The Greatest individual in history: Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him)
BISMILLAHIR RAHMANIR RAHEEM
Glory be to Allāh and Salutations on the Holy Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ)
below is a fascinating narrative taken from Saiyid Sulaiman Nadwi’s book, “Muhammad, The Ideal Prophet: A Historic, Practical, Perfect Model for Humanity” (translated by Mohiuddin Ahmad). This book is a compilation of a series of lectures given in India in 1925 and it goes a long way in accentuating the fact that Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) alone is the symbol of perfection and a paradigm of virtuous and wholesome behavior.
In the chapter headed ‘Comprehensiveness’ Saiyid Suleman Nadwi writes:
Many years ago my friend Hassan ‘Ali used to bring out a magazine named Nur-e-Islam from Patna (India). Once he had published in his journal views of a Hindu friend about Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ). In answer to the question why he held the Prophet of Islam (ﷺ) to be the greatest and the most perfect of men ever born in the world and what opinion he held about Jesus (Prophet ‘Issa ﷺ), this learned Hindu friend of Hassan ‘Ali replied that Jesus, in comparison to Muhammad (ﷺ), appeared to be an innocent child, articulating sweet words before a man of wisdom. Asked to elucidate the reason for considering Muhammad (ﷺ) to be the greatest man, he replied:
“I find in his character such diverse and manifold qualities as it would be impossible to find in any other man whose biography has been preserved by history. He is a king having a whole country under his control but never claiming mastery over even his own self; ever taking pride in his being the slave of God.
He is the master of camel-loads of treasure getting into his capital from far and near, yet he is ever so poor that for months no fire would be lit in his own house, and he goes without a full meal for days together.
Like a veteran campaigner he can defeat his enemies, fully armed and exceeding his none too well armed battlers, still he is so peace-loving that he has no hesitation in signing a treaty when thousands of his followers are ready to fight till death. He is a man so dauntless that he can set whole of the Quraish at defiance, but he is so kindhearted that he never sheds a drop of blood. He is solicitous about the welfare of his own family, of the weak and orphan, and of every wayward soul in Arabia; he is always concerned about the salvation of every human being; but he is also indifferent to everything save the pleasure of his Lord. He never curses those who deride him, nor does he retaliate against those who persecute him; rather, he invokes divine blessings on those who bear malice against him; nevertheless, he never forgives the enemies of God whom he always threatens with grievous punishment in the hereafter.
When we begin to see him as a militant battler, he appears before us as an ascetic in vigil and prayers and when we find him making his debut as a brilliant conqueror, we are astonished to see in him the innocent divine messenger. Just when we call him the king of Arabia, we find him leaning on a leather pillow filled with date leaves. The day we see the booty of war piled up in the backyard of his Mosque, we find his own family with absolutely nothing to satisfy the pangs of hunger. When we see him distributing the prisoners of war as slaves to the inhabitants of Madina, we also see his daughter Fatima (Allah be pleased with her) complaining of blisters on her hands and shoulders caused by driving the handmill and carrying water.
After half of Arabia submits to his authority, ‘Umar (Allah be pleased with him) finds him lying on a rough mattress whose weaving have left marks on his body. His house then contains nothing except a handful of oats and a leather jar. His fugal living makes ‘Umar (Allah be pleased with him) burst into tears and he says: “O Apostle of God (ﷺ), is it not distressing to see the Qaisars* and the Kisras** rejoicing in the luxuries of the world while the Messenger of God (ﷺ) has to live with these restricted means?” But he gets the reply: “’Umar, would you not like that the Qaisar and the Kisra should choose this world and I the next?” (Or words to that effect)
On the day Mecca falls to the arms of the Prophet (ﷺ), Abu Sufyan, the Chief of Mecca and the then-greatest enemy of Islam, stood watching the stepping-in Muslim troops, waves after waves, with their tribal colours flying over their heads. Abu Sufyan got overawed and said to ‘Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) standing beside him: “’Abbas, your nephew has risen to be a great King!” “No”, replied ‘Abbas (Allah be pleased with him), “not a king but a Prophet.”
A’diyy at-Ta’ee, the son of Ha’tim at-Ta’ee, the famous chief of the tribe of Ta’ee, well-known for his chivalry and fabulous generosity, was still a Christian when he called upon the Prophet (ﷺ) in Madina for the second time. He saw, on one hand, the reverence paid to the Prophet by his devoted companions and, on the other hand, the preparations being made for the holy war. Unable to decide whether Muhammad (ﷺ) was a Prophet or a king, he was still in two minds when he saw a slave girl coming to seek the Prophet’s advice in private. “Come on”, he heard the Prophet replying, “I’ll go wherever you want.” Adiyy at once saw that no king could be so modest and unassuming. He threw away the crosses hanging from the neck and embraced Islam. ***
* Qaisars: Caesars, the Emperors of Byzantium or the Roman Empire.
** Kisras: Khosraus or Chosroes, the Emperors of Iran.
*** Another version of this episode is in Adiyy’s own words in which he says:
“I immediately prepared myself for travel and set off to meet the Prophet in Madina without any security and without any letter. I had heard that he had said: ‘I certainly wish that Allah will place the hand of Adiyy in my hand.’
“I went up to him. He was in the Masjid. I greeted him and he said: ‘Who is the man?’ ‘Adiyy ibn Ha’tim,’ I said. He stood up for me, took me by the hand and set off towards his home. By God, as he was walking with me towards his house, a weak old woman met him. With her was a young child. She stopped him and began talking to him about a problem. I was standing (all the while). I said to myself: ‘By God, this is no king.’“
And Allāh Ta’ala Knows Best.