Abraham Lincoln once said and I quote, “character is like a tree and reputation is like a shadow”. Good day the Editor and my co-pressmen. My name is Fashina Rashidat Temitope. A society which is morally, economically and religiously derailed needs someone who is upright, pious, diligent and faithful in order to serve as a qualified role model.
To start with, the life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is full of countless examples that shows his status as a role model for Muslims and the nation at large. He lived a life which was dominated by superior morality, good habits, noble and gentle emotions all of which are characteristics that help prevent the wise from getting entangled in a web of sin. The rich and the prosperous, the poor and the needy, the ruler and the ruled, the weak and the lonely, the conqueror and the conquered, the commander and the followers, the teachers and the students, the preacher and the listener, the merchant and the craftsman, the employer and the employee – in other words, every sort of person can find truths in Prophet Muhammad's life that constituted an example for them to follow.
Before the arrival of Islam, the Makkans were engrossed in the worship of idols and demi gods. During this Jahilliyah period, their actions were as follows: disregarding females (by using them as sex objects and burying them alive), wrestling was a common game then, enslaving people unnecessarily, no law, insecurity, corruption, bribe, greed and many more. Then Rasul brought monotheism. He called people away from the worship of idols to the sole worship of the one and only living God. He brought forth Islam, one of which led to a tremendous change in the lifestyle of the pagans.
Almighty Allaah says in the holy Qur’an; "Verily in the messenger of Allaah you have a good example for him who looks unto Allah and the Last Day, and remembers Allah much."
In terms of Islamic faith ‘usfa’ that is to say being an example or a role model, is an attribute that is found in those who possess goodness, beauty and righteousness. This verse shows the importance of Prophet Muhammad's sunnah in the lives of Muslims. As a matter of fact, the Quran clearly states that Prophet Muhammad has a superior character and demonstrates an exemplary lifestyle. If one accepts that Islam is the final and perfect religion, then it would be incomplete to not consider the life of Prophet Muhammad as an example for the Muslim community or to not accept his ways of life as something that shapes and guides the daily lives of Muslims.
For that reason, the lifestyle and personality of Prophet Muhammad, demonstrated during his prophethood of 23 years, includes very significant provisions and principles for the religious, political, social and moral life of Muslim communities as a whole. The following hadith summarizes the statements found in the Quran:
"The best of speech is unquestionably the speech of Allah. That is the Book of Allah (the Quran). The best of guidance is the guidance of Muhammad. Of all matters, the most evil of things are those which are newly-invented (in religion), and every innovation is a deviation, and every deviation leads people to Hell"
However, to make an unquestionable change, one should follow the path to deliverance from excess and instability and which is the sunnah of the prophet. We should evaluate the validity and invalidity of our own opinion, thoughts and practices according to the Quran and the Sunnah. In reality, issues like affection, moderation, clemency, fear, hope, chastity, compassion, generosity and the reflection of these in life are more important and have higher priorities.
Leo Tolstoy said, “everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself’’. The desire to change the world all sounds very heroic, noble and grand. But, is it possible? A person can change if he adopts some behaviours like exercising patience, practice forgiveness, go one day without complaining and be of good example to others all which are found in our beloved prophet.
Furthermore, not every issue requires fighting. One should be patient in dealing with people and in reacting to rumours. All conflict in this world has been due to misunderstanding, which has been due to a lack in communication. We all know of the global problems – global warming, terrorism, recession, etc – but what are we actually doing about it? For the majority of us all we do is complain. The simple fact is that complaining will get us nowhere. As much as it may seem to be enjoyable and relieving, all it does in the long term is to make us complain more and become more run-down and depressed. Complaints lead to more complaints, the spiral runs on, and nothing ever gets done.
In conclusion, if you change the people within the world, the world then change as a result. The Prophet (peace be unto him) gained the heart of the people with good heart and good character. He gained most people’s heart through patient and captivating behaviour. Teresa said, ‘if everyone only cleaned their own doorstep, the whole world would be clean.”