An Iron Will


In the Name of Allah, the extremely Merciful at this very moment, and the extremely Merciful at all times.

With the Name of Allah, the extremely Merciful at this very moment, and the extremely Merciful at all times

Why do Muslims love the Prophet Muhammad (saw)?

Because he overcame significant adversity with an iron will and is a symbol of perseverance.

Before he was even born, the Prophet (saw) had already lost his father.  When he was at the tender age of 6, he lost his mother.  His care was then assumed by his grandfather, who passed away when the Prophet (saw) was just 8.

Sometimes we complain about our parent’s expectations of us, their strictness, and their excessive worries.  Consider how different your life would be without them.  To lose the one person who loves you the most in the world- your mother- at any age is a difficult test; but to lose her as a child, that is a test unimaginable.  To lose any caretaker at any age hurts, and to lose three within the first ten years of life would be severely debilitating.  Many would give up and accept their “bad luck” in life or lapse into severe depression and never be able to bounce back.  But the Prophet (saw) persevered, and never let the losses of his loved ones paralyze him.

His adversity however, did not stop there.  In the year 619 the Prophet (saw) lost two of his closest loved ones.  In this “Year of Sorrow,” the Prophet (saw) lost his caretaker of forty years after his grandfather passed, who protected him like a wachtower from his staunchest enemies and loved him as his own son, his uncle Abu Talib.   Abu Talib however, died without accepting Islam, even at the persistence of the Prophet (saw) to just whisper the declaration of faith into his ear.  Even so, the Prophet (saw) was deeply affected by his uncle’s death.

Shortly after this incident, the Prophet (saw) lost his love, his best friend for 25 years, the first person to accept Islam and the one who loved, supported, and struggled with him through the trials of life, who wrapped and comforted him in the cloth after he received the first message, his wife Khadijah.  Khadijah- one of the mothers of the believers- the one the Prophet (saw) spoke so fondly of and remembered many years after her passing.  He once said of her:

“She believed in me when none else did. She embraced Islam when people disbelieved me. And she helped and comforted me in her person and wealth when there was none else to lend me a helping hand. I had children from her only.” [Musnad Imam Ahmad 6/118]

The test of losing one’s best friend and wife is extremely difficult, and to lose her in the same year as a primary caretaker and at a time where Islam and its adherents were persecuted the most must have added extreme pressure and stress on the Prophet (saw) and could have jeopardized his entire mission.

Yet he persevered.

Sometime after the year of sorrow, the Prophet (saw) lost his uncle Hamzah (ra) in the Battle of Badr.  Hamzah (ra) – the lion of Allah- had strengthened Islam in its early beginnings with his conversion some years prior and was an intimidating force for the enemies of Islam.

Among these tragedies and tests was the death of his three sons in infancy.  Losing one son is hard enough, but to lose three is another huge test and roadblock that could have paralyzed the Prophet (saw).  To add to the toll, amongst his four daughters, only one outlived him.

Yet he persevered.

The Prophet (saw) was no robot; he felt emotion on these losses.  Anas ibn Malik (ra) narrates on the occasion of Ibrahim’s (one of the sons of the Prophet (saw)) death:

“We went with the Prophet (saw) to the blacksmith Abu Saif, and he was the husband of the wet-nurse of Ibrahim.  The Prophet (saw) took Ibrahim and kissed him and smelled him and later we entered Abu Saif’s house and at that time Ibrahim was in his last breaths, and the eyes of the Prophet (saw) started shedding tears. `Abdur Rahman bin `Awf (ra) said, “O Allah’s Apostle, even you are weeping!” He said, “O Ibn `Awf, this is mercy.” Then he wept more and said, “The eyes are shedding tears and the heart is grieved, and we will not say except what pleases our Lord, O Ibrahim! Indeed we are grieved by your separation.” “(Sahih Bukhari, Book 23, #62)

The Prophet’s (saw) willpower, patience, and ability to traverse through countless adversities is a point of admiration for Muslims.  It is one of the signs of a sincere leader that he continues on the mission that he was appointed despite the losses incurred along the way.  It is the completion of his mission to deliver Islam to the world that kept him going, an iron will that kept him moving forward no matter how many times the world tried to beat him down to his knees.   The world, its trials, and his losses could only shake him- but they would never be able to break him.

For these reasons- among many others- the Prophet (saw) is revered as a person of patience, strength, perseverance, and purpose that Muslims love and hope to emulate to the best of their ability.

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