Prophet Muhammad’s unmatched humility was the key for his success. His humbleness was unique and went beyond the qualities of any powerful leader, because he was not an ordinary leader.
Through his humility, he could bring people together and win heart of even his staunchest enemies.
Allah said in the Quran:
And the servants of the Most Merciful are those who walk upon the earth with great humility. (25:63)
What does that practically mean?
A Story on Humility
Let me share a little story with you from the life of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
You know, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) went through great difficulties, trials, tests, and tribulations for the first twenty years of his mission.
But at the culmination of twenty years of preaching, teaching, and striving to spread the message of Allah, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) experienced maybe one of the most glorious moments in the history of Islam.
One of the most glorious moments of the life of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was the victory of Makkah, when he (peace be upon him) with tens of thousands of Muslims marched into Makkah with no war, no battle, no fighting, no bloodshed… and achieved victory and Islam was established there in Makkah.
But what is really fascinating and interesting is that when you appreciate the fact that twenty years had gone by, where these Quraish had tortured, persecuted, chased out, exiled, attacked, assassinated so many Muslims, and made so many attempts to even assassinate the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), that finally now the Prophet has his victory.
So if this was any other situation in history, and you’re reading about any other conqueror, this is how the scene would look when they were entering into the city that they had just conquered and that had belonged to their enemies: the conqueror would be riding at the front of the army, riding on a big beautiful steed and horse, trumpets blaring, rose petals being thrown, people playing the drums and dancing in the streets, firing off shots for celebration… There’d be such an overt display of victory.
When the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) entered into Makkah, he was riding at the back of the army. He was riding on a camel and there were no trumpets, no drums, no rose petals… He told everyone to engage in the dhikr and remembrance of Allah.
It was a very somber, quiet, peaceful, calm and serene moment. And the narration was saying that he was so hunched over that the beard was touching the back of his animal; so hunched over not holding his head up high and holding his chest out; he was hunched over out of humility. And he rode into Makkah praising, glorifying, and thanking Allah.
When the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) finally stood in front of all the people of Makkah, and again what would a conqueror do to an enemy that had the upper hand for twenty years, and now he has the upper hand? What would he do?
How mercilessly would he torture them, slay them, massacre them?
What did the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) do when the Makkans gathered together and came crying and pleading to have mercy on them?
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:
I will say to you what Yusuf (AS) said to his brothers, “He said, “No blame will there be upon you today. Allah will forgive you; and He is the most merciful of the merciful.” (12:92)
That’s how the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) dealt with them.
What is the outcome of humility? What does humility accomplish? It wins the hearts of people.
I always try to explain, even to my own students, that if you have a conflict with someone, or a competition with someone, and you win and you get the upper hand, if you gloat, boast, brag and rub it in their face, what ends up happening?
That person hates you even more now. That person waits for the next opportunity to get back at you. You don’t do anybody any good in that situation. You create an even worse enemy out of competition.
But when you deal with them humbly, and you treat them respectfully, what does that achieve and accomplish?
You win the heart of that person. You win the respect and admiration of that person.
When the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) conducted himself with such humility on the day of victory of Makkah, what happened?
Hind bint ‘Utbah, daughter of ‘Utbah and wife of Abu Sufyan who had hired an assassin to kill the uncle of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), she comes to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and says:
“I swear to God there was nobody that I hated more than you yesterday, but there is no one that I respect more than you today. Because of your humility, your compassion and your love.”
And she accepted Islam and became a Muslim.
The son of Abu Jahl, ‘Ikrimah, accepts Islam and becomes a Muslim even though he had fought against the Muslims several times on the battlefield and raised his sword against the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in battles trying to kill him.
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) through his humility won the hearts of people and won people over.
That is what we aim to achieve and we aim to accomplish. That was the humility of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
A lot of times arrogance is nothing more than our own insecurities; we’re masking our own insecurities. That is not a solution to anything.
But being humble remedies the problem and makes a person secure in who they are. It gives them confidence, endears them to people, and allows them to learn from other people.
So embrace humility.
Humble people are those slaves of Allah who deserve and receive the Mercy of Allah, who will be blessed by Allah, whom Allah’s mercy shower upon abundantly.
May Allah make us from amongst those people.
Remember, learn about the humility of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and implement the characteristics of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in your practical everyday life.