We are going to be talking about our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
The Character of the Prophet Muhammad
As reverts, as you’ve probably noticed I’m an English revert, I’ve been Muslim for like 27 years.
When I first became Muslim, I didn’t really know much about the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and I found it kind of hard to connect with him.
And some people are saying, we love Islam, we’ve become Muslim but how do we connect with the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)? How do we get to know him properly? Like actually before, when we were Christians, we knew Jesus (peace be upon him); but now we’re not sure.
There is a lot of slander and bad things being said about the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him); and things are twisted around to kind of make us feel pretty negative about him.
So, I want us to connect with him, but also to have a look at some of those controversial issues which sometimes scholars are quite scared to talk about. For example, the marriage to Aisha, jihad and how he handled himself in war times etc.
So, we’re going to look at a few stories and we’re going to look at his character (peace be upon him). I’m going to give you some beautiful stories to help you connect with him. Believe me, once you’ve heard these stories and once you’ve heard how he feels about you, then you’re definitely going to connect with him inshallah.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) had a legacy; and the fact that we are sitting here talking about him and actually billions of people are talking about him across the world, look what an amazing legacy he left (peace be upon him).
But in order to know him, we have to understand a little bit about the Sunnah (his Hadith and actions).
As a convert Muslim, especially in the beginning of our journey, we kind of feel like a lot of rules and regulations are being thrown at us. Everything seems to be like either halal or Haram; and we feel like Islam is just like a rule-book that we have to connect with, but we’re not feeling much spirituality. So, today we’re going to move away from the rules and the regulations and connect with the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in a more spiritual way because it’s important to love him (peace be upon him).
Islam is in three areas we have:
- Behavior of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)
This is very holistic and it covers all different areas of life. So, for example, it will cover our family life, it will cover our community lives, and it will also cover our personal issues.
What is the thing that makes us follow the rules and regulations of Islam?
Initially, we have to have a connection with Allah, we have to love Allah, and we have to love the Quran. And for all of us, that’s why we came into Islam in the first place because we love Allah and because we believe Islam is the truth.
Now, Allah says in the Quran about the Prophet (peace be upon him) that he was sent as a mercy to all the worlds, which is absolutely amazing. He also described himself as a mercy and guide.
What we need to think about first of all as a Muslim, “Are we copying this mercy and this guidance that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was sent? Are we being merciful to other people? And are we following his Sunnah…?”
Are we helping to guide other people through our behavior?
Both the Quran and the Sunnah emphasize these points on the mercy and kindness, on the guidance for mankind.
Why? Because when you meet someone whoever they are, you’re really going to judge them on their character. Is that person a good person? Are they moral? Are they kind and nice to other people?
The spirit of Islam is in the character of the Prophet (peace be upon him).
The character of Prophet Muhammad was so amazing that actually he had the softest of hearts; he was the most merciful person that has ever lived and will ever live.
So, let’s take a journey through the character of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Ibn Rajab Al Hanbali divided the characteristics of the Prophet Muhammad into five different areas.
1- He Always Fulfilled Other People’s Rights
If somebody has a right upon the Prophet (peace be upon him), he’s always going to be so careful to make sure he gives that person his right. Even when he was the leader of the Muslims, he still did this even to the poorest of people.
2- He Always Avoided Doing Harm to Other People
How many others do harm on a daily basis? Maybe even to our own families and friends; maybe to people around us… Sometimes we harm others without even realizing it.
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was always very careful not to harm anybody at all. And if he ever did by mistake something that might have offended somebody, he would always make sure he fixed it straight away.
3- He Had Always a Positive Attitude
When we have a negative attitude, this opens the door for Satan to get in there. How many of us, as new Muslims, have faced the judgment and people being negative and nasty to us?
But, actually this is against Islam, this is against the character of the Prophet (peace be upon him). He always had a positive attitude towards everybody and understood that actually everybody makes mistakes.
4- Recognizing and Responding to the Good in Other People
How many of you are married? Or how many of you have children? When your spouse does something nice for you, do you still say ‘thank you’? Do you still appreciate what they do?
This is a way of showing affection to other people. If people feel appreciated, then they are going to feel closer to you. And actually the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) would always appreciate what other people did for him.
5- Get Rid of Negative by Putting Something Positive on Top
When somebody is being negative towards you, then the way to return it is not by fighting with them; the way to return it is by being peaceful. And this is what Prophet Muhammad used to practice.
Because Allah guided him to practice this; but he also always recognized the other side, he empathized with other people.
There was one particular companion of Prophet Muhammad called Nu’ayman. He suffered with the problem of alcoholism, yet the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not judge him. And even when Umar put a curse against him, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
Indeed Nu’ayman loves Allah and His Messenger. (Al-Bukhari)
And actually he supported and helped him to try and stop the habit rather than judging him and being negative.
There was a time when a man on a camel came to the mosque of the Prophet Muhammad. The Prophet and the companions were sitting in a group in this place. And this guy went to this group and said:
“Who is the Prophet here?”
“I’m going to ask you something but actually when I ask you this thing I’m going to be tough with you, so please don’t get angry.”
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
Ask what you like.
So, the man asks about Islam, and the Prophet told him about the basics of Islam.
The man said:
“I believe in everything you have told me.”
The man goes back to his tribe. And because of the beautiful Dawah and the simple way that the Prophet (peace be upon him) showed Islam and because of his behavior, the whole tribe became Muslim.
We can’t be aggressive in our Deen in particular when you’re a convert Muslim. We want to share our Islam with everybody we’re very enthusiastic about it but it can make us a little bit aggressive.
I remember when I first became Muslim, I really wanted my family to be Muslim. So, I started preaching Islam to them, but they weren’t ready for that, and they used to see like I was pushing Islam at them.
If you want to show Islam to your families, don’t start shoving books unless they ask, don’t start answering questions unless they ask. Change your character to be in line with the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and believe me they’re going to see those changes and then they’re going to start asking questions.
Actually there are different types of jihad. It can mean the inner struggle that we have to control our desires and to not commit Haram and to keep on the right path.
Jihad is not something that is aggressive; and the Prophet (peace be upon him) was not aggressive to other people; it was only a response when people attacked the Prophet (peace be upon him).
The Prophet (peace be upon him) was kind in all circumstances.
I’m going to tell you a story that comes from a man called Abu Aziz, from one of the tribes that was fighting against the Muslims in battle of Badr.
Abu Aziz is taken captive and he becomes a prisoner of war. He said:
“I was given to a group of the Ansar (supporters of Madinah). When the Ansar brought food to eat, they gave me bread (which was more expensive), while they ate dates.”
Abu Aziz felt embarrassed that the Ansar had given him the bread and that they were not having the bread.
His Love for us
I’m going to tell you something amazing, the Prophet (peace be upon him) is desperate to meet you. He’s desperate to connect with you.
There’s a beautiful story. Just a few days before the death of the Prophet (peace be upon him), he was really sick, he said to the companions:
I wish I could meet my brothers.
The companions got confused, they said:
“Aren’t we your brothers?”
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
You are my companions. My brothers are those who will follow and who will believe in me without having seen me.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) was desperate to meet us and he loves us so much…