Praise be to Allah.
The Quran puts many beautiful descriptions about Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. Amongst many is the verse:
لَّقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِى رَسُولِ ٱللَّهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌۭ لِّمَن كَانَ يَرْجُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ وَٱلْيَوْمَ ٱلْـَٔاخِرَ وَذَكَرَ ٱللَّهَ كَثِيرًۭا
“Indeed, in the Messenger of Allah, you have an excellent example for whoever has hope in Allah and the Last Day, and remembers Allah often.”
(Surah Al-Ahzab, 33:21)
Through this verse, we can conclude that the Prophet s.a.w. and his life is a point of reference for those who believe across different time and space, to emulate and learn from. In fact, one of the core messages of the prophecy is to perfect good character. The Prophet s.a.w. said in a hadith:
إِنَّمَا بُعِثْتُ لِأُتَمِّمَ صَالِحَ الأَخْلاقِ
“I was sent to perfect good character”
(Musnad Imam Ahmad)
This tells us how developing character and good traits plays a significant role in the development of humanity and the world. From the acts of devotion to his beautiful personality, he is truly a source of mercy and an excellent model to learn from. Many Muslims and even non-Muslims continue to search about our beloved Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. on Google. Some of the questions may seem trivial but the fact that it is highly searched, tells us how Prophet Muhammad remains to be a point of interest in the hearts of many.
Here are some of the questions about Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. searched online:
The Prophet s.a.w. did not waste food nor does he over-consume. The companion Ka’ab bin Malik r.a mentions to us how the Prophet s.a.w. would eat with his three fingers and would then lick them to avoid any wastage in the food he eats.
Another narration by Anas bin Malik r.a. tells us how the Prophet s.a.w. likes 'Thufl'. Abdullah bin Abdurrahman r.a. then clarifies the meaning of thufl, which are the remains of a meal. This is the simplicity of the Prophet and his positive nature of turning hardships or non-luxury into something that is praiseworthy and a means of drawing closer to Allah s.w.t.
He never complained nor did he ever criticised the food served on his plate. In a hadith, narrated by Aisyah r.a, the Prophet s.a.w. asked his family for a condiment that he liked to eat with bread. Unfortunately, his household did not have any condiments other than vinegar. To this, the Prophet s.a.w. replied in a famous hadith:
نِعْمَ الإِدَامُ الْخَلُّ
“What an excellent condiment vinegar is!”
He uplifted people and did not like to put others down. More importantly, he viewed food as a necessity but never as an utmost concern. This doesn’t mean that the Prophet never took a liking to the food he eats. This is particularly why he favours eating bread with condiments rather than plain bread by itself.
There are narrations where the Prophet is mentioned to like food that includes 'tawabil' (spices) and at other times, he likes to eat meat too. The Prophet s.a.w. even specified about favouring the forelegs of a sheep as narrated by Sayyidatina Aisyah r.a. However, he did not eat meat often.
Such is the balanced dietary of the Prophet s.a.w. He was also moderate in terms of his consumption. He never likes to fill his belly to the brim and would sometimes sleep in hunger, attesting to his simple life.
After his meal, the Prophet s.a.w. would praise Allah s.w.t. for the food he is blessed with, showing us another good example of being constantly grateful and to remember the source of provisions. Every act, even the ones that seemed like a normal routine, is an act of worship done by the name of Allah The Almighty.
When asked about the reason behind his fasting on Monday, the Prophet s.a.w. replied:
ذَاكَ يَوْمٌ وُلِدْتُ فِيهِ وَيَوْمٌ بُعِثْتُ أَوْ أُنْزِلَ عَلَىَّ فِيهِ
“It was the day on which I was born, on which I was commissioned with prophethood or revelation was sent to me”
The Prophet s.a.w. fasted on Monday because it was the day he was born. He celebrated his day of birth with an act of worship and by being grateful to Allah s.w.t. In a different hadith, the Prophet s.a.w. said:
تُعْرَضُ الْأَعْمَالُ يَوْمَ الِاثْنَيْنِ وَالْخَمِيسِ فَأُحِبُّ أَنْ يُعْرَضَ عَمَلِي وَأَنَا صَائِمٌ
“The deeds are presented on Monday and Thursday. Thus, I love for my deeds to be presented while I am fasting”
In other words, the Prophet s.a.w. loves his deeds to be presented on Monday and Thursday, in the state of worship.
The Prophet s.a.w. did not have a specific cat that he took care of at his home but cats were present on the streets during the Prophets time. There is also a famous story about a cat that was sleeping on a cloth that the Prophet s.a.w. was wearing while he was sitting. As he intends to stand and leave the place, he cut that very piece of cloth off leaving the cat to sleep without disturbing it. Some even narrated the name of the cat to be Muezza.
However, the story cannot be traced back to an authentic hadith or any of the six referential books of Hadith. Some relate it back to the companion Abu Hurayrah r.a. Imam Adh-Dhahaby in his book Siyar A’lam An-Nubala, however, relates the story back to the renowned Sufi saint Sheikh Ahmad Ar-Rifa’i instead of the Prophet s.a.w.
Whatever the case may be, the Prophet s.a.w. also emphasised that we have to give our pets proper care. He warned us through the following story:
عُذِّبَتِ امْرَأَةٌ فِي هِرَّةٍ سَجَنَتْهَا حَتَّى مَاتَتْ، فَدَخَلَتْ فِيهَا النَّارَ، لاَ هِيَ أَطْعَمَتْهَا وَلاَ سَقَتْهَا إِذْ حَبَسَتْهَا، وَلاَ هِيَ تَرَكَتْهَا تَأْكُلُ مِنْ خَشَاشِ الأَرْضِ
“A lady was punished because of a cat which she had imprisoned it till it died. She entered the (Hell) Fire because of it, for she neither gave it food or water as she had imprisoned it nor set it free to eat from the vermin of the earth”
If any, this tells us that it is important to uphold our responsibilities and in this case, to take care of the pet cat. In fact, this does not only apply to cats, but it applies to other animals in our care too. If a person takes a security dog under their care, then the person must ensure that it is well taken care of.
The Prophet s.a.w. also narrated to us a story about a person from the previous community:
بَيْنَمَا كَلْبٌ يُطِيفُ بِرَكِيَّةٍ كَادَ يَقْتُلُهُ الْعَطَشُ، إِذْ رَأَتْهُ بَغِيٌّ مِنْ بَغَايَا بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ، فَنَزَعَتْ مُوقَهَا فَسَقَتْهُ، فَغُفِرَ لَهَا بِهِ
“While a dog was going round a well and was about to die of thirst, a prostitute from the children of Israel saw it and took off her shoe and watered it. So Allah forgave her because of that good deed”
Imam Al-Qurtubi then comments on the story saying that the person enters Paradise because of that kind act.
There are many narrations regarding the Prophet’s physical appearance according to the tradition. It is only natural that if a person loves another, he would look into the beloved and see even the slightest detail. This was how the companions were when describing the Prophet’s physical appearance. It was to a very detailed extent. One such is the hadith narrated by Al-Barra’ Bin ‘Azib r.a:
كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ رَبْعَةً، لَيْسَ بِالطَّوِيلِ وَلَا بِالْقَصِيرِ، حَسَنَ الْجِسْمِ، وَكَانَ شَعْرُهُ لَيْسَ بِجَعْدٍ وَلَا سَبْطٍ أَسْمَرَ اللَّوْنِ، إِذَا مَشَى يَتَكَفَّأُ
“The Messenger of Allah s.a.w. was of medium stature, neither exceedingly tall nor short. He had a handsome physic. His blessed hair was neither extremely curly nor was it straight. His complexion was fair and imbued with a bit of redness (asmar). When he walked, he would walk swiftly with vigour and lean forward slightly.”
In another hadith narrated by Jabir r.a:
رَأَيْتُ رَسُولَ اللهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم، فِي لَيْلَةٍ إِضْحِيَانٍ، وَعَلَيْهِ حُلَّةٌ حَمْرَاءُ، فَجَعَلْتُ أَنْظُرُ إِلَيْهِ وَإِلَى الْقَمَرِ، فَلَهُوَ عِنْدِي أَحْسَنُ مِنَ الْقَمَرِ
“I once saw the Messenger of Allah s.a.w. on the night of a full moon. He was wearing a red cloth with him. I kept looking at him and the moon. It then came to me that he was definitely more beautiful than the full moon”
(Narrated by Imam At-Tirmizi)
There are in fact many more narrations about the Prophet’s appearance from multiple other companions which testifies to the Prophet’s physical beauty.
When we compare physical beauty with inner beauty, we will eventually find that inner beauty is even more apparent than physical beauty. A person who may not have outstanding looks but shows virtues such as courage, wisdom, kindness and fairness is considered to be a beautiful person.
The Prophet s.a.w. had the most beautiful soul. His character and personality trait is praised in the Quran:
وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلَىٰ خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٍۢ
“And you are surely on an excellent standard of character.”
(Surah Al-Qalam, 68:4)
Aside from being blessed with outward and inward beauty, the Prophet s.a.w. also kept himself presentable to others such that others would feel comfortable being around him.
Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. loved to put on perfumes and fragrances. He also keeps his hair neat through regular combing and applying hair oil.
In the book Syamail Muhammadiyah by Imam At-Tirmizi, we may find narrations of how Prophet Muhammad s.a.w preferred to wear simple and presentable clothes and did not demonstrate any form of extravagance or arrogance. He preferred to dress modestly to reflect the nature of his servitude towards Allah s.w.t.
He emphasised clean clothes as Allah s.w.t prefers cleanliness from His servants. Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. also taught us to wear decent clothes that demonstrate our contentment and gratitude to Allah s.w.t.
إِنَّكُمْ قَادِمُونَ عَلَى إِخْوَانِكُمْ فَأَصْلِحُوا رِحَالَكُمْ وَأَصْلِحُوا لِبَاسَكُمْ حَتَّى تَكُونُوا كَأَنَّكُمْ شَامَةٌ فِي النَّاسِ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يُحِبُّ الْفُحْشَ وَلاَ التَّفَحُّشَ
"You are approaching your brethren, so tidy up your mounts and your clothing, until you appear like a mole among the people (stand out). Verily Allah does not like obscene words or deeds"
(Sunan Abi Daud)
Whenever the Prophet intended to go to bed, he would recite:
بِاسْمِكَ اللَّهُمَّ أَمُوتُ وَأَحْيَا
“With Your name, O Allah, I die and I live”
And when he woke up from his sleep, he would say:
الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِي أَحْيَانَا بَعْدَ مَا أَمَاتَنَا، وَإِلَيْهِ النُّشُورُ
“All the Praises are for Allah Who has made us alive after He made us die (sleep) and unto Him is the Resurrection”
His last words before sleeping and the first words after waking up from sleep were the words of remembrance of Allah s.w.t. His whole routine is filled with remembrance.
Even the way the Prophet slept shows us his eagerness to wake up for the night-vigil prayers. He would not oversleep and laze around for the day. The companion Abu Qatadah r.a. narrates to us:
ِكان إذا عَرَّس بليلٍ اضطجع على شِقِّه الأيمنِ، وإذا عَرَّسَ قُبَيلَ الصبحِ نصبَ ذِراعَه، ووضع رأسَه على كفِّه
“When the Prophet s.a.w. would take a rest at the end of a day’s journey, he would go to sleep whilst lying on his right side, and when he would take rest shortly before dawn, he would put his blessed arm up (pitching his blessed elbow upon the ground) and place his blessed head in the palm of his hand”
Find out how to perform Qiyamullail. Read: How To Pray Tahajjud and Perform Qiyamullail
Prophet Muhammad s.a.w lived a life full of love, compassion for God’s creations and devotion to God. He fulfilled his obligations and objective as a prophet and as a human being - to worship Allah and to cultivate life in this world.
He reached the pinnacle of submission and Allah s.w.t. testified the Prophet in the Quran to be an excellent example. Part of the central values that can be seen in the Prophet’s life is balance, sincerity and excellence. This can be seen in the hadith:
سَدِّدُوا وَقَارِبُوا، وَاعْلَمُوا أَنْ لَنْ يُدْخِلَ أَحَدَكُمْ عَمَلُهُ الْجَنَّةَ، وَأَنَّ أَحَبَّ الأَعْمَالِ أَدْوَمُهَا إِلَى اللَّهِ، وَإِنْ قَلَّ
“Do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately. Know that your deeds will not make you enter Paradise and that the most beloved deed to Allah's is the most regular and constant even if it were little.”
He disregarded excessiveness and preferred a simple and balanced life. He was consistent in his actions, even if they were little. Despite going through a lot of challenges, the Prophet s.a.w. smiled the most. He had a strong sense of hope.
In a time when women were not yet given their rightful position in society, Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. treated his daughters with the utmost respect and he wasn’t shy to show it to others. In a hadith narrated by Sayyidatina Aisyah r.a:
إِذَا دَخَلَتْ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَامَ إِلَيْهَا فَقَبَّلَهَا وَأَجْلَسَهَا فِي مَجْلِسِهِ وَكَانَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم إِذَا دَخَلَ عَلَيْهَا قَامَتْ مِنْ مَجْلِسِهَا فَقَبَّلَتْهُ وَأَجْلَسَتْهُ فِي مَجْلِسِهَا
“When the Prophet saw her (Fatimah) coming, he would greet her and then he would stand up for her, kiss her, take her hand and bring her to sit in his place. When the Prophet s.a.w visited her, she would greet him, stand up for him, and kiss him.”
Besides treating his daughters with utmost love and care, he taught us to show affection towards children. He was very gentle towards his grandchildren, Hassan and Hussein r.a.
Even during prayer, he would allow his grandchildren to hop on his back, and he would purposely lengthen his sujud until they moved aside. When he led a prayer, he would hasten when he heard children crying.
Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. also taught us to respect the elderly. As a caring society, we should be mindful of the elderly and take care of their well-being, especially towards our own parents. It is our responsibility to care for them, provide for their needs and attend to them. All of the mentioned is encapsulated in the following hadith:
مَنْ لَمْ يَرْحَمْ صَغِيرَنَا، وَيَعْرِفْ حَقَّ كَبِيرِنَا، فَلَيْسَ مِنَّا
“Whoever does not show mercy to our young nor acknowledge the right of our elders is not one of us”
First and foremost, the Prophet s.a.w. migrated to Madinah because he received a revelation. It was a divine decree.
His followers were being persecuted for their faith and denied social and economic rights by the Quraysh tribe. In fact, the Prophet s.a.w’s life was in danger where there were attempts to assassinate him.
He had also gained a growing number of followers in Yathrib, later known as Madinah. They were ready to welcome him and provide a safe sanctuary for his followers. Prophet Muhammad s.a.w eventually migrated to Madinah where he eventually built a successful community that spread goodness and justice.
The final sermon, known as Khutbah al-Wada’, highlights the key thrust of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w’s message to humanity. It emphasised issues pertaining to the relationship between servants with their Creator and promoted brotherhood in humanity.
He s.a.w. taught us that racism must be rejected - “There is no superiority of an Arab over a non-Arab, or of a non-Arab over an Arab, and no superiority of a white person over a black person or of a black person over a white person, except on the basis of piety and righteousness.”
The final sermon also promotes social transformation by stressing the importance of justice and ethical conduct, such as calling all believers to treat women with kindness. It is our duty as the followers of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. to continue to enliven his legacy and spread his message of humanity in our lives.
The sermon took place in the last Hajj of the Prophet s.a.w. on the day of Arafah, where he starts the sermon with the remark: “Truly I do not know, for I may not meet you again after this year”.
Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. was buried at the place where he had passed on. Located in the Prophet’s mosque (Masjid An-Nabawi) at Madinah, under the majestic Green Dome. There lies the resting place of our beloved Prophet s.a.w.
Sayyidatina Aisyah r.a. narrated to us the event of his departure to his Lord:
فَلَمَّا كَانَ يَوْمِي قَبَضَهُ اللَّهُ بَيْنَ سَحْرِي وَنَحْرِي، وَدُفِنَ فِي بَيْتِي
“Allah took his soul away (in my lap) between my chest and arms and he was buried in my house”
He departed to Allah s.w.t. while lying on the laps of his most beloved person, his wife, Aisyah r.a. The site used to be the Prophet’s house. Alongside the Prophet’s grave are the graves of Sayyidina Abu Bakr and Sayyidina Umar r.a. respectively.
Sayyidatina Aisyah r.a. narrates to us:
تُوُفِّيَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى الله عَلَيهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَومَ الإِثنَينِ
“The Messenger of Allah s.a.w. passed away on a Monday”
Al-Hafiz Ibn Hajr Al-Asqalani, in his book Fath-ul Bari, further explains this hadith, saying that “the Prophet has passed away on a Monday in the month of Rabiul Awwal without any differences of opinion, it is almost a consensus (amongst scholars)”. The majority of scholars view that he passed away on the 12th of Rabiul Awwal on the 11th Hijri year.
The word environmentalist today may have different meanings and depictions depending on the actions and philosophies of activists. What's important to know is that the Prophet s.a.w taught us to take care of the environment that has been entrusted to us. It is part of the religious responsibility to prevent our planet from environmental degradation. This can be seen in Surah Al-Baqarah when Allah s.w.t. appointed humanity to be His vicegerents on earth.
There are many teachings from the Prophet’s life that teaches us to conserve and cultivate life on earth. Such as the hadith reported by Abdullah bin Amr r.a:
أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ مَرَّ بِسَعْدٍ وَهُوَ يَتَوَضَّأُ فَقَالَ مَا هَذَا السَّرَفُ فَقَالَ أَفِي الْوُضُوءِ إِسْرَافٌ قَالَ نَعَمْ وَإِنْ كُنْتَ عَلَى نَهَرٍ جَارٍ
“The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, passed by Sa’d while he was performing wudhu’ (ablution). The Prophet asked, “What is this excess?” Sa’d said, “Is there excess with water in wudhu’?” The Prophet said, “Yes, even if you were on the banks of a flowing river.”
(Sunan Ibn Majah)
The Prophet s.a.w made it a point that even in fulfilling our religious obligation, we should ensure it does not lead to any wastage. Even in what seems to be an inexhaustible resource, the Prophet taught us to not put any of it to waste.
Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. also emphasised the need to safeguard the environment and nature. The Prophet s.a.w. prohibited any unnecessary cutting of trees and plantations during battles.
The overarching message of taking care of the environment is part of mercy. A famous hadith reminds us:
الرَّاحِمُونَ يَرْحَمُهُمُ الرَّحْمَنُ ارْحَمُوا مَنْ فِي الأَرْضِ يَرْحَمْكُمْ مَنْ فِي السَّمَاءِ
“Those who are merciful are shown mercy byThe Most Merciful (Ar-Rahman). Be merciful on earth, and you will be shown mercy from Who is above the heavens.”
Loving the Prophet s.a.w. means more than just uttering praises to him and proclaiming verbal expressions of love. Loving the Prophet is an innate feeling that leads us to observe his beautiful teachings. In fact, the Prophet s.a.w has made this clear in a hadith:
وَمَنْ أَحْيَا سُنَّتِي فَقَدْ أَحَبَّنِي. وَمَنْ أَحَبَّنِي كَانَ مَعِي فِي الْجَنَّةِ
“Whoever enlivens (observe) my Sunnah, then he has loved me. And whoever loves me, shall be with me in Paradise.”
To love the Prophet s.a.w, it is important for us to learn about the Prophet through his historical biography, beautiful character and understanding his lofty position. This can be achieved through the journey of seeking knowledge, guided reading and meeting with righteous people who are trying their best to emulate the Prophet s.a.w. themselves.
One of the signs of love is constant remembrance. It might not be as fluid at first, but we can develop our remembrance of him s.a.w. by reading the selawat abundantly.
اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى سَيِّدِنَا مُحَمّد وَآلِهِ وَسَلِّم
O Allah, send your blessings (salah) and peace upon our leader Muhammad and upon his family
There are so many more benefits to reading the selawat that only calls us to increase it in our daily routines.
There are so many opportunities for us to follow the Prophet s.a.w. because almost all parts of his life are relatable to our current conditions. Allah s.w.t. knows us more than we know our true selves. This is why we are told to take Rasulullah as our model or example. Allah wants the best for us.
Although we are given even more opportunities to learn and know about our beloved Prophet Muhammad in this widely celebrated birth month of Rabiul Awwal, we are in fact commanded to continue to remember and send our selawat to him in other times as well.
إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا صَلُّوا عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا
“Indeed, Allah showers His blessings upon the Prophet, and His angels pray for him. O believers! Invoke Allah’s blessings upon him, and salute him with worthy greetings of peace.”
(Surah Al-Ahzab, 33:56)
May Allah s.w.t. allow us to follow the Prophet’s beautiful footsteps (inwardly and outwardly) under the protection and care of Allah The Most Merciful and Kind.
And Allah knows best.
Catch this touching bite-sized video about the life of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w: