Exploring the Character of Prophet Muhammad: 1

Khatam Ul Anbiyaa Wal Mursaleen, The Seal of All Prophets and Messengers

The Holy Qur’aan reveals (33:21): الأحزاب

لقد كان لكم فى رسول الله أسوة حسنة لمن كان يرجو الله و اليوم الآخر و ذكر الله كثيرا

“You have good example in God’s Apostle for anyone who look God and the Last Day and remembers God always.”

Today, I am thankful to Allah who has guided me to share with you over the next few khutbas some unique aspects of the Character and Seerah – record of life of the Prophet (s). In doing so, I sincerely pray that as many of us – including myself – will start a process of change to acquire many of these character traits of our beloved prophet and apply it – starting with ourselves. As we change to the better, people – Muslims & non-Muslims alike will see the positive change & will hopefully start to come home to Islam to La Ilaha Illa Allah – Muhammadun Rasool Ullah.

Prophet Muhammad received the mission on approx. February 12th, 610 AD. He was the last and the seal of all Prophet (33:40)

ماكان محمد أبا أحد من رجالكم و لكن رسول الله و خاتم النبيين و كان الله بكل شىء عليما”

The Prophets of God

Prophet Muhammad (s) provided a model of how man (m/f) should live individually and within the society.

The truths revealed to and taught by Prophet Muhammad stresses that this world did not spring up by itself, but was created by one God – Allah, who continues to watch over it. All men (Males & Females) are His servants, and responsible to Him for their actions. Death is not the end of man’s life, rather it is the beginning of another permanent world, where the good ones will enjoy the bliss of paradise and the wicked ones will be in raging hell fire.

God – Allah revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (s) that life in this world is not the only life. It is not but a very small fraction of a continuum into the eternal life after we depart from this world. From that moment on, life took on a new meaning.

Prophet Muhammad changed the tide of human history and captured the imagination of the world, by the will of God – Allah. He taught the religion that is based on:

  • The worship of an immortal God,
  • Reality not superstition,
  • Teaching man (m/f) to conquer nature instead of worshipping it thus paving the way for the scientific era.
  • Giving political power to the people and not keeping it in the hands of one hereditary monarch or chieftains.
  • Showing the people of the world – through the example of the Prophet (s) – how to live, cooperate and work together in justice and peace and not in cruelty and oppression.
  • Teaching that: if man (M/F) fears displeasing and disappointing God there is nothing else one can fear;
  • And that if one rises above negative impulses and pessimism, one can win over everyone, even his enemies and if one sacrifices this world for the next one will eventually have the best of both worlds. من تفاءل بالخير وجده

His preaching mission extended over 23 years. Prophet Muhammad was entrusted with propagating God’s words & message to others. It was this role that brought him on a collision course with his fellow country men and women. All forms of adversity – from the pain of hunger to the trepidation of battle – were inflicted on him. Yet through the 23 years of his mission, he always remained just and circumspect in his actions. His conduct was governed by his fear of displeasing God. During this mission he changed the history of Arabia & laid the foundation for a permanent change in world history.

Within 100 years this revolution has caused the decline and then the vanquishing of the Persian Sassanian and the Byzantine Empires. Islam swept through:

  • From Iran and Iraq to Bukhara, Uzbekistan in the east,
  • Syria, Palestine, Egypt and then North Africa to the West.

Contrary to the claims we hear today, the process of Islamic transformation of world history came with the objective of intensifying and confirming God’s revealed religions of Islam to Abraham, his off springs Ishmael and Isaac and their descendents Moses (Judaism), Jesus (Christianity).

This Process of Islamic transformation, which was started in the age of the press ensuring the preservation of the Qur’aan at all times, opened up new unexplored opportunities for the human race:

  • It brought the age of democracy and freedom of speech to the world,
  • It helped make new discoveries possible in the world of science enabling man to use his most valuable gift, the mind and intellect, to seek religious truth and explore scientific phenomena to raise the standard and quality of life for all people.

And the big question is: How did he (s) and his well trained believing companions and students do it? How in a very few years with very little human losses he was able to achieve all of this? Let us look at his character hoping that many of us – and that I will be the first – to emulate his character.

Prophet Muhammad’s Exemplary Conduct:

Prophet Muhammad had a perfectly balanced personality. He was tolerant, truthful, and magnanimous. He presented the highest example of human nobility. He disciplined himself to stay aloof and away from all quarrels, quibbles and disputes. He never indulged in foul utterances and abuse. He was called the truthful and trustworthy (Al-Sadiq – Al-Amin.)

He had every opportunity to live a comfortable life and even become the king of Arabia but he refused it in order to establish the new world order of Islam in pursuit of the truth of God.

He once said (Ibn Habban): a person should have some special moments:

  • A moment of communion with God – Allah,
  • A moment of self-examination,
  • A moment of reflection over the mysteries of creation, and
  • A moment which he puts aside for eating, drinking and enjoying.

Prophet Muhammad (s) was the example of Humility & Forbearance. Let us Visit Some of Stories from the Seerah:

Prophet Muhammad (s) lived among others as an equal. No bitter criticism or provocation would make him lose his composure and no praise should make him vain.

He (s) lived in such an awe of God that he was always an example of humility and meekness. He spoke little. He walked in a way that suggested his reverence and humbleness for God. Criticism never angered him. When he used to put on his clothes, he would say: “I am God’s servant, and I dress as befits a servant of God.”

He was very sensitive about relating and referring back all things to Allah God. Once a companion started to say: “If it be the will of God, and the will of the Prophet.” The Prophet showed his disappointment when he heard this and said: “are you trying to equate me with God?” One should say: “If God alone will.”

Towards the end of his life, his Egyptian wife, Mariyah Al-Qibtiyah bore him a beautiful child Abraham around the end of the 8th year of Hijra. When Abraham was a year and half in the 10th year of Hijra (January 632 AD), he died. The prophet (s) wept on the death of his son. In his deepest grief, he uttered these words: “Allah knows, Abraham, how we sorrow at your parting. The eye weeps and the heart grieves, but we will say nothing that may displease Allah.” The death of Abraham happens to coincide with a solar eclipse. People from ancient times believed that solar and lunar eclipses were caused by the death of some important person. The people of Madinah began attributing the eclipse to the death of his son Abraham. This caused the prophet a great displeasure. He gathered the people and in his address to them he said: “Eclipses of the sun and the moon are not due to the death of any human being; they are just two of God’s signs. When you see the eclipse, you should thank God and pray for God.”

On one of his journeys, the group embarked on roasting a goat. One volunteered to slaughter the animal, another to skin it, and another to cook it. The prophet (s) said that he would collect the wood. His companions protested. “Messenger of God, we will do all the work.” He responded: “I know you can do it all. But this amounts to discrimination, which I do not approve of. God does not like His servants to assert any superiority over their companions.”

Abu Dharr Al-Ghaffari, one day was sitting next to Muslim who was black. He addressed him as “black man.” The prophet (s) was very displeased and said to Abu Dharr: “whites are not superior to blacks.” Abu Dharr became conscious of his error. He cast himself to the ground in remorse, and said to the person he offended: “stand up and rub your feet on my face.”

He once saw a rich Muslim with a loose and flowing garment, gathering it up so he maintains a distance from a poor person sitting next to him. He told him: “are you afraid that his poverty might cling to you?”

Three years after migration to Medina, Makkan opponents mounted an assault against the newly emerging Muslim community and the battle of Uhud took place. In the beginning the Muslims had the upper hand till mistakes were committed in the battle field that caused the Makkans to attack from the rear. The Prophet was left alone, encircled by the armed forces of the enemy and they advanced on him. The Prophet started calling his companions. Abdullah ibn Shahab Zuhri through a stone at the Prophet and injured his face and he started bleeding profusely and fell down. When the companions found the Prophet he said: “how can people who wound their Prophet ever prosper? Even with this light objection Gabriel was ordered by the God to descend down with Sura 3:128 “It is no concern of yours whether He will forgive or punish them. They are wrongdoers.”

ليس لك من الأمر شىء أو يتوب عليهم أو يعذبهم فانهم ظالمون

The Prophet realized and he started praying, as Abdullah Ibn Masoud relates the prayer: “Lord, forgive my people, for they know not what they do.”

اللهم اغفر لقومى فانهم لايعلمون


* This khutbah was first delivered at the Islamic Center of S. California on 24 November 2006. Dr. Yahia Abdul-Rahman is from Whittier, CA 90603, USA and may be contacted via email at yarahman@msn.com or by phone 626-818-0855. He regularly contributes to these websites as well: www.lariba.com, www.whittierbank.com, www.lariba.com.eg, www.islam-in-usa.com