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  • Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

Muhammad, The Ideal Character

The Prophet of Islam was a man like other men. Joyous things would please him, while tragic things would sadden him. But his humanity would not go beyond the limits set by God.

Towards the end of his life a handsome, healthy son was born to him, whom he named Ibrahim after his most illustrious ancestor. The news of the birth was conveyed to him by Abu Rafi, and the Prophet was so overjoyed that he immediately presented him with a slave. Like any other father, he used to take the child in his lap and fondle him. By Arab custom he was handed over to a wet nurse to be brought up. This woman’s name was Umm Bardah, the daughter of Mundhir, and she was the wife of a blacksmith. Quite often her small house would be filled with smoke, but this did not deter the Prophet from paying frequent visits to his son. Tragically, this child did not survive. He died at the age of one and a half in the tenth year after the Prophet had emigrated to Madinah. Just like any other ordinary man, the Prophet wept at his son’s death. He had the same feelings and aspirations as any father might have, but this in no way diminished his trust in God. He held fast to it and in his sorrow exclaimed, “By God! Oh Ibrahim, I am sad at your death. Tears are falling from my eyes and there is anguish in my heart, but, I will say nothing that may displease my Lord.’

On the day of Ibrahim’s death, there was a solar eclipse. A belief had been handed down from ancient times that solar and lunar eclipses were occasioned by the deaths of important personages. The people of Madinah, therefore, began talking of the death of the Prophet’s son as being the cause of solar eclipse. The Prophet then assembled the people and addressed them: “The sun and moon do not go into eclipse because of the death of any human being. They are two portents amongst the portents of God. When an eclipse occurs, you should busy yourself in prayers.’’

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