In order to understand the message of Islam, it is first necessary to acquaint ourselves with the prophet of Islam. You cannot, as the popular saying goes, separate the message from the messenger. It is therefore only natural to wish to study the life of Muhammad (pbuh), his manners and his morals, and to see how Islam manifested itself in his person as a living example for all Muslims till the end of time.
Abu Hurairah described him as follows:
"He was of medium build, closer to being tall. His skin was extremely white, his beard was black, his mouth was pleasant, his eyebrows were long, and his shoulders were wide"
Ibne Malik said:
"I never touched silk or any soft fabric equal to the softness of his palm, and I never smelled a scent more pleasing than his."Read more...
Abu Hurayra reported that he heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, "No human child has ever spoken in the cradle except for 'Isa ibn Maryam, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and the companion of Jurayj." Abu Hurayra asked, "Prophet of Allah, who was the companion of Jurayj?" The Prophet replied, "Jurayj was a monk who lived in a hermitage. There was a cowherd who used to come to the foot of his hermitage and a woman from the village used to come to the cowherd.
"One day his mother came while he was praying and called out, 'Jurayj!' He asked himself, 'My mother or my prayer?' He concluded that he should prefer the prayer. She shouted to him a second time and he again asked himself, 'My mother or my prayer?' He thought that he should prefer the prayer. She shouted a third time and yet again he asked himself, 'My mother or my prayer?' He again concluded that he should prefer the prayer. When he did not answer her, she said, 'Jurayj, may Allah not let you die until you have looked at the faces of the beautiful women.' Then she left.
"Then the village woman was brought before the king after she had given birth to a child. He asked, 'Whose is it?' 'Jurayj's,' she replied. He asked, 'The man in the hermitage?' 'Yes,' she answered. He ordered, 'Destroy his hermitage and bring him to me.' They hacked at his hermitage with axes until it collapsed. They bound his hand to his neck with a rope and took him along to the king. When he passed by the beautiful women, he saw them and smiled. They were looking at him along with the people.
"The king asked, 'Do you know what this woman claims?' 'What does she claim?' he asked. He replied, 'She claims that you are the father of her child.' He asked her, 'Where is the child?' They replied, 'It is in her room.' He went to the child and said, 'Who is your father?' 'The cowherd,' he replied. The king said, 'Shall we build your hermitage out of gold?' 'No,' he replied. He asked, 'Of silver?' 'No,' he replied. The king asked, 'What shall we build it with?' He said, 'Put it back the way you found it.' Then the king asked, 'What made you smile.' 'Something I recognised,' he replied, 'The supplication of my mother overtook me.' Then he told him about it."
Taken from Parents: Al-Adab al-Mufrad Al-Bukhari
Muhammad (s.a.a.w.) preached to the people to trust in Allah (swt). His whole life was a sublime example of the precept. In the loneliness of Makkah, in the midst of persecution and danger, in adversity and tribulations, and in the thick of enemies in the battles of Uhud and Hunain, complete faith and trust in Allah (swt) appears as the dominant feature in his life. However great the danger that confronted him, he never lost hope and never allowed himself to be unduly agitated. Abu Talib knew the feelings of the Quraish when the Prophet (s.a.a.w.) started his mission. He also knew the lengths to which the Quraish could go, and requested the Prophet (s.a.a.w.) to abandon his mission, but the latter calmly replied,
"Dear uncle, do not go by my loneliness. Truth will not go unsupported for long. The whole of Arabia and beyond will one day espouse its cause." [Ibn Hisham, Sirat-ur-Rasul]
Taken from "The Life of Muhammad" by Muhammad Husayn Haykal,
translated by Dr. Ismail Ragi A. al Faruqi
Nature of Islamic Zakat
Through prayer and fasting exercises which rest on a base of the widest and deepest possible scientific knowledge of the world, man may reach awareness of the pattern of the cosmos and a penetration of its secrets. In consequence, man may discover his place as well as that of his fellow men in the cosmos. His love for them and their love for him will increase with this realization. In service to God, they will cooperate with one another for the good and reinforce one another's piety; the strong will protect the weak, and the rich will share their bounty with the poor. But that is precisely the zakat. To do more than it requires is charity. The Qur'an joins zakat to prayer in many places. Some of the following verses have already been quoted
"But righteousness consists in being convinced of the existence and unity of God, of the reality of the Day of Judgment, of the angels, the Book, the Prophets; in giving of one's wealth lovingly to the next of kin, the orphan, the destitute, the wayfarer, the poor, the slave; and in holding the prayer and giving the zakat." [Qur'an, 2:277] The Most High also says: "Observe the prayer and remit the zakat and kneel with those who pray." [Qur'an, 2:43] Further, God-may He be adored-says: "Those believers have done well and achieved felicity who hold their prayers with reverence, abstain from gossip, and complete their payment of zakat," [Qur'an, 23:1-4] etc., etc.
Concerning zakat and charity, the Qur'an talks at length, clearly and emphatically. It has classified charity among the highest virtues deserving of the greatest rewards; indeed, it has placed charity alongside the conviction of God, thus leading us to believe that the two are equal. Addressing His angels regarding a man who violated the duty of charity, God said
"Take him away. Fetter him and cast him into the fire that he may broil therein. Bind him in long and heavy chains that he may not move. For he did not believe in God Almighty, nor did he urge the feeding of the poor." [Qur'an, 69:30-34]
Similarly, God said: "And give glad tidings to the humble, whose hearts are filled with reverential fear whenever God is mentioned, who patiently endure whatever befalls them, who observe the prayer and spend of that which We have provided for them." [Qur'an, 22:34-35]. Further, God-may He be blessed and adored-says: "Those who spend of their wealth at night and during the day, in secret and in public, have their reward with God. They have reason neither to fear nor to grieve." [Qur'an, 2:274]