By Nikhat Sattar
12 December 2016
THE Quran says:
“Muhammad is not the father of any of your
men, but (he is) the Messenger of Allah, and the Seal of the Prophets: and
Allah has full knowledge of all things” (33:40).
The Prophet (PBUH) received the Quran over
a period of 23 years and communicated the same to his people amidst oppression
and tyranny. His companions bore physical and emotional brutalities and were
forced out of their homes in Makkah to migrate to Madina. Here, upon receiving
instructions from God, the Prophet fought several battles with the Quraysh,
finally returning to Makkah to perform Haj at the same Kaaba from which he and
his companions had been banished.
His leadership qualities during times of
war and peace were extraordinary. He is proclaimed as one of the greatest
strategists and has influenced the lives of countless people all over the
world. For military and public decisions, he always consulted his companions
and took their advice based on consensus.
Unlike other prophets, including Jesus and
Moses, details of his personal life are relatively better known. His words and
actions have been transmitted through generations of Muslims, documented by
Muhadditheen and compiled in books of Ahadith. When asked about what the
Prophet was like, Hazrat Ayesha said that he was the Quran personified.
The Prophet (PBUH) was the Quran
The Quran says: “...For Allah hath indeed
sent down to you a Message, — a Messenger, who rehearses to you the Signs of
Allah containing clear explanations, that he may lead forth those who believe
and do righteous deeds from the depths of Darkness into Light. ...” (65:10-11).
The Quran, in fact, is the truest biography of the Prophet.
Among Muslims and objective non-Muslims,
there is no argument on what he stood for: truth, integrity and the rights of
the weak and oppressed. French writer Alphonse de Lamartine said: “As regards
all standards by which human greatness may be measured, we may well ask, is
there any man greater than he?” According to author Reverend Bosworth Smith,
“…He was Caesar and Pope in one; but he was Pope without the Pope’s pretensions
and Caesar without the legions of Caesar. Without a standing army, without a
bodyguard, without a palace, without a fixed revenue, if ever any man had the
right to say that he ruled by a right Divine, it was Mohammad; for he had all
the power without its instruments and without its supports”.
But it is American writer Washington Irving
who describes his person best: “He was sober and abstemious in his diet, and a
rigorous observer of fasts. He treated friends and strangers, the rich and
poor, the powerful and the weak, with equity, and was beloved by the common
people for the affability with which he received them, and listened to their
complaints ... in the time of his greatest power he maintained the same
simplicity of manners and appearance as in the days of his adversity. … he was
displeased if, on entering a room, any unusual testimonial of respect were
shown to him.” Karen Armstrong describes him as a man of mercy and a reformer.
The Prophet was born on a Monday, which is
why he fasted on this day. He treated women and men equally. He spent much of
his time either in prayer or listening to and advising others. He loved
children and helped his wives in housework. As it is reported in Ahadith, “He
used to keep himself busy serving his family and when it was the time for
prayer he would go for it” (Bukhari).
In every walk of life and in every role
which he played — as leader, husband, father, relative, friend — his example is
the best example. He married, had a family and lived and worked as a trader
among his people. He faced personal problems, poverty, hunger and the harshest
of conditions. He treated his enemies with great patience, showed them mercy
and ensured that prisoners of war were taken care of. He instructed people to
be kind to all living beings and use resources wisely. His wisdom was second to
Muslims around the world love the Prophet
and consider his sunnah as binding upon them. They need to ponder whether this
desire to emulate him should be reflected in honesty, kindness and compassion,
or in processions, rhetorical speeches and slogans. Indeed, would our Prophet
not be displeased were he to know that our legislators had decided to travel on
state expense to Madina for his birthday celebrations, and simultaneously given
themselves a hefty pay raise, while poor labourers toil for years to make ends
The personal legacy of the Prophet —
selflessness, simplicity and love of fellow beings — has been forgotten amidst
hypocrisy in the race for power and wealth.
Nikhat Sattar is a freelance contributor with an interest in religion.