By Shabir Ahmad Shah
An American astrophysicist and a notable author, Michael Hart ranked the persons around the world who had the greatest impact on history and on the course of the world in his book, “The 100”. The book, based on the ranking of the most influential persons in History, sold more than five lakh copies and has been translated into 15 languages. The majority of the persons in this book had the advantage of being born and raised in centers of civilization, and in highly cultured or politically pivotal nations. The book ranked these 100 persons in order of importance according to the total amount of influence that each of them had on human history and on the everyday life of human beings. They are the people who have shaped the lives of people and formed the world. The first most influential person mentioned in the book is messenger Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) because of his “supremely successful” character both in the religious and secular realms.
Other persons mentioned in the book are related to different fields like inventors, religious and political personalities around the world. The book also mentioned the names of two Prophets before Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and a friend of Prophet (PBUH) . There are two principal reasons why Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was at number one position. Firstly ,he(PBUH)played an important role in the development of Islam than any other personality and secondly, the Prophet (PBUH) was responsible for both the theology of Islam and its main ethical and moral principles. In addition, Prophet (PBUH) played the key role in proselytizing the new faith and in establishing the religious practices of Islam.
Being of humble in origins , Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) founded and promulgated one of the world’s great religions “Islam” and became an immensely effective political leader. Today, in the 21st century, his influence is still powerful and pervasive. Also being “Ummi” , an illiterate, and born in the year 570 in the city of Mecca at a time when Mecca was considered a backward area cut off from the centers of trade, art, and learning are other factors.
Orphaned at age six and reared in modest surroundings , Prophet (PBUH) was also economically weak but improved at age of twenty five when he married with “ Khadijah Kubra (R.A), a wealthy widow. We may proceed further by quoting some verses of Quran which are in line with the book “the 100”.
The Quranic verses “Wa ina ka ala khuliqin aazem” (And, indeed, you are of a great moral character) reinforces the point.
The attributes and qualities of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) made the hearts of souls of the people close to him, draw near to him and love him. Those traits made him so popular that the restraint and enmity of his people grew less and they started to embrace Islam. This description is, in fact, no more than a rapid review or rather short brief lines of Prophet – a personage full of perfection. No one can ever claim to be possessed of full knowledge or complete mastery of the great attributes of the greatest man in this universe. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was a man who always sought Allah’s light, to such an extent that he was wholly imbued with the Quranic approach.
Prophet (PBUH) never spoke unless it was something closely relevant to him and confirming the brotherhood relationship among his Companions. He (PBUH) made them intimate and did not separate them or implant enmity among them. Those who were honourable with their peoples were honoured and respected and were assigned rulers over their own peoples. Prophet (PBUH) always remain cheerful and never withdrew at anyone’s face, even at those whom he himself was on the alert of. Prophet (PBUH) confirmed what was right and criticized the awful and tried to undermine it. Prophet (PBUH) was equal to others and was not privileged.
The Quranic verse “Fa sa tub se ru wa yub se ruen” (So you will see and they will see), validates the point.
Righteousness was the gravamen of Prophet (PBUH) , so he was never short of it nor indifferent to it. People who sat next to him were the best of their people and the best those who provided common consultations. For him, the greatest ones and the highest in ranks were the best at providing comfort and co-ordination and succour. Remembrance of “oneness of Allah” was a thing he aimed at and established whenever he sat down or stood up. No certain position was assigned for him to sit on. He sat at the end of the group, seated next to the last sitter in the place. He entertained his participants in social gatherings alike so that the one addressed would think that there was no one honoured by the Prophet (PBUH) but himself. He whoever sat next to him or interrupted him in order to ask for his advice about an affair of his, would be the first to start the talk and the one to end it. The Prophet (PBUH) would listen to him patiently till he ended his speech. He never denied a request to anyone, if unapproachable, then few gratifying words would work, instead. His magnanimity, broad mindedness, his tolerance could embrace all people and entitled him to be regarded as father for them all. In justice, all of them were almost equal. Nobody was better than another except on the criterion of Allah fearing.
His assembly was a meeting of clemency, patience and honesty. Inviolable things were never violable. Fearing Allah and worship were their means to sympathy and compassion. They used to esteem the old and have mercy on the young. They assisted the needy and entertained strangers. The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) was always cheerful, easy going, pleasant-tempered and lenient. He was never rude or rough nor clamorous or indecent. He was neither a reproacher nor a praiser. He overlooked what he did not desire, yet you would never despair of him. Three qualities he despised of are hypocrisy, excessiveness and what was none of his concern. People did not fear him in three areas first “for they were not qualities or habits of his”. He never disparaged, or reproached nor did he seek the defects or shortages of others. He only spoke things whose reward was divinely desirable. When he spoke, his listeners would attentively listen ,casting down their heads. The others only spoke when he was silent. They did not have disputes or arguments about who was to talk. He who talked in his presence would be listened to by everybody till he finished his talk. The talks would be about the topic discussed or delivered by their first speaker. The Messenger of Allâh (PBUH) used to laugh at what they laughed at and admired what they used to admire. He would always show patience with a stranger’s harshness at talk.
Visiting the poor and needy and entertaining them were some of the habits of Prophet (PBUH). If a slave invited him, the prophet (PBUH) accepted the invitation. He always sat among his friends as if he were an ordinary person among them.
Hazrat Aishah (RA) said that the Prophet(PBUH) used to repair his shoes, sew or mend his dress and to do what ordinary men did in their houses. He used to check his dress (lest it has some insects on). Milking the she-sheep and catering for himself were some of his normal jobs. The Prophet (PBUH) was the most truthful to his pledges and it is one of his qualities to establish good and steady relationship with his relatives.
Hazrat Silat-Ar-Rahim (RA) said that the Prophet (PBUH) was the most merciful, gentle and amiable to all people. His way of living was the simplest one. Ill-manners and indecency were two attributes completely alien to him. He was decent and did not call anybody names. He was not the sort of person who cursed or made noise in the streets. He did not exchange offences with others. He pushed back an offence or an error by forgiveness and overlooking. Nobody was allowed to walk behind him (that is, as a bodyguard). The Prophet (PBUH) did not feel himself superior to others not even to his slaves (men or women) as far as food or clothes were concerned. Whoever served him should be served by him too. ‘Ugh’ (an utterance of complaint) is a word that had never been said by him to his servant nor was his servant blamed for doing a thing or leaving it undone. Loving the poor and the needy and entertaining them or participating in their funerals were things the Prophet (PBUH) always observed. He never was contemptuous of a poor man for his poverty.
As the Quranic verses: “wa ma arsalna ka ila rah mat lil aalameen” (We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds), suggest, he was mercy incarnate
The Prophet(PBUH) was the most just, the most decent, the most truthful in speech, and the most honest of all. Those who have exchanged speech with him and even his enemies acknowledge his noble qualities. Even before Prophet hood , he was nicknamed Al-Ameen ( that is, the truthful, the trustworthy).
Hazrat Anas (RA) said that one night, the people of Madinah felt alarmed. People went out hurriedly towards the source of sound, but the Prophet (PBUH) had already gone ahead of them. He was on the horseback of Abu Talhah which had no saddle over it and a sword was slung round his neck, and said to them: ‘There was nothing to be afraid for.’” He was the most modest and the first one to cast his eyes down.
The verses, “ Wal laylu dajaa minv wafrati hee (The sparkle of the night is from the glimmer of your hair(Hassan Ibn Thabit )”, eloquently demonstrate the nature of the Prophet(PBUH).
“When I saw his light shining forth,
In fear I covered my eyes with my palms,
Afraid for my sight because of the beauty of his form.
So I was scarcely able to look at him at all.
The lights from his light are drowned in his light and his faces shines out like the sun and moon in one.
A spirit of light lodged in a body like the moon, a mantle made up of brilliant shining stars.
I bore it until I could bear it no longer.
I found the taste of patience to be like bitter aloes.
I could find no remedy to bring me relief other than delighting in the sight of the one I love.
Even if he had not brought any clear signs with him, the sight of him would dispense with the need for them.
Muhammad is a human being but not like other human beings.
Rather, he is a flawless diamond and the rest of mankind are just stones. “
May the choicest blessings be upon the Prophet(PBUH) so that perhaps Allah may have mercy on us on the Day of Judgment
The author can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org