Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was and continues to be a moral teacher appointed by God-Almighty to carry His divine message to humanity.
The term messenger can be understood as one who receives and interprets revelation to humanity. In Islamic tradition, not all prophets are messengers as they did not all receive revelation. In other words, all messengers are prophets, but all prophets are not messengers.
In 610 CE, Prophet Muhammad received his first revelation as God-Almighty’s Messenger. In return, he concentrated on the individual, the epicenter of all trouble and corruption on earth. Prophet Muhammad knew that if individuals were reformed and their character rebuilt on the accountability they have in the eyes of God-Almighty, then society can be renewed and become morally balanced once again.
Prophet Muhammad cemented the relationship between the created and their Creator, taught that we are all responsible for our own actions and deeds on earth and will be held accountable for them in the afterlife, that we are caretakers of the earth and all that live within. He also lived his life as the complete example of how to be the perfect human being. We refer to his actions as sunnah and his sayings as hadith and they guide Muslims in living their lives according to the Qur’an.
Even before receiving his first revelation, Prophet Muhammad was known as A-Sadiq Al-Amin, the truthful, trustworthy one. In fact, many accepted the message of Islam simply based on the knowledge that Prophet Muhammad would never tell a lie. Once before his conversion, a man named Yasir asked his son Ammar where he was going. Ammar replied that he was going to see Muhammad. Being fully satisfied of his son’s safety while with Muhammad, he replied: “Muhammad is a trustworthy person. The Makkans recognize him so. If he claims prophethood, he must be telling the truth, for no one has ever heard him tell a lie.”
Once he began his role as Messenger, he made every effort to remodel the character of those who gathered around him and built a society, which is still known as some of the trust-worthiest people of all time.
Prophet Muhammad informed us that “A hypocrite is known by three traits: When he speaks, he lies; when he promises, he reneges; when he is entrusted, he cheats (or embezzles).” (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Sahih Muslim)
When Abu Ubaida was the commander of the Muslim armies in Syria, the Emperor of Byzantium set out with a large army to recapture Hims. Abu Ubaida decided to evacuate the city because he had only a handful of soldiers. He gathered the people of Hims in the middle of the city and announced, “We collected the protection tax from you because we planned to defend you. Now we are too weak. In this case, we return the tax we collected.” All the taxes collected were returned to the non-Muslim people of Hims.
Such was the depth of feeling and understanding in regards to trustworthiness and honesty displayed by the early Muslims. They were constantly aware of their obligations towards God-Almighty, their brothers and sisters and those who were under the protection of the Muslim armies.
This benevolent character that he created among his followers was by serving himself as its model in every walk of life. In just 23 years, he transformed the Arab society of Jahiliyah [ignorance] into a kind-hearted and God conscious society.
The Kindness of Prophet Muhammad
Love, kindness, and tolerance was always taught by Prophet Muhammad and was known to be the most loving, kind, and tolerant among his people.
“It was by a mercy from God that (at the time of the setback), you (O Messenger) were lenient with them (your Companions). Had you been harsh and hard-hearted, they would surely have scattered away from about you. Then pardon them, pray for their forgiveness, and take counsel with them in the affairs (of public concern); and when you are resolved (on a course of action), put your trust in God. Surely God loves those who put their trust (in Him).” (3:159)(1)
Once he said to his wife Aisha, 0 Aisha, never turn away any needy man from your door empty-handed. 0 ‘Aisha! Love the poor; bring them near to you and
God will bring you near to Him on the Day of Resurrection. Not only was he kind, he taught others around him to be kind as well. Once when a cat fell asleep on his sleeve, rather than disturb the cat by moving it, he chose to cut his sleeve and move around the cat so that he may pray.
He always taught to be kind because God-Almighty is kind and likes kind things.
“….I became more than ever convinced that it was not the sword that won a place for Islam in those days in the scheme of life. It was the rigid simplicity, the utter self-effacement of the prophet, the scrupulous regard for his pledges, his intense devotion to his friends and followers, his intrepidity, his fearlessness, his absolute trust in God and in his own mission. These, and not the sword carried everything before them and surmounted every trouble.” Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948)
Prophet Muhammad presented us with the perfect balance of a religious and secular life. He gave us the daily religious rituals such as prayer, but also showed us how to be better children, spouses, friends, and parents. He taught us to treat humans and animals alike, as we are caretakers of the earth. He stopped horrific cultural practices such as the burial of daughters and social caste systems. Indeed, he was a messenger for all of humanity.
Unal, Ali. “The Miraculous Quran.” The Miraculous Quran.