PROPHET MUHAMMAD - THE IDEAL CHARACTER By YAQEEN UL HAQ AHMAD SIKANDEREver since dawn of the civilization, mankind has witnessed the emergence of a largenumber of great people who did significant contributions in their respective fields andimmortalized their names forever. Their contributions, which they left behind, havebeen responsible for moulding the intellect of the people into the fashion of theirteachings. The Teachings of Buddha, Jesus, Confucius, Ashoka, Aristotle, Plato, etc eventoday have an avid influence upon the lives of masses globally. But among all thesegreat people, only Muhammad (pbuh) possessed the most distinguished anddetermined personality.Across the centuries millions and billions of people have lived their lives lovingMuhammad (pbuh) and following his principles and guidelines in every sphere of life. Noone other than Muhammad (pbuh) in the history has been so much adored andfollowed. Today one in every five persons of the world believes Muhammad (pbuh) asthe last messenger of Allah (pbuh) and millions of others are continuing to beartestimony to this fact. He was the one who brought has billions of people from darknessof ignorance to light. He brought peace and set of ideals to countless hearts and lives.He is the inspiration for countless people over the globe. Even today Muhammad (pbuh)motivates and induces whole masses to strive to shape their lives according to histeachings. Indeed never before in the history has anyone influenced humankind up tosuch extent as Muhammad (pbuh) did even beyond his death. That’s why Quran rightlytells Muhammad (pbuh) to proclaim that He is the mercy for all nations which clearlydepicts the universality of his mission. The Quran mentions: "And We sent you not (OMuhammad), but as a mercy to all the worlds". (Al Quran 21:107).Among all the great emerged lives, only Muhammad (pbuh) was most influential andsuccessful and both Religious and Secular levels and this made Michael.H.Hart, anAmerican Mathematician, Historian and an Astronomer to put Him on the No.1 in thelist of the top 100 men which he quoted in his world-famous book "The Hundred". Andthe Argument that he puts forth for it is as follows:"Since there are roughly twice [the latest estimate is that there are more than onethousand million Muslims in the world and one thousand two hundred millionChristians] as many Christians in the world, it may initially seem strange thatMuhammad has been ranked higher than Jesus. There are two principal reasons forthat decision. First, Muhammad played a far more important role in the development
of Islam than Jesus did in the development of Christianity. Although Jesus wasresponsible for the main ethical and moral precepts of Christianity (in so far as thesediffered from Judaism), St. Paul was the main developer of Christian theology, itsprincipal proselytizer, and the author of a large portion of the New Testament.Muhammad, however, was responsible for both the theology of Islam and its mainethical and moral principles. In addition, he played the key role in proselytizing thenew faith and in establishing the religious practices of Islam". (Michael H. Hart in hisbook - "THE 100"- pages 38-39)In the words of Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, "Humankind needs a set of moralprinciples having universal validity as well as a real personality in which these moralprinciples are exemplified. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is the only answer to thisquestion. He proclaimed the ethics that bear the stamp of divine authenticity, and is,moreover, a model of perfect conduct and character for all mankind. In bodilyappearance he lived in this world, but, spiritually, he was on a different plane". It wasthe exemplary life of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and his empyreal teachings that evenmade the non-Muslims bear testimony to the greatness of Muhammad (pbuh). Some ofthe verdicts of Non-Muslims on Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) that I have compiled fromvarious sources are: "He must be called the Savior of humanity I believe that if a man like him were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world, he would succeed in solving its problems in a way that would bring it much needed peace and happiness." (The Genuine Islam, Singapore, Vol. 1, No. X 1936). "Mohammed was the most successful of all religious personalities." (Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th edition). "Muhummad was the soul of kindness, and his influence was felt and never forgotten by those around him." (Diwan Chand Sharma, "The Prophets of the East," Calcutta 1935, p. 122). "Four years after the death of Justinian, A.D. 569, was born at Makkah, in Arabia the man who, of all men exercised the greatest influence upon the human race ... Mohammed ..." (John William Draper, "A history of the lntellectual development of Europe",- London 1875). "By a fortune absolutely unique in history, Mohammed is a threefold founder of a nation, of an empire, and of a religion." (R. Bosworth-Smith, "Mohammed and Mohammedanism"- 1946).So the Qur’an rightly says to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) that, "And have We notraised high the esteem in which) thou (O Muhammad are held)" (Al Quran 94:4).
Muhammad (pbuh)s character was indeed exemplary for whole of the humankind.Before his death, the whole of the Arabian Peninsula was already under the rule ofIslam. He could have easily led a very luxurious life in High palaces and could haveenjoyed every pleasure of life and this world. But instead of this, he led a very simpleand austere life and created a best example for the generations to come. He used to dohis work himself. It is narrated in various Hadith the Muhammad (pbuh) used to milk hisgoat, mend his clothes, do household work and repair his shoes and visited the sick. Allhis companions loved him excessively but he forbade them to even getting up for him asa sign of respect. He brought a real revolution to the whole humanity and it was thetransformation of the hearts. His companions who loved him more than anything else,were once his most staunch enemies but his sublime character transformed them tosuch an extent that they even gave up their lives for the sake of Islam. Muhammad(pbuh) brought masses from darkness to light. He was from a rich family that enjoyedhighest status in Arabia but because of Islam, he suffered from worst persecutions andpainful torture and sufferings.On a certain occasion, his uncle Abu Talib requested him to stop the preaching of Islamand for that he was offered the highest status of a chief and a lot of material wealth. Butto this Muhammad (pbuh) gave a very sincere answer. he replied, "I swear by the nameof God, O Uncle!, that if they place the sun in my right-hand and the moon in my left-hand in return for giving up this matter (calling people to Islam), I will never desistuntil either God makes it triumph or I perish defending it" (Ibn Hesham). Such was thedetermination of Muhammad (pbuh).And the Quran again describing the character of Muhammad (pbuh) says that, "Andmost certainly thou (O Muhammad) are of most sublime and exalted character" (AlQuran 68:4). It was the tolerance and sublime character of Muhammad (pbuh) thatbrought huge masses into the fold of Islam and the books of Seerah (Life OfMuhammad) are full of such incidents. On the fall of Makkah to the Muslims, theProphet Muhammad (pbuh) forgave even his most staunch enemies including Wahshiwho on the battle on Uhud had killed the beloved uncle and cousin of Muhammad(pbuh) namely Hamza and seeing this extraordinary behaviour of Muhammad (pbuh),Wahshi accepted Islam and became one of the Sahabees (The Companions of ProphetMuhammad). There are so many other cases found in the books of Tafseer (exegesis)and Seerah (Life Of Muhammad) wherein Muhammad (pbuh) by his sublime characterwon the hearts of many including Abu Bakr (RA) and Abdullah bin Salaam (RA) and manyothers that are considered to be the most eminent Sahabees (The Companions ofProphet Muhammad).It was the peaceful preaching of Muhammad (pbuh) that invaded the hearts of themillions and is still continuing to do so. It was only by the peaceful preaching of Islamthat it spread to all the nooks and corners of the world. And even now Islam is thefastest growing religion of the west particularly in USA and UK where many greatpersonalities and intellectuals like Shaykh Yusuf Estes, Hamza Yusuf, Gary Miller, Dr Bilal
Philips and Yusuf Islam have accepted Islam and are spreading its peaceful messageglobally and yet this is fulfilling an another prophecy of the Quran:"It is He (Allah) who has sent his messenger (Muhammad) with guidance and thereligion of truth (Islam), that he may make it prevail over all religions, and enough isGod for a witness" (Al Quran 48:28).Some of the sublime sayings of the Muhammad (pbuh) are as follows: The believers, in their love, mercy, and kindness to one another are like a body: if any part of it is ill, the whole body shares its sleeplessness and fever. (Bukhari & Muslim) The most perfect of the believers in faith are the best of them in morals. And the best among them are those who are best to their wives. (Tirmidhi & Ahmad) None of you believes (completely) until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself. (Bukhari & Muslim) The merciful are shown mercy by the All-Merciful. Show mercy to those on earth, and God will show mercy to you. (Tirmidhi & Abu Dawud) Smiling at your brother is charity... (Tirmidhi) A good word is charity. (Bukhari & Muslim) Whoever believes in God and the Last Day (the Day of Judgment) should do good to his neighbor. (Bukhari & Muslim) God does not judge you according to your appearance and your wealth, but He looks at your hearts and looks into your deeds.(Sahih Muslim) Pay the worker his wage before his sweat dries. (Ibn Majah) A man walking along a path felt very thirsty. Reaching a well, he descended into it, drank his fill, and came up. Then he saw a dog with its tongue hanging out, trying to lick up mud to quench its thirst. The man said: “This dog is feeling the same thirst that I felt.” So he went down into the well again, filled his shoe with water, and gave the dog a drink. So, God thanked him and forgave his sins. The Prophet was asked: “Messenger of God, are we rewarded for kindness towards animals?” He said: There is a reward for kindness to every living animal or human. (Bukhari & Muslim)So to conclude, Muhammad (pbuh) was bestowed by Allah with the most exemplarycharacter. The nature of Muhammad (pbuh)s teachings is universal and is directed forall generations and times. Muhammad (pbuh) was not just a leader or statesman, but hewas and he still is, the best role model for the one who seeks guidance on the path ofthe Lord. It is in his teachings that one can find solution to the ongoing spiritual turmoiland find an innovative solution to the problems challenging the mankind. And it is in himthat every nation and generation can find its last hope and it’s his teachings that canbring a revival to this world and save it from the disasters of hatred, bloodshed, racismand anarchy.
The path that was enlightened by Muhammad (pbuh) will guide us to the eternal path ofsalvation and finally Jannah. Our deviated youth only by following the teaching ofMuhammad (pbuh) can excel in all fields. The west has realized this fact and that’s whythey are turning to Islam as it’s the only solution to all the problems confronting thehumanity. If only our society would be framed and based upon the ideals and moralstaught by Muhammad (pbuh), then it would bring an end to all our problems and thenthis world will really become a place to live in. The Quran mentions:"Most certainly, you have in Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern (of behaviour)"(Al Quran 33:21). (The Author can be reached at www.yaqeenulhaq.info or can be mailed firstname.lastname@example.org)