Reflection No. 294 on Q 68:4 Nobility of the Holy Prophet

وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلَىٰ خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٍ
Wa-innaka la-‘alā khuluqin ‘azīm
And indeed you possess a great character
(Sūratul Qalam, No. 68, Āyat 4)

This verse praises the character of the Holy Prophet (s) and describes it as great. The word khuluq refers to the inner qualities of the human being from which his actions originate. These qualities are part of the nature of that human being, such that actions automatically and easily follow what the nature dictates.

According to Allāmah Tabātabā’ī in Tafsīr al Mīzān, although this verse is a general praise of the nature of the Holy Prophet (s), it refers specifically to the qualities he displayed when interacting with people. Standing up for the truth, patience with people, overlooking and forgiveness, generosity, humility . . .  are some of the qualities that made the Holy Prophet a role model in how to interact successfully with others in society.

Many Hadiths tell us of the sublime qualities of the Holy Prophet. The following are quoted in the book Sunan an-Nabī, 2nd Edition, written by ‘Allāmah Muhammad Husayn Tabātabā’ī:

The Noble Prophet (s) used to patch his own clothes, mend his sandals, milk his ewe, eat with the slaves, sit on the ground, ride a donkey and take someone with him. He was not ashamed to carry his own groceries and other items from the market to his family. He would shake hands with the rich and the poor alike and he would not take his hand back from the hand of the other person until that person himself withdrew his hand. He would greet anyone who came to him whether rich or poor, old or young. He would never look down on what he was offered, even if it was a dry date. He had few possessions, had a kind nature, was sociable, cheerful, always smiling but without laughing, always sad but without frowning, humble without losing self-respect, generous without being extravagant, softhearted and merciful to every Muslim (pp. 62 -63).

When a small child was brought to the Noble Prophet (s) in order to pray for blessings for him, he would take him in his arms in order to honor his family. Sometimes the child would urinate on him so some of those who saw this would give a loud cry. He (s) would say: “Do not interrupt him until he has finished urinating.” Then, when he had finished praying for the child or naming him and his family was happy, he would return him to his family, and they would not see [any] signs of him being upset by the urine of their child. When they had left, he would wash his clothes (p. 68).

It was such noble characteristics, in a society that was ignorant of such qualities, which attracted people to the Holy Prophet. People who understood and appreciated the value of such qualities became devoted to the Holy Prophet and accepted Islam wholeheartedly.

To have noble manners shows a noble heart, a nature that is elevated and beautiful. It is the opposite of a petty and small minded nature that is the root of negative manners. Noble manners brings many positive results for the one who practices it, including;
– Pleasure of the Almighty
– Ease and peace of mind
– Love of people
– Success in relationships
– Higher quality of life through mental and emotional satisfaction

Remind yourself of the importance of having a pleasant nature and noble manners. Let the Holy Prophet inspire you to aim towards the highest of such manners, regardless of the qualities of those around you. Recite this verse often to keep you steadfast on the path of acquiring such manners.

Āyatullāh Muhammad Husain Tabātabā’ī, Tafsīr al-Mīzān;
Āyatullāh Muhammad Husayn Tabātabā’ī, Sunan an-Nabī, Tr. Tahir Ridha Jaffer, 2nd Edition available at: