared to him as nothing more than worthless finery.
Aishah narrated that a woman from the Ansar visited her. When she saw that the bed of the Prophet (peace be upon him) was no more than a simple mattress, which was folded and put to one side in the room, she ran to her home and came back with a comfortable mattress, stuffed with wool. Later, when the Prophet (peace be upon him) saw that his mattress had been changed for a more comfortable one, he expressed his dislike and said to his wife, Aishah:
“O Aishah! Return this mattress to its owner! By God, if I had wanted, God would have put under my control mountains of gold and silver able to walk with me in company.”
This example alone is sufficient to demonstrate that the Prophet (peace be upon him) never attached any value to this world.
In addition to these extraordinary attributes, one of his most distinguished qualities was his legendary love for his community (ummah), which is suitably illustrated by the following verse:
“Now hath come unto you, a messenger from amongst yourselves; it grieves him that you should suffer, ardently anxious is he over you; to the believers is the most kind and merciful.” (Qur’an, Tawba, 9/128)
The blessed personality of the Prophet (peace be upon him), of which only a meager amount can be grasped by the human mind, is no more than the tip of the iceberg; it constitutes the zenith of the constellation of human behavior. This is because Allah the Most High created this blessed being as the “uswa hasanah”, the most perfect example for humanity to follow. Consequently, He elevated His Prophet (peace be upon him) by carrying him through stages, beginning with being an “orphan child”, considered the lowest level of power in a society, and taking him up through all stages of life, to the highest point of power and capacity; that is to prophethood and the leadership of the state. The purpose of this gradual elevation was to permit people of different levels of society to be able to see him as a perfect example of behavior and to integrate them, in accordance with their ability and power. Our people, who grasped this point very well, produced the diminutive form (ism-i tasghir) of the name Muhammad, and have used it as a common name for everyone. This form of the name Muhammad in Turkish is Mehmetjik, which means little Muhammad. The noun Mehmetjik (little Muhammad) brings to mind a small model of the Prophet (peace be upon him) in each human being, especially those who believe in the oneness of Allah and obey Him. At the same time, this attribution encourages everyone to become like Muhammad (peace be upon him) within his or her own abilities.
Even as a child or young man, no imperfection was observed in the personality of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) – unlike other people who claimed to be the guides and leaders of humanity, primarily the philosophers. His personality did not develop through gradual perfection and improvement, which is the case with other leaders and guides. This was a result of divine destiny and support. He, even in childhood, displayed perfect manners, which showed his merit for the responsibility he was to be charged with in the future.
The positive or negative views of philosophers, whose minds were not guided by divine revelation, about social peace and harmony have remained for the most part on the pages of their books, while the few that were translated into action were short-lived. Beyond this, philosophers failed to act as concrete examples or models in their own lives or to find examples in the lives of others of the principles they outlined concerning the perfection of human behavior.
The behavior of the Prophet (peace be upon him), however, functions as a practical criterion of morality and constitutes a perfect constellation of models. For instance, the philosopher Nietzsche expressed his view about super humans, but he could not explicate this concept of the extraordinary human with real actions that take place in everyday life. Thus, it remained only a theory. In Islamic morality, however, the Prophet (peace be upon him) served and will continue to serve as the guide of humanity with all his actions as a human, which constitute the zenith of perfection.
Aristotle, on the other hand, outlined the principles and the laws of ethics. Yet, we cannot find anyone who attained happiness by faithfully applying Aristotle’s philosophy. This is because the hearts of philosophers do not undergo a process of purification and cleansing, as do the prophets, and their words and deeds have not been perfected by the support of revelation. For this reason, their systems remain in conference rooms and on the pages of books, not in the daily lives of humans.
Our master, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), however, before he took over the task of prophethood, gained the sympathy and trust of the people who knew him as “the reliable” and “the trustworthy”. He began his mission after the establishment of such an identity.
People knew his beautiful character, goodness and integrity prior to his prophethood and they loved him. His people, who gave him the nickname al-Amin (the Trustworthy), submitted to his judgment without any objection when they fell into disagreement on how to replace the Black Stone place during the renovation of the Ka’bah.
Indeed, the Prophet (peace be upon him) strictly removed himself from all kinds of wrongdoings and from violating the rights of others. The only group he joined before his prophethood was Hilf al-Fudul, the Pact of the Virtuous. This was because the Hilf al-Fudul was a group dedicated to serving justice, and the essence of its decisions was as follows:
“If the rights of a person from Mecca or abroad are violated, the wrong-doer will be resisted immediately, and the victim’s side will be taken, until the harm has been compensated for. The distribution of the rights and justice and peace and harmony of society will be ensured.”
This pact against oppression and violation of rights attracted the Prophet (peace be upon him) so much that he said after he became a Prophet:
“I was present in the house of Abdullah ibn Jud’an along with my uncles. I would not have been happier if I had been given place red camels (meaning the wealth of this world). I would join such a group even if I was invited today.”
This and other endless examples of the manifestation of justice, mercy and compassion in the life of the Prophet (peace be upon him) are examples for all humanity to emulate until the end of time. Just as an eye can discern a bright light, the truth of this lofty candle that shines over the world cannot be denied, at least not in the inner world. As a matter of fact, through rational evaluation, many non-Muslim scholars sincerely accepted his virtue and achievement. One of them, Thomas Carlyle, as pointed out before, stated in his book On Heroes, Hero-Worship and the Heroic in History,that his birth reflected the emergence of light from darkness.
The Encyclopedia of Britannica also confirmed his virtue by declaring that at no time has a prophet or religious reformer reached the level of success that Muhammad (peace be upon him) reached.
Author Stanley Lane-Poole, confessed that the day Muhammad (peace be upon him) triumphed over his enemies was the same day he won the greatest battle of virtue over himself, as he freely forgave all the Qurayshites and extended his forgiveness to all Meccans.
Likewise, the author Arthur Gilman has noted his greatness during the conquering of Mecca. He said that the weight of what he had been put through by the Meccans could have easily led him to take revenge. Yet, he prohibited any kind of bloodshed by his army. He showed great mercy and remained grateful to Allah.
The Prophet as Perceived by the Polytheists
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) gained the trust of the polytheist Arabs during the period of Religious Ignorance (al-Jahliyya). Even Abu Jahl, the fiercest enemy of Islam, once said to him: “O Muhammad! I don’t call you a liar, but I do not like the religion you have brought….”
His fiercest opponents accepted the trustworthiness of the Prophet (peace be upon him) in their hearts, but externally, they rejected him solely because of their arrogance. The Qur’an illustrates this as follows:
“We know indeed the grief which their words do cause thee: It is not thee they reject; it is the signs of Allah which the wicked deny.” (Qur’an, An’am, 6/33)
Heraclius, the Byzantine emperor of the time, who defeated the Persians in 628 AC, received a letter from the Prophet while he was in Syria. The letter invited him to Islam. Heraclius showed interest in the letter instead of anger. He wanted to inquire and to gather more information about this new religion. For this purpose, he ordered that some countrymen of the new Prophet (peace be upon him) be brought before him. At that time, Abu Sufyan, who was a merciless enemy of the Prophet, was in Syria leading a caravan of Meccan merchants. It was the sixth year of Hijrah and there was a truce between the polytheist Meccans and the Prophet. The men of Heraclius, who were in search of some Meccans to provide them with information about the new Prophet, came across Abu Sufyan and his friends and took them to the emperor.
Heraclius and his circle were at the time in Ilya or Bayt al-Maqdis. Heraclius, accompanied by Byzantine leaders, accepted them into his presence and talked to them through an interpreter. Heraclius asked:
“Who is the closest relative of this person who proclaimed prophethood?”
Abu Sufyan said:
“I am his closest relative here.” Heraclius ordered:
“Bring him and his friends closer! Let his friends stay near to him while I talk to him.”
He turned to his interpreter and said:
“Tell them that I will ask this man some questions about the new Prophet. If he lies, they should warn me that he is lying.”
When he was relating this story, Abu Sufyan said “By God, if I had not been certain that my friends would expose my lies, I would have certainly lied about him.” Abu Sufyan narrated his dialogue with Heraclius as follows:
The first question Heraclius asked was:
“What is his lineage?”
“His lineage is highly respected amongst us!”
“Did anyone among you make similar claims before him?”
“No”, I said.
“Was there a king among his parents and grandparents?” I said:
“Are his followers from the lower or upper classes of people?”
“From the lower classes of people.”
“Does the number of his followers increase or decrease?” I replied:
“Their number increases.”
“Is there anyone among them who left the new religion because he disliked it?”
“Did you ever accuse him of lying before this incident?”
He queried further:
“Did he ever break his promise?”
“No, he keeps his promises but we made a truce with him for a certain time and do not know yet what he is going to do.”
(Abu Sufyan said, “This is the only thing I could include in my answers to potentially discredit him.”)
“Did you engage in wars with him?”
“What were the results of these wars?”
“Sometimes we triumphed over him, sometimes he triumphed over us.”
“What are the things he commands you to do?”
“He requires us to worship one God alone, not to associate partners with Him and to leave the idols our ancestors worshipped. He orders us to make salat, to be honest and chaste, to protect our honor and to maintain close and good relations with relatives.”
Then Heraclius said to the interpreter:
“Tell him that I asked about his lineage. He said that it is highly respected amongst them. Prophets come from a respected lineage in their society.
I asked if there was anyone who made similar claims, he said no. If there had been anyone before him like that I would have suspected that he was taking him as an example.
I asked whether there was a king among his ancestors; he said no. If it had been so, I would have suspected that he was trying to regain his crown.
I asked if he had ever caught him lying before he made the claim to prophethood, he said, no. I am aware that one who does not lie to people does not lie about God either.
I queried about his followers, about whether they belonged to the upper or the lower classes in the society. He said they belonged to the lower ranks of their society. It is well known that at the outset, the followers of the Prophets come from the lower ranks of society.
I wanted to know if the number of followers was increasing or decreasing. He said that they were increasing. One of the characteristics of a true religion is that their followers increase in the beginning.
I asked whether there was anyone who left this new religion after he had accepted it. He said no. This is what happiness is when the joy of faith enters the heart and grows roots in it.
I asked if he had ever broken his promise; he said no. Prophets are like that; they never break their promises.
I asked about what he requires his followers to do. He said that he commands them to worship the one God, to not associate partners with him, in addition he requires them to perform ritual prayer, to be honest, and to be chaste and to lead an honorable life.
If what he has said is true, this person will soon dominate even the land on which I now stand. I knew that the emergence of such a Prophet would occur, but I did not know that he would emerge from amongst you. If I thought that I could enter his presence, I would readily accept the difficulties I would face. If I were with him, I would wash his feet.”
Then Heraclius asked for the letter that had been brought to him by the messenger Dihya. The letter was brought and read to him. In the letter, the following was written:
“In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful and the Most Compassionate.
“From Muhammad, the servant and messenger of Allah, to Heraclius, the leader of the Byzantines.
“Peace be on those who follow the right path.
“I invite you to Islam. Embrace Islam, you will reach salvation and God will reward you twice. But if you refuse, you will be held responsible for your subjects as well.
“O People of the book. Come to common terms as between us and you that we worship none but Allah; that we associate no partners with Him; that we erect not from among you ourselves, Lords and patrons other than Allah.” (Qur’an, Ali Imran, 3/64)
Abu Sufyan said:
“After Heraclius had said what he said and after the reading of the letter was completed, a noise was heard and voices were raised in the group. As a result, they took us out.”
I said to my friends:
“Muhammad’s work is growing. Even the kings have begun to listen to his message. Look at this, even the king of Bani Asfar (the Byzantines) is afraid of him!… Since then I retained the certainty that one day he would be successful. Eventually, Allah blessed me also with Islam.”
In our opinion, the objective attitude of the Byzantine emperor, Heraclius towards what he heard, did not only come from his personal virtue.
The distortion of the Christian faith, which was originally a true religion and based on faith in the unity of God, was at that time a new phenomenon. The fight over icons, which had lasted two centuries, had just ended and the churches were filled with pictures and statutes. Christianity had fallen away from faith in the unity of God, and had completely surrendered to the doctrine of the Trinity. As a natural outcome of the corruption of such a revealed faith, Islam was sent to renew the “true faith”. In spite of the degradation of their time, it is true that there were some people who maintained their faith in the unity of God. For instance, the emigrants who fled to Abyssinia because of the unbearable oppression in Mecca, met King Najashi there, one who was similarly rightly guided. He even drew a line on the ground with his staff and said:
“The difference between my faith and what you are describing is less than the width of this line.”
King Najashi belonged to the sect of Arians who had preserved the original creed of early Christianity. It is quite possible that Heraclius also had such a faith. Yet there is no evidence that he accepted Islam. It should be mentioned once more that faith is a matter of divine blessing.
On the other hand, this incident demonstrates that even those who did not accept his message acknowledged the honesty and the perfect character of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Before the immigration to Medina, commonly known as the Hijra, Prophet Muhammad was entrusted with some valuables by the polytheists in Mecca to keep for them. When he decided to secretly leave Mecca, he assigned Ali to return them to their owners in Mecca on his behalf.
The poet Kemal Edip Kurkcuoglu gives advice and warns the heedless who are distracted from following the beautiful characteristics of the Prophet – only a small number of which have been described above.
Falling from the eye of the heart, alas, alas!
Is sufficient punishment in this world and the hereafter
for the spiritually unaware!
May Allah make us among his followers who obey him with love and who reflect his qualities. He was a horizon of mercy and compassion, even the most basic level of which is beyond reach.
He worked for the guidance of people with utmost sincerity. Yet they cursed and stoned him. His only response to such treatment, he prayed for them. Zayd ibn Haritha, who was surprised by this, asked him:
“O the Messenger of Allah! They subject you to torture… but you still pray for them.”
“What else can I do? I am sent for mercy, not for wrath…”
Does this not bear witness that Prophet Muhammad was at the zenith of giving, loyalty, good heartedness, mercy and compassion?
Humans who saw Krishna and Buddha as gods, Jesus as the son of God, and Pharaoh and Nimrod as lords, as well as those miserable people who worshipped animals, or such natural forces as fire, water and air, would have gladly accepted him as their “god”. Yet, he proclaimed “As you, I am but a man. However, the inspiration has come to me that your Allah is the one Allah…” (Qur’an, Kahf, 18/110)
He added the word abduhu, meaning his servant, at the beginning of the sentence (shahadah) uttered to announce his acceptance of his prophethood because he wanted to ensure that his Community did not go astray.
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) had always made clear that he had no superior powers. For instance, he said once:
“No one can enter Paradise only as a reward of his deeds.”
Everyone was surprised. They asked:
“Even you, O the Messenger of Allah?”
“Yes including me…! Unless the generosity of my Lord comes to my help! Unless His blessing, mercy and forgiveness cover me, I will not be allowed to go to Paradise; my deeds would not be sufficient to save me…!”
This system of principles is a divine grace that cannot be replicated by humanity.
This message is very refined, and miraculous, and is filled with honesty and loyalty. Grasping the true meaning of the Qur’an and the Sunnah is possible only by getting close to the depth of the heart and manners of the Prophet (peace be upon him).
No sentient being can successfully describe his real attributes. His high character and existence cannot be comprehended. Scholars, philosophers, sultans of the heart, even the Archangel Gabriel considered being close to him the greatest honor and source of happiness.
The missions of all the prophets were limited in time and space, except for that of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). He has been charged by Allah to be the Universal Guide of Humanity. Although a rich system of manners was not transmitted from the previous prophets to us, the mission of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was intended to encompass all times and places from the first revelation to the last day, and as a consequence Allah guaranteed that his manners, including the smallest details, were to be transmitted to us through reliable chains of narrators. This transmission has the potential of surviving until the final day. The reason behind this is the Divine Will to ensure that all people living in the final times can take him as the best role model (uswa hasanah).
Arabs customarily made pledges on what they valued most. Although Allah has never done so for any other Prophet, in the Qur’an He pledged on the life of the Prophet (peace be upon him): La a’mruk! The Ottoman poet Shaikh Ghalib reiterated this pledge as follows:
O my leader! You are the sultan of prophets, you are the glorious king.
O my leader! You are the eternal source of joy for the helpless.
O my leader! You are the head of humanity in the divine presence.
O my leader! You are supported by Allah’s pledge on your life, “la a’mruk!”
O my leader! You are Ahmad, Mahmud and Muhammad!
O my leader! You are the chosen sultan from Allah to us.
Another characteristic of the glorious Prophet (peace be upon him) is that he is addressed by Allah in the Qur’an as “O Nabi!”, “O Rasul!”, “O Mudhammil!”, “O Muddathir!”, but not by his proper name. Yet, other prophets were addressed by their proper names such as “O Adam!”, “O Noah!”, “O Abraham!”, “O Moses!”, “O David!”, “O Jesus!”, “O Zakariyya!”, “O John!” In this distinction, we gain yet another measure of the uniqueness of the Prophet (peace be upon him).
Never forget to greet and salute him with salawat and salam! You will need his intercession (shafaah) and mediation on the most frightening day, that is the day of reckoning.
 Carlyle, Thomas, On Heroes, Hero-Worship and the Heroic in History; University of Nebraska Press, 1966.
 Ibn Majah, At’imah 30; al-Hakim, al-Mustadmk, II, 506; al-Tabarani, al-Mu’jam al-Awsat, II, 64.
 Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, VI, 349; Ibn Hibban, al-Sahih, XVI, 187; al-Hakim, al-Mustadrak, III, 48.
 Bukhari, Tamanni 2; Muslim, Zakdt 31; Ibn Majah, Zuhd 8; Ahmad ibn
Hanbal, al-Musnad, II, 256
 Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, II, 298; al-Tabarani, al-Mu’jam al-Kabir, X, 162.
 Tirmidhi, Zuhd 44; Ibn Mâjah, Zuhd 3; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, I, 301.
 Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Kitâb al-Zuhd, p. 53; al-Bayhaqî, Shu’ab al-Îmân, II, 173; Ibn Abî ‘Âsim, Kitâb al-Zuhd, I, 14.
 Ibn Sa’d, al-Tabakât, 1,129; Ibn Hishâm, al-Sirah al-Nabaxviyyahh, 1,133-134; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, I, 190-193; al-Bayhaqî, al-Sunan al-Kubrâ, VI, 367.
 See page 51.
 Tirmidhi, Tafsîr Sûrah 6,1; al-Hâkim, al-Mustadrak, II, 345.
 Bukhârî, Jihâd 102; Muslim, Jihâd 74.
 Muslim, Birr 87; Abu Ya’lâ, al-Musnad, XI, 35.
 Bukhârî, Riqâq 18; Muslim, Munâfiqûn 71-72; Ibn Mâjah, Zuhd 20; Dârimi, Riqâq 24; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, II, 235.