In February of 2011 Sadia Dehlvi wrote this wonderful article on the character of the Prophet Muhammad (saw). I thought it would be good to repeat the post here on the day of his (saw) birth (mawlid). I hope you enjoy this re-post from her in the Times of India.
The prophetic character
SADIA DEHLVI, Feb 16, 2011, 12.00am India Standard Time
Times of India
I love the month of Rabi ulAwwwal, and look forward to hosting and attending Milad celebrations, marking the birth anniversary of the Prophet Muhammad.
Milads are effective in increasing one’s love for the Prophet whom the Quran exalts, calling him the exemplar for humanity and ‘mercy for all the worlds’.
The twelfth of Rabi ulAwwal, the third month of the Hijrah, Islamic calendar is both the day Prophet Muhammad came into this world and left for the Hereafter. On the same date he arrived in Madinah, the hijrah, migration happened from Makkah marking the beginning of the Hijrah calendar. This month invites reflection on the Prophetic personality.
Rabi ulAwwal, literally meaning ‘the first spring’, symbolises birth and renewal. A time when the Lord splits open the earth to reveal His bounty within, without which His servants could not subsist. More importantly, it is the season of beautiful moderate weather, free of bitter cold or stifling heat, or exaggerated length in its days or nights.It reminds of the Prophetic call to moderation and his repeated warnings of extremism,’Moderation. Moderation! For only with moderation will you succeed.’
Prophet Muhammad inspired with the words, ‘I have come to perfect noble character.’ Ayesha, his wife once commented, ‘His character was the Quran.’
Prophet Muhammad said the bankrupt ones are those who despite good deeds of prayer and worship, abuse one another, treat neighbors badly and lack good character.
The Prophet’s character was based on moderation in spirit, generosity, justice, dignity, moral excellence, humility, bravery and firmness in the face of death, good fellowship, sympathy for others, detachment of the world, and constant fear of the Lord. He chose poverty over wealth, sleeping on the floor with a bed made of stuffed palm fibers.
The most forgiving of people, the Prophet never sought revenge despite thirteen assassination attempts made on his life. He told followers not to respond to persecution with aggression, assuring that Allah rewards those who exercise patience. He remained sympathetic to those who had left Islam due to persecution from their families and no sanctions were issued against them. UbaydullahibnJash who migrated to Abyssinia with the first batch of Muslim immigrants converted to Christianity. He abandoned his wife Um Habiba, the daughter of Abu Sufiyan whom the Prophet later married. None of the Muslims took any action against him and he died upholding the Christian faith. When the Prophet settled in Madinah, he made it clear that he wanted relations with the new society to be egalitarian.
When the Prophet entered Makkah, he encountered his staunchest enemies. These people who had inflicted so much suffering on him and his followers expressed their desire to be treated nobly. The Muslim army readied for revenge, but the Prophet did not allow it saying, ‘Today I shall say to you what prophet Joseph said to his brothers, ‘You may leave. No reproach this day shall be on you. May God forgive you, He is the Most Compassionate.’
Laying great emphasis on the heart, Muhammad spoke of it as a repository of knowledge, sensitive to the needs of the body. He said that wrongdoing irritates the heart for it perceives wrong action and is designed to be in a state of calm. In established narrations, the Prophet said ‘When in doubt ask your heart for a fatwa, ruling, for virtue is when the heart and soul are at peace’. Another time he said, ‘ The best Islam is feeding the hungry and spreading peace amongst those you know and those you do not know.’