Relationship between relativity of morality and the Holy Prophet’s behaviour -3

The least they did was to frighten people by their pompous appearance, thereby commanding respect. The Commander of the Faithful, Ali ( A.S), says in Nahj al- balaghah that God does not equip His prophets with such worldly pomps and glories and they themselves do not like them either. He further adds that Moses ( A.S) and his brother Haroun Pharaoh dressed in all simplicity and in the most humble way to call him to submit to God. He says:

“ When Musa son of “Imam went to Pharaoh along with his brother Haroun ( Aaron) wearing ( coarse) shirts of wool and holding sticks in their hands, they guaranteed him retention of his country and continuity of his honour if he if he submitted: but he said: “Do you not wonder at these two men guaranteeing me the continuity of my honour and the retention of my country although you see their poverty and lowliness. Otherwise, why do not have gold bangles on their wrists?” He said so, feeling proud of his gold and collected possessions, and considering wool and its cloth as valueless. When Allah, the Glorified, deputed His prophets, if He has wished to open for them treasures and mines of gold ( surround them with) planted gardens and collect around them birds of the skies and beasts of the earth, He could have done so. If he had done so then there would have been no trial, no recompense and no tidings ( about the affairs of the next would). Those who accepted ( His message ) could not be given the recompense falling due after trial, and the believers could not deserve the reward for good acts, and all these words would not have retained their meanings. But Allah, the Glorified, makes His prophets firm in their determination and gives them weakness of appearance as seen by the eyes, along with contentment that fills the hearts and eyes with care freeness and sufficiency without avarice.

If the prophets possessed authority that could not be assaulted, or honour that could not be damaged or domains towards which the necks of people would turn, it would have been very easy for people to seek lessons and quite difficult to feel vanity. They would have been accepted belief out of fear felt them or inclination attracting then, and the intention of them all would have been the same, although their actions would have been different. Therefore, Allah, the Glorified, decided that people should follow His prophets acknowledge his books, remain humble before His face, obey His Command and accept His obedience with sincerity in which there should not be an iota of any thing else, and as the trial and tribulation would be stiffer, the reward and recompense too should be larger (Ash-Sharif Ar- Radi , Nahjal-balaghah of Ali, Vo,.2 (Tehran: world Organization of Islamic Services,1979 pp.4-6-407.)

Pharaoh could not understand how Moses and Aaron with their shabby dresses and dry sticks in their hands wanted him to submit to their Allah or surrender with humility and lose his greatness. They made conditions, as if they were sure of victory. Pharaoh though. if these men had a successful future, wouldn’t they have had a better appearance, gold jewels and pompous formalities?

Money seemed to pharaoh to be a factor of greatness while worn- out dresses to be signs of inferiority. Thus, he thought that if Moses and his brother were in contact with Allah, they would be granted gold, and treasures ten times more than what he possessed.

In the last quotation, Ali (A.S), referring to the philiosophy behind the deputation of the prophets and why Allah does not equip them with worldly splendors, expresses the reality that if provides them with such things, freedom of choice will perish and belief in God will be compulsive for the sake of gold and money – Such a faith he says, is acceptable by all people, but it is not the true one. True faith is the one entailing purity of intent and free-will. God can grant prophets command over animals, as he did for Solomon, order birds to begin their flight from above their heads, thereby removing any doubt as to their prophethood. Belief originating from miracles entails compulsion. But such beliefs are not results of intelligent choice, as true belief is not rooted in force or compulsion.

As to wonders and miracles, it should be stated that they are desirable so for as they help prophets give reasons for their claims. Beyond this m they would result in anarchy, with every one expecting a miacle to be performed for his persons benefits, i. e. changing iron into gold and so forth.

“Effort” and “ Being free of need” as the two factors of the Prophets
On the whole, it should be emphasized once more that God keeps away worldly pomps and splendors from his prophets and they in turn do not seek and care for them either. Whatever power or influence is gives to prophets by God, lies merely in their dauntless courage and firm determination. This is way Moses stands against pharaoh with his simple staff and rosary and speaks to him with impressing firmness. In fact, God bestows upon his prophets such contentment that their eyes and hearts are satiated even with meager provision, which results in simplicity of if that can smash false pomps and glories of pharaohs to pieces.

The story of Diogenes inattention to Macedonian Alexander
It is recorded in books of history that after the conquest of Iran and many other countries, Alexander, the Macedonian, was honored and prostrated by all people excepting the famous philosopher of his time, Diogenes, who was called “ Biozhank” by Muslims and to whom Moulavi refers in an outstanding poem of the Divan-i- Sham, saying:

“Yesterday the Sheikh searched the town with a light,
Being fed up with demons, desiring human sight,
“That cannot be found, we’ve searched,” he was told.
“That which cannot be found I aspire day and night”!

In any case, all and were allowed in Alexander’s presence to pay their homage to him. Diogenes however refused to do so. Alexander eventually decided to visit him in person. He set out for the desert, accompanied by great number of his men, for Diogenes did not possess a house (he lived in a large tub) On approaching, they found him taking a’ sun bath ‘ as it is called today. They got so close to him that the neighing of horses and the sound of rattles claimed Diogenes’ attention. He sat up for a while but soon laid down again, paying no heed to them. Finally Alexander came forward. Diogenes stood up and they exchanged a few words. The Alexander asked him if there was any thing he could do for him to relieve him of the miserable conditions in which he lived Diogenes replied: “Yes, you can stand out of my light and let me see the sun”. Alexander returned and the commanders of his army remarked that what a fool Diogenes had been in not asking for any thing from the greatestemperor of the world. But having been seriously humiliated by Diogenes high spirit Alexander expressed something which history has preserved. He said: “Had I not been Alexander, I would have preferred to do Diogenes.” The reality, however, is that he would have liked to be Diogenes even while he was Alexander.

The principle of simplicity and contentment in manner of the religious opponents
In short, it is God’s Will that prophets seek simplicity and contentment. They won hearts not with superficial pomp and glory, but rather, with spiritual magnificence coupled with simplicity. They Holy Prophet of Islam despised worldly phantoms and fought them throughout his life. When he decided for example to set out for a place, he would not allow his companions to escort him. If he rode a horse, he would enjoin others not to follow him on foot and ask them to either go in advance or come later or ride on the same horse if possible. He never permitted anyone to follow him on foot while he was riding on horse back, considering it is as improper behaviour, Whenever he held meetings with his companions, he would ask them to sit in a circle so that everyone would be in an equal position. He would never take the seat of honor in sittings to prevents others from feeling inferior to him. He always adhered to simplicity till last breath, and he deemed this imperative as a leader. Ali (A.S) did the same during his caliphate, for Islam prohibits Muslim leaders to be pompous. Their magnificence lies in their spirituality and contentment, not in their physique. At the time of his reign, the commander of the faithful once traveled to Ctesiphon and visited the remains of the famous place of Anushirvan, the Sassanian King. There, one of the companions recited an Arabic poem about the disloyalty of the world, that kings departed and left their places behind. Ali (A.S) asked that man to recite the following verses of the Holy Quran instead:

“How many a garden and fountain did they quit!
And corn fields and noble dwellings!
And pleasures wherein they rejoiced! The Holy Quran: ( 44:25-27)

When Ali (A.S) entered the border territory of Persia, a group of elders and heads of peasants, having been informed of his arrival, went to welcome him, and as per their customs, began to run ahead of him. Ali (A.S) stopped them. asking why they did so. They replied: “We usually respect our nobles in this way and so we do for you.”

Ali (A.S) said:

“ You actually humiliate yourself in this way, not benefiting the nobles in the least. I am disgusted by such acts, for I am just a human being as you are and you free beings. Why then do you act thus?” We therefore see how Ali (A.S), like the Holy Prophet (S), led a simple life with trivial means of sustenance.

some stories about the simple life of the Holy Prophet (p.b. u.h)
There is a tradition by Sunni brethren as well that Umar Ibn Al- Khattab ( the second caliph after the Prophet) once entered the Holy Prophet’s room, after the latter had given his wives the choice to be either patient and get on with a simple life or choose divorce. The story goes that some of the Prophet’s wives had complained to him about the very simple they were leading and asked him to provide a big share of the booty that he had received. The Prophet told them that his life would be a simple one up to the end, and that they had to get along with it, otherwise, he would divorce them and fulfil their demand. They unanimously said that they preferred to live a simply life.

Now, upon being informed of this matter and of the Holy Prophet’s annoyance in this respect, Umar sought the Prophet’s presence. He reached the Prophet’s door, but was refused admittance by a black servant acting as a porter.

Umar asked the man to inform the Prophet that he (Umar) was at the door. The man went and came back saying that Prophet said nothing. Umar sought permission of the second time and on the third time, he was finaly allowed in.

Umar is reported to have said: “I entered and saw that the Holy Prophet was resting in room on a mat of date fibers its only furniture. Seeing me, the Prophet moved from his place and I noticed the coarse impressions that the mat had left on his sacred body. I felt uneasy and asked why he had to live in this way. Why, while the Kesras (Sassanian kings ) and the Ceasars ( Roman Emperors) were enjoying God’s bounties and affluence, he as the Prophet of God, was leading such a simple life? My remarks annoyed the Holy Prophet and, standing up, he said, “What nonsense do you mention? Has the world displayed itself and captivated you and enticed your eyes? Do you think that lack worldly possessions is deprivation to me and do you imagine that having them is blessing ? I swear by God that all such thing will be owned by Muslims in the future, but these are not something to be proud of.”

Simplicity and generousity of Hazrat Zhara [Daughter of the Holy Prophet of Islam]
Such was the Holy Prophet ‘s way of life, and when he passed away, he did not have any of the wordly properties to be inherited by his only daughter, Hadrat Fatima although human affection usually causes one to leave something behind for one’s off springs? On the contrary, once the Holy Prophet ( S) entered the house of Fatima ( on whom be God’s peace) and noticed that she had adorned her had with silver bracelet and her room with a precious colorful curtain, he immediately left without making any remark, despite his deep love for her. At this Fatima felt that her father did not like to possess even that much for at that very time, lived Suffa Companions’ ( newly- converted poor Muslims who lacked shelter and lived in shed constructed for them adjoining the Mouque of the Prophet in Medina). So, she asked someone to take the bracelet and the curtain to the Prophet. That person met the Prophet and said, “O Messenger of Allah! Your daughter has sent these to you to spend them as you like.” The Holy Prophet (S) was very delighted and said, “I would love to lay down my life for her.”

For Fatima’s wedding, only one new shirt was bought, and she had an old one too. On that same night, a beggar knocked on her door and said, “I am naked. Isn’t there anyone to dress me?” No one bothered to give her anything.

Fatima, who was the bride, immediately took off her new shirt in privacy, wore the old one gave the new shirt to the beggar, for these and other means of glory were of no significance to her. If she once tried to take Fadak, it was only on the ground the Islam prescribes administration of justice. It was not due to the economic worth of that land. Had she not endeavored to do so, she would have actually surrendered to oppression, which is a sin. Fadak was in fact worthy for Fatima but merely from a legal point of view, not from a material standpoint. If Fadak was of the least material value to Fatima, it was only to help the poor and the needy from its income, otherwise, she, her father. her husband and her children had all such magnanimity as to sacrifice bounties many times the value of Fadak to please God.

Thus, we see that Fatima also followed the ways and manners of her honorable father throughout her short life time.


Sources :

  1. noble character of the Holy prophet of islam- pages: 62to72

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