The Perfect Example
By Shaykh-ul-Hadīth Hadrat Mawlānā Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh
Many Muslims, nowadays appear to share the misconception that material progress and prosperity rather than moral grit are the most expedient means to success. This concept has become so popular today that it is accepted even by the people who are otherwise pious or stand for religious revival.
This way of thinking is, nevertheless, discredited by the lives, noble characters and achievements of the Prophets ‘alayhimus salām. The character and conduct of the Prophets of Allāh ‘alayhimus salām make it quite clear that the secret of their victory and weapons with which they successfully fought their enemies were faith and obedience to Allāh ta’ālā.
The noble person of the Prophet sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam stands pre-eminent, dignified and exalted amongst all the Prophets ‘alayhimus salām in all qualities, habits and manners. Allāh ta’ālā has praised in the Glorious Qur’ān the grandeur of the noble character of the Prophet sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam in the following words:
And thou (standest) on an exalted standard of character. (68:4)
The Prophet sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam has himself said:
I have been sent to bring the good morals to perfection.
From the above it is evident that all the virtues and noble qualities had been granted to him. ‘Allāmah An-Nawawī rahimahullāh writes in his book ‘Tahzīb’:
Allāh ta’ālā had assembled all the excellencies and virtues of character and habits in the Prophet sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam.
To describe all these noble qualities and merits is beyond human capacity, since all those excellencies which can be imagined as attainable are possessed by the Prophet sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam. However, a hadīth which comprehends the majority of the noble characters of the Prophet sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam is presented hereunder:
Allāh ta’ālā says: “O Prophet! We have surely sent you a witness, a bringer of good tidings, a warner and a protector for the Ummīs. You are my chosen servant and messenger. I have named you the ‘Trusting’, (since you trust Me in every matter). You are neither rough mannered, nor hard-hearted, nor do you uproar in the market place. You never requite evil for evil, but you forgive and overlook. Allāh will not give you death till He has brought the astray ummah on the right path through you and has given light to blind eyes of the unbelievers; and has opened their deaf ears and closed hearts.”
In some traditions the following is also mentioned: ‘I will refine you with all that is noble; and endow you with every noble habit; and will make tranquillity your attire and trait; and piety your conscience; and wisdom the substance of your thought and knowledge; and truthfulness and sincerity your nature; and forgiveness and good works your custom; and justice your practice, truth your rule, righteousness your guide.’
These were the very characteristics which prompted even the non-Muslim leaders at the time of Rasūlullah sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam to testify to his Prophethood. One such incident is related in Sahīh-ul-Bukhārī:
Abū Sufyān ibn Harb radiyallāhu ‘anhu relates that Heraclius had sent a messenger to him while he (Abū Sufyān radiyallāhu ‘anhu) had been accompanying a caravan from the Quraysh. They were merchants doing business in Shām (Syria, Palestine, Lebanon and Jordan), at the time when Allāh’s Messenger sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam had a truce with Abū Sufyān and Quraysh pagans. So Abū Sufyān radiyallāhu ‘anhu and his companions went to Heraclius at Ilyā (Jerusalem). Heraclius called them in the court and he had all the senior Roman dignitaries around him. He called for his translator who, translating Heraclius’ question said to them, ‘Who amongst you is closely related to that man who claims to be a Prophet?’ Abū Sufyān replied, ‘I am the nearest relative to him (amongst the group).’
Heraclius said, ‘Bring him (Abū Sufyān) close to me and make his companions stand behind him.’ Abū Sufyān radiyAllāhu anhu added, ‘Heraclius told his translator to tell my companions that he wanted to put some questions to me regarding that man (the Prophet sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) and that if I told a lie they (my companions) should contradict me.’ Abū Sufyān radiyallāhu ‘anhu added, ‘By Allāh! Had I not been afraid of my companions labelling me a liar, I would not have spoken the truth about the Prophet sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam.’ The first question he asked me about him was:
‘What was his family status amongst you?’ I replied, ‘He belongs to a good (noble) family amongst us.’
Heraclius further asked, ‘Has anybody amongst you ever claimed the same (i.e. to be a prophet) before him?’ I replied, ‘No.’
He said, ‘Was anybody amongst his ancestors a king?’ I replied, ‘No.’
Heraclius asked, ‘Do the nobles or the poor follow him?’ I replied, ‘It is the poor who follow him.’
He said, ‘Are his followers increasing or decreasing (day by day)?’ I replied, ‘They are increasing.’
He then asked, ‘Does anybody amongst those who embrace his religion become displeased and renounce the religion afterwards?’ I replied, ‘No.’
Heraclius said, ‘Have you ever accused him of telling lies before his claim (to be a prophet)?’ I replied, ‘No.’
Heraclius said, ‘Does he break his promises?’ I replied, ‘No. We are at truce with him but we do not know what he will do in it.’ I could not find an opportunity to say anything against him except that.
Heraclius asked, ‘Have you ever had a war with him.’ I replied, ‘Yes.’ Then he said, ‘What was the outcome of the battles?’ I replied, ‘Sometimes he was victorious and sometimes we.’
Heraclius said, ‘What does he order you to do?’ I said, ‘He tells us to worship Allāh and Allāh alone and not to worship anything along with Him, and to renounce all that our ancestors had said. He orders us to pray, to speak the truth, to be chaste and to keep good relations with our kith and kin.’
Heraclius asked the translator to convey to me the following. ‘I asked you about his family and your reply was that he belonged to a very noble family. In fact all the Messengers come from noble families amongst their respective peoples. I questioned you whether anyone else amongst you has claimed such a thing, and your reply was in the negative. If the answer had been in the affirmative, I would have thought that this man was following the previous man’s statement.
Then I asked you whether anyone of his ancestors was a king. Your reply was in the negative, and if it had been in the affirmative, I would have thought that this man wanted to take back his ancestral kingdom. I further asked whether this man was ever accused of telling lies before he said what he said, and your reply was in the negative. So I wondered how a person who does not tell a lie about others could ever tell a lie about Allāh. I, then asked you whether the rich people followed him or the poor. You replied that it was the poor who followed him. And in fact all the Apostles have been followed by this very class of people. Then I asked you whether his followers were increasing or decreasing. You replied that they were increasing, and in fact this is the way of true faith, till it is complete in all respects. I further asked you whether there was anybody, who after embracing his religion, became displeased and discarded his religion. Your reply was in the negative, and in fact this is (the sign of) true faith, when its delight enters the hearts and mixes with them completely. I asked whether he had ever betrayed. You replied in the negative and likewise the Apostles never betray.
Then I asked you what he ordered you to do. You replied that he ordered you to worship Allāh and Allāh alone and not to worship idols along with him and forbade you to worship idols and ordered you to pray, to speak the truth and to be chaste. If what you said is true, he will very soon occupy this place underneath my feet and I knew it (from the scriptures) that he was going to appear but I did not know that he would be from you, and if I could reach him definitely, I would go immediately to meet him and if I were with him, I would certainly wash his feet.’
The noble and graceful character of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam is in total conformity to all the natural needs of man. His perfect human nature, sublimity of character, long suffering and forgiveness, magnanimity and grace, valour, benevolence, trust in Allāh ta’ālā, modesty, honesty, humility, purity of heart, self denial and forbearance, devotion and piety, fear of Allāh ta’ālā, mercy, compassion and generosity in all he is a perfect and beautiful example and a complete code of life for all.
For rulers and heads of states, the life of the Chief and King of the Arabs holds a perfect example. For the poverty stricken, the life of the one in whose house the fire was not lit for two months holds an example. For the warriors and conquerors, the life of the Warrior of Badr and the Conqueror of Makkah holds a beautiful example, who forgave even his bitterest enemies. For those who have turned their backs on this world, the life of the Lone worshipper in the solitude of the cave of Hira is an example. For the labourers the one who laboured strenuously in the digging of the trench before the Battle of Khandaq is an example. The orphans can find solace if they look at the Orphan of Āminah. The businessmen may inculcate honesty and piety within them, by looking at the life of the one who handled business in Syria. For the imām and judges, the great Imām and Judge of Masjidun Nabawi, who pronounced justice, without distinguishing between strong and weak is a worthwhile lesson.
In a nutshell, there remains no facet of the life which has not been covered by the noble life of Rasūlullah sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam and in which there is not a beautiful example to follow.
Verily in the Messenger of Allāh you have a good example for him who looks unto Allāh and the last day, and remember Allāh abundantly. (33:21)
We must all study this great life which is a beacon light for every human, and imitate this greatest personality in every mode of our lives. May Allāh ta’ālā enlighten our hearts with the love of His Rasūl sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam. Āmīn.