"Muhammed, does this wealth belong to your father or Allah?"
This question, raised in a rude and masculine tone, was posed to the prophet. The Prophet was as usual distributing the public goods among the people. A villager, quite dissatisfied with his share, was angry and blurted out whatever occurred to his mind. The disciples of the Prophet found his behavior most objectionable. How could they bear any insult to the Prophet they loved more than their own lives? All their patience vanished when they saw the offender pointing his finger at the Prophet's face and some of them turned to him immediately. The Prophet who noticed the event told them,
"Leave him alone. He is also entitled to this property. The inheritor would have to say certain things and he has the right to do so".
The Prophet was once distributing the spoils of war. There was a big crowd and a lot of rush. One man rushed to the front like he was demented, when he could not stand on his feet, fell on the Prophet. He prevented him from falling with the frond of the date palm that was close by. The frond caused some scratches on his body out of which small drops of blood oozed out. It is quite natural for any human being to resist anything that was going to fall on him. It is a sort of reflex action and no more than this did the Prophet did. But still, when he saw the scratches caused by the frond with bits of blood, his mind was worried and a feeling of guilt assailed him. He was unhappy how he could convince him of his innocence. Notwithstanding the fact that it was not deliberate the Prophet held the view that it was due to his carelessness and therefore he should suffer punishment for it. He forcefully placed the frond in the man's hand and said to him, "it is this frond that inflicted the scratches on your body. Wound my body by the same frond".
The people who had gathered there were stunned and glanced at each other. How come the Prophet should surrender his body to sustain injuries from an ordinary person?
How could the Messenger of Allah volunteer to sustain wounds for an inadvertent mistake? Could the Prophet of Allah they revered so much be the mere common of all commoners in the matter of humility? A thousand puzzling questions arose in their minds. They could not figure out what was going to happen.
"The Messenger of Allah, I have already pardoned it", he said, casting away the frond placed in his hand by the Prophet.
The Prophet's mind was so sublime as not to feel any reluctance in confessing mistakes and sustaining punishment. He never harboured any kind of unnecessary pride that hindered frank admission of his slips and mortifications. On one occasion he told his companions: "In case I have deprived anyone of his wealth or if any one feels so, here is money and please take it out of this amount. In case I have ever slapped anybody on the nape, here is my body for revenge".
Once a person harassed the Prophet for getting back the dates he had borrowed from him. He then said to him, "Friend, I have nothing at the moment. Could you give me some time, I would send them to you". But he was not willing for any concession. He threw abuses at the Prophet. His companions, witnessing the scene, lost their patience. An enraged Omar Farook jumped at him. The Prophet who could foresee the repercussions stood between them and said, "Omar, leave him alone. The owner could speak in such a manner". The Prophet settled the debt by having the dates brought from the house of Koula, the daughter of Hakeem.
Imbued with the spirit and faith of Islam, a group of believers, inwardly cheerful, were marching forward to the battlefield of Badr where the enemy had pitched their camp.
The number of Muslim army was very small; with few horses. It was just one horse for three men, which meant that two would always be walking, when his turn comes, the second man would ride the horse and then the third. That is how they moved to the battlefield at Badar.
The prophet followed suit, too. The journey through areas infested with thorns and stones was difficult. All were keeping an eye on the Prophet who was slowly trudging behind the horse through the loose sand. Those who were with him said to him, "You please ride the horse. I would walk". The Prophet's reply was abrupt, "No, I don't want any special consideration. I am but one of you, just one of you".
A glowing experience on another occasion of a journey may be cited here. By nightfall the Prophet and his companions were arranging to put up tents to rest on the wayside. It was the time of snowing and people sat around to chat. The prophet instructed that a lamp be slaughtered for dinner. It was an order quite agreeable to all.
His companions apportioned among themselves the task of cooking food, leaving no work for the Prophet. He then declared, "I would do the work of collecting the firewood".
Upon this, his companions sternly objected to it and told him that he might rest while they would gladly do the work. But the Prophet was not prepared to concede to this and said, "I know you would do my work too of your own accord, but I do not like it. Here we are companions. Among us there is no question of high or low ranks. Allah who sees everything would know if I were to be kept free as superior. Allah would not like whosoever reckons himself superior to his companions".
Having said so, the Prophet walked away to collect the firewood.
Most people at higher levels would like to keep aloof from others. Among the human beings it is natural that desire would grow into greediness which would in turn advance into avariciousness, and as we reach new highs, there would occur radical changes in our thinking and outlook in life.
The consumption-oriented lifestyle of these days would but lead to the same situation. It is a sort of vicious culture that has spread in the society. Common people consider it humiliating to carry out ordinary manual tasks, even if it is for sustenance. Some labour hold the delusion that they are not of the common folks but are entitled to be on a higher stratum and that all others should confine themselves to lower ranks! They cherish the mistaken view that dignity and greatness consist in sticking to such strata which is inaccessible to ordinary people. Even the self-styled religious scholars are no exception to this tendency. But the life story of the greatest and noblest of all Prophets, Muhammed, the Prophet of Allah, is perceptibly different. We have seen the Prophet amidst those who carry bricks, dig pits or collect firewood as just one of them. The Prophet was a personification of humility and munificence.
One day Omar called at the Prophet's house. He was resting on a mat made of date-palm fronds. When he saw Omar, the Prophet got up and Omar sat down near the Prophet. The deep imprints of the fronds could be seen vividly on the Prophet's face. Omar felt embarrassment.
The Prophet asked him the purpose of his visit. But Omar was not listening to the enquiries. He was just looking around as if to find something. The Prophet focused on Omar and realised that his eyes were filled with tears. Patting on his back Prophet asked him, "Omar, why are you weeping?"
It was the imprints of the palm fronds that made Omar sad. The revered Messenger of God, the leader of the believers, the Ruler of a vast region….and there were nothing more than a palm-frond cot, a cup and a handful of cereal in that room. There was nothing else, not even for the primary needs of life, let alone comfort or luxury. None else in Arabia would be suffering worse than this. It hurt Omar's mind and he could not control sobbing. The Prophet consoled him, "Omar, the goal of life would not be realised through the ample means of consumption. The reasonable thing is to have such comforts less and less. We only get peace and tranquility through such restraint. That is the way of truth".
The caravan was travelling through the desert for hours. All faces were shadowed with fatigue. The camels carrying them too were tired. They thought of resting when they happened to see a pool water. As they moved towards the water-hole, the Prophet turned back, as if he had forgotten something. He walked back, as others looked anxiously at him. He straightaway went to his camel and tied its' legs and came back.
His companions who felt unhappy at the Prophet himself having had to go back to do such a small thing, approached him said, "Your Holiness, was it necessary for you to go all the way back to do such a small thing? Had you given us a hint, we would have gladly done it".
The Prophet replied, smiling, "We should not assign to others a matter that we ourselves could do, nor wait for them to do it for us; not even in the matter of twig we use to clean our teeth."
To the question as to what extent we should accommodate or budge in order to maintain peace, the attitude of the Prophet's mind - not a verbal reply-was "upto immensurable extent". When he was informed that if such attributes of Allah as Merciful and Compassionate were to be used in the treaty, it might hamper the atmosphere for peace among Khuraishis and when the antagonists argued that if the title of the Prophet Muhammed as the Messenger of Allah, was not deleted from the treaty, it might hinder compromise, the Prophet was prepared to strike out those words from the treaty and reached peace agreement. There were protests among the believers themselves against such a measure. In an unprecedented manner, even the Prophet's integrity of motive came under question. Even Omar who had never uttered a single word that smacked of rudeness, felt that he'd reached the depths of his patience and asked the Prophet, "Oh Prophet, is it not true that you are the Messenger of Allah?"
The Prophet replied unflustered: "Yes, indeed I am the Messenger of Allah"
Omar continued: "Are we not Muslims?"
"Yes, certainly we are all Muslims"
"Are not these enemies idolaters and dissolute?"
"Then, why should we bear this humiliation? And for the sake the religion, why should we become ridiculous cowards?"
"I am the Messenger of Allah and bound to obey all His commands. He will not humiliate me nor forsake me", the Prophet apprised his followers in the most humble manner of the true nature of the issue. Even though the treaty negotiated by the Prophet in accordance with the instructions of Allah appeared on the face of it humiliating and detrimental, the disciples of the Prophet were convinced before long that in effect the treaty proved highly beneficial and successful. Infact it was the Hudaibiya Treaty that paved the way for the long-cherished conquest of Mecca.
In this episode, the inimitable patience and forbearance the Prophet demonstrated in the face of rude and harsh questions posed by Omar Farook could be worth emulating by social leaders for all time to come.
Adiyyu bin Hathim of the Thwayyih tribe was a believer of Christianity. He arrived at Medina to see for himself the true nature of the Prophet and to know about the true religion.
Adiyyu bin Hathim spoke to new converts who were in constant contact with the Prophet everyday and also to the Khuraishis who, despite their good knowledge of the prophet, had harboured discord in their minds against the true religion. And in all he could only get the best and identical reports about the Prophet's humility, honesty and generosity.
One day he came to the Prophet. He was busy mobilising the army. Adiyyu could first see the Prophet's devoted followers waiting for his commands. He saw all of them behaving like brothers born of the same mother with identical minds and showing boundless obedience and respect for the Prophet.
All these observations filled in him great admiration for the Prophet. At that time a slave girl turned up and approached the Prophet.
"Respected Sir, I want to seek an advice from you. It is confidential".
Considering the gravity of the situation, any person would have become irritated and said:
"Get away, these things can wait", but it was not such an abrupt dismissal that came from the Prophet. He put aside everything and with the permission of his companions walked towards the girl.
"Come, don't hesitate; I am ready to come anywhere to hear it". The Prophet started talking with the girl, standing aside. Having listened to her without any haste, he was duly responding to her.
Adiyyu was almost wonderstruck by the glorious example set by the Prophet who, despite being engaged in such a grave task, was quite willing to go wherever she wanted, and to listen to her sufferings and hardships and console her.
He was convinced of the powerful influence of the true religion and consequent refinement of the mind. Adiyyu, a Christian, realised that the true religion aimed at, not just the realisation of God, but envisaged the fashioning of a society based on the very edifice of irrevocable faith in God. A great realisation now dawns on him that the religion he had followed till date couldn't be trusted in achieving the real goal of salvation. He made up his mind to transform his life, rooted in the irreversible faith of Allah, into an innovative and beautifully disciplined one.