A Human Being Before a Prophet
Muslim Reflections on Muhammad's Character
Apart from seeing Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as the Messenger of God gifted with divine revelation, one can remarkably see him as an ideal example of a perfect human character.
Prophet Muhammad is a person who strove hard for the well-being of his community and of humanity at large. His farsightedness and ability to correctly read events of his time and to anticipate results helped him, along with divine wisdom from God, to address people's emotions and to win their hearts before their minds. His human touch was inescapable, and his personal appeal and gentle approach won the hearts of enemies before those of friends.
In short, he always
found his way to his target audience. His cousin and Companion Ali is
reported to have asserted this distinctive aspect of the Prophet's character:
Missed by Friends When Absent
A man like Muhammad was the solace to his friends' souls. They would miss him very much if he went to mind personal matters, even if for a short while. This is the feeling you might have when your soul mate is absent; you always wait in anticipation for him or her to come back. That was the case with the Companions and Prophet Muhammad.
O Messenger of
God, I do not suffer from any disease. When our daily meetings come to an
end, I miss you a lot until we meet the next day. Now, I remember the Last
Day where you will be granted a very special status along with the other
prophets and messengers. If God destined me to enter Paradise, then we will
not meet due to different degrees, as surely my degree in Paradise will be
lower than yours. If God destined me to enter the Hellfire, then we will not
Hearing this, the Prophet remained silent for a while to receive the following revelation shortly afterwards:
[And whoever obeys God and the Messenger, these are with those upon whom God has bestowed favors from among the Prophets and the truthful and the martyrs and the good, and a goodly company they are.] (An-Nisaa' 4:69)
Situations like the above should not pass
unnoticed. The human touch of the Prophet and the way he approached his
Companions and people in general did wonders. It ended up with people
declaring that Muhammad is dearer to them than their wives, sons, daughters,
parents, and selves.
These and many other countless events from the Prophet's biography demonstrate that Muhammad was a highly respectable, reputable, beloved, and kind character. Even before being divinely ordered by God to carry the divine message, he was called by his own tribesmen "As-Sadiq Al-Amin" (Arabic for "the truthful and the trustworthy").
People of Other Faiths
Muhammad's good manners were not confined to his
close friends and Companions. His manners exceeded them to encompass
different nationalities and creeds. He taught his Companions how to respect
others regardless of their faith, race, color, or creed.
How far do we go in our hasty judgments on others? How many quick decisions do we make unknowingly and unwisely about our fellow humans? Don't we learn from the above example the respect Muhammad extended to a dead soul? He never derided or cursed a human being or even an animal. He was a caring and lovable character. Violence and harshness are never found in his dictionary.
Dealing With His Enemies
Many are the false, horrible stories one can hear and read about Prophet Muhammad being bloodthirsty and war-loving. Had those who study his character attempted to be objective in their studies, they would have realized that he was really a war-hating and merciful commander. He addressed his Companions on the night of the Battle of Badr saying, "Don't ever wish to meet the enemy, but if you are forced to , then be patient" (Al-Bukhari). "If you are forced to do that" means that confrontation was an option he did not prefer.
He was never offensive in his wars and military
campaigns. His enemies ask for confrontation, and he enters wars for solely
defending his beliefs and his community. He won the hearts of his enemies on
the day he victoriously entered Makkah, without wasting a single soul.
He never denied his enemies their dignity or
honor. He never stripped them of their human characteristics.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has been and
will always be a human being from whom Muslims learn how to love and deal
with one another, and form healthy relationships in today's global village.
He left his personal impact on people as a human being before God entrusted
him with His message.