The Islamic Prophet led a life of simplicity and poverty. His house, built of mud walls and thatched with date-palm leaves, often remained dark for want of oil for the lamp. At times he did not even have the flour with which to prepare bread.
When he grew up he earned a great reputation for his honesty and integrity. He always fulfilled his promises. Because he was extremely trustworthy, he became known as Al-Amin.
While Mohammed was serving a sick slave, the latter asked, "Has my master sent you to look after me ?"
"Yes," said Mohammed, "the master of masters has sent me to serve you."
One day, a dying dog approached a follower of Mohammed. The man had no means with which to procure water for the dog, for wells in the desert dry up quickly. He noticed a small pool of muddy water in the vicinity. He tore his shirt, soaked it in the water, placed the dog in his lap and moistened its mouth with the wet cloth. Another Arab who saw this went to the Prophet and said, "One of your followers has touched a filthy animal, a dog, and should therefore not be allowed back here again."
Mohammed questioned, "What was he doing to the dog ?"
"I do not know, but I saw him moistening its mouth with a torn piece of cloth dipped in muddy water," replied the man.
"He is a better Muslim than you are, because he is kind to animals," said the Prophet.
When Mohammed was in Mecca once, a poor shepherd from the hills came to worship in the mosque. He worshipped in his own simple way, performing the necessary ablution, kissing the stone and bowing before the sacred spot. Tears flowed from his eyes as he prayed:
"O adorable Lord of love, show me Thy face. Let me be thy servant. Let me mend Thy shoes, apply oil to Thy hair, wash Thy soiled clothes and bring Thee daily the milk of my goat. Let me kiss Thy hand and shampoo Thy sacred Feet. Let me sweep Thy room."
Such simple words of the honest and straightforward shepherd offended the priests who stood near him. They said to him, "What blasphemy is this ? There is no need of such gifts for the omnipotent Lord."
They were ready to drive him out of the temple, when the Prophet called them to him and asked, "When you are in distant lands, in which direction do you turn your faces ?"
"We turn our faces to Mecca," they answered in reply.
He further asked, "When you are within this sacred walls, in which direction do you turn your faces ?"
"All is holy here," they replied. "It does not matter which way we turn."
The Prophet then said, "Your answer is beautiful indeed. Within the mosque it does not matter how you pray, as long as you have love and reverence. This poor shepherd's simple prayer entered directly into the ears of Allah more clearly than yours, as it was uttered from his heart with intense love, faith, sincerity and reverence. Make room for God's poor lover near me. Let no one be ashamed to have his company. He is humble, pure and an exalted soul."
Mohammed had great compassion and love. He served the widows and orphans, the poor, sick, aged and homeless. Once, he met an old, impoverished widow. Mohammed said to his wife, "My beloved, give food to this old woman first and then you may eat."
When the Prophet saw a blind woman stumbling in the street in Mecca, he led her gently home and thereafter took meals to her daily.
One day, he saw a woman with a heavy load on her head. At once he relieved her of her burden and carried it on his own head to her house.
Mohammed was humble and simple. Although he was a Prophet with a large following he worked along with others like an ordinary labourer during the construction of the first mosque at Medina. He mended his own shoes, milked the cows, swept the house, purchased provisions, tethered and fed the camels. He never laughed loudly but simply smiled. He had an attractive face and a charming smile. He respected the poor and restored freedom to many slaves.
The holy Koran, divided into more than one hundred chapters, opens and ends with the subject of the unity of God. The religion of Islam is essentially a religion of peace, for Mohammed was a lover of peace and non-violence. (Complete article)