Part 5 – Series on the Shamaa’il (the noble character and sublime conduct) of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)

The manner in which Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) treated those who were harsh towards him

عن عائشة رضي الله عنها أنها قالت: لم يكن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فاحشا ولا متفحشا ولا صخابا في الأسواق ولا يجزي بالسيئة السيئة ولكن يعفو ويصفح (الشمائل المحمدية للترمذي رقم: 330)

Translation:

Hazrat Aa’ishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) reports, “By nature, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was never obscene and indecent, and nor did he ever intentionally display obscenity and indecency (before any class of people), nor would Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) raise his voice while speaking or shout while in the market place. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) would not retaliate by treating a person badly for the wrong which he had done to him, but instead he would forgive and pardon the person for what he had done.”

Commentary:

Some people are, by nature, obscene and indecent, while others may not be obscene and indecent by nature, but at times, indulge in indecent conversation when seated among certain people in order to please them and fit into the circle. However, in this Hadith, Hazrat Aa’ishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) refuted both types of ill-conduct when describing the mubaarak character of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). In other words, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was always courteous and respectful in his approach and was never obscene and indecent.

The words ‘Faahish’ and ‘Tafahhush’ refer to being obscene and indecent in both speech and conduct.

There is no harm if a male goes into the market place to fulfill a need, but even while fulfilling his needs in this place, he should ensure that he conducts with dignity and respect. A mu’min should adopt the Sunnah conduct wherever he is, whether in the musjid, the market place, in his home or in any other place, and he should never compromise his deeni values at any time.

Some people conduct in an ignorant and uncultured manner in the market place. They shout or speak while raising their voices. Hence, Hazrat Aa’ishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) deliberately mentioned the market place since this ill-conduct is most commonly found here. The Hadith does not mean that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) would shout or raise his voice in other places besides the market place. The objective was to show that when Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was calm in the market place, then it is apparent that he was calm in other places as well.

The noble character of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was such that if any wrong or injustice was done to him, he forgave the person responsible. Furthermore, in proportion to the harm done to him, he would repay the perpetrator with kindness and compassion. Even the worst enemies of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) who caused immense pain and harm to him received wholehearted forgiveness at his threshold.

It was this mubaarak conduct and sublime quality of forgiveness which attracted the creation and drew their hearts towards him. Hence, at the occasion of the Conquest of Makkah, when Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) forgave the kuffaar, despite the years of oppression, tyranny and persecution which he and his Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) suffered at their hands, the kuffaar were put to shame and immediately embraced Islam.

In the Battle of Uhud, when the mubaarak tooth of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) became shaheed and his mubaarak face began to bleed through the links of the helmet penetrating his mubaarak skin, the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) were overcome with grief and thus requested Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) to curse the kuffaar. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) responded saying, “O Allah! Grant them hidaayat for they do not know!”

On one occasion, Hazrat Zaid bin Sa’nah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), who was initially a Jewish rabbi, mentioned:

There was not a sign of the prophethood of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) mentioned in the Towraat which I had not found in him, except for two signs. The first sign is that his tolerance and gentleness will overcome his anger, and the second sign is that the more one behaves foolishly towards him, the more he will forbear, tolerate and overlook the person’s ignorant conduct. Hence, I resolved to test Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and waited for an opportunity. One day, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) came out of his home while Hazrat Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was with him. Just then, a Bedouin came to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and said, “O Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)! My community have embraced Islam, and I told them, prior to embracing Islam, that if they become Muslims, they will receive abundant sustenance from Allah. Now we are going through such a time where drought has befallen us. I fear that they will leave Islam on account of the difficulty they are experiencing. O Rasul of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)! Are you able to assist?” Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) looked towards a person and asked, “Do we have anything to assist?” upon which he replied, “We do not have anything.”

Hazrat Zaid bin Sa’nah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) said:

I was witnessing this spectacle and I said, “O Muhammed! If you wish I will advance the money, on condition that I be paid a certain amount of dates at a fixed time.” Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) agreed to this and I had given eighty mithqaal of gold to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) to assist the Bedouin. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) then gave the Bedouin the money and instructed him to spend it justly on his people and assist them. When two or three days were left for the due date for me to receive the dates, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was seated near a well, after returning with the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) from a funeral. Among the Sahaabah present with Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) were Hazrat Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), Hazrat Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) and Hazrat Uthmaan (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). I came to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and took hold of the kurta and shawl of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and sternly and disrespectfully said, “O Muhammed! It seems that you do not want to pay my debt! I swear by Allah that I know all the children of Abdul Muttalib very well. You all are known for procrastinating in settling your debts!”

Hazrat Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) looked at me in anger in said, “O enemy of Allah! What are you saying? I swear by Allah that if I did not fear (the presence of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)), I would have severed your head!” Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) looked at me very calmly. Thereafter, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) addressed Hazrat Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) with a smile on his face saying, “O Umar! This person and I are in need of a better conduct from you. You should have advised me to ensure that I settle my debts on time, and you should have advised him to request payment in a polite manner.”

Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) thereafter said to Hazrat Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), “Take him and fulfill his rights, and give him an additional twenty saa’ of dates for speaking to him in such a manner.” Hazrat Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) took me and paid me in full, and gave me an additional amount of twenty saa. I was surprised and asked Hazrat Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), “Why are you giving me an additional amount, over and bove the twenty saa’?” Hazrat Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) replied, “This is the command of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). He instructed me to give you this additional amount in lieu of the harsh treatment which you received from me.”

I then asked Hazrat Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), “O Umar! Do you know who I am?” Hazrat Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) replied, “No.” I replied, “I am Zaid bin Sa’nah?” Hazrat Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) asked, “The learned scholar of the Jews?” I replied, “Yes, I am that very same person.” Hazrat Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) then said, “Being a man of such learning, why did you conduct in such a manner before Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)?” I replied, “I had witnessed all the signs of prophethood in him, with the exception of two signs. I was unable to verify these two signs without testing him. The first sign is that his tolerance and gentleness supersedes his anger, and the second sign is that the more one behaves foolishly towards him, the more he will forbear, tolerate and overlook the person’s ignorant conduct. Now that I have verified these two signs as well, I make you a witness that I am embracing Islam. I give half of my wealth in charity to Muhammed (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) to spend on his ummah.”

Hazrat Zaid (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) thereafter returned to the presence of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) where he accepted Islam. Later, he participated in many battles and was martyred in the Battle of Tabook. (Majma’uzawaaid #13898)

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