Throughout the period of his mission, the Prophet Muhammad (saas) experienced all manner of difficulty. Deniers and polytheists, from among his own people, insulted him most terribly, even calling him a magician or a madman. Others wanted to kill him and even schemed to do so. Despite all that, the Prophet (saas) tried to teach people of all backgrounds and cultures about the Qur’an, and therefore about proper morality and good behavior.
As Allah revealed in the verses of the Qur’an, some people had not the slightest idea of the basics of good manners, for which reason it never entered their minds that they might appall someone who possessed superior morality. The Prophet (saas) displayed the greatest patience in this circumstances, turning to Allah and asking for His help in all situations and encouraging believers to patience and submission.
In many verses in the Qur’an, Allah advises the Prophet (saas) to be patient despite the words of unbelievers:
So be patient in the face of what they say and glorify your Lord with praise before the rising of the sun and before it sets. (Surah Qaf: 39)
Do not be grieved by what they say. All might belongs to Allah. He is the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing. (Surah Yunus: 65)
We know that your breast is constricted by what they say. (Surat al-Hijr: 97)
Perhaps you are leaving aside part of what has been revealed to you and your breast is constricted by this because they say, “Why has treasure not been sent down to him or an angel not accompanied him?” You are only a warner and Allah is Guardian over all things. (Surah Hud: 12)
Believers must remember the kind of things Allah’s Messenger (saas) was patient for, and take him as a model when dealing with their own difficulties. Those who despair at the slightest problem, who are unable to bear the smallest objection, who stop preaching the religion of Allah, or who lose hope when their business dealings go wrong, must be aware that such behavior is incompatible with Allah’s holy book and the sayings and deeds of the Prophet (saas). Believers must always be patient, take Allah as their helper and give thanks to Him, adopt the superior morality of the Prophet (saas), and hope for the mercy, compassion and Paradise of our Lord.
There were people with varying characters and ideas that surrounded the Prophet (saas). Throughout his life, however, he showed an interest in each and every one, warned them about their mistakes and failings, and tried to educate them in all matters, from cleanliness to matters of faith. That compassionate, tolerant, understanding and patient attitude of his was the means by which many peoples’ hearts warmed to Islam and developed a genuine love for the Prophet (saas). Allah describes this pleasing attitude adopted by the Prophet (saas) towards those around him in the Qur’an:
It is a mercy from Allah that you were gentle with them. If you had been rough or hard of heart, they would have scattered from around you. So pardon them and ask forgiveness for them… (Surah Al ‘Imran: 159)
In another verse, Allah told the Prophet (saas) how he should behave towards those around him:
We know best what they say. You are not a dictator over them. So remind, with the Qur’an, whoever fears My Threat. (Surah Qaf: 45)
The Prophet (saas) never pressured those around him to accept the religion, nor imposed conditions on them. Instead he always used the pleasantest ways to tell them about it.
He always supported the community of the faithful with his strong conscience, and was a benefactor to them at all times. On account of these traits, the Prophet (saas) is described in many verses as “your companion.” (Surah Saba’: 46: Surat an-Najm: 2, Surat at-Takwir: 22).
Those believers who were able to comprehend the conscientiousness of the Prophet (saas) regarded him as closer to them than all others, and humbled themselves towards him. In one verse, Allah states:
The Prophet has closer ties to the believers than their own selves, and his wives are their mothers… (Surat al-Ahzab: 6)
Imam Ghazali, the great Islamic scholar, summed up the Prophet (saas)’s treatment of those around him in light of the information found in the hadiths:
“… Everyone thought that the Prophet honoured him more. Whoever came to him could see his face.
… He used to call his companions by their surnames with honour and he used to give one surname who had no surname.
… He was very affectionate and kind in dealing with the people.
… Nobody could speak loudly in his assembly.”
The Prophet (saas)’s human love, kind thought and compassion, which turned those around him to true religion and warmed their hearts to faith, is that superior morality which all Muslims should seek to reproduce.