Islamic Character Prophet Muhammad

He Kept it Real! published in June 2011.

Commanded to Love: Part IPart II | Part III | Part IV | Part V | Part VI | Part VII | Part VIII Part IX Part X | Part XI | Part XII | Part XIII | Part XIV

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.

About the author

Reehab (Ramadan) Aref

Reehab (Ramadan) Aref

Reehab (Ramadan) Aref grew up in a small Texas city and was unexpectedly uprooted to Cairo, Egypt. The shift of countries precipitated a shift in her outlook on life; this, with her enriching experience in community activism—specifically social service, youth work, and Qur’anic Studies—provides for a rather enlightened perspective. She is currently pursuing an M.A. in Counseling Psychology. Thankfully, her main outlet and therapeutic tool is to write, write, write! She keeps her own blog, contributes regularly to various publications, and – most importantly – you’ll find her entries on this site.


  • assalamalaikum wa rahmtullah wa barakatuhu, a beautiful reminder and source of stregnth. jazakallah khair sister.

  • Salaams to all. Hi, how come in this new site we cannot e-mail articles? I loved that option, I use to email articles to brothers and sisters, you know, try to spreed the good a little. Any one know how we can email or forward articles again? Thanks. Salaams to the ummah.

  • Salam, May Allah bless you and all the Muslims who strive to be real in and out, in trying to become the ideal person who’s in everyone

  • Salaam…this is refreshing. To know that “keeping it real” did not go wrong. I feel that in today’s culture the most successful is the one that is most proficient in switching masks. Very manipulative which is not becoming of their fitra and sadly draws them further and further away from the truth; only to seek an existential gratification that is neither everlasting or rewarding.

  • This is the best article I have read in a long time, not because of the difficulty I am having in my marriage and would really love to give it to my husband in Arabic, but because I needed a reminder to myself to keep it real. This is an article I will try to reference every day. Thanks so much for giving me this reward. I feel as if it was meant for me.

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