A day in the life of the Holy Prophet

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We all know that our holy master, Hazrat Muhammad al-Mustafasa led an extremely busy life. A great part of his time was taken up by expeditions carried out for the defence of Islam. Devising strategies for these defensive battles required a great deal of physical and mental strength, as well as time. Below is an account of what a normal day of the Holy Prophetsa would be like when at peace

It is said that the king of Persia – a contemporary of the Holy Prophetsa – had divided his days in the following manner:

The days of spring were set aside for rest and sleep; overcast days were for hunting; rainy days were reserved for drinking, partying and enjoyment; and when the day was bright and clear, the king would hold his court and hear public grievances. Such indeed are the days of the worldly people who have no thought for the Hereafter.

The Holy Prophet Muhammadsa, on the other hand, had permanently divided his day into three parts, regardless of the conditions. One part of the day was set aside for worship, the second for his family and the third for his own personal needs. Most of the time that he reserved for himself was again allocated for the service of mankind. (Ash-Shifa‘ by Qadi‘Ayad, Vol. 1, p. 174, Darul-Kitab Al-‘Arabi)

The 13 years which the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa spent in Mecca after the proclamation of Prophethood, were spent in receiving the revelation of the Holy Quran, preaching, teaching, training of converts and enduring a long period of trials and hardships. The details of this period are rather sketchy, but, on the other hand, there are countless traditions which shed light on the Holy Prophet Muhammad’ssa life in Medina, and from these, we are able to construct a sketch of the way he spent his life in Mecca.

According to traditions, the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa started his day with predawn Tahajud prayer. Before the prayer, he would perform ablution, clean his teeth with miswak (a piece of tree-branch used for this purpose), and wash his mouth thoroughly. He would then stand up and offer a long and beautiful Tahajud prayer, in which he would recite long chapters of the Holy Quran. These prayers would be so long that his feet would begin to swell. He would then rest for a while.

After this if anyone of his family was awake at the time, he would talk to them, otherwise he would continue to rest for a little longer. As soon as Bilal’sra call for prayer reached his ears, he would promptly rise up and offer two short rak‘ats of Sunnah, and then proceed to lead the Fajr prayer in the mosque. If he ever missed the Tahajud prayer due to illness, he would offer nawafil during the day (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab-ul-Tahajud).

After Fajr prayer, the Holy Prophetsa would enquire after his Companionsra and sit with them till sunrise. Sometimes they would talk about the time before Islam. The Holy Prophet Muhammadsa would ask if anyone had had a dream. He would be pleased if the dream was good and would interpret it. Sometimes he would even relate his own dreams. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab Ta‘bir-ulRu‘ya; Sunan Abu Daud, Kitab-ul-Adab; Sahih Muslim, Kitab-ul-Masajid, Bab FadlilJulus fis-Salat)

The Holy Prophet Muhammadsa would plan his day in the morning. If he did not see someone in the mosque for two or three days, he would be concerned and enquire
about them. If the person was on a journey, the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa would pray for them, and if they were in town or were ill, he would pay them a visit. (Kanz-ul-Ummal, Vol. 7, p. 153)

The Holy Prophet Muhammad’ssa company was an ideal source for the edification and training of the Companionsra. Early in the morning, children would bring containers filled with water to him. The Holy Prophet Muhammadsa would bless the water by dipping his fingers in it. (Sahih Muslim, Kitab-ul-Fadhail, Bab Qurbin Nabisa minan-Nas)

After concluding his public duties, he would go home and ask if there was anything to eat. If there was any food, he would eat and if there was nothing, he would say, “Alright, let us fast today.”(Jami‘ al-Tirmidhi, Kitab-us-Saum)

Worldly rulers and noblemen are known to delegate their duties to their ministers and indulge in their own pleasures, but this was not the way of the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa. He would himself lead the five daily prayers as well as the Friday and Eid prayers. He would help his wives with household chores and never considered it below his dignity to work with his own hands. Like an ordinary person, he would sew and patch his own clothes, repair his shoes, sweep the house, look after the livestock and milk them; helping the servants if they were tired (Musnad Ahmad, Vol. 6, p. 121; Usdul-Ghabah, Vol. 1, p. 29).

He himself would brand the cattle of the treasury (Baitul-Mal). He would look after the neighbours and milk their goats for them. (Musnad Ahmad, Vol. 5, p. 111)

One of the most important and delicate tasks the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa had to perform was the safeguarding of the revelation of the Holy Quran. Most of his time was reserved for this purpose. Whether he received a revelation in his house or during some meeting, he always experienced a peculiar feeling since the task was an onerous one and he would perspire profusely. He would immediately call the scribe to record the revelation in writing. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Bada-ul-Wahi wa Fadhail-ul-Quran)

Memorising the revelation, revising it for recitation in Salat and pondering over its meanings was yet another demanding task the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa had to perform.

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