Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Prophet's Personality

Who are you? What are you like? Trainspotter or trendsetter? Easily provoked or laid back?

Often we are the products of our environment whether it is due to our friends, family, fashion, media or society. Together these factors unconsciously mould our characters, dictating both our thoughts and behaviour.

Is this the way you want to be? A Muslim is called to continually assess and enhance his or her own personality.

This is achieved with reference to the Qur'an and the sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad

"You have indeed in the Messenger of Allah (Muhammad ) a Beautiful Pattern (of Conduct)..."
[Surah al-Ahzab; 33:21]

"And thou (standest) on an exalted standard of character."
[Surah al-Qalam; 68:4]

A comprehensive understanding of his character cannot be given in one short essay.

The complexity of his life is such that many Muslim and non-muslim scholars have been driven to write volumes to try and understand what inspired him and the subsequent impact of his life upon human history.

To help attain an idea of his importance one requires a description of his manners and lifestyle.

Muhammad (Sallalahu Alayhi Wasalam) was a man who spoke very little, his sentences would be short yet full of deep meaning.

He listened more than he spoke, sometimes he would be silent for long periods of time.

He was unusually quiet and reserved, generally pensive and sorrowful - always wrapped up in his thoughts and meditations.

Yet when he spoke, his words carried depth and he did not need to speak for long in order to be understood.

Most of his laughter was no more than smiling, and if he was pleased he would lower his gaze. He would get angry only when a matter of principle was mocked or violated and he would not be pleased until the matter was resolved.

Yet he would never get angry for personal reasons - he was always forgiving, and he would never retaliate against personal insults; here he would be patient and gracious.

Though he was a very busy man, he would quite often attend to his own chores by washing and sewing his own clothes and mending his own shoes, though there were many who would have jumped at the chance to do these chores for him.

At home he would divide his time between three portions: his family, himself and God.

His own individual time used to be taken up by his companions who used to visit him regularly, he would receive them in kindness, waiting upon them, serving and honouring them. He would enquire about their needs and try to help them as much as he could.

Sometimes he would also ask about those who were not present.

He would be the last to drink if drinks were served in his home, normally with only one bowl to go round.

When he was talking to his companions he would honour their feelings by never bringing any topics which might hurt them or lower their spirits, and instead of mocking someone he would try to help them with their weaknesses.

The companions used to love staying with him so much that they would overstay in his house, to such an extent that some verses were revealed asking the companions to respect the Prophet's wish for privacy.

For those who were very poor, he was a supporter and guardian, providing food and lodging from whatever little he possessed.

His warmth was such that even little children would run up to him asking him to play with them even though he was over fifty years old; the Prophet would listen and play merry-go-round with them.

Towards his enemies he was still forgiving, and if they were firm with him, then he was firm with them.

History records that those who set out to kill him would later become his closest friends. Though in the later stages of his life, he had access to much wealth, he still lived as a humble servant of God.

His greatest delight ultimately lay in his prayer, especially those that he offered during the darkness of the night. Whose example do you prefer over Muhammad , the Greatest Muslim Personality?

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