The more science and technology advances, the greater is the need for the observance and practice of the teachings and instructions of divine prophets in human societies. This is because science and technology provide only machines and instruments and by no means prevent their misuse by human beings.
The terrible rise in murder, other felonies, corruption, suicide and so forth clearly points to this very fact. If morality, which is a significant part of the teachings of divine prophets, does not prevail and govern in human societies, surely not only will advanced science and technology fail to ensure human peace and prosperity, but they will add to our problems and miseries.
For the exploiters and colonialists utilize advanced technology and sciences for their own satanic purposes. They murder or make homeless millions of human beings as they have always done and trample upon the rights of the weak and the defenseless.
As a matter of fact, the only factor that can halter man’s restive soul and control his stormy instincts and passions and thus utilize science and technology for human prosperity and pacific life is true morality, which originates in faith in God.
The moral teachings and precepts of the divine prophets and their moral behaviour are the best means of leading man to his ideal life. It goes without saying that both in personal and in social life the observance of moral principles is required of all.
However, for those who must lead societies and guide the people, this requirement is much greater, because, first, the one who is the instructor of society must himself be a model of supreme moral behaviour and excellent human characteristics, so he will be able to wipe moral decay out of people’s hearts and minds. Obviously if he himself is lacking in morality, he will fail to lead the people onto the path of humanity and virtue.
Second, the responsibility of leading human societies is so great and crucial that no one can successfully perform it unless he has perfect morals. For this reason, God selected his prophets from among those who possessed exalted spirits, great tolerance, extraordinary patience, and other excellent moral characteristics. It was with this weapon of morality that divine prophets overturned the debased societies that were plunged in corruption and led the ignorant people who had gone astray onto the path of virtue and salvation.
In the holy Qur’an, God has addressed Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him:
`Thus it is due to mercy from God that you deal with them gently, and had you been rough, hard-hearted, they would certainly have dispersed from around you’
The sublime celestial morals of the Prophet brought about the waves of the revolution of Islam first in Arabian society and afterwards all over the world. In the light of this all-embracing spiritual and intellectual resurrection, dispersion turned into unity, unchastity into chastity and virtue, idleness into hard work and industry, selfishness to altruism, and Arab arrogance to modesty and affection.
Men and women were thus trained to become models of good moral behaviour and have altruistic manners forever. The morals of the Prophet were so sublime and praiseworthy that God has regarded them as great.
`And truly you (Muhammad) possess great morals‘ (68:4).
The Holy Prophet of Islam possessed the magnificent status of prophecy and divine leadership. He, peace be upon him, owned the hearts of his companions because of his great manners and high morals.
Of these morals are:
Of these morals are:
•Good Morals, Ethics and Companionship
The Prophet (pbuh) was a living example for all humans to follow. His wife A’ishah was asked about his manners, and she said,
“His manners were the Qur’an.”
In this statement, A’ishah meant that the Prophet (pbuh) abided by its laws and commands and abstained from its prohibitions, and observed the virtuous deeds mentioned in it. The Prophet (pbuh) said:
“God has sent me to perfect good manners and to do good deeds.” (Bukhari & Ahmed)
Allah, the Exalted, described the Prophet (pbuh) saying:
“And indeed, you are of a great moral character” [Qur’an 68:4]
Anas b. Malik served the Prophet (pbuh) for ten years; He was with him day in and day out, both when the Prophet (pbuh) traveled and when he was a resident in Madeenah. He was knowledgeable of the Prophet’s manners. He said:
“The Prophet (pbuh) did not swear at anyone, nor was he rude, nor did he curse anyone. If he desired to reprimand someone, he would say: ‘What is wrong with him, may dust be cast in his face!” (Bukhari #5684)
•Politeness and Good Manners
The Prophet (pbuh) showed good manners and was courteous to all, even to children. Once when the Prophet was in a gathering, a drink was brought to the Prophet (pbuh) and he drank from it. On his right side there was a young boy and on his left side were elderly men. Feeling obliged by the respect of elders, and not wanting to hurt the feelings of the child, he asked the young boy:
“Do you mind if I give the drink to them?’ The young boy said: ‘O Prophet of God! By God! I would not prefer anyone to drink from the place you drank. This is my fair share18.’ The Messenger of God (pbuh) handed the boy the drink.” (Bukhari #2319)
Once some companions came to the Prophet (pbuh) complaining about a tribe, namely the Daws, who refused to accept Islam, asking him to curse them. The Prophet (pbuh) raised his hands in prayer and instead said:
“O Allah guide the tribe of Daws and bring them to Islam!”
Sahl b. Sa’d said: The Prophet (pbuh) had more care for those around him than for his own self.
“A woman gave the Messenger of God (pbuh) a Burdah (gown). The Prophet (pbuh) asked his Companions: ‘Do you know what a Burdah is?’ They replied, ‘Yes, O Prophet of God! It is a piece of woven cloth [similar to a shawl]. The woman said: ‘O Prophet of God! I have woven this shawl with my own hands, for you to wear.’ The Messenger of God (pbuh) took it while he direly needed it. After a while, the Messenger of God (pbuh) came out of his home wearing it, and a Companion said to the Messenger of God (pbuh): ‘O Prophet of God! Grant me this shawl to wear!’ The Messenger of God (pbuh) said: ‘Yes.’ He then sat for awhile, and headed back home, folded it and gave it to the person who asked for it. The Companions scolded him saying: ‘It was not appropriate for you to ask for his shawl; especially since you know he does not turn anyone down or send them away empty-handed! The man said: ‘By God! I only asked him to give it to me because I want to be shrouded in this shawl when I die.’ Sahl, the narrator of the Hadeeth said: ‘The shawl was used as a shroud for that man when he died.” (Bukhari #1987)
•Kindness and Compassion
The Prophet was the kindest of people, and this was also apparent in his treatment of infants.
“The Messenger of God (pbuh) performed Salah (prayer) while he was carrying an infant girl named Umaamah, daughter of Abul-Aas. When he bowed, he put her on the ground, and when he stood up, he would carry her again.”(Bukhari #5650)
•Simplification and Ease
The Prophet (pbuh) always sought to make things easy for people. The Messenger of God (pbuh) said:
“I start the prayer with the intention of lengthening it, but when I hear a child crying, I shorten the prayer, as I know its mother would suffer from his screams!” (Bukhari #677)
Anas bin Malik said:
‘The Messenger of God (pbuh) was never asked for something when a person accepted Islam, except that he granted that person what he asked. A man came to the Prophet (pbuh) and he gave him a herd of sheep that was grazing between two mountains. The man returned to his people and said: ‘O my people accept Islam! Muhammad (pbuh) gives out generously like one who does not fear poverty.’ (Muslim #2312)
Ibn Abbas said:
‘The Prophet (pbuh) was the most generous of people. He was most generous during Ramadhan when he met Gabriel (pbuh); he would meet him every night during Ramadhan to practice and review the Qur’an with him. The Messenger of God (pbuh) was so generous, that he was faster than the swiftest wind in this regard. (Bukhari #6)
Abu Dharr said:
‘I was walking with the Prophet (pbuh) in the Har’rah (volcanic region) of Madeenah and we faced the mount of Uhud; the Prophet (pbuh) said: ‘O Abu Dharr!’ I said: ‘Here I am O Messenger of God!’ He said: ‘It would not please me to have an amount of gold equal to the weight of Mount Uhud, until I spend and give it out (in the sake of God) within a night or within three nights. I would keep a single silver piece of it to help those who are in debt.(Bukhari #2312)
Jabir b. Abdullah said:
‘The Prophet pbuh did not refuse to give anything which he had to someone if he asked for it.’ (Bukhari #5687)
The Prophet (pbuh) was not a king who commanded his followers to carry out his orders. Rather he always carried out his own affairs and helped others in collective duties. A’ishah was once asked about how the Prophet (pbuh) behaved with his family. She said:
“He helped and assisted his family members with their chores; but when the call to prayer was heard, he would [stop everything and] leave to attend the prayers.”
Al-Baraa bin ‘Azib said:
“I saw the Messenger of God (pbuh) on the Day of the Trench carrying dirt [that was dug from the trench] until his chest was covered with dirt.”(Bukhari #2780)
“The trait and characteristic which the Prophet (pbuh) hated most was lying. A man would tell a lie in the presence of the Prophet (pbuh) and he would hold it against him, until he knew that he repented.” (Tirmidthi #1973)
Even his enemies attested to his truthfulness. Abu Jahl, who was one of the harshest enemies of Islam, said: ‘O Muhammad! I do not say that you are a liar! I only deny what you brought and what you call people to.’ God, the Exalted, says:
“We know indeed that what they say certainly grieves you, but surely they do not call you a liar; but the unjust deny the verses of God.” [Qur’an 6:33]
•Pleasant Facial Expression
Abdullah bin al-Harith said:
“I have never seen a man who smiled as much as the Messenger of God (pbuh).” (Tirmidthi #2641)
•Honesty, Trustworthiness and Reliability
The Prophet (pbuh) was wellknown for his honesty. The pagans of Makkah -who were openly hostile towards him- would leave their valuables with him. His honesty and reliability was tested when the pagans of Makkah abused him and tortured his companions and drove them out of their homes. He ordered his cousin, Ali b. Abi Talib to postpone his migration for three days to return to people their valuables.22
Another example of his honesty, trustworthiness and reliability is demonstrated in the Truce of Hudaibiyah, wherein he agreed to the article in the treaty which stated that any man who left the Prophet (pbuh) would not be returned to him, and any man who left Makkah would be returned to them. Before the treaty was concluded a man named Abu Jandal b. Amr had managed to escape from the pagans of Makkah and rushed to join Muhammad (pbuh). The pagans asked Muhammad to honor his pledge and return the escapee. The Messenger of God (pbuh) said:
“O Abu Jandal! Be patient and ask God to grant you patience. God will surely help you and those who are persecuted and make it easy for you. We have signed an agreement with them, and we certainly do not betray or act treacherously.” (Baihaquee #18611)
The Messenger of God (pbuh) was the most humble person. He was so humble that if a stranger were to enter the mosque and approach the Prophet’s sitting place while he was sitting with his Companions, one would not be able to distinguish him from his Companions. Anas bin Malik said:
“Once, while we were sitting with the Messenger of God (pbuh) in the Masjid, a man on his camel approached. After he tied it with a rope, he asked: ‘Who amongst you is Muhammad?’ The Messenger of God (pbuh) was sitting on the ground while he was leaning, with his Companions. We directed the Bedouin, saying: ‘This white man leaning on the ground.’ The Prophet (pbuh) did not differ nor distinguish himself from his Companions.”
The Prophet (pbuh) would not hesitate to help the poor, needy and widows in their needs. Anas b. Malik said:
“A woman from the people of Madeenah who was partially insane said to the Prophet (pbuh): ‘I have to ask you [your help] about something.’ He helped her and took care of her needs.” (Bukhari #670)
•Mercy and Compassion
Abu Masood al-Ansari said:
“A man came to the Prophet (pbuh) and said: ‘O Messenger of God! By God! I do not pray Fajr prayer because so and so lengthens the prayer.’ He said: ‘I have never seen the Messenger of God (pbuh) deliver a speech in such an angry state.’ He said: ‘O People! Verily there are among you those who chase people away! If you lead people in prayer, shorten the prayer. There are old and weak people and those with special needs behind you in prayer.’ “(Bukhari #670)
Once when the Prophet (pbuh) went to visit his grandchild he shed some tears.
“The Messenger of God (pbuh) sat with the child while he was on his deathbed. The child’s eyes froze in their places like stones. Upon seeing that, the Messenger of God (pbuh) wept. Sa’d said to him, ‘What is this ‘O Prophet of God?’ He said: ‘This is a mercy that God, the Exalted, places in the hearts of His slaves. Truly, God is merciful to those who are merciful towards others.’ “(Bukhari #6942)
•Justice and Fairness
The Messenger of God (pbuh) was just and fair in every aspect of his life and in the application of the religion. A’ishah said:
‘The people of Quraish were extremely concerned about a Makhzoomi woman (i.e. the woman from the tribe of Makhzoom) who committed a theft. They conversed among themselves and said, ‘Who can intercede on her behalf with the Messenger of God (pbuh)?’
They finally said: ‘Who dares to speak to the Messenger of God (pbuh) in this matter except Usamah b. Zaid, the most beloved young man to the Messenger of God (pbuh).’ So Usamah spoke to the Messenger of God (pbuh) regarding the woman. The Messenger of God (pbuh) said:
‘O Usamah! Do you intercede (on their behalf to disregard) one of God’s castigations and punishments!’
The Messenger of God (pbuh) got up and delivered a speech, saying:
‘People before you were destroyed because when the noble among them stole, they would let him go; and if the poor and weak stole they would punish him. By God! If Fatimah, the daughter of Muhammad stole, I would cut her hand off.’ (Bukhari #3288)
The Messenger of God (pbuh) was just and fair and allowed others to avenge themselves if he harmed them. Usaid b. Hudhair said:
‘A man from the Ansar, was cracking jokes with people and making them laugh, and the Prophet (pbuh) passed by him and poked his side lightly with a branch of a tree that he was carrying. The man exclaimed: ‘O Prophet of God! Allow me to avenge myself!’ The Prophet (pbuh) said: ‘Go Ahead!’ The man said: ‘O Messenger of God, you are wearing a garment, and I was not when you poked me [i.e. you jabbed my exposed skin, so it is only fair I do the same to you]!’ The Messenger of God (pbuh) raised his upper garment [to expose his side], and the Ansari [merely] kissed it, saying: ‘I only meant to do this, O Messenger of God!’ (Abu Dawood #5224)
•Hoping for Goodness, Even for his Enemies
‘I asked the Messenger of God (pbuh): “Did you face a day harder and more intense than the Battle of Uhud?‛ He replied: ‘I suffered a lot from your people! The worst I suffered was on the Day of al-’Aqabah when I spoke to Ali b. Abd Yaleel b. Abd Kilaal (in order to support me) but he disappointed me and left me. I left the area while I was quite worried, and walked – when I reached an area called Qarn ath-Tha’alib, I raised my head to the sky and noticed a cloud that shaded me. Gabriel (pbuh) called me and said: ‘O Muhammad! God, the Exalted, has heard what your people have said to you – and has sent the Angel in charge of the mountains, so you can command him to do what you please.’ The Prophet (pbuh) said: ‘The Angel in charge of the mountains called me saying: ‘May God praise you and keep safe from all evil! O Muhammad, I will do whatever you command me to do. If you like I can bring the Akh-shabain mountains together and crush them all.’ The Messenger of God (pbuh) said: ‘It may be that God raises from among them a progeny who worship God alone and associate no partners with Him.’ (Bukhari #3059)
These were some of his manners. He, peace be upon him, was mainly concerned with teaching and disciplining Muslims to have the best manners and personal characteristics. His personal life and behavior were reflective of his teachings, which were revealed to him by Allaah.
It is for these reasons that people started to embrace Islam and his love increased inside the hearts of the Sahaaba each time they would see him. May Allah give us the ability to inculcate these attributes inside ourselves and peace and blessings be upon the Prophet (S.A.W), his family, his companions and all of the pious people.