THE MANNERS OF THE PROPHET

The attainment of morals and religion are the only preconditions for living in a way that is befitting to humanity. Allah Almighty sent the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), an example of morals without equal, to mankind so that they would be able to live a life of faith and adoration on the straight path. The Messenger’s main duties, after instructing us in the faith, were to save believers from their egotistical characteristics and to elevate them in praiseworthy characteristics.

The one sent as an example for mankind by Allah as the Messenger of Islam, the perfected religion, was Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Allah Almighty revealed the following about him: “Surely thou hast sublime morals…!” (Qalam, 68: 4) Thus, the only way to assure prosperity in this world and the next is to benefit from the example given by the character, life and excellent conduct of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). We can only attain this blessing with affection for the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and by enfolding ourselves in his spirituality.

The universe is the manifestation of Divine love. The true essence of this manifestation is the light of Muhammad (pbuh). Happiness in this world and the next can be attained only with love that we feel for him. History is a witness that prosperity comes to a nation when it adorns itself with love for the Prophet of Islam. We can only preserve the infinite grace, aesthetic beauty and unseen depths that we humans have been so generously created with by obeying Allah and living according to the Prophet Muhammad’s morals and high standards.

Rûmî tells us about a person during the asr-i saadet[1] who lost his conscience, whose feelings were stricken with atrophy, and who was impolite and abrupt; he then goes on to tell us how the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) gracefully dealt with the situation and how he helped this man to find faith.

One evening a few unbelievers came to the mosqueas guests of the Prophet and said: “O blessed one, who spiritually hosts all of mankind! We have come here as your guests. We have nothing to eat or drink; we have come from afar and we know of nobody here. Come and show us your grace and goodness, spread your light, give of your prosperity, your kindness and favour.”

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said to his Companions: “O Friends! Divide these people between you and take them to your homes, give them offerings, because you are like me with generosity and you have my morals.” The Companions all took a guest to their home. However, there was one among them who was not like the others; a rude man who was obese. Nobody had the courage to take this man to their home. He was left alone in the mosque so the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) took the man to his home.

There were seven goats in the Prophet’s herd which provided milk. At dinner time the goats were outside waiting to be milked. The large guest ate all the bread and food and drank the milk of the seven goats. Some members of the household were very annoyed with this insensitive, rude man because he had eaten all the food in the house. The man’s stomach swelled like a drum; he ate the food of seven or eight people on his own. At night time he retired to another room and a servant girl resented the man so much that she secured the door with a chain from the outside.

During the night, however, the guest had a stomach ache and needed to leave the room. He flew out of bed and ran to the door. When he tried to open the door he realized that it had been chained from the outside. This glutton of a man tried to open the door in many ways, and he kept on trying, but all in vain; the door would not open. He was so desperate to relieve himself that the room seemed to start to close in on him, but there was nothing he could do, no remedy or comfort…so he lay down and tried to sleep to forget his discomfort. He fell asleep and in his dream he saw himself in a place of desolation. There was a ruined house which he remembered from long ago. Seeing himself in the secluded house he took this opportunity and relieved himself in the corner of the room. He was so ashamed when he woke up to see that he had soiled the bed that he was sleeping in. He waited, thinking to himself ‘I hope the night passes quickly and I hear the door open soon.’ He waited so that he could rush out of the door as soon as it opened.

In the morning the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) came and opened the door to let the man out, but the man hid with shame. As soon as he found a chance he ran off. A member of the household later brought the bedding and placed it in front of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), as if to say “look at what your guest has done.” The merciful one just smiled and said: “Bring me a bowl of water and I’ll wash the bedding with my own hands.” All the people in the room jumped up, ashamed and said: “No we’ll do it. Leave the filth and we will clean it. This is work for the hand, not the heart. We are here to serve you. If you do our duties, then what are we? What duty do we serve?” Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) replied: “I know how much you all love me, but there is a wisdom in my washing this.” The members of the household then waited for the wisdom to be revealed.

The Prophet (pbuh) washed the filth because he was in fact complying with an order from Allah; this is what his blessed soul had told him to do. As it turned out, there was a great deal of wisdom in all of this, for the unbelieving man who stayed at the Prophet’s home had had an idol around his neck. When he realized that he had lost it, he said to himself: “I must have dropped my valuable idol in the room without realizing it.” He was so ashamed of what he had done, but the value of the lost idol allowed him to overcome his shame.

He ran back to look for his idol. He located the idol in the Prophet Muhammad’s room, but he also saw the Prophet; the blessed hand of Allah’s power, washing the sheets he had dirtied. All the affection he had for the idol vanished from his heart, and realizing what he had done he fell into a state of ecstasy; he tore at his clothes, hit his face and head with his hands and banged his head against the wall and the door, saying: “O, you stupid head!”, beating his chest and saying “O you chest of no splendour!”, bowing down to the ground and shouting, “You pitiful person of no conscience!”

Then the man said: “O Glory of the Universe, honourable person of divinity! I’m ashamed of the heedlessness I have shown to your kindness.” Talking to the earth from a stricken soul he said: “O earth, full of wisdom! You abide by the command of Allah and bow to Him. You live with His love, while I am just a pitiful person who thrives on the blessings you adorn. I have been defeated by my ego and I am out of control. When you face Allah you are humble and powerless, that is why you tremble when you praise him. As for me, I have opposed His orders. Shame on me!”

Looking up to the heavens, the man said to the Prophet Muhammad: “O qibla of the universe! I have no right to look you in the face.” His state of ecstasy had gone too far, he was trembling and in a fluster. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) took this poor person who was trying to flee from disbelief, and restored him with peace, reviving his heart that was in ruins. He spoke to the man with words of deep mystery. This man who had been captivated by his idol had never seen a heart like the one which was standing in front of him, a heart of kindness and morals; the two men soon became close friends. The Prophet (pbuh) was surprised that the abrupt, arrogant man had turned into a person of immense humility. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) told the man to come over to him. As if he had just awoken from a deep sleep, the man went over to the Prophet and said: “O witness of the unity of Allah, teach me the testimony of unification: faith to the oneness of Allah and verification of your Prophethood, then I will be able to join the caravan of happiness. I am wearied by my abruptness, of my conscience not having any feeling. I want to reach the eternal desert of faith.”

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) instructed the man in faith. He taught to him the holy words of testimony: “Lâ ilâha illallâh, Muhammad’ur Rasûllallâh.” Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said to the man: “Come to us tonight and be the guest of our home and our hearts.” The fortunate man said: “I swear that whatever I am or wherever I go I will be your guest forever. I was dead but you revived me. I am your free servant from now on, your doorman. Everyone, in this world and in the Hereafter, they are all your guests.”

That night, the Bedouin was again a guest of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh); he only drank a small amount of the milk from one of the goats and then he thanked Allah for what he had eaten and got up. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said to him: “Drink some milk and eat.” The newcomer to faith replied: “I swear I am truly full; I am not just saying this out of shame or embarrassment, nor am I saying it just for show. One mouthful of your prosperity is worth hundreds of mouthfuls. I am fuller than I was last night after eating all that food.”

The members of the household were surprised, and speaking amongst themselves, said: “How can a man of his size be full on a drop of olive oil?” “How can the food fit for a swallow fill an elephant’s stomach? How surprising it is that a man with a body like an elephant is eating something the size of a mosquito!” In reality, after being saved from the contempt of disbelief, the stomach of a dragon can be filled by the food for an ant.

This story contains much wisdom; first of all, a guide must teach moral values to the person who is on the path. Implementing and displaying these morals within his own self, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) took the overeating disbeliever that nobody else wanted to his house as a guest, he fed him and showed him overwhelming kindness; he even gave the man his own share of the food. When the man was forced to soil the sheets, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) cleaned up after him and this action caused the man to admire the Prophet’s morals; he cleaned up what the servants had found hard to clean. The Prophet (pbuh) never criticized the man. With great maturity the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) displayed a heart of loyalty. As a result of this, the heedless, greedy man, who had a heart of darkness, was filled with the light of faith. It was the conduct of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) that caused this man to see the light and redeem his past mistakes. This is the conduct of a Prophet!

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This conduct can make a disbeliever a believer, and a glutton an ocean of contentment.

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This conduct can make many rampant souls obedient and turn cold-blooded hearts into oceans of compassion.

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This conduct can make a savage society into the most refined community in humanity.

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This conduct can make people hold themselves responsible for all their negative qualities.

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This conduct can instruct in good and beautification with kindness, because it is kindness that overcomes humans. To whatever degree we show kindness that is the degree to which hostility will fade and those left behind will become friends. It is stated in the Qur’ân: Repel evil with that which is better…!” (Muminûn, 23: 96; Fussilat, 41: 34)

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This conduct made the Prophet Muhammad the sultan of two universes.

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This conduct is the highest divine conduct that pleases Allah: “Surely thou hast sublime morals.” (Qalam, 68: 4)

O Allah! Beautify our manners with the manners of the Prophet Muhammad. His actions are full of eternal beauty; grant all those of faith the ability to live with the same conduct as the Holy Prophet! Âmîn!

[1].    The era of happiness: