His Simple Life at Home

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How was the prophet muhammad simple life at home? What did the prophet muhammad does at home?

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) had temporarily stayed in Abu Ayyub al-Ansari (r.a.) house, before he moved to his own rooms built next to his mosque. According to the reports, at first there were only two rooms. One of them belonged to the Prophet’s wife Sawda (r.a.), and the other one was for Aisha (r.a.), to whom the Prophet (pbuh) was married to but had not yet consummated the marriage. According to some reports, there was a third room for Ummu Gulsum and Fatimah, the Prophet’s daughters, who were single at that time. (Hamidullah, II, 1053-54) Later, the number of rooms increased in accordant with the needs. Some of the rooms were built from brick and others were made from stone and had roofs which were covered by date branches. (Ibn Sa’d, I, 499; Suhayli, I, 248) From descriptions it is understood that the rooms were pretty small. For instance, Aisha’s room was so small that once when the Prophet (pbuh) was prostrating in night prayer, he touched Aisha, who was sleeping at the time, and she drew up her legs to open some space for the Prophet (pbuh). (Muslim, Salat, 272)

Hasan al-Basri, who spent his childhood in a house close to the Prophet’s house, narrated that he could touch the ceiling of the Prophet’s rooms. (Ibn Sa’d, VII, 161; Suhayli, I, 248) This statement shows that his rooms were not very high.

The doors of the Prophet’s rooms were made from black haircloth. (Ibn Sa’d, I, 499)

One of the prominent Imams of the Tabi’un generation٭ Said b. al-Musayyab expressed his sadness from the destruction of these rooms during the time of Umayyads as follows:

“By Allah, How much I would love to see these rooms as they were! Thus people who came to visit them could see how Allah’s Messenger had lived and how he had not inclined to gather and been proud of property in this world.” (Ibn Sa’d, I, 499-500)

Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) had a bed[1] made out of dry tree branches which were tied together with date fibers. He used to sit or put his mattress on this bed. His was made of a leather case stuffed with palm fibers. (Bukhari, Riqaq, 17) According to the narration of Aisha (r.a.), when a woman saw that the Prophet’s mattress was like a thin blanket, she run to her home and brought a comfortable wool mattress for him. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) expressed his discontent and told Aisha:

“O Aisha! Take this mattress immediately back to its owner.”

Aisha (r.a) tells the rest of the incident as follows: “I did not take the mattress back right away. Indeed I liked having such a comfortable mattress in my home. However, the Prophet (pbuh) told me to take it back three times and then he said:

“By Allah! If I wanted, Allah the Almighty would make gold and silver mountains walk by me and place them under my command.” (Ibn Sa’d, I, 465)

When Hafsa (r.a.) was asked about how the Prophet’s mattress had been, she described it saying:

“He used to sleep on a woolen two-fold mat. It was a hard mat, thus one day I thought that if I fold it, it would be softer and the Prophet (pbuh) would rest more comfortably. So I folded it. When Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) woke up in the morning, he asked:

“What kind of mattress did you prepare for me last night?”

We told him:

“It was your old mat, but we just folded it for your comfort.” Upon this he said:

“Change it to its old state, for I felt sluggish and it prevented me from waking up for night prayer.” (Tirmidhi, Shamail, p. 154)

In some narrations, it is also reported that Allah’s Messenger used a blanket to cover himself while sleeping. (Ibn Majah, Taharah, 121)

We see that Allah’s Messenger (pbuh), who preferred a simple bed for resting, sometimes slept on a straw mat. This is why some companions offered to prepare a more comfortable bed for him, and our Prophet (pbuh) told them:

“What should I do with this world? My similitude and that of the life of this world is that of a traveler who took a rest at mid-day under a shade of a tree and then left it.” (Ibn Majah, Zuhd, 3; Ibn Hanbal, I, 391)

Umar (r.a.), who visited the Prophet (pbuh) in one of his rooms, said that:

“I entered upon Allah’s Apostle and saw him lying on a bed made of stalks of date palm. There was no bedding between it and him. The stalks left marks on his side and he was leaning on a leather pillow stuffed with date-palm fibers. Then I looked around his house, and by Allah, I could not see anything of importance in his house except three hides, so I said,

“O Allah’s Apostle! Invoke Allah to make your followers rich, for the Persians and the Romans have been made prosperous and they have been given (the pleasures of the world), although they do not worship Allah.” Thereupon the Prophet sat up as he was reclining and said,

“Are you of such an opinion, O the son of Al-Khattab? These are the people who have received the rewards for their good deeds in this world.” (Bukhari, Nikah, 83)

According to another report, when Umar (r.a.) saw the marks that the palms left on the Prophet’s body, he was brought to tears (on seeing this extremely austere living of the Holy Prophet), and he said: Ibn Khattab, what wakes you weep?

I said:

“O Apostle of Allah! Why should I not shed tears? This mat has left its marks on your sides; Roman and Persian rulers are leading their lives in plenty, whereas you are Allah’s Messenger, and His chosen one; however that is your state!” He said:

“O Ibn Khattab, aren’t you satisfied that there should be the prosperity of the Hereafter for us, and for them there should be the prosperity of this world?” (Muslim, Talaq, 31)

In this prophetic tradition, it is not meant the management of this world but rather its ornaments and grandeur; because Islam is just against a wasteful and luxurious life.

Ali (r.a.) states that when he got married to Fatimah (r.a), they only owned a bed made from sheep skin. (Ibn Majah, Zuhd, 11) And Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) advised patience to his daughter who was complaining about this situation. (Diyarbekri, I, 412)

Once the Apostle of Allah (pbuh) came to Fatimah and found a curtain hanging at her door, so he did not enter. He stated his dislike saying:

“What have I to do with this world and everything in it?” Fatimah (r.a.) became very sorry for it. She asked her father what she should do about the curtain; and the Prophet told her to give it to another family. (Abu Dawud, Libas, 43)

Anas (r.a.), who served the Prophet (pbuh) for nine years, describes the utensils that Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) used and how his dinner tables as follows: “I have never seen the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) take his meals in a big tray. Nor did he ever eat well-baked thin bread, nor did he ever eat at a dining table.” When Qatadah (r.a.), the narrator of this tradition, was asked “Over what did they use to take their meals?” Qatada said, “On leather dining sheets.” (Bukhari, At`imah, 8)[2]

In another narration, it is pointed out that the Prophet (pbuh) was not served food and drink in bowls. He sat on the ground and his meals were served on dining sheets.” (Ibn Sa’d, I, 372)

Bowls and other dining utensils stated in such traditions were the embellished and valuable products of Iran and other civilizations. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) preferred a simple life over the lifestyles of the kings. He indeed expressed his choice of a moderate life saying: “I am just a servant of Allah. I eat just as a servant eats and drink like a servant drinks.” (Munawi, II, 724)

As for the cooking chores in the Prophet’s family, although sometimes they had been helped by servants, our mothers often cooked the meals. (Hamidullah, II, 1078) For instance, Safiyah (r.a.) was a wonderful cook. Aisha (r.a.) said about her that she had never seen such a wonderful cook. (Abu Dawud, Buyu’, 89) One day Aisha (r.a.) cooked a type of soup called “harirah” and offered it to Sawdah (r.a.). Upon Sawdah’s refusal of her offer, she rubbed some of the soup on to Sawdah’s face. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) smiled at their little argument and insisted Sawdah to do the same to Aisha in return. (Haythami, IV, 315-16)

The Prophet (pbuh) would pay close attention to his family’s chores at home. A few times when Aisha (r.a.) was asked about what the Prophet (pbuh) did at home, she gave the following answers:

“The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) was a human being. He used to sew his clothes, milk his sheep, and do his own work.” (Ibn Hanbal, VI, 256)

“He used to repair his shoes, patch his clothes just like you do.” (Ibn Hanbal, VI, 106)

“He used to work for his family, and as soon as he heard the call for the prayer, he would immediately go to perform his prayer.” (Bukhari, Nafaqat, 8)

Nevertheless, there had been some people who served even worked as the Prophet’s guards. For instance, a companion named Haytham b. Nasr narrated that he had served the Prophet (pbuh), kept guard at his door, and brought him fresh water from the well of Abu Haytham. (Ibn Hajar, Isabah, III, 615) Rabia b. Qa’b al-Aslami (r.a.) said: “I used to spend my nights at the Prophet’s door and bring him water for ablution. I sometimes could hear him saying “Sami Allahu liman Hamidah – Allah has heard those who praised Him and sometimes saying “Alhamdu lilahi rabbil alamin –All praises are due to Allah, Lord of the worlds. (Ibn Sa’d, IV, 313) The same companion narrates the following incident:

“I was with Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) one night, and I brought him water and things that he required. He said to me:

“Ask anything you like from me.”

I said:

“I ask for your company in Paradise.” The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said:

“Would you like anything else besides this?”

I said:

“That is all that I would like.”

He said:

“Then help me to achieve this for you by devoting yourself often to prostration.” (Muslim, Salat, 226)

The following narration of Anas b. Malik is also well-known:

“I served the Prophet (pbuh) at Medina for ten years. I was a boy. Every work that I did was not according to the desire of my master, but he never said to me: Fie, nor did he say to me: Why did you do this? Or why did you not do this?” (Abu Dawud, Adab, 1)

Abdullah b. Mas’ud (r.a.) used to serve the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), wake him up, help him to wear his shoes, and accompany him when he wanted to go somewhere. (Ibn Sa’d, III, 153)

Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) did not appoint anybody to mediate between him and his people. However, he sometimes had voluntary doorkeepers when he was busy with his personal business. These doorkeepers would change from time to time. Among them were companions such as the Prophet’s emancipated slave Anas and Rabah al-Aswad (may Allah be pleased with both of them). (Bukhari, Janaiz, 32; Ibn Hajar, Isabah, I, 75, 502)

Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) usually would not appoint anybody to do two tasks: One of them was to pour water for his ablution when he woke up for night prayer and the other one was to distribute his charity to the needy. He would prefer to give his charity personally. (Ibn Sa’d, I, 369; Ibn Abi Shaybah, I, 178) Abdullah b. Allah (may Allah be pleased with both of them) narrates: “Allah’s Messenger would not bother anybody with his ablution water and distribution of his charity. He would prepare his own water and personally distribute his charity.” (Ibn Majah, Taharah, 30)

In short, the Prophet (pbuh) did not prefer to live a prosperous life in a society where most of its members were poor. The style of his house and the furniture in it as well as his efforts to do his own work are all very good examples that show how one can live a simple and moderate life. The state in which he lived (or his ascetic lifestyle) was something required by his message. The mission that he represented advised him to live the poverty in richness, to be altruistic, and to live to help others. Thus, he first applied these advices and commands in his own life and became a paradigm for all times and places.

٭ The generation succeeded the companions.

[1] Aisha (r.a.) narrates: “There was nothing more delightful to the people of Quraish than to sleep on their beds. When the Prophet (pbuh) migrated to Medina and settled in Abu Ayyub’s house, he asked Abu Ayyub:

“O Abu Ayyub! Don’t you have a bed?” Abu Ayyub replied:

“By Allah! No, I do not.” When Sa’d b. Zurarah (r.a.) heard this, he sent a mattress made from wood, woven with linens and covered with a straw mat. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) used this bed to rest till the end of his life. When the Prophet (pbuh) passed away, he was washed and shrouded on this mattress. And his funeral prayer was performed while his body was lying on it. People used to ask for this mattress from us to carry their dead on it and hoping to receive Allah’s blessing by means of it. Funerals of Abu Bakr and Umar were also carried on it.” (Baladhuri, I, 525)

[2] Because of his ascetic life, Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) abstained from eating that type of food and using luxurious dining materials. However, the Prophet’s behavior does not show that it is unlawful to use them, because this tradition is just establishing an exemplary state.

Source: An Excellent Exemplar, Osman Nuri Topbaş,  Erkam Publications

The Human Reality

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