Part 1 – Series on the Shamaa’il (the noble character and sublime conduct) of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)

The Beautiful Manner in which Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) Interacted with the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum)

عن خارجة بن زيد بن ثابت قال: دخل نفر على زيد بن ثابت فقالوا له حدثنا أحاديث رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال: ماذا أحدثكم كنت جاره فكان إذا نزل عليه الوحي بعث إلي فكتبته له فكنا إذا ذكرنا الدنيا ذكرها معنا وإذا ذكرنا الآخرة ذكرها معنا وإذا ذكرنا الطعام ذكره معنا فكل هذا أحدثكم عن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم (الشمائل المحمدية للترمذي رقم: 326)

Hazrat Khaarijah bin Zaid bin Thaabit (rahimahullah) reports:

On one occasion, a group of people came to (his father,) Hazrat Zaid bin Thaabit (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), and said, “Explain to us some facts about the mubaarak ways and qualities of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).” Hazrat Zaid (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) replied, “What can I say? (i.e. it is beyond my ability to do justice in describing the mubaarak ways and qualities of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)). I was his neighbor (on account of which I was well acquainted with his mubaarak life). When wahi (divine revelation) would descend upon him, he would send for me so that I may write it (the wahi) for him. Whenever we (the Sahaabah) would engage in a discussion relating to the dunya, he (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) would join us in the discussion (and would explain important aspects relating to our discussion), and whenever we would engage in a discussion relating to the Aakhirah, he (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) would join us in the discussion. Whenever we discussed (some aspects relating to) food, he (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) would join us in the discussion (and would explain important aspects relating to food). All of this which I have explained to you is from the blessed ways and qualities of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).” (Shamaa’il Tirmizi #326)

Commentary:

Many important aspects are discussed in this mubaarak Hadith which require explanation.

The first aspect is that before explaining the blessed ways and qualities of Hazrat Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) to the group who came to him, Hazrat Zaid (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) first informed them of the close relationship which he enjoyed with the Master, Hazrat Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). The reason for him informing them of this special relationship was in order for them to gain confidence in the knowledge which he was going to impart to them.

The second aspect is that when they asked him regarding the blessed ways and qualities of Hazrat Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), he said, “What can I say?” Many Muhadditheen and Mashaaikh mention that through this sentence, he referred to his inability to describe all the blessed ways and qualities of Hazrat Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).

However, Hazrat Sheikh Moulana Muhammed Zakariyya (rahimahullah), in his commentary on Shamaa’il Tirmizi, mentioned that by saying, “What can I say?” Hazrat Zaid (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) actually meant, “What do you want me to say, as I can inform you of whichever aspect of his blessed life you wish to know about due to me being his neighbour and his scribe of wahi.”

The third aspect one understands from this Hadith is the great love that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had for the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) as well as the great love that they had for him. They felt great warmth and comfort in his gathering, and were able to speak to him on topics relating to their deen as well as their dunya. Whenever they conversed with him, he related to them and did not conduct himself as though he is different to them, but came down to their level and guided them in aspects of their deen and dunya. From this, we understand that despite him being the greatest servant of Allah Ta‘ala and the leader of all the Ambiyaa (‘alaihimus salaam), through his mubaarak words and actions, he taught the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) and the ummah how to show love and how to pass on deen to the coming generations.

The fourth aspect is that it was not the noble habit of Hazrat Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) to waste time by engaging in futile discussions and pursuits. In many Ahaadith, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had urged the ummah to exercise caution regarding the use of the tongue and to shun vain speech. However, from this hadith, one may wonder, “Why did Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) join the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) when they would engage in speaking of worldly affairs such as food, drink, etc. whereas these are regarded as futile discussions?”

The answer to this question has been explained by Hazrat Sheikh Moulana Muhammed Zakariyya (rahimahullah). Hazrat Sheikh (rahimahullah) mentioned that not every worldly discussion is useless, rather there are many discussions regarding eating, drinking and other worldly affairs that are necessary. Thus, it was waajib (compulsory) for Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) to explain them to the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum). Among these are “which foods are permissible or impermissible, which foods are beneficial or harmful, etc.” The knowledge of these things could only be known if Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) explained them to the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum).

Many a time, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) enquired about the people, encouraged them to carry out good deeds and explained the detrimental effects of evil deeds. It is for this purpose that worldly affairs were discussed in the gathering of Hazrat Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). Hence, the worldly affairs discussed were a means of guidance in deen and dunya for the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum).

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