The Life of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.S.)

The Life of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.S.)

By Shadiah Hamza Sheikh, Ph. D.

(Dr. Shadiah Hamza Sheikh is the Dean of the English Department, King Saud University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. She is one of the Wisdom Enrichment Foundation’s International Board of Advisers. An active da’iyah, the Author has been giving Islamic lectures to women expatriates from various countries in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. This brief account of the Prophet’s life is a summary of one of her public lectures, which she delivered in 1996 at the Riyadh Military Hospital Jaliat (Call and Guidance) Center for Women in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.)

Birth and Prophethood:
Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) was born of a noble family of Banu Hashim ancestry. However, he was not fortunate enough to have been born wealthy as he was born an orphan. His father, Abdullah bin Abdul Muttalib, died of sickness at the age of 25 on a trading journey to Syria, leaving his wife Amenah only a few months pregnant.

Muhammad’s Birth:
His birth was on the twelfth (12) of Rabiul Awwal 53 B.H. (570 A.D of the Christian era) was ordinary and has no significance in Islam and the celebrations on this occasion have nothing to do with shari’ah and some people consider it Bid’ah.
Abdul Mutalib, his grandfather who was the chief of Makkah at that time, showed pride in him as Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) compensated him for the loss of his son who died in the prime of his youth. His mother showed affection for her son as she awaited the best nurses to come and take care of him: The tradition at that time was that nurses would come from the desert seeking to be the custodians of the children of nobility in return for good pay and gifts. Giving that Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) was not wealthy all nurses turned away from him, Halimah of the Banu Saad tribe was one of them, but when she could not find any other child she was ashamed to return home empty handed, so she went back and took Muhammad (s.a.w.s.), and since then Allah showered his mercy on her; for instance animals started giving plenty of milk after they had been dried. Therefore, her and her husband felt they were blessed to have taken Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) and became very attached to him.
Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) spent five years with Banu Saad during which nothing out of the ordinary happened except one told incident which scared Halimah and became known as “the splitting of his chest.” When he was playing with the other boys Jibril held him, threw him down, split his chest, took out his heart and took out a clump from it and said: “this is Satan’s portion of you.” Then he washed him in a basin made of gold with the water of zamzam, then sealed his chest and returned him where he was. The boys ran to Halimah and said Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) has been killed. They came back and found him alive but pale. (Reported by Anas in the Hadith compilations of Muslim and Ahmed)
Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) returned to Makkah at the age of five to his mother and grandfather who took good care of him, but the days refused to allow him tranquility among those tender hearts, as his mother died during a visit to Madinah to visit her husbands grave. She took Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) and his maid Umm Aiman with her. On the way back, she fell very sick and died in Abwaa leaving Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) with Umm Aiman.
His grandfather always took good care of him and never left him alone, he took him to all public gatherings. However, at the age of eight, Abdul Muttalib died leaving him into his uncle Abu Talib’s care. Since Abu Talib had many children and was not wealthy, Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) insisted on sharing the burdens of life with him. He went with his uncle on a trading journey to Syria at the age of thirteen. He met a monk called Bahira during the journey, who looked at his face and the sign on his back (the sign of Prophethood) and asked Abu Talib: “What is this boy to you ?”My son he said.” “His father should not be alive.” Said Buhira. Abu Talib then said, “Yes, in fact he is my brother’s son “and told him the rest of the story. The monk said “Now you are telling me the truth. Take him back and be careful of the Jews over him.”
Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) then returned to Makkah and resumed his life, working as a shepherd in his early life. He did not acquire knowledge or education from a monk or a philosopher or sorcerer, as was the norm then. Instead he read through the pages of life and took what he found good. He combined the good qualities of discipline with spiritual purity, rightness and contentment.
In this manner, he entered his third phase of life and got acquainted with his first wife Khadija (r.a.) who was a merchant woman of nobility and wealth. She had heard of his truthfulness and trustworthiness, so she offered him to take her trade to Syria (before marrying him). He was 25 years old and she was 40 years old when they got married. Their marriage lasted until she died at the age of 65.

The Message of Islam:
Every year, Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) used to leave Makkah to spend Ramadan in the cave of Hiraa where he used to meditate and worship for self-purification away from the falsehood of Jahilia. In this cave, He met with the heavenly host and listened to the voice of the angel telling him to read. He knew that he had become a Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.s.) and that it was Jabril, the ambassador of revelation who came to him; then the mission’s struggle began.
Quraysh spared no efforts to fight Islam and persecuted those who embraced it. The Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and his companions abused, ridiculed, humiliated, accused of indulging in magic, and the weak and oppressed believers were tortured until they disbelieved, died or swooned (as they had no clan to defend them).
In spite of all that Islam grew stronger, so Quraysh decided to change strategy and agreed not to buy, sell or intermarry with Muslims or those who approved of their religion, protected them or sympathized with them. They wrote this agreement which was called “The General Boycott” on a piece of parchment and hung it inside the Kaabah as a secret pact. Therefore, Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) and his followers were forced into confinement in the Vale of Banu Hashim where they were cut off of any assistance. This boycott lasted three long years during which only the bond of faith kept the hearts together and gave them strength. It ended after Hisham Ibn Amr (who felt very upset about the terrible plight of Muslims) gathered some clans around him and agreed to break the pact. They went to Makkah to tear the parchment and to their surprise they found that the worms had already eaten it up except the words: “In Your name O God.”
After ten years of suffering for the mission of Islam, Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) suffered the loss of his wife Khadijah and his uncle Abu Talib, in other words, he had lost his public life, as his uncle defended him and protected him from any calamity, and his private life, as Khadijah loved, supported and shared with him the miseries and pains of the Da’wah.

Muhammad ’s Attractive Leadership:
Muhammad led a very ordinary life yet the life style he practiced offered an example for others to follow. So this is an invitation to search through the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) lifestyle and adopt what he did in his daily activities.
To start with read what Al Hasan (son of Ali) said about the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.s.) “Doors are not locked under him, nor do door keepers stand for him, and trays of food are not served to him in the morning or the evening. He sits on the ground and eats his food from the ground. He wears coarse (rough) clothes and rides on a donkey with others sitting behind him, and he licks his fingers after taking food.”

His regular deeds:
His habits were really simple in all aspects of his life as we see. He never started any activity without saying “In the name of Allah.”

Sleeping Habits:
Aisha (r.a.) said that the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) used to sleep during the earlier part of the night and stood praying during the later part. She also said that when he got up at night he started his prayer with two rakaat.
When Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.s.) went to bed he “Used to lie down on his right side and said: O Allah I surrender myself to you, and seek protection in you, longing for you and fearing you; there is no protection and no escape from you except with you, I believe in your book which you sent down and your Prophet (s.a.w.s.) whom you sent down and your Prophet (s.a.w.s.) whom you sent.” (Bukhari)
Then he used to read Surah Al Ikhlas and Al Muawathatein (Surah Al -Falaq and An-Naas) three times. (Dawud and Tirmithi)

Praying:
Ibn Omar (r.a.) said that at night, the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) used to pray rakaat in two then finished with one, and he used to supplicate saying:
“O Allah, forgive me my sins and my ignorance, my excesses in my matter and what you know better than myself. O Allah forgive me the wrongs (I did) lightly and seriously, and my accidental and intentional transgressions and all that is with me.” (Bukhari)
For Fajr prayer, he used to pray two short rakaat between the call and the Iqama and also read Qur’an. According to him “Qur’an at dawn is always witnessed by the angels of the nights and the angels of the days.” (Tirmithi)

Bathing, Ablution and the Call of Nature:
Aisha (r.a.) said that the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) used his right hand for ablution and taking food, and the left hand for the toilet and the like.
When bathing from janaba, Aisha said, “he would begin by washing his hands, then he made ablution as for prayer, then he puts his fingers in water and runs them through the roots of his hair and then poured handfuls of water with his hands over his head and let the water flow all over his body .” (Bukhari)
The Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said: “It is an obligation on every Muslim to bathe at least once every seven days and wash both his head and body.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
As far as ablution is concerned, Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.s.) said:
“He who makes ablution and makes it the best way, his sins leave his body, even from beneath his nails.” (Muslim). In the hadith compiled by Imam Bukhari it was narrated that when the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) got up from sleep for Tahajjud prayer, he cleansed his mouth with a tooth-stick (miswak).
As far as answering the call of nature is concerned the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.s.) said “He who relieves himself should be concealed from the view of others .” (Abu Dawud) and “Two people should not go out together to relieve themselves, uncovering their private parts and talking to each other, for Allah abhors this.” (Ahmad and Abu Dawud) He also told Omar, “Do not pass water while standing.”
When he entered the toilet he used to say “O Allah I seek refuge in You from all kinds of evils.” (Bukhari) And when he came out of the toilet he used to say “Grant Your forgiveness.” (Tirmithi)

Clothing:
Umm Salama (r.a.) said “The piece of clothing best liked by Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.s.) was the shirt.” (Tirmithi) When he put on a shirt, he used to begin with the right side and says “Praise be to Allah who clothed me with this.” And he forbade us to exaggerate in our clothing when he said: “Eat, drink and wear good clothes as long as these things do not involve excess, and arrogance.” (Ahmed) In another hadith it was narrated that Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.s.) cursed the man who puts on woman’s clothes and the woman who puts on men’s clothes.” (Abu Dawud)

Eating and Drinking:
Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.s.) used to invoke the name of Allah before eating and also before washing his hands before and after eating. He used to say, “The blessing of food is received by washing the hands before and after taking it.” (Tirmithi and Abu Dawud)
Muslim also reported that “Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.s.) used to eat with three fingers and he licked his hand before he wiped it.” The Messenger (s.a.w.s.) told Abu Salma (r.a.) “Invoke the name of Allah, and eat with your right hand and eat what is near.” (Muslim) And he also said, “If dinner is served, and Iqama for prayer is (also), then take the dinner first.” (Bukhari)

Manners of Speech:
Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) used to start his speech with salam. He says: “Saying salam comes before talking.” (Tirmithi) And he teaches us not to talk unnecessarily saying: “Do not talk without remembering Allah, for talking without remembering Allah hardens the heart.” (Tirmithi)
He never used obscene talk nor did he listen to it, nor did he listen to anything about anyone. Aisha (r.a.) said that “His speech was clear and distinct such that all those who listened to him understood him.” (Abu Dawud)
General Conduct in Living with People:
Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.s.) used to say salam when he arrives where people are seated and when he wishes to leave, he also says salam as “the former is as appropriate as the latter.” (Abu Dawud)
He did not like people exalting him “He came out once leaning on a stick and a group of people stood up, he said: don’t stand up as foreigners stand up exalting each other therewith.” (Abu Dawud)
When visiting people, he used to ask permission to enter saying “Peace be upon you, may I enter.” (Abu Dawud) and when his guests are leaving he used to go with them to the door of the house.
Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.s.) used “to receive gifts and to give gifts back.” (Bukhari) and he said “Make gifts to one another for a gift removes rancour from the chest.” (Tirmithi)
At home, he used to serve his family. Aisha was asked about what the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) used to do in his house, she said “He used to work for his family, that is to serve his family, and when prayer time came, he goes out for prayer.” (Bukhari)

Death of the Prophet (s.a.w.s.)
The pains of sickness attacked the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) since the ending of Safar of the eleventh year. Once he fainted and his family put medicine in his mouth. When he awoke, he showed his dislike of that. During his illness he would supplicate “O Allah help me in the pangs of death.” (Bukhari: narrated by Aisha)
He was warning Muslims — even when he was in the throes of death — that they should stay committed to monotheism by saying “Allah’s curse be upon the Jews and Christians, they took their Prophet (s.a.w)’s graves as mosques.” (He was warning them against the action.) (Al-Shaikhan)
The last thing the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) did before his death (according to Aisha):
“He lay down in my lap, brushed his teeth harder than he had ever done before ”, then his eyes were fixed and he was saying “Nay, the Companion on high from paradise.” I said to myself “You were given the choice and you have chosen, by Him who sent you with the Truth.” Then, he passed away.” (Bukhari)
This was a brief study of the Prophet (s.a.w.s.)’s way of life. It must be stressed that we will never really understand the Sirah unless we study the Qur’an and Sunnah.
Praise and Glory be to Allah, we seek Allah’s forgiveness and we turn to him in repentance.

Shadiah Hamza Sheikh, Ph. D.
___________

Aspects of Islamic Etiquette

Taken from the Author’s book “The Message Of Islam”.
The Islamic Law has introduced and propagated a cluster of public ethics. At the same time, it warned of failure to strictly abide by it, as this will entail punishment in the Hereafter. Imam Muslim narrated that the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Do you know who is the bankrupt?” They answered: A bankrupt among us is the person who has neither money nor property. The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “The bankrupt in my nation is the one who comes on the Day of Resurrection with prayer, zakat and fasting, yet he used to insult, slander, slay and beat others. Thus claimants are rewarded according to their good deeds. If one’s good deeds are gone, he is punished for his ill deeds until he is thrown into Hell.”
1- Dining Ethics:
1. Start eating with the name of Allah (Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem) and conclude with praising and thanking Allah (Al-Hamdu Lillahi Rabbil-Aalameen). Eat from the nearest side of the dish to you and use your right hand, because the left hand is generally used for cleaning dirt.
Bukhari and Muslim narrated on the authority of ‘Umar Ibn Abi Salamah, may Allah be pleased with them, that the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said to him: “Mention the name of Allah, eat with your right hand and eat from the nearest side of the dish.”
2. Never complain or disapprove of food whatsoever.
Bukhari and Muslim narrated on the authority of Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, that; “The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, has never found fault with any food. If he liked it, he would eat it, if not he would just leave it.”
3. Avoid eating or drinking to excess in the light of the Qur’anic words:
“Eat and drink, but be not prodigal. Lo! He loves not the prodigals.” (The Qur’an, Al-Aaraf 7:31) And the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) ’s words: “The son of Adam (man) has never filled a vessel worse than his stomach. If there is no way out, let there be a third for his meal, another for his drink and another for his breath.” (Narrated by Ahmad)
4. Never breath or blow into vessels. According to Ibn Abbas the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:
“Forbade breathing or blowing into the dish.” (Al Tirmidhi)
5. Eat with others, not alone, since Allah’s Messenger says:
“Gather around your food so that it may be blessed.” (Abu Dawud and Tirmidhi)
6. If you are invited to a meal and you take somebody with you, you should seek permission for him. According to Abu Mas’ud Al-Badri, may Allah be pleased with him, a man invited Allah’s The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) to a meal along with four other people. A man followed the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). At the door, the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said to the host:
“This man has come with us: If you’permit, he will come in; if not he will go back.” The host said: I give him my permission, O Allah’s Messenger.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
2. Ethics of Seeking Permission:
There are two kinds of ethics: a. Those relating to out-of-door formalities: “O you who believe! Enter not houses other than your own without first announcing your presence and invoking peace upon the folk thereof…” (The Qur’aan, Chapter An-Nur, 24: 27) b. Those relating to indoor formalities: “And when the children among you come to puberty then let them ask permission even as those before them used to ask it…” (Qur’an, Chapter An-Nur, 24: 59) This is all intended to keep household secrets and protect the privacy of homes, as pointed out in the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) ’s saying: “Asking permission is intended for sight protection.” (Bukhari and Muslim) It is advisable not to persist in asking permission: “You have to ask permission three times. If you are not allowed in, go back.” (Narrated by Bukhari and Muslim)

3. Ethics of Greeting (Salam)
Islam has encouraged the custom of greetings among the members of Society because it leads to love and friendship. This is supported by the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) ’s Hadith: “You will never enter Paradise until you become believers, and you will not become believers until you love each other. Shall I guide you to something that makes you love each other? Spread greetings with peace among you.” (Muslim) – Answering a greeting is obligatory: “When you are greeted with a greeting, reply with a better one or return it…” (The Qur’an, Chapter An-Nisa’a, 4: 86)
Islam has also explained obligations in matters of greeting priorities. According to the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “A rider should greet a pedestrian, a pedestrian should greet him who is seated, and a small number of people should greet a bigger number.” (Narrated by both Bukhari and M) In one narration by Bukhari, it is added: A little or young person should greet an older one).
4. Ethics of Sitting:
1. Greet attendants of the meeting or gathering. It is stated by Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him: “If one comes to a meeting he should say: Assalamu Alaykum! (I.e. Peace be upon you!) And on leaving he should do the same, for the first greeting is not more important than latter.” (Abu Dawud and Tirmidhi)
2. It is not appropriate to ask someone to leave his sitting place for someone else: “Never should anyone of you make someone rise from his place and sit in his place; rather, make more room for others to sit.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
3. “If someone leaves his sitting place then returns to it, he will have more right to it”, as stated by the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.” (Muslim)
4. Never separate two persons sitting: “It is not permissible for a man to separate two men (by inserting himself sitting between them) unless they give permission.” (Abu Dawud and Tirmidhi)
5. Never talk to a friend privately in the presence of a third person: “If there are three of you, never should two of them talk without the third until you mix with other people, for this would grieve the third.” (Bukhari)
6. Never sit in the middle of a circle or group of people: “Damned is he who sits in the middle of a sitting group.” (Abu Dawud)
7. Leave space for others to sit: “O you who believe! When it is said, make room in assemblies, then make room; Allah will make way for you (hereafter). And when it is said, come up higher! Go up higher; Allah will exalt those who believe among you, and those who have knowledge, to high ranks. Allah is Well-Aware of what you do.” (The Qur’an, Chapter Al-Mujadalah, 58: 11)
8. It is desirable to suppress yawning as far as possible as it is a sign of laziness: “Yawning is from Satan, so when one of you yawns let him try to repel it as far as possible, for if one utters ‘Ha!’ (When yawning) the devil will laugh at him.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
9. About sneezing, the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) says: “If one of you sneezes, let him say: Praise be to Allah! And his Muslim brother should say to him: May Allah have mercy on you! upon which he answers: May Allah guide you and make you well.” (Bukhari) It is also advisable for a person, as stated by Allah’s Messenger on the authority of Abu Hurairah, “on sneezing, to cover his mouth with his hand or garment and suppress his voice.” (Abu Dawud and Tirmidhi)
10. Avoid belching while sitting in the presence of others. According to Ibn Umar, may Allah be pleased with him and his father, one man belched in the presence of Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, upon which the Messenger said to him: “stop belching, The biggest eaters in this worldly life will be the hungriest in the Hereafter.” (Tirmidhi Bin Majah)
11. The assembly should not be busy with nonsense or void of the remembrance of Allah and useful discussions of worldly and religious affairs. Allah’s messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said in this connection: “Any people who rise from an assembly in which the name of Allah is not mentioned are like those who rise from around a donkey’s carrion, and the assembly will be a source of sorrow for them.” (Abu Dawud)
12. A person should not face those sitting with him with what they dislike.
5. Ethics of Gathering:
Islam respects the feeling of people who gather at a place to make gathering desirable and repel all that causes people to hate gathering. Therefore, Islam instructs its followers to be clean-bodied, with no bad smell, and clean-dressed, with no disgusting sights. It also instructs them to listen to the speaker without interrupting him and to sit where they find room without stepping over people’s necks or causing them any inconvenience by pressing against them. This is supported by the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) ’s saying while addressing Muslims during Friday sermon: “Whoever has a bath on Friday, puts on the best of his clothes, puts some scent on if any, then attends Friday prayer without crossing over people’s necks and performs whatever rak’as he could, then keeps quiet when the Imam mounts the pulpit until he concludes prayer, his prayer will be an atonement for the whole week preceding that prayer”. (Abu Dawud).
6. Etiquette of Conversation:
1. Listen to the speaker without interrupting him until he finishes talking. In his speech during the Farewell Pilgrimage, Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said, “Ask people to keep quiet.” (Bukhari and Muslim).
2. Talk clearly so that the listener may understand you. Ayeshah, the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) ’s wife, said: “The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) ’s words were so clear-cut that everyone could understand them.” (Abu Dawud)
3. Cheer up and speak pleasantly. This is in accordance with the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) ’s Hadith: “Do not underestimate any kind of acts, even to receive your brother cheerfully.” (Muslim), and his other Hadith: “A good word is an act of kindness.” (Bukhari and Muslim). Al-Hussain, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “I asked my Father about the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) ’s behavior among his companions”, to which he answered: “He was always cheerful, easy mannered and lenient. He was not rough, noisy, vulgar, insulting, or miserly. He used to overlook what he dislikes without depriving others of hope or answering them negatively. He refrained from disputation, prattling and curiosity. He spared others from three things: He never censured, found fault with or spied on them. He spoke only what he hoped would be rewarded. When he spoke, his listeners lowered their head quietly and when he was silent they spoke. They never spoke haphazardly in front of him. If one talked in his presence they listened to him until he had finished. He used to laugh and wonder at what they laughed or wondered at. He was patient with strangers who were rude in both their talk and requests.”
7. Etiquette of Joking:
1. Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said to his companion Hanzala, who thought that life should be free from fun and entertainment and that he committed hypocrisy when he played and jested with his wife and children: “But, Hanzala, refresh your heart from time to time.” (Muslim). Here the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) explained to the man that permissible fun and self-refreshment is desirable for the human soul to regain its activity and liveliness. He, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, also taught them the rules of conduct as regards joking, when asked about his joking with them, by saying: “Yes, but I speak truthfully.” (Tirmidhi).
2. Once an old woman came to him and said: O Messenger of Allah, pray to Allah for me to be admitted into Paradise. He said: “No old woman will be admitted into Paradise. On hearing this she went away crying. He said: Tell her that she won’t be an old woman when she goes into Paradise. Allah, the Exalted, says: “Lo! We have created them a (new) creation and made them virgins, lovers, friends.” (Qur’an, Chapter Al-Qamar, 54: 35-37)
3. Allah’s Messenger’s jokes were not limited to words, they included acts as well. Anas Ibn Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “A bedouin called Zaher used to bring presents from the desert to the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) used also to supply him with provisions on leaving. He said about him: “Zaher is our ‘desert’ and we are his ‘city’. The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) loved him, though he was ugly-faced. One day, the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) came to him while he was selling some goods. He hugged him from the back unawares. Zaher said: “Release me.” Then he looked behind him and recognized the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), so he pressed his back against the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) ’s chest. The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) called out: “Who purchases this slave?” Zaher said: “O Messenger of Allah, You will find me not sellable”. The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) answered: “But to Allah, you are not unsalable, or he said: To Allah, you are so dear”. (Tirmidhi)
4. A joke should not involve any hurt or insult to any Muslim. Allah’s Messenger said: “No Muslim is allowed to scare another Muslim.” (Abu Dawud) He also said: “Nobody should take (Muslim) brother’s belongings.” (Abu Dawud and Tirmidhi)
5. Joking should not drive a Muslim to lie in order to make others laugh; this is understood from the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) ’s words: “Woe to him who lies when speaking to make people laugh. Woe to him! Woe to him!”

8. Etiquette of Condolence:
1. Condolence has been prescribed to console the dead person’s family, relieve their sorrows and alleviate their distress. Allah’s Messenger said: “A believer who condoles with his brother on a bereavement will be dressed by Allah in the robes of honor and glory on the Day of Resurrection”
2. There is no specific formula for condolence. However, Imam Shafi’i recommended the expression: “May Allah magnify your reward, give you solace and forgive your deceased one.”
3. It is desirable to prepare food for the family of the deceased as is clear from the following Hadith: “Make food for Ja’afar’s family as they are distracted by the event.”

9. Etiquette of Sleeping:
1. Mention the name of Allah: “Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem” and lie on your right side in accordance with the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) ’s words to Al-Baraa bin Azeb: “If you want to go to bed, perform ablution as that for prayer, then lie down on your right side, and say: O Allah! I submit myself to You, and turn my face towards You, and confide my cause unto You, and take refuge in You, out of love and fear of You. There is no refuge or escape from You except in You. I believe in Your Book, which You have revealed and Your Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), whom You have sent as Messenger.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
2. “Do not sit late at night and do your best to sleep early unless there is some need or necessity. It is narrated that the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) disliked sleeping before Isha’ (evening) Prayer and (sitting and) talking after it.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
3. Do not sleep on your belly, as this was prohibited by the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam): “Such manner of lying down is disliked by Allah.” (Abu Dawud)
4. Make sure there is nothing that hurts you at your bed, as recommended by the gracious The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) : “When one of you goes to bed, he should clear his bed with part of his loincloth as he does not know what is lying inside after he has left it, and let him say”: Allahumma bika wada’tu janbi, wabika arfauh. Allahumma in amsakta nafsi faghfir laha, wa in arsaltaha fahfazha bima tahfazu bihi ibadakas-Salihan. (O Allah! With Your name I have lain on my side, and with Your name I raise it. O Allah! If You hold my soul (i.e. take my life), then have mercy on it, and if You return it, then protect it with what You protect Your pious servants) (Bukhari and Muslim)
5. Take care and ward off the sources of danger. The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “This fire is an enemy to you, so when you want to sleep put it off”. (Bukhari)

10. Etiquette of Marital Sexual Relations:
1. It is desirable, before cohabitation with one’s wife or husband to mention the name of Allah. “When one of you cohabits with his wife, if he says, ‘In the name of , O Allah! Keep us away from Satan, and keep Satan away from (the offspring) that you may grant us,’ and then if a child is born out of this union, Satan will have no access to hurt that child.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
2. Private relations between husband and wife must be kept secret, as stated in the following Hadith: “The worst in position of all people in the estimation of Allah on the Day of Resurrection will be the man who cohabits with his wife or the woman who cohabits with her husband, then either of them divulges the secret of his mate.” (Muslim)
3. Allah’s Messenger recommended love-play, flirtation and kissing prior to sexual intercourse as evidenced by his words to one of his companions: “Don’t make love with her unless she has had the same degree of sexual appetite as you so that you do not discharge before her.” He asked: Should I do this? The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said; “Yes, you kiss, caress and touch her until you find that she has the same degree of erotic urge and excitement as you, then make love with her”. (Imam Ahmad)
4. Husband should not pull out his penis from her vagina until she has finished.

11. Etiquette of Traveling:
1. Return trusts to their owners, settle grievances and debts, and leave for your family sufficient provisions. Never travel alone except in cases of emergency when you find no company. The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “One passenger is one devil, two passengers are two devils, but three passengers make a caravan.” (Abu Dawud, Nasa’i and Tirmidhi)
2. On traveling, choose good company and select one of you as your leader. The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “When three people set out on a journey they should appoint one of them as a leader.´ (Abu Dawud)
3. You should inform your family of the time of your arrival back to them. Do not return home at night as this is undesirable so that you should not see anything that you dislikes. The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “If one of you is absent from home for a long time, he should not come back to his family by night”. In another version of the Hadith, the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) prohibited a man returning home by night. (Bukhari and Muslim)
4. He should say goodbye to his family, friends and companions, as the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “If one of you intends to set out on a journey, let him say goodbye to his brothers, for Allah Almighty will make in their prayers a blessing for him.”
5. He should return home quickly after he achieve the objective of his journey. The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Travel is a piece of anguish as it deprives each traveler (of you) of the facilities of eating, drinking and sleeping. Therefore, when one of you has completed the purpose of his journey he should return home quickly.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

12. Conduct in the Market:
1. Among the rules of behavior in the market are those included in the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam)’ s words when he said: “Refrain from sitting in the streets.” The Companions said: “O Messenger of Allah, we have no alternative, there is no other place where we can sit and discuss matters.” Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: “If it is so, then in that case, discharge your responsibilities due to the street.”
2. The Companions asked as to what was due to the street. He said: “Keeping your eyes down, clearing the streets of obstacles, responding to Salam greetings, enjoining virtuous deeds and forbidding evil.” (Bukhari and Muslim). In another narration he added: “Helping the aggrieved and guiding the aberrant.” (Abu Dawud)
He also said: “Beware of two cursed practices.” His Companions asked: What are the two cursed practices? He, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, answered: “A person answering the call of nature in a public thoroughfare or in a shady place (where people rest).” (Muslim)
3. A passer-by should refrain from carrying harmful weapons or devices, as enjoined by the Gracious Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) who said:. “When any one of you happens to move in our mosque or bazaar with an arrow (in his hand) he must grasp its pointed head in his palm, so that none amongst the Muslims should receive any injury from it.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

13. Etiquette of Buying and Selling
1. In principle, selling is lawful in Islam because it is based on exchange of benefits between the salesman and the purchaser. However, in case any harm occurs to either party, the dealing becomes unlawful based on the following verse: “O you who believe! Squander not your wealth among yourselves in vanity.” (The Qur’aan, Chapter An-Nisa’a, 4: 29)
2. It is also based on the Holy Messenger’s Hadith, when he happened to pass by a heap of eatables (corn). He thrust his hand in that heap and his fingers were moistened. He said to the owner of that heap: “What is this?” He replied: “Messenger of Allah, these have been drenched by rainfall”. He (the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) remarked: “Why did you not place this (the drenched part of the heap) on top so that people could see it? He who deceives is not of me (i.e. not my follower).” (Muslim)
3. Truthfulness and clear description (of defects, if any) is required in accordance with the Holy Messenger’s saying: “Both parties in a business transaction have the right to annul it as long as they have not separated. Thus, if they speak the truth and make everything clear they will be blessed in their transaction; but if they tell a lie and conceal anything, the blessing their transaction will be blotted out.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
4. Benevolence and fair dealing is also recommended in business, since this is a means of strengthening seller-buyer relations as pointed out by Allah’s messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him: “May Allah have mercy on a person who is easy and courteous when he sells, buys or asks for the payment of his dues.” (Bukhari) That is because Islam wants this ease of dealing and tolerance in matters of selling and buying to save people from panting for material interests that undermine brotherly and human relations.
5. Avoid swearing oaths when selling, in compliance with the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) ’s instruction: “Avoid too much swearing while selling (your goods), for in the beginning it promotes business and then it brings all loss.” (Muslim)
The above are some of the Islamic Etiquette and ethics, and there are many others that would take a very long time to explain. Nevertheless, it would suffice here to remind that no human affair, private or public, goes without Qur’anic or the Prophetic instruction or guidance that defines or regulates it.

Life is Fragile – Handle with Prayers!

Evaluate yourself before your death

This is the Tale of Average Man,
Who acts contrary to Allah’s Plan.
If you are reflected herein,
Then repent, and commit no sin.

Twas early in the morning at four,
When death knocked upon a bedroom door
‘Who is there?’ the sleeping one cried,
‘I’m Izrael, let me inside’.

At once, the man began to shiver,
As one sweating in deadly fever,
He shouted to his sleeping wife,
‘Don’t let him take away my life’!

‘Please go away, O Angel of Death!
Leave me alone, I’m not ready yet.
My family on me depends,
Give me a chance O please perpend’!

The Angel knocked again and again,
‘Friend, I’ll take your life without a pain.
‘Tis your soul that Allah require,
I come not with my own desire’.

Bewildered, the man began to cry,
‘O Angel! I’m so afraid to die.
I’ll give you gold, and be your slave,
Don’t send me to the unlit grave’!

‘Let me in O Friend!” the Angel said.
‘Open the door, get up from your bed,
If you do not allow me in,
I will walk through it like a Jinn’.

The man held a gun in his right hand’.
Ready to defy the Angel’s stand.
‘I’ll point my gun, towards your head,
You dare come in, I’ll shoot you dead’.

By now, the Angel was in the room,
Saying, “O Friend! Prepared for your doom.
Foolish man, Angels never die,
Put down your gun and do not sign’.

‘Why are you afraid! Tell me O man,
To die according to Allah’s plan?
Come, smile at me, do not be grim,
Be happy to returned to Him.

‘O Angel! I bow my head in shame,
I had no time to take Allah’s name.
From morn till dusk, I made my wealth,
Not even caring for my health’.

‘Allah’s commands, I never obeyed.
Nor five times a day, I ever prayed.
A Ramadan came, and Ramadan went,
But no time had I to repent’.

‘The Hajj was already, incumbent on me,
But I would not part with my money.
All charities, I did ignore,
Taking usury, more and more’.

‘Sometimes I sipped my favorite wine
With flirting women I sat to dine.
O Angel! I appeal to you,
Spare my life for a year or two’.

‘The Laws of Qur’an, I will obey,
I’ll begin Salah, this very day.
My Fast and Hajj, I will complete
And keep away from self-conceit’.
‘I will refrain from usury,
And give all my wealth to charity
Wine and wenches, I will detest
Allah’s Oneness I will attest’.

‘I’m Afraid this moment is your last,
Now be reminded, more of your past.
I do understanding your fears,
But it is now too late for tears’.
‘We Angels do what Allah demands.
We cannot go against His commands.
Death is ordained for everyone,
Father, mother, daughter or son’.

‘Your two ill-gotten, female offspring,
In nightclubs, for livelihood they sing,
Instead of making more Faithfuls,
You made your children Ungrateful’.

‘You lived in this world, two scores or more,
Never did you, your people adore.
Your parents, you did not obey,
Hungry beggars, you turned away’.

‘Your ignored the Muathin’s Atha’n,
Nor did you read the Holy Qur’an.
Breaking Promises all your life,
Backbiting friends, and causing strife’.

‘From hoarded goods, great profits you made
And your poor workers, you underpaid.
Horses and cards were your leisure,
Moneymaking was your pleasure’.

‘Your ate vitamins and grew more fat.
With the very sick, you never sat.
A pint of blood, you never sat.
Which could a little baby save’.
‘O human you have done enough wrong.
You bought good properties for a song.
When the farmers appealed to you,
You did not have mercy, ‘tis true’.

‘Paradise for you? I cannot tell,
Undoubtedly you will dwell in hell.
There’s no time for your repent,
I’ll take your soul, for which I’m sent’.

The ending, however, is very sad,
Eventually, the man became mad.
With a cry, he jumped out of bed,
And suddenly, he fell down dead.

O Reader, take a moral from here,
Never know, your end may be near.
Change your living and make amends,
For heaven, on your deeds, depends.

This poem is woven around the following Qur’anic verse:
‘WHEREVER YE ARE, DEATH WILL FIND YOU OUT, EVEN IF YE ARE IN TOWERS BUILT UP STRONG AND HIGH.” (4: 78)