PROPHET MUHAMMAD’S ﷺ HUMBLENESS
Among his numerous good attributes humbleness and simplicity acquired a high and distinguished position. Despite his position as leader, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) never behaved as if he was greater or better than other people. He never made people feel small, unwanted or embarrassed. He urged his followers to live kindly and humbly. He released slaves whenever he could and gave charity, especially to very poor people, and orphans, without waiting for any reward.
Prophet Muhammad was a perfect model of modesty and humbleness. He never spoke loudly or in an unseemly manner. In the market, he always passed by the people quietly with a smile. Whenever he heard anything undesirable in an assembly, he did not say anything out of respect for the people, but the color of his face showed his feelings and the Companions became cautious.
The Messenger of Allaah lived a simple and modest life, both in Makkah as a trader before his prophethood, and in Al-Madeenah as the head of the State after being appointed Allaah’s Messenger. The change in his social status from that of a trader in Makkah to the head of the State in Al-Madeenah did not bring any change in his modest living. `Umar reported the Prophet as saying: "Do not exaggerate in praising me as the Christians praised the son of Mary, for I am only a Slave. So, call me the Slave of Allah and His Apostle." Sahih al-Bukhari 3445 (Vol 4:654)
The Prophet did not behave towards others as if he was better than they were, nor did he spurn manual work. `Abdullaah bin Abi `Awfa reported that the Prophet of Allaah never disdained to go with a slave or a widow to accomplish his or her tasks. Others reported that the Prophet used to tidy up his house, tie the camels, feed the animals, take food with his servants, and help them in kneading dough and bringing provisions from the market. Saheeh Al-Bukhari, 676, and Musnad Ahmad, 25517
Anas reported that the Prophet of Allaah used to visit the sick, attend funerals, Muwatta’ Malek, 531 ride on a donkey and accept a slave's invitation for a meal. Jaabir stated that the Prophet used to slow down his pace for the sake of the weak and also prayed for them.
When `Adiyy bin Haatim came to see the Prophet he called him inside his house. A maidservant brought a cushion to rest on, but the Prophet placed it between him and `Adiyy and sat down on the floor. `Adiyy later said that he had then immediately realized that the Prophet was not a king.
As for the Messenger of Allah (salAllahu alayhi wassalam), then a weak slave-girl would meet him on his way and complain of her owners’ oppression and the amount of work she had to do. The Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wassalam) would set out with her to see her owners and to mediate on her behalf. He used to say, “No one with an atom’s weight of arrogance will enter Paradise!” Sunan Ibn Majah Vol. 1, Book 1, Hadith 59
A similar incident was reported by `Abdullaah bin `Amr bin Al-`Aas who said: “Once when the Messenger of Allaah came to my house, I gave him a cushion filled with bark, but he sat down on the floor placing the cushion between me and him.” Sahih al-Bukhari 6277 (Vol. 8, Book 74, Hadith 294)
Anas bin Malik said: "Once, while we were sitting with the Messenger of God ﷺin the Masjid, a man on his camel approached. After he tied it with a rope, he asked: ‘Who amongst you is Muhammad?’ The Messenger of God ﷺwas sitting on the ground while he was leaning, with his Companions. We directed the Bedouin, saying: ‘This white man leaning on the ground.’ The Prophet ﷺdid not differ nor distinguish himself from his Companions." SunanAbiDawud 486 (Book 2, Hadith 486)
Prophet Muhammad was humble in all things. Anas said that the Prophet would accept an invitation even if he was presented barley bread and soup whose taste had changed. He also reported the Prophet as saying: "I am Allaah's slave, I eat like a slave and sit like a slave.''
On one of his journeys, the Prophet, asked his companions to roast a goat. One said that he would slaughter the animal; another said that he would skin it, while a third said that he would cook it. The Prophet then said that he would collect wood for fuel. Their response was: “O Messenger of Allaah! We will do everything.” The Prophet then said: “I have no doubt that you will. But I do not like distinctions to be made, nor does Allaah like any one of His servants to assert his superiority over his companions.”
Abu Tharr Al-Ghifaari narrates that one day he was sitting with another companion of black complexion whom he addressed as: “O black man.” When the Prophet heard of this, he was greatly displeased and cautioned Abu Tharr never to make scornful remarks to anyone, whoever he might be, and to accord equal treatment to all, adding: “No white man has any superiority over a black man.”
The Prophet once saw a wealthy Muslim gathering up his loose garments so that a certain distance would be kept between himself and a poor Muslim sitting close by. He remarked: “Do you fear that his poverty will cling to you?”
The Prophet lived like any ordinary person, and did not assume any superior rights. He once had to borrow some money from a Jew called Zayd bin Sana’a. The Jew came to demand the immediate return of the loan a few days before the expiry of the stipulated period. Tugging at the mantle around the Prophet’s shoulders, he jibed that the progeny of ‘Abd Al-Muttalib were always defaulters.
`Umar not being able to tolerate this misbehavior on the part of the Jew, started berating him, and was on the point of beating him when the Prophet said to the Jew, smiling: “There are still three days to go before the promise has to be fulfilled.” To ‘Umar he said: “We might have had better treatment from you. You could have advised me to be more careful about the return of loans and you could have advised the Jew to be more courteous in demanding repayment.” He then requested ‘Umar to get some dates so that the loan could be repaid, and to give the Jew an extra forty kilograms for the rebuke he had been given.
We can say that humbleness is seen in every sphere of the Prophet’s life. His way of talking, walking, sitting, eating and every aspect of his life reflected humbleness.