» His Character » Courage, Bravery and Shyness
Courage, Bravery and Shyness
Muhammad had great courage. He faced a multitude of dangers and calamities all at once but never showed any weakness or timidity. When the opposition and rebukes of the Quraish of Makkah became unbearable, his uncle Abu Talib spoke to Muhammad and said, "Could you not be silent about all this; believe it all for yourself, but not trouble others, anger the chief men, and endanger yourself and all of us, talking of it?" Muhammad answered: "If the sun stood on my right hand and the moon on my left, ordering me to hold my peace, I could not obey!" This indicates what divine courage Muhammad possessed and that he never showed any weakness in his determination to fight for a just cause.
Abu Hurairah reported God's Messenger saying, "By Him in Whose Hand my soul is, were it not that men among the believers are not satisfied with remaining behind me when I cannot accommodate them, I would stay behind when an expedition goes out in God's Way. By Him in Whose Hand my soul is, I wish I could be killed and brought to life, then be killed again." (Bukhari and Muslim). And Sahl ibn Said reported God's Messenger as saying, "Being stationed on the frontiers in God's Way for a day is better than the world and what is in it." (Bukhari and Muslim). Ka'b ibn Malik said that when God's Messenger intended to go on an expedition he always pretended to be going somewhere else until the time came for that expedition, meaning the one to Tabuk. God's Messenger undertook it in extreme heat, facing a long journey and a vast enemy. He made clear to the Muslims what they were about to do in order that they might get ready the equipment for their expedition, telling them where he was going. (Bukhari). He fought scores of battles with great courage and determination without ever suffering total defeat. In the battle of Badr, he faced 1,000 fighting men, fully equipped with the armour of the time, with only 313 ill-equipped men, including some children, but he never showed any signs of fear or cowardice. He fought against heavy odds with extreme courage and won the battle. In the heat of the battle, the Muslims looked to him for support and protection. In the battle of Uhud, victory was converted into partial defeat by the mistake of a few archers. The Muslims were running around in complete chaos after hearing the false news of the death of the Holy Prophet but he was as calm as ever. He continued fighting in the company of some of his faithful companions, even after the loss of his teeth, until other Muslims came to know of his whereabouts and gathered round him. Then they fought a very fierce battle under his courageous guidance and the enemy withdrew with the final result of the battle still undecided.
In the battle of Hunain, when the new converts fled from the field in utter confusion in the face of a storm of arrows, and the rest of the army followed them in chaos, he and some faithful companions were the only ones who stood firm. He called to the fleeing Muslim army and encouraged them to fight back. At his call, all the Muslims came back, reorganised their attack and won the day. Bra ibn Azib, who participated in this battle, was asked by someone whether they ran away in the battle of Hunain and he replied, "Yes, that is true, but I bear witness that the Messenger of God stood firm and did not move from his place. By God, when the fighting rose to its height, we took refuge by his side and the bravest among us was considered that man who stood by him." And Anas said that God's Messenger was the bravest of all. Once news spread in Medinah that the enemies had attacked, the people got ready to fight but the man who advanced ahead of all was Muhammad himself. He did not even wait for the saddle but rode bareback into all the probable places of danger, returning with the news that there was no danger. Muhammad never killed anyone with his own hands. Abi ibn Khalf was his deadliest enemy; when he was released on ransom after the battle of Badr he said that he would kill Muhammad on his horse, which was being nourished and fed for this purpose. In the battle of Uhud, he was riding on that horse and, after crossing rows of soldiers, he came close to Muhammad. The Muslims wanted to stop him there but Muhammad forbade them and took a spear from the hand of one of his companions and advanced towards him and gently pushed the end of the spear into his neck. He rode away shouting and people asked him why he was so horrified at this slight wound. He replied, "Yes, it is slight but it is from the hands of Muhammad." Later on he died as a result of that wound.
Courage and shyness are often regarded as conflicting traits but the two poised the Prophet's character in a like manner. Being extremely modest, he blushed like a maiden, as stated by Abu Sa'eed Khudri, if he came across anything shocking or outrageous. On such occasions his countenance changed showing his displeasure. Such was his coyness that he was even diffident to express anything disagreeable to one's face and usually asked somebody else to do the job for him. Anas reports that the clothes of a man present in one of his sittings were hued in yellowish colour. Since the Prophet did not like to say anything displeasing to any one, he said to others, when the man had got up to leave, "It would have been better if you had told him to give up using yellow colour. "
'Aisha relates that if the Prophet came to know of a misdeed committed by anybody, he never asked him why he had done it; what he said on such occasions was, "What has happened to the people that say or do such a thing?" He deprecated the wrong but never named the wrongdoer.
As for the dauntless courage and velour of the Prophet of God, the testimony of 'Ali, the lion of God, is plenty good enough to illustrate the point. He says: "When the battle used to become fierce and the eyes seemed to be coming out of the sockets, we were wont to look for the Prophet in order to find a refuge behind him. Then, we found noneclosing up with the enemy as the Prophet. This was how it happened in Badr; we were taking shelter behind the Prophet who was then going at the enemy more closely than anyone of us."
Anas said, "The Apostle of God was extremely handsome, most generous and the bravest of men. One night when the people in Medina had been in a panic and some went in the direction of the sound they had heard, they were met by the Prophet who had gone in that direction ahead of them, and he was saying, 'Don't fear, don't fear.' He was then on a barebacked horse without a saddle belonging to Abu Talha and had a sword slung on his neck. Praising the horse he said, 'I found it swift and rushing ahead like an ocean."
In the battles of Uhad and Hunayn when the Muslims had fallen back and the bravest among them were unable to stand the charge of the enemy, the Apostle of God had stuck to his position, riding his mule, as if nothing had happened, and was calling out, "I am the Prophet without falsehood; I am the son of 'Abdul Muttalib. "