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The Sealed Nectar

 The Sealed Nectar by Shaykh Safi ur-Rahman

Islam emphasises that one takes care of one’s self physically by maintaining, for example, cleanliness, dressing properly and eating that which healthy and beneficial. Similarly, it emphasises taking care of one’s self internally by beautifying one’s own moral conduct i.e. aiming and acting upon a high standard of character.

Since good character, in Islam, is considered an important virtue, it is only logical and befitting that the Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him) be considered an outstanding example. Ayesha (may Allah be pleased with her), when asked regarding the character of the Prophet (peace be upon him), said very simply, that the character of the Prophet (peace be upon him) was the Qur’an. [1]

Such direct phraseology was used in order to emphasise, as straightforward and honestly as possible, the lofty status of the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) character and his distinction in fulfilling the commandments of Allah. In order to gain a deeper understanding of Ayesha’s (may Allah be pleased with her) answer to the question posed to her, we may refer to the statements of some of the scholars who explained this striking description:

Al-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said in Sharh Muslim (3/268):

“What this means is that he acted in accordance with it, adhering to its limits, following its etiquette, paying heed to its lessons and parables, pondering its meanings and reciting it properly.”

Ibn Rajab said in Jaami’ al-‘Uloom wa’l-Hukam (1/148):

“What this means is that he followed its etiquette and adopted its attitude. Whatever was praised in the Qur’an, he was pleased with, and whatever was condemned in the Qur’an he hated. It says in one report that she said: His attitude was the Qur’an, whatever it was pleased with he was pleased with and whatever it hated he hated.”

Al-Qaadi said:

“…his attitude embodied everything that was contained in the Qur’an. Whatever it regarded as good, praised or promoted was his attitude, and whatever it regarded as bad and prohibited, he would avoid. So the Qur’an described his character.”

After contemplating such statements, one may understand that since the Qur’an is a divinely revealed scripture from humanity’s creator, it is more than safe to say that along with never being able to find in history, a leader, more greater than the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), one will likewise never find anyone who had a more merciful and compassionate disposition.

Seeing as the personality of the Prophet (peace be upon him) was so unique in that the Qur’an itself was used as a means to describe it, it would be erroneous to assume that any other person could have the capability to achieve a fraction of what he was able to achieve in his lifetime. Since he was the last prophet and messenger to mankind, no other can ever be quite like him. None shall ever have to shoulder a fraction of the responsibilities he had to bear. What one may do however, is to seek and adopt his gentle qualities and high moral standards into daily practice, for the Prophet's (peace be upon him) life was divinely chosen to function as a practical manual of how one should better themselves.

Through the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) life, we may learn how to live in decency by applying his guidance in regards to our spiritual welfare, religious observances and other worldly needs in a balanced and sensible way without going to the two different extremes of either practicing excessive forms of asceticism or completely neglecting our religious duties. It for this purpose that Goethe [2] marvelled over the achievements and status of the Prophet (peace be upon him) saying:

“We Europeans with all our concepts and ideas have not yet attained that which Muhammad attained, and no one will ever surpass him. I searched in history for the loftiest example for man to follow, and I found it in the Prophet Muhammad. Thus the truth must prevail and become supreme, because Muhammad succeeded in subjugating the whole world by means of the message of Divine Oneness.”

Unfortunately, and with great regret, some Muslims today, in regard to their behaviour, are far removed from the honest and upright values taught by the Prophet (peace be upon him). When studying the life of the Prophet (peace be upon him), one is able see practical situations wherein the teachings of Islam are put into practice and how Islamic principles were implemented. For the Muslim, doing so, as well as increasing faith, has the capacity in giving vitality to the way in which one practices and applies their faith.

[1] It is mentioned in the lengthy story about Sa’d ibn Hishaam ibn ‘Aamir, when he came to Madinah and went to Ayesha (may Allah be pleased with her) and asked her about some matters. He said: I said: O Mother of the believers, tell me about the character of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him). She said: Do you not read the Qur’an? I said: Of course. She said: The character of the Prophet of Allah (peace be upon him) was the Qur’an. I wanted to get up and not ask about anything else until I died. [Narrated by Muslim (746)]. According to another report: I said: O Mother of the believers, tell me about the character of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him). She said: O my son, do you not read the Qur’an? Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “And verily, you (O Muhammad (peace be upon him)) are on an exalted (standard of) character” [al-Qalam 68:4] [Narrated by Abu Ya’la (8/275) with an authentic chain].

[2] A German writer and scientist.

References:

http://www.isna.net/services/library/khutbahs/MoralsandMannersinIslam.html Khutbah at ISOC - 24 Shawwal 1421/ January 19, 2001 By Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi http://muhammad.net/j/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=48&Itemid=33

http://islam-qa.com/index.php?ref=71184&ln=eng&txt=character%20prophet

http://islam-qa.com/index.php?ref=86109&ln=eng&txt=noble%20character

http://islamtoday.com/showme2.cfm?cat_id=36&sub_cat_id=1755

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