Modesty and Simplicity

He (pbuh) was the finest embodiment of modesty, and deeply abhorred arrogance and haughtiness. Almost all of his companions in the early days were poor and oppressed people, as he was the champion of the downtrodden and the defender of the deprived masses.

His house was simple and modest, built of clay bricks, palm leaves and trunks. His food was simple like that of the poor, consisting mostly of barley bread. There were occasions when he might skip that meager meal too. He socialized with his companions as one of them: talking, listening, smiling and displaying a sense of humor. Sometimes he might join in their laughter to cheer their spirits up. He would visit them when they fell sick or accept an invitation for a meal irrespective of whether the person concerned was poor, a slave or any other. In case a companion of his died, he used to participate in the funeral procession, walking alongside the bier.

The Holy Prophet of Islam immensely loved the ritual prayers, but on occasions when people demanded to talk to him about something, he would say his ritual prayers briefly and instead, pay attention to the demands and needs of the people. He would spare no efforts to fulfill the people’s needs.

The Prophet treated everyone with great respect and considered nobility and honor to be owing to faith, piety, and good behavior. He was not interested in wealth or status. He had no love for luxuries or the illusions of this mortal world, nor did he revere anybody for his riches or position. He was never enchanted by any worldly things, and he invariably looked upon this world’s life as a passing one. His behavior towards slaves was amazingly affectionate, and he would do his best to remove the troubles and sufferings of the slaves and the poor. His modesty was peerless. He was extremely patient, tolerant, and forgiving.

The Holy Prophet was justly angered when he observed a violation of God’s commands and of Islam and was most pleased at the good deeds. Both his pleasure and displeasure were for God.

“Say. Surely my prayer and my sacrifice and my life and my death are (all) for Allah, the Lord of the worlds.” Holy Qur’an (6:162)
Owing to his great modesty, he normally preferred riding a mule while moving around, using a saddle made of date-palm fiber. Sometimes he also rode his she-camel. If he was riding and somebody wished to accompany him on foot, he would ask him either to mount behind, and if the man declined out of respect, he would ask him to go ahead and await him at the fixed place, because he did not like the sight of people following him on foot, while he himself was mounted.

The Holy Prophet of Islam possessed the magnificent status of prophecy and divine leadership, but his manners in dealing with the people and his way of life were so simple and gentle that when he was among the people and a newcomer wanted to know about him, he had to ask, “Which one of you is the Prophet”?

The Holy Prophet of Islam did not care to sit down in the seat of honor in gatherings, and on entering any place would sit down in the first empty seat available, so that his companions might not think that he was sporting an air of superiority over them. He did not let anybody stand up before him and treated others most respectfully. Of course, the virtuous people were most revered by him.

His magnetic personality drew love and respect from all. He used to sit on the ground, even while eating, and slept on the ground with a simple mat serving as his bed. He greeted even small boys, as well as women. If some man shook hands with him, he would not unclasp his hand till the other did it first.

Once, a Christian chieftain named Adi bin Hatam al-Ta’i, came for an audience with the Prophet of Islam, who happened to be sitting on a cushion. On seeing the visitor he took the cushion from underneath and offered it to his Christian guest, himself preferring to sit on the ground. This admirable display of modesty by the great Prophet so deeply affected Adi bin Hatam al-Ta’i, that the Christian chief immediately embraced Islam.

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