Looking Back to Madeenah – Complete book
We thank Allaah and praise him for the gift of Muhammad [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam].
Humility is the way to glory. It is the ability to endure the pain of suppressing our lust for domination. Humility was the vehicle of all the life experiences of the beloved Prophet [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam]. We ascribe his achievements to his characteristics, which are due to his extreme intimacy to Allaah, understanding reality and loving humanity.
He rejected monarchy and preferred messengership. He preferred serving Allaah and humanity. When the Prophet made this intention known, the Angel Israafeel exclaimed, ‘Those who humble themselves shall be raised!’ This statement reminds us of that of Jesus (alayhis salaam) ‘The meek shall inherit the earth.’ Allaah Himself promised victory to the downtrodden and His humble servants.’
Monarchs subjugate, messengers liberate; monarchs exploit humans, messengers serve, love and respect creation. Monarchs are always associated with the tyrants and the oppressors, messengers are associated with the oppressed, the disadvantaged and the poor. Monarchs generally prefer luxurious comfort and the accumulation of wealth, messengers prefer a simple lifestyle that is associated with the downtrodden.
The humility of the Prophet [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] is a model for all leaders. In their positions of power, the efforts of the leaders to guard against lust (for power) and arrogance should be more vigorous and intense. These efforts should exceed the efforts of the followers; therefore the leaders should be more humble. It is for this reason that we invite the leaders on our visit to Madeenah to observe the way of the leader of all leaders. The absence of humility within the ranks of the leaders spells perpetual division, dissension and chaos.
Let us open the windows! Join us now as we look into Madeenah and admire the humility of the Prophet [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam], the true servant of Allaah and lover of humanity.
WE SEE …
Muhammad [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] this great saviour of humanity and beloved of Allaah sat on the floor enjoying the food of the slaves when they invited him to eat with them. By contrast, we constantly hear the poor complaining of being marginalised by their leaders while the rich receive more attention. The Prophet exemplified the Quranic teaching: ‘Be kind to those who follow you from among the Believers.'” He responded to invitations to eat even if he was offered sheep trotters; he accepted the trotters if they were offered to him as gifts.
He walked to the edges of Madeenah to visit the sick, the old and the needy. An old lady grabbed him by the hand. ‘I have a need that I want to address to you,’ she said. Smiling, he replied, ‘Please take me to any corner or street of Madeenah. I will walk with you and listen to your need until you are relieved.’
The women of Madeenah were happy in his presence. He helped them to knead the flour and milk their sheep. He carried the parcels from the bazaars and refused any help from others. He helped with all chores in the house. He swept and washed the utensils, stitched his own clothes, and served himself and the family; but when he heard the call for prayers (adhaan), he stopped immediately, left his house and went to pray in the Mosque.
When he found the Companions sitting down, he would sit where their circle ended. Those who attended these circles for the first time found it difficult to identify the Prophet [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam], as he objected when they offered him an elevated seat or tried to make him conspicuous. Once, leaning on a stick due to old age and poor health, he entered the presence of the Companions. They jumped from their seats to greet him, but he stopped them. ‘Defy the ways of the Persians and the Romans. They are extreme in their veneration of their leaders,’ he instructed. He disciplined his Companions and guided them towards the humble ways. He expressed fear that the people’s habit of standing up when he arrived would become the norm. After studying the reason for his objection, scholars still permitted standing up to show respect for a true and pious scholar; however they forbade it for the one who compels people to stand up for him.
He detested excessive praise and advised throwing sand in the face of a person who used such praise. ‘Do not venerate me like the Christians in their veneration of the Prophet,’ the Prophet [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] warned. He rejected titles such as ‘the elite’, ‘son of the elite’, ‘our master’ or ‘the son of the masters’. He preferred to be called by the names given to him by Allaah, such as ‘Messenger of Allaah’, ‘Prophet of Allaah’ or ‘Servant (‘abd) of Allaah’. Particularly impressive is his description of himself: ‘The son of a lady who ate dried meat’. Those who ate dried meat were the poor, and thus he associated himself with them. Then he remembered his mother by associating himself with her. Aamina, the mother of the beloved, was an important woman whom we tend to overlook as we overlook the role of mothers in general! May Allaah forgive us.
The Prophet [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] declared war against the boastful. He said they would not enter Paradise with even a grain of boast still in their hearts. He illustrated ways of humiliating them: ‘As the boastful walks with pride, showing off with glamorous clothes and beautiful hair, Allaah will split the earth under him or her. Then he or she will slide into chasm, only to come out on judgement Day,’ he warned. He was modest and humble, more so than a veiled young girl. But he expressed rage clearly when he witnessed violation of the sacred teachings of Allaah His anger and outrage were more visible than that of his followers. A most beautiful sight was to see him enter Makkah as a conqueror, prostrating as he sat on his camel. He lay so low that the children could touch his face. In the most humble way, he declared freedom to those who expelled him, to those who persecuted his followers, to those who martyred Sumayah and many others. He did not enter as the tyrant conqueror, but followed the teachings of Allaah, ‘Enter the gate submissively, observing extreme humility!” . He executed only four of the Quraish and pardoned the rest.
All this humility was due his understanding of the majesty and glory of Allaah and to the acknowledgement of his own humanness and total dependence upon Allaah. We learn this from his answer to Umar [radhiallaahu anhu]: A hypocrite who refused to pray insulted the Prophet for correcting him. The Prophet [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] said, ‘Allaah does not need his prayer. Angels are standing, others bowing and others prostrating and all of them remain in celebrating His praises until the final day.’
His wife rubbed his stomach to subdue his hunger pains. She cried in appreciation for the clemency that the Prophet showed his family by giving them food first and going without food himself.
- the Prophet [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] preferred a simple lifestyle himself due to his humility. This is substantiated by the evidence of Abu Qataada [radhiallaahu anhu] that other Companions ate around dining tables, while the Prophet [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] preferred to eat on the floor
- his choice to live a humble, simple lifestyle was based on his will to be associated with those brilliant Prophets referred to in the Quran as ‘oolil ‘azm’ (men *of resolution).’ They either died of hunger, were martyred by Allaah’s enemies, suffered physical and emotional abuse, or died of disease in their struggle to serve Allaah
- he remembered the poor and therefore understand their plight
- his humble manner defied the practices of the exploiters and the wasteful, dunyaa-loving people
- he sought the comfort of his wives over his own comfort
- we must not be rude in our teaching; we must be humble teachers and students.
WE SHOULD …
- align ourselves with the plight of the poor, the disadvantaged and the downtrodden
- avoid boastful ways
- declare war against lust for power and arrogance
- acknowledge our nothingness and the glory of Allaah
- follow the humble ways of the Prophet [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam].
- humble ourselves.
Then victory is certain. Remember, mutakabbiroon (haughty and boastful people) will never win!
In conclusion, we should compare our humility to that of the Prophet How far from or how close are we to Madeenah?
By Shaykh Aadil Davids