||Muhammad The Ideal Character|
||Maulana Wahiduddin Khan|
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Muhammad: The Ideal Character book sample
MUHAMMAD: THE IDEAL CHARACTER – Book
MUHAMMAD The Ideal Character
Muhammad (Peace be upon him), the Prophet of Islam, is generally believed to have been born in Arabia on 22nd April 571 A.D. and to have died on 8th June, 632 A.D.
His childhood gave indications of the sublime and vigorous personality that was to emerge and, as he grew up, handsome and powerfully built, the greatness of his persona overawed all who came into his presence.
But he was so soft-spoken and genial in disposition that anyone who came into contact with him inevitably loved and respected him. He evinced such traits as tolerance, forbearance and truthfulness, along with a fine understanding of men and their affairs.
His was a balanced personality and the example he set was one of noble, human greatness.
Da’ud ibn Husain says that even from his earliest youth he had the reputation of being the best mannered of all his people—full of solicitude for his neighbours, kind and understanding, truthful and trustworthy. He sedulously avoided quarrels, never quibbled over anything and was never heard to use foul or abusive language.
People never hesitated to entrust their valuables to him, for his trustworthiness was unimpeachable. In fact it had earned for him the title of al-amin,—faultless custodian, unfailing trustee.
On the occasion of his marriage at the age of twenty five, his uncle, Abu Talib, made a speech in the course of which he said,
“Compare my nephew Muhammad, son of Abdullah, with anyone you know: he will outshine him in nobility, gentility, eminence and wisdom.
By God, he has a great future and will reach a very high station”.
Abu Talib did not attach to these words the sense in which later events proved them to be true; he meant, of course, that anyone possessing such virtues and such a versatile personality was bound to rise in the world and to acquire a distinguished position in its affairs.
Little did he realize in what an otherworldly and non- material sense all of this would come true.
The would-be Prophet possessed great potentialities, which he could have turned to advantage. His qualities had greatly impressed a rich, forty-year-old widow called Khadija, who offered herself to him in marriage.
She had been the wife of one of the leading merchants in Makkah and when the Prophet married her, he found that a vast field of business in Arabia and beyond was thrown open to him.
He now had every opportunity to lead a successful and contented life. But this was not to be. For the Prophet attached no importance to worldly affluence and deliberately chose a path which ran counter to it.
Before his marriage he had earned his livelihood in a variety of ways, but now he gave up all these occupations and plunged into the quest for truth and reality.
He neglected, too, to keeping up social relations, made no efforts to gain eminence, and instead, would wander in the hills and caves, absorbed in the profoundest of thoughts.
He would ponder over the mysteries of creation, of life and death, of good and evil, and try to find order and light amidst chaos and gloom.
Often he used to repair to the lonliness of a cave on Mount Hira, and stay there till his meagre supply of food and water was exhausted.
He would go back home only to replenish his supplies, then would return to the solitude of nature to pray and meditate, struggling to find answers to the questions which surged through his consciousness.
It was no small matter for a young man to adopt this course in the prime of his life. In effect, it meant renouncing worldly happiness and treading a path ridden with difficulty and sorrow.
He had all the means and opportunities one could conceive of for a comfortable life, but his turbulent soul found no satisfaction in them. So little charm did they hold for him that he was consumed with restlessness.
Not until he had discovered the reality of things and had solved the mysteries of creation would he achieve tranquillity of spirit.
Endlessly he sought answers to the questions irresistably arising within him: Whence do I come? To what end am I destined?
Has my life a purposive goal? Is there any ultimate reality behind all external appearances?
His quest had reached a point where life itself had become an intolerable burden. But at last God, in His infinite mercy, turned towards him and threw open to him the gates of enlightenment and guidance.
“And when He found thee struggling in mind (to find the right way), did He not show thee the way? (Quran, 93:7)
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