The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ did not only display bravery at specific junctions in his life, but rather showed exemplary endurance and consistency throughout. Consider a man who never knew his father firsthand, hardly enjoyed the compassion of his mother, and then lost his grandfather, and then his uncle and dearest wife simultaneously. Consider a man who lived to witness every single one of his children die save for one, who was treated like a menace and fugitive after decades of building a flawless reputation among his people. Consider a man who experienced physical abuse until he would faint, was starved for years by his own people, and faced countless campaigns of character assassination. Consider a man who was driven out of his home, sent fleeing to Madinah for shelter, only to find hypocrites there awaiting every opportunity to betray him. Consider a man watching assassination attempts against his life unfold regularly, as well as the murder and mutilation of his relatives and companions, and then the slander of his cherished wife Aisha (rA), the daughter of his most loyal comrade. Who could persevere with hope, and persist in matchless ethics, through all this except someone infused by a unique aid from the heavens? The Prophet ﷺ rose from that abyss of negativity and not only survived, but became a fountain of mercy and empathy for people, animals, and plants alike. This is nothing short of miraculous; only God brings the dead out of the living, and produces a spring from a rock, and nourishes a rose in the desert. Only God could have kept him smiling throughout, playing with his grandchildren, standing by his principles, and lifting the spirits of those who suffered so much less than him. Only God could have empowered him ﷺ to have compassion for the heartless, forgiveness for his enemies, and concern for the arrogant. Only God could have kept his heart grateful at times when others could not even be patient, and his heart merciful at times when others could not even be just.
Though the incidents reflecting his perseverance are innumerable, any honest person can simply familiarize himself with the embargo in the ravine of Abu Ṭālib. This continued for an utterly brutal three years, wherein the Prophet ﷺ watched the lips of his Companions turn green from eating leaves and gnawing at animal hides out of desperation for any nourishment. In fact, he watched his dearest family members slowly deteriorate in front of his eyes. Khadīja (rA) and Abu Ṭālib were so debilitated by the embargo that they never recovered from it; they both died soon thereafter. And with the protection of Abu Ṭālib gone, the Prophet ﷺ received in that year the most humiliating treatment of his life.
Aisha (rA) reported that she once asked the Prophet ﷺ, “Have you encountered a day harder than the Day of Uḥud?” The Prophet ﷺ said, “Your tribe has troubled me very much, and the worst was the day of ‘Aqaba when I presented myself to ‘Abd Yalāyl b. ‘Abd Kulāl, and he did not respond to what I sought. I [eventually] departed, overwhelmed with grief, and I could not relax until I found myself at a tree where I lifted my head towards the sky to see a cloud shading me. I looked up and saw Gabriel in it. He called out to me, saying, ‘Allah has heard your people’s speech to you and how they have replied, and Allah has sent the Angel of the Mountains to you that you may order him to do whatever you wish to these people.’ The Angel of the Mountains greeted me and said, ‘O Muhammad, order what you wish, and if you like, I will let the two mountains fall upon them.’ I said, ‘No, rather I hope that Allah will bring from their descendants people who will worship Allah alone without associating partners with Him.”
In other reports, he ﷺ spent ten days in Ṭā’if after speaking to its leaders, calling its people to Islam, until mobs gathered to drive him out. They made two rows and forced him through them while they hurled obscenities and pelted stones until blood ran down his blessed legs, and Zayd b. Ḥaritha’s head was gashed. But even in that darkest hour, all this compounded anguish still did not break the Prophet ﷺ’s perseverance.