Muhammad is revered throughout the Muslim world as the perfect example of conduct and behaviour, faithful Muslims seek to emulate his way of life. As the Quran states: “Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for any one whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the Praise of Allah.”(Al-Ahzab 33.21)
The hadith puts it succintly :Bukhari Volume 9, Book 92, Number 382: Narrated ‘Abdullah:
- The best talk (speech) is Allah’s Book (Quran), and the best way is the way of Muhammad.
Muhammad had a simple life style. His custom was to do everything for himself. He mended his clothes, tied up the goats, repaired his sandals. and helped his wives in their household duties. He wore ordinary clothes made like his neighbours; but on festive occasions he wore garments of fine linen, striped or dyed in red. He ate with his fingers, using his right hand.
He lived with his wives, in a row of homely cottages built of unbaked bricks; the apartments were separated by walls of palm-branches daubed with mud; curtains of leather, or of black-haircloth, supplied the place of doors and windows.
Muhammad was a faithful friend. Those who knew Muhammad most intimately would have been most aware of his short-comings yet they also believed in him implicitly. He loved Abu Bakr with the romantic affection of a brother; Ali, with the fond partiality of a father. Zeid, the Christian slave of Khadijah, was so strongly attached to the kindness of Muhammad who adopted him, that he preferred to remain at Mecca rather than return to his home with his own father.
In exercising his absolute dictatorial power at home Muhammad was just and temperate. Once his enemies had cheerfully submitted to his claims he acted with fairness to them.
Family and household concerns
- Bukhari Volume 7, Book 64, Number 270: Narrated ‘Umar: The Prophet used to sell the dates of the garden of Bani An-Nadir and store for his family so much food as would cover their needs for a whole year.
- Bukhari Volume 7, Book 65, Number 288: Narrated ‘Umar bin Abi Salama: I was a boy under the care of Allah’s Apostle and my hand used to go around the dish while I was eating. So Allah’s Apostle said to me, ‘O boy! Mention the Name of Allah and eat with your right hand, and eat of the dish what is nearer to you.” Since then I have applied those instructions when eating.
- Bukhari Volume 3, Book 34, Number 333: Narrated Abu Huraira Ad-Dausi: Once the Prophet went out during the day. Neither did he talk to me nor I to him till he reached the market of Bani Qainuqa and then he sat in the compound of Fatima’s house and asked about the small boy (his grandson Al-Hasan) but Fatima kept the boy in for a while. I thought she was either changing his clothes or giving the boy a bath. After a while the boy came out running and the Prophet embraced and kissed him and then said, ‘O Allah! Love him, and love whoever loves him.
Modesty, kindness, patience and generosity, could be seen in Muhammad’s conduct and this aroused affections from those around him. He disliked to say no, and if unable to answer a petitioner in the affirmative, he preferred silence. He was gentle towards little children and would greet them with the salutation of peace. He shared his food, even in times of scarcity with others.
- Bukhari Volume 1, Book 1, Number 5: Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas: Allah’s Apostle was the most generous of all the people, and he used to reach the peak in generosity in the month of Ramadan when Gabriel met him. Gabriel used to meet him every night of Ramadan to teach him the Qur’an. Allah’s Apostle was the most generous person, even more generous than the strong uncontrollable wind (in readiness and haste to do charitable deeds).
- Bukhari Volume 8, Book 73, Number 59i:Narrated Anas: The Prophet was the best among the people (both in shape and character) and was the most generous of them, and was the bravest of them.
- Muslim 30, Number 5728: Musa b. Anas reported on the authority of his father: It never happened that Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) was asked anything for the sake of Islam and he did not give that. There came to him a person and he gave him a large flock (of sheep and goats) and he went back to his people and said: My people, embrace Islam, for Muhammad gives so much charity as if he has no fear of want.
- Muslim 1, Number 75: It is reported on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) observed: He who believes in Allah and the Last Day should either utter good words or better keep silence; and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day should treat his neighbour with kindness and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day should show hospitality to his guest.
- Bukhari Volume 9, Book 91, Number 352: Narrated Malik: We came to the Prophet and we were young men nearly of equal ages and we stayed with him for twenty nights. Allah’s Apostle was a very kind man and when he realized our longing for our families, he asked us about those whom we had left behind.
- Bukhari Volume 7, Book 65, Number 286: Narrated Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari: The Prophet said, “Give food to the hungry, pay a visit to the sick and release (set free) the one in captivity (by paying his ransom).”
- Bukhari Volume 7, Book 70, Number 552: Narrated Abu Muisa Al-Ash’ari: The Prophet said, “Feed the hungry, visit the sick, and set free the captives.”
- Bukhari Volume 2, Book 24, Number 501: Narrated ‘Aisha: Some of the wives of the Prophet asked him, “Who amongst us will be the first to follow you (i.e. die after you)?” He said, “Whoever has the longest hand.” So they started measuring their hands with a stick and Sauda’s hand turned out to be the longest. (When Zainab bint Jahsh died first of all in the caliphate of ‘Umar), we came to know that the long hand was a symbol of practising charity, so she was the first to follow the Prophet and she used to love to practice charity. (Sauda died later in the caliphate of Muawiya).
- Bukhari Volume 3, Book 34, Number 335: Narrated Ata bin Yasar: I met Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin Al-‘As and asked him, “Tell me about the description of Allah’s Apostle which is mentioned in Torah (i.e. Old Testament.”) He replied, ‘Yes. By Allah, he is described in Torah with some of the qualities attributed to him in the Quran as follows: “O Prophet ! We have sent you as a witness (for Allah’s True religion) and a giver of glad tidings (to the faithful believers), And a warner (to the unbelievers) And guardian of the illiterates. You are My slave and My messenger (i.e. Apostle). I have named you “Al-Mutawakkil” (who depends upon Allah). You are neither discourteous, harsh nor a noise-maker in the markets. And you do not do evil to those who do evil to you, but you deal with them with forgiveness and kindness. Allah will not let him (the Prophet) die till he makes straight the crooked people by making them say: “None has the right to be worshipped but Allah,” With which will be opened blind eyes and deaf ears and enveloped hearts.
- Bukhari Volume 2, Book 23, Number 421: Narrated Abu Huraira: A black person, a male or a female used to clean the Mosque and then died. The Prophet (p.b.u.h) did not know about it . One day the Prophet remembered him and said, “What happened to that person?” The people replied, “O Allah’s Apostle! He died.” He said, “Why did you not inform me?” They said, “His story was so and so (i.e. regarded him as insignificant).” He said, “Show me his grave.” He then went to his grave and offered the funeral prayer.
- Bukhari Volume 3, Book 34, Number 413: Narrated ‘Aisha: Hind, the mother of Mu’awiya said to Allah’s Apostle, “Abu Sufyan (her husband) is a miser. Am I allowed to take from his money secretly?” The Prophet said to her, “You and your sons may take what is sufficient reasonably and fairly.