Amongst the most prized characteristic of the Muslim that is both honoured by mention in the Quran and the sunnah is that of proactivity. Yet this beautiful trait has –sadly- become a figment of the past and a rare provision that has largely been replaced with laziness and emotional reactivityThe synonyms of proactivity – المبادرة in English are farsightedness, visionary, etc. Yet we find the equivalent synonyms in Arabic which are used in the Quran and Hadith are: to compete/to race in achieving good deeds. This is more wholesome and more encompassing as the believer should combine elements of both thinking/formulating ideas (i.e. farsightedness) and action (i.e. to haste in achieving those thoughts) to reach his/her target which is ultimately is pleasing Allah and reaching the highest ranks in Paradise.According to the voluminous workon the character of the Prophet peace be upon him: Nathrat Al-Naeem; it is stated that both racing and competing are more commonly used in the Quran than the word proactivity المبادرة, which was used more often in the narrations of the prophet peace be upon him.
These narrations and verses from of the Quran are too numerous to list here and indeed are worthy of a separate lengthy discussion; however suffice us is this beautiful narration by Anasibn Malik (Radi’Allahu’unha) that highlight the proactivity of our beloved prophet peace be upon him:Anas b. Malik reported that Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) was the sublimest among people (in character) and the most generous amongst them and he was the bravest of men. One night the people of Medina felt disturbed and set forth in the direction of a sound when Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) met them on his way back as he had gone towards that sound ahead of them. He was on the horse of Abu Talha which had no saddle over it, and a sword was slung round his neck, and he was saying: There was nothing to be afraid of, and he also said: We found it (this horse) like a torrent of water (indicating its swift-footedness), whereas the horse had been slow before that time. So what can we learn from this amazing story about the Prophet (Peace be upon him)?
Allah’s Messenger (May peace be upon him) was the most sublime/best among people (in character) and the most generous amongst them and he was the bravest of men.
To be the best in character, the bravest and most generous of people is to epitomise the characteristics of leadership in its absolute form. Indeed the prophet’s character was so worthy of praise that it was mentioned in the Noble Quran:
“And indeed, you are of a great moral character” 
So by mercy from Allah, [O Muhammad], you were lenient with them. And if you had been rude [in speech] and harsh in heart, they would have disbanded from about you. So pardon them and ask forgiveness for them and consult them in the matter. And when you have decided, then rely upon Allah. Indeed, Allah loves those who rely [upon Him]. 
These traits changes the way people approach you and behave toward you. It was clear that those around the Messenger (Peace be upon Him) saw him as the one best in character.These traits were further exemplified in the following narration:Sa’id b. Musayyib said that Safwan told him:
(By Allah) Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) gave me what he gave me (and my state of mind at that time was) that he was the most detested person amongst people in my eyes. But he continued giving to me until now he is the dearest of people to me. 
And in another:Musa b. Anas reported on the authority of his father: It never happened that Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) was asked anything for the sake of Islam and he did not give that. There came to him a person and he gave him a large flock (of sheep and goats) and he went back to his people and said: My people, embrace Islam, for Muhammad gives so much charity as if he has no fear of want/poverty. Anas ibn malik (RA) also states that the Prophet peace be upon him was the bravest of people which indicates this is a key characteristic that we as Muslims should adopt as our Prophet (Peace be upon Him) was the best of example for us.Ali, May Allah be pleased with him stated: when the battle intensifies and the eyes become red (an expression to indicate the intensity of emotions), We (i.e. the companions of the prophet peace be upon him), would seek protection behind the prophet peace be upon him; for he was the nearest to the enemy (i.e. he was the bravest and a formidable barrier the enemy could not breach). 
“Met them on his way back”
We can see that the Prophet (Peace be upon Him) was both proactive and fearless in taking quick and decisive action. Whilst the people of Madinah gathered together and most likely discussed the situation at hand, the Prophet (Peace be upon Him) had already taken the initiative to get up and investigate the disturbance at hand. It is also important to note that the Prophet (Peace be upon Him) did not wait for anybody nor did he consult anyone as the situation required swiftness and vigour in response.
“He was on the horse of Abu Talha which had no saddle over it, and a sword was slung round his neck”
We can learn from this that the Prophet (Peace be upon Him) wasted no time in taking action, he did not wait around to saddle a horse or look for a horse that was saddled already, it seems that he took the first horse he found and went straight towards the direction of the disturbance. It’s also key to note that the Prophet (Peace be upon Him) had a sword around his neck, this demonstrates that whilst he was swift in response, he was not reckless or unwise. This is an important distinction between emotional reactions and planned calculated response that brings about desired change.
“There was nothing to be afraid of”
Here we see the Prophet (Peace be upon Him) reassuring the people that all was ok. This shows endless humility and compassion. This is a true character of the prophets.So he (i.e. Musa) watered [their flocks] for them; then he went back to the shade and said, “My Lord, indeed I am, for whatever good You would send down to me, in need.” Despite Musa achieving a gruelling task (removing the huge boulder that was covering the well according to the Tafsir); he still was humble and meek and responded by making the above beautiful dua.
“Whereas the horse had been slow before that time”
From this we can deduce that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was also very resourceful; it seems the horse was usually slow however under the control of the Prophet peace be upon him, it was fast and indeed was described as a torrent of water/raging sea.
It’s also worthy to note that it is clear from this Hadith that the Prophet (Peace be upon Him) did not receive revelation regarding this incident yet he still took the initiative to go. Had he had received revelation he obviously would not have gone as it would have been made clear to him that there was nothing wrong. In conclusion, it is clear from this single hadith that the Prophet (Peace be upon Him) demonstratedthe most refined qualities of leadership, bravery, generosity, proactivity, and resourcefulness.
It is our duties as Muslims to carry his standard and be a shining example of the religion of Allah.
There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and [who] remembers Allah often. 
1. 1. Sahih Muslim, Chapter: The excellent qualities of the prophet peace be upon him)
2. 2. Verse 68:4
3. 3. Verse 3: 159
4. 4. Sahih Muslim, Chapter: The excellent qualities of the prophet peace be upon him
5. 5. Sahih Muslim, Chapter: The excellent qualities of the prophet peace be upon him
6. 6. Sahih Muslim: The Book of Jihad and Expeditions
7. 7. Verse 28:24
8. 8. Verse 33:21
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