Q. In the Tafseer of the Aayat: “Verily you (O Muhammad) have a sublime character,” it is reported that Hazrat Aishah Siddeeqah (Radhiyallahu anha) said: “Rasoolullah’s practice on the Qur’aan was natural.” It is a principle in the Shariah however that rendering Ibaadat in opposition to one’s nature is more meritorious than rendering Ibaadat when it has become a natural practice to one. Hence in the Kitaab on Aqaaid, Sharhul Aqaaid An-Nasafi it is stated that man is superior to the Malaaikah in view of the Ibaadat of the Malaaikah being their natural disposition. The question that follows is that, Na’oothu Billah, is Rasoolullah’s Ibaadat of an inferior category in view of what Hazrat Aishah (Radhiyallahu anha) said?
A. The words of the Hadeeth read: “His character was the Qur’aan.” Character signifies a trait that has become deep-rooted and which is acquired and is the fruits of diligence. It becomes second-nature, not nature itself. Your question is as a result of understanding second-nature to be a natural disposition. Something becoming second-nature is the product of undergoing voluntary difficulty. This is the yardstick. Hence Allah Ta’ala tells His Nabi: “Once you have completed (your task for the day, i.e. tableegh of Islam) then exert yourself (in the Ibaadat of your Rabb).” Similarly, there are other Aayaat and Ahadeeth which speak of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) undergoing difficulty in Ibaadat. Thus, Ibaadat was not a non-volitional propensity in him as it is with the Malaaikah. The Ibaadat rendered by Rasoolullah was therefore of sublime standard and he will receive the greatest reward for his mujaahadah [self-discipline].