The Greatest Messenger

Who are the Ahlul Bayt
June 13, 2018
Moulana Sulaiman Moola: Lives of the Sahabah
May 29, 2018

BACK Return to Table of contents


The Greatest Messenger


The self, pines for and becomes euphoric when conversing about our beloved. The heart softens and is restless when remembering him. The believer yearns to meet him in the Gardens of Paradise when he is mentioned. He is Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. The Messengers before him were made aware of his prophethood. The Jinn were in turmoil when he was sent. The skies were filled with powerful guards and burning flames to protect his message. When the time came close for him to be bestowed with prophethood, he would not walk past any tree or stone except to hear them offer greetings to him; Peace be upon you O Messenger of Allah.[1] The Arab lands bowed before him. The non-Arabs were in awe of him.

If you were to ask of his description it would be akin to your asking of the beauty of the full moon. He was the most handsome of men. He would inspire awe. Light and radiant in complexion. Of medium stature, not short nor was he too tall. His blessed head was moderately large with a large forehead. His nose was prominent and had a luster to it. Light would radiate from him. His blessed beard was thick and dense. The blessed mouth was moderately wide. The front teeth had a slight space between them. He was not fat nor was he too thin, his chest was broad and wide. His touch light and soft as though his hands were silk.

فكأنه قد صيغ كيف يشاء

بشر ولكن في صفات كمل
واللفظ دروالشفاه شفاء

فالوجه بدر والسمات مليحة

A man but one with qualities of perfection; as though he was created how he pleased.

His face as though the luminous moon; and his words pearls and means of cure.


Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala sent him in a time where the world was filled with the darkness of idol worship, soothsayers, bloodshed, and cutting off family ties. He called towards the worship of the Most Merciful. He was patient when belied, opposed, and threatened. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala raised his name and elevated his status. His miracles dazzled, and his proofs were apparent. Assisted by awe and forgiven of any mistakes. The first to rise from his grave and the first to intercede on the Day of Judgment. The Messenger with the most followers and the first to knock on the doors of Paradise. He was a grateful slave of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala standing for the night prayer vigil till his feet would swell. The coolness of his eyes lay in prayer. He would stand before Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala sincere and fearful.

‘Abdullah ibn Shikhir radiya Llahu ‘anhu says:


أتيت النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم وهو يصلي ولجوفه أزيز كأزيز المرجل

I came into the presence of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam while he was praying. The sound of a boiling cauldron could be heard from within him due his sobbing.[2]


He was most humble. He would sit with the poor and eat with the needy. He would mend his own footwear and help his family in their chores. Neither would he feel superior to the help nor would he rebuke them.

Anas ibn Malik radiya Llahu ‘anhu says:


خدمت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم عشر سنين ، والله ما قال لي أفا قط ، ولا قال لشيء لم فعلت كذا ، وهلا فعلت كذا

I served Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam for ten years. I swear by Allah not once did he utter a word of displeasure nor did he ever ask if I did such and such or why I did so and so.[3]


He would honour the elderly and be humble with the young. Far from pride, haughtiness and ostentation. He would say, “I am merely a servant, therefore say the servant and Messenger of Allah.”[4]

He had turned his attention away from this life and focused on the everlasting one. He would often say, “What have I to do with this word? What am I to this world? I am like a traveller who has taken shade under a tree then left and went on his way.”[5]

Months would go by and no cooking fire would be lit in his house. He would spend nights in succession with nothing to eat nor would his family have supper. ‘Umar ibn al Khattab radiya Llahu ‘anhu says:


لقد رأيت رسول الله -صلى الله عليه وسلم-، يظل اليوم يلتوي ما يجد دَقَلا ما يملأ به بطنه

I had seen Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam spend days in adversity not finding even poor-quality dates to fill his stomach.[6]


و سمـا لآخـرةٍ بـهـا النعـمـاءُ

زهـد الدنـا مترفعـا متواضـعـا

و مضى يجـوعُ لتشبـعَ الفقـراءُ

جـاءتْ مفاتيـحُ الكنـوزِ فردَّهـا

إلا تمـيـراتٌ لـديـه و مـــاءُ

يمضي الهلالُ معَ الهلالِ و لا يُرى

 He distanced himself from the world humbly; his gaze on the hereafter and its blessings.

The keys of treasures were dangled in front of him; he ignored it preferring hunger, so the poor may have their fill.

Months would go by and would not be seen; except a few dates and water.


He was not fond of bragging. Some people came to him and said, “O Messenger of Allah, O the best of us and the son of the best of us, O our master and son of our master.” He replied to them saying, “O people keep your speech moderate and do not let the devil entice you.”[7]

Where are the extremists who go beyond the bounds in his love? Where are those who ascribe to him that which he is not? Where do you fall in comparison to his teachings?

He would say:

انا محمد بن عبد الله أنا عبد الله و رسوله ما أحب أن ترفعوني فوق منزلتي التي أنزلني الله

I am Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullah. The servant of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala and his Messenger. I swear by Allah! I do not like you to raise me to a status above that which Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala has placed me upon.[8]


A man came to him and said, “As Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala wishes and as you wish.” Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam retorted by saying, “Do you make me as partner with Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala? Rather say, as Allah wishes exclusively.”[9]

The Companions loved him immensely. When he spoke, they would listen attentively. When he issued a command, they would vie with each other in fulfilling the same. Anas radiya Llahu ‘anhu says, “There wasn’t a soul more beloved to them than Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.”[10] The Companions had achieved the honour of meeting him, and it was they who revered him more than any other generation to come could. ‘Urwah ibn Mas’ud al Thaqafi radiya Llahu ‘anhu relates this in his own words as he returns to the Quraysh after the Hudaybiyah incident:


اي قوم! والله! لقد وفدت على الملوك؛ وفدت على قيصر وكسرى والنجاشي، والله! إن رأيت ملِكًا قط يعظمه أصحابه ما يعظم أصحاب محمد محمدًا و الله! ان تنخم نخامة إلا وقعت في كف رجل منهم، فدلك بها وجهه وجلده، وإذا أمرهم ابتدروا أمره، وإذا توضأ كادوا يقتتلون على وَضوئه، وإذا تكلم خفضوا أصواتهم عنده، وما يُحِدُّون إليه النظر تعظيمًا له

O people of Quraysh, I have visited the kings of the world, and I have had audiences with Caesar and Khosrow -the Persian emperor, and with the Negus, and I have never seen the followers of a king so devoted to their leader like the Companions in their devotion to Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam! And I have never seen any obedience amongst the followers of the kings like I have seen of the Sahabah with the Prophet Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. When Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam spits, they rush to receive the saliva in their hands before it touches the ground and wipe their faces with it. Whenever he would give them a command they would rush to do it. When he makes Wudhu, they fight with one another to collect some drops of the used water before it falls to the ground. When they speak in his presence, they speak softly. They do not lift their eyes to look at his face, out of respect for him.[11]


He had imbued in himself the purest of character and noblest of qualities. He would venerate his family and deal with them in the best of manners. When his daughter Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha comes to him, he stands, takes her by her hand, kisses her, and makes her sit in his place.[12] Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is reported to have said, “The best amongst you are those who are best to their families, and I am the best to my family.”[13] His creator attested to his high character:


وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلَىٰ خُلُقٍ عَظِيْمٍ

And indeed, you are of a great moral character.[14]


He faced the hardest of lives and lived the most intense challenges. His people harmed him with their tongues and hands. Slandered him with insanity, sorcery, and falsification. The disbelievers said, “He is a liar and a sorcerer!” In the Battle of Uhud a part of his tooth broke, the links of armor penetrated his face, and his blood flowed. They hurt him, caused him to shed tears, ousted him, exiled him from his land, and stripped him of everything. All because he called toward the oneness of his Lord and protected his creed. He would stand before his Lord, hurt and grieving, complaining to him:


اللهم إليك أشكو ضعف قوتي ، وقلة حيلتي ، وهواني على الناس ، أرحم الراحمين ، أنت أرحم الراحمين ، إلى من تكلني ، إلى عدو يتجهمني ، أو إلى قريب ملكته أمري ، إن لم تكن غضبان علي فلا أبالي ، غير أن عافيتك أوسع لي ، أعوذ بنور وجهك الذي أشرقت له الظلمات ، وصلح عليه أمر الدنيا والآخرة ، أن تنزل بي غضبك ، أو تحل علي سخطك ، لك العتبى حتى ترضى ، ولا حول ولا قوة إلا بك

O Allah, unto you alone do I complain of my weakness, lack of means and helplessness before the people – O Most Merciful! You are the Lord of the weak, and you are my Lord. Whom do you entrust me to, someone who treats me harshly, or to an enemy whom you have given power over me? But if you are not angry with me, I do not mind. However, your comfort is easier for me. I seek refuge by the light of your countenance that removes the darkness, and which sets things right in this world and the hereafter, that your anger should descend on me. Unto you I submit my will until you are pleased with me. And there is no power nor might except yours.[15]


After suffering these hardships did Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam give up calling to the oneness of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala? Never! This path is taken by great men of valour. The path of calling towards monotheism. The Beloved salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was subjected to untold hardships and tasted the bitter reality of those who belied him for twenty-three years. Neither did he sleep, nor did he rest. He gave his blood and tears for the cause of Islam. He gave his wealth and his possessions. His day and night. He did not rest until he established this creed and spread Islam. Until he proclaimed, “There is no God besides Allah.”

Respected reader, it is a grave injustice to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to measure him against any of these thousands of great men whose names shine through the dark pages of history. Some were great thinkers they however lacked sentiment. Some were eloquent with unearthly imaginations, they however lacked depth of thought. Some were great leaders however their lives and character matched the depraved in society. As for Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, he defined true greatness. With other great men, there was always some skeletons in their closets which they would attempt to hide; to keep from people, which exposed their depravity, feebleness, or family problems.

Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam on the other end of the spectrum, left his life bare for anyone to examine. His life was an open book, no pages hidden, nor any lines smudged. Anyone could read therein whatever he pleased. Point me in the direction of any other, who would dare to say to the world, “This is my entire life and actions, study it friend and foe alike and find what you may in it.” Show me another great whose life has been compiled so meticulously, whose life, both public and private we study after the passing of fourteen hundred years like we do with Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.[16]


NEXT⇒Khadijah bint Khuwaylid

[1] The phenomenon of the trees and mountains greeting him is established in more than one narration. Jami’ al Tirmidhi, 3630 has recorded a portion of it. The following have also recorded it, al Darami, vol. 1 pg. 12, Abu Nuaim in Dalail, pg. 138. Hakim, vol. 2 pg. 620 from the narration of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Imam Muslim has narrated the incident of stones greeting him in his Sahih from the narration of Jabir ibn Samurah radiya Llahu ‘anhu wherein he narrates from Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, “I know those specific stones which would greet me before prophethood.”

[2] Abu Dawood, 904; Nasa’i, 1214.

[3] Sahih al Bukhari, 5691; Sahih Muslim, 3309, with its wording.

[4] Sahih al Bukhari, 3261;

[5] Jami’ al Tirmidhi, 2377 and has termed it as Hassan sahih; Ibn Majah, 4109.

[6] Sahih Muslim, 2978.

[7] Ahmed in his Musnad, 13041; Nasa’i in al Kubra, 10078; ‘Abd ibn Humaid in his Musnad, 1309 from the narration of Anas ibn Malik.

[8] Ibid

[9] Al Bukhari in al Adab al Mufrad, 783. Ibn Majah in his Sunan, 2117.

[10] Jami’ al Tirmidhi, 2754; Mishkat al Masabih, 4698.

[11] Sahih al Bukhari, 2581

[12] Sunan Abu Dawood, 5217; Jami’ al Tirmidhi, 3872; Ibn Hibban in his Sahih, 6953; al Bukhari in al Adab al Mufrad, 948.

[13] Jami’ al Tirmidhi, 3895; Ibn Majah, 1977.

[14] Surah al Qalam: 4.

[15] This is known as the prayer of Taif. After the passing of Abu Talib the Makkans intensified in their persecution. He went out to Taif hoping that perhaps they may come to his aid. They however ran him out of the city and pelted him with stones till his feet bled. With him was his freed slave Zaid radiya Llahu ‘anhu who was protecting his life till they returned to Makkah where he said this prayer in a state of grief. Al Sirah al Nabawiyyah of Ibn Kathir, vol. 2 pg. 150. Zad al Ma’ad of Ibn Qayyim, vol.3 pg.28. Al Suyuti has narrated it in Al Jami’ al Saghir citing al Tabarani. Al Tabarani recorded this Hadith in his al Kabir as a report of ‘Abdulla ibn Jafar, briefly. In it the supplication is mentioned. Al Haythami said in his Majma’ (6/35), “In it falls Ibn Ishaq, who dropped down names of narrators although himself trustworthy. The rest of the narrators are reliable.” Therefore, the report is weak because of Ibn Ishaq not naming the transmitter according to some like al Albani. Al Sabuni mentions in Sirah al Nabawiyyah al Sahihah (pg. 108) that the narrations of Ibn Ishaq strengthen each other. Similarly, Ibrahim al ‘Ali has graded it as strong in Sahih al Sirah pg. 98. And Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala knows best.

[16] Sayed Rijal al Tarikh, ‘Ali al Tantawi. pg. 12 with some variations.

Back to top