Imam Khamenei

We should be with the people in the same way that the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) was

The following is an excerpt of the analysis of a hadith conducted at the beginning of Dars-e Kharij on December 24, 2019, by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, about the importance of being like ordinary people and interacting with individuals from different social backgrounds.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and peace and greetings be upon our Master Muhammad, and upon his pure household, and may God curse all their enemies

Ibn Abbas narrates, “The Holy Prophet (God’s greetings be upon him and his household) would sit on the ground, he would eat on the ground, he would shepherd sheep and he would accept a slave’s invitation to eat barley bread with him” [Amali al-Tusi, Chapter 14, page 393].

Ibn Abbas narrates, “The Holy Prophet (God’s greetings be upon him and his household) would sit on the ground”

The Holy Prophet did not tend to have a carpet with him. When he met someone in the mosque or when he met that person on the street, he would sit on the ground in order to talk to him.

 “He would eat on the ground”

He would sometimes eat his meal as he was sitting on the ground. He was not in the habit of getting someone to spread a table, to have formalities – such as arranging plates, bowls and the like on the table. This was not the case: he would sit on the ground and he would have his meal.

 “He would shepherd sheep”

He had certain sheep and he would shepherd them here and there holding the string around their neck. The Arabic word “ya’taqel” means to hold something: he would hold the sheep. Well, this is unlike what others typically do. If the likes of us people have a sheep, we will not take them here and there on the street, but that great personality would do that.

 “And he would accept a slave’s invitation to eat barley bread.”

Sometimes, slaves would sit on the ground and would eat barley bread. Whenever Hazrat passed by them, they would offer the bread to him. Hazrat would sit next to them and would eat. He did not say that it is beneath my dignity or it is not an appropriate course of action.

When we talk so much about behaving like ordinary people, this is what it means. We cannot be like ordinary people just by making claims. We should get along with the people and interact with them. We should establish close relations with different classes of people. This is what behaving like ordinary people means. If some of us clergy see an honorable person with a high social status, we say salaam to him and we exchange warm words. If he asks for something, we listen. For example, if he asks for “istikharah” [referring to the Holy Quran to see if we should proceed with a course of action or not], we bring the Quran and do that. However, if he is a person of modest means – someone from a low social background – we will not pay attention to them!

This is not in line with the behavior of the Holy Prophet. The Holy Prophet would get along with the poor and the weak. He would not attach great significance to appearances and to those elements and factors which are apparently sources of glory, magnificence and the like.  

The Holy Prophet lived like that. This is really instructive for us. Of course, we cannot be expected to behave like the Holy Prophet and the Commander of the Faithful. Well, they enjoyed a different position and status. Nonetheless, we should set their behavior as the standard. We should use it as a sign. For example, when you are climbing a mountain, you look at the summit. You might not reach the summit, but you move towards it. This is how we should proceed.



  • Islam
  • Prophet Muhammad