We always stress that Muhammad (peace be upon him) was a human being who experienced all that a person may experience in life. However, he was chosen by God to be His messenger to mankind, bringing them God’s final message and providing them with practical guidance on how to conduct their lives in accordance with the teachings of God’s message.
We have detailed descriptions of what he looked like, but what is more important to us is to understand his character and how he behaved with other people. From these descriptions we gather that he was a rare example of Arab manly charm who combined all aspects of an attractive physical and personal appearance.
He was handsome, loveable, awe-inspiring, modest, loyal, loving and caring. He was very happy when he brought a smile to anyone, but his happiness would be greater if that person was a child, a helpless woman or an unfortunate elderly person.
The Prophet combined all this with exceptional physical strength and vigor. He consistently overcame strong people in combat. When he was still in Makkah, a man who was renowned for his strength and wrestling ability told Prophet Muhammad that he would believe in him as God’s messenger if he could beat him in wrestling.
The Prophet accepted the challenge and beat the man. The latter tried to find excuses and wanted the match to be restarted. The Prophet beat him again. Moreover, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) could ride an unsaddled horse and easily tame and control him.
However, he did not use his physical strength to press any advantage over others, or to gain their love or respect. He wanted people to take everything easily and live with him as they live with a dear friend. With members of his family, he wanted life to run smoothly and showed them that he was one of them. He would even compete with those he loved in a pleasant way.
Ayesha reports that she was accompanying the Prophet on a journey when she was still young and thin.
“The Prophet told his fellow travelers to go ahead of them. He then said to me: Shall we race? We raced, and I won. He said nothing. Later, when I had put on some weight, we were on another trip, when he told other people to march ahead. He then said to me: Shall we race? We raced and he won. He laughed and said: We thus draw, one race each.” Thus, he took such things so lightly, even though he was approaching sixty years of age, and he was the head of a powerful state where he enjoyed unparalleled popular love.
Yet he would visit his servant’s family and extend his kindness to them. Anas ibn Malik was a servant at the Prophet’s home for 10 years.
The Prophet visited Anas’ home on numerous occasions. Anas reports: “The Prophet visited my mother and saw that my young brother, Abu Umayr, was sad. He asked her: ‘What grieves Abu Umayr?’ She told him that he had a little bird, which died that day. The Prophet asked my brother: ‘Abu Umayr, where is the little bird gone?’ He asked him the same question every time he saw him.
This incident tells us much about the Prophet’s kindness to all people. He visits his servant’s people in their home, and inquires about the reason for a child’s sadness, comforting him about the loss of his bird, and remembers his feelings every time he sees the child.
– by Adil Salahi