THE CHARACTER TRAITS OF THE PROPHET OF MERCY

Throughout history, the only prophet and person whose life has been recorded in minute detail is Muhammad Mustafa (peace be upon him). His actions, words and feelings have been recorded in their entirety and they have considered as sound historical facts.

His life will be an example for generations to come, up until the final day. In the Surah al-Qalam in the Qur’an, it is said: “And thou (standest) on an exalted standard of character.” (Qur’an, Qalam, 68/4)

He was not only a teacher who taught the Qur’an verbally; he was also a living example who practiced what was written in the Qur’an. Jabir narrates that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

“Allah, the Most High, sent me to perfect good morality.”[1]

When he met the Prophet (peace be upon him) Abdullah ibn Salam, a former Jewish scholar who had converted to Islam, was overwhelmed by the light and the deep meaning he saw in his face. Impressed, he said:

“A person who has such a face cannot be a liar.”[2]

With that awareness, he embraced Islam.

Purity of Soul in the Prophet of Mercy

As mentioned earlier, the Prophet (peace be upon him) is a divine gift and a perfect example for all of humanity. Everyone who is looking for happiness may follow his example to the extent they can. Each and every deed of the Prophet (peace be upon him) is a practical example for those who truly want to live Islam. Furthermore, there are some points that must be taken into consideration relative to the benefits from the Essence of Muhammad:

1. Some deeds can be performed only by a power unique to the prophets. Others cannot imitate them regarding these points. As a matter of fact, even the Prophet (peace be upon him) warned the people around him concerning this issue. For instance, he frequently prayed at nights until his feet were swollen, and he fasted for days without a break.

2. Some of the deeds of the Prophet (peace be upon him) were for him alone: for instance, marrying more than four wives and prohibiting the receipt of charity either for himself or his progeny until the final day.

There is a great lesson to be learned in his immediate distribution of his share from any loot attained during battle. He was careful about this for all his life, up until his last breath:

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) was extremely ill and the time for his union with his Lord was approaching. Once he turned to his wife, Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) and asked her to distribute to the needy the 6-7 dinar which he had with him. A little later, he asked about the dinars. When he learned that Aishah had forgotten to give them out as charity because she had been busy looking after him, he asked for the dinars, took them in his hand and said:

“Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, does not expect to meet his Lord without distributing these to the needy…”

Then he gave them to five needy families of the Helpers (Ansar) in Medina. He said:

“Now I feel comfortable.”[3]

Afterwards, he fell into a light sleep.

Ubaydullah ibn Abbas narrates the following:

“One day, Abu Dharr told me:

‘O my nephew! I will tell you a story.’

Then he told me the following story:

‘Once I was with the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) He held my hand and said:

‘O Abu Dharr! If the mountain of Uhud were to be turned into gold for me, I would spend it on the path of Allah and I would dislike leaving even a qirat[4] of it when I die.’

I said:

“O, Messenger of Allah! Is it a qirat or a qantar[5]that you would not like to leave behind?

He said:

‘O Abu Dharr! I am decreasing, you are increasing. I want the Hereafter, you want this world! I would not leave even a qirat, a qirat, a qirat.’ “

He repeated the word qirat three times.[6]

The sublime state of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) represents the highest criterion. Those who are required to follow it are not obliged to reach to that level. In fact, it would be problematic if the Muslim community attempted to follow each example in an exact and strict manner. Moreover, it is beyond human power. The wisdom behind this concerns only the Prophet.

The deeds that are exclusively related to the person of the Prophet are not limited only to the examples mentioned above. Another example is the regulations concerning the distribution of his material legacy. This is also exclusive to him and does not constitute an example for others to follow.

He said, “We are the prophet, we do not leave material legacy”[7] and he distributed everything he owned. This was not meant to serve as a rule for others to follow.

Likewise, it is known that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “The gift for a believer in this world is poverty.”[8] He was proud of his poverty. This attitude was also exclusively related to his person. It should not be thought that he was encouraging poverty. On the contrary, he also said “The hand which gives is better than the hand which receives.”[9] In this principle, it can be said that he was encouraging people to gain wealth through legal means with the purpose of becoming one who can give.

Thus, the regulations concerning poverty are not to encourage poverty, but to encourage one to be content with the Divine Plan, as well teaching us to rely on and submit to the will of Allah.

3. Living in accordance with the principles of zuhd (divorcing the heart from this world) and taqwa (staying away from doubtful issues) is a virtue of a great character that brings one closer to Allah. Yet, not all members of society can be forced to lead such a life; this is dependent on inherent ability and talent. In so far as all social systems explicitly and implicitly encourage cultural growth, there is no   necessary   conflict  between   cultural   dynamism   and spiritual integrity. Consequently, although zuhd and taqwa deny the pleasures of this world, adherence to them on a communal level need not lead to a deterioration in social dynamism, where spiritually rich communities would thus be superseded by their more worldly enemies. It is a general rule that we must measure our progress on a daily basis, as is expressed in the hadith which states that “the one whose two days remain equal to each other is not of us.”[10] Here we see proof of the fact that this rule does not fall in contradiction with the principles of zuhd and taqwa, which are based on disinterest in mundane pleasures. This is because disinterest in the mundane life is not on the level of practical existence and appearance, but rather on a spiritual and mental level. As Jalaladdin Rumi, (may Allah keep his soul pure), said:

“The meaning of the mundane (dunya) is unawareness of divine presence! It is not about money, women, or dress. Understand this well.”[11]

From this perspective, owning property and being wealthy does not contradict zuhd and taqwa as long as one does not become a spend thrift and give material things a place in the heart. On the other hand, little wealth and money may become idols if love of them enters the heart. From the prophets, the life of Solomon (peace be upon him) and those of the companions, Abu Bakr, Uthman, Talha and Abd ar-Rahman ibn Awf, may Allah be pleased with them all, are excellent examples of this balance.

Occasionally, some appearances of taqwa and zuhd may be due to material necessity rather than a deep disinterest in this world. In such cases, taqwa would be accepting poverty with joy in what was predestined by Allah. However, if instead of accepting it that way, one merely denied the existence of one’s true circumstance, it would be a misinterpretation of taqwa. For instance, although the Prophet sometimes tied a stone to his belly to suppress the feeling of inescapable hunger, his example reveals that the best way of thanksgiving is to share freely with others. This is the most fitting form of sobriety (taqwa) and abstention (zuhd). Hiding one’s wealth and feigning stinginess as piety is a form of deception and thus can never be real.

Examined according to the measures of this perspective, it can be seen that the Prophet was the most pious of human beings. He was living as the poor because of his taqwa. Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said:

“Prophet Muhammad passed away without filling his stomach for two consecutive days with barley bread.”[12]

Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that:

“There were times when the Prophet (peace be upon him) accepted invitations to meals consisting of barley bread and fat that was on the verge of spoiling. In his humility, he freely attended such gatherings. Moreover, he pawned his shield to a Jew. But because of his donations and gifts, he was unable to redeem it.”[13]

Nevertheless, the Prophet (peace be upon him) prohibited self-deprivation from halal food and drinks on the grounds of piety. He ate and drank what was halal. Yet, at the same time, he did not fill his stomach merely because the food was halal. Furthermore, he said to a man who was belching in his presence:  “Stop belching! Those who fill their stomachs excessively in this world are the ones who will suffer hunger longer.”[14]

Another hadith states that:

“No one has filled a container more risky than his stomach. Indeed, a few bites are sufficient for a person to keep himself standing. If he has to eat more, he should reserve one third for food, one third for drink and one third for easy breathing.”[15]

This is the middle way in eating and drinking.

This constitutes a system of extraordinary measures aimed at controlling greed in human beings. From this perspective, the school of the Prophet (peace be upon him) educated the poor and the rich alike, including statesmen from different ranks of society, in the best way, with the best content, and their hearts gained happiness to the extent that they obeyed him. In this prophetic school, there were many rich people who lived humbly as if they were poor, and many poor people who lived gratefully before Allah as if they were rich. Many wealthy people and statesmen who worked continuously for charity were educated in that school. In Islamic history, the stories of caliphs who carried food on their backs to the poor, and cooked meals for them are well known.[16] The trial of Fatih Sultan Mehmed that arose from a complaint made by a Greek architect and his respect for the court’s decision in favor of the dhimmis (non-Muslim subjects of the state) is just one of the manifestations of blessings and mercy for humanity arising from the Prophet’s school of taqwa.

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) defined zuhd in an excellent way:

Zuhd towards this world is not making haram what is halal, nor is it abandoning wealth. But zuhd towards this world is reliance on what is in the hand of Allah more than relying on what is in your hand and during a time of affliction, it is to hoping for the reward of endurance.”[17] In his zuhd and contentment, the Prophet (peace be upon him) is eternally the best example for all of humanity. Zuhd is what brings a splendid life and happiness to one’s heart and body by controlling excessive desires towards mundane pleasures, by not being deceived by transient worldly joys, by not letting this world occupy one’s heart, by not loving things other than Allah and his Prophet, by abandoning what takes away from worship and gives no benefit in the Hereafter. Conversely, loving this world is a disaster full of pain and anxiety that exhausts the energy of the heart and the body. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said,

Zuhd towards this world brings comfort to the heart and body. Love of the world increases sorrow and pain…”[18]Another hadith expresses the following advice: “Show disinterest towards this world and Allah will like you; show disinterest in what is in the hands of people and people will like you!…”[19]

Zuhd is first among the measures that are recommended to take against the dangers of this world. A hadith states that:

“White is not superior over black. No race is superior over another. Superiority is only through taqwa.”[20]

He also said:

“The revelation did not command me to accumulate wealth, nor to become a merchant. It was revealed to me ’to spread the glory of your Lord, to be among those who prostrate to Allah and serve him.’”[21]

Another hadith gives the following advice:

“When you stand for salat, pray as if it is your last salat. Do not say anything you will regret tomorrow. Do not desire what people heedlessly desire.”[22]

Once he was asked:

“Who is the most perfect human?”

He replied:

“The pure ones are those who clean themselves from sin, doubt, cheating, lying and jealousy.”[23]

Prophet Muhammad was very careful about what was halal and haram. He also distanced himself from doubtful matters. Once, his grandson, Hasan, who was at that time a small child, was sitting in the masjid and watching how the dates for zakat were being distributed. Suddenly he put one of the dates in his mouth. The Prophet (peace be upon him) immediately warned him:

“Throw it away! Throw it away! Throw the date away! Do you not know we do not eat charity?” He made his young grandchild throw the date from his mouth to the floor.[24]

Mawlana Jalaluddin Rumi, (may Allah keep his soul pure), says about halal food:

“Bites are like seeds. Their fruit is thought/ideas and intentions.”

“The food that brings you greater desire and motivation for, and pleasure from, worship and submission is halal; and the food that brings you laziness towards worship and submission to Allah and hardens your heart is haram.”

“Increase the number of halal bites in your life! Stay away from the haram and doubtful bites so that you can get the taste of worship and obedience to Allah and reach contentment and concentration of heart.”[25]

Allah the Most High says in the Qur’an: “Successful indeed are the believers who are humble in their prayers.” (Qur’an, Mu’minun, 23/1-2)

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The prevailing view in our society is that religion is a system of beliefs whose only aim is to bring happiness in the Hereafter. Yet, religion is not an institution with the sole purpose of acquiring happiness in the Hereafter; it also aims at creating an environment of tranquility and security for humans by bringing order to social life.

One night, Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, was as usual, walking the streets of Medina. Suddenly, he stopped because he had unintentionally overheard a conversation between a mother and a daughter. The conversation attracted his attention. The mother was saying to her daughter:

“Put some water in the milk we are selling tomorrow.”

The daughter said:

“Mother! Have not you heard that the Caliph has forbidden diluting the milk?”

The mother got angry and raised her voice:

“Daughter! How do you think the Caliph will know at this hour of the night that we have diluted the milk?”

The daughter, whose heart was alive with respect for God, was not comfortable with the deception her mother had proposed. She continued to object:

“Mother! Let us accept that the Caliph does not see, how about Allah? Do you think He does not see either? It is easy to hide this deception from people, but it is impossible to hide it from Allah who sees and hears everything.”

Allah be pleased with her. Amir al-Mu’minin, the Leader of the Believers, realized that although she was an ordinary girl, she had an exceptional God-consciousness. He wanted her to be his daughter-in-law and married her to his son. From this pure chain came Umar ibn Abdulaziz, who is considered the fifth rightly guided caliph.

This incident demonstrates that respecting the borders of halal is sufficient to bring happiness and to elevate humans to the level of perfection. In contrast, being discontent with the halal, a boundless category and getting involved in what is haram or doubtful is not appropriate for a servant. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said about doubtful matters, which are not clearly discernable, whether they are haram or not:

“Leave what your heart doubts and adopt that about which it has no doubts.”[26]

Yet, it would not be correct to misinterpret the principle by going to the extreme of staying away even from halal things, or by creating confusion about halal matters.

Islam requires balance and following the middle way in this issue, as it does in all issues. The purpose of Islam is not to impose limits on humans; on the contrary, its goal is to make them live in tranquility, happiness and stability. The secret of this is achieved by restoring the peace of the heart, from which all beauty springs. This is possible by hearing, feeling and applying the deep and refined attributes of the heart of the Prophet (peace be upon him).

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Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was without sin. Yet he continued to pray at night until his feet were swollen and he continued to recite the Qur’an until he became exhausted. He loved, thanked, feared and remembered Allah more than anyone else.

Salat is the union of the servant with his Lord. It is going up to the divine presence. It is a source of endless pleasure for the lovers of Allah. Servants perform voluntary worship with the purpose of maintaining the pleasure of worship.

There is submission in the salat. This is the reason why the ego dislikes it. Only this characteristic is sufficient to show that Islam is a true religion and that salat is the highest form of worship.

Those who are overcome by their ego do not approach salat, while those who cannot pass the obstacle of their ego stick to the form of salat. The real salat is a blessing given to only a few people.

The Messenger of Allah expressed this truth as follows: “Two people may make salat in the same place, but the difference between them is like the difference between the Earth and the sky.”[27]

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The fast of the Light of Existence is also an excellent example for his community, the Ummah.

Prophet Muhammad for the most part began fasting when he was hungry. Sometimes he fasted for consecutive days without a meal at night. When his companions also wanted to do the same, he said to them:

“You have no power to do it the way I do.” [28]

Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him and his father, narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to spend a few consecutive nights hungry, while his household, also, could not find anything to eat. Even when they ate, their meal was only barley bread.[29]

Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that one day our Mother Fatimah brought some bread she had cooked to the Prophet (peace be upon him). He asked:

“What is this?”

Fatimah replied:

“A nice kind of bread I cooked, I could not eat without offering some to you.”

The Pride of the World said:

“This is the first bite your father will have had for the last three days.”

According to Abu Hurayra, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) at times, used to tie a stone to his belly to suppress the feeling of hunger.[30]

The high value of fasting comes from its purpose, which is the struggle against the “nafs” and controlling it with a continuous feeling of worship.

The pilgrimage is, on the other hand, intended to give a lesson in tawakkul, reliance on the God of Abraham and Ishmael (peace be on them), to stone the internal enemy, which is called “nafs”, and the external enemy, which is called “shaytan”; to leave behind all class differences by dressing in a shroud-like cloth and seeking refuge in the Creator; to be thrilled by becoming aware of the frightful scene of the Day of Resurrection, to bring together foreign communities of Muslims from afar; and to establish a brotherhood of faith.

What an excellent example is the Farewell Pilgrimage and Sermon of the Prophet (peace be upon him) for the pilgrimages his community will make up until the Last Day!

In his Last Sermon, the Prophet (peace be upon him) made a “distribution of love”. The major lines of the rights between Muslims were outlined by “the cement of love”.

The rituals of the pilgrimage turn one’s eyes to the spiritual life; this refined worship is full of manifestations of love, which is tender and merciful, such as the prohibition of hunting, of picking a green leaf or of hurting a creature of Allah.

Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, gave up kissing the Black Stone, al-Hagar al-Aswad as he was concerned about disturbing other Muslims.

These deeds and states of mind during the pilgrimage bring one face to face with self-questioning and are reflected in the future lives of the people involved. The only goal of all these activities is to grow closer to Allah, the Most High.

The sacred places where the pilgrimage is performed are the spiritual environs of a sublime world.

Arafat is a place of forgiveness and refuge.

Muzdalifa is the place of the manifestation of mercy, a place mentioned in the Qur’an as al-Mash’ar al-Haram.[31]

Mina is a place of submission to and reliance on Allah where Abraham, Ishmael, and our mother Hagar triumphed over Shaytan.

The Ka’bah is the direction in which we face for salat, which was ordered by Allah, the Most High, in the Qur’an: “But prostrate thyself, and draw near (unto Allah).” (Qur’an, Alaq, 96/19) At the same time, it is the point to which all Muslims around the world turn their face in salat. That is, it is the place where the pulse of the Muslim world is felt.

The City of the Prophet (peace be upon him), which we visit after Mecca, is a place where the heart reaches high levels after being ornamented with the designs of love. The Prophet (peace be upon him) is the only one who was addressed by Allah as “beloved”.

According to Imam Malik, the place housing the grave of the Prophet is one of the most blessed places in the world after the Ka’bah. This is because he was the guide of all humanity.

This blessed land has been nourished by the spirituality of the faithful since the time of Adam and is watered by their tears. These places, which have been the fountains of the inspirations of the prophets, are full of invaluable memories in the history of the prophets.

Briefly put, the performance of Hajj is a comprehensive worship, which as an obligation leads a person to the perfection of religion.

Hajj is a worship through which one’s soul regains tranquility, original climate, color and identity. It is full of spiritual manifestations where the heart becomes cleansed and purified by the rain of spiritual blessings and reaches it’s the truth.

Zakat is a religious tax imposed on those who own enough to make it necessary for them to give to the needy. This is necessary to make the remaining wealth halal for the owner. Wealth is gradually transferred in parts to the needy in society. This distribution of wealth allows for the establishment of social balance, justice and harmony.

What is taken into consideration in zakat is not one’s annual income, but one’s accumulated wealth. Consequently, any money or goods not used in investment will gradually vanish. In this way Islam provides an impetus for society to mobilize all the wealth from property and finance.

The wisdom behind zakat and charity is to provide an effective solution to the endless growth of personal wealth that may eventually become a chronic tumor. Zakat is a means by which the relationship of sincerity and love grows between the one who gives zakat and the one who receives it. In other words, zakat is the right of the poor on the wealthy, a situation that strengthens mutual love. In the Qur’an, this is described as follows:

“And in their wealth and possessions (was remembered) the right of the (needy,) him who asked, and him who (for some reason) was prevented (from asking).” (Qur’an, Zariyat, 51/19)

Adab (Islamic etiquette) is very important. The one who gives must feel thankful to the one who takes because the needy allow the rich to fulfill an obligatory worship and to gain rewards from Allah. Charity given for the sake of Allah is at the same time a shelter against illnesses and other troubles. The Qur’an draws our attention to the importance of giving zakat and charity by stating that, “He receives their gifts of charity.” (Tawba, 104) Similarly, a hadith also declares, “Charity reaches first the hand of Allah, then the hand of the poor.”[32]

When giving charity, it is essential to avoid arrogance, conceit, disdain, and showing off. Otherwise, what is given will not reach the hand of Allah, but instead will be wasted in the hands of transient beings and eventually nothing would reach the Next World. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) led an exemplary life with respect to abstention from worldly pleasures and with respect to giving charity. Our Mother Aishah said:

“Two dishes never entered at the same time the stomach of the Messenger of Allah in one day. When he ate meat, he did not eat anything else. Likewise, when he ate dates or bread, he did not add anything to them.”[33]

Abu Nadr narrates the following:

“I heard that Our Mother Aishah said:

‘One day we were sitting with the Messenger of Allah. My father, Abu Bakr, offered us a leg of lamb. In the darkness of the night, we were trying to cut the meat. One said: ‘Do you not have a candle or light?’ I said: ‘If we had oil, we would have eaten it.’[34]

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) loved very much to give charity. Once he said to Bilal:

“O Bilal! Give to charity! Do not be afraid that the owner of the Throne will decrease your wealth because of giving charity.”[35]

Therefore, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) was never interested in accumulating wealth. This was because he had made the intention to pass his life as a “servant prophet”, as is explained in the following hadith:

“I was given the choice between being a servant prophet or a king prophet. The Archangel hinted to me to keep myself humble. Therefore, I chose to be a servant prophet and expressed my wish “to be one day satiated and one day hungry.”[36]

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) refused to enter the house of his daughter Fatimah (may Allah be pleased with her) because she had decorated her home, and he said to her:

“It would not be appropriate for us to enter decorated places.”[37]

Yet, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) did not praise himself because of the highly pious life he was leading. He used to count the blessings of Allah on him while showing extreme humility by saying “la fakhr[38], (no pride).

The Humility of the Prophet of Mercy

Extreme praise and appreciation by others usually leads one to arrogance. These two situations corrupt and spoil most people. Although Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was the best of humanity and praised by Allah, he made the following request of his companions:

“Call me ‘the servant and messenger of Allah’.”[39]

Abu Usamah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that:

‘The speech of the Prophet (peace be upon him) was derived from the Qur’an. He continuously made dhikr and kept his speeches short while keeping his salat long. He never felt ashamed of walking along with a poor or needy person; on the contrary, he took pleasure from doing so.”[40]

Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that:

“The Prophet (peace be upon him) made dhikr very often. He joked very little. He rode a donkey, wore cloth made of rough wool, accepted the invitations of the slaves, visited the ill and attended funeral services. You should have seen him on the day the castle of Khaibar was conquered, when he was riding a donkey with a halter made of date leaves. The more God blessed him with triumph, the more humble and grateful he became.”[41]

Jarir (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated the following:

“A man came into the presence of the Prophet (peace be upon him) on the day Mecca was conquered. The man started shaking as he saw the spiritual and physical grandeur of the Prophet, (peace be upon him). When the Prophet (peace be upon him) saw him in that position, he said to the man with a soft voice:

“Relax, do not feel distressed! I am not a king. I am the son of a woman from the tribe of Quraysh who used to eat sun-dried meat.”[42]

Amir ibn Rabi’a (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that:

“One day, I was going to the mosque with the Prophet. The lace of his shoe broke on the way. I wanted to take it to repair it. The Messenger of Allah refused to give it to me and said:

‘This is self-preference (that is keeping oneself above others), I dislike self-preference’.”[43]

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) gave guidance to all of humanity so that they could attain eternal happiness. This was a gift from him, because he did not ask anything in return for the great service he had provided to others.

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The purpose of religion is to raise good, refined humans, with deep understanding and feeling. This happens through developing a consciousness of the worship of Allah. This maturity is reached through the excitement that takes place in the heart as described in the following verse:

“For, Believers are those who, when Allah is mentioned, feel a tremor in their hearts, and when they hear His revelation rehearsed, find their faith strengthened, and put (all) their trust in their Lord.” (Qur’an, Anfal, 8/2)

The Arabic word for human is “insan” which is related to “nisyan” (forgetting) and “uns” (friendship). The opposite of “nisyan” is “dhikr” (remembrance), which is repeated in the Qur’an more than 250 times. If the essence of dhikr is established at the center of the heart, this heart begins to know and worship Allah. Lovers never forget their beloveds.

They always keep them in their hearts and on their tongues. The hearts that desire to enjoy a faithful life maintain ceaseless dhikr. They are immersed in thoughts about the creation of the Earth and the skies by Allah while they are walking, sitting or lying down, as illustrated in the following Qur’anic verse:

“Men who remember Allah standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and contemplate the (wonders) of creation in the heavens and the earth, (by saying): ‘Our Lord not for naught hast thou created (all) this! Glory to Thee! Give us salvation from the Chastisement of the Fire’.” (Qur’an, Ali Imran, 3/191)

A heart without such depth and refinement would not desire Allah the Most High as described in the verse below:

“Woe to those whose hearts are hardened against the remembrance.” (Qur’an, Zumar, 39/22) This verse indicates that the humans who fall away from dhikr lose the honor of being  human.

Humans carry the quality of being worshipers. So, they either worship material things and interests or their Lord. To worship the Lord protects humans from becoming slaves to personal interests and material things.

Allah, the Most High, warns against this in the following verse:

“Hast thou seen him who maketh his desire his god?” (Qur’an, Jathiya, 45/23)

Nourishing long term desires and plans in one’s mind to be realized in the distant future, plans that belong exclusively to this world and not to the next world, will lead one to a bitter end. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“Be aware! Do not let your desires and future plans increase to such a degree that they make you forget your death! Otherwise your hearts get hardened. Open your eyes! What is going to come is very near!”[44]

Salman al-Farisi who benefited greatly from the advice of the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Three things make me laugh while three things make me cry.” He explained that one of the things that surprised him and made him laugh was the person who makes long-term plans although death is awaiting him.

The Prophet (peace be upon him), also said: “Even though all the powers of an aged person weaken, his greed and desires concerning the distant future (tul al-amal) remain ever young.”[45] The above hadith illustrates that greed and desires for the distant future are two handicaps from which no human heart is saved. Even if bodies weaken and age, humans desire to remain young, because their souls have the quality of immortality. Consequently, humans always want to remain young and regret losing their youth as they get old. As a result, they are enslaved by an endless greed.

As is the case of dry soil soaking up the rainwater that falls on it, the human ego aims to absorb all worldly pleasures in itself. However, humans do not return the favor, as the earth does to the rain by producing fruit. In their failure to return the fruit of charity their hearts are hardened for lack of integrity and slavery to earthly interests.

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The purpose of bad qualities in creation is to facilitate the testing of humans. For this reason, the verse below in the Qur’an states, “By the Soul, and the proportion and order given to it; and its inspiration as to its wrong and its rights; truly he succeeds that purifies it, and he fails that corrupts it.” (Qur’an, Shams, 91/7-10)

The high rank of humans, who have been created with incomprehensible complexity and immeasurable depth, is realized by obeying Allah alone and by spending their lives protecting their hearts from evil.

The raid of Tabuk was full of challenges. The companions traveled hundreds of kilometers and turned back home. As they approached Medina, even their appearance began to change because of hunger; their skin stuck to their bones, their hair and beard had become unruly. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Now, we are going from a small war to a big war!..” The companions asked with great surprise: “O the Messenger of Allah! Is there a war more difficult than the one we just had?” Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Now we are returning to the Great War (the war against ego, nafs)…”[46]

The war against the ego is taught through the education and the training of the heart. The purpose of this war is to elevate morality and help humans to reach the level of perfection; al-insan al-kamil.

This secret can only be unveiled through the truth emanating from Muhammad (peace be upon him). If a human cannot discover the reason behind the creation of this world, it will swallow him. The one who is unaware of the reason why they have come to this world leads a life without knowing the sacred structure of humans. Nor will he comprehend the divine purpose in the creation of humanity. He will fail to comprehend what it means to be a vicegerent of Allah on tehe Earth. Yet those who strive to become a vicegerent of Allah on the Earth will become the seeing eye of the Lord and his hearing ear.[47]Their aim in life is union with Allah.

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In this world, some things may not be able to be explained completely by the human intellect alone. Even our words of explanation need to be explained by other words. While trying to explain what is inexplicable through vague means, are we not forgetting that the most inexplicable reality transcending the reach of the intellect is in fact Allah? Allah is the only and the absolute explanation of this world. We can know him only to the extent that we gain love and wisdom, and only to the extent that we submit.

The intellect is limited. We can only have access beyond the limit of the intellect, where the secrets of the world lie, through the heart. Abraham (peace be upon him) expressed this as follows. He said: “I have surrendered to the Lord of the Worlds.” (Qur’an, Baqara, 2/131)

Imam Ghazzali related his experience concerning this question as follows: “I stretched my intellect to such an extent that it was about to snap. I came to realize that it is limited. It cannot go to the ultimate point alone. I experienced a kind of insanity and I almost lost my mind. Eventually, I sought refuge in the spiritual blessing of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him). Everything became clear. I discovered the secret and was saved.”’[48]

Likewise, Abraham (peace be upon him) also said: “I will go to my Lord! He will surely guide me!” (Qur’an, Saffat, 37/99)

Similarly, Mawlana Jalaluddin Rumi also explained the limit of reason as follows: “Reason takes the patient to the doctor. After that, one needs to submit to the doctor.”[49]

In brief, what we are saying here is that the secrets of the Prophets are beyond the comprehension of human reason.

Courtesy, Compassion and Altruism in the Life of the Prophet of Mercy

According to the reports of countless numbers of the companions, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was the best of all humans in morality andcourtesy. He was always smiling. There was a shining brightness and light that emanated from his face.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) had such a refined heart that one day when he saw a man spit on the ground, his blessed face became red and he stooped. The companions rushed and covered the spit. Then the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) continued on his way.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) stated that clean dress is an indication of a Muslim’s high value in the presence of Allah. He advised wearing white. He preferred a white colored shroud. This is because, he explained, it is cleaner, more beautiful and more blessed. The Messenger of Allah, who ordered tidy dress and disliked unruly clothes, did not approve of untrimmed hair and beards either. For instance, once a man with his hair and beard untrimmed and uncombed came to the Mosque of the Prophet. By pointing with his hand, he gave the man the message to take care of his beard and hair. The man did so and the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Is not this look nicer than the look of one like the devil with messy hair and beard?”[50]

One day, the Prophet (peace be upon him) saw another man with messy hair and beard. In surprise, he asked: “Why does this man not wash and comb his hair?”[51]

Umar ibn Hattab (may Allah be pleased with him) related that:

“A rude Bedouin called on Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) three times. Each time, the Prophet (peace be upon him) remained courteous to him despite his rudeness and responded to him by saying, ‘welcome, please’.’”[52] He was extremely disturbed by messy appearances because of the sensitiveness and depth of his soul.

Another time, he said to a man who came to him dressed untidily:

“Do you have money? What is your financial situation?” When the man told him that he was well off, he said to the man: “If Allah gave you wealth, let its signs appear on you!”[53]

In another hadith, he said: “Allah is pleased by seeing the signs of wealth he has given to his servant.”[54] These incidents illustrate beautifully how purity of heart and external aesthetics complement each other in Islam.

To protect oneself from arrogance and showing off, a Muslim who wears new clothes must be aware that this is a gift from Allah and pray in the manner the Prophet (peace be upon him) did:

“I thank Allah who dressed me in these clothes even though I had no power to do so. O Allah! I ask for abundant blessings through this dress and the work I do while dressed in it. I seek refuge in you from the evil of this dress and the evil work which may done in it…”[55] By praying so, the Prophet (peace be upon him) expressed his wish to use everything in the path of Allah.

Similarly, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) warned against hellfire by explaining that those who dress up with an arrogant, to show off and for self-love will wear a dress of shame on the last day.

Abdullah ibn Amr, (may Allah be pleased with him), narrated that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) never used the bad expressions commonly used in daily language. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “the little matters of courtesy that look easy to you, those which you take lightly, will be very important on the Day of Judgment”.[56]

Once Abu Dharr al-Ghifari called Bilal “the son of a black woman.” When the Prophet (peace be upon him) heard that, he said to Abu Dharr al-Ghifari: “O Abu Dharr! You are indeed someone who is still carrying traces of the time of ignorance, the Jahliyya.”[57]

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) served his guests personally, out of courtesy. He did not violate the rules of courtesy even when he was a child. He was known for his compassion and closeness to the needy, the orphans, the widows and the people who had no relatives to assist them.[58]

Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “I served Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) for ten years. He never reprimanded me by asking, ‘Why did you do that?’ when I made mistakes.”[59]

His mercy reached even the captives of war. He ordered their good treatment.

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The mercy of the Prophet (peace be upon him) encompassed all creatures. When he saw a child, happiness covered his face and he took the children of his companions in his arms and patted them. He never failed to greet the children, showed them affection and joking with them. Once he saw a group of children who were racing. He joined them and raced with them.

He, who was sent as a mercy to the worlds, took children on his camel when he came across them on the way and paid attention to them. Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) described his conduct as follows: “I have not seen anyone who respected the rights of his family and children more than the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him).”[60]

Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated that once, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was playing with his grandchildren. A Bedouin came in. The Bedouin was surprised when he saw the scene. He asked: “O Messenger of Allah! Do you kiss the children? We never kiss our children. Nor do we play with them.” Our Guide (peace be upon him) said to him:

“If Allah has removed the compassion and mercy from your heart, what can I do for you?”[61] This expression illustrates best the position of Islam on the treatment of children.

Prophet Muhammad put Zayd’s son Usamah, and his grandson, Hasan, on his knees and while hugging them, he said: “O my Lord! Give mercy and happiness to these! Because I wish happiness and mercy for them.”[62] He also prohibited cursing children. These are some of the signs of his endless mercy for children.

If a baby cried while his/her mother was praying, he permitted the mother to shorten her salat in order to prevent the child from crying until she returned.[63] He prayed all night long, shedding tears for his community, the Ummah.[64]He sacrificed all his life to save humanity from the hellfire.[65] These are some indications of his deep mercy.

His Exemplary Conduct with People

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) was the perfect example to follow, not only with his words, but more importantly, with his actions. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) was a perfect example for people in all walks of life. He treated everyone with respect. His mercy, which encompassed all creatures, was endless. He did not withhold his tenderness or generous conduct, even from non-Muslims.

Jabir ibn Abdullah narrated, “One day, people were carrying a corpse. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) stood up. We also did so. Later, we said:

OMessenger of Allah! It was the corpse of a Jew!”

He responded:

“Is he not also a human?”[66]

He had a divine mercy, a manifestation of the divine name al-Rahman, who embraced the whole world. His life was an embodiment of the principle “love creatures for the sake of the Creator.”

One day, the companions, as a result of pressures put on them by non-Muslims, asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) to make a prayer condemning the enemies of Islam. In response, the Prophet said:

“I did not come for condemnation; I came as a mercy.”[67]

The prayer he made against his fiercest enemies was as follows: “O my Lord! They know not! Give them guidance!”[68]

Abdullah Ibn Ubayy was the secret chief of the hypocrites in Medina. He betrayed the Prophet (peace be upon him) on a very critical day by leaving the Muslim army with his followers on the way to the battle of Uhud. Also, he betrayed the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the community of believers on many other occasions.

As a result of hidden divine wisdom, Abdullah’s son, unlike his father, was a most sincere believer. When Abdullah ibn Ubayy died, his son came to the Prophet and asked for his shirt to wrap his father’s corpse in, with the hope that he might receive some blessing from it. The Prophet (peace be upon him) did not break the heart of his companion and gave him his shirt to be used in covering the corpse of a hypocrite who had also been a protagonist in the incident of Ifk where the blessed wife of the Prophet, Aishah was slandered.[69]

Is it possible to find a parallel example of humanity and kindness in world history?

Muhammad (peace be upon him) was the most excellent example of mercy. Once in salat, he heard a Bedouin praying, “O my Lord! Bless Muhammad and me alone, but not others!” After the salat, the Prophet said to him: “You are narrowing that which is great.”[70]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) was not a human being who belonged exclusively to his time and the people living around him. He stood at a point where he could unite all of humanity under the banner of love, mercy and happiness, by merging them in the light of Islam and by transforming the environment of hardened hearts, of bigotry and of racism. The success he showed in this regard is the brightest page of human history.

From this perspective, he became the best educator for all of humanity as a consequence of the blessed divine education he had received. The oppressors, who buried their daughters alive and treated their slaves in a merciless way, found guidance under the dome of his mercy. This education was so effective that some of these people gained enough integrity and virtue to become the most distinguished people in the world.

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Our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) assisted all people without discrimination and according to their needs. The following incident reflects this.

One day a Bedouin came to him for help. He gave him everything he had with him, and asked: “Does this satisfy you?”

The Bedouin, who had little courtesy, said: “No! You did not give me enough!”

Then, some of the companions got angry with him because of his rudeness and wanted to reprimand him. The Prophet (peace be upon him), however, stopped them from doing so. He took the Bedouin with him and went to his home. He gave some more charity to the Bedouin and asked:

“Could this please you?”

The Bedouin was happy this time. He said: “Yes! May Allah give you abundant blessings on behalf of me, my family and my relatives!”

Then, the Prophet (peace be upon him), wanting to remove the negative feeling between the Bedouin and his companions, said to him:

“You said what you said in the beginning because you thought what we gave was too little for you. For this reason, my companions may have developed some negative feelings towards you. When we return to them, repeat what you just said so that the negative feelings in their hearts will vanish.”

When they came back to the place where the companions were, the Bedouin turned to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and said to him: “May Allah give you abundant blessings on behalf of me, my family and my relatives!”

After the Bedouin left, the Prophet (peace be upon him) turned to his companions and said to them: “The incident which has taken place between me and this Bedouin resembles that of the person who had a camel that escaped. When a crowd of people ran after the camel to catch it, it became more frightened. Then the owner of the camel called the crowd: “Please leave me and my camel alone! I know it better than you and I treat it better than you do.” He walked alone towards his camel. He collected some dates from the ground and gave them to the camel. The camel came to him and followed him. He put the packsaddle on the camel, mounted it and left riding it. Similarly, if I had listened to you when the Bedouin said what he said, the miserable Bedouin would have gone to the hellfire.”[71]

This statement is important with respect to the messages it contains regarding human education. It is necessary to take the psychology of human beings into consideration. Then the paths leading to the heart of the person can be discovered.

One should try to reach his goal by proceeding along these paths. Otherwise, one’s attempt to educate will be counterproductive and increase any pre-existing adversity.

Another lesson we may learn from this incident is as follows: humans are overcome by kindness and generosity because they have been created weak. The person who is treated generously becomes less of an enemy if they are already an enemy; if they are neither an enemy or a friend then they become a friend; if they are already a friend, then they become a closer friend.

Our ancestors said: “The hospitality of even a cup of coffee is remembered with gratitude for forty years.”

The Courtesy of the Prophet of Mercy towards the Needy

The Prophet (peace be upon him) behaved with compassion towards the needy in order to compensate for their shortage of material wealth. Abdullah ibn Amr narrated the following story:

“One day, the Prophet (peace be upon him) came to the masjid. The poor were sitting to one side. He went and sat among them to honor them. He chatted with them and said: ‘Good tidings to the poor Immigrants! They will enter the gardens of Paradise forty years earlier than the rich. The reckoning of the poor on the Day of Judgment will end sooner than that of the rich because they do not have money and property’.”[72]

Frequently, The Prophet (peace be upon him) made the following prayer because of his concern about the heavy responsibility of reckoning in the Hereafter:

“Omy Lord! Make me live as the poor. Let me die as the poor. Resurrect me among the poor.”[73]

All Prophets will go the Paradise. Yet, each one will be questioned about the bountiful blessings given to them and the message they were entrusted to convey to their communities. The following verse from the Qur’an explains that everyone, including the Prophets, will be questioned: “Then shall we question those to whom Our Message was sent and those to whom we sent it.” (Qur’an, Araf, 7/6)

For instance, the Prophet Solomon (peace be upon him) will enter Paradise after all the other Prophets because he was given wealth and kingship; as a consequence his questioning will be longer.

There were the rich among the companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) as well. They gained the praise of the Prophet by not sparing their wealth or lives in the path of Allah. Furthermore, Allah also gave them good tidings in the following verse: “Allah hath purchased of the Believers their person and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the Garden (of Paradise): They fight in His cause, and slay and are slain: A promise binding on Him in Truth, through the Torah, the Gospel, and the Qur’an: And who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? Then rejoice in the bargain which ye have concluded; that is the achievement supreme.” (Qur’an, Tawba, 9/111)

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One of the wealthy was the closest friend of the Prophet, Abu Bakr, who, despite his wealth, led a most humble life. He was described by Allah in the Qur’an as the “second of the two.” He occupied a respected place among the tradesmen of the Quraysh. According to Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her), he also did not leave a dirham (silver money) nor a dinar (gold money) when he passed away. He bequeathed only a camel and a slave who knew how to make swords. In his will to his daughter, he stressed that this slave was to be given to Umar, the next Caliph after him. He used his wealth in the most beneficial way, by putting it in the service of the Messenger of Allah, spending his money in the Cause of Truth. Particularly, in the first years of Islam, which was the most challenging time, he purchased and freed Muslim slaves who were being tortured by their disbelieving owners for accepting Islam.

His wealth did not prevent him from abstention, or zuhd, from worldly pleasures. On the contrary, by using his wealth appropriately, he became one of the prime examples of how to lead a life of abstention in spite of one’s wealth. For this reason, the Messenger of Allah showed regard for his wealth and said about him:

“We paid back all the favors we received from the people except those from Abu Bakr. The place of his favor to us is so huge that Allah will reward him for that on the Day of Judgment. I did not benefit from the wealth of anyone more than the wealth of Abu Bakr. If I were to choose an intimate friend, I would choose Abu Bakr.”[74]

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The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

“Humans are equal like the teeth of a comb with the exception of piety, where they differ.”[75]

The blessed companions once had been divided along tribal lines, for racial reasons, as master and slave, and as rich and poor. They had been fragmented into classes and had been ready to shed each other’s blood. Yet, after they were honored by accepting Islam, they lived in a climate of legendary brotherhood under the abundant blessing of the sublime principle stated in this hadith.

The following incident will make this situation clearer. After conquering Mecca, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) decided to attack Byzantium for a second time. He assigned Zayd’s son, Usamah, as the commander of the army. Usamah was only twenty-one years old and the son of a freed slave. The departure of the army was delayed because of the demise of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Yet the new Caliph, Abu Bakr, ordered the army to proceed as planned by the Prophet before his departure from this world. Some of the great companions of the Prophet and some of the nobility of the Quraysh walked behind this young commander, a twenty-year boy. Even Abu Bakr, in spite of being the Caliph, accompanied him until the end of Medina, and strikingly, on foot. Usamah got off his horse and invited Abu Bakr to ride it. Yet, he responded as follows:

 “O Usamah! The Messenger of Allah assigned you. Let my feet gain some dust in the path of Allah!”[76]

As we see, those who were gifted by the divine honor of being raised at the blessed hands of the Prophet (peace be upon him) were never discriminated against with such titles as slave, poor, rich, master, young, old, etc. These terms were rejected and instead any believer was free to ascend to a high level, dependent only on his sincerity and spiritual merit.

Ma’rur ibn Suwayd told the following story:

“I saw Abu Dharr with a new garment. His slave was also dressed the same way. I asked him the reason. He related that the Prophet (peace be upon him) had said:

‘Slaves are your brothers entrusted by Allah to your service. If one of you has his brother under his service, let him feed his brother from his own food, and dress him from his own kind. Do not give him responsibility for things beyond his power. If you do so, help them.’ “[77]

One day, the Messenger of Allah, remembered a black slave and asked about him:

“What has happened to that person? I have not seen him for a while.”

“He died, O Messenger of Allah,” they responded. The Prophet (peace be upon him) reprimanded them: “Why didn’t you let me know?”

The companions then told him what had happened to that slave. They had not considered the incident very important and thought it was a usual event. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Show me his grave!”

Then he went to his grave and prayed the funeral prayer.[78]

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) took a special pleasure from freeing slaves and elevating them to the level of other people. The best example of this was his relationship with Zayd ibn Haritha, who was a gift to him from our blessed mother, Khadija. He freed Zayd and gave him the right to choose between him and his parents. Zayd chose the Prophet (peace be upon him) though he was passing through a difficult time, facing torture and negative propaganda of the Quraysh against him. Later, this companion reached so high a level among the companions that the Prophet (peace be upon him) assigned him as the commander of the army in the war of Tabuk against the Byzantines. He reached the level of martyr in this war and bequeathed to the following generations a brilliant life, like a star.[79] Briefly put, his life was like the life of Prophet Joseph (peace be upon him) who was elevated from slavery to kingship.

The Messenger of Allah never agreed with the abuse of slaves. He said that:

“Those who abuse their slaves cannot enter Paradise.”[80]

The mercy of the Prophet (peace be upon him) toward the slaves reached such a level that he refused to refer to them as “slave” or “maid”, instead he advised and commanded Muslims to refer to them as “my son” or “my daughter”.[81]

He himself used to go among the slaves, talk to them, visit those who were ill among them, accept their invitations, and attend their funeral services.

Abu Davud relates that the following were the last words of the Prophet (peace be upon him): “Pay great attention to salat! Fear Allah for the slaves you own!” (Abu Davud, Adab, 124)

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All of the companions aimed to completely internalize the perfect manners of the Prophet. The following incident reflects the feelings of loyalty and generosity Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) had. Aslam, one of the companions, related:

“One day, I went to the market place with Umar ibn al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him). A young woman approached Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) from behind and said to him:

‘Oh, Amir of the Believers! My husband died and left some children. By God, they cannot do anything. They cannot even take care of themselves. They have no land to cultivate, nor an animal to milk. I am afraid that poverty and hunger will finish their life like a wild animal. I am the daughter of Huffaf ibn Ayma al-Ghifari. My father was present at the Hudaybiya Agreement…’

When Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) heard these words, he said: ‘Such a great honor!’

Then he went to the place where the animals donated as zakat were kept. He loaded two huge sacks of food onto a sturdy camel. Between these two sacks, he put more food and some clothes. He put the halter of the camel in the woman’s hand and said to her:

‘Take the camel. Before you finish all this, Allah will open a door of blessing for you.’ He prayed for her.

One of the people near him said:

‘Oh, Amir of Believers! You gave too much to that woman!’

Umar responded by saying:

‘Her father was present at the Hudaybiya with the Prophet (peace be upon him). By God, I witnessed myself that the father and brother of this woman laid siege to a castle and conquered it. When they conquered the castle, we also got our share from the bounty.’[82]

The following incident is a ray of light reflecting the nature of the heart of Umar (may Allah be pleased with him).

From the companions, Aslam narrated that “One night we were walking for inspection on the hill of Waqim in Medina. We saw a woman with children in a house. The children were crying. There was a bowl filled with water in the fireplace. Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) asked the woman why the children were crying. She said: ‘Out of hunger’.

Umar’s eyes became full of tears when he learned that instead of soup there was nothing boiling in the water except stones. This was a trick the woman had devised to cheat the children so they would sleep. He immediately went to the storage house where the charity was stored. He personally filled a big sack with flour and carried it on his own shoulders to the family. I wanted to shoulder the sack, but he refused by saying,

‘Oh, Aslam! I will carry it. I will be asked about these children in the Hereafter.’

When we went to the home of the woman, he also undertook the cooking. He was on the one hand blowing the fire and on the other stirring the soup. I even saw that the smoke reached to his beard. This way, he cooked the food. Then he served the food to children. When the children became full he sat across from them. He was awesome, like a lion. I was afraid to say anything. He stayed until the children started laughing and playing.

Then he stood up and said:

‘Oh, Aslam! Do you know why I sat across from them? When I saw them they were crying. I did not want to leave them before seeing them laugh. When I saw them laugh, I felt comfortable.’ We should remember that grateful, humble, and generous rich people, who act in accordance with the needs of humanity, are honored equally by Allah as the patient poor people, who act with dignity. Generosity and mercy lead people to happiness in the Hereafter by protecting them from the difficulties of this world. Likewise, good tidings are awaiting those who spiritually carry the pain of patience.

The following hadith illustrates very well how to practice gratefulness and patience; these must be applied in various arenas of life in order to reach perfection of heart.

“I admire a believer whose entire activity consists of good behavior. Such a quality does not exist except with the Believer. He shows gratefulness when he receives a blessing from Allah, which is good for him. Likewise, if a difficulty reaches him, he shows patience, which is also good for him.”[83]

One day, when the Prophet (peace be upon him) was sitting in Medina, members of a miserable tribe came. They had no shoes. Their skin stuck to their bones because of hunger. The Prophet (peace be upon him) became very sad upon seeing their condition and his color changed. He had Bilal (may Allah be pleased with him) call the adhan and gathered his companions. From his companions, he took up a collection for the tribe, generously helping them.[84]

In a society one will intrinsically find poor, rich and middle class people. Both in the verses of the Qur’an and the teachings of the Prophet (peace be upon him), one may find Islamic principles concerning the relationship of these groups. The patient poor and the grateful rich are two groups praised by Allah and the Prophet (peace be upon him).

The purpose of the rich is to give in charity of what Allah has given to them and, for the poor, to show patience in the best way for what Allah has deprived them of. Abdurrahman ibn Awf, Abu Bakr and people like them serve as the best examples of the grateful rich. Likewise, Abu Dharr al-Ghifari, Abu al-Darda and people like them are the examples of the patient poor. The life styles of both groups were more or less the same because their views of life were defined by the principle that “all property belongs to Allah.”

For this reason, Islam does not criticize the righteous poor nor the rich, but it gives good tidings of gaining paradise by remaining thankful to Allah.

Because there are the disadvantaged, Allah provides sustenance and blessings to His community. For the sake of the poor, Allah helps the community in abundance. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said regarding this issue:

“Allah helps this community for the sake of the prayers of the weak, their salat and their sincerity.”[85]

Based on this reality, the Messenger of Allah began wars with the prayers of poor Muslims because he expected triumph as a result of their sincerity. When he saw the needy situation of the People of Suffa, he said:

“If you had known what is prepared in the presence of Allah for you, you would wish for the increase of your deprivation.”[86] He praised them and demonstrated the importance he assigned to poverty.

Similarly, taking into consideration the financial hardship Muslims were in, he said: “A human has no right to more than a house to give him shelter, bread to feed himself, a cloth to cover his private parts and some water to drink.”[87]

He also stated that the first to drink from the river of Kawthar in the Hereafter will be the poor and Allah loves those who exercise patience and who have reliance on Allah, despite their poverty.[88]

Furthermore, Prophet Muhammad stated, “There are many people among you with untidy hair and beards and poor appearance. Yet, if they pray, Allah accepts their prayers and will not turn them down. Bara ibn Malik is one of them.”[89]

Bara, who was the brother of Anas, had no place to stay, nor any food to eat. His food was barely sufficient to keep him alive. Those people who accept poverty with happiness are among those whose prayers Allah accepts. The companions who knew what the Prophet (peace be upon him) had said about Bara, asked Bara to make a special prayer for them as they were about to lose a war during the reign of Umar. He made a prayer and said:

“By God! Tomorrow you will be given triumph and I will be martyred!…”

Indeed, the next day Muslims triumphed and Bara received the mercy of the Most Merciful Allah, al-Rahman, by becoming a martyr, something for which he had longed for a long time. Thus, we can see yet one more miracle of the Prophet (peace be upon him).[90]

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The life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is full of miracles, honesty, trustworthiness, loyalty, tenderness, compassion and courtesy. He said to his wife Aishah:

“O Aishah! Show compassion to the poor! Keep them near to you so that Allah also keeps you near to him on the Day of Judgment!…”

He advised her as follows:

“O Aishah! Never turn away a beggar empty-handed from your door; protect yourself from the Hellfire even with half a date!”[91]

The Gradual Education of the People by the Prophet

Islam is an evolving system. Consequently, it does not require rejection of previous good institutional examples; instead it develops their positive aspects and reforms their negative aspects. It sees no harm in preserving positive aspects of the past based on clearly set criteria. Using these criteria, it tries to revive an institution rather than throwing it away.

Only those who are confident in themselves and their cause can gradually implement changes that will be rapidly integrated and which usually transform the social order. This type of gradual approach does not immediately overburden societies. As a result, possible negative reactions are forestalled. The best example of this approach is the way Islam reformed slavery. Islam transformed the institution of slavery and made it only a nominal identity. Islam had framed the institution of slavery within virtuous principles in such a way that would eventually lead to its annihilation.

Islam preserved slavery in name only and only for a temporary period of time, with an aim to ending it. Thus, to accuse Islam of defending slavery is a result of ignorance and bigotry. In classical Islamic law, for the atonement of some sins, freeing a slave was required. Having set this principle, Islam elevated the slaves from being mere tools in the hands of their owners. There was left little difference between a free man and a slave. The Prophet (peace be upon him) was the first to apply the principle of sharing the same food and the same cloth with one’s slave. The institution of slavery, which used to be an institution of oppression, lost this quality as Islam emphasized respect for the rights of all people.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) ordered the owner of the slaves to educate them and to help them get married after freeing them. He warned that those who mistreated their slaves would not be able to enter Paradise.

He encouraged the freeing of slaves and said that this was a great form of worship. One day, he witnessed that Abu Dharr had treated his slave harshly without being aware of it. He became very sad and asked Abu Dharr:

“O Abu Dharr! Do you still carry the traces of the time of ignorance before the coming of true religion?” He continued by saying: “Don’t treat the creatures of Allah harshly! If they do not fit your temperament, free them. Do not overburden them! If you overburden them, then, help them.”[92]

A man married his slave to his slave girl. Yet, later he wanted them to divorce. The slave complained to the Prophet, who said to the owner of the slave:

“The rights of marriage and divorce are not yours; do not interfere!”[93]

The Messenger of Allah repeatedly asked his companions to forgive the mistakes of their slaves. Once a slave girl lost the money her owner gave her to buy flour. She could not return home because she was afraid of getting punished. She was crying on the road. When the Prophet (peace be upon him) had listened to her story, he gave her the same amount of money she had lost and took her back home because he was not sure about the treatment she would receive from her owners. He gave them advice about being compassionate. The companions, as a result of the advice they received, forgave the slave girl.

Another point that needs to be noted is that the reason Islam accepted the legitimacy of slavery was because of the existence of wars that were impossible to quell. One of the expected outcomes of wars was that there would be captives and slaves. Since Islam is distinguished by mercy and compassion, it encourages equal treatment of slaves and free people. Zayd, in spite of the fact that he was set free by the Prophet (peace be upon him), preferred to stay with the Prophet until his death and he refused to return home to his parents.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said,

“Give the person who is cooking for you his share! Let him sit next to you! Eat with him! If you cannot do that, take a piece of bread, dunk it in the plate and put it in his mouth and offer him food. Allah, the Most High, assigned them as servants and slaves for you. If he wished he could have made you their servants!”[94]

Since they were so afraid of violating human rights, most of the companions freed their slaves. Such actions exemplify how Islam provided humanity with a matchless standard of virtue.

The Conduct of the Prophet of Mercy with Women

In the pre-Islamic era, women had been treated in such a way that their womanly pride was offended. Concubines were seen as an instrument of amusement and were treated in a very degrading way. Fearing that they would grow up to become prostitutes, little girls were buried alive by their parents, without any mercy. With petrified hearts, even worse crimes were committed in order to protect them from calamity; all of this was the result of ignorance. Allah describes their behavior as follows:

“When news is brought to one of them, of (the birth of) a female (child), his face darkens, and he is filled with inward grief. With shame does he hide himself from his people, because of the bad news he has had received! Shall he retain it on (sufferance and) contempt or bury it in the dust? Ah! What an evil (choice) they decide on.” (Qur’an, Nahl, 16/58-59)

By the order of Prophet Muhammad, women’s rights were established. Women became examples of modesty and virtue in society. The institution of motherhood gained honor. With the hadith that says “Paradise lies under the feet of the mothers,”[95] mothers earned the status they deserved by the courtesy of Prophet Muhammad.

The following example of the kindness extended by the Prophet to women is a beautiful one. “During a journey, a slave named Anjasha caused the camels to run by singing.[96] Prophet Muhammad, thinking of the possibility that the delicate bodies of the ladies on the camels might get hurt, said: O Anjasha! Mind the crystals! Mind the crystals!”[97]

Furthermore, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in another hadith said; “In this world, women and nice fragrances are made pleasant for me while salat is made the light of my eyes.”[98] Women and nice fragrances are important blessings of Allah in this world.

The importance of a righteous woman in a happy and peaceful religious household is clear. Although today’s world has changed, traditionally she protected the family’s wealth, organized the house, protected the progeny and protected the family’s honor. It was principally the mother of the house who filled the family with happiness. The atmosphere of happiness was dependent on her smile. All worries of the children ended with a compassionate look from the mother. Is there a place more compassionate than the heart of the mother?

Mothers are the creatures who have been granted the highest amount of divine mercy from the Creator. The sovereignty of women begins when they become virtuous mothers. The hadith that states “Paradise lies under the feet of the mothers” is the highest compliment of the Prophet (peace be upon him) to mothers.

Pleasant fragrance revives the soul with its delicacy. This is a pleasure even the angels enjoy. Salat is the divine union between the servant and the Lord. It is the ascension (miraj) for the soul.

In another hadith, The Prophet (peace be upon him) said; “The best among you is the one who treats his family the best.”[99] The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said, “Whatever a person spends for himself, his wife and his children is rewarded by Allah as his charity.”[100] The Prophet (peace be upon him) has stated in the above teachings that a healthy family can only be based on a foundation of love.

The Conduct of the Prophet of Mercy with Animals

The people of the pre-Islamic era treated animals without any pity or mercy. While still alive they used to cut off pieces of their flesh or their tails. They used to organize brutal animal fights. The Prophet (peace be upon him) put an end to these cruel scenes. The traditions prevalent today of cockfights, camel fights or bull fights originated in the pre-Islamic era.

One day, the Prophet (peace be upon him) saw a donkey on the road whose face had been branded. He became very sorry and said; “May God’s punishment be upon the person who branded it!”[101] He recommended that branding for the purpose of marking should be done in a place on an animal’s body where it would not hurt the animal too much.

Once he saw a camel that was just skin and bones. He said to the owner of that camel; “Fear Allah for these speechless animals! Do not let them stay hungry!”[102]

Abdullah ibn Ja’far (may Allah be pleased with him) stated, “One day, The Prophet (peace be upon him) came to the garden of a companion. The camel in that garden moaned and tears began to fall from its eyes when it saw the Prophet (peace be upon him). The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) approached the camel and patted its head. The camel stopped moaning. Then the Prophet (peace be upon him) met the owner of the garden and asked him, ‘Are you not afraid of Allah who entrusted you with this camel? It complained to me that you beat and torture it.’ “

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The Prophet (peace be upon him) explained the difference between the states of the merciful and the states of merciless as follows:

“A sinful woman saw a dog in the desert which was licking the sand with its tongue out of thirst. She had pity on it and pulled some water from a well with her shoe and gave it to the dog. Allah forgave her sins because of that. Another woman did not care about her cat and left it hungry for a long time. She did not even let the cat eat the bugs on the soil. Finally, the cat died of hunger. This woman became one of the people of the Hellfire because of her cruelty!”[103]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) transformed an ignorant society into a community that became part of the Age of Happiness (asr al-sa’adah). The people who treated their fellow human beings badly and who buried their daughters alive were becoming merciful and this extended to the animals as well. This is because the Prophet (peace be upon him) respected even the rights of little sparrows.

Abdurrahman, the son of Abdullah, reports,

“While we were on a journey with The Prophet (peace be upon him), we saw a sand grouse with its two chicks. We took the chicks and the bird began to fly over our heads. The Prophet (peace be upon him) immediately came and said: “Who has upset this bird by taking its chicks? Return them to their nest!”[104]

Hunting is permissible in Islamic law. Nonetheless, the Prophet (peace be upon him) warned hunters that they should be careful about the breeding and the reproduction times of animals for the purpose of maintaining ecological balance. Hunting randomly, saddening the young by the death of their mothers or saddening the mothers by the loss of their young disturbs a compassionate and merciful heart.

These hadiths bring to light the fact that the mercy of a perfect believer must be expansive enough to encompass even the wild animals. Therefore, it is commanded in Islam that even harmful animals, like snakes and scorpions should be killed in one shot, with the express purpose of saving them from prolonged suffering. Is not the advice to be merciful even in the killing of harmful animals an example of peerless mercy?

In addition to ordering the Believers to be merciful towards animals, the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not like animals to be cursed. For example, on the way to Batnubuwat for a military engagement, a man from the Ansar (Helpers) cursed a camel for going too slowly while riding a camel he shared with a friend. The Prophet (peace be upon him) told the Ansari to get off the camel and said to him, “Do not accompany us with the cursed camel any longer! Do not curse yourselves, your children or your property!”[105]

This hadith exemplifies his boundlessness mercy in Islam.[106] Bayezid-i Bistami, who was known as the “Sultan of the Saints”, became so sensitive and refined through practicing the principle of love for creatures for the sake of the Creator, that he felt their pain in his heart. The following story illustrates how deep his feelings were.

During a trip, he rested under a tree and after some time he stood up and went on his way. After having departed, he noticed that some ants from the place where he had rested were still on his bag. He returned to the same place and dropped the ants at the same point because he hated to take them away from their homes.

This exemplifies an internalization of the example of the Prophet (peace be upon him). The teachings of the Prophet (peace be upon him) are full of statements that include warnings and provide guidance on this issue. He said: “One who is deprived of mercy is deprived of all sorts of goodness.”[107]

The most distinctive quality of a Muslim is mercy. In the “basmalah”, (Bismillahi’r-Rahmani’r-Rahim, which means, in the name of Allah, the most Merciful, the most Compassionate) which we repeat before any deed, Allah reminds us that He is the Most Merciful. Mercy is a deep personality trait of a true Muslim.

In the following incident, Fudayl ibn Iyad, who was one of the Friends of Allah, set an example of how a Muslim should feel in his heart.

They saw him crying and asked: “Why do you cry?” He responded:

“I cry because I feel sorry on behalf of a Muslim who wronged me! My sorrow comes from my concern that he will go to the Hellfire because of me.”

These incidents are extremely refined manifestations of the inner manners of a heart that follows the example of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “Show mercy to those on the Earth so that those in the Heavens will show mercy to you!”[108]

The Conduct of the Prophet of Mercy with Orphans

In one Hadith it is stated, “The best home is a home in which an orphan is well treated and the worst home is a home in which an orphan is mistreated.”[109] In the Qur’an there are many verses concerning the good treatment of orphans. Allah, the Most High, commands us to be very sensitive towards the orphans.

“Treat not the orphan with harshness!” (Qur’an, Duha, 93/9)

“Whoever pats an orphan’s head will be rewarded for every hair his hand touches.”[110] The Prophet repeatedly emphasized the importance of our fulfillment of these important social responsibilities.

It is stated in another hadith, “I and those who treat their daughters and sons who are under their care well, will be together in Paradise.”[111] While saying this, he put together his two fingers.

A complaint reached the Prophet (peace be upon him) about a certain person’s harshness. As a cure, he recommended the following deed to that person:

“Let him pat the head of the orphans and feed the poor!”[112]

Since Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was raised as an orphan, having been an orphan gained him status and honor in this world and the next. The poet, Mehmed Aslan, describes nicely the feeling of an orphan:

The owner of the orphan is Allah,
So it is a sin to hurt the orphans.
Do not think that an orphan is weak;
His tears are his weapon!

The Prophet’s Advice about the Rights of Neighbors

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) urged in his teachings to respect the rights of one’s neighbors. In a hadith he has said, “Gabriel repeatedly gave me advice about the rights of the neighbors to such an extent that I was led to conjecture that they will take a share from my legacy when I die.”[113]

In another hadith, it is stated that, “Non-Muslim neighbors have one right. Muslim neighbors have two rights. The neighbor who is both a Muslim and a relative has three rights.”[114] The rights of the neighbors include not looking at their windows, not disturbing them with the smell of cooking, nor performing an action that they may dislike.

Abu Dharr al-Ghifari, who was from among the poor of the companions said, “The Prophet ordered me to put more water in my food so that I could offer some to my neighbor.”[115] Abu Dharr was among the needy of the companions. Since he did not have extra food, the only way he could increase his meal was by adding extra water to it. This hadith demonstrates that even poverty is not an excuse for not respecting the rights of neighbors.

The following hadith is yet another example of how careful the companions were in respecting the rights of neighbors. Ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated the following event. “There were seven households, all of which were poor. One sent a sheep’s head as food to one of the families. The chief of the household thought that his neighbor needed it more and sent it to them. The second neighbor thought the same way and sent it to the third neighbor. The other neighbors also thought the same way and sent the sheep’s head to the next neighbor until it eventually returned to the first household.”[116]

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The mercy of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) extended even to those who had passed away. The most important concern in reference to those who had passed away is the rights of those whom the deceased were unable to pay while they were still alive. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) always asked before funeral prayers if the deceased had debts. If he or she had unpaid debts, he postponed the funeral prayers until these debts were paid off.[117]

Because he was the prophet of mercy and compassion, the Prophet (peace be upon him) was extremely concerned about preventing a person from entering his grave with debts.

The Prophet’s Conduct with Criminals and Captives of War

In Islam, the cause of a crime is first sought and an extreme effort is made to reform the criminal’s personality. Punishment in Islamic law is like the punishment parents give to their children. The purpose of punishing the criminal is not to isolate him but rather to assist him in returning to society.

A poor man called Abbad ibn Shurahbil stole some dates from a garden, putting some of the dates in his pocket. At that time, the owner of the garden caught him and beat him. Abbad, who was very much hurt by the incident, went to the Prophet to complain. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) called the owner of the garden and said to him;

“Do not you know he is uneducated? He does not know what he is doing. Did you give him advice? Moreover, he was hungry; you should have fed him.”[118]The owner of the garden became so upset with what he did that he gave dates to Abbad along with two sacks of wheat.

These statements are not intended to protect robbers, but rather to cure the social problems that give rise to theft. The Prophet (peace be upon him) stated clearly that he would cut off the hand of his daughter as a punishment if she were to commit burglary.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was particularly compassionate with captives of war. He said to his companions:

“They are your brothers, offer them what you eat and drink!”[119]

His Behavior towards Enemies and non-Muslims

Abu Basra al-Ghifari, when describing his life prior to entering Islam, commented, “I came to Medina and was hosted by the Prophet (peace be upon him). On that evening, I drank the milk of seven goats. The Prophet (peace be upon him) did not say anything about my roughness. On that night he went to sleep hungry without showing any sign of displeasure or anger. Witnessing this high morality, I acted more intelligently and embraced Islam…”

Since Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was sent as a mercy to the world, his compassion and care encompass all creatures. One day, he was asked to pray to condemn some enemies. In response, he said, “I was not sent to this world for condemnation; I have been sent as a Prophet of Mercy.”[120]

When he went to Taif, the ignorant polytheists and arrogant people of the city stoned him. The Archangel Gabriel (peace be upon him) came to him and asked, “Shall I bring together these two mountains and destroy the people of Taif who are living in between?” He was not pleased by this suggestion and made a special prayer for this society who stoned him: “O my Lord! Please give right guidance to these people! I ask for a Muslim progeny from their lineage.”[121]As a result of his prayer, the people of Taif ultimately accepted Islam.

The Forgiveness of the Prophet

Allah likes to forgive. He has promised to forgive the sins of humans if they sincerely repent. In the Qur’an, he has also asked his servants to be forgiving because He is oft-forgiving.

The condition for Allah’s forgiveness is to feel remorse, to obey the orders of Allah, and to stay away from what He has prohibited. The best examples of forgiveness are found in the life of the Prophet (peace be upon him). He forgave Hind, who bit the liver of his uncle Hamza at the Battle of Uhud. During the conquering of Mecca after she became a Muslim, Hind came from behind the Prophet and asked,

“O Messenger of Allah, do you recognize me?”

Prophet Muhammad, five years after Uhud, indicated that he still remembered her shout of joy after Hamza was martyred.

“How can I forget that shout?”

Yet, he forgave her for the sake of the Kalima-i Tawhid, which she uttered on entering Islam.

On the other hand, Prophet Muhammad said to the people of Mecca who were waiting with great anxiety after being conquered:

“O, Community of Quraysh! What do you expect that I will do to you?”

The Qurayshites said,

“We expect that you will forgive us. Your are a brother filled with kindness and mercy. You are also the son of a brother who had kindness and mercy…”

Thereupon, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said,

“I say to you what Prophet Joseph (peace be upon him) said to his brothers: This day, no reproach be cast on you. May Allah forgive you. You may go. You are free.”[122]

In another address, he said, “Today is the day of mercy. Today is the day Allah increased the power of Islam by the Qurayshites.”

One of the fiercest enemies of Islam in Mecca was Abu Jahl, which literally means “father of ignorance.” His son Ikrima was also a leading enemy of Islam. Ikrima escaped to Yemen when Mecca was conquered. His wife became a Muslim and later brought him to the presence of the Prophet (peace be upon him), who met him with pleasure and said to him:

“O the running cavalry! Welcome!” He forgave him without even reminding him of his wrongdoings against Muslims.[123]

Habir ibn Aswad was yet another enemy of Islam. During the migration of the Prophet’s daughter Zainab from Mecca to Medina, he intentionally kicked her while she was riding a camel and caused her to fall to the ground. She was pregnant at the time. She was heavily injured and lost the baby. Habir ibn Aswad committed many other crimes like that. After Mecca was conquered he wanted to escape but could not. He accepted Islam and came to the presence of the Prophet (peace be upon him), who then forgave him.[124]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) frequently said, “O my Lord! Forgive my people for they know not!”[125]

A man called Hamamah accepted Islam and cut his relations with the polytheist Meccans. The Meccans were shocked by his decision and approached the Prophet (peace be upon him) to ask the man to maintain his trade with them. The Prophet (peace be upon him) sent Hamamah a letter and asked him to continue his trade with the Quraysh. Although the polytheists had held the Muslims under siege for three years and had tortured them by letting them remain hungry, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) nevertheless forgave them. They all became Muslims when confronted with such endless forgiveness.

One day, a group of eighty people came to kill the Prophet (peace be upon him), but all of them were caught. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), forgave each of them as well.

After Khaybar was conquered, a woman offered some food that was poisoned to the Prophet (peace be upon him), who noticed the poison after the first bite. The Jewish woman confessed her plot, but the Prophet forgave her.[126] In the Qur’an, it is stated that one should “Hold to forgiveness; command what is right; but turn away front the ignorant.” (Qur’an, Araf, 7/199)

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The Prophet (peace be upon him) represented to perfection the best behavior for humans with his sincere, simple and humble conduct with people. His conduct did not emanate from him superficially or unintentionally, but rather emerged from the depth of his soul.

Adiyy ibn Khatim told the following story:

There was a time, when I had not embraced Islam. I went to visit the Prophet (peace be upon him). He invited me to his home. On the way, an old woman stopped him. The Messenger of Allah waited for a long time until the woman had finished what she had to say. I said to myself, ‘By God! He is not a king.’ “

Then we went to his home. He gave me a mat made from skin filled with dry leaves and said to me:

“Please sit on this.” I insisted:

“Please you sit on it.” But he repeated: “You sit!”

I sat on the mat because I did not want to refuse his offer. He sat on the ground. This time, I said to myself:

“By God! This is not something a king can do.” Then we started conversing. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) told me that I belonged to the Rakusi[127] sect, and although it was forbidden according to my faith, I collected one fourth of the people’s income as taxes. I was shocked. Immediately, I realized that he was a Prophet because he knew hidden secrets.[128]

All these incidents display with extreme clarity the high character of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was a living example of the moral principles expressed in the Qur’an. He forgave all the wrong done against him. Yet, as far as the crimes committed against the members of public were concerned, he acted with utmost objectivity and care to fulfill the orders of Allah. Usamah, an outstanding companion, interceded on behalf of a woman who committed theft. The woman was from a noble family. Usamah asked him to forgive her. The color of the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) face faded with sadness and he responded with a dire voice, “I would cut off the hand of even my own daughter Fatima in order to punish her if she became involved in theft.”[129]

The Generosity of the Prophet

Ibn Abbas, (may Allah be pleased with him), related the generosity of the Prophet (peace be upon him) as follows: “The Messenger of Allah was the most generous of all people. His generosity increased more in Ramadan. He never said “no” to someone who asked for something from him!”[130]

One of the most beautiful characteristics of the Prophet was to refrain from denying someone who asked for something. If there were nothing to offer, he would smile in order to bring pleasure. The following incident is an excellent example:

The Prophet (peace be upon him) described himself only as an officer of distribution and he stressed that everything was provided by Allah. One day a man came to the Prophet (peace be upon him). When he saw the goats of the Prophet (peace be upon him), he asked for a goat. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) gave him all his goats. When the man returned to his tribe he told them the following: “Muhammad is so generous that he is not afraid of poverty!”[131]

Another person came to visit the Prophet (peace be upon him) and asked for something. The Prophet (peace be upon him) did not have anything to give to him. He suggested that the man get a loan and promised him that he would pay the loan on the man’s behalf.

Similar to his ancestor Abraham (peace be upon him), he never had a meal by himself without guests. He used to pay the debts of the dead or had others pay. He did not offer funeral prayers before closing the debt. He said:

“A generous person is close to Allah, to Paradise and to the people; but he is far from the Hellfire. On the contrary, a stingy person is far from Allah, from Paradise and from the people, while he is close to the Hellfire.”[132]

In another hadith, he is reported to have said, “A true Believer is never characterized by the following two qualities: stinginess or immorality.”[133]

The Generosity of the Companions

The companions competed with each other to emulate the way of the Prophet (peace be upon him). The following examples illustrate this race for virtue.

Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) told the following story.

“One day, the Prophet (peace be upon him) commanded us to give charity. At that time, I had some money with me. I thought to myself that this was the day to surpass Abu Bakr in good deeds and presented half of my money to the Prophet. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) asked me:

‘What did you leave to your family?’

I answered:

‘The same amount I brought to you.’

Then, Abu Bakr came. He brought all his money. The Prophet (peace be upon him) asked him, “O Abu Bakr! What did you leave for your family?”

He responded by saying, “I left them Allah and the Prophet!”

After hearing his answer, I said to myself, “I will never be able to surpass Abu Bakr, (may Allah be pleased with him), in any matter.”[134]

Abu Bakr and Umar (may Allah be pleased with them) were perfect heirs to the Prophet (peace be upon him) in refusing to incline towards luxury and the splendor of this world. Their life style surprised the emperors of Iran and Byzantium.

No doubt, their good conduct was also reflected in the life of other companions as well. For instance, one day, a beggar came to Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) and asked for something. Ali said to his sons Hasan and Husayn;

“Go to your mother and bring the six dirhams we have.” They went home and brought the six dirhams they had and gave them to their father who in turn gave them to the beggar. Yet, at the time, they needed that money. Fatima had been planning to buy flour with that money.

Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) returned home. Immediately after he stepped into his house, a man who had wanted to sell his camel arrived. He said he would sell it for forty dirhams and was ready to receive the payment later. He tied the camel in the garden and went on. Soon after, a man appeared and expressed his willingness to buy the camel for two hundred dirhams. He instantly paid the money and left with the camel.

Ali gave forty dirhams to the first owner of the camel and the rest of the money to Fatima. He also said to her, “This is the promise of Allah through his Prophet: ‘Whoever does a good deed, he will receive ten times its value as reward.’ We gave ten dirhams and Allah gave us back ten times more.”

The following incident, related by Huzayfa, is significant, for it reflects the altruism of the companions:

“During the battle of Yarmuk, after the intensity of the conflict had subsided, and the injured Muslims were dying on the extremely hot sand, I summoned my energy and started to look for Harith, my uncle’s son. After walking among the wounded soldiers who were taking their last breaths, I found him. Unfortunately, Harith was in a sea of blood and could barely speak even with the movement of his eyes. I showed him the leather water-bottle which I carried and asked him, “Do you want some water?”

His lips were dry from the hot weather and probably he wished to have some water. It seemed as if he was trying to tell me his painful situation by the movement of his eyes. I opened the leather water bottle and was ready to give him some water. Suddenly Ikrima’s voice was heard in the distance. “Water!… Water!… Please a drop of water!”

When the son of my uncle heard this cry, he indicated with the movements of his eyes to take the water to him. I rushed to Ikrima, bypassing the martyrs who were lying in the hot sand. Finally, I reached Ikrima and was ready to place the bottle of water in his hand. Suddenly, we heard the moaning of Iyash:

“Please give me a drop of water! For God’s sake, a drop of water!”

When Ikrima heard his cry for water, he indicated with the movement of his hand to take the water to Iyash. Like Harith, he had refused to drink. When I found Iyash after searching for him among the wounded martyrs, I heard his last words. He was saying,

“O Allah! We have not spared our lives in the cause of faith. Do not spare from us the level of martyrdom. Forgive our mistakes!”

He was about to become a martyr. He saw the water bottle I brought but he did not have time to drink because he could barely finish uttering the Kalima-i Shadah (The formula which states: I bear witness that there is no deity but Allah; I also bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger).

I ran back immediately to Ikrima and while trying to offer him water, I realized that he had become a martyr. I ran to the son of my uncle, Harith. Unfortunately, his soul had also returned to Allah. Painfully, a bottle of water had been left full among the three martyrs.”

Huzayfa (may Allah be pleased with him) related his state of mind at the time as follows: “I came across many incidents in my life, but none of them influenced me as much as this event. Their extremely altruistic, caring and compassionate relationship, although they were not the relatives of each other, left deep traces of admiration in my memory.”[135]

The Prophet’s Sincerity, Honesty and Integrity

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) felt extreme pity for people who did not know what was right from what was wrong, who were not familiar with the orders and prohibitions of Allah. As he went from door to door to teach the religion of Allah, at times, the doors were shut in his face. Yet he did not resent this misbehavior against him as much as he felt sorrow for people’s ignorance.

To these people, he said, “No reward do I ask of you for this (Qur’an); Nor am I a pretender!” (Qur’an, Sad, 38/86)

No one reached the level of honesty and integrity practiced by the Prophet (peace be upon him). He was an orphan. He was introduced to trade by his uncle Abu Talib. His honesty and integrity were acknowledged by everyone, which earned him the honorary title, al-Amin, the trustworthy. Everyone in the community, both poor and rich alike called him al-Amin. The noble woman of Mecca, Khadija, admired his honesty and asked his hand in marriage. Our mother Khadija later served as his most vital supporter. When the first revelation came, she offered moral support to the Prophet (peace be upon him). She always stood at his side and comforted him during dangerous times.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) led a pure life. Even those who refused to accept his message out of arrogance, acknowledged his good qualities.

Since Islam first emerged fourteen centuries ago, there is no one who has not acknowledged his integrity and his heart. Even those in the Jewish community, who had been the enemies of Islam, came to him when they had a disagreement among themselves. Rasullullah (peace be upon him) solved their conflicts. He was just and fair towards Christians and Jews, alike.

He gave the following advice to Ali about justice:

“Never judge before you listen to both parties! You can give a correct judgment only after listening to both sides!”[136]

When the Prophet (peace be upon him) decided to emigrate from Mecca to Medina, he made Ali his deputy to return the jewelry that had been entrusted to him.[137]

The Bashfulness of the Prophet

According to the description of his companions, the Prophet (peace be upon him) was more bashful than a young girl who covered herself from unwanted eyes. He never spoke with a loud voice. When he passed by others, he used to do so slowly and with a smile on his face. When he heard displeasing talk, he never said anything in front of the people. Nevertheless, his face reflected his feelings and his thoughts. Thus, people around him were very careful about their conduct when they were near him. He never laughed loudly because of his modesty. The most he did was only to smile. In a hadith it is stated that,

“Bashfulness is from faith. Bashful people will be in Paradise! Shamelessness arises from the hardness of heart. Those with hardened hearts will go to the Hellfire.”[138]

Another hadith states:

“Faith and modesty are together. When one leaves, the other departs, too.”[139]

“Rude talk does not bring anything except shame! Modesty and decency decorate wherever they may be.”[140]

Real modesty is gained by “remembering death”, which is a means for the removal from the heart of love for this world. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) continuously advised his companions to extend to Allah the profound respect He deserves. Once, they said that they thanked Allah modestly. The Prophet (peace be upon him) explained that real modesty involves cleaning all one’s organs from prohibited actions and remembering death. Next, he stated that only those who truly desire the next world abandon their love for this world. And, only they show true modesty of conduct towards Allah.[141]

The Altruism of the Prophet

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) not only felt sorry for the suffering of the people, but he painstakingly worked for their success. This quality is mentioned in the Qur’an.

“Now has 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 he most kind and merciful.” (Qur’an, Tawba, 9/128) In this verse, Allah the Most High honored his Messenger by assigning him two of His own attributes, Rauf and Rahim, meaning most kind and merciful, respectively.

He always struggled for the success of his people and he was happy and tranquil whenever he saw them making progress towards their own self-improvement and integrity.

`

He was not like any other leader who wished good for his community. On the contrary, he was a guide who supported his community with all the means at his disposal. Once a companion asked how to decide whether his situation was good or bad. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) told him the following:

“Whoever aims to gain  worldly profit through worship, which is normally performed for reward in Paradise, will achieve nothing in the Hereafter.”[142]

He was a mercy, embracing all of humanity with his actions, speeches and morality. He was their guide. He faced the most challenging difficulties and trials in the cause of true religion. He fulfilled the divine task he was assigned in a perfect way. He was so anxious and patient in doing so, that at times, revelation came to warn him not to let himself perish on this path.

The high level of virtue displayed by the Prophet (peace be upon him) for the happiness of humanity is expressed in the following verse in the Qur’an. “It may be you will kill yourself with grief, that they do not become Believers.” (Qur’an, Shu’ara, 42/3)

This verse demonstrates that the Prophet (peace be upon him) wanted, out of his mercy and compassion, for all of humanity to believe in Allah, and thus save themselves from the Hellfire.

When Hamza heard that Abu Jahl had attacked the Prophet (peace be upon him), he also attacked Abu Jahl, and said to the Prophet, “O Muhammad! Be happy! I took your revenge from Abu Jahl…” The Prophet (peace be upon him) said to him:

“I have nothing to do with revenge! I will be happy if you accept Islam.” Hamza realized the wisdom in the answer and embraced Islam.[143]

His noble conduct and sublime morality had nothing to do with personal gain, materialistic motives or with feelings of revenge. On examination we may see that the Prophet (peace be upon him) never sought revenge throughout his life.[144]

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) never openly corrected a companion for a mistake he made. Instead he used to say, “What is happening to me that is causing me to see you doing this.”[145]

He attributed errors of vision to himself without attributing the mistake to the person he was talking to. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), who took extraordinary measures to avoid breaking the heart of his companions, was a monument of mercy. These qualities were reflected both in his deeds and in his speeches. As an example, let us contemplate on the following speech:

“O Believers! May Allah keep you secure! May He watch after you! May He protect you! May He help you! May He elevate you! May He guide you! May He keep you under His own guard! May He keep you away from all sorts of bad luck! And May He protect your religion for you!”[146]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) was sent as a mercy to the worlds. He was a manifestation of the Divine Names, al-Ghafur and al-Rahman that is the Most Forgiving and the Most Compassionate. He felt sorry for people who denied his message and prayed that they would be saved from the Hellfire. As a result, a divine warning came:

“Yet it may be, if they believe not in this statement, that thou (Muhammad) wilt torment thy soul with grief over their footsteps.” (Qur’an, Kahf, 18/6)

His companions spread with love and joy to remote areas the knowledge, blessings, virtue and spiritual qualities gained through association with him. This was an example of the principle of “love the creature for the sake of the Creator.”

Everyone was granted a share of his high character and generosity. His benevolence and mercy were like a great river that spread over and fed all lands without discrimination. No one was left hungry, thirsty or alone while around him.

His Loyalty

Keeping a promise is a means for the attainment of salvation from the Hellfire; it is also a quality of prophets and virtuous people. With this quality, life acquires direction and order. It is a measure of humanity and a criterion for judging individuals and nations. People attain happiness to the extent that they respect it.

Living at the zenith of loyalty, the Prophet (peace be upon him) served in this regard as a perfect example for humanity. Regarding this, Aishah reiterated the following story.

“Once an old woman came to visit the Prophet (peace be upon him). They had a warm conversation. After the old woman left, I asked him:

“O Prophet! You showed so much interest in that old woman! I am curious, who was she?” He said, “She is someone who used to visit us when Khadija was alive. Know that “loyalty comes from faith.”[147]

A group came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) after the incident of Hunayn. They wanted freedom for the captives of war. One of them said, “O Muhammad! Our tribe has your milk-mothers and milk-sisters!”

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) responded with great loyalty, “I free all the captives that belong to me and the sons of Abdulmuttalib.”

The Immigrants and the Helpers who saw this refined behavior followed his action by saying, “We also free our captives for the sake of the Prophet!”

As a result, on that day, thousands of captives were freed without any ransom.[148] This was a gesture of gratitude and the loyalty to the milk he had been given as a child. It is an excellent lesson for an oppressive nation. Unfortunately, humans quickly forget the favors whose traces fade in the memory. Usually, “LOYALTY” exists only as a word in the dictionary.

During his final illness, the Prophet (peace be upon him) came to the Masjid, went up to the pulpit, and said, “O Immigrants! Treat the Helpers kindly because the population is increasing, but their number is still the same: They have served as a shelter for me. Treat the good ones among them with goodness, and forgive the mistakes of the wrongdoers.”

The loyalty the Prophet (peace be upon him) displayed to the Helpers for the favors he received is an excellent example for all of us. His life is full of many examples of loyalty. For instance, before the Hijrah, while his enemies were planning how to kill him, he was planning how to return the jewelry entrusted to him.

On the day of Uhud, he had two companions who were good friends in life buried in the same grave and then said, “This is because they were sincere friends in this world.”[149]

The matchless morality of the Prophet (peace be upon him) was reflected in the lives and relations of his companions, based on the love they had for one another. Uthman was sent to Mecca on the day of Hudaybiya. He told the polytheists in Mecca that the Prophet (peace be upon him) came only to make pilgrimage to the Kaba. They refused this appeal, but agreed to allow Uthman to make the pilgrimage. However, Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him) rejected this offer and said:

“I cannot perform the pilgrimage if the Prophet is not allowed to do so!.. I cannot stay where the Prophet is not accepted…”

Exactly at this time, the Prophet (peace be upon him) was accepting the bay’ah of the companions. Since Uthman was not there, in his place, the Prophet (peace be upon him) put one of his hands over the other and said:

“O my Lord! This bay’ah is for Uthman! Verily, he is a servant of your Messenger.”[150]

In essence, becoming a true believer is a function of the degree to which we are able to emulate the example of the Prophet (peace be upon him).

`

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was a vehicle for many miracles. Also, he assisted humans in the cultivation of their personalities. New qualities were thus infused into the community, qualities that would bring beauty and honor to culture and civilization. This revolutionary change in the character of humans under the guidance of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is an immense miracle. Good words, refined behavior and exemplary actions served as causes for this enrichment of civilization. At the origin of all stands the exemplary actions, speeches and practices of the Prophet (peace be upon him).

In the balance he established between opposite aspects of life, no shortcoming remained. For instance, he balanced work for this world with work for the Hereafter. Likewise, he balanced ascetic tendencies with those directed toward the satisfaction of desires. It is impossible to find another personality, in all of human history, which is comparable to him.

In social history, it is possible to encounter great figures who had outstanding abilities in different fields of life. Generally, their abilities are only limited to one field. The personality of the Prophet (peace be upon him) however, included outstanding qualities in all realms of life.

The following moral principles, which were set by the Prophet (peace be upon him), express the higher standard of his life. According to the Prophet (peace be upon him),

“My Lord commanded nine things:

1. Fear Allah whether you are alone or in the crowd.

2. Be just and fair whether you are pleased or angry.

3. Live moderately whether you are rich or poor.

4. Maintain your relations with your relatives even if they do not do the same.

5. Give to he who deprives you.

6. Forgive he who wrongs you.

7. Contemplate while you are silent.

8. Mention Allah when you speak.

9. Take lessons when you look.”[151]

On his sword, the following was written: “Forgive the one who wronged you; help your relatives even if they do not care about you; respond with goodness to the one who harmed you; say the truth even if it is against your interest.”[152]

Huzayfa (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“None of you should be a parasite. One type of individual says, “My reactions depend on those around me. If they treat me nicely, I also treat them nicely; if they mistreat me, I mistreat them as well.” Instead, you should take the following as your principle. When they treat you nicely, you also treat them nicely; when they mistreat you, you do not act as they have.”[153]

He also said, “Allah dislikes three things for you:

1. Gossiping,

2. Being a spendthrift,

3. Questioning unnecessarily.”[154]

Other advice of the Prophet (peace be upon him) includes, “Do not laugh at your brother’s trouble because Allah, the Most High, may save him from that trouble and put you in his place.”[155]

Those who study the life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) will see that he has always been the Prophet of mercy and compassion. He never condemned anyone and he raised excellent people in an oppressive society. For example, the only thing he did, when he was stoned in Taif, was to ask Allah to give them guidance.[156] When he entered the Ka’bah, after ten years of adversity from the people of Mecca, he showed humility and tolerance. He did not even take the key of the Ka’bah from Uthman ibn Talha, who had had it for a long time. He said, “Today is the day of kindness and loyalty.”[157]

He is the only sultan who did not leave an heir in his place. He said, “We, the Prophets, do not bequeath; whatever we leave is charity for all Muslims.”[158] The only legacy he left for his Ummah was his perfect example.

[1]        Muwatta, Husn al-khuluq 8; al-Bayhaqi, al-Sunan al-Kubra, X, 191; al-Qudat, Musnad al-Shihdb, II, 192; al-Tabarani, al-Mu’jam al-Awsat, VII, 74.

[2]        Tirmidhi, Qiyamah 42; Ibn Majah, Iqamah 174; Darimi, Salat 156; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, V, 451.

[3]        Ahmad b. Hanbal, al-Musnad, VI, 49,86,182; Ibn Hibbân, al-Sahîh, II, 491; al-Humaydî, al-Musnad, 1,135.

[4]        The smallest measure of weight, equivalent to a gram today. A qirat was equal to five barley beans.

[5]        Another measure of weight. If we take the qirat as being analogous to a gram, we can take the qintar as being analogous to a kilogram

[6]        Bukhârî, Buyû 100; Muslim, Zakât 31; Abû Dâwûd, Vitr 23; Dârimî, Riqâq 53; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, II, 467.

[7]        Bukhârî, Khumus 1; Muslim, Jihâd 54; Abû Dâwûd, Imârah 19; Tirmidhî, Siyar 44; Nasâî, Fay’ 9; Muwatta, Kalâm 27; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, 1, 4.

[8]        al-Daylamî, al-Firdaws, II, 70.

[9]        Bukhârî, Vasâyâ 9; Muslim, Zakât 94; Abû Dâwûd, Zakdt 28; Tirmidhî, Zuhd 32; Nasâî, Zakât 50; Muwatta, Sadakah 8; Dârimî, Zakât 22; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, II, 67.

[10]      al-Bayhaqî, Kitaâb al-Zuhd al-kabîr, II, 367; al-Daylamî, al-Fırdaws, III 611; Abû Nu’aym al-Isbahânî, Hilyah al-Awliyâ, VIII, 35.

[11]      Can, Şefik, Mesnevi Teremesi, (Istanbul, 1997), v.11, p. 55.

[12]      Bukhârî, Aymân, TL; Muslim, Zuhd 20-25; Nasâî, Dahâyâ 37; Ibn Mâjah, At’imah, 48; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, II, 98.

[13]      Bukhârî, Jihâd 89; Tirmidhî, Buyû 7; Nasâî,Buyû 58; Ibn Mâjah, Ruhûn  1; Dârimî, Buyû 44; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, I, 236.

[14]      Tirmidhî, Sifatu’l-qiyâmah 37; Ibn Mâjah, At’imah 50; al-Tabarânî, al-Mu’jam al-Awsat, IV, 249; al-Bayhaqî, Shu’ab al-Îmân, V, 27.

[15]      Tirmidhî, Zuhd 47; Ibn Mâjah, At’imah 50; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, IV, 132; al-Hâkim, al Mustadrak, IV, 135; Ibn Hibbân, al-Sahîh, II, 449.

[16]      Suyûtî, Tarikh al-khulefû, p. 91-92.

[17]      Tirmidhî, Zuhd 29; Ibn Mâjah, Zuhd 1 ; al-Tabarânî, al-Mu’iam al-Awsat, III, 57; al-Bayhaqî, Shu’ab al-Îmân, VII, 218.

[18]      Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Kitâb al-Auhd, p. 47; al-Qudâî, Musnad al-Shihâb, I, 188; al-Bayhaqî, Shu’ab alÎmân, VII, 268 [Narrated also from Omar as mawkuf hadith]

[19]      Ibn Mâjah, Zuhd 1; al-Hâkim, al-Mustadrak, IV, 348 ; al-Tabarânî, al-Mu’jam al-Kabîr,Vl, 193; al-Bayhaqî, Shu’ab al-Îmân, VII, 344

[20]      Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, V, 158; al-Bayhaqî, Shu’ab al-Îmân, IV, 289.

[21]      Ibn Abî ‘Âsim, Kitâb al-Zuhd, I, 391; al-Daylamî, al-Firdaws, IV, 95; Abû Nu’aym al-Isbahânî, Hilyah al-Awliyâ, II, 131; Ibn ‘Adiyy, al-Kâmil fî al-du’afâ, III, 68.

[22]      Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, V, 412; Ibn Mâjah, Zuhd 15; al-Tabarânî,al-Mu’jam al-Kabîr, IV, 154.

[23]      Ibn Hibbân, al-Sahîh, II, 76; Ibn Abî Shaybah, al-Musannaf, VI, 167; Ma’mar ibn Râshid, al-Jâmi’, XI, 191.

[24]      Bukharî, Zakât 60; Muslim, Zakât 161; Nasâî, Tahârah 105; Muwatta, Sadakah 13; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, I, 200.

[25]      Rûmî, Jalâladdin, Mathnawî Ma’nawî, (Tehran, 1378) v.I, 1645-48; Can, §efik, Mesnevi Tercemesi, (Istanbul, 1997), v.II, p.120.

[26]      Bukharî, Buyû 3; Tirmidhî, Qiyâmah 60; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, III, 153.

[27]      Abu Sa’îd al-Shâshî (d. 335), Musnad al-Shashî, I, 86.

[28]      Bukhârî, Sawm 20; Muslim, Siyâm 55; Muwatta, Siyâm 37; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, II, 128.

[29]      Ibn Sa’d, al-Tabaqât al-Kubra, I, 400.

[30]      Ibn Sa’d, al-Tabaqât al-Kubra, I, 400.

[31]      Qur’an, Baqara, 2/198.

[32]      al-Tabarânî, al-Mu’jam al-Kabîr, IX, 109; al-Harawî, al-Arba’în fî dalâil al-Tawhîd, I, 74; al-Daylamî, al-Firdaws, II, 52.

[33]      Ibn Sa’d, al-Tabaqât al-Kubrâ, I, 405.

[34]      Ibn Sa’d, al-Tabaqât al-Kubrâ, I, 405.

[35]      Ma’mar ibn Râshid, al-Jâmi’, XI, 108; al-Bazzâr, al-Musnad, IV, 204; al-Tabarânî, al-Mu’jam al-Awsat, III,  86; al-Bayhaqî, Shabul-Îmân, II, 118.

[36]      İbn Hibban, al-Sahîh, XVI, 280; al-Bayhaqî, al-Sunan al-Kubrâ,VII, 48, 49.

[37]      Abû Dâwûd, At’imah 8; Ibn Mâjah, At’imah 56; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, V, 220-222.

[38]      Tirmidhî, Manâqib 1; Ibn Mâjah, Zuhd 37; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, 1, 5, 281.

[39]      Bukhârî, Anbiyâ 48; Dârimî, Riqâq 68; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, I, 23

[40]      Nasâî, Jum’a31; Dârimî, Muqaddimah 13; Ibn Hibban, al-Sahîh, XIV, 333; al-Hâkim, al-Mustadrak, II, 671.

[41]      Tirmidhî, Janâiz 32; Ibn Mâjah, Zuhd 16; al-Hâkim, al-Mustadrak, II, 506.

[42]      Ibn Mâjah, At’imah 30; al-Hâkim, al-Mustadrak, II, 506; al-Tabarânî, al-Mujamu l-Awsat, II, 64.

[43]      al-Bazzâr, al-Musnad, IX, 263; Abû Dâwûd al-Tayâlisî, al-Musnad, I,156; al-Tabarânî, al-Mu’jam al-Awsat, III. 174; al-Bayhaqî, Shu’ab al-Îmân, III, 275.

[44]      Ibn Mâjah, Muqaddimah 7; Ma’mar ibn Râshid, al-Jâmi’, XI, 116; al-Qudâî, Musnad al-Shihâb, II, 263; al-Tabarânî, al-Mu’jam al-Awsat, VIII, 31.

[45]      Bukhârî, Riqâq 5; Muslim, Zakât 114.

[46]      al-Bagdâdî, Tarîkhu Bagdâd, XIII, 523; [Some version of this hadith was narrated from IbRahîm ibn Abi ‘Abla as maktu hadith, See ; al-Mizzî, Tahdhîb al-Kamâl, II, 144; al-Zahabî, Siyar a’lâm al-nubalâ, VI, 325].

[47]      Bukhârî, Riqâq 38; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, VI, 256; Ibn Hibban, al-Sahîh, II, 58; al-Bayhaqî, al-Sunan al-Kubrâ, III, 346.

[48]      Ghazali, Abû Hâmid, al-Munqiz min al-Dalâl, (Beirut, 1988), p. 60.

[49]      Rûmî, Jalâladdin, Mathnawî Ma’nawî, (Tehran, 1378), v.IV, 3323.

[50]      Muwatta, Shar 7; al-Bayhaqî, Shu’ab al-Îmân, V, 225.

[51]      Abû Dâwûd, Libas 13; Nasâî, Zînah 60; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, ID, 357

[52]      Tirmidhî, Zuhd 50; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, IV, 239; Nasâî, al-Sunan al-Kubrâ, VI, 344; al-San’ânî, al-Musannaf, I, 206.

[53]      Nasâî, Zinâh 54; Tirmidhî, Birr 63; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, IV, 137; Ibn Hibbân, al-Sahîh, XII, 234.

[54]      Tirmidhî, Adab 54; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, II, 311; al-Hâkim, al-Mustadrak, IV, 150.

[55]      Abû Dâwûd, Libas 1; Tirmidhî, Da’avât 55; Ibn Mâjah, At’imah 16.

[56]      Tirmidhî, Birr 61; al-Bayhaqî, al-Sunan al-Kubrâ, X, 193; Ma’mar ibn Râshid, al-Jâmi’, XI, 146; al-Qudâî, Musnad al-Shihâb, I, 274.

[57]      Bukhârî, Imân 22; Muslim, Aymân 38; Abû Dâwûd, Adab 124; Tirmidhî, Tafsir Surah 22,1; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, V, 161.

[58]      Bukhârî, Nafaqât 1; Muslim, Zuhd 41-42.

[59]      Muslim, Fadâil 51; Abû Dâwûd, Adab 1; Dârimî, Muqaddimah 10.

[60]      Muslim, Fadâil 63; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, III, 112; Ibn Hibbân, al-Sahîh, XV, 400; al-Bayhaqî, al-Sunan al-Kubrâ, II, 263.

[61]      Bukhârî, Adab 18; Muslim, Fadâil 64; Ibn Mâjah, Adab 3; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, VI, 56, 70.

[62]      Bukhârî, Adah, 18; Muslim, Fadâil 64.

[63]      Bukhârî, Azan 65; Muslim, Salât 191; Abû Dâwûd, Salât 123; Tirmidhî, Salât 159; Nasâî, Imamah 35; Ibn Mâjah, Iqamah 49; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, III, 109.

[64]      Muslim, Îmân 346; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, V, 127; Ibn Hibbân, al-Sahîh, XVI, 217.

[65]      Bukhârî, Riqâq 26; Muslim, Fadâil 17.

[66]      Bukhârî, Janâiz 50; Muslim, Janâiz 81.

[67]      Muslim, Jihad 104; Abu Yaia, al-Musnad, XI, 35; al-Bayhaqi, al-Sunan al-Kubrd, III, 352; al-Tabarani, al-Mu’jam al-Awsat, III, 223.

[68]      Bukhârî, Anbiyâ 54; Muslim, Jihâd 104; Ibn Mâjah, Fitan 33; Ibn Hibban, al-Sahîh, III, 254.

[69]      Bukhârî, Janâiz 23; Muslim, Munafiqun 4; Abû Dâwûd, Janâiz 1; Nasâî, Janâiz 40; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad II, 18.

[70]      Bukhârî, Adab 27; Ibn Majah, Taharah 78; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, II, 239.

[71]      al-Marwazî (d.294), Ta’zim qadr al-salât, II, 931; al-Haythamî, Majma’al-zawâid, IX, 160.

[72]      Tirmidhî, Zuhd 37; Dârimî, Riqâq118; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, III, 63; Nasâî, al-Sunan al-Kubrâ, III, 443; al-Bayhaqî, al-Sunan al-Kubrâ, VII, 12.

[73]      Tirmidhî, Zuhd 37; Ibn Mâjah, Zuhd7; al-Hakim, al-Mustadrak, IV, 358; al-Bayhaqî, al-Sunan al-Kubrâ, VII, 12

[74]      Tirmidhiî Manâqib 15; Ibn Mâjah, Muqaddimah 11; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, II, 253, 366; Ibn Hibbân, al-Sahîh, XV, 273.

[75]      âl-Qudâî, Musnad al-Shihâb, I,145; al-Hatib al-Bagdadi, Tdrikhu Bagdad, VII, 57; Ibn ‘Adiyy, al-Kamilfial-du’afa, III, 248; Ibn Hibban, al-Majrrlhin, I, 198; Ibn Hagar al-’Asqalani, Lisdn al-mizdn, II, 42.

[76]      Ibn Kathîr, al-Bidâyah van-nihâyah, III, 309.

[77]      Bukhârî, Imân 22; Muslim, Aymân 40; Abû Dâwûd, Adab 124; Tirmidhî, Birr 29; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, V, 58, 161.

[78]      Bukhârî, Salât 72; Muslim, Janâiz 71; Abû Dâwûd, Janâiz 57; Ibn Mâjah, Janâiz 32; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, II, 353, 388.

[79]      Ibn Hagar al-’Asqalâni, al-Îsâbah fi tamyîz al-sahâbah, II, 598-601; Ibn Abdilbarr, al-İstî’âb fî ma’rifatil-ashâb, II, 542-546.

[80]      Tirmidhî, Birr 29; Ibn Mâjah, Adab 10; Ahmad b. Hanbal, al-Musnad, I, 7; al-Tabarânî, al-Mu’jam al-Awsat, IX, 124; Abû Ya’lâ, al-Musnad, I, 94.

[81]      Bukhârî, Itk 17; Muslim, Alfaz 13,15; Abû Dâwûd, Adab 75; Ahmad b. Hanbal, al-Musnad, II, 316, 423.

[82]      Bukhari, Magâzî 35.

[83]      Muslim, Zuhd 64; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, VI, 16; Ibn Hibbân, al- Sahîh, VII, 155.

[84]      Muslim, Zakât 69, 70; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, IV, 358, 361.

[85]      Bukhârî, Jihâd 76; Abû Dâwûd, Jihâd 70; Tirmidhî, Jihâd 24; Nasâî, Jihâd 43; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, I,173.

[86]      Tirmidhî, Zuhd 39; Ibn Hibbân, al-Sahîh, II, 502; al-Bazzâr, al-Musnad, IX, 205; al-Tabarânî, al-Mu’jam al-Kabîr, XVIII, 310.

[87]      Tirmidhî, Zuhd 30; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, I, 62; al-Kissî, Musnad Abd ibn Humayd, I, 46; al-Hâkim, al-Mustadrak, IV, 347; al-Bayhaqî, Shu’ab al-Îmân, V, 157.

[88]      Tirmidhî, Qiyâmah 15.

[89]      Tirmidhî, Manâqib54; Ma’mar ibn Râshid, al-Jâmi’, XI, 306; al-Bazzâr, al-Musnad, V, 404; al-Tabarânî, al-Mu’jam al-Awsat, I, 264.

[90]      Ibn Abdilbarr, al-Istî’âb, 1,154; Ibn Hagar al-’Asqalânî, al-Isâbah, I, 281.

[91]      Tirmidhî, Zuhd 37; al-Bayhaqî, al-Sunan al-Kubrâ, VII, 12.

[92]      Bukhârî, Îmân 22; Muslim, Aymân 38; Abû Dâwûd, Adab 124; Tirmidhî, Birr 29; Ibn Mâjah, Adab 10; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, IV, 36.

[93]      Ibn Mâjah, Talak 31; al-Bayhaqî, al-Sunan al-Kubrâ, VII, 360, 370; al-Daraqutni, al-Sunan, TV, 37; al-Tabarânî, al-Mu’jam al-Kabîr, XI, 300.

[94]      For similiar hadith See, Bukhârî, Îmân 22; Muslim, Aymân 38; Abû Dâwûd, Adab 124; al-Bayhaqî, al-Sunan al-Kubrâ, VIII, 36.

[95]      Nasâî, Jihâd 6; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, III, 429; IbnMâjah, ]ihâd 12; al-Qudâî, Musnad al-Shihâb, 1,102; al-Daylami, al-Firdaws, II, 116.

[96]      Camels like beautiful voices and singing. The herdsmen for the camels sing to race the camels.

[97]      Bukhârî Adab 95; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, III, 117.

[98]      Nasai, ‘Ishratu’n-nisa 10; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, III, 128,199.

[99]      Tirmidhî, Rada 11; Ibn Mâjah, Nikah 50; Dârimî, Nikah 55; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, II, 472.

[100]     Ibn Mâjah, Ticârât 1; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, V, 279; al-Bayhaqî, al-Sunan al-Kubrâ, X, 242; Al-Tabarânî, al-Mu’jam al-Kabîr, VIII, 239.

[101]     Bukhârî, Zabâih 25.

[102]     Abû Dâwûd, Jihâd 47; Ibn Khuzaymah, al-Sahîh, IV, 143.

[103]     Bukhârî, Anbiyâ 54; Muslim, Salâm 151,154; Birr 133; Nasâî, Kusuf 14.

[104]     Abû Dâwûd, Jihâd, 122; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, I, 404; Hâkim, al-Mustadrak, IV, 267; al-Tabarânî, al-Mu’jam al-Awsat, IV, 261.

[105]     Muslim, Zuhd 74, Ibn Hibbân, al-Sahîh,XIII, 52.

[106]     Claude Farer wrote about the implications of Islamic morality which commands mercy and compassion to all creatures: “You can understand whether the neighborhood you are passing through is Muslim or Christian by looking at the attitude of the local dogs and cats. If the dogs and cats want to play with you and show closeness to you, you can say with confidence that it is a Muslim neighborhood; if they take a defensive position against you, it must be a non-Muslim neighborhood.” This picture, which was provided by a Christian tourist, is an obvious reflection of love, mercy and compassion to creatures for the sake of the Creator.

[107]     Muslim, Birr 75; Abû Dâwûd, Adah 11; Ibn Mâjah, Adah 9; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, IV, 362; Ibn Hibbân, al-Sahîh, II, 308.

[108]     Tirmidhî, Birr 16; al-Hâkim, al-Mustadrak, TV, 277; al-Bayhaqî, al-Sunan al-Kubrâ,lX, 41.

[109]     Ibn Mâjah, Adab6; al-Kissî, Musnad Abd ibn Humayd, I, 427; Bukhârî, al-Ababul-murfad, I, 61.

[110]     Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, V, 250, 265; al-Tabarânî, al-Mu’jam al-Awsat, III, 285, al-Mu’jam al-Kabîr, VIII, 202; Ibn Abî ‘Âsim, Kitab al-zuhd, I, 21; Ibn al-Mubârak, Kitab al-zuhd, I, 229, 230.

[111]     Bukhârî, Adab 24; Tirmidhî, Birr 15; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, V, 265.

[112]     Ahmad ibn Hanbal, II, 263, 387; al-Bayhaqî, al-Sunan al-Kubrâ, IV, 60.

[113]     Bukhari, Adah28; Muslim, Birr 140; Abu Dawud, Adah 123; Ibn Majah, Adah 4; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, II, 85,160, 259.

[114]     Abu Bakr al-Qurashi, Makarim al-akhlaq, I, 105; Hannad al-Kufi, al-Zuhd, II, 504; al-Bayhaqi, Shu’ab al-lman, VII, 84.

[115]     Ibn Majah, At’imah 58 ; al-Tabarani, al-Mu’jam al-Awsat, IV, 54.

[116]     al-Hâkim, al-Mustadrak, II, 526; Ibn Abî Shaybah, al-Musannaf, VII, 214; al-Bayhaqî, Shu’ab al-Îmân, III, 259 (See also interpret of ayah in the Sûrah of al-Hashr, 59/9).

[117]     Ibn Hibbân, al-Sahîh, XI, 192; al-Hâkim, al-Mustadrak, II, 29.

[118]     Nasâî, Adab al-qadâ 21: Abû Dâwûd, Jihâd 85.

[119]     Muslim, Aymân 36-38.

[120]     Muslim, Fadâil 126; Tirmidhî, Da’awat 118.

[121]     Bukhârî, Badul-khalq 7; Muslim, Jihâd 111; Nasâî, al-Sunan al-Kubrâ, IV, 405; Ibn Hibbân, al-Sahîh, XIV, 516.

[122]     Nasâî, al-Sunan al-Kubrâ, VI, 382; al-Bayhaqî, al-Sunan al-Kubrâ, IX, 118; al-Rabi’ ibn Habîb, Musnad al Rabi’, I, 170; Tahâwî, Shark Ma’ânî al-Âthâr, III, 325.

[123]     Ibn Hagar al-’Asqalânî, al-Isâbah, IV, 538.

[124]     Ibn Hagar al-’Asqalânî, al-Isâbah, VI, 524-527; Ibn AbdilBarr, al-Isîi’ab, IV, 1536.

[125]     Ibn Mâjah, Manâsik 56; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, IV, 14.

[126]     Bukhârî, Tibb 55; Muslim, Selam 43; Abû Dâwûd, Diyat 6; Ibn Mâjah, Tibb 45; Dârimî, Muqaddimah 11; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, II, 451.

[127]     A sect which was composed of elements from Christianity and the Sabii religion.

[128]     Ibn Hishâm, al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyahh, II, 580; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, IV, 379; al-Tabarânî, al-Mu’jam al-Awsat, VI, 360; Ibn Abî Shaybah, al-Musannaf, VII, 342.

[129]     Bukhârî, Hudûd 12; Muslim, Hudûd 9; Nasâî, Kat’us-sariq 12; Abû Dâwûd, Hudûd 4; Ibn Mâjah, Hudûd 6; Dârimî, Hudûd 5; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, VI, 162

[130]     Bukhârî, Bad’ al-wahy 5-6; Nasâî, Siyâm 2; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, I, 288, 363; Ibn Hibbân, al Sahîh, VIII, 225.

[131]     Muslim, Fadâil 57; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, III, 107, 259; Ibn Hibbân, al-Sahîh, X, 354; Ibn Khuzaymah, al-Sahîh, IV, 70.

[132]     Tirmidhî, Birr 40; al-Tabarânî, al-Mu’jam al-Awsat, III, 27; al-Ismaîlî, Mu’jam, III, 733; al-Bayhaqî, Shu’ab al-Îmân, VII, 428, 429.

[133]     Tirmidhî, Birr 41; al-Tayalisi, al-Musnad, I, 293; al-Qudâî, Musnad al-Shihâb, I, 211.

[134]     Tirmidhî, Manâqib 16; Abû Dâwûd, Zakat 40; Dârimî, Zakât 26; Al-Hâkim, al-Mustadrak, 1,574; al-Bayhaqî, al-Sunan, TV, 180; al-Bazzâr, al-Musnad, I, 263, 394.

[135]     al-Hâkim, al-Mustadrak, III, 270; al-Tabarânî, al-Mu’jam al-Kabîr, III, 259; al-Mizzi, Tahthib al-Kamâl, V, 301; Ibn al-Mubârak, al-Zuhd, 1,185; al-Qurtubî, Tafsir, XVIII, 28.

[136]     Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, I, 90.

[137]     Ibn Hishâm, al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyahh, I, 482; Ibn al-Kathir, al-Bidâyah
van-nihâyah,
II, 176.

[138]     Bukhârî, Îmân 16; Muslim, Îmân 57-59; Abû Dâwûd, Sunnah 14;
Tirmidhî, Îmân 7; Nasâî, Îmân 16; Ibn Mâjah, Zuhd 17; Muwatta, Husn
al-Khuluq
10; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, II, 56,147.

[139]     al-Tabarânî, al-Mu’jam al-Awsat, VIII, 174 and same book IV, 374; al-Bayhaqî, Shu’ab al-Îmân, VI, 140.

[140]     Muslim, Birr 78; Abû Dâwûd, Jihâd 1.

[141]     Tirmidhî, Sifatu’l-Qiyamah 24; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, I, 387; al-Hâkim, al-Mustadrak, IV, 359; Ibn Abî Shaybah, al-Musannaf, VII, 77; al-Tabarânî, al-Mu’jam al-Awsat, VII, 226.

[142]     Ahmad b. Hanbal, al-Musnad, V, 134; Ibn Hibbân, al-Sahîh, II, 32; al-Hâkim, al-Mustadrak, IV, 346; al-Bayhaqî, Shu’ab al-Îmân, V, 334.

[143]     Ibn Hishâm, al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyahh, I, 292; al-Hâkim, al-Mustadrak, III, 213; al-Tabarânî, al-Mu’jam al-Kabîr, III, 139; Ibn al-Kathîr, al-Bidâyah van-nihâyah, II, 32.

[144]     al-Bukhârî, Manâqib 23; Muslim, Fadâil 77; Abû Dâwûd, Adab 4; Muwatta, Husnul-khuluq 2; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, V, 130,223.

[145]     Bukhârî, Aymân 3;  Ibn Hibbân, al-Sahîh, IV, 534; al-Hâkim, al-Mustadrak, II, 515.

[146]     al-Bazzâr, al-Musnad, V, 395; al-Tabarânî, al-Mu’jam al-Awsat, IV, 208; Abu Nu’aym al-Isbahânî, Hilyah ai-Awliyâ, IV, 168; al-Bağdâdî, Muwaddih, II, 147.

[147]     al-Hâkim, al-Mustadrak, I, 62; al-Qudâî, Musnad al-Shihâb, II, 102; al-Bayhaqî, Shu’ab al-Îmân, VI, 517.

[148]     Bukhârî, al-Târikh al-sagîr, I, 5; al-Tabarânî, al-Mu’jam al-Kabîr, V, 271; Abû Bakr al-Qurashî, Makârim al-akhlâq, 1, 116.

[149]     Ibn Abi Shaybah, al-Musannaf, VII, 367; Ahmad b. Hanbal, al-Musnad, V, 299; Ibn Hishâm, al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyahh, II, 98.

[150]     Ahmad b. Hanbal, al-Musnad, IV, 324; Ibn Abdilbarr, al-Tamhîd, XII, 148; Ibn Hishâm, al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah, II, 315; Ibnul-Kathîr, al-Bidayah wan-Nihayah, II, 169.

[151]     Nasâî, Sahw 62; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, IV, 148; Ibn Abî Shaybah, al-Musannaf, VI, 45; al-Tabarânî, al-Mu’jam al-Awsat, V, 328.

[152]     Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, IV, 148; al-Hâkim, al-Mustadrak, II, 563; al-Tabarânî, al-Mu’jam al-Kabîr, XVII, 269; al-Bayhaqî, al-Sunan al-Kubrâ, X, 235.

[153]     Tirmidhî, Birr 62; (Some version of this hadith was narrated from Abdullah ibn Mas’ûd as mawkûf hadith for example; al-Tabaranî, al-Mu’jam al-Kabîr, IX , 152; Abû Nu’aym al-Isbahânî, Hilyah al-Awliyâ, I,
137; Ibn al-Jawzî, Safvatus-safvah, 1,421)

[154]     Bukhârî, Zakât 53; Muslim, Akdiyah 12, 13; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, II, 327, 360; Ibn Khuzaymah, al-Sahîh, I, 10.

[155]     Tirmidhî, Qiyâmah 54; al-Tabarânî, al-Mu’jam al-Awsat, IV, 111; al-Qudâî, Musnad al-Shihâb, II, 77; al-Bayhaqî, Shu’ab al-Îmân, V, 315.

[156]     Bukhriî, Bad al-khalq 7; Muslim, Jihâd 111; Nasâî, al-Sunan al-Kubrâ, IV, 405; Ibn Hibban, al-Sahîh, XIV, 516.

[157]     Ibn Hishâm, al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyahh, II, 412; Ibn Kathîr, al-Bidayah wan-Nihayah, II, 300.

[158]     Bukhârî,  Khumus  1; Muslim, Jihâd 54; Abû  Dâwûd,  İmârah  19; Tirmidhî, Siyar 44; Nasâî, Fay’ 9; Muwatta, Kalâm 27; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, I, 4.