A Man of Truth
and Lofty Morals
By Dr. Fazlur Rahman
"Nay by God,
it would never be so! He would never sadden you.
You have always been kind to your relatives. You
speak truth. You clear the debts of others. You
help the poor. You are hospitable. You assist your
fellow men. You bear the afflictions of those in
These words of solace came impulsively, without
least hesitation, from the mouth of a lady who had
known him inside out, experienced him through thick
and thin, for fifteen years as his wife.
This was Khadijah comforting her husband, Muhammad
(PBUH) when he returned from the cave of Hira, exhausted
and terrified, fearing for his life, after the first
ever encounter with the arch-angel Gabriel and receiving
the first Divine Revelation.
She adduced as her witness his past career when
though he was not a prophet yet was reputed far
and wide as al-Sadiq al-Ameen, the truthful, the
trustworthy, the faithful.
"A man of Truth and Fidelity, true in what
he did, in what he spoke and thought," (Carlyle).
How could such a noble soul, bearing such lofty
morals, be forsaken, left uncared-for, by God! She
related what she had observed, experienced, felt
The approach was rational, the argument convincing,
the reasoning sound. And what testimony could be
more reliable, more dependable than one's own wife's.
So this was the man Muhammad, prior to when the
mantle of prophethood adorned his shoulders. And
what after that?
Ali was the nearest and dearest of all his blood
relations. He had been with the Prophet since his
childhood. It was he who as a lad had stood up out
of all the kinsmen, whom the Prophet had called
at the mount of Safa in compliance with the Divine
commandment "Admonish the nearest of your kinsmen"
(Q:26:214), and declared fearlessly, when others
had refused to believe in the prophetic call, his
belief in his prophethood.
He describes the Prophet (PBUH) that he was benevolent,
extremely generous, truthful and very kind-hearted.
It was a pleasure to be in his company. A man was
over-awed by his first contact with him but came
to love him after remaining in constant touch with
Ayesha, his next beloved wife after Khadijah expired,
who remained with him for nine years, in his advanced
age till death, thus acknowledged his graceful manners
and high morals: He did never cast reflection upon
He never spoke ill of any one. He was never revengeful.
Instead he forgave those who offended him. He never
turned down any seemly request. He was always miles
away from unjust behavior.
Anas bin Malik, who as a boy had been appointed
by his mother to attend upon the Prophet (PBUH)
just after his arrival in Madinah, and who remained
attached to him for ten years, informs us that during
this long period the Prophet did never so much as
scold him or find fault with him, nor he ever reprimanded
him for any lapse which he happened to commit.
These are the impressions of some of the many persons
who had the opportunity to have long and most intimate
connection with him. But far more eloquent and emphatic
is the testimony of Allah Himself, Who, calling
to witness all the historical records written and
preserved, or to be penned down at any time, by
human hand declared: "Verily there is in store
for you a great reward unfailing, never-ending,
beyond expectations. And you, for certain, stand
on the most exalted pedestal of morality,"
At another place his virtuous character is extolled
in the following words. "It is by virtue of
Allah's compassion alone that you deal with them
gently and leniently. Had you been gruff or harsh-hearted
they would have certainly broken away from about
This was the practical manifestation of the Prophet's
own teachings. He had instructed the faithful, "Do
not envy one another. Do not hate one another. Do
not turn away from one another. Be you O! servants
of Allah brothers. A Muslim is the brother of a
Muslim. He neither lies to him nor does he hold
him in contempt. It is evil enough for a man to
hold his brother Muslim in contempt. Every thing
of a Muslim is inviolable for another Muslim: his
blood, his property, and his honor." And this
was how he acted upon his own advice.
The Qur’an has been revealed to enable mankind
to differentiate between good and bad, right and
wrong, virtue and evil, and to guide it to the right
path which leads to the eternal bliss, the real
success in this life and the hereafter.
Prophet Muhammad through whom this Divine message
has been communicated is at the same time commissioned
with the task of putting it into practice, enacting
its instructions, presenting his own self as the
paragon par excellence of its teaching.
He preached and practiced and rose to the heights
of being the role model for humanity at large. "Verily
there is in the person of the Messenger of Allah
the best of the patterns of conduct for every one
whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day and who
deeply engages in the remembrance of Allah,"
The life-blood of religion is the remembrance of
Allah. The Qur’an's Olul-albab, Men of deep
understanding, are those "Who remember Him
standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides,"
The Prophet (PBUH) has also instructed that "your
tongue should always remain wet with the remembrance
of Allah." We are told that there was no moment
when he was not engaged in the remembrance of Allah.
The supplications of the Prophet (PBUH) which have
been handed down to us, preserved in the Hadith
books and also found in several independent works
show that on every possible occasion and in all
positions he maintained communion with his Lord
and that at no time he was lost in forgetfulness.
He told the people to be ever vigilant in asking
forgiveness from Allah for their sins and shortcomings
or substandard performance of their duties. What
he himself did was to ask forgiveness from Allah
seventy or hundred times in just one sitting.
He said that every Muslim had to offer his prayers
five times a day. He himself offered prayers at
least eight times a day. The night-prayer, Tahajjud,
which was optional for every one else was offered
compulsorily by him. While offering night prayers
he stood for such a long time that his legs became
When once Ayesha remarked that why did he take so
much trouble when Allah had already redeemed him,
his modest reply was, "Should I not act as
a thankful servant!" He did never miss his
congregational prayers. He was so particular about
it that even during his last illness which ended
in his departure from this world he attended the
mosque while reclining on his two companions.
Fasting during the month of Ramadan was made incumbent
upon every believer. The Prophet (PBUH) himself
fasted during Shabaan and Ramadan. He also fasted
on Mondays and Thursdays as well as on the thirteenth,
fourteenth and fifteenth of every month. During
the month of Shawwal he fasted for six days after
Eid-ul-Fitr. He also fasted during the first ten
days of Muharram.
It was enjoined on the well-to-do Muslims to spend
a fixed portion of their wealth as Zakat, (Q:2:215,254).
It was made optional for any one to give in charity
as much as he could afford after satisfying his
needs (Q:2:219). None was required, however, to
give away all of that which he possessed.
"Make not your hand tied to your neck (be niggardly),
nor stretch it forth to its utmost reach so that
you become blameworthy and distressed," (Q:17:29).
The Prophet also explained that the best act of
charity was that which did not result in destitution.
The Prophet's life was however that of giving preference
to other's needs, sacrifice, generosity, magnanimity
Extremely frugal concerning his own needs he gave
away whatever he had to the poor, the destitute,
the needy and the have-nots. Though he himself led
a life of privation and bare subsistence for others
he was magnanimous beyond imagination.
According to Ibn Abbas, "More generous than
all of us was the Apostle of Allah who gave away
freely especially during Ramadan. He never said
'no' in reply to any request, and never took his
food alone. No matter in what small quantity the
food was available, he invited all those present
to share it with him.
He had asked us to inform him if any Muslim died
without clearing his debt, for he always took the
responsibility to get it repaid. The legacy of the
deceased, evidently, devolved on his heirs."
Abu Dhar, a companion of the Prophet, relates that
once he said to him, "Were the mountain of
Uhud turned into gold for me, I would not like three
nights to pass with a single dinar in my possession
except whatever I may keep for clearing away somebody's
The greatest and the most common weakness of those
in power and high position is that they are prone
to fall an easy prey to the onslaught of nepotism.
They are tempted to oblige their incompetent relatives
and undeserving friends by appointing them to responsible
posts where they could enjoy power and pelf, or
out of public exchequer they squander money upon
those who have no right to it. According to the
Qur’an it is a criminal breach of trust, (Q:4:58).
It has been condemned by the Prophet (PBUH).
Once his companion Abu Dhar, about whom the Prophet
(PBUH) said that he was the most truthful of all
those who walked on earth, requested him to appoint
him on an administrative post. The Prophet declined
to oblige him saying he was too weak to shoulder
the responsibilities of that office.
On another occasion his beloved daughter Fatimah,
much distressed by the hardships of continuously
drawing water from the well and grinding the hand-mill,
requested him to provide her with a maid-servant;
he very politely turned down the request saying,
"No provision has yet been made for the poverty-stricken
people of Suffah. Moreover, the orphans of Badr
have already made a request before you."
It is easy to say, "Love thy enemy" but
very difficult to practice, especially when the
enemy is in your grip. The life of the Prophet abounds
with examples of showing mercy, compassion and forgiveness
when the deadliest and lifelong enemies were on
General amnesty for Abu Sufyan, the lifelong enemy,
to his wife Hind who had chewed the liver of his
uncle Hamzah, and to his killer Wahshi, to the Makkans
after the conquest of Makkah with the words "Go
your way, you are the freed ones,” forgiveness
to Abd Yalail, the stone-hearted chief of Taif who
nearly killed him, are only a few examples of his
humane and merciful attitude towards his enemies.
His entire lifespan is an eloquent testimony to
the undeniable reality that he practiced what he
preached. (Courtesy Dawn)