Ashley Belohlavek: Mohammad the Honest

Prophet Mohammad was known for being an honest man and an all-around role model to everyone in his community. Mohammad grew up an orphan and never learned to read or write, but he was a skilled mediator and a knowledgeable businessman. Mohammad was so successful as a religious and political leader for many reasons, one being the intense integrity he carried throughout his life. He was known for being honest, compassionate and patient, among other things. It was due to his strong character and leadership skills that Islam took the Arabian Peninsula by storm.

Along with his honesty and humility, Mohammad was praised for his great skills in mediation and peacemaking. On several occasions, Mohammad would be approached to help settle conflicts among community members. One very well known occasion was when the Ka’ba was being rebuilt and several Meccan tribes wanted their tribe to have the honor of placing the remains of the black stone, the holy stone sent from heaven used to rebuild the Ka’ba, in place with the great mosque. With Mohammad’s wisdom, the tribesmen were able to all take part in placing the black stone on the Ka’ba, all receiving the honor for their tribes.[i] His frequent role as mediator demonstrates Mohammad’s fairness and good judgment, as well as his selflessness. Another example of Prophet Mohammad’s peacemaking skills is his construction of The Constitution of Medina. Mohammad worked with Jewish tribes in Medina after the Muslims’ escape from Mecca in order to create a pact ensuring peacekeeping between the two religious groups. Not only does this go to show Mohammad’s peacemaking skills, but it also shows that he has no intention to alienate others based on their religious beliefs, but rather he would treat them as kinsmen (unless they break the peace, of course).

Another noteworthy trait of the Prophet was his patience. After the Hijaz, or Mohammad and his followers’ escape to Medina, Mohammad had to compromise on a treaty with the Quraysh of Mecca in order to give him and his followers a means to make their pilgrimage to the Ka’ba in Mecca. In this pact, the al-Hudaybiyya Peace Treaty, Meccans and Muslims had to agree to stay their weapons, but the Meccans refused to even let Mohammad speak of God as a compassionate and gentle being, which greatly upset Muslims.[ii] Even in the face of this insensitivity and religious intolerance, Mohammad agreed on these terms in order to secure passage for his people to continue to show devotion to God through the Hajj. Mohammad did not even act in self-defense until the point where the Meccans broke their side of the treaty, forcing Muslims to defend their right to religious practice and existence, ultimately. In this tough situation, Mohammad focused on his religious values, put the fate of his people first and demonstrated much patience with people attempting to undermine his piety and uproot the Islamic community. Another example of Mohammad’s patience is the clash he faced with Jews in Medina. As Mohammad was building the Muslim community in Medina, several Medinans clearly only joined his following in order to undermine his authority and weaken his efforts, and they were appropriately labeled the “hypocrites.”[iii]

Other admirable characteristics of the Prophet include his perseverance and his devotion to his beliefs. When Angel Gabriel first came to Mohammad in the cave in Mecca, Mohammad immediately went home to his wife to tell her about what he had learned, and from that moment on, he did not stop working to play his part in God’s plan, as he was told.[iv] At no point did Mohammad take matters into his own hands and make decisions for God, but instead he only sought guidance from God and waited for His instruction. Even in the face of severe backlash from his own kin, the Quraysh tribe in Mecca, and threats made on his life, he continued to lead the movement towards Islam and piety. He also never used jihad as reasoning to force anyone to convert to Islam or use it as an excuse to take life. However, it is also mentionable that during Mohammad’s siege of Medinan territory from Jewish power, he ordered his followers to “Kill any Jew who falls into your power.”[v] While this isn’t exactly conservation of life, I think Mohammad only ordered the killing of Jews because the Muslims had already been threatened by the Jewish tribes, and Mohammad wasn’t commanding his followers to actively seek out Jews to kill, but only in the event that they cross paths with the enemy, who are the Jews in this case. Even in the event of assassination attempts, Mohammad never once succumbed to fear or fatigue, and he continued to do his part, spreading the word of God within Mecca and Medina as well.

Lastly, Mohammad presented himself as a compassionate and peaceful leader in general. As previously mentioned, Mohammad and his followers faced severe backlash in Mecca for their beliefs and Mohammad’s teachings. At no point during this difficult period of time did Mohammad ever instruct harm to be brought on his oppressors and harassers. Mohammad was also not a leader feared by his people. He never used fear or pain as a means to convert anyone to Islam or to manipulate anyone, which would be an abuse of the concept of jihad.

Prophet Mohammad has gone down in Islamic history as an admirable and compassionate leader due largely to the unshakeable integrity he earned for himself. Mohammad was such a successful leader because of his incredible patience with people who disagreed with him and/or wanted him dead, his ability to objectively guide people in order to make mutually beneficial decisions for all parties involved in conflict, and he was also endlessly devoted to his merciful God. Mohammad strove to represent his God on Earth by being a merciful and empathetic person like he believed his God to be.

[i] Brown, pg 54

[ii] Mahallati, 9-9-16 lecture

[iii] Brown, pg 61

[iv] Brown, pg 55

[v] Brown, pg 63

 

Works Cited

Brown, Daniel W. A New Introduction To Islam. 2nd ed. Oxford, UK. Wiley-Blackwell, 2009. Print

Mahallati, Jafar. 9 September. 2016. Lecture