Prophet Muhammad’s manners and disposition
June 09 2022 11:25 PM

Allah Says (what means): “By the grace of Allah, you are gentle towards the people; if you had been stern and ill-tempered, they would have dispersed from round about you” [Qur’an, 3: 159]
About himself the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “Allah has sent me as an apostle so that I may demonstrate perfection of character, refinement of manners and loftiness of deportment.” [Maalik and Ahmad]
By nature he (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) was gentle and kind hearted, always inclined to be gracious and to overlook the faults of others. Politeness and courtesy, compassion and tenderness, simplicity and humility, sympathy and sincerity were some of the keynotes of his character. In the cause of right and justice he could be resolute and severe but more often than not, his severity was tempered with generosity. He had charming manners which won him the affection of his followers and secured their devotion. Though virtual king of Arabia and an apostle of Allah, he never assumed an air of superiority. Not that he had to conceal any such vein by practice and artifice: with fear of Allah, sincere humility was ingrained in his heart. He (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) used to say: “I am a Prophet of Allah but I do not know what will be my end.” [Al-Bukhari]
In one of his sermons calculated to instill the fear of Allah and the Day of Reckoning in the hearts of men, he (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “O people of Quraysh be prepared for the hereafter, I cannot save you from the punishment of Allah; O Bani Abd Manaaf, I cannot save you from Allah; O Abbaas, son of Abdul-Mutalib, I cannot protect you either; O Faatimah, daughter of Muhammad, even you I cannot save.” [Al-Bukhari & Muslim]
He (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) used to pray: “O Allah! I am but a man. If I hurt anyone in any manner, then forgive me and do not punish me.” [Ahmad]
He always received people with courtesy and showed respect to older people and stated: “To honour an old man is to show glorification to Allah.”
He would not deny courtesy even to wicked persons. It is stated that a person came to his house and asked permission for admission. The Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) remarked that he was not a good person but might be admitted. When he came in and while he remained in the house, he was shown full courtesy. When he left ‘Aa’ishah (radhiallah ‘anha) said: “You did not think well of this man, but you treated him so well.”
The Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) replied: “He is a bad person in the sight of Allah who does not behave courteously and people shun his company because of his bad manners.” [Al-Bukhari]
He (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) was always the first to greet another and would not withdraw his hand from a handshake till the other man withdrew his. If one wanted to say something in his ears, he would not turn away till one had finished as reported in the books of Abu Daawood and At-Tirmithi. He did not like people to get up for him and used to say: “Let him, who likes people to stand up in his honour, he should seek a place in hell.” [Abu Daawood].
He (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) would himself, however, stand up when any dignitary came to him. He had stood up to receive the wet nurse who had reared him in infancy and had spread his own sheet for her. His foster brother was given similar treatment. He avoided sitting at a prominent place in a gathering, so much so that people coming in had difficulty in spotting him and had to ask which one was the Prophet. Quite frequently uncouth bedouins accosted him in their own gruff and impolite manner but he never took offence. [Abu Daawood]
He (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) used to visit the poorest of ailing persons and exhorted all Muslims to do likewise [Al-Bukhari]. He would sit with the humblest of persons saying that righteousness alone was the criterion of one’s superiority over another. He invariably invited people be they slaves, servants or the poorest believers, to partake with him of his scanty meals. [At-Tirmithi]
Whenever he (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) visited a person he would first greet him and then take his permission to enter the house. He advised the people to follow this etiquette and not to get annoyed if anyone declined to give permission, for it was quite likely the person concerned was busy otherwise and did not mean any disrespect.
There was no type of household work too low or too undignified for him . ‘Aa’ishah  has stated: “He always joined in household work and would at times mend his clothes, repair his shoes and sweep the floor. He would milk, tether, and feed his animals and do the household shopping.” [Al-Bukhari]
He (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) would not hesitate to do the menial work of others, particularly of orphans and widows [An-Nasaa’ee, Ad-Daarami]. Once when there was no male member in the house of the companion Khabaab Ibn Al-Arat  who had gone to the battlefield, he used to go to his house daily and milk his cattle for the inhabitants [Ibn Saad].

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...Justice and equality

The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam (may Allah exalt his mention), asked people to be just and kind. As the supreme judge and arbiter, as the leader of Muslims, as generalissimo of a rising power, as a reformer and apostle, he, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, had always to deal with people and their affairs. He had often to deal with mutually inimical and warring tribes when showing justice to one carried the danger of antagonising the other, and yet he never deviated from the path of justice. In administering justice, he, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, made no distinction between believers and nonbelievers, friends and foes, high and low. From numerous instances reported in the traditions, a few are given below.
Sakhr, a chief of a tribe, had helped the Prophet,  sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, greatly in the siege of Taif, for which he, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, was naturally obliged to him. Soon after, two charges were brought against Sakhr: one by Mugheerah, may Allah be pleased with him, of illegal confinement of his (Mugheerah’s) aunt and the other by Banu Saalim of forcible occupation of his spring by Sakhr. In both cases, he, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, decided against Sakhr and made him undo the wrong. [Abu Daawood]
Abdullaah Ibn Sahl, may Allah be pleased with him, was deputed to collect rent from Jews of Khaybar. His cousin Mahisah, may Allah be pleased with him, accompanied him but, on reaching Khaybar, they had separated. Abdullaah was waylaid and done to death. Mahisah reported this tragedy to the Prophet, but as there were no eye-witnesses to identify the guilty, he,  sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, did not say anything to the Jews and paid the blood-money out of the state revenues.  [Al-Bukhari]
A woman of the Makhzoom family with good connections was found guilty of theft. For the prestige of the Quraysh, some prominent people including Usaamah Ibn Zayd, may Allah be pleased with him, interceded to save her from punishment. The Prophet,  sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, refused to condone the crime and expressed displeasure saying:
“Many a community ruined itself in the past as they only punished the poor and ignored the offences of the exalted. By Allah, if Muhammad’s (My) daughter Faatimah would have committed theft, her hand would have been severed.” [Al-Bukhari]  
The Jews, in spite of their hostility to the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, were so impressed by his impartiality and sense of justice that they used to bring their cases to him, and he decided them according to Jewish law. [Abu Daawood]
Once, while he,  sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, was distributing the spoils of war, people flocked around him and one man almost fell upon him. He,  sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, pushed the men with a stick causing a slight abrasion. He,  sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, was so sorry about this that he,  sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, told the man that he could have his revenge, but the man said: “O Messenger of Allah, I forgive you.” (Abu Daawood)
In his fatal illness, the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, proclaimed in a concourse assembled at his house that if he owed anything to anyone the person concerned could claim it; if he had ever hurt anyone’s person, honour or property, he could have his price while he was yet in this world. A hush fell on the crowd. One man came forward to claim a few dirhams which were paid at once. [Ibn Hishaam]
Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, asked people to shun notions of racial, family or any other form of superiority based on mundane things and said that righteousness alone was the criterion of one’s superiority over another. It has already been shown how he mixed with everyone on equal terms, how he ate with slaves, servants and the poorest on the same sheet (a practice that is still followed in Arabia), how he, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, refused all privileges and worked like any ordinary labourer. Two instances may, however, be quoted here:
Once the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, visited Sa’d Ibn ‘Ubaadah, may Allah be pleased with him. While returning, Sa’d sent his son Qays with him. The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, asked Qays to mount his camel with him. Qays hesitated out of respect but the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, insisted: “Either mount the camel or go back.” Qays decided to go back. [Abu Daawood]
On another occasion he, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, was travelling on his camel over hilly terrain with a companion, Uqbah Ibn ‘Aamir, may Allah be pleased with him. After going some distance, he asked ‘Uqbah  to ride the camel, but Uqbah thought this would be showing disrespect to the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. But the Prophet insisted and he had to comply. The Prophet himself walked on foot as he did not want to put too much load on the animal. [An-Nasaa’ee]
The prisoners of war of Badr included Al-’Abbaas, the uncle of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. Some people were prepared to forgo their shares and remit the Prophet’s ransom but he declined saying that he could make no distinctions. [Al-Bukhari]
During a halt on a journey, the companions apportioned work among themselves for preparing food. The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, took upon himself the task of collecting firewood. His companions, may Allah be pleased with them, pleaded that they would do it and that he need not take the trouble, but he,  sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, replied: “It is true, but I do not like to attribute any distinction to myself. Allah does not like the man who considers himself superior to his companions.” [Az-Zarqaani]

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