The 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 other nations.1
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:
Mountains desired 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 reports:
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 the next.3
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;
Our ‘eternal’ king you are, sent to us by God, O my Master!
1. Bukhari, Tawhid, 36; Muslim, Iman, 326.
2. Bukhari, Riqaq, 17; Muslim, Zuhd, 28.
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, 9.21.
This article has been adapted from Risale- i Nur Collection.