First look at the findings of two non-Muslim historians who thoroughly studied and wrote on the biography of the prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings of God be upon him).
“His readiness to undergo persecutions for his beliefs, the high moral character of the men who believed in him and looked up to him as leader, and the greatness of his ultimate achievement – all argue his fundamental integrity. To suppose Muhammad an impostor raises more problems than it solves. Moreover, none of the great figures of history is so poorly appreciated in the West as Muhammad.”
(Sir Montgomery Watt Mohammad at Mecca, Oxford 1953, p. 52)
“It is impossible for anyone who studies the life and character of the great Prophet of Arabia, who knows how he taught and how he lived, to feel anything but reverence for that mighty Prophet, one of the great messengers of the Supreme. And although in what I put to you I shall say many things which may be familiar to many, yet I myself feel whenever I re-read them, a new way of admiration, a new sense of reverence for that mighty Arabian teacher.”
(Annie Besant, The Life and Teachings of Muhammad, Madras 1932, p. 4)
After 9/11, much of the world has obviously a distorted image of Muhammad (PBUH). The truth is that we will see from the vantage point of those closest to him that indeed he was an awe-inspiring humble gentle benevolent man.
Some people misrepresent the fact that the Prophet (PBUH) led Muslims in battles against non-Muslims by the command of God. The truth of this is that all of these wars were in defense against persecution and oppression. These battles were about preserving the right of Muslims to freely practice and preach their faith without abuse. The Makkan polytheists oppressed, tortured, expelled them from their homeland and later pursued them in their new homeland. When the Persian and Byzantine empires heard of the new prophet they murdered the ambassador and threatened to wipe out the Muslims. You can better understand this phenomenon by reading through our section on Jihad. The bottom line is, Muhammad (PBUH) was even compassionate at times toward his worst enemies.
Three years after expelling the Muslims from their homeland, the Makkan polytheists sent an army of 3,000 to destroy Islam and the Muslims in their new home in Madinah. The Muslims were losing the battle and they called out to the prophet to pray for the destruction of their enemies. In this moment with serious injuries and having lost dozens of fellow believers, Muhammad (PBUH) responded “I was not sent to curse people, but as compassion.” He then called out,
“O God guide my people, for they don’t know what they are doing.” (Bukhari 6929)
Seven years later, most of those enemies on that battlefield had embraced Islam!
Our scholars have agreed that the defining verse of the prophet’s mission is-
“We have merely sent you as benevolence to the world.” (21:107)
God declares to His final messenger-
“Indeed you have an exalted standard of character.” (68:4)
The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) confirmed this…
“I was merely sent to set a complete example of noble character.”
Here are a list of qualities of the prophet mentioned in the verified tradition of Hadith
When he first received the revelation from Gabriel he hurried to his wife deeply concerned about his experience. She consoled him, “Don’t worry this is great news. God would never let any harm come to you. You keep good family ties, you are honest, you take in the wayfarer, you go out of your way to help people, you are most hospitable to your guests and you help toward spreading justice and preserving people’s rights.”
While Abu Sufyan (leader of the Makkan armies against Muslims and later embraced Islam) was on a caravan with the Makkan polytheists, they met with Heraclius the ruler of Byzantium. Heraclius asked about the prophet and said he would verify his answers and warned Abu Sufyan against lying. He asked, how is his lineage? Abu Sufyan responded it is good. He then asked, Has anyone claimed to be a prophet before him? He responded no. He then asked if anyone in his family were royalty previously? He responded no. He then asked, Is it mostly the nobles or the weak who follow him? He said, The weak. Are his followers increasing or decreasing? They are increasing. Has anyone left his religion? No. Has he ever been accused of lying? No. Has he been known to be treacherous? No. Have you fought against him? Yes. How is that? We are at war with them and they have won battles and we won once. What does he teach? Worship God alone and none other, leave the ways of your forefathers, establish daily prayers, be honest and chaste. Heraclius replied that this is the story of prophets they know of and that this man will probably rule the land under my feet one day!
Safiyyah bint Huyyee “I never knew of a person with better character than the Prophet”
Ibn Abbas “He was the most generous person I ever met.”
Hind bint abe Halah says “He was always contemplative concerned about the affairs of others and the world around him. He only spoke with a good reason, yet he was mostly silent. He spoke with deep well-thought out phrases. He would always praise a blessing no matter how small. He didn’t speak badly about others. He was never angered for his own interest rather only for the defense of the sacred. If he was angered his face would frown and turn away. If he was happy he would smile and laugh tilting his head showing his teeth. He would only speak about matters directly concerning him. He would bring people together and never divide them. He used to ask about how others were and show concern for their well-being in their absence. He would celebrate good things and actions and he would blame and rebuke bad actions as opposed to specific people. He was never harsh or rigid. He was always smiling, easy-going and gentle. He was humble and interacted with people as he was one among them. A stranger would not be able to distinguish him from the others by looking at them. He would encourage everyone to be treated equally in his presence. If someone shook his hand or sat with him, he wouldn’t let their hand go or leave them until they inclined first. If someone asked him for something, he would give it if he had it and if not he would say something nice to them. People all looked up to him and he became like a father to them all. People would compete in piety around him. His gathering would be considerate, patient, modest, shy and trustworthy. People respected the elderly and were merciful with the young. People would try and be the first to help someone else out and they would make a stranger feel warm and welcome.”
One night his wife awoke as he was praying the night prayer and noticed him praying. She looked at his feet and they were swollen from standing so long. She asked him, “Why are you praying all night and you are a sinless man?” He responded, “Shouldn’t I be a grateful servant of God.”
When some people were exaggerating about his nature and the extent of his holiness he said, “Don’t exaggerate about me as the Christians have done with the son of Mary. Indeed I am just a servant. So say, “He is the servant of God and His messenger.”
Once a group of Jews came to the Prophet’s home and distorted the greeting of peace to make it mean death be upon you. The Prophet’s wife realized it and then responded harshly, “And death and the curse of God be upon you!” The Prophet then said to his wife, “Easy, be gentle because surely God loves gentleness in all interactions.”
The distinguishing trait of the prophets is the miracles they performed to prove that indeed the One that sent them is the Ruler of the Universe in control of the laws of nature!
The Makkans once challenged Muhammad (PBUH) to show them a miracle to prove his claim to prophethood. The angel Gabriel inspired him to tell them to look at the moon. As they watched it split into two halves and spread far apart and then came back together.
This event was mentioned by many narrators among the prophet’s (PBUH) companions as the commentary for the following verses of the Quran,
“The end times are coming closer as the moon has split in half. Whenever they see a miracle they turn away saying, ‘This is just another form of sorcery!’ (54:1-2)
Another well-documented miracle of the prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was during a huge drought much worse than the rainless periods common in the dessert. According to many witnesses Bedouin man stood up during the Friday sermon and interrupted the prophet complaining,
“There is a bad drought, so please invoke your Lord to bless us with the rain.” The Prophet looked at the sky when no cloud could be detected. Then he raised his hands invoking God for rain. Clouds started accumulating out of nowhere and it rained till the Medina valleys started flowing with water. It continued raining till the next Friday. Then another man stood up while the Prophet was delivering the Friday sermon, and said, “We are getting flooded; Please invoke your Lord to stop the rain” The Prophet smiled and said twice or thrice, “O God! Please let it rain go to the cities around us and not upon us.” The clouds started dispersing over Medina to the right and to the left, and it rained round about Medina and not upon Medina. God showed them the miracle of His Prophet and His response to his invocation.”
Another miracle is narrated by Abdullah bin Umar,
“Once we were with God’s messenger on a journey and we ran short of water. He said, “Bring the water remaining with you.” The people brought a bowl containing a little water. He placed his hand in it and said, “Come to the blessed water, and the Blessing is from God.” We saw the water flowing from among the fingers of God’s messenger, and no doubt, we heard the meal glorifying God as we ate.”
These are just a few of the miracles of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).