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The Modest Lifestyle of Prophet Muhammad

The Modest Lifestyle of Prophet Muhammad
The Prophet’s life was based on modesty and indifference to the world.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) knew the reality of this world, its brevity and its temporary nature. So he lived in it not in affluence but as a poor person, enduring hunger one day with patience and eating one day with gratitude. He knew that this world is a paradise only for those who have no share in the eternal Paradise, and would say:

“O Allah, there is no [true] life but the life of the Hereafter.” (As narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Hence, the Hereafter was his greatest concern, so he would empty his heart of the concerns of this world. Although worldly things eventually came to him in abundance, he disassociated himself from them, saying:

“What do I need of this world? It is like the shade of a tree in which a rider naps at noon; then he moves on and leaves it.” (As narrated by at-Tirmidhi)

Naturally, the Prophet’s life was based on modesty and indifference to the world.

A Servant Messenger

Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that [on one occasion, the archangel] Jibreel sat in front of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and he looked toward the sky and saw an angel descending. Jibreel said to him: “This angel has not descended since he was created before now.”

When he descended he said:

“O Muhammad, your Lord has sent me to you. Shall I make you a king and messenger, or a servant and messenger?”

Jibreel told him:

“Be humble to your Lord, O Muhammad.”

So the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

“No, rather a servant and Messenger.” (As narrated by Ibn Hibban)

His Endurance of Prolonged Hunger

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) himself is reported to have said:

“I have been frightened in the cause of Allah as no one else has been, and have been harmed in the cause of Allah as no one else has been, and have spent thirty days and nights with Bilal when we had nothing to eat except what Bilal could hide under his armpit.” (As narrated by at-Tirmidhi)

`Umar ibn al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) spoke about what people had acquired in this world and then said:

“I saw the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) bent over [with hunger], not finding even the worst quality of dates to fill his stomach.” (As narrated by Muslim)

Ibn `Abbas narrated:

“The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) would spend several consecutive nights with his family not finding anything for dinner, and most of their bread was of barley.” (As narrated by at-Tirmidhi)

Anas said:

“The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) never ate at a table until he died, and he never ate thin loaves of bread until he died.”

And, `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her), the wife of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), narrated, “The Messenger of Allah died in my house where there was no meat and nothing for him to eat but some barley on my shelf which I had eaten from for a long period. Then I ate it and it finished.” (As narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim)

His Humble Household Belongings

The Prophet used to sit on a straw mat and sleep on it. `Umar ibn al-Khattab narrated:

“[On one occasion,] I came to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and he was lying on a mat. He was wearing a waistcloth and nothing else, so the mat had made marks on his side. And I noticed a handful of barley, about one measure, and some lentils in a corner of the room and a water skin hanging. My eyes filled with tears. He said,

‘What makes you weep, O son of al-Khattab?’

I said, ‘O Prophet of Allah, how can I not weep when this mat has marked your side and I do not see on your shelf except what I see? Chosroes, the ruler of the Persian Empire and Caesar, the ruler of the Roman Empire, live among fruit gardens and rivers while you are Allah’s Prophet and His chosen one, and this is your provision?’

He said:

‘O son of al-Khattab, are you not pleased that we have the Hereafter and they have the world?’” (As narrated by Ibn Majah)

The Material Possessions He Left Behind

Juwayriah (may Allah be pleased with her) was one of the wives of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Her brother, `Amr ibn al-Harith said:

“The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did not leave at his death a single Dinar (i.e. gold coin) or Dirham (i.e. silver coin), nor did he leave a male or female slave, or anything at all, except a white mule that he used to ride, his weapon and a piece of land that he had left as a charity to be used by travelers.” (As narrated by al-Bukhari)

This is what the best of all creation, Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), left behind. He had refused to be a messenger [of God] who was a king and preferred to be a messenger [of God] who was a servant.

[Adapted from the book “Forty Encounters with the Beloved Prophet – His Life, Manners and Characteristics” by Dr. Adel ibn ‘Ali al-Shiddy, viahttp://www.islamhouse.com/


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