Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: I read this in the book ‘My Master Muhammad’ (Sal Allahu alaih) in Volume 2 under the section concerning his great fear of Allah.
I think because the way it has been translated and due to the lack of context, this hadith comes across has very harsh and I cannot imagine the Prophet salAllahu alaihi wa salam getting annoyed or saying something like this.
If you can help me understand that it will be so helpful as I’m torn when reading this:
The Messenger of Allah (Sal Allahu alaihi wa salam) was in my house once, and he had a toothstick in his hand. He called a servant girl several times, until the annoyance showed on his face. I went to the chambers, and found the girl playing with a lamb. I said to her: ‘Do I see you playing with this lamb, whilst the Messenger of Allah (Sal Allahu alaihi wa salam) is calling you?”
The girl said, “By the One who sent you with the truth, I did not hear you.”
The Messenger of Allah (Sal Allahu alaihi wasalam) replied, “Were it not that I feared reprisal on the Day of Resserrectuion, I would smack you with this toothstick!”
Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,
I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.
Such instances are to be understood in the correct context and in the general way of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him)–as Messenger and Beloved of Allah–had this innate awe (khashya) of Allah that governed his humanness, and kept any “merely human” inclinations others would have–to respond with harshness or personal anger–at bay. This particular instance taught us numerous lessons: having patience for the sake of Allah, remaining firm on what is right, putting up with others’ annoyances, remembering the Last Day, and many more.
Mercy was at the root of his teaching (Allah bless him and give him peace). That doesn’t mean that he never got upset or raised his voice. There were occasions when the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) would be visibly upset on the pulpit in front of the Companions. Not for himself, but for Allah. But the fact that we could probably count these occasions is a miracle in of itself.
Thus we come to realize that he was mercy personified. He manifested only beautiful, gentle conduct which is the sunna because it is mercy expressed in attitude and action. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Allah is Gentle and loves gentleness, and He gives for gentleness what He doesn’t give for harshness or for anything else.” He also said, “Allah loves gentleness in all things,” and “Whoever is bereft of gentleness is bereft of all good.” [Muslim]
Sayyiduna Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) described his experience with the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) by saying, “I served the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) for years. He never insulted me at all. He never hit me at all. And he never scolded me. And he never frowned at me in my face.” And this was of the closest of people to him (Allah bless him and give him peace).
And Allah alone gives success.