Character: Inspire or Impede
Greatest of mankind, Muhammad Sallallâhu 'alayhi wasallam under whose leadership the Arabian Peninsula was transformed from an uncouth, nomadic, immoral and violent society into the cradle and fortress of human civilization. Its inhabitants - once regarded as social lepers - became the guiding stars for mankind at large.
How did our beloved Prophet Sallallâhu 'alayhi wasallam achieve this neigh impossible feat? What kind of character did he display that won over the hearts and minds of the very people who persecuted and plotted to murder him? Those that were previously baying for his blood suddenly took pride in drinking his blood. Those who previously spat at him suddenly vied for his sweat so that they could use it as perfume! How did this transformation take place? How did he win over the hearts of people who regarded him as a traitor and impostor? What lessons can we learn from his personality and his ability to win over the hearts and minds of people?
We are social beings; we interact with people all the time. Conflict, challenging personalities, and tough situations during our interaction are inevitable. Although we cannot choose people’s behaviors, we can choose our response to their behaviors. How we choose to respond will ultimately define our relationship with people. We, through our attitude and personality can bring out either the best or the worst in others. Through our character, we are able to make hearts bloom and glow with warmth or we can break hearts and drive them to vent the worst possible behavior and attitude.
Nabî Sallallâhu 'alayhi wasallam was able to bring out the best among his companions Radhi-Allâhu 'anhum. He was able to win over their hearts and minds on account of his personality. The verse states that: “it is on account of the mercy of Allâh that you deal gently with them.”
The power of the smile: “Abdullah bin Hârith Ibn Juzin Radhi-Allâhu 'anhu narrates that: “I did not see anyone smile more than Nabî Sallallâhu 'alayhi wasallam.” (Tirmidhî) The most overlooked and undervalued asset that we all possess, is a smile. A smile costs nothing, but gives much. It enriches those who receive, without making poorer those who give.
Lead by example: In the Battle of the Trench, Nabî Sallallâhu 'alayhi wasallam together with his companions took part in digging the trench. He toiled as all the others did. When the companions complained of unbearable hunger, he lifted his shirt which revealed two stones tied to his belly. Make sure you walk the talk! When you lead by example, you create a picture of what is possible. To become truly great, one has to stand with people, not above them.
Acknowledgement: When Nabî Sallallâhu 'alayhi wasallam was pleased, his face would radiate like a piece of the moon. He would acknowledge the efforts of his companions in ways that motivated them to do better. His teachings not only served as enlightenment but as an inspiration to do the best that they could. Acknowledgment builds intimacy and creates powerful interactions.
Generosity: A man once came to Nabî Sallallâhu 'alayhi wasallam and asked to be given all the sheep that were grazing between two mountains. Nabî Sallallâhu 'alayhi wasallam gave them to him without any hesitation. The person returned to his people and said: “O my people, accept Islam! I swear by Allâh that Muhammad gives without fearing poverty.” (Muslim)
Humility: “He would visit the sick, attend the Janâzah, accept the invitation of a slave, and ride a donkey. He would mend his own shoes, sew his clothes, do domestic chores and serve himself.” (Tirmidhî) Your greatness is measured by your kindness and your character is measured by your tolerance.
May Allâh color our character with the sublime qualities of our Master Sallallâhu 'alayhi wasallam. Âmîn.