It is seen that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) boasts in some hadiths. What is the wisdom behind it?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The Prophet (pbuh), who was sent with the duty of conveying people what Allah Almighty wants and His words, was aware of all of the bounties Allah granted him and he did not regard it impermissible to mention them as a sign of thanking Him. As a matter of fact, it was one of his duties to tell people about Allah’s bounties:

"But the bounty of the Lord - rehearse and proclaim!" (ad-Duha, 93/11)

Therefore, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) mentioned the material and spiritual boons and bounties he received as an expression of thanking Allah. Besides, after mentioning them, he added the following: "I do not boast." That is, he meant this: "I do not express it in order to boast but to mention the boons Allah has granted me."

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) is the most honorable and superior one among people. He has high qualities since he is a prophet. Mentioning those qualities that he has in terms of prophethood is not contrary to modesty. He was the most modest person among people in terms of his personality. It is possible to see it in his words and his life. 

Abu Hurayra narrates: The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,

"My similitude in comparison with the other prophets before me is that of a man who has built some houses nicely and beautifully but who has left a place for a brick in a corner. The people go about it and wonder at its beauty, but say, 'The building would be complete if you put a brick here.' So, I am that brick."(1)

At-Tufayl Ibn Ubayy Ibn Ka'b's father narrates: The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,

"My place among the prophets is as follows: Somebody builds a nice and beautiful house but who leaves a place for a brick in the house. The people go about it and like it. They say, 'Why was this brick not put in its place?' So I am the place of that brick among the prophets."(2)

Anas narrates: The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,

"You will not have believed (fully) unless I am more beloved to you than your father, children and all people."(3)

Abdullah Ibn Hisham narrates: We were together with the Prophet (pbuh). The Messenger of Allah was holding Umar Ibnul-Khattab's hand. Umar said,

"O Messenger of Allah! You are more beloved to me than anything except my soul." Thereupon, the Prophet (pbuh) said, "No! By Allah in whose hand my life is, I need to be more beloved to you from your soul too." The, Umar said, "By Allah! You are more beloved to me than my soul now." The Prophet (pbuh) said,
 "O Umar! It is all right now." (4)

This hadith exists in Bukhari's Sahih but not in Muslim's Sahih. The hadith before it exists in both Bukhari's Sahih and Muslim's Sahih. (5)

The Modesty of the Messenger of Allah

Abu Hurayra narrates: A Muslim and a Jew argued. The Muslim said,

"By Him Who gave Muhammad superiority over all people!" The Jew said, "By Him Who gave Moses superiority over all people!"

The Muslim got angry with the Jew and slapped him on the face. The Jew went to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and informed him of what had happened. The Messenger of Allah sent for the Muslim and asked him about it. The Muslim admitted what he had done. Thereupon, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, 

"Do not give me superiority over Moses. For, on the Day of Resurrection, all the people will fall unconscious and I will be the first to gain consciousness. I will see Moses standing and holding the side of the Throne. I do not know whether he also fell unconscious and got up before me or whether Allah has exempted him from that stroke." (6)

Abu Hurayra narrates: The Prophet (pbuh) said,

"It is not appropriate for a person to say that I am better than Yunus Ibn Matta." (7)

Hz. Umar narrates: The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,  

"Do not praise me as Christians praise Isa Ibn Maryam. I am only a slave. Say Allah’s slave and Messenger for me."(8)

They asked Hz. Aisha:

"What would the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) do when he came home?" Hz. Aisha answered:
 "He would serve his family and stood up to pray when it was time for prayer."

Anas narrates: Somebody said, "Muhammad! Our master! The son of our master! The best one of us! The son of the best one of us!" Thereupon, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,

"O congregation! Speak in the way that you always speak. Do not allow Satan to deviate you. I am Muhammad, Abdullah's son. I am Allah’s slave and Messenger. By Allah! I do not like it when you elevate me to a higher rank than I am in." (9)

Al-Bara narrates:

"I saw the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) carrying soil on the Day of Khandaq. The soil had covered the white part of his abdomen."

Anas narrates:

"Nobody was more beloved to the Companions than the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). They did not stand up when they saw him because they knew that he did not want people to stand up when they saw him."

Al-Hasan states the following while describing the Messenger of Allah (pbuh):

"By Allah! Doors were not closed for him. He did not have guards at his door. Nobody took him meals with big saucepans. He was a person who had no secrets. Anyone who wanted to talk to the Messenger of Allah could talk to him. He sat on the ground and his food would be put on the ground.  He put on thick and ordinary garments. He would ride a donkey and make another person ride pillion. He would lick his hand."

Qays Ibn Hazim narrates: A man came to see the Prophet (pbuh). When he saw the Prophet, he started to shiver due to fear. Thereupon, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,

"Do not fear. Calm down. I am not a king. I am the son of a woman who ate bland meat." (10)

Anas narrates:

"Sometimes, the children of Madinah came and held the hand of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). He would not retreat his hand and would go where the children wanted him to go."

Ibn Abi Awfa narrates:

"The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) did not hesitate to walk with widows and poor people; he did not act conceitedly toward them. He met their needs."

Hz. Aisha narrates:

I said, "O Messenger of Allah! May Allah sacrifice me for you! Lean on something when you eat; it will be easier for you." Thereupon, he said, "I eat like a slave eats and sit like a slave sits." 11

Hz. Aisha narrates: The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,

"The angel came to me and said, 'Your Lord sends greetings to you and says, If you wish, be a prophet who is a slave or a prophet who is a king.' I looked at Jibril (the angel). He said to me, Be humble. I said, 'I want to be a prophet who is a slave.'" 12

Footnotes:

1. Bukhari, Sahih, Kitabul-Manaqib, 18   hadith no:    3534; Muslim, Sahih, Kitabul-Fadail, 7, hadith no:   23; Bayhaqi, Sunanul-Kubra, 9/5; Dalailun-Nubuwwa, 1/365, 366; Imam Ahmad, Musnad, 3/361.
2. See the previous footnote. Abdurrahman Ibnul-Jawzi, Ashâbın Dilinden Peygamberimizin Hayatı, Uysal Bookstore: 328-329.
3. Bukhari, Sahih, 1/10; Muslim, Sahih, Kitabul-Iman, 70; Nasai, Sunan, 8/114; Ibn Majah, Sunan, 67; Imam Ahmad, Musnad, 3/207, 275, 278; Hakim, Mustadrak, 2/486.
4. Bukhari, Sahih, 8/169; Tirmidhi, Sunan, 3047; Imam Ahmad, Musnad, 5/293; Tarikhu Ibn Asakir, 5/389; Zubaydi, Ithaf, 9/547.
5. Abdurrahman Ibnul-Jawzi, Ashâbın Dilinden Peygamberimizin Hayatı, Uysal Bookstore: 333-334.
6. Bayhaqi, Dalailun-Nubuwwa, W/492; Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya wan-Nihaya, I/248 Qadi lyad, ash-Shifa, 1/439.
7. Bukhari, Sahih, IW/193, WI/71, 92; Muslim, Sahih, Kitabul-Fadail, 167; Abu Dawud, Sunan, Kitabus-Sunna, bab: 13; Ahmad, Musnad, H/405; Bayhaqi, Dalailun-Nubuwwa, W7 495.
8. Bukhari, Sahih, IW/204, WIII/210; Muslim, Sahih, Kitabul-Qadar, bab: 7; Abdurrazzaq Musannaf, 19757, Bayhaqi, Dalailun-Nubuwwa, W/498; Ahmad, Musnad, I/23, 24; Tirmidhi, Shamail, 172.
9. Bukhari, 111/201, Wll/32; Tabarani, Mu'jamul-Kabir, XI/120; Ibn Hibban, Sahih, 1064; Ibn Sa'd, Tabaqatul-Kubra, 1/95,107; Ibn Adiyy, al-Kamil, IW/1352, W/1688, 1937.
10. Hakim, Mustadrak, H/4366; Khatib, Tarikh, WI/277, 279; Zabidi, Ithafus-Sadatil-Muttaqin, WI1/142; Haythami, Majmauz-Zawaid, IX/20.
11. Baghawi, Sharhus-Sunna, XI/287.
12. Baghawi, Sharhus-Sunna, XII/249; Imam Ahmad, Musnad, 11/231; Ibn Hibban, Sahih, 2137 (Mawarid); Mundhiri, Targhhib wat-Tarhib, IW/196; Zabidi, Ithafus-Sadatil-Muttaqin, WII/116.

(see Abdurrahman Ibnul-Jawzi, Ashâbın Dilinden Peygamberimizin Hayatı, Uysal Bookstore)

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