Rays from the Life of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.A.)
By: Ayatullah al-Uzma Shaykh Husayn Vahid Khorasani
We will shed some light on the brilliant life of the luminous sun, which is itself a proof of his Messengership and Prophethood.
When the Prophet (S) announced his convocation, the Quraysh tribes became frightened that the people will follow him. Therefore, they resorted to threats and temptation. They came to his uncle Abu Talib, and said, “O Abu Talib, your nephew has certainly depreciated our patience, blasphemed our gods, destroyed our youth and divided our assembly. If lacking is making him do this, then we will collect for him wealth so that he may be the wealthiest of the Quraysh. We will marry him to any woman he wants from the Quraysh.” They even offered him properties and sovereignty.
His (S) answer to that was: If they placed the Sun on my right hand and the Moon on my left hand, I would not want them.112
When they saw that temptation did not affect him (S) and that he was keen in his matter and did not give any importance to their bribe, then they resorted to threats and torture. Following are some examples: Whenever he stood for prayers in the Sacred Mosque (in Mecca), they would send four chiefs of the armies of the Quraysh, belonging to the Bani ‘Abd al-Dar. Two would stand whistling on his right and the other two would stand clapping their hands on his left. They would do this to torture him and disturb him in his prayer.113
One day he was on his way to the Mosque when they threw dust on his head. Sometimes they would throw the intestines of a goat on him while he was prostrating in prayer. His daughter would come, remove them and wipe it off him.114
After the death of his uncle, his helper, Abu Talib, the Quraysh increased their tribulations and torture. Hence, in those dangerous circumstances the Prophet (S) proposed to the tribe of Thaqif in Ta’if to shelter him for allowing him to preach the message of his Lord. They, however, refused. They derided him and confronted him with their insane men and slaves.
They made two rows for him in the street. When the Messenger of Allah (S) passed through the rows, they did not allow him to place his feet or lift them; rather, they stoned him. They continued stoning him until his feet started to bleed. He thus passed through their rows, with his feet bleeding. Then he took shelter in one of their gardens.
He sat under the shadow of a grape plant while he was in pain and his feet were bleeding. ‘Utbah ibn Rabi’ah and Shibah ibn Rabi’ah were in a house. When they saw his state, even they felt ashamed at themselves for the enmity of Allah and His Messenger. Thus, they sent him some grapes with a Christian slave, called ‘Addas, who was from Naynawa. When he came to him, the Messenger of Allah (S) asked him: Which land do you belong to?
He replied, “I am from the inhabitants of Naynawa.”
He (S) said: From the land of the servant of Allah, Yunus ibn Muta?
‘Addas asked him, “Where do you know Yunus ibn Muta?”
Thus, he (S) replied: I am the Messenger of Allah and Allah, the Exalted, informed me of the news of Yunus ibn Muta. When he informed ‘Addas of what Allah had revealed to him about Jonas [Yunus], he fell in prostration to Allah and in showing reverence to the Messenger of Allah. He started to kiss the feet of the holy Prophet (S) when they were still bleeding.115
They tortured his companions with various forms of torture. Amongst these was the casting of Bilal under the heat of the sun. They would place a heavy rock on his chest and would demand him to disbelieve. However, he would reject them by saying, “He Alone.”116
They tortured the elderly lady, Sumayya, the mother of ‘Ammar, to turn her back from her religion and to disbelieve. When she did not, they killed her.117
Because of all these tortures, in certain circumstances, some of his companions asked him to pray against his people. He (S) would reply: Indeed, I have been sent as a mercy for the worlds;118 and he would pray for his people: O Allah, guide my people, for they do not know.119
Instead of wrath, he would desire mercy for them, a mercy that has no like of it from Allah, the Benevolent. This mercy was the blessing of guidance, and he related the people to himself by saying: My people, to protect them from the punishment of Allah and to intercede for them before Him. Instead of complaining to Him about them, the Prophet (S) would make excuses for them that they do not know.
His (S) living was ascetic and moderate. His food was barley bread and he would never eat to his fill.120
The greatest truthful woman, his daughter Fatima (as), came to him in the Battle of Trenches with a crust of bread. She gave it to the Prophet (S). The Prophet (S) said: What is this crust of bread?
She replied: I made some bread for my two sons, Hasan and Husayn (as); I brought you its crust.
The Prophet (S) responded: O Fatima, this is the first food that has entered the mouth of your father in three days.121
His moderation was not like this due to being straitened. In fact, he had wealth coming to him in those days, but he would distribute it, grant others and give in charity, to such an extent that he would grant up to a hundred camels to one person.122
When he parted this world, he did not leave behind a single dinar or dirham, a slave man or woman, a goat or a camel. His armour was deposited with a Jewish man for sixty kilograms of barley, which he had bought as provisions for his family.123
We must pay attention to two points:
The First: There is no doubt that the Jewish man did not demand any deed from the Prophet (S), due to his eminence and honesty. However, he (S) desired to abide by the law of deposit when a deed is not written, so that the property is like a deed to the creditor, even if the creditor was a Jewish person and the borrower is the highest personality in Islam.
The Second: It was possible for the Prophet (S) to consume the purest and the most delicious of food, but he sufficed with barley bread until the end of his life. Thus, he did not eat better nourishment than the weakest of his subjects.
Examples of the Sacrifice of the Prophet (S)
The status of Fatima al-Zahra’, peace be upon her, is clearly known to the Shi’ites and the Sunnis. The books of the two schools of thought are filled with her merits, as we will mention later. Following her father, she would stand in her prayer niche until her feet were swollen.124 Although, she was absorbed in the worship of Allah, she would nevertheless manage the house of her husband, ‘Ali (as), the Guardian of Allah, and train the grandsons of the Messenger of Allah (S). One day, the Prophet (S) entered her house and found her grinding the handmill while feeding her son. The Prophet (S) began to shed tears.125
‘Ali (as) saw her draw the water skin so that it affected her upper body. She would grind the hand mill until her hands would blister, and sweep the house until her clothes became dusty. Thus, he (as) said to her: If you went to your father and asked him for a servant, it would remove your troubles. She went to her father, but felt embarrassed and returned. The Prophet (S) found out that she had come with a need. Thus, he came to her and asked her need. So ‘Ali (as) informed the Messenger of Allah (S) about what troubles afflicted her.
The Prophet (S) said: Shall I not teach you both something which is better for you than a servant? When you want to sleep then say Glory be to Allah ÓÈÍÇä Çááå, thirty-three times, Praise be to Allah ÇáÍãÏááå, thirty-three times and Allah is the Greatest Çááå ÇßÈÑ, thirty-four times.
The narrator says: Fatima (as) leant her head out and said three times: I am pleased with Allah and His Messenger.126
This father is able to fill the house of his daughter with gold and silver, and to provide her with slaves, men and women. Although he never turned away any needy person from his door, he abstained from giving a servant to the Queen of the Ladies of the Worlds, who was a part of him and whatever pleased her pleased him.127 Even though it was such an emphatic desire of his daughter, who was the most beloved person to him, it was the intrinsic nature of his heart to sacrifice for the poor people of his Ummah.
Such was his practice, for Allah had sent him to train his people. That is in the Word of the Exalted: And prefer (them) before themselves though poverty may afflict them.128
Examples of the Prophet’s Dealings and Morals
He (S) used to sit on the floor.129 He would eat with the slaves and precede in salutation to the children.130 He used to eat the food of the slaves and sit like the slaves.131
Once a Bedouin lady passed him while he was eating sitting on the earth, so she said, “O Muhammad, by Allah, you eat the food of slaves and sit like them.”
He (S) replied: Woe onto you. Who is more of a slave than me?132
He (S) used to sew patches on his clothes.133 He used to milk his sheep himself. He would answer the call of the free and slaves equally.134
He would visit the sick, even at the most distant parts of the city.135 He would sit with the poor and eat with the needy.136 When he shook hands with anyone, he would not release his hand until the other person let go.137 He would sit in the last seat in the gathering.138 He would not constantly stare at a person.139 He would only become angry for his Lord and never for himself.140
Once, a man came to him. While talking to the Prophet (S) he started to tremble. Consequently, the Prophet (S) said to him: Take it easy. I am not a king. Indeed, I am the son of a woman who used to eat dried meat.141
His servant, Anas ibn Malik said, “I served the Prophet (S) for nine years. I do not know if he even once said to me: Why did you not do such and such? Neither did he ever criticise me about anything.”142
Once he (S) was sitting in the Mosque and a maidservant of the natives of Medina [ansar] came and caught the side of his robe. The Prophet (S) stood up for her. However, she did not say anything, so the Prophet did not say anything to her. She did that three times. The fourth time, he stood up for her and she was behind him. She took a thread from his robe and left.
The people asked her, “May Allah do to you what you did! You obstructed the Messenger of Allah three times without saying anything to him, nor did he say anything to you. What was it that you needed?”
She answered, “We have a sick person in the house, so the family sent me to take a thread from his robe to heal the sick person. When I wanted to take it, he saw me, so I felt embarrassed that I should take it while he is looking. I disliked asking him to give it to me, so I took it myself.”143
This incident indicates his concern about the honour of a person, because he (S) understood the need of the maidservant and her dislike of asking. Thus, he stood up from his place four times to fulfil her need. He did not speak to her so that she does not undergo questioning. Therefore, what will be the value of human honour in the view of one who safeguards the honour and respect of a maidservant with so much delicacy and manners?
During the time when the Jews were living in his government under oath and with tax, and he was in the highest position of power, one of them had given the Messenger of Allah (S) a loan. The man demanded his money back. He (S) said to him: O Jewish man, I do not have what I owe you.
Thus, the Jewish man said, “I will not part from you until you pay me.”
He replied: Then, I will sit with you. He sat with him in that place for so long that the Prophet (S) prayed DHuhr, ‘Asr, Maghrib, ‘Isha’ as well as the next day’s morning prayer.
The Companions of the Messenger of Allah (S) were threatening the Jewish man. The Messenger of Allah looked at them and said: Why are you doing this to him?
They replied, “O Messenger of Allah, a Jew has obstructed you?”
He replied: My Lord, the Mighty and High, did not send me to oppress someone under oath or anyone else.
As the day rose, the Jewish man said, “I bear witness that there is no god but Allah; and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and His Messenger. I give a portion of my wealth in the way of Allah. By Allah, I did what I did to confirm your description in the Torah. For I had read your description there as: Muhammad son of ‘Abd Allah, the place of his birth will be Mecca and the place of his migration will be Medina [Tayba]. He will not be impolite or callous, nor will he be abusive or speak nasally. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and that you are the Messenger of Allah. This is my wealth, so do with it as Allah has revealed.” The Jewish man was very wealthy.144
It is reported on the authority of ‘Aqba ibn ‘Alqama that he said, “I entered the presence of ‘Ali (as). He had sour milk in front of him. Its sourness and dry fragmentation distressed me. Hence, I asked him, “O Commander of the Faithful, do you eat things like this?”
He (as) replied to me: O Abu al-Junub, I found the Messenger of Allah (S) eating drier things than this and wearing rougher things than this. If I do not do what the Messenger of Allah (S) did, then I fear that I will not join him.145
‘Ali ibn al-Husayn (as) was asked, who was at the peak of worship, “How is your worship compared with the worship of your grandfather?”
He (as) replied: My worship compared to the worship of my grandfather is like the worship of my grandfather compared to that of the Messenger of Allah (S).146
Towards the end of his life, he forgave his own killer.147 Thus, the Divine morals were manifest in him, and the mercy of the Beneficent appeared through him: And We have not sent you but as a mercy to the worlds.148
Indeed, a Great Messenger like this can say: Surely, I was sent to complete the noble traits of morals.149
How can it be possible to explain his moral merits whilst Allah, the Exalted, says about him: And most surely you conform (yourself) to sublime morality.150
Indeed, only a brief study of his life, morals and traits is sufficient for a just person to initiate belief in his Prophethood.
O Prophet! Surely We have sent you as a witness, and as a bearer of good news and as a warner, and as one inviting to Allah by His permission, and as a light-giving torch.151
112. Tafsir al-Qummi: vol. 2, pp 228, under the explanation of verse 4 of chapter 38.
113. Majma’ al-Bayan: vol. 4, pp 463, under the explanation of verse 35 of chapter 8.
114. Tafsir al-’Ayyashi: vol. 2, pp 54, hadith no. 43, under the explanation of verse 54 of chapter 3.
115. Manaqib Al Abu Talib: vol. 2, pp 54, hadith no. 43; Majma’ al-Bayan: vol. 9, pp 154, under the explanation of verse 30 of chapter 46; Tarikh al-Tabari: vol. 2, pp 81.
116. Hilyat al-Awliya’: vol. 1, pp 148; Tarikh al-Tabari: vol. 2, pp 153.
117. A’lam al-Wara: vol. 1, pp 122, ch. 5.
118. Bihar al-Anwar: vol. 18, pp 243.
119. Al-Khara’ij wa-al-Jara’ih: vol. 1, pp 164; Al-Durr al-Manthur: vol. 2, pp 298.
120. Al-Amali by Shaykh al-Saduq: pp 398; Makarim al-Akhlaq: 28.
121. ‘Uyun Akhbar al-Rida (A): vol. 2, pp 40, ch. 31, hadith no. 123.
122. Bihar al-Anwar: vol. 21, pp 170; Al-Sirat al-Nabawiyyah by Ibn Hisham: vol. 4, pp 929.
123. Qurb al-Isnad: pp 91.
124. Manaqib Al Abu Talib: vol. 3, pp 341.
125. Ibid: vol. 3, pp 342; Makarim al-Akhlaq: pp 117.
126. ‘Ilal al-Sharay’: vol. 2, pp 366, ch. 88; with a little difference in Man la Yahduruhu al-Faqih: vol. 1, pp 211; Makarim al-Akhlaq: pp 280; Manaqib Al Abu Talib: vol. 3, pp 341; and other Shi’ite sources.
Dhakha’ir al-’Uqba: pp 49; Musnad Ahmad bin Hanbal: vol. 1, pp 80, 96, 106, 136, 146, 153; Sahih al-Bukhari: vol. 4, pp 48, and vol. 6, pp 193, and vol. 7, pp 149, ch. Bedtime Prayers; Sahih Muslim: vol. 8, pp 84; Sunan Abu Dawud: vol. 2, pp 30; Al-Mustadrak ‘ala al-Sahihayn: vol. 3, pp 152; Al-Sunan al-Kubra by Bayhaqi: vol. 7, pp 293; Majma’ al-Zawa’id: vol. 10, pp 100; Musnad Abu Ya’la: vol. 1, pp 419; Nazm Durar al-Simtayn: pp 189; Tahdhib al-Kamal: vol. 21, pp 253; Musnad Abu Dawud al-Tiyalisi: pp 17; and other Sunni sources.
127. Fada’il al-Sahabah: pp 78; Musnad Ahmad: vol. 4, pp 328; Sahih al-Bukhari: vol. 6, pp 158; and some sources will be mentioned on page no. 193.
128. Holy Qur’an, 59: 9.
129. Al-Amali by Shaykh al-Tusi: pp 393.
130. Ibid: ch. no. 17, hadith no. 2, pp 130.
131. Al-Mahasin: pp 456, ch. 51, hadith no. 386.
132. Ibid: pp 457, ch. 51, hadith no. 388; Al-Kafi: vol. 2, pp 157.
133. Manaqib Al Abu Talib: vol. 1, pp 146.
137. Ibid: vol. 1, pp 147.
138. Ibid: vol. 1, pp 146.
139. Ibid: vol. 1, pp 146.
141. Makarim al-Akhlaq: pp 16, ch. 2.
143. Al-Kafi: vol. 2, pp 102.
144. Al-Amali by Shaykh al-Saduq: ch. no. 71, hadith no. 6, pp 552.
145. Makarim al-Akhlaq: pp 158; Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah by Ibn Abu al-Hadid: vol. 2, pp 201.
146. Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah by Ibn Abu al-Hadid: vol. 1, pp 27; Bihar al-Anwar: vol. 41, pp 149.
147. Al-Kafi: vol. 2, pp 108, ch. Al-’Afw, hadith no. 9.
148. Holy Qur’an, 21: 107.
149. Majma’ al-Bayan: vol. 10, pp 86.
150. Holy Qur’an, 68: 4.
151. Holy Qur’an, 33: 45-6.