The Hidden Personality

Along with the distorted image of Muhammad (saw) that has crept into the thinking of the Muslim Ummah, there is another equivalently devastating disease. Unfortunately, due to the lack of effort on behalf of the Ummah to preserve its culture, the Kuffar, along with their agents, have been successful in concealing some of the vital dimensions of Muhammad (saw)'s personality.

If we look to the authentic works of the Seerah, the books of Hadith and Tafseer, and other sources of the Islamic culture, we can find many incidents in the Seerah which illuminate the true nature of what it means for Muhammad (saw) to be our leader, to be the best example for us, and to be a guiding light by which we ought to conduct our affairs.

We illustrate some of these incidents here to give the Ummah a clear and unabated look at the complete life of Muhammad (saw), the Messenger of Allah (swt).

Ibn Kathir reports from Musnad Ahmed (ra) that the Prophet (saw), during his time in Medinah went to visit a young ailing Jewish boy. Muhammad (saw) at the time, as a ruler, along with his companions Abu Bakr and 'Umar (ra) entered the house and found the Jewish boy's father reading the Torah alongside the bed to comfort his son's soul. Due to the presence of Muhammad (saw), the man closed the Torah. Muhammad (saw) asked the man "By the One who revealed the Torah, do you read in it about me and about the news of my baath (coming) or not?" The father of the Jewish boy shook his head and said "no?"
Upon hearing this, his dying son spoke up and said, "I swear by the One who revealed the Torah that we find in our book the news of your characteristics and your baath (coming), and bear witness that you are the Messenger of Allah."

The boy died soon afterwards and the Prophet (saw) said, "He is a Muslim, remove the Jews from here." Then, he (saw) prepared for the boy's burial and funeral prayer. Understanding the way in which Muhammad (saw) delivered the Da'wah of Islam at all times and to all people, even when they were on their deathbed should make us realise the seriousness of this duty and the priority that the Messenger of Allah (saw) gave it. Muhammad (saw) did not hesitate to challenge the belief of the Jew, even when he was facing a tragic time for his family. We should realise the seriousness of delivering the Da'wah (Message) because those who die without being delivered Islam will have a case against the Muslims on the Day of Judgement. As we see in the events mentioned above, Muhammad (saw) saved himself first by delivering Islam and furthermore saved that boy from the Hellfire.

Besides grasping the importance of delivering the Da'wah, we should further realise the relationship between one Muslim and another Muslim. Once the boy died, Muhammad (saw) fulfilled his obligation to his Muslim brother by ensuring he will be honoured by a Muslim burial despite the critical and delicate situation that must have existed due to the loss of life in that household.

Unfortunately, today we would not follow the same course of action, and would justify remaining silent out of sympathy for the one who is in this tragic situation. We must, however, ask ourselves, what answer will we give on the Day of Judgement when the non-Muslim comes to us in front of Allah (swt) and asks why we remained silent? It is a question for which there will be no answer other than cowardice on our part. May Allah (swt) protect us from this. And what proof will we have for Allah (swt) when our own brothers and sisters are dying in starvation. Did we fulfill our obligation to our brothers and sisters as Muhammad (saw) fulfilled his obligations?

It is reported in Muslim, that Allah's Messenger (saw) saw a woman who charmed him (i.e. her beauty was desirable), so he went to Saudah (his wife) who was making perfume in the company of some women. They left him, and after he had satisfied his desire he said, "If any man sees a woman who charms him he should go to his wife, for she has the same kind of things as the other woman." [Darimi]

This incident is a powerful example of the human nature of Muhammad (saw) and his obedience to Allah (swt) in dealing with this situation in accordance with Islam.

Muhammad (saw), like any other human being, has instincts which need to be satisfied, and he showed us how to do so in the best manner. Also, 'Ayesha (ra) narrated, "The worldly things used to give pleasure to Allah's Messenger (saw): food, women and perfume. He acquired two, but one he did not acquire. He acquired women and perfume, but not food." [Musnad Ahmad]

Another dimension of the life of Muhammad (saw) which is seldom spoken of is his love for Jihad (fighting in the way of Allah (swt) ).

It is reported in the Tafseer of Ibn Kathir that after the defeat in the Battle of Badr, the Quraysh began to prepare a new Army to launch an offensive on Medinah. For this purpose, they devoted the profits from the Caravan which had escaped Muhammad (saw) in Badr. They were able to gather an army of 3,000 well equipped soldiers and set forth for Medinah.

Muhammad (saw) was aware of this offensive, and after the Jumu'ah prayer and Janazah prayer of Malik bin Amaru, he (saw) gathered the Muslims to consult them as to how to fight against the Quraysh. 'Abdullah ibn Ubay suggested that they stay in Medinah, but some of the Companions (ra) mentioned that they should go outside of Medinah as in Badr and openly fight against the Kuffar.

The Prophet (saw) then went into his house and came out equipped with his weapon. Some of the Companions (ra) thought that perhaps they had pushed their opinion against the will of Muhammad (saw). Therefore, they said, "O Messenger of Allah, If you wish for us to stay here and fight then we will do so. We do not want to impose our opinion on you."

In response to this Muhammad (saw) said, "It is not fitting for the Prophet of Allah (swt) that once he has dawned his weapons, that he remove them. Now, I will not turn back until what Allah (swt) decrees has happened."

In another hadith, the Prophet (saw) said, "My profession is Jihad"…and Allah's Messenger (saw), in one of his military expeditions against the enemy, waited till the sun declined and then he got up amongst the people saying, "O people! Do not wish to meet the enemy, and ask Allah for safety, but when you meet (face) the enemy, be patient, and remember that Paradise is under the shades of swords." [Bukhari]

Prophet Muhammad (saw) said in a hadith, "A Mu'min (believer) cannot be bitten from the same whole twice." What this means is that a Muslim can not be fooled twice. Let us examine the situation in which this Hadith was mentioned by the Prophet Muhammad (saw).

Abu Azza Shayr was one of the poets in Mecca who used to write satire criticising the Muslims. After the Battle of Badr, which the Muslims won, the Muslims took some prisoners of war. Amongst these prisoners were some rich elite's of Mecca, like Abbas and Abu Lahab, who ransomed themselves to be freed. The prisoners who were poor, but were literate, the Prophet (saw) asked them to teach ten Muslim children of Medinah how to read and write. Abu Azza was an educated person, but he pleaded to Muhammad (saw) to let him go. He said that he, Abu Azza, was a very poor man with lots of children. Muhammad (saw) asked Abu Azza to promise that he would not write anymore satire and that he would not fight Muslims in the future. Abu Azza agreed to the terms.

The following year, when the Battle of Uhud occurred, he was captured as a prisoner of war once again. This time around, Abu Azza made the same excuse of being poor with lots of children and started to beg the Prophet (saw) to let him go again. The Prophet (saw) replied, "I will not let you go to your tribe and boast amongst them that you fooled Muhammad (saw) twice." The Prophet (saw) continued, "A believer never gets bitten from the same hole twice." Muhammad (saw) sentenced Abu Azza to be killed. (Reference: Nahagul Islam by Ibrahim Al-Kattan and Ali Hasan Aude, Jordan 1966)

It is a shame that the Muslim Ummah has been sheltered for so long from this vision of Muhammad (saw), a vision which, if adopted by the Muslim Ummah as a whole, would produce within us a dynamism, zeal, and courage to follow the example of Muhammad (saw) in all of our affairs, and take our rightful positions as witnesses over all of mankind as to the truthfulness of the Message of al-Islam. It is to this that we call the Ummah of Muhammad (saw) and pray to Allah (swt) that He would once again return us to the true Deen of Islam.

'Abdullah ibn 'Umar narrated, "I heard the Messenger of Allah (saw) say, 'When you enter into the inah transaction (selling goods to a person for a certain price and then buying them back from him for a far less price, i.e. interest), hold the tails of oxen, are pleased with agriculture, and give up conducting Jihad, Allah will make disgrace prevail over you and will not withdraw it until you return to your original Deen'"
[Abu Dawud]