Friday, the day of congregation, had come again and Bilal [r], the Prophet’s [s] Mu’adhdhin called out the Adhan from the top of Masjid an-Nabawi. He had the most melodious voice which rang out over the houses and hilltops of the blessed city and filled the hearts of the believers with joy and faith.
Madinah was abuzz with activity with everyone preparing for the Jum‘ah Salah. The men were in their finest clothes, perfumed with the sweetest scents. They all looked so handosme with their beards oiled, perfumed and combed, their handsomely wrapped turbans and their long flowing robes. They almost looked like angels which had come down from the highest heaven and were now walking on the earth. The little children too scurried about in their best clothing with their mothers running around after them. Everyone was excited to hear what their beloved Prophet [s] had to teach this week.
As they entered the Masjid of the Prophet [s] they were greeted again by the sweet fragrances burning from the incense burners and the wonderful sight of noble men sitting side by side, Arab and non-Arab, Roman and Persian, black and white, rich and poor, all equal in the house of Islam.
There was no noise, no pushing and shoving, just the soft humm of believers praising Allah and praying earnestly to Him. Everyone was waiting anxiously for the Holy Prophet [s] to enter.
There was a hush and everyone turned to see the most beautiful sight. It seemed as if the full moon had risen and its shimmering, silvery light had filled the masjid. The Beloved Prophet [s] of Allah had entered and what a wonderful sight to behold. His gentle, black eyes sparkled as he smiled at his Companions [r], his teeth glittering like pearls behind his handsome smile. He wore a grand, black turban, the ends of which hung between his broad, muscular shoulders, and a flowing black cloak. There was truly no sight more beautiful to behold, if only you were there to see.
The Holy Prophet [s] climbed up the steps of the mimbar and sat down facing the congregation who were eagerly waiting to hear his precious words.
Just then the bedouins and shepherds entered the Masjid An-Nabawi. The men tending the date orchards were there too. They had been working hard the whole mornning and had hurried over to the masjid in their rough, woollen clothes. It was a hot day and although they had just performed wudu’ the perspiration was still trickling from their foreheads. The people in the masjid did not seem very comfortable with them sitting there and the Prophet [s] knew exactly why.
They had not bathed their bodies for some time and the thick, heavy, woollen cloaks made the smell from their sweaty bodies all the more awful. It seemed as if the day was spoilt for all who were present and many expected the Prophet [s] to scold the bedouins and shepherds, but that was not the Prophets [s] way.
No, not only was he the most handsome man but he possessed the most handsome character too and the finest manners.
He began to speak to all present in a gentle voice. “O people,” he said. “If anyone bathes on a Friday, cleaning every part of his body thoroughly, rubs sweet oils over his skin, hair and beard, puts on a touch of perfume, then goes out, and without pushing or being discourteous sits as near as he can to the Imam, remaining silent when the imam speaks, listening attentively, and performing the salah prescribed for him, then all his sins between that time and the next Friday will be forgiven, and for every step he took towards the masjid he will be given the reward of a year of continuous fasting and continuously performing salah.”
The people were overjoyed to hear this wonderful news. The Noble Prophet [s] had impressed upon them the importance of bathing and grooming without making the bedouins and shepherds feel at all embarrassed.
He continued his talk and many lessons were learnt that day. But the most important lesson of all was that of gentleness and sensitivity when correcting others. He taught us how to show the straight and right way without causing any embarrassment to others.
He reminded everyone of the great rewards Allah promises to those who bath regularly and who groom themselves. In this manner people felt encouraged and become even more eager to follow the beautiful way of Islam.