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...
"By the grace of Allah, you are gentle towards the people; if you had been stern and ill-tempered, they would have dispersed from round about you" [Qur'an 3:159]
About himself the Prophet (pbuh) said:
"Allah has sent me as an apostle so that I may demonstrate perfection of character, refinement of manners and loftiness of deportment." [Muwatta; Musnad; Mishkat]
"Fear Allah in your treatment of animals." [Abu Dawood]A companion came to him with the young ones of a bird in his sheet and said that the mother bird had hovered over them all along. He was directed to replace her offspring in the same bush (Mishkat, Abu Dawood)
During a journey, somebody picked up some birds eggs. The bird's painful note and fluttering attracted the attention of the Prophet (pbuh), who asked the man to replace the eggs. [Sahih Bukhari]
As his army marched towards Makkah to conquer it, they passed a female dog with puppies. The Prophet (pbuh) not only gave orders that they should not be disturbed, but posted a man to see that this was done.
He stated, "Verily, there is heavenly reward for every act of kindness done to a living animal."Read more...
Taken from "The Life of Muhammad" by Muhammad Husayn Haykal,
translated by Dr. Ismail Ragi A. al Faruqi
Muslim Views in the Age of Decline
It was this situation, so well analyzed by Shaykh Muhammad `Abduh, that led to the propagation among the Muslims of contradictory principles which their authors claimed to be Islamic and falsely attributed to the Prophet. One of these principles is the doctrine of determinism which later Muslims interpreted in a way which runs counter to the Qur'anic spirit. In the foregoing pages, we have seen how the Qur'an understood that doctrine. Departing from that understanding, the advocates of those specious doctrines taught the virtues of surrender and stagnation. They preached that each man's life is not the result of striving and planning but is predetermined so that man cannot affect its outcome. Such is the false determinism which enables the western critics of Islam to impute to Islam that of which it is innocent. Another such principle is the contempt of matter and condemnation of its pursuit. This was the view of the Greek stoics which spread at certain periods among some Muslims despite its contradiction to the whole tenor of the Qur'anic message expressed in the command, "And do not forget to pursue your share of this world [Qur'an, 28-77]
.Despite its contradiction of the Qur'an, this principle even produced a large body of literature in the `Abbasi period and thereafter. The Qur'an in fact calls for the reasonable satisfaction of all wants. It does not tolerate self-deprivation any more than it tolerates indulgence and license. And yet, Irving falsely supposes that Islam engulfed the Muslims in luxury, distracted them from self-exertion in war and, indeed, brought the Muslim peoples to the state of decline in which they find themselves today.