Once more we are fast approaching 12th Rabi-ul-Awwal, the most beautiful day in human history, when an era of ignorance and evil ended and that of truth and light began. Our beloved Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was born in the city of Makkah to Hazrat Abdullah, the son of Abdul Muttalib, the venerable chief of the Quraish, the ruling clan of Makkah. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), called Al-Ameen (The Trustworthy) even by his enemies, was the last and the best in the chain of the prophets sent by Allah. There is no other prophet on whose life and deeds so much light has been shed. Born after the age of myth, living in the full glare of history, his acts and utterances were documented with due caution and full responsibility. Recorded in the minutest possible details, their authenticity has been questioned by no fair scholar of character or class. The Holy Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) life continues to be the beacon of light and a shining example for all to follow. He was the kindest of persons imbued with a sense of compassion that was directed at Muslims and non-Muslims alike. His care for those around him and even for those who caused him harm or injury provides illuminating examples of true nobility. His immense love for orphans, and the abundant kindness that he exhibited to the needy, the humble, and the poor knew no bounds. Alphonse de LaMartaine once remarked, “If greatness of purpose, smallness of means, and astonishing results are the three criteria of a human genius, who could dare compare any great man in history with Muhammad?”. It is extremely difficult for the Muslims of today to imagine or ever endure the hardships that the Prophet and his companions underwent. In the ninth year of his mission, the Prophet, having been persecuted and terrorized by his people in Makkah, headed for Taif, hometown of the Banu Thaqif tribe. There he went to preach his message, but was treated rudely by the tribal elders, who told him to clear off and even sent goons after him to beat him and pelt him with stones. He bled so profusely that his entire body got covered with blood and his shoes clogged to his feet. He made a heart-rending supplication to Allah Almighty, beseeching His mercy for the people who had persecuted him a few moments earlier. It is said that the heavens were moved by the Prophet’s prayer and the Archangel Jibriel came and said that Allah Almighty was aware of what had passed and that he had deputed an angel. The angel in-charge of the mountains then offered to bring the mountains overlooking Taif to collide with each other to crush the inhabitants. Unfortunately, the Muslims of today are far removed from the Prophet whom they consider their role model. In spite of suffering so much at the hands of the Taif rascals, the Prophet did not curse or seek revenge even when the opportunity arose. Instead, he prayed and pleaded for mercy However, being a mountain of mercy himself and the mercy of the worlds, the Prophet refused. Such was the measure of his forbearance and fortitude. Disturbed by a little trouble or abuse from someone, we spend years scheming and devising ways to take revenge. Unfortunately, the Muslims of today are far removed from the Prophet whom they consider their role model. In spite of suffering so much at the hands of the Taif rascals, the Prophet did not curse or seek revenge even when the opportunity arose. Instead, he prayed and pleaded for mercy. Similarly, when he did not see in a Makkan woman who would repeatedly throw garbage on him as he walked in the streets, the Prophet asked people about her and even humbly visited her after hearing she had fallen sick. Over 14 centuries have gone by since he, the Last of the Messengers, left us, but his message defined by mercy for the entire creation, lives on. His examples continue to lead us from darkness to light. His life was one of mercy, compassion, care, consideration, kindness and tolerance for all. His sayings, known as Hadiths, bear testimony to this. One particular theme found in his sayings relate to the rights of women. Beyond any doubt, Islam afforded women an honorable and respected position. On one occasion, he said, “Fear Allah in respect of women.” He also said, “The best of you are they who behave best to their wives.” In another he said, “A Muslim must not hate his wife, and if he be displeased with one bad quality in her, let him be pleased with one that is good.” In one more Hadith, he said, “The more civil and kind a Muslim is to his wife, the more perfect in faith he is.” It is no wonder that the Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) employer was none other than a woman, Hazrat Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her). So impressed was she by his kindness, compassion, manners and trustworthiness that she proposed him for marriage, a model marriage that is often cited by scholars as a perfect example for Muslims to follow. In conduct that was revolutionary at that time, the Prophet taught his companions to remain in their mothers’ service, saying that Paradise was found beneath their feet. The Noble Quran has eulogized Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and addressed him as a mercy to the worlds. The last and best Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), his life was an authentic interpretation of the Holy Quran. He was truly the epitome of tolerance, humility, patience, forbearance towards men. Moreover, the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) always treated children with kindness and compassion. He would openly display his affection for kids. He enjoyed their company and played with them. In the Musnad of Imam Ahmad, it was mentioned that he said he would reward the child who reached him first with a gift, upon which kids would race to him and fall on him. His grandsons Hassan and Hussein would fondly take great liberties with him during their infancy. They would often climb on his back when he prostrated. Dr. Gustav Weil has spoken generously of his simplicity, “Muhammad was a shining example to his people. His character was pure and stainless. His house, his dress, his food – they were characterized by a rare simplicity.” He was not accustomed to leading a life of luxury or grandeur. Once when questioned by Jibrail (A.S), if he wanted a mountain of gold to follow him wherever he went, he had replied that he would rather desire that Allah provides him with just enough for a day so that he may thank Him. The next day, he would like that Allah keeps him hungry so that he may supplicate to Him for sustenance. Today, as the humanity stumbles through terrifying times and a turbulent world, we grope in darkness and uncertainty; we must look for the teachings of the Holy Prophet (PBH) so that we are able to find a cure for many socio- economic ills that have befallen our world turning it into Wasteland of T.S. Elliot. In the West, people speak of depression and decay in society. In the East, industrial and technological progress has caused hollowness in our lives. Many people have lost a sense of purpose. They cling to values that have nothing to do with life and their so-called role models are unworthy individuals of weak moral standing. For us the perfect role model is the Last Messenger of Allah. Let us be more tolerant, more forgiving and show compassion to all our brothers and sisters in humanity, irrespective of their race or religion, caste or creed. Only then can we testify to our tall claims of coming from his proud progeny. Actions always speak louder than words. The writer is a civil servant by profession, a writer by choice and a motivational speaker by passion!