May Allah bless the Prophet, his family and companions and those that follow them with sincerity until the end of time.
We return to these gatherings of reminders to revive our hearts attachments to the meanings of the life of the Prophet - and to revive in our character, thoughts, actions and lives, the reality of: "Say if you love Allah follow me, and Allah will love you and forgive you your sins."
[...] In the time of the Prophet, the companions, and the early generations, the usul of akhlaq/prophetic character was passed from generation to generation- the usul and furu of akhlaq was drunk by sons from their fathers, it was passed from person to person - students from teachers, it was passed from hearts to hearts without the need for books - when the links of nurturing/upbringing became weak in our time, and when the link between the ummah and good character became weak, we became in need to
Usul of akhlaq — and what is meant of akhlaq is the inheritance that the Prophet left behind [...]
If we contemplate the book of Allah and the sunnah of the Prophet- or contemplate the duration of the prophets life and those around him then we will see that prophetic character has 3 dimensions.
1) The characteristics of the Prophet himself/his character
2) The character the Prophet demonstrated to those around him - those around him, or those that came before him
To us when we try to practice this, this is usually limited those that agree with us, those that have the same interests- or with some of us, it only relates to human beings — with a lot of people, when someone suits us, we are good, and when someone doesn't, we display something else.
The Prophet he did not discriminate between people with his character-
We see that his character exceeded all those of his time. We see his character extended even to livestock and animals. We see when he was going to the battle of Uhud, and he took turns with his companions to ride the animal, one by one, and then he also asked everyone to descend from the animal at one time so that the animal could rest.
His character even extended to plants and inanimate objects. We have such a touching story, which has reached the level of tawatur, which is the highest level in the science of transmission. There used to be a trunk that the Prophet leaned on when addressing his companions, and when the number of Muslims increased and the extended the mosque, they moved it outside the mosque. One day as the Prophet was giving his sermon inside the mosque on his new minbar, the companions could hear a crying and wailing sound. They looked left and right, and they could not work out where this voice was coming from.
The wailing increased bit by bit, and as the Prophet gave its sermon, the wailing increased and increased. They realised that it was from the dry trunk that they had moved. This trunk could not take this separation, not from a specific place, but from the company of the prophet.
Hassan al Basri did not mention this story except that he would weep, he would say that this was an inanimate piece of wood! It was dry trunk- and it had an attachment to the Prophet that we do not compare to. And the wailing increased until the companions could no longer hear what was being said in the khutba and the Prophet stopped his sermon, went down from the minbar, and went to the trunk and stroked it, like a mother comforts her crying child, and the trunk slowly creased wailing, bit by bit. And some narrations say that the Prophet asked it whether it wanted to be replanted in this world and live until the day of judgement or if it wanted the prophet's eternal companionship in paradise, and the trunk chose the latter. Subhan Allah. And between the mehrab and the minbar of the prophet is where the trunk was buried.
The Prophet's character was at such an elevated level with all things, animals, plans, his predecessors, inanimate objects, with angels - His dealings with everything around him.
3) And the third part of Prophetic character is the way the companions and the people of his house sat with him and dealt with him
In surah al hujarat there are verses that tell us how to deal with the prophet
To not call out to him, nor elevate their voices, don't call him as they called other people, etc.
So we see there are three parts to the Prophetic Character (1) His own characteristics (2) The way he dealt with others (3) and the way people were taught to deal with him, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.
The reason we are going through these lessons is because we are in need of it - to take our portion of this usul and furu' - The Prophet said: "Verily, I came to perfect good character" - The Prophet came with many things, tawheed, as a mercy, to bring people from darkess to light - however, scholars say that none of the other things can be complete without good character.
Without good character, the ummah cannot rise, or progress. It is something that is within us. It is not limited to matters of kufr and belief alone, because it is possible for people to have a portion —"The best of you in jahiliyya are the best of you in Islam"
Good character is related to the self, in present in everyone, religion came to nurture it. Don't think that when it comes to prophetic character, you will take something from outside and enter it, but rather you will bring forth characteristics that Allah has already placed within you. When we speak of character, we look at something within us, something Allah has placed inside it. The Perfection of humanity is in the Prophet, peace be upon him. We have to move and develop and bring to life these characteristics within us.
Allah says: "A Prophet has come to you from amongst yourselves…" - He is from "amongst ourselves" -
The Prophet was created and sent as a human, and this does not take anything away from his status - but rather it means that you can follow him in every aspect, if you want to sleep, you have an example, and if you want to eat or drink, then you have an example.
But the Prophet also had special characteristics, he said "I am not like you, my Lord feeds me" - The Prophet used to fast continuously, without fasting. He also said "my eye sleeps but my heart doesn't" -
The point of this is that we have to connect and relate ourselves to what we learn. Imam Ghazali said that the roots of good character come to two roots: Courage, and Virtue.
Courage branches into Generosity, which branches further into Altruism. Generosity is when you give from what you have (but don't need) to someone whether they deserve it or not. Altruism is something else: it is when you give, regardless of whether you need it or not. There is also a level more elevated than this, and this is Sacrifice- this is when you give despite needing it.
Similiarly, with Virtue - what is the difference between Virtue and Courage?
Courage is usually something which pushes you to do something, whereas Virtue is holding back. Courage is action at the time, whereas Virtue prevents a person from acting at a specific time. For example, you have an opportunity to eat or take that which does not belong to you but you are stopped because of Virtue-
Courage - is there is a woman walking in the street, and a bad man who is bigger than you wants to harm her, and you want to stop him, and you know that this man could hurt you, then acting in this situation would be Courage.
These two roots, Courage and Virtue are the roots which branch out, and built on each other, to produce the branches of good character. So sometimes you will see that some characteristics are closer to Courage, and others closer to virtue, and that some are produced when the two come together. And from these characteristics is "tathabbut" (verifying the credibility of news when you hear it) - because if someone comes to you with news about someone that angers you, you could either act in anger, or completely withdraw yourself and break ties with the person. But what you need to do is verify the news, perhaps someone is trying to cause problems between you and your brother etc. Loss of steadfastness is one of the reasons why the ummah is in the mess it is in today.
So we will go through the 3 parts relating to prophetic character in the lessons to come.