Muhammad (s) : The Last Prophet

Muhammad's prophet-hood was similar to those of the Prophets before him, including Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus and many others. An orphan by the age of seven, he grew up as simple, yet pious individual. He was known for his justice and honesty, earning the nickname " AI-Amin (the honest man)" years before he was to learn of his own prophet-hood.

He despised the injustices he saw within Makkan society, and as a young man helped form an alliance, "Hilf al-Fudhoul," to help preserve the rights of the poor and oppressed. He was troubled by the abundance of idols and senseless acts of paganism dominating his people. A staggering 360 idols were housed in Makkah, and they were called upon daily by most residents of the city. For someone of deep moral character, it must have been a confusing and difficult place to live. Muhammad (PBUH) used to go for days at a time into hills around Makkah to meditate.

It was during one of these times in cave in Mount Hiraa, that God sent his first revelation to Muhammad (PBUH). Muhammad (PBUH) was now the final Messenger of God, and would be used to deliver the universal message to all humankind. The Archangel Gabriel came to Muhammad (PBUH) and commanded, "Read!" Muhammad, terrified, replied, "I'm not a reader," for he could neither read nor write, as literacy, where he lived, was rare. The angel took hold of him, squeezed him with incredible force, released him and repeated the command: Read! Muhammad repeated himself and once again the angel squeezed him until Muhammad (PBUH) thought he could bear it no longer. After the third time, Muhammad (PBUH) felt the intense ringing of bells and heard Gabriel recite the literal word of God. Words so powerful that it felt like they were inscribed on his heart: "Read: In the name of your Lord Who created, Created humankind from something that clings (zygote to the uterus), Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous." [96: 1-3]

He (PBUH) ran from the cave in terror, trying to escape the intense and frightening experience. But everywhere he looked on the horizon, he saw Gabriel; he could not escape it; he had already been chosen.Over a period of 23 years, the revelations continued to come. The verses make up the Noble Qur'an, and Muhammad (PBUH) and the believers committed them to memory.

The thriving city of Makkah saw Muhammad (PBUH) as a grave threat; their strong economy depended upon the commerce of tribes that came to pay homage to the many idols housed in Makkah. The Makkan chiefs, upon seeing Islam spread, summoned Muhammad (PBUH) and offered him any amount of wealth or power he wanted, in exchange for him to halt his preaching. To this offer, which was delivered by his own uncle, Muhammad's (PBUH) reply was swift: "If they placed the sun in my right hand, and the moon in my left, I would not abandon this path I am on". For teaching the concept of one God and obedience to His law, Muhammad (PBUH) was mocked, beaten and cast out by his own people, who refused to abandon the idols and blood sacrifices surrounding the religions of their forefathers.

When he visited the city of Ta'if, the people sent their children to hurl stones at him. The people of Makkah once draped the intestines of a camel upon his blessed shoulders while he was prostrating in prayer, then doubled over in laughter at their cruel prank. The Makkan's seized several believers, men and women, torturing and even killing them, and several attempts were made on Muhammad's (PBUH) life.

After 13 years of harsh conditions in Makkah, including a social and economic boycott in which Makkans were forbidden to meet, marry, or trade with the Muslim minority, Muhammad (PBUH) immigrated to the welcoming city of Yathrib,some four hundred kilometers to the north of Makkah. The city adopted the name "Madinah," and is still known today with the same name. Muhammad (PBUH) was made head of state and in a matter of years established an advanced and just political, legal, economic and social system.His years of Prophet-hood were at many times tumultuous, but he knew his patience and perseverance was not in vain and would not go unnoticed. He had the ever-present consciousness that" Allah," or God, was All-seeing, All-knowing.

The character of the Messenger of Allah

So, what was his (s) character (like)? Aa’isha (r), the Mother of the Believers, answers (this question) saying: “His character was the Qur’an.”

He was a living example of the Qur’an (in his behaviour) only consuming that which the Qur’an made lawful, avoiding (completely) whatever the Qur’an declared unlawful, and always acting in accordance with its rules of refinement and good conduct (etiquette).

Anas ibn Maalik (r) said: “I was in the service of the Messenger of Allah for 10 years and he (s ) never said to me so much as “uff” [a word of displeasure]. He never reprimanded me for any action (of misbehaviour) of mine asking: ‘Why did you do that?

Aa’isha (r) said: “He (s) never ever used his hand to hit a servant, nor any of his wives, or anything (for that matter), except in the case of Jihad in the Way of Allah.”

Jaabir ibn Abdullah (r) said: “The Prophet (s) was never asked about anything and then refused (the request).”

On the authority of Sahl ibn Sa’d (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: I gave the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) a Burdah’ (type of clothing) as a gift; he (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam ) took it, being in need of it. He wore it, upon which a man saw him wearing it and said: O Messenger of Allah: ‘O how beautiful this is – give it to me to wear.’ So, he (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: yes [and gave it to the man].”

He (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) was pleasant and kind in his relations with his wives. He used to say: “The best of you is the best of you to your family (wives) and I am the best of you to my family (wives).”

When he (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) was at home, he was in the service of his family, i.e he used to help his wives and treat them with kindness. Whenever he shook a man’s hand, he would not let his hand loose, until that man let his hand loose first.

He wouldn’t turn his face from anyone until the person first turned away from him. He was very kind and compassionate even with small children.

Anas ibn Maalik (may Allah be pleased with him) had a younger brother who owned a small bird (like a sparrow); its name was ‘an-nughair’. He (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) used to play with the small child by saying to him “O Abaa Umair, what has an-nughair done.”

This is the ‘Akhlaaq’ (moral character/standard) of Islam, represented in the personality of the Prophet of Islam. So, where do you stand – in comparison to/in light of the Standards of Morality and Character of the religion of Islam?

In accordance to your answer (response) you will have judged your level on the stairway (standard) of perfection of Imaan (Faith). You will have known the weightiest of your deeds in the Scales. You will have known the degree of your nearness in paradise to the Prophet of Islam (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) – if Allah Wills for you to be of the People of Paradise, by His Bounty and Mercy.

The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “The one who will be sitting nearest to me on the Day of Resurrection, will be the best of you in character.”