The Holy Prophet PBUH was very polite and gentle towards others. He always treated people with kindness and tenderness and never showed harshness even to his enemies. His kind and gentle character endeared him to all, young and old, rich and poor, men and women. Allah mentions this quality of the Holy Prophet PBUH in the following words:
“It is part of the Mercy of Allah that thou dost deal gently with them. Wert thou severe or harsh hearted, they would have broken away from about thee.” (3:159)
Behaviour Towards Companions
The Holy Prophet’ s PBUH mercy, kindness and concern for his companions was widely known. He used to enquire about the welfare of each one of his companions. He would get worried if any one of them did not visit him for a couple of days. He took interest in their welfare as well as personal problems.
He shared their joys and sorrows and was never indifferent to any one of them. It was due to his kindness that he was always surrounded by his devoted followers who would not hesitate to sacrifice their lives for him. They played a significant role in his successful political struggle.
Behaviour Towards Strangers
The Holy Prophet PBUH taught Muslims to protect the lives and belongings of Strangers and wayfarers.
Since the death of Abdul Muttalib, authority in Makkah had become more.or less divided and there was no institution to ensure peaceful enjoyment by individuals of their rights and property. Family ties afforded some degree of protection against injustice, but strangers were exposed to all sorts of oppression.
After the sacrilegious war, a league was formed with the object of suppressing any violence and injustice to the oppressed, whether citizen or stranger. Hazrat Muhammad PBUH was one of those who joined the league and was so impressed by its noble objective that he remained loyal to it throughout. Later, he would say that if he was again summoned to it, he would gladly respond.
Behaviour Towards Children
The Holy Prophet PBUH loved children. A companion quoted Anas as saying:
“I have never seen anyone act more kindly towards children than Allah’s Messenger.” (Afzal-ur-Rehman: Encyclopedia of Seerah Vol.I)
Anas is reported to have said:
“I never prayed behind an Imam who Was more brief or more perfect in his prayer than Allah’s Messenger. If he heard a baby crying, he would shorten the prayer for fear that the mother might be distressed.” (Afzal-ur-Rehman: Encyclopedia of Seerah Vol.I)
Another companion reported him as saying: “When I begin the prayer, I intend to make it long, but I hear a baby crying and shorten the prayer, being aware of the mother’s emotion because of the crying.” (Mishkat)
His love and kindness was not confined to Muslim children only. Once in a battle, a few children came into the battlefield and were killed. The Holy Prophet PBUH was distressed about this. Someone told him that they were children of unbelievers to which he replied: “Even children of unbelievers are better than you. Beware! do not kill children. (Afzal-ur-Rehman: Encyclopedia of Seerah Vol.I)
When anyone brought the first fruit of the season, he would give it to the youngest child in the assembly. Whenever he came back from journey, he would let the children who met him on the way ride with him.
Once, when he was kissing children, a Bedouin came to him and said:
“You love children very much. I have ten children and I have never kissed one of them.” The Holy Prophet PBUH replied: “What can I do if Allah has taken away love from you.” (Mishkat)
After migration from Makkah, as he was entering Madinah, some young girls of the Ansar were singing with joy in front of their houses: He asked them if they loved him. They answered in the affirmative. To this, the Prophet PBUH said:
“I love you too. ” (Afzal-ur-Rehman: Encyclopedia of Seerah Vol.I)
Behaviour Towards Women
The Holy Prophet PBUH was very kind and affectionate towards women who were treated very badly in those days, He gave them honour and dignity as Hazrat Umar said: “We did not have much regard for women at Makkah: but they were better treated in Madinah. God’s Messenger established women rights through his sayings and commandments, which strengthened their position and status.” (Mishkat)
As women did not get much time to listen to the Holy Prophet or enquire about their problems, he set aside a day for them. Women could talk to him and ask for advice about their problems very freely and without any fear.
Once some women were sitting around the Holy Prophet PBUH and talking very loudly to him. When Hazrat Umar came into the house, they all left and hid themselves, Harat Umar, addressing them, said, “You fear me but you do not fear Allah’s Messenger. They replied: You are hot-tempered in camparison with Allah’s Messenger” (Afzal-ur-Rehman: Encyclopedia of Seerah Vol.)
Once the Holy Prophet was sleeping in the house of Hazrat Aisha. it was the day of Eid and the girls were singing. Abu Bakr came into the house and told them to stop singing. The Holy Prophet said: “Let them sing, it is the day of Eid.
As a result of the Prophet’s PBUH kind treatment, women would visit him and ask him questions. The companions were often surprised at their boldness. The Prophet was always gentle and tolerant towards them.
Behaviour Towards the Poor and Orphans
The Holy Prophet always showed utmost kindness and sympathy to the poor, who were the foremost supporters of his religion. He used to go with them to the Ka’ abah for prayers and the chiefs of Makkah used to laugh at them.
It is reported by a companion: “Once I was sitting in the Mosque of the Prophet PBUH and the poor Muhajirin were sitting in one part of the Mosque.
After some time, Allah’s Messenger came and sat with them. On seeing this,I got up and sat with them. The Prophet said: “Give good news to the poor muhajirin that they will enter Paradise forty years before the rich”. I saw their faces light up with joy and hearing this and I wished to be along with them or to be one of them. (Afzal-ur-Rehman: Encyclopedia of Seerah Vol. )
Abu Zarr another companion said that the Holy Prophet PBUH ordered him to love the poor and be near them. (Mishkat)
The Holy Prophet often used to pray: “O Allah! Keep me alive as a poor man: make me die as a poor man and resurrect me in the company of the poor”.
His wife, Aisha, asked: “Why, O Messenger of God?” He replied: “Because they will enter Paradise forty years before the rich.Then he said: “O Aisha! Never turn away any needy man from your door empty handed. Give something, even if all you can give is half a date. Aisha! Love the poor, bring them near to you and Allah will bring you near to Him on the Day of Resurrection. (Tirmizi, Ibn Majah)
Once azrat Abu Bakr treated Salman and Bilal, who were among the poor Muhajirin very harshly. The Holy Prophet asked him: “Did you not hurt them?” On hearing this, Hazat Abu Bakr went to them and asked forgiveness. (Mishkat)
A companion reported that once they were sitting with the Holy Prophet PBUH when some people arrived barefoot and in the rags. The Holy Prophet PBUH was shocked to see their condition. He asked Hazrat Bilat to call out the Azan. After the prayers, he asked the people to help them. (Afzal-ur Rehman: Encyclopedia of Seerah Vol.I)
The Holy Prophet PBUH advised people to treat the poor and the destitute with kindness. He issued instructions that Zakat should be collected from the rich of every tribe and town and spent on the poor of the Same tribe and town. The Holy Prophet was also Kind to Orphans and asked his Companions to be gentle to them.
Abu Hurairah reported him as saying: “The best Muslim house is that in which is an orphan who is well treated and the Worst Muslim house is that in which is an orphan ill-treated (lbn Majah)
He is also reported to have said: “Anyone who treats well an orphan girl or boy under his care, he and I shall be like these two in Paradise,” putting two of his fingers together. (Bukhari)
Abu Hurairah reported that when a man complained to the Holy Prophet PBUH of having a hard heart, he Said: “Pat an Orphans head and feed the poor”
Treatment of slaves
The Holy Prophet PBUH was particularly kind to slaves, He used to say:” They are your brothers; give them to eat what you eat: give them to wear what you wear”. (Bukhari, Muslim)
Whenever he received any slaves, he always freed them, but they would never leave him. Zaid bin Haris was a slave. The Holy Prophet PBUH freed him and gave him the choice to go with his father, who had come to take him, but he refused to go and preferred to stay with the Holy Prophet PBUH. Once a companion abused a slave, who complained to the Holy Prophet PBUH.
He said to his companion, “You are still ignorant; these slaves are your brothers, God has given you power over them. If they are not suited to your temperament, sell them. Don’t harm God’s creatures”. (Mishkat)
Abu Masud reported that once he was hitting his slave when he heard someone behind him saying: “Abu Masud, God has more control over you than you have over this slave.” When he turned around, he saw the Holy Prophet PBUH.
Abu Masud said that thereafter he never hit any of his slaves. (Afzal-ur-Rehman Encyclopedia of Seerah Vol.l)
It is reported by Hazrat Abu Bakr that the Holy Prophet PBUH said: “One who treats his slaves badly and unkindly will not enter Paradise. ” (Afzal-ur-Rehman Encyclopedia of Seerah Vol.l)
Behaviour Towards Enemies and Unbelievers
The Holy Prophet PBUH treated his enemies with compassion and taught his companions to do likewise. It is reported by Abu Hurairah that one night an unbeliever was a guest ot the Holy Prophet One by one, he drank the milk of all the goats, but the Prophet PBUH did not show any sign of anger or dislike. Next morning. impressed by the Prophet’s PBUH behaviour, he embraced Islam.
Abu Hurairah’s mother who lived with him in Madinah, was an unbeliever. She used to abuse the Holy Prophet PBUH, about which Abu Hurairah complained to him, but he prayed for her.
The leader of the hypocrites Abdullah bin Ubbay and his followers embraced Islam but were not true Muslims. This behaviour at the time of the Battle of Uhad and other occasions was damaging to Islam, but the Holy Prophet PBUH always treated them with kindness.
The Jews were extremely hostile to the Muslim but the Holy Prophet PBUH was always kind to them. Once a Jew complained to the Prophet PBUH that a Muslim had slapped him. He called that Muslim and scolded him. Once, the funeral of a Jew was passing by and the Holy Prophet PBUH stood up as a mark of respect.
Once when the Holy Prophet PBUH was offering the morning prayers with his companions, some unbelievers came down from the mountain to kill the Muslims. They were caught and brought before the Holy Prophet who forgave them and set them free.
The unbelievers at Makkah had ill_treated the Holy Prophet PBUH and subjected him to the worst kinds of torture. They had brutally killed his uncle Hamza and wounded his daughter Zainab, which resulted in her death. They even planned to kill him. They made his life in Makkah miserable, compelling him to leave the town and migrate to Madinah. Then they launched a number of attacks on the Prophet PBUH and his followers. But when Makkah was conquered, he forgave every injury inflicted upon him and proclaimed a general pardon for everyone.
The believers entered Makkah peacefully, no house was looted and no woman dishonoured. He, who had been tortured, persecuted and harassed even in Madinah. forgave every injury suffered by him and his followers, thus proving that he was the Prophet of peace and blessing.
Treatment of animals
The Holy Prophet PBUH was very kind to animals. The Arabs were very cruel to them. It was common practice n Arabia to put a ring round the neck of a camel. People used to cut pieces of flesh from living animals tor eating. These practices were stopped on his orders. He also forbade people to keep animals in their working equipment for a long time. Animal fights were also made unlawful. Another Custom was to tie up animals and practice arrow shooting on them. This was also prohibited.
The Holy Prophet PBUH told the people to brand animals on those parts which were not tender. Anas reported that he saw the Prophet branding sheep on their ears. (Mishkat)
The Holy Prophet PBUH was so kind and gentle to animals that he advised his companions to be considerate even at the time of slaughtering them for food. He asked them to slaughter them with the sharpest weapon, causing minimum pain and suffering to the animal. He forbade them to sharpen the weapon in front of the animal or when it was ready for slaughter. (Mishkat)
Regarding animals, the Holy Prophet PBUH used to say: “Fear Allah in your treatment of these animals who cannot speak.” (Mishkat)