WHAT DO WE LEARN FROM PROPHET MUHAMMAD (PBUH) AS A HUMAN BEING?

 

          Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) serves two functions:

1-     As Allah’s prophet & messenger he delivered the message, explained it and applied it on himself that his wife  described his character as that of the Qur’an .

2-     As a human being of excellent morals and character , we pattern our behavior and character after his example .

 

We will concern ourselves at this point with the lessons that we learn from Allah’s last messenger as a human being

 

( 1 )  Allah praised His prophet’s high morals and exalted character and said

 

“ You are indeed on exalted standard of character and morals “

                    Al-Qalam    68 : 4 .

 

          Therefore we learn from Prophet Muhammad ( PBUH ) how to develop morals and good character . Prophet Muhammad ( PBUH ) was truthful and honest and people trusted him because he deserved their trust . He did not lie or cheat and always kept his promise . He was nicknamed : As-Sadiq , Al-Ameen ( The one who is truthful and the one to be trusted ) . A person does not get to that level by words , his actions and his character must be such that people would believe what he says and would trust his word .

 

          To illustrate the importance of being truthful and not lying , the Prophet ( PBUH ) said : ( For truthfulness guides to righteousness , and  righteousness guides to paradise . A person keeps on saying the truth till he is written with Allah a  truthful person ; and lying guides to wickedness , and wickedness guides to Hell . A person keeps on lying till he is written with Allah as a liar ) .

 

          The prophet of Allah was not arrogant . He was humble and never elevated himself and treated everyone with respect . He said to his companions : ( Do not glorify me like the Christians glorified the son of Mary , but say : the servant of Allah & His messenger ) .

 

Therefore we learn to be humble and not look down at others . This requires confidence and Taqwa ( God-Consciousness ) . We are all Allah’s creation : if I have more in money or knowledge or prestige , it is because Allah allowed my effort to succeed . Someone else may have not been so lucky . But each person has some merit and was given something good by Allah . It is much better to cultivate that good side , rather than ridicule or look down at other people’s deficiencies .

 

          The prophet of Allah was kind , patient and tolerant . He was not harsh or severe . He did not use bad language or curse . He did not get angry or loose his temper . It is this gentle , kind nature that attracted others to him and made them love him and obey him . They loved the man as well as the messenger . They learned from him and they learned from his example . They became better human beings by associating with him . This is the mark and influence of a true and genuine person . You can feel his presence by observing those around him . How much did he impact their lives and did he change it for the better or worse . Prophet Muhammad ( PBUH ) had and still has the ability of improving the lives of so many people , that is a testament to his genius and great character and influence .

 

          The prophet of Allah cared about spreading useful knowledge and teaching morals and proper behavior by example . He was very keen on instructing the young minds because he knew that they represented the future . His companions were young men , who in turn became the teachers and educators of future generations . The Prophet ( PBUH ) said : ( The best amongst you is he who learns the Qur’an and teaches it to others ) . He emphasized the importance of knowledge that helps as one of the few things that will continue to benefit us even after we die and all our deeds cease .

 

          We learn from Allah’s prophet the true meaning of patience as an active process of perseverance and struggle , not passive acceptance , nor giving up . We accept the fate that Allah has willed for us , and work through our difficulties and trials , in order to change our fate to another fate that Allah may will for us . We do not blame “ our fate “ , nor “ accuse our misfortune “ or become lazy and say “ it is useless , we cannot do anything about it “ . The Prophet of Allah struggled throughout his life and withstood the ridicule and abuse of the Kuffar ( unbelievers ) in Macca ; then the hypocrites and Jews in Madinah . He lost his sons in early infancy and lost three of his daughters . He lost his faithful wife . He lived the life of a poor person .  The house of Muhammad hardly had any food except water and dates . He did not complain , but was patient and had absolute trust in his Lord . He said : ( Patience is a light ) :  meaning  a light that increases one’s faith ( since patience is half the faith as related in one tradition ) . Or , it may mean that patience fills our heart and replaces our anxiety and uncertainty with calm and assurance that we are not alone , and that Allah is with us and knows what we are going through . The Qur’an explains :

“ No kind of calamity can occur except by the leave of Allah ; if anyone believes in Allah , Allah guides his heart , for Allah knows all things “ At-Taghabun   64 : 11 .

 

          We also learn from Prophet Muhammad ( PBUH ) to place our priorities correctly . The most important thing is to live our lives upright and straight , obeying Allah and seeking His pleasure , and to do the best job possible , each in his area or specialization . It is not how much money or power or fame that we have , but it is how sincere and devoted we are to Allah and how much effort we spend in order to help others and improve their life and guide them to Allah . The Qur’an is clear that we should live our lives as true and upright individuals and not wrong ourselves , nor wrong others :

“ Therefore stand firm ( in the straight path ) as you are commanded ,

  you and those with you who turn to Allah , and transgress not , for He sees all that you do . “ Hud   11 : 112 . It is very easy to get distracted by the pleasures of this life and to be fooled and set our priorities wrongly . We may loose sight of what is really important : doing good , helping others and serving Allah , and replace that with the pursuit of selfish pleasures , power , money or fame . The Qur’an reminds us that all these material things are transient and their value is not as great as Allah’s pleasure or His reward :

“ The material things which you are given are but the conveniences of this life and the glitter thereof . But that which is with Allah is better and more enduring . Will you not then be wise ? “

                    Al-Qasas    28 : 60 .

 

          We learn from the prophet of Allah the importance of hard work and doing our work to the best of our ability . Amana ( being trustworthy ) implies that we watch our behavior and that we do our work as best as we can . We do not need someone to watch over us , because we understand that Allah is watching and that whatever we do is recorded . Also we feel responsible and we are honest and do not cheat anyone . We try to improve and do not lie or cheat or cut corners , for our goal is to please Allah and do an honest day work . This is what will count in our favor on the Day of Judgment , not how much money we got for our work . The Prophet ( PBUH ) said : ( Allah loves for each one of you , when he works to do the best possible job possible and to perfect his work ) .

 

          We also learn from Allah’s prophet not to harm others in word or deed , but to help them . If we have nothing good to say , we should keep quiet and control our tongue . Words can cause a great deal of harm . The Prophet ( PBUH ) said : ( Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day , let him say something that is good or he should keep quiet ) . He also said : ( The Muslim is he who other Muslims feel no harm from his tongue or hand ) . It is easy to talk about other people especially behind their backs . Most of the time , what is said is not complimentary or is harmful . Many talk without thinking or realizing that their words can cause a great deal of harm to the feelings or reputation of other people . They take it lightly and as a joke .

 

( 2 ) Following the example of Prophet Muhammad ( PBUH ) :

                    The Prophet of Allah was a father and a husband . He was a friend to his companions . He was a teacher and educator He was a leader of a nation and a statesman . He was a judge .

                    How he faced and solved the problems that he encountered ? What can we learn from him in all these roles that he played . This aspect of the Prophet’s life is less well understood or commented upon . It is important to study and learn from his example since he was guided by Allah and had the strength of character and morals to behave admirably under different circumstances . This is the meaning of the Qur’anic order : “ You have indeed in the messenger of Allah a beautiful example of conduct for he who rests his hope in meeting Allah , and in the Last Day , and engages often in the remembrance of Allah “ Al-Ahzab   33 : 21 .

 

 

          We learn from the prophet as a husband the importance of treating our wives well and that we should be patient and tolerant . He emphasized that the best is he who is best in treating his wife . He advised the Muslims to take good care of their wives and to provide for them and support them . He himself was not above working at his home and helping in dusting the floor or mending the clothes or milking the goat . As Aesha said : ( He used to help his wife and family at home ) . He was kind and tender and tolerated the arguments and jealousy exhibited by his wives . He never raised his voice nor hit any woman or a servant , nor said anything indecent . He accepted whatever food was offered to him and thanked Allah for His blessing . He was content in living as a poor Muslim and did not long for money or other material things in life .

 

          As a father he was kind and loving . He wept when his son died but accepted Allah’s decree and sought patience . He was kind with the orphans , as he was an orphan himself . He taught us to be just and equitable and not differentiate in our treatment nor favor one child over another . He emphasized the importance of raising our children well aware of their duty in serving Allah . He also told us that each person is a guardian and is responsible for and accountable for those under him . The husband is a guardian in his home , and the wife is a guardian also . They work together and cooperate so that their family may succeed and prosper .

 

          As a friend to his companions he was close to them and never separated nor elevated himself . He was always available and visited them during happy and sad occasions . They celebrated together and  fought together . He listened to their opinions and took their advice . He emphasized that Muslims must care for each other and help one another . He said : ( Allah will continue to help the servant who is helping his brother ) .

He said : ( A Muslim is the brother of another Muslim : he does not wrong him , nor leave him alone to his enemy . Whoever shields another Muslim , Allah will shield him on the Day of Judgment ; whoever helps another Muslim , Allah will help him ) .

 

          As a leader of a nation and a statesman , he taught us the importance of diagnosing the ills and problems that face and afflict our community , then coming up with the right solution . He put into action a plan that solved many of the problems that faced the Muslims in Madinah and his plan was ingenious . Instead of adding more economic burden on Madina’s meager resources , he placed the burden on individual Muslims and asked each one to adopt a brother and help him and treat him as such . The resources were used efficiently and cooperation , friendship and love developed , rather than mistrust or enmity or division . The Mosque became the focal point in the lives of Muslims ; the place where they would meet , pray together , know one another and help each other . Law and order and equality governed the lives of Muslims . They cooperated with their non-Muslim neighbors who were guaranteed the same rights as Muslims and their freedom and liberties safeguarded , as long they lived in peace and cooperated with their Muslim brothers .                

 

          As a teacher he placed emphasis on teaching by example and spreading useful knowledge . He was particularly interested in nourishing up young minds and preparing them to take their place as future leaders . Most of his companions were young men and women eager to learn and apply what they learned . He encouraged questions and spoke in short clear sentences , easy to understand and remember . He encouraged us to seek knowledge and to teach others , starting with our families .

 

          As a judge in disputes among contenders , he taught us to listen to both sides and not jump to conclusions and to always seek the truth and be just and wise . We should not favor those whom we love , or rule against those whom we may dislike , but judge according to the merit of the case and be objective . We should remember that one day we too have to answer to Allah and await His judgment . He gave us the example of the three judges : two in Hell and one heaven : those in Hell are those who ruled in ignorance or followed their desires and not the truth . The one in heaven is he who learned and followed the truth .

 

( 3) Muhammad ( PBUH ) was human :

          There is a tendency to glorify leaders and make them more real than life . In the case of Prophet Muhammad ( PBUH ) some ignorant Muslims have elevated his status to above that of a prophet and even almost worshipped him .

 

          The Qur’an is very clear that Muhammad is only a human being and as such is subject to all the laws that govern human beings . He was born and he died ; he reacted to events around him . He made the best possible judgment when he received no divine inspiration . His judgment was correct most of the time , but on few occasions he erred . An error of a prophet is always corrected by Allah , otherwise his action becomes law . The Qur’an mentions few instances in which divine inspiration came down to correct the prophet’s action . For example accepting ransom from the captives of Badr , or allowing the hypocrites to join in the battle field , or frowning upon the blind man , or staying away from his wives for a long time . Obviously these are minor mistakes . Under no circumstance does a prophet commit major mistakes or indulge in sinful acts .

 

          The prophet was very keen on guiding his people and was deeply hurt that they did not believe in his message . This shows his humanity and how much he cared . Allah stresses in the Qur’an that He sends to each community one of their own . Someone they knew and trust . He applies the message in his behavior and becomes an example to follow . Allah does not send angels as messengers o human beings  otherwise they are held to standards beyond their ability .

 

          Some ignorant Muslims believe that going to the prophet’s grave in Madinah and asking him for help is useful , for it will gain them his intercession . The prophet ( PBUH ) is dead and as such he cannot help anyone in our life time . If we do good , obey Allah and obey Allah’s messenger , then we may gain the prophet’s intercession on the Day of Judgment .

 

( 4 ) Our duty towards prophet Muhammad ( PBUH ) :

          Is to obey His orders and follow his example . Obeying the prophet means that we obey Allah , Who sent His prophet and inspired to him divine revelation . The Qur’an is very clear that obeying the prophet of Allah is a sign of belief and a sign that we indeed love Allah : “ Say : “ if you do love Allah follow me : Allah will love you and forgive you your sins , for Allah is often forgiving , most-merciful . “ Al-Imran   3 : 31 .

 

          We are also commanded in the Qur’an to follow the example of Prophet Muhammad ( PBUH ) character and proper behavior ; and to send peace and greetings on Allah’s prophet as a sign of respect .

 

          Another important duty is to study his life story and his sayings and use them as guidelines in our life . He was a mercy from Allah to the worlds . He is dead , but his example and teachings are alive .

 

          Then it is our duty to spread the message of Islam that prophet Muhammad ( PBUH ) started . His message is alive and contains many answers to the ills that afflict mankind today . We will be asked on the Day of Judgment whether we delivered the message of Islam or not “ Say : “ This is my way , I do invite to Allah with knowledge and conviction , I and those who follow me . “ Yusuf   12 : 108 .    

 

WHAT DO WE LEARN FROM PROPHET MUHAMMAD ( PBUH ) AS A HUMAN BEING ?

1-     We learn to pattern our character & behavior after him :

·       To be truthful, honest and sincere . ( for truthfulness guides to righteousness and that guides to paradise ) .

·       To be humble  ( Do not glorify me as the Christians glorified the son of Mary , but say : The servant of Allah & His messenger ) .

·       To be kind , gentle , patient & tolerant .

·       To spread useful knowledge .

·       To place our priorities correctly : to do good & seek Allah’s pleasure , not expecting thanks or material reward .

·       To work hard and do our job to the best of our ability

·       Not to harm others or offend them in any way .

 

2-     To follow his example as a husband , a father , a friend , a teacher and a ruler :

·        The best amongst you is he who is best to his wife & family .

·        A Muslim is the brother of another Muslim : he does not wrong him but helps him .

·        O Allah I ask you for a heart that believes ; and for a tongue that always remembers You ; and for deeds that are good and acceptable ; and for knowledge that is useful ; and for a soul that is content & happy .

·        Do not favor those whom you like , but judge following what is right .

 

3-     Prophet Muhammad ( PBUH ) was human , we should not glorify him to the point of worshipping him besides Allah :

4-     Our duty towards Allah’s prophet ( PBUH ) is to obey his orders, follow his example and spread his teachings and explain his message “ Say : “ This is my way : I do invite unto Allah with knowledge and conviction , I and those who follow me . “ Yusuf   12 : 108 .

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