Read Part 1 here.
Here’s what Haykal found.
1. That the Prophet ﷺ too searched for truth
That is, the Prophet ﷺ, too, like him and all ordinary human beings fumbled in his search for what is the truth about things before the Guidance was revealed to him.
The Prophet ﷺ spent a great deal of time, thinking and reflecting in solitude about the evils of his ignorant society and how to solve the life problems arising from those misguided ways:
أَلَمْ يَجِدْكَ يَتِيمًا فَآوَى. وَوَجَدَكَ ضَالًّا فَهَدَى.al-Quran 93:6-7
“Has He not found you an orphan, and given you shelter? And found you lost on thy way, and guided you?”
2. That the Prophet ﷺ too suffered depression every now and then
That is, the Prophet ﷺ, too, like him and all ordinary human beings went through periods of depression related to his vocation.
The Prophet ﷺ was wondering to the point of despair as to why there was no revelation to him for three whole years since the first revelation in 609CE. This was the Prophet’s period of distress (fatra) as manifested in his supplication:
“O Lord! I make my complaint unto You, of my feebleness, the vanity of my efforts.Source: Modernised from Sir Abdullah Al-Mamun Al-Suhrawardy, 1941, The Sayings of Muhammad, http://muslimcanada.org/hadiths.html
I am insignificant in the sight of men, O Thou Most Merciful! Lord of the weak!
You are my Lord! Forsake me not. Leave me not a prey to strangers,
nor to my enemies. If You are not displeased, I am safe.
I seek refuge in the light of Your countenance
by which all darkness is dispelled,
and peace comes in the here and Hereafter.
Solve You my difficulties as it pleases You.
There is no power, no strength, save in You.”
The fatra only ended three years later with this surah of Divine consolation:
مَا وَدَّعَكَ رَبُّكَ وَمَا قَلَى. وَلَلْآخِرَةُ خَيْرٌ لَّكَ مِنَ الْأُولَى.al-Quran 93:3-4
“Your Rabb has not forsaken you, nor does He scorn you: for, indeed, the life to come will be better for you than this earlier part (of your life).”
3. That the Prophet ﷺ too experienced extreme fear of the unfamiliar
That is, the Prophet ﷺ, too, like him and all ordinary human beings went through states of fear and trepidation when confronted with the unfamiliar.
Upon receiving his first revelations, the Prophet ﷺ was deeply distressed. When he returned home, he was consoled and reassured by Khadijah and her Christian cousin. The Prophet ﷺ feared that people would dismiss his claims as evidence of him being possessed. So, he buried himself in blankets and stayed idle for some time until Allah called him out:
يَا أَيُّهَا الْمُزَّمِّلُal-Quran 73:1
“O you enwrapped one!”
يَا أَيُّهَا الْمُدَّثِّرُal-Quran 74:1
“O you enshrouded!”
لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا هُوَ فَاتَّخِذْهُ وَكِيلًا….al-Quran 73:9
“…there is no deity save Him: hence, ascribe to Him alone the power to determine thy fate.”
وَاصْبِرْ عَلَى مَا يَقُولُونَ وَاهْجُرْهُمْ هَجْرًا جَمِيلًاal-Quran 73:10
“And endure with patience whatever people may say (against you), and avoid them with a comely avoidance.”
وَذَرْنِي وَالْمُكَذِّبِينَ أُولِي النَّعْمَةِal-Quran 73:11
“And leave Me alone (to deal) with those who give the lie to the truth, those who enjoy the blessings of life (without any thought of God)…”
وَلِرَبِّكَ فَٱصْبِرْal-Quran 74:7
“And persevere for (the sake of) your Lord.”
4. That the Prophet ﷺ too made some unintentional mistakes
At one time a number of prominent chiefs of Makkah were sitting in the assembly of the Prophet ﷺ, and he was earnestly engaged in trying to persuade them to accept Islam. At that very point, a blind man, named Abdullah bin Umm Maktum, approached him to seek explanation of some matters concerning Islam. The Prophet ﷺ disliked his interruption and ignored him. Thereupon Allah sent down this surah:
عَبَسَ وَتَوَلَّى. أَن جَاءهُ الْأَعْمَى. وَمَا يُدْرِيكَ لَعَلَّهُ يَزَّكَّى. أَوْ يَذَّكَّرُ فَتَنفَعَهُ الذِّكْرَى. أَمَّا مَنِ اسْتَغْنَى. فَأَنتَ لَهُ تَصَدَّى. وَمَا عَلَيْكَ أَلَّا يَزَّكَّى. وَأَمَّا مَن جَاءكَ يَسْعَى. وَهُوَ يَخْشَى. فَأَنتَ عَنْهُ تَلَهَّى.al-Quran 80:1-10
“He frowned and turned away
because the blind man approached him!
But how would you know (O Muhammad) that perchance he might grow in purity,
Or that he might receive admonition and the teaching might profit him?
Now, as for him who believes himself to be self-sufficient
to him did you give your whole attention,
although you are not accountable for his failure to attain to purity;
but as for him who came unto you full of eagerness
and in awe (of God)
him did you disregard!
After this revelation, the Prophet used to honour Abdullah bin Umm Maktum, and would say, whenever he ﷺ saw him: “Welcome to the one about whom my Lord has rebuked me!”
5. That the Prophet ﷺ too succumbed sometimes to marital intrigues
Muhammad al-Bukhari recorded that Aisha narrated: The Prophet used to stay (for a period) in the house of Zaynab bint Jahsy (one of the wives of the Prophet) and he used to drink honey in her house. Hafsa bint Umar and I decided that when the Prophet entered upon either of us, we would say, “I smell in you the bad smell of maghafir (a bad smelling raisin). Have you eaten maghafir?” When he entered upon one of us, we said that to him. He replied, “No, but I have drunk honey in the house of Zaynab bint Jahsh, and I will never drink it again.” Then the following verse was revealed:
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ لِمَ تُحَرِّمُ مَا أَحَلَّ اللَّهُ لَكَ تَبْتَغِي مَرْضَاتَ أَزْوَاجِكَ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ (1) قَدْ فَرَضَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ تَحِلَّةَ أَيْمَانِكُمْ وَاللَّهُ مَوْلَاكُمْ وَهُوَ الْعَلِيمُ الْحَكِيمُ (2) وَإِذْ أَسَرَّ النَّبِيُّ إِلَى بَعْضِ أَزْوَاجِهِ حَدِيثًا فَلَمَّا نَبَّأَتْ بِهِ وَأَظْهَرَهُ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ عَرَّفَ بَعْضَهُ وَأَعْرَضَ عَن بَعْضٍ فَلَمَّا نَبَّأَهَا بِهِ قَالَتْ مَنْ أَنبَأَكَ هَذَا قَالَ نَبَّأَنِيَ الْعَلِيمُ الْخَبِيرُ (3) إِن تَتُوبَا إِلَى اللَّهِ فَقَدْ صَغَتْ قُلُوبُكُمَا وَإِن تَظَاهَرَا عَلَيْهِ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ مَوْلَاهُ وَجِبْرِيلُ وَصَالِحُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمَلَائِكَةُ بَعْدَ ذَلِكَ ظَهِيرٌ (4) عَسَىٰ رَبُّهُۥٓ إِن طَلَّقَكُنَّ أَن يُبْدِلَهُۥٓ أَزْوَٰجًا خَيْرًۭا مِّنكُنَّ مُسْلِمَـٰتٍۢ مُّؤْمِنَـٰتٍۢ قَـٰنِتَـٰتٍۢ تَـٰٓئِبَـٰتٍ عَـٰبِدَٰتٍۢ سَـٰٓئِحَـٰتٍۢ ثَيِّبَـٰتٍۢ وَأَبْكَارًۭا (5 )al-Quran 66:1-5
“O Prophet! Why did you, out of a desire to please your wives, impose (on yourself) a prohibition of something that God has made lawful to you? But God is much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace.” (1)
“God has already enjoined upon you (believers) the dissolution of (such of) your oaths (as may run counter to what is right and just): for, God is your Lord Supreme, and He alone is all-knowing, truly wise.” (2)
“When the Prophet told something in confidence to one of his wives; and when she thereupon divulged it, and God made this known to him, he acquainted (the other wives) with some of it and passed over some of it. And as soon as he let her know it, she asked, “Who has told you this?” (to which) he replied, “The All-Knowing, the All-Aware has told me.” (3)
(It will be better) if you (wives) both turn to Allah in repentance, for the hearts of both of you have swerved (from what is right). But if you (continue to) collaborate against him, then (know that) Allah Himself is his Guardian. And Gabriel, the righteous believers, and the angels are (all) his supporters as well. (4)
Perhaps, if he were to divorce you (all), his Lord would replace you with better wives who are submissive (to Allah), faithful (to Him), devout, repentant, dedicated to worship and fasting – previously married or virgins. (5)
(Continued in Part 3 here).