The Holy Prophet's (p.b.u.h.) Behavior towards His Family
The Holy Prophet’s (p.b.u.h.) Behavior towards His Family
Islamic leaders have offered advice to their followers in all areas of life. They have done so to make every member of the Islamic community perfect in all social and individual aspects. The role that their good conduct and noble traits plays in the lives of young people is more than the one played by their speeches.
A person’s real identity is manifested through his conduct more than it is through his words. Words come out of one’s mouth; however, one’s conduct and ways of behaving come from the bottom of one’s heart. The conduct of the Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) and his family can be a best model and example for the establishment of an ideal Islamic society and a utopia.
Concerning the Holy Prophet of Islam, Muhammad ibn Abd Allah (p.b.u.h.), the Holy Qur'an states: “and indeed you possess a great character”
وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلى خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٍ
The Holy Prophet’s (p.b.u.h.) conduct, behavior, and way of life are the best examples for Muslims as well as all other people to follow. He is, in fact, the best manifestation of Islam.
The Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) would view all Muslims as his religious brothers. He would treat them very kindly and affectionately. He would lead a simple life and dress like everybody else would. He would sit so humbly among his companions that if a stranger joined them, he could not realize which one was the Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.). At the same time, he used to attach a lot of importance to discipline and cleanliness. He would always brush his teeth before making ablution. He would never forget to apply perfume. He was always polite with all young and old people. He was always the first to greet people.
There was always a mild smile on his face, even though he would never laugh loudly. He would always pay visits to sick Muslims. He would always participate in the funeral ceremonies of his fellow religious brothers. He was hospitable. He was especially kind to the orphans and the poor. He would pat them and treat them with kindness. He would refuse to rest and sleep on any comfortable bed. He believed that in this material world one is like a traveller who would rest for a while in a very simple place under the shade of a tree and then would continue the journey.
Even though very kind and light-hearted, the Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) was very harsh and stern in relation to the hypocrites and enemies. He never feared in his battles against the enemies. In fact, he was always in the front lines, closer to the enemy. He forgave his true enemies from the Quraysh tribe after his conquest of Mecca. They were consequently fascinated by his kind behavior and, as a result, accepted Islam in groups.
He would always ignore material and worldly wealth and welfare. He would divide the public treasury equally among the Muslims. He never took a greater share of the public treasury, even though he was the ruler and the Prophet of God. He was indeed the best model for all people to follow.
The present paper attempts to offer a general picture and an overview of the Holy Prophet’s (p.b.u.h.) behavior towards his family as the best example of divine character traits . The paper will also illustrate the Holy Prophet’s (p.b.u.h.) conduct as well as his treatment with his family members as the best model of behavior accepted by Allah.
It is hoped that by following his conduct, we shall have a divine life. We shall treat our family members in the way he did. We shall spoke as he spoke. We shall become angry in the situations that he would become angry, and we shall forgive people as his holiness would.
The Holy Prophet’s (p.b.u.h.) wife, ‘A'ishah was well aware of his morals and noble traits. She has summarized them in one sentence saying that his morals were the Qur'an. In his book al-Mahajjat al-Bayda’, late Fayd al-Kashani wrote,
دخلت على عايشة فسألتها عن اخلاق رسول الله فقالت: أما تقرأ القرآن؟ قلت: بلى، قالت: خلق رسول الله القرآن
“Sa‘ad ibn Hisham said that he once met ‘Aisha and asked her about the Holy Prophet’s (p.b.u.h.) morals. In response She asked, “Don’t you the Qur’an?”, he answered, “Yes, Why?” she said, “Because his character traits and morals were the Qur’an.” she said that his character traits and morals were all based on the Holy Qur'an.
عايشة قالت: ما كان أحد احسن خلقا من رسول الله ، ما دعاه احد من اصحابه و لا اهل بيته إلاّ قال: لبيك
‘Aisha also said that no one was as good-tempered as the Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.), and that he would always reply in the affirmative when called by his companions and members of his family.
بلـغ العـلي بكـمالـه كشـف الدجي بجماله
حسنت جميع خصاله صـلوا علـيـه و آلـه
The Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) would receive the teachings of the Holy Qur'an sincerely. Without any hesitation or deviation, he would live as suggested in the Holy Book of God. He was, therefore, the best manifestation of the Holy Qur'an. As is confirmed by the Holy Book itself.
Working at Home
According to the Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.), the best people are those who treat their wives well. He said that he was kind to his wives more than anybody else was.
خيركم خيركم لنسائه و انا خيركم لنسائي
Concerning his good conduct, suffice it to say that he would do his personal duties without expecting others to do them.
With regard to the conduct of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.), the biographers have written a lot about what he used to do at home. He was a servant for his family members. He would cut meat into pieces. He would humbly help them in setting the meal cloth. He would milk his goat. He would mend his shoes himself. He would feed his she-camel. He would grind wheat, make flour, and prepare dough for bread.
Similarly, in his book al-Manaqib, Ibn Shahr Ashub wrote about the Holy Prophet’s work at home. He said, “The Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) would fix his shoes, sew his clothes, milk sheep and camels, fetch water, help his servant in making flour and in all other domestic chares.” He would also buy things for his home and carry them home on his back. He would even sometimes clean the house and sweep the dirt. According to the Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.), helping one’s wife in housework is like giving alms and charity.
In spite of all his privileges and high social position, the Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) would work at home and attempt to take care of the children.
The Holy Prophet’s (p.b.u.h.) wife, ‘Aisha said, “He would sow his own clothes and fix his shoes in private.”
Imam Ali (p.b.u.h.) lived with the Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) more than thirty years; therefore, he knew him better than others did and was well familiar with his behavior and morals at home and out of home.
سألت أبي عن مدخل رسول الله، فقال: كان دخوله في نفسه مأذونا في ذلك، فاذا آوى الى منزله جزأ دخوله ثلاثة اجزاء، جزء لله و جزء لاهله و جزء لنفسه، ثم جزء جزئه بينه و بين الناس فيرد ذلك بالخاصة على العامة و لا يدخر عنهم منه شيئاً ....
His son, Imam Husayn (p.b.u.h.) asked him about the Holy Prophet’s (p.b.u.h.) affairs and tasks at home. Imam Ali (p.b.u.h.) replied, “Whenever he was at home, he would divide his time into three parts: one for God, one for his family, and one for himself. He would further divide his own share of time with his relatives and companions, who visit him at home. He would do for them whatever he could.”
A part from his wives, those who lived with the Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) were his daughter Fatimah (p.b.u.h.), her husband and their children. As mentioned in the history of Islam and in the religious traditions, the Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) would love them more than his other relatives and friends.
In his work al-Irshad, Sheikh al-Mufid described the Holy Prophet’s love for his daughter’s sons, Imam Hasan (p.b.u.h.) and Imam Husayn (p.b.u.h.). According to al-Mufid, he liked them more than he liked anybody else. Similarly, Tirmidhi wrote about the Holy Prophet’s (p.b.u.h.) love for the two Imams. According to Tirmidhi, and as ibn Malik reported that the Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) was once asked about whom he loved most among his household members. He replied, “Hasan and Husayn”. He would always call his daughter to bring to him her two children and he would hug and kiss them.
In his work al-Khasa’is, al-Nisa’i quoted Usamah ibn Zayd, saying that the Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) once put his grandsons Hasan (p.b.u.h.) and Husayn (p.b.u.h.) on his lap and said, “O God! These are my daughter’s sons and my grandsons. You know well that I love them, so love them, too.”
‘Aisha narrated that whenever Fatimah (p.b.u.h.) met her father, the Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.), he would stand up in respect, kiss her, and gave her a place to sit.
She also narrated that the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) would kiss Fatimah (p.b.u.h.) on her throat whenever he came back from a journey and said that she smelled of paradise.
According to another tradition, Fatimah (p.b.u.h.) decided to call her father “the Prophet of Allah” whenever she met him after the following Qur'anic verse was sent down to him:
لا تَجْعَلُوا دُعَاء الرَّسُولِ بَيْنَكُمْ كَدُعَاء بَعْضِكُم بَعْضاً
“Do not consider the Apostle’s summons amongst you to be like your summoning one another.”
However, the Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) told his daughter that this verse had not been revealed concerning her, and that it neither addressed nor included her and her family.
He said, “Call me father. This name is more lovable for me and Allah likes it more.” He then kissed her on the forehead. Fatimah (p.b.u.h.) said that after she was kissed and her forehead became wet because of her father’s kiss, she no longer needed to wear perfume because the kiss made her smell very good.
In his book al-Mustadrak, al-Hakim wrote, “Abu Tha‘labah said that after the Holy Prophet of God (p.b.u.h.) returns from a journey or a battle, he would go to the mosque and say two units of prayer, would greet Fatimah (p.b.u.h.), and then he would go to see his wives.” Al-Hakim also quoted Ibn Imran as saying, “Fatimah (p.b.u.h.) was always the last person that the Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) would meet and say goodbye to before his journeys.”
Another indication of the Holy Prophet’s (p.b.u.h.) kind-heartedness and compassion for his family and especially his love and affection for his daughter, Fatimah, is what happened when he was about to die.
As stated in al-Majlisi’s Bihar al-Anwar, when the Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) was dying, he put Fatimah’s hand into Imam Ali’s (p.b.u.h.) hand. Then he said, “O Father of Hasan (p.b.u.h.)! my daughter is a divine deposit that you are to keep. So, do justice to me and to Allah and I am sure you will do so.”
He added, “O Ali! She is like saint Mary; she is higher than all women in the past and in the future; she is the Supreme Lady of paradise: I have prayed for both of you in these last moment of my life and Allah has answered my prayers. Do all that Fatimah asks you to do. I have also asked her to follow some orders that came from Gabriel.”
Before his death, the Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) told her daughter, “Fatimah! By God, I shall not be satisfied until you are satisfied.” He repeated this statement three times.
In Fatimah’s (p.b.u.h.) wedding ceremony, women were very happy and expressed their happiness by saying,
ابوها سيد الناس
“Her father is the Lord of all people.”
The Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) told them to add the following,
وبعلها ذو الشدة والبأس
“Her husband is brave and powerful”