Glimpses of Prophet Muhammad’s Courage
It is said that in times of fear and sadness the real inner self of the person surfaces; and this is true as attested to by numerous incidents that happened to countless people throughout history and at all times. This has been happening even to all of us. No one can deny this at all.
However, in case of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), history attests to the fact that he would never act inappropriately, like most tend to do when under the spell of fright and fear.
Imagine that when the polytheists of Makkah made up their minds to assassinate him on the night of Hijrah to Madinah, he bravely and indifferently walked through the ranks of those waiting to slay him at his door while reciting the following two ayahs from surah Ya-Sin the translation of which may read,
“And We [i.e. Allah] have set a bar before them and a bar behind them, and (thus) have covered them so that they see not.” (Ya-Sin 36: 9)
Even in times of battling and warring, he (peace and blessings be upon him) displayed the best of courage and determination.
It is `Ali ibn Abi Talib, his cousin and son-in-law who is quoted to have said,
“When the Battle of Badr was continuing with all its vigor, we were taking refuge behind the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him). He was by far our bravest… he would always be positioned closest to the enemy ranks.” (Musnad Ahmed, Vol. I, P. 86)
Imagine that one of the bravest Muslim Companions, `Ali ibn Abi Talib, himself says so about the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him); how can one imagine the bravery and courage of the Prophet himself while one of the best of the best fighters in the Cause of Allah says so about him and also takes refuge behind him when the fighting becomes violent and hot!
In another narration by another hero from among the Companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), namely, Bara’ ibn `Azib, reads,
“By Allah, whenever the battle got fierce, we would seek the shelter of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him). We would regard the next most courageous as he, courageous enough to stand in the same line as him.” (Musnad Ahmed, Jihad, 79)
It is worth-noting here that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was not trying in any way to prove himself to be brave or courageous; rather, he was out only to raise the Word of Allah and render His religion the highest, and that is why he would always be in the frontline of battle no matter how fierce or hot it is.
During the Battle of Hunayn, despite the initial confusion and disorder of the Muslim army, he lost none of his resolve and determination and leapt towards the enemy lines.
By so doing, he raised the spirits and courage of his Companions, until they were able to claim victory with Allah’s Help and Assistance. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said, as narrated by Abu Hurairah:
Allah guaranteed anyone going out (for Jihad) in the cause of Allah [the following]:
‘If he goes out with no motive other than faith in Me and belief in My Messengers, I will return him with whatever he acquired of reward or booty, or I will admit him to Paradise [in case of his death]’
Had I not found it difficult for my followers, then I would not remain behind any sariyah (military unit or detachment) going for Jihad.
Indeed, I wish I could be martyred in Allah’s Cause and then made alive, and then martyred and then made alive, and then again martyred in His Cause. (Al-Bukhari Vol. I, Hadith 35)
Yes, that was the wish of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), to join the fighting forces and be martyred and be revived again to fight once more and be martyred again and again.
All this only to raise the banner of Islam as high as Allah loves and to weaken or destroy the grip of the tyrants who forbid their peoples from listening to or even hearing the Word of Allah brought to humanity at the hands of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) to enable these people to exercise their right to choose for themselves and not to be just blind followers of their despotic kings and rulers.
This is the very essence of war and jihad in Islam which abhors terror, fighting and warring but only uses force to restore the oppressed peoples their free will and ability to choice.
Another important point that should be highlighted here is that the bravery of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was not in any way a form of rashness or lightheadedness; rather, it was rational, reasonable and wise.
Let us take a look at the seizure he made to the Ta’if fortress which lasted for more than forty days during which he (peace and blessings be upon him) knew that the provisions and supplies inside the fortress would suffice those inhabiting it for at least one full year, if not more.
Thereupon, he, the brave leader, compared the advantages and disadvantages of the seizure – something like doing a SWOT Analysis –and found out that continuing the seizure would harm the Muslim State as the Muslim army is not just an army; rather, it is indeed the whole Muslim Ummah at large.
In addition, only a few men were left behind in Madinah to protect and guard the women, children and properties; hence, it is vulnerable to attacks from the polytheists and the Jews. Therefore, he made up his mind to abort the seizure, stop the operation and return to Madinah.
His bravery (peace and blessings be upon him) was also mixed with mercy and compassion so that he never used his courage but in battles for hoisting the banner of Allah high.
Therefore, there is not a single incident throughout history in which the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) avenged himself on anything and he never used the force but for raising the Word of Allah.
`A’ishah reported that,
“Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) never beat anyone with his hand, neither a woman nor a servant, but only, in the case when he had been fighting in the cause of Allah and he never took revenge for anything unless the things made inviolable by Allah were violated; he then took revenge for Allah, the Exalted and Glorious.” (Muslim, 5756)
This is how the Prophet’s bravery was based on certainty, resolution, principles and ethics; and this is how it became an example to be emulated by those who follow until the Day of Judgment… what a courage!
Dr. Ali Al-Halawani is Assistant Professor of Linguistics and Translation Studies. He is an author, translator, and writer based in Canada. To date, Al-Halawani authored over 400 original articles on Islam and Muslims, most of which can be accessed on http://www.truth-seeker.info/ and other famous websites.
He has recently started to self-publish his articles and new books, which are available on Amazon and Kindle.
Many of his videos are available on Youtube.
You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.