The Private Life of The Holy Prophet sallallâhu `alayhi wa sallam
A Model of Perfection from Islamic Philosophy of Human Life
By Prof. Dr. Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri
The Qur'ân and Ahâdîth in various places state that the Book and the Messenger sallallâhu `alayhi wa sallam are the best guidance for humankind. This model of perfection now has to be sought for. We find that the model of perfection is best illustrated through the personal and private life of the Holy Prophet:
Hadrat Khadîjah al-Kubrah radîyallâhu `anhâ was the most affluent lady in the whole of the Arab world. Her merchandise was even sold in the commercial centres of Syria. When she married the Holy Prophet sallallâhu `alayhi wa sallam, she placed all her possessions at his disposal and made up her mind to spend all her wealth on his mission. Therefore, this marriage, in addition to other rewards and benefits, also introduced economic well-being into the life of the Holy Prophet sallallâhu `alayhi wa sallam.
The Qur'ân states in respect to this: "Allâh found you an orphan and made you wealthy. Now if an orphan comes to you, do not be annoyed with him and chide him not who asks (that is, give the one who asks whatever he wants) and keep proclaiming the bounty of your Lord."
The Qur'ân itself has furnished the proof of his affluence. But at the same time he is advised to adopt a mode of conduct and behaviour, which shall transform his private life into a universal model of perfection for the human race. The verse not only makes clear reference to his wealth, but also advises him to distribute the divine blessings among the needy and poor. A detailed study of his life reveals that he implemented this Qur'ânic advice in every aspect of his private life and distributed his wealth among the victims of want and destitution. In his obsession to help the needy and the destitute, he turned his own life into a tale of constant suffering: he would starve himself to feed the starving people he would go without bread to feed those who had no bread. If he found anyone in need of even a morsel of food, he would pass a morsel to him and would live on the pleasure of his Lord. But his sacrifice was not forced and constrained. Rather it was voluntary - a natural call of his soul, a cry of his conscience because he was charged with the fire of human service. And the way he helped humanity has no parallel in the history of human kind.
1. Nu`mân ibn Bashîr radîyallâhu `anhu narrates: "O people, is your food not enough for your needs? Surely, I have myself observed your Prophet. He rarely even had a dry date with which he could fill his stomach."
2. Hadrat `Â'îsha radîyallâhu `anhâ narrates: "The Holy Messenger of Allâh sallallâhu `alayhi wa sallam till his death never had his fill even of the barley loaf on two consecutive days."
3. One day Hadrat Abû Hurayrah radîyallâhu `anhu met some people. They had cooked meat with them and invited him to share it. However, he apologetically declined the invitation and said: "How can I eat this meat? The mode of the Holy Prophet sallallâhu `alayhi wa sallam is before my eyes. He departed from this world in a state that he never even had his fill of bread made from barley."
4. Hadrat Abû Talha radîyallâhu `anhu narrates: "We went to Allâh's Messenger sallallâhu `alayhi wa sallam and told him that we had gone without food for many days. Each one of us uncovered our bellies and showed him a stone tied to our stomachs. Upon seeing this, the Messenger of Allâh sallallâhu `alayhi wa sallam lifted the piece of cloth from his stomach and we found that he had two stones tied to it (to liquidate the effects of starvation)."
The Holy Prophet never kept anything for later consumption.
5. Hadrat Anas radîyallâhu `anhu reports: "The Holy Prophet sallallâhu `alayhi wa sallam never saved anything for the next day."
At this point one may wonder what had happened to the wealth and capital he earned through trade, through the services rendered to Khadîja al-Kubrâ radîyallâhu `anhâ and as spoils of war. The simple answer is that he spent all of his wealth on the economic restoration and rehabilitation of the poor and needy. This act of benevolence and charity was not an occasional occurrence but was a permanent feature of his life. It was so thoroughly and consistently established in his life, that he himself starved in order to feed others. He would roam the narrow streets to settle others into pleasant places. He embraced poverty to rehabilitate the poverty stricken and impoverished people of the world. He went hungry to save those who were at the end of their resources. He kept a bare cupboard to set up the poor and destitute in well established settlements. In fact he preferred to spend the last penny in his pocket and the last crumb of food on his table on people who were in dire need of money and food. The motive behind this sacrifice was the sanctity of the individual. Man's greatest treasure is his self-respect. People who are hard pressed by adverse circumstances are in danger of losing their sense of self-respect. The Holy Prophet sallallâhu `alayhi wa sallam dedicated his entire life and wealth to the uplift and economic recuperation of the poverty stricken, destitute and broke people. What could be a greater and more glorious example of personal sacrifice than the one illustrated and sanctified by the mode of conduct of the Prophet sallallâhu `alayhi wa sallam himself. Critics of Islâm who have scant knowledge of its fundamentals and of the life of its propagator, crack up socialism and downgrade Islâm. They should study in depth and without prejudice the life of the Holy Prophet sallallâhu `alayhi wa sallam and discover for themselves the radical justice of Islâm and the inexhaustible spirit and stock of charity and sacrifice which marked the life of the Holy Prophet sallallâhu `alayhi wa sallam.