Our Prophet's
"And you are truly ˹a man˺ of outstanding character"
[Surah Al-Qalam 68:4]
Which quality of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ , was this Jewish Scholar looking for ?
By: Shaikh Zafar Ul Hasan Al Madani

One of the commands of Allah to his Prophet ﷺ was to restrain from responding evil with evil. It has been commanded in Quran:

Repel evil with that which is good You will notice, the one who harboured enmity against you, will turn into your fast friend
Surah Fussilat 41: verse 34)

In Islamic context, repelling evil means tolerance and generosity towards evil behaviour. It means overlooking and pardoning the misdeeds committed against you and reciprocating it with better conduct.

The story of Zaid ibn Sana

Zaid bin Sana, a very notable companion of the Prophet ﷺ was a Jewish scholar of Torah till he embraced Islam. As an avid reader of Torah, he carefully analysed the claim of the prophethood by Prophet ﷺ and signs of prophethood with the help of Torah. He got all of them confirmed except a few, which prevented him from embracing Islam.

Imam Tirmidhi narrates a Hadith about the incident on how he confirmed two important characteristics of the prophethood. Once he came to Prophet ﷺ and spoke about a tribe which was at a distance from Madinah and was running short of food. They had just recently accepted Islam. Zaid ibn Sana offered dates from his farm and offered to give them (Muslims) some time to make the payment. It was agreed by both parties and so the dates were delivered.

Return my money just now

 Zaid came to the Prophet ﷺ a few days before the final date of payment. He demanded his money in a very rude manner while the companions stood there stunned:

“I want my money just now’ he insisted and added, " Delaying other's payments seems to be a habit that runs in your family”.

He used all rude words to provoke the Messenger of Allah ﷺ

As always, Umar ibn Khattab (May Allah be pleased with him) could not tolerate his insulting behavior, so he came forward and pushed Zaid away. Zaid fell down and Umar (May Allah be pleased with him) started hitting him.

While Umar responded with harshness and beating, Zaid was watching the response of the Prophet ﷺ who rushed forward and stopped Umar (May Allah be pleased with him) and scolded him: "Umar I owe money to him and he has a right to demand."

Then he asked Umar to go to so and so person and to request him to give his dates to Zaid on his behalf. Umar was instructed not to taunt him on the way. He obeyed and they went to the farm where he got the dates and paid them to Zaid.

Evil was returned with khair and ihsan

An extra sack of dates was added as well. A surprised Zaid asked him the reason and Umar said that it was the instruction of the Prophet ﷺ as a compensation for hitting him.

These were the two great Prophetic attributes among the ones mentioned in the Torah which Zaid wanted to confirm. That was the moment, Zaid stood up and recited the Shahada- the testimony of Islamic faith. Zaid donated all of his goods. Umar (May Allah be pleased with him) was stunned and they both went to the Prophet ﷺ where Zaid explained his reasons for appearing to be rude towards the Prophet ﷺ  

"All the signs of Prophethood mentioned in Torah had been confirmed but only ‘Hilm’- extreme tolerance of the Prophet in a situation where he is insulted and being humble towards ignorant even when someone tries to provoke his anger, remained. So I decided to check it out and now I am convinced that indeed you are the Prophet whose arrival is mentioned in our books."

Zaid (May Allah be pleased with him) offered to go anywhere to do Jihad and he donated all his property in the Islamic treasury to be utilised for a good purpose.