The Great Moralilty of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.A.)
Compiled by: Allama Husayn Ansariyan
Allah’s Messenger has been reported by Imam al-Baqir (a.s) to say: I will not quit five habits until the moment of my death: wearing coarse clothes, riding a mule without packsaddle, eating with the slaves, weaving footwear with my own hands, and saluting children so that it will become a tradition after me.
A Jew Becomes Muslim by the Holy Prophet
Imam Musa (a.s) quoted Imam Ali (a.s) as saying, “Allah’s Messenger owed a few dinars to a Jew, so he asked for it. The Holy Prophet said, “I can't pay it now.” The Jew said, “I will not leave you until you have paid my money.” The Holy Prophet said, “Then I will sit beside you.” He sat beside that Jew for a long time during which he performed all his prayers.
The Holy Prophet’s companions made an attempt to intimidate him. Looking at them, the Holy Prophet asked, “What are you going to do with him?” They said, “O Allah's Messenger! A Jew is taking you a hostage like that!” The Holy Prophet said, “Allah has not commissioned me to do any injustice to non-Muslims.”
When the day came to an end, the Jew 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 away a portion of my wealth for the sake of Allah, O Messenger! I swear by Allah what I did to you was to see whether you are the same person described in the Torah. I have read your description in the Torah that Muhammad, son of Abdullah, will be born in Mecca; he will migrate to Medina. He is neither rough nor furious. He is neither foul-mouthed nor does he use indecent words. I testify to the oneness of Allah and your Prophethood. This is my wealth at your disposal. Spend it as Allah has commanded.”2
Interest-Free Loan for the Needy
Reporting his father, Imam al-Sadiq (a.s) says, “A needy came to the Holy Prophet asking for help. The Holy Prophet (S) asked, “Is there anyone here to give an interest-free loan?” A man from the Ansar rose up saying, “I have such a loan.” The Holy Prophet said, “Give four vessels of date to this man.” The man did so.
After sometime the man came to the Holy Prophet and asked for the repayment of his loan. The Holy Prophet (S) said, “We will pay it in the coming days.” The man came another time, hearing the same words. But when he came for the third time, the Holy Prophet smiled and said, “Is there anyone here to give an interest-free loan?” A man rose up saying, “O Allah's Messenger! I have it.” The Holy Prophet asked, “How much is that?” The man said, “As much as you wish!” The Holy Prophet said, “Give eight vessels of date to this man.” The man said, “You owe me only four vessels.” The Holy Prophet said, “The other four vessels are for you too.”3
Eating with the Poor
Reporting his father, Imam al-Sadiq (a.s) says, “During the time of the Holy Prophet, the needy had to spend nights in the mosque because they had no home. One evening, the Holy Prophet broke his fast with the needy in the mosque in a stone vessel. Since the food had been blessed by the Holy Prophet, thirty people ate from it and then took the rest of the food for their wives.”4
Piety and Contentment
Quoting his forefathers, Imam al-Ridha reports: Allah’s Messenger said: An angel came to me saying, “O Muhammad! Your Lord has sent greetings to you saying - I will fill Mecca with gold if you wish so.” But the Holy Prophet raised his head toward the sky and said, “O Lord! I will eat my fill one day to praise You and remain hungry to beg you.”5
Ibn Abbas reports that the Holy Prophet would always sit on the earth; he would eat sitting on the earth; he would milk the sheep; and he would accept the slaves’ invitation to share barley bread on their tablecloth. 6
Sympathy with People
Among the homeless poor people who used to live in the mosque, there was a believer who was poor and indigent. He would follow Allah’s Messenger in praying and never lost congregational prayer. The Holy Prophet (S) had sympathy for him and closely watched his needs. The Holy Prophet (S) kept on saying, “O Sa’d, I will make you needless if I gain something.” A long time passed but the Holy Prophet did not gain anything. Hence, his sympathy for the man increased. Allah Almighty Who was watching this, sent Archangel Gabriel to him with two dirhams saying, “Allah is aware of your sorrow about Sa’d. Would you like to make him needless?” The Holy Prophet (S) said, “Yes.” “Give these two dirhams to him to start a business.”
Taking the two dirhams, the Holy Prophet (S) left home for the mosque to perform his Noon Prayer where Sa’d waiting for him. He said, “Do you like business?” Sa’d said, “Yes, I do. But I do not have money.” The Holy Prophet gave the two dirhams to him and said, “Start a business with this and seek the Divine food.” After completing his prayer, the Holy Prophet said, “Go after business from now on, for I was very sorry for you”. Sa’d did so in a way that he bought goods for one dirham selling them for two dirhams or bought goods for two dirhams selling them for four dirhams.
In this way, he made a fortune and his business became brisk. He went so far as to find premises near the mosque and set up his business there. He became so engaged in his business that he no longer took heed of Bilal’s call for prayer and would not come to the mosque. One day, the Holy Prophet said to him, “O Sa’d! You are so much preoccupied with the world that you have failed to perform prayer with the Prophet! What has happened to your previous spirituality?” Sa’d said, “Shall I waste my property? I have no option! I have to sell my goods to people and receive the price and to purchase goods from people and pay for them!”
The Holy Prophet (S) thus became sadder for Sad than before when he was poor and indigent. At this time, Gabriel came to the Holy Prophet saying, “O Muhammad! Allah is aware of your sorrow for Sad. Which one do you like best, the former or the present condition?” The Holy Prophet (S) said, “The former conditions, for he is in a situation now that this world has ruined his hereafter.” Gabriel said, “Tell Sa’d to return the two dirhams you gave him. When he does so, he will be back to his former conditions.”
So the Holy Prophet (S) went to Sa’d and told him affectionately, “O Sa’d! Don’t you want to return our two dirhams?” Sad said, “Yes, I will, along with two hundred dirhams!” The Holy Prophet (S) said, “Only those two dirhams!” Sa’d gave the two dirhams back to the Holy Prophet and soon he lost what he had gained. Thus, he returned to the former situation.7
Kindness against Ingratitude
Quoting Imam Ali, Imam Musa al-Kazim (AS) reports: The Holy Prophet was always benevolent and benefactor yet he was never appreciated by people. He was kind to Quraysh, Arabs and non-Arabs. We Ahl al-Bayt are the benefactors but our benefaction is not appreciated. The chosen believers too are like us.8
Reporting Imam al-Sadiq, Abu-Basir narrates: Allah’s Messenger would always eat like a servant; sit on the earth like a servant and act upon the fact that he was a servant of Allah.9
A Permanent Cure
Imam al-Sadiq (a.s) has said: A Bedouin woman was passing by the Holy Prophet who was eating while sitting on the earth. She said, “O Muhammad! I swear by Allah that you eat and sit on the earth like a servant of Allah.” The Holy Prophet said, “Woe to you! Who is more deserving than me to be a servant of Allah?” The woman said, “Give a morsel of your food to me!” The Holy Prophet gave her a morsel. The woman said, “No, give me the morsel from your mouth!” The Holy Prophet brought out the morsel from his mouth and gave it to her. The woman never experienced any pain in life until she died.10
Honoring a Nobleman
Hatam al-Ta’i was a noble, generous, and kind Arab. He would make food of a camel’s flesh every day to feed people. He was doing this whole-heartedly and with devotion. Nevertheless, he died before the advent of Islam. After Hatam, his son Adi succeeded him; he was as generous as his father. It is said that one day a man asked him for one hundred Dirhams. Adi said, “By Allah, this is nothing, ask for more!” When a poet eulogized him, Adi said, “Wait for me to give you a reward before you read the eulogy.”
In the 9th A.H., the Holy Prophet sent a group headed by Imam Ali to Ta’i tribe to invite them to Islam but they fought them and were defeated. Most of the Ta’i people were taken captives along with a considerable booty. Adi, a Christian by faith, escaped to Syria, leaving his sister Safanah among the captives. She stood up before the Holy Prophet and said, “O Allah’s Messenger! My father has passed away, my guardian who is my brother has escaped to Syria, so be gracious to me.” The Holy Prophet ordered to give here new clothes and send here respectfully to Syria.
Seeing this, Adi was surprised. When his sister told him about the Holy Prophet’s gracious behavior, Adi asked for an advisable act. The sister said, “You would better go to him, for it would be a source of pride for you to believe in him, should he be a prophet and it would be an honor for you should he be a king.” Adi moved quickly. He went to the mosque and introduced himself to the Holy Prophet who invited him to his house.
On the way home, an old woman came to the Holy Prophet and held him standing for a long time speaking of her needs. The Holy Prophet too was patiently listening to her! Adi said to himself, “This is not the attitude of the kings to speak with the needy in this manner.” When they reached home, the Holy Prophet made Adi sit on the mattress while he himself sat on the earth facing him. Adi said, “It is not good for me to sit on this mattress when you sit upon the ground.” The Holy Prophet said, “You are our guest!”
Then the Holy Prophet said, “Perhaps you look at the actual poverty and indigence of Muslims and our numerous enemies that you do not accept Islam. But this situation will not last long.” Hearing this, Adi willingly embraced Islam, defended Ahl al-Bayt after Allah’s Messenger and remained steadfast until the end of his life. He fought along with Imam Ali in the battles of Camel(Jamal), Siffin and Nahrawan for the sake of Allah. In the Battle of Jamal (Camel), he lost one eye and three of his sons were martyred in the front of justice against injustice.11
Anas ibn Malik says: A Bedouin came to the Holy Prophet, took his cloak by hand and drew it in a way that its edge left an abrasion on the Holy Prophet’s neck. Then he said, “Order to bestow on me of Allah’s property which is with you!” The Holy Prophet smiled and ordered to give to him what he needed.”12
Courtesy towards the community
Whenever the Holy Prophet noticed the absence of a brother-in-faith for three days, he would inquire about him. He would pray for his people if they were not near by and would rush to visit them if they were ill.13
Honoring a Guest
One day the Holy Prophet had a lot of guests at home. Jarir Ibn Abdullah entered the house but could not find a place to sit. So, he had to sit outside. Seeing this, the Holy Prophet spread his shirt for him to sit on. Jarir picked up the shirt, put it on his face and kissed it.
Salman says: I went to see the Holy Prophet who was leaning on a cushion. When he saw me, he offered his cushion to me saying: O Salman! Allah will have his mercy on a Muslim who offers a cushion for his brother-in-faith when he comes to visit him.14
Respect for Kindness
Imam al-Sadiq (a.s) said: When a foster sister came to see the Holy Prophet, he spread his cloak for her to sit on. He also started to speak to her with a smile on his lips. When she left, her brother came to the Holy Prophet but his behavior was quite different. When asked why they were not treated equally, the Holy Prophet said: I respected the sister more because she was more kind to her parents.15
Forgiving the Enemies
When the Holy Prophet conquered Mecca with his strong army of twelve thousand soldiers, he treated people so kindly that they were all surprised. No one could believe that a victor could treat the defeated party in this way.
People of Mecca had gathered in the Sacred Mosque to see the leader of Muslims and Islam come out of Kabah and judge those who committed all kinds of persecution against him for thirteen years. However, after breaking the idols, the Holy Prophet came out of Kabah to address the people of Mecca as such, “O people! You were bad kinsmen and neighbors for me. You expelled me from my hometown and fought against me in an unmanly way. You did not spare any attempt to persecute my friends, my companions or me. You killed my uncle, Hamzah. You fought against Allah’s Messenger so I have the right to avenge myself on you. Based on this right, your men must be killed, your wives and children must be taken captive, your property must be seized by the conquerors, and your houses must be demolished. Yet I leave the judgment to you. What do you think?”
Suhayl ibn Amr, representing his people, said, “We speak good and think good. You are an honorable brother and an honorable nephew who has power over us.” These words impressed the tender-hearted Prophet in such a way that his eyes were filled with tears. People of Mecca started weeping. Then the Holy Prophet said, “I do the same thing as my brother Joseph did. There is no sin upon you today. May Allah forgive you; He is the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful.”16
A Graceful Generosity
Sahl ibn Sa’d al-Saidi says: I made a cloak of black and white wool for the Holy Prophet and he liked it. While touching it, he asked, “What a good cloak this is!” A nomadic Arab who was present there said, “Give me this cloak!” The Holy Prophet immediately took it off and gave it to him.” 17
Helping a brother-in-faith
Abu-Sa’id Khargushi in his book, Sharaf al-Nabi writes: A needy companion of the Holy Prophet got married and asked him something. The Holy Prophet went to Aishah’s house saying, “Do we have anything to help this companion?” A’ishah said, “We have a bag with flour in it.” The Holy Prophet gave it to the companion while they had nothing for themselves.18
Forgiving a Foulmouthed Man
Ka’b ibn Zuhayr was an idolater who was steadfast in his idolatry until the conquest of Mecca. One of his indecent works was poem of reproach and satire about Allah’s Messenger. He and some other atheists who were extremely biased in their paganism and in committing horrible crimes against Islam were so detested that the Holy Prophet made Muslims dutybound to shed their blood upon the conquest of Mecca.
Hearing this, Ka’b ibn Zuhayr, with his poetic talent, composed an ode eulogizing the Holy Prophet and set out for Medina where he introduced himself to Abu-Bakr and beseechingly asked to take him to the Holy Prophet so that he might forgive him.
Abu-Bakr accepted his request and took to the Holy Prophet. He covered his face with his turban so that nobody would recognize him, said, “O Allah’s Messenger! This Arab man wishes to embrace Islam.” The Holy Prophet stretched out his hand and Ka’b pledged his allegiance, saying, “My father and mother are at your disposal, O Allah’s Messenger! This is the station of one who seeks refuge with you. I am Ka’b ibn Zuhayr.” He immediately recited the ode eulogizing the Holy Prophet. When he finished, the Holy Prophet rewarded him with his stripped cloth from Yemen, accepted his Islam and forgave him.
Behavior towards the Chief of Hypocrites
Abdullah ibn Ubay who was the chief of hypocrites in Medina and his friends did not spare any attempt to persecute the Holy Prophet and Muslims. They were spying in favor of the enemies of Islam and insisted on hypocrisies so much so that Quranic verses were revealed on their being deprived of Allah’s mercy and their punishment on the Judgment Day. Nevertheless, they did not stop their hypocrisy nor did they repent. When the Holy Prophet returned from Tabuk, Abdullah ibn Ubay fell sick and was close to death.
Based on the Quranic verse, He brings forth the living from the dead (6:95) -
his son, a true and pure-hearted youth, was favored by the Holy Prophet and Muslims. Based on the Quranic verse, And you shall do good to your parents (2:83) -
he would visit his father everyday as a religious duty. This good son of Ubay asked the Holy Prophet to visit his father to save the dignity of the family. Hence, the Holy Prophet too visited his father to preserve the dignity of a man who was a true believer.
Out of sympathy, the Holy Prophet said to Abdullah ibn Ubay, “I forbade you to make friends with the Jews but you did not accept it. Now is it not time to do away with the love of the enemies of Allah and depart for the hereafter?” In response, Abdullah said, “Asad ibn Hurarah was the enemy of Jews but this enmity was of no avail when he was on the verge of death. This is not the time to reproach me. I am on the verge of death. I would like you to perform prayer for my dead body and give me your shirt so that I will be buried with it.” The Holy Prophet gave his outer shirt to him generously.
But Abdullah said, “I want the shirt which has touched your holy body.” The Holy Prophet complied with his request and gave his under shirt to him. After Abdullah's death, the Holy Prophet condoled his son, attended the funeral service, prayed for him and in response to people’s protest said, “My shirt, prayer and pardon will not be of avail for him.” Following this manly and generous act, a thousand persons of the Khazraj embraced Islam."19
Behavior towards the Companions
The Holy Prophet would visit his companions and inquire about their health in the same way that they would visit him and inquire about his health. He would bid them a fond farewell as they would bid him a fond farewell. He would hug them as they would hug him. He would kiss them as they would kiss him saying, “My father and mother are at your disposal.”
If the Holy Prophet was invited to a party even at midnight, he would accept it. When he was riding, he would not allow anyone to be on foot at his service. If it were possible, he would make him ride with him; if not, he would say, “You go to the appointed place, I will come after you.” When he passed by children, he would salute them.20
Helping a Mother!
It is reported that certain slaves from Bahrain came to the Holy Prophet making a line before him. There was a woman among them, who was crying. The Holy Prophet asked, “Why are you crying?” The woman answered, “I had a son sold to Banu-Abs”. The Holy Prophet asked, “Who sold him?” The woman said, “Abu-Usayd al-Ansari did.”
Furious, the Holy Prophet said to Abu-Usayd Ansari, “Get on the horse and return her son as you have sold him.” The man got on the horse and after some time returned him.21
The Holy Prophet said, “Whoever separates a mother and her children, Allah Almighty will separate him from his friends.” 22 The Holy Prophet has also said, “Never go to the nest of birds at night nor scaring them from their nests, for night is a time of rest for them.”
Ibn Abbas reports: One day, the Holy Prophet was sitting in the mosque along with his companions when a Bedouin entered carrying a sword and a lizard in his lap and shouting, “O Muhammad! You are a sorcerer as well as a liar!” The companions wanted to kill him but the Holy Prophet stopped them.
Turning to the Bedouin, he said, “O Arab brother! Who are you looking for?” The man said, "I am after Muhammad, the sorcerer and liar.” The Holy Prophet said, "I am Muhammad but I am neither sorcerer nor liar. Rather I am Allah’s Messenger.” The Bedouin said, “I swear by idols that were it not for your dignity I would have killed you with this sword. I swear by Lat that I will not believe you unless this lizard believes you.” The Holy Prophet said, “O lizard! Who am I?” The lizard said, “You are Allah’s Messenger.” With this, the heart of the Bedouin was illuminated with the light of faith so he truthfully testified to the oneness of Allah and the Prophethood of Muhammad. He further said, “O Allah's Messenger! When I entered this mosque there was no man more hostile than me to you and now there is no one loves you more than I do.”23
It is reported that one day the Holy Prophet along with one of his companions went to the desert of Medina. He saw an old woman at a well intending to draw water but she could not. The Holy Prophet went near her saying, “O Old Lady! Would you permit me to draw water for you?” She said, “If you do good, you will do good for your own souls (17:7)”
The Holy Prophet went to the well, drew up the bucket, filled her water-skin, put it on his shoulder and said to the woman, “Go ahead and show me the way to your tent.” The companion insisted that he should carry the water-skin but the Holy Prophet said, “I am more deserving than anyone else to carry the load of my nation.”
The old woman led the way and the Holy Prophet was followed her until they reached her tent. The Holy Prophet put down the water-skin and set out for Medina.
The old woman entered the tent saying to her children, “Get up and bring the water-skin in.” They asked, “O mother! How did you carry this heavy water-skin up to here?” She said, “A sweet-speaking young man carried it for me.” They asked, “Where did he go?” She said, “He went that way.” The children of the old woman went after the Holy Prophet. When they recognized him, they said, “Mother! This is the man you believe in and are eager to see.”
The old woman and her children ran after the Holy Prophet until they reached him and started kissing his hands. The old woman who was weeping said, “O Allah’s Messenger! I did not recognize you. Forgive me for being insolent to you. How can I apologize?” The Holy Prophet consoled her, prayed for her children and retuned them kindly.24
Never Annoy People
It is reported that one day, the Holy Prophet had fever and that day was the turn of being in Hafsah’s house. On that day, Aishah cooked barley soup for the Holy Prophet and a slave-girl took the pot to Hafsah’s house.
At the door, Hafsah said, “What is this?” The slave-girl said, “This is barley soup that Aishah has cooked for Allah’s Messenger.” Hafsah was very disturbed to hear this, saying, “Aishah has infringed my right. Can’t I cook barley soup? Is my love for the Holy Prophet any less than hers?” Then she took the pot from the slave-girl and threw it down so the pot broke and the barley soup spilled on the earth.
The Holy Prophet took a piece of the pot in which there was a little soup and ate it saying to the slave-girl, “If Aishah asks you whether the Prophet ate from it, say yes and do not tell her what you have seen or heard here so that there will be no cause of annoyance between them.”
It was after this event that the following verse was revealed, And most surely you conform yourself to sublime morality. (68:4)
It is reported that when Mecca was conquered, Ikrimah, son of Abu-Jahl, escaped to Yemen. When he was informed that Allah’s Messenger would not blame anyone for his past faults and would not take him to task, he returned to Mecca and to the Sacred Mosque. Seeing him, the Holy Prophet rose up, spread his cloak for him and kissed him between the eyes. Ikrimah said, “I loved the Holy Prophet more than myself, my father, and my son.” Ikrimah became Muslim. He truly believed in Islam and was martyred in one of the battles.25
Asking For Fair Price
A Bedouin came to the Holy Prophet saying, “I have several camels for sale but I have no idea of their price in the market of Medina. I am afraid of being deceived by buyers. Would you come to the market with me giving your knowledge in this field?” The Holy Prophet said, “Bring the camels to me and present them one by one.” He did so and the Holy Prophet priced them each.
The Bedouin went to the market and sold the camels for the price the Holy Prophet had said. Coming back, he said, “You guided me and I made a huge profit. Now accept something from me and take of this money whatever you wish.” The Holy Prophet said, “I expect nothing.” The Bedouin said, “Accept a gift from me.” The Holy Prophet said, “I am not in need of anything.” The Bedouin insisted. The Holy Prophet said, “Now that you insist, bring me a female camel which gives milk provided that you have not separated it from her young.”26
Gathering Wood for Making Fire
The Holy Prophet and his companions were on a journey. When they alighted in a place, the Holy Prophet ordered them to slaughter a sheep. One of them said, “I will slaughter it.” The second said, “I will skin it.” The third said, “I will cook it.” The Holy Prophet said, “I will gather wood for making fire.” The companions said, “O Allah’s Messenger! Take no pains! We will gather wood for fire.” The Holy Prophet said, “I know you would; but Allah hates to see His servant enjoy a state of privilege among his friends and companions and distinguish between himself and the others.”27
A Gracious Generosity
It is reported that the Holy Prophet and Jabir ibn Abdullah were riding a camel belonging to the latter. Allah’s Messenger asked him to sell him the camel. Jabir said, “My father and mother are at your disposal! It is yours.” The Holy Prophet told Bilal to give the money to Jabir. Jabir said, “O Allah’s Messenger! To whom should I entrust the camel?” The Holy Prophet said, “May you enjoy the camel and its price and may Allah bless this transaction.”28
2. Al-Amali by Shaykh al-Saduq: 465, H. 6
3. Qurb al-Isnad: 44
4. Qurb al-Isnad: 69
5. Uyun Akhbar al-Ridha: 30/2, H. 36
6. Al-Amali by Shaykh al-Tusi: 393, H. 866
7. Al-Kafi: 312/5, H. 38
8. Ilal al-Shara'u: 187.
9. Al-Mahasin: 456/2, H. 386
10. Al-Mahasin: 457/2, H. 388
11. Tabaqat Ibn Sa’d; 4
12. Makarim al-Akhlaq: 17
13. Makarim al-Akhlaq: 19
14. Makarim al-Akhlaq: 21
15. Kitab Al-Zuhd: 34, H. 88
16. Al-Kafi: 225/4, H. 3
17. Nasikh al-Tawarikh: 584/2
18. Sharaf al-Nabi: 69
19. Nasikh al-Tawarikh: 234/3
20. Sharaf al-Nabi: 67
21. Daa’im al-Islam: 60/2, H. 162
22. Awali al-La'ali: 249/2, H. 20
23. Manhaj al-Sadiqin: 370/9
24. Manhaj al-Sadiqin: 370/9
25. Manhaj al-Sadiqin: 371/9
26. Sharaf al-Nabi: 75
27. Sharaf al-Nabi: 79
28. Sharaf al-Nabi: 68