Many of us have a wide variety of masks that we put on throughout the day depending on whom we are with and what their expectations are. Some of these masks are masks of patience, masks of gratitude, or masks of kindness. But the ones who see the ‘true us’ are those we live with. They see our faults and the side of us that we would never show to the outside world. When talking to the sahaba (Companions) the Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him) said, ‘The best of you are those whom are best to their families, and I am the best among you to my family’ (Tirmidhi). One of the wisdoms we can take from this is that it’s easy to be kind to people when you only have to see them a few hours a week, or even a few hours a day. It’s easy to put on a smile and make someone feel like they are worth something when you know that the show you are putting on will end soon. But it takes work, effort, and perseverance to keep up that niceness and compassion with the people you see day-in and day-out. It is with your family that your true colors show. Through the narrations and commentary of the wives of the Prophet ﷺ , we know for a fact that he was not one to wear masks nor was he one to be fake and insincere.
One of these narrations is of the time when the Prophet came bursting into the house of our mother, Khadija radi Allahu `anha (may God be pleased with her), seeking refuge from the experience he had just been through and begging her to cover him up. After listening to the story of what had occurred in the cave, which we now know was the beginning of the revelation, Khadija (ra) didn’t rush to call him a mad man, laugh at him, or even feel sorry for him. Rather, she had full confidence that something amazing was happening by the will of Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) because she knew of his noble qualities. She began to comfort him, reminding him of all the good things that he consistently did, assuring him that there is no way that Allah (swt) would abandon him or allow him to be experiencing this out of madness nor out of possession. She reminded him that he was always good to his relatives, was always true to his word, helped those who were in need, supported the weak, fed his guests and answered the calls of those who were in distress. Had this account of his actions come from extended family or even neighbors, it would be awe-inspiring, but it wouldn’t be as powerful as when it came from the lips of his wife. His wife, a woman who sees him in the different moments of his life, who sees him day and night, who knows him for who he really is when his guard may be down, testifies confidently that he is a man of honor and a man that would never let anyone down.
They say if you really want to know who a man is, ask his wife how he is at home when no strange eyes are watching. Our beloved Prophet ﷺ was the same man behind closed doors as he was in public. His deeds did not change depending on who he was with nor did it change depending on who was watching because he knew that the only One who mattered was Allah (swt), and Allah (swt) could see him no matter where he was. He was not two-faced nor did he switch between different masks. No, the Prophet ﷺ kept it real—no matter where he was.