Glimpses of the Prophet's Behavior
THE PROPHET IN HIS HOUSE
The Apostle of God occupied himself at his home like a common man. As 'Aisha relates, he used to clean his clothes, milch the sheep and himself do his odd jobs. She also says that he would mend his clothes, repair his shoes and do similar other works. When asked how the Prophet occupied himself at home, she replied, "He used to keep himself busy in household chores and went out when the time for prayer came."
Anas says that he had not seen a man who was more clement and nice to his household members than the Apostle of God." It is related on the authority of 'Aisha that the Prophet said, "The best of you is one who is most nice to his wife and children and I am the nicest among you." Abu Huraira said that the Prophet never expressed disapproval of any food, if he desired he ate it, and if he disliked he left it alone."
HIS BEHAVIOUR TOWARDS CHILDREN
Muhammad was always very kind to children. Amr ibn Said quoted Anas as saying, "I have never seen anyone act more kindly towards children than God's Messenger. His son Ibrahim was being suckled in the neighbourhood of Medinah. He would go, accompanied by us, and enter the house which was full of smoke, the child's foster-father being a blacksmith. He would take him and kiss him and then go back."
It was his practice, whenever he came back from a journey, to let the children, who met him on the way, ride before and behind him and he always greeted them first.
Anas said, "I never prayed behind an Imam who was more brief or more perfect in his prayer than God's Messenger. If he heard a baby crying, he would shorten the prayer for fear that the mother might be distressed." Abu Qatada reported God's Messenger as saying, "When I begin the prayer, I intend to make it long, but I hear a baby crying and shorten the prayer, being aware of the Mother's emotion because of the crying."'
He used to kiss children and loved them very much. Once he was kissing children when a Bedouin came and said, "You love children very much. I have ten children and I have never kissed one of them." Muhammad replied, "What can I do if God takes away love from you?"
The Prophet was particularly kind to slaves. He used to say, "They are your brothers; give them to eat what you eat; give them to wear what you wear." Whenever he received any slaves, he always gave them freedom but they could never free themselves from his kindness and generosity. They left their parents, relatives and family and regarded it as an honour to live in bondage to him. Zaid bin Hartha was a slave. Muhammad freed him and gave him the choice to go with his father, who had come to take him, but he refused to go with his father and preferred to stay.
Slaves felt humiliated at being called slaves. He advised his companions not to say "my slave" or "my slave-girl" but to say, "my son" or "my daughter". He also told the slaves not to call their masters "lord" for God alone was the Lord. He was so kind to slaves that his last bequest before he died was, "Fear God in the matter of slaves." Abu Dhar was one of the converts and Muhammad praised him for his honesty. Once he abused a non-Arab slave, who complained to the Holy Prophet about this. He reprimanded Abu Dhar and said, "You are still ignorant; these slaves are your brothers. God has given you power over them; if they are not suited to your temperament, sell them. Don't harm God's creatures. Give them to eat what you eat; give them to wear what you wear. Don't give them so much work that they cannot do it all. If you give them a lot of work, then give them a hand to finish that work."
Once Abu Masud Ansari was beating his slave when he heard a voice behind him say,"Abu Masud! God has more power and control over you than you have over this slave." Abu Masud turned and saw it was God's Messenger. He said, "O God's Messenger! I free this slave for the pleasure of God." Muhammad replied, "If you had not done so, the fire of Hell would have touched you."
People arranged the marriages of slaves but forcibly separated them whenever they wished. One man arranged the marriage of his slave to his slave-girl and then wanted to separate them. The slave complained to God's Messenger, who stood up in the Mosque and -addressed the people, "Why do people marry slaves and then separate them? The right of marriage and divorce belongs only to the husband and wife." The effect of this kindness was that many slaves of polytheists used to run away and come to him. He used to grant them freedom. When the spoils of war were distributed, slaves were given their due share. The newly freed slaves received their shares first for they did not have any capital.
Muhammad was also very kind and affectionate towards women. Women were very badly treated in those times. Muhammad gave them honour and dignity equal to men in the community. Men were always around God's Messenger and women did not get any time to listen to him or enquire about their problems. Therefore women requested him to appoint one day for them for this purpose. Muhammad accepted their request and
appointed a day for them. As women are usually of a tender and weak nature, he took special care of them and always treated them with kindness. Women, therefore enquired
about their problems very freely and without any fear.
Muhammad was very kind to animals. He forbade people to keep animals in their working equipment for a long time and said, "Don't make the backs of animals your chairs." Animal fights were also made unlawful. Another custom was to tie up an animal and practice arrow shooting on it. This was also prohibited.
Once Muhammad saw a donkey on the road with a brand on its face, and said, "God's curse is on him who branded it." As people had to brand their camels and sheep in order to know them, they were told to brand them on parts which were not so tender.
Muhammad was so kind and gentle that he advised his companions to be nice and considerate even at the time of slaughtering animals for food. He asked them to slaughter them with the sharpest weapon, causing the minimum pain and suffering to the animal. He also forbade them to sharpen the weapon in front of the animal or when the animal was ready for slaughter, but told them to do these preliminaries before the animal was brought for slaughter.