15 Nov Hilm (Gentleness).Part5
- Likewise, our Prophet treated all those under his authority and in his service with the utmost gentleness; he did not get angry with them or hurt their feelings.
Even if they were negligent in their duties or did not do what they said they would, he would only inquire with kindness and polite consideration.
Anas ibn Malik, who was in his service for many years, spoke of the akhlaq of the Prophet:
“I served the Messenger for ten years. He never once showed impatience with me, never reproved me for neglecting to do something, nor ever asked me why I had done something I was not supposed to do.”
Anas recalled one time when the Prophet had to admonish him for neglecting his duty,
“The Messenger of God sent me out one day with a task. At first I said, ‘By God, I cannot go.’ But in wardly I felt compelled to go wherever he sent me. I went out, and then I came across some children playing on the street. I forgot myself and started playing with them. Then the Prophet came up behind me, and put his hand on my head. I looked at his face, and he was smiling. ‘Dear Anas, did you go where I sent you?’ he asked. ‘Yes, I am going, O Messenger of God,’ I said.”
The Prophet’s wife Aisha said that the Prophet once advised her,
“O Aisha, be gentle. For wherever gentleness is found, its presence beautifies, but wherever gentleness is absent, its absence is ugly.”
- Our Prophet’s true courage and heroism was not in the physical strength to overpower, but in the knowledge and ability to stay calm when something upset him and to act gently even when he was offended.
‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud relates,
“The Messenger of God said, ‘Who among you do you call a hero?’ We answered, ‘One whom the wrestlers cannot defeat; one who cannot be overcome.’ He re- plied, ‘No, that is not a hero. The hero is one who can control himself when offended, the one who always practices self-mastery and temperance.’”
- From this perspective, Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, was a hero in the true sense of the word.
He could not be defeated by his enemies in this aspect as well; those who sought to defeat his self-control, to overwhelm his restraint, could not do so. Instead, God’s Messenger responded to wrongs done against his person with forbearance.
According to a narration of Jarir ibn ‘Abdullah, the Prophet said,
“Without a doubt, God rewards gentleness and kindness, not harshness and roughness. And when God loves one of His servants, He grants them the blessing of gentleness. A person or household bereft of this blessing is bereft of everything.”
The “gentleness and kindness” referred to here means a mature morality which requires, on principle, that one never loses one’s temper. To get irritated and fly into a rage at any time is totally contrary to the nature of hilm, which entails a gentle and morally upright character. Thus, disciplining oneself in this one area—by cooling a quick temper and avoiding irritability—can bring a great number of positive effects and make great changes in one’s morality.
Abdur Rahman ibn Awf relates,
“Once someone came to our Prophet and asked, ‘O Messenger of God! Teach me words with which I can attain comfort and peace. But let them be brief, so I won’t forget.’ The Prophet replied, ‘Don’t lose your temper!’”
Our Beloved Prophet taught us that there is also a satanic side to anger, and gave a practical solution:
- “Anger is from Satan, and Satan is created from fire. Fire can only be put out with water. For this reason, when you become angry, make ablutions.”
- Another helpful solution from the Prophet is, “When one of you becomes angry, if he is standing, let him immediately sit down. If his anger passes, good; if it does not, let him lie down.”