What a teacher he was, and what a man! Muhammad (peace be upon him) was filled with greatness, honesty, and sublimity that, truly, those overwhelmed with his greatness have their excuse, and those who sacrificed their lives for his sake are the most triumphant.
Muhammad ibn `Abdullah was Allah’s Messenger to the people in the midsummer of life. What mystery was available to him that made him a man to honor among human beings, and what grand hands did he extend towards heaven to let all the gates of mercy, blessing, and guidance open widely!
What faith, what chastity, and what purity! What modesty, what love and what loyalty! What devotion to truth and what reverence to life and the living?
Due to God’s Mercy
Allah bestowed upon Muhammad the amount of blessing to qualify him to carry His standard and speak for Him, and made him capable of being the last of His messengers. Therefore, Allah’s bounty towards him was great. But however?? the brains, inspiration, and pens compete to talk about him or to sing hymns of praise to reveal his greatness, they all seem insignificant due to his superior traits.
These few words are a mere reference to Muhammad’s eminence and some of his superior qualities which make people cherish him and which drew him an unprecedented loyalty by his Companions whether they were Muhajirun or Ansar or from the Quraish.
No sooner had life emerged than Allah made all its breeze hail his coming, and sent messengers to all men everywhere, carrying the principles of the divine call and the fragrance of the caller, the truth of the teachings, the eminence of the master, the enlightenment of the message and the compassion of the Messenger (peace be upon him).
That is true. This was the main objective, no more. It is to perceive in the light of one of his beams some of the traits of his rare eminence that brought about the believers’ loyalty and made them perceive in him the goal and the way, the teacher and the friend.
What made the nobles of Muhammad’s people hasten to his words and his religion. Abu Bakr, Talhah, Az-Zubair, `Uthman ibn `Affan, `Abdu-Rahman ibn `Awf, and Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas, all abandoned in haste the wealth and glory of their community which surrounded them, receiving at the same time heavy burdens in life, full of cares, troubles, and conflict.
What made the weak of Muhammad’s community seek his protection, hasten to his standard and his call, when they saw him without wealth or weapon, with harm inflicted upon him and evil following him in a terrifying way, without his being able to avoid it; what made the pre-Islamic tyrant `Umar ibn Al-Khattab, who went to cut off Muhammad’s noble head with his sword, return to cut off with the same sword – made sharper through faith – the heads of the Prophet’s enemies and his persecutors.
What made the city’s elite and noble men go to Muhammad and promise to be his companions, voluntarily embracing a set of trouble and terror, knowing that the struggle between them and the Quraish would be more horrifying than terror itself.
What made those who believed in Muhammad increase and not decrease, though he declared day and night, “I hold no good or harm for you. I do not know what will become of me or you”!
What made them believe that the world would open its countries to them and that their feet would be wading in the gold and crowns of the world? And that the Qur’an they were reciting in secret would reverberate in strong tones and ringing voice, not only in their own generation or in their own peninsula but throughout the ages and everywhere?
What made them believe the prophecy told them by the Messenger, though when they turned right and left they found nothing except heat, barren land, and stones emitting boiling vapor, their pointed heads looking like devils’ heads?
What filled their hearts with certainty and will- power? It was Muhammad (peace be upon him) who else could have done that they saw themselves with their own eyes all his virtues and all that distinguished him.
Muhammad: Exalted Standard of Character
They saw Muhammad’s chastity, purity, honesty, straightforwardness, and courage. They saw his superiority and his compassion. They saw his intellect and his eloquence. They saw the sun shining the way his truth and eminence shone.
They heard the growth of life running in his veins when Muhammad started to bestow upon them his daily revelation and his past contemplation. They saw all these and more, not through a mask but face to face and in practice, through their own vision and perception.
When an Arab of those days saw something, he would talk as an expert. The Arabs were people of perception and intuition. If one of them saw some footprints on the road, he would tell you, “These are the footprints of such-and-such a person”. He would smell the breath of the one talking to him and realize what truth or falsity was inherent.
These men saw Muhammad and were his contemporaries since his coming into existence as a newborn babe. Nothing was concealed from them in his life. The stage of childhood which is unperceived by other than the child’s people and close relations was, in the case of Muhammad, seen and perceived by all the people of Makkah.
That was because his childhood was not like any other. It drew attention to itself for its early signs of manliness and initiative, and for rejecting the usual play of children for the seriousness of men.
Muhammad’s Pure Nature
As an example, the Quraish used to talk about `Abd Al Muttalib’s grandson who kept away from the children’s playgrounds and their celebrations, and used to say whenever he was invited to them, “I was not created for that.”
Moreover, when his wet-nurse Halimah took him back to his people, she told them her observations, her experience with the child, and what she saw in him to convince them he was not an ordinary child. She believed there was a hidden secret in him, unknown except to Allah, which might be revealed one day.
As to his youth, what chastity! He was clearer and more translucent. His people’s preoccupation with him and their talk about him were more constant and praising. As to his manhood, it was fully perceived by every eye, ear, and heart. Above all, it was his community’s conscience, measuring through his conduct and behavior all their visions of truth, goodness, and beauty.
This, we believe, was the attitude of the early believers towards Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him), the Muhajirun as well as those who sheltered and supported him.
It was a firm and swift attitude that did not leave any place for hesitation or idleness. A man who had such a pure and enlightened life could not play false with Allah. With such sharp insight, the believers saw the light of Allah and they followed it.
They would thank their insight when they saw later how Allah’s Messenger was supported by Allah and how the whole peninsula was obliged to him. Many unperceived blessings and spoils were bestowed upon them while he became more modest, more austere, and more pious, until he met Allah at the appointed time, lying down on a mat that left its impressions on his body.
The article is excerpted from the book “Men Around the Messenger”, which is translation based on Khalid Muhammad Khalid’s celebrated work in Arabic “Rijal Hawla Ar-Rasul” which represents the real inspirational stories of sixty-four Companions of the Prophet.