PROPHETS WERE ALL TRUSTWORTHY
AND ASKED NO WAGE
FOR CALLING TO GOD
The Prophets were
completely trustworthy and they demanded no wage for their services. This very
important characteristic of Prophethood is mentioned in the Qur’an five times
in sura al-Shu’ara’. All the Prophets said the same thing:
I am for you a
trustworthy Messenger, so serve you God, and obey you me. I ask of you no
wage for this; my wage falls only upon the Lord of the Worlds. (al-Shu’ara’,
26. 107-9, 125-7, 143-5, 162-4, 178-80)
As everyone knows, the
Prophet Muhammad was famous for his trustworthiness even before his proclamation
of Prophethood. He was known as al-Amin (the Trustworthy). Like his
predecessors, he asked no wage for calling to God.
The Prophets never
thought of material gain or even spiritual reward in return for their services.
Their aim was not even Paradise - they strove only for God’s good pleasure and
to see humankind guided to the truth. The Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace
and blessings, was the foremost in this respect. As he devoted his life to the
welfare of humankind in this world, so too, in the Place of Gathering, where
everyone else will care only about himself, he will prostrate himself before God
and pray for the salvation of his nation and intercede with God on behalf of
As well as
trustworthiness and altruism, the principle of demanding no wage from people for
the services rendered in the way of God should also be observed by those who
undertake to communicate to people the perennial values of Islam. Any message
not accompanied by purity of intention - no matter how eloquently expressed -
will fail to have any effect on people. This point is frequently emphasized in
the Qur’an. It says:
Follow such as ask
no wage of you, that are right-guided. (Ya Sin, 36.21)
Imam Busiri expresses in
vivid language the altruism, sincerity and patience of God’s Messenger, upon
him be peace and blessings:
to run on his either side in heaps of gold but he refused.
The Messenger, upon him
be peace, once said:
A day comes when I
am hungry so as to endure it with patience; on another day I am full to
praise my Lord, acquiring thus the reward of both patience and praising.
‘A’isha, Mother of
Believers, reported that there were times when no food was cooked for four days
successively in the Prophet’s house.2 Concerning the same point, Abu Hurayra
One day I went into the
Prophet’s room. He was performing prayer in the sitting position and groaning.
I asked him if he was ill. He replied, No, I am too hungry to stand. I
began to sob bitterly, but he stopped me, saying, Do not weep, for the one
who endures hunger here - in this world - will be safe from God’s torment in
One day, he had muttered
to Gabriel, Days have passed when no fire has been lit to cook food in the house
of Muhammad’s family, an angel appeared before him and asked: ‘O Messenger
of God, God greets you and asks, Do you wish to be a Prophet-king or a
Prophet-slave? He turned to Gabriel, who recommended him humility. The Prophet
raised his voice and replied, I wish to be a Prophet-slave, who entreats God
in hunger one day and thanks Him in satisfaction the next.4
God’s Messenger used to
eat with slaves and servants. Once, a woman saw him eating and remarked, ‘he
is eating as if he were a slave’. God’s Messenger responded to her, saying: Could
there be a better slave than me? I am a slave of God.5
God’s Messenger, upon
him be peace and blessings, is, by virtue of being a slave of God, our master,
the master of the whole creation, as eloquently stated by Ghalib Dada:
An exalted king,
the King of the Messengers, O my Master;
You are an endless
source of help for the helpless, O my Master!
God honored you by
swearing by your life in the Qur’an, O my Master;
In the Divine
Presence, you are the greatest, O my Master!
You are the
beloved, lauded and praised one of God, O my Master;
king you are, sent to us by God, O my Master!
1. Bukhari, Tawhid, 36; Muslim,
2. Bukhari, Riqaq, 17; Muslim,
3. Kanz al-’Ummal, 7.199.
4. I. Hanbal, 2.231; Kanz al-’Ummal,
7.191; Majma’ al-Zawa’id, 9.18-9.
5. Majma’ al-Zawa’id,