Monday 9 Muḥarram 1446 - 15 July 2024
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Was the Quran the Character of the Prophet?

Question

Can you confirm if 'Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said this about the Prophet: "His character mirrored the Quran"? I have spent hours searching for the evidence but to no avail. Your help will be much appreciated.

Summary of answer

It is proven that 'Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said when describing the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him): “The character of the Prophet mirrored the Quran.”

Praise be to Allah.

Did the Prophet's character mirror the Quran?

It is proven that 'Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said when describing the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him): “The character of the Prophet mirrored the Quran.”

It is mentioned in the lengthy story about Sa`d ibn Hisham ibn ‘Amir (may Allah have mercy on him), when he came to Madinah and went to 'Aishah (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 and blessings of Allah be upon him). She said: Do you not read the Quran? I said: Of course. She said: “The character of the Prophet of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) mirrored the Quran.” 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 and blessings of Allah be upon him). She said: O my son, do you not read the Quran? Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “And verily, you (O Muhammad) are of an exalted (standard of) character” [Al-Qalam 68:4]. The character of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) mirrored the Quran. (Narrated by Abu Ya`la (8/275) with an authentic Isnad (chain of narrators)) 

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

“What this means is that he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) 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 (may Allah have mercy on him) said in Jami` Al-`Ulum wal-Hikam (1/148): 

“What this means is that he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) followed its etiquette and adopted its attitude. Whatever was praised in the Quran, he was pleased with, and whatever was condemned in the Quran he hated. It says in one report that she ('Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her)) said: His attitude mirrored the Quran, whatever it was pleased with, he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was pleased with and whatever it hated he hated.” 

Al-Munawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said in Fayd Al-Qadir (5/170): 

“I.e., whatever the Quran contained of commands, prohibitions, promises, warnings, and so on.” 

Al-Qadi (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “I.e., his attitude (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) embodied everything that was contained in the Quran. Whatever it regarded as good, praised or promoted was his attitude, and whatever it regarded as bad and prohibited, he would avoid. So the Quran described his character.”

How to introduce Prophet Muhammad 

One of the rights that Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) has over us – especially in these days when his noble character is subjected to lies and distortions – is that we should mention some of his noble characteristics and praiseworthy qualities, so that the world might know that his, is one of the greatest and purest of characters. 

Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali (may Allah have mercy on him) said in Ihya’ `Ulum Ad-Din (2/430-442): 

“A number of the good qualities of his character which have been compiled by some of the scholars from the reports. Then he said: 

He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was the most forbearing, courageous, just, and chaste of people. His hand never touched the hand of any woman unless he owned her as a slave or was married to her or was closely related to her by blood (Mahram). 

He was the most generous of people , who never kept a Dinar (gold) or a Dirham (silver) with him overnight. If he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had anything beyond his needs, and could not find someone to give it to before night came, he would not go home until he had donated it to someone who needed it. He did not take anything from that which Allah had bestowed upon him except one year’s supply of the simplest provisions, dates and barley, giving all of that for the sake of Allah. He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was never asked for anything but he gave it, then he would go back to his annual supplies and donate from them to those who needed it more, then he might run out before the year ended. 

He used to repair his own sandals and mend his own clothes, and he would often assist his family with household chores and cut meat for them. He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was the most modest of people and would not look anyone straight in the eye. 

He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) would respond to the invitations of a slave and a free person alike, and accept a gift even if it was a cup of milk, and he would reward a person for it. He did not eat food that had been given in charity, and he would respond to slave women and the poor when they asked him for something. He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) would get angry for the sake of his Lord (a violation being committed) but not for his own sake (his personal matters). 

He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) would adhere to the truth even if that resulted in harm for himself or his companions. He found one of the best of his companions slain in an area where Jews lived, but he did not treat them harshly or do more than what is prescribed by Shari`ah. Rather he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) paid a Diyah for him, of one hundred camels, even though some of his companions were in desperate need of just one camel. 

He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) would tie a rock to his stomach to ward off hunger pangs, and would not refuse lawful food and he would not eat reclining or at a table. He never ate his fill of bread for three days in a row until he met Allah, may He be Exalted, as he would prefer to give away what he had rather than eat his fill, not because of poverty or miserliness. He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) would accept invitations to meals, visit the sick, and attend funerals. 

He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) walked alone among his enemies without a guard. He was the most humble and quiet of people without being arrogant, the most eloquent without being long-winded, the most cheerful of countenance. He never worried about worldly matters. He wore whatever he found, and let his slave or others ride behind him on his mount. He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) rode whatever was available, sometimes a horse, sometimes a camel, sometimes a mule and sometimes a donkey. Sometimes he walked barefoot, with no cloak, turban or cap, visiting the sick in the furthest parts of Madinah. 

He loved perfume and hated foul smells . He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) would sit with the poor and offer food to and eat with the needy, honouring the virtuous and softening the hearts of people of high status by treating them kindly. He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) upheld ties of kinship without favouring his relatives over those who were better than them, and he did not treat anyone harshly. 

He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) accepted the excuses of those who apologised to him; he would joke but he only spoke the truth, and he would smile without laughing out loud. If he saw permissible play he did not denounce it, and he raced with his wife . When voices were raised against him, he bore that with patience. He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had slaves, male and female, but he did not eat or dress any better than they did. He did not waste time without striving for the sake of Allah or doing that which was essential to better himself. He did not look down on any poor person because of his poverty or chronic sickness, and he did not fear any king because of his power. He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) called both of them to Allah on equal terms. 

Abu Al-Bakhtari (may Allah have mercy on him) said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did not revile any of the believers but he prayed that it might become an expiation and a mercy for them. He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “I have been sent as a mercy, not a curse.”

If he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was asked to pray against anyone, whether Muslim or disbeliever, he would refrain from praying against him and pray for him instead. His hand never struck anyone. 

If he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was given the choice between two things he would choose the easier option, unless it involved sin or the severing of family ties. Allah described him in the Torah before He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) sent him, and said: Muhammad the Messenger of Allah , My chosen slave; he is not harsh or rough, and does not make noise in the marketplace. He did not repay evil in kind; rather he would pardon and forgive. 

Part of his attitude was that he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) would be the first to greet whomever he met, and if someone came to him with a need, he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) would be patient until the person was the first one to leave. If someone took him by the hand, he would not let go until the other person let go first. In a gathering he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) could not be distinguished from his companions. Allah, may He be |Exalted, said (interpretation of the meaning): “And by the Mercy of Allah, you dealt with them gently. And had you been severe and harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from around you.” [Al `Imran 3:159]

Allah bestowed upon him the best attitude and conduct, and the best way of dealing with people and situations, even though he was illiterate and could neither read nor write. He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) grew up poor in an ignorant desert land, tending sheep, an orphan with neither father nor mother. But Allah taught him all good characteristics and good ways, and taught him the stories of earlier and later generations, and that which brings success and salvation in the Hereafter and happiness in this world, and showed him the way to focus on one’s duties and keep away from inessentials. May Allah help us to obey his commands and follow his example. Amen O Lord of the Worlds.”

No one should think that what we have quoted above is merely a nice story or an exaggeration that is not real, rather every single point mentioned is to be found in authentic Hadiths that are narrated in different Hadith sources. Whoever wants to know more may read Ash-Shama’il Al-Muhammadiyyah by Imam At-Tirmidhi (available in English translation under the title “Shama’il At-Tirmidhi.”)

How to look up a Hadith

Finally, I urge you to seek help in your research by using modern computer programs, of which there are many, praise be to Allah. They will save you time and effort, helping you to find the Hadith you want and learn its rulings. I also advise you to buy some comprehensive books which include the Hadiths of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and organise them by subject matter. 

Among the most important and accessible of them is Riyadh Al-Salihin by Imam An-Nawawi and At-Targhib wal Tarhib by Imam Al-Mundhiri. The Hadiths are organised by subject, and compiled from all the books of Hadith, and the scholars have commented on them and pointed out which reports are authentic and which are inauthentic, such as Shaykh Al-Albani (may Allah have mercy on him). 

I ask Allah to reward you for your efforts and research, and I ask Him to help us and you to do that which is good. 

And Allah knows best.

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Source: Islam Q&A