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 Despite his position as a leader, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) never behaved as if he was greater or better than other people. He never made people feel small, unwanted or embarrassed. He urged his followers to live kindly and humbly, releasing slaves whenever they could and giving in charity, especially to very poor people, orphans and prisoners, without any thought or reward.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) himself was never greedy. He ate very little and only simple foods. He preferred never to fill his stomach. Sometimes, for days on end, he would eat nothing but raw food. He slept on a very simple mattress on the floor and had almost nothing in the way of home comforts or decorations. One day Hafsah, his wife, tried to make him more comfortable at night by folding his reed mat double – without telling him – to make it softer for him. That night he slept peacefully, but he overslept and missed the pre-dawn prayers. He was so distressed when he found out that he never slept like that again.

Simple living and contentment were the key teachings in the Prophet's (peace be upon him) life: "When you see a person who has been given more money and beauty than you, look then to those who have been given less." In so doing, we will thank Allah for his blessings, rather than feeling deprived.

People used to ask his wife, 'Aishah, the daughter of the first and most loyal companion Abu Bakr, how he lived at home. "Like an ordinary man," she would answer. "He would sweep the house, stitch his own clothes, mend his own sandals, water the camels, milk the goats, help the servants at their work, and eat his meals with them; and he would go to fetch what we need from the market." He seldom had more than one set of clothes, which he washed himself.

He was a home-loving, peace-loving human-being. "When you enter a house, ask God to bless it," he would say. He greeted others with the phrase: As-salamu alaykum – which means: "May peace be upon you" – for peace is the most wonderful thing on earth.

He was a firm believer in good manners, always greeting people kindly, and showing respect to elders. He once said: "The dearest of you to me are those who have good manners."

All his recorded words and actions reveal him as a man of great gentleness, kindness, humility, good humour and excellent common sense, who had a great love of animals and for all people especially his family. Above all, he was a man who practiced what he preached. His life, both private and public, was a perfect model for his followers.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) did not have many children. His two sons by Khadija died when they were very small, and another baby boy, whom he had later on, also died. However, he had four daughters, all of whom married and had children. Of them, the most famous, was his youngest daughter, Fatimah, who married his nephew 'Ali and gave him two grandsons, Hasan and Husayn, and two granddaughters, Zaynab and Umm Kulthum.

Source: Khan, Saniyasnain, Tell me about the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), Goodword, New Delhi, India, 2003