In the period before the advent of our beloved Messenger صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ, the whole world was engulfed in the darkness of ignorance. Humans were uncivilised, morally decadent and devoid of good character. When Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى sent the Leader of all Ambiyaa u and the Seal of the Messengers, Muhammad Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم, the entire world was illuminated. By following his examples and teaches people of all backgrounds and creeds, Muslim and non- Muslim, alike, have achieved great successes throughout the ensuing fourteen centuries.
The underlying reason behind success in following his example is that Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى created His beloved Rasul صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ the best in every way. Whenever Sahabah رضي الله عنه described a particular characteristic of his, they would always qualify it with the superlative it deserved. They described him, for example, as the most generous, the most knowledgeable, the most courageous etc. Their description proclaims quite clearly to all who followed his era that in every praiseworthy trait Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم was “The Best’.
Every objective non-Muslim, have had no option but to praise the Messenger of Islam صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ.
George Bernard Shaw writes: “I have studied him – the wonderful man and in my opinion far from being an anti-Christ, he must be called the Saviour of humanity.” (The Genuine Islam, Vol 1 No8, 1936)
Pandit Gyanandra Dev Sharma Shastri, at a meeting in Gurakhpur, India (1928) said:
“They (Muhammad’s critics) see fire instead of light, ugliness instead of good. They distort and present every good quality as a great vice. It reflects their own depravity… The critics are blind. They cannot see that the only ‘sword’ Muhammad wielded was the sword of Mercy, Compassion, Friendship and Forgiveness – the sword that conquers enemies and purifies hearts. His sword was sharper than the sword of steel.”
“Philosopher, orator, apostle, legislator, warrior, conqueror of ideas, the restorer of rational doctrines, of religion without images; the founder of twenty terrestrial empires and of one spiritual empire, that is Muhammad. As regards all the standards by which human greatness may be measured, we may well ask is there any man greater than he?” (Histoire de la Turquie, Vol II, Paris, 1854)
Acritic, David Samuel Margoliouth, an Oxford University Professor of the early 20th Century, wrote a biography of Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم. He writes in his preface:
“The biographers of the Prophet Mohammed for a long series which it is impossible to end, but in which it would be honourable to find a place.” (margoliouth, Mohammed and the rise of Islam, 1905)
When Gandhi read the sirah of Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم in two volumes, he commented:
“When I closed the second volume I was sorry there was not more for me to read of the great life.” (Gandhi, Young india, 1924)
The sirah (life or biography) of Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم is full of lessons. It is an ocean that has no shore, meaning the sirah is never-ending when it comes to deriving lessons from it. It is from the miracles of Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم that his life has been recorded and preserved in such detail. All credit goes to his beloved Companions y who recorded this beautiful life with great care and detail to the extent that his humorous statements have also been preserved, and have proven to be an ocean of knowledge.
Let us study an example:
Anas ibn Malik t narrates how Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم would try cheering up his younger brother by saying a little rhyme: O Father of ‘Umayr! What has happened to the nughayr (a type of bird)? (Al-Bukhari)
The small child would be delighted at the rhyme and by the fact that Allah’s Messenger would call him, a mere toddler, Father of ‘Umayr!
This is one small and seemingly insignificant episode from the life of Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم, but the ‘Ulama having pondered over this statement of Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم were able to deduce over sixty religious precepts from it. Such is the power and depth of a single humorous statement, what can one say about his formal and serious statements!
The blessed sirah is truly a light and full of guidance for all circumstances and situations we may encounter in life. Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى says:
Indeed, there is a beautiful example for you in the Messenger of Allah… (33:21)
The life and teachings of Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم are truly comprehensive that a day will never come when the Muslims will not be able to find a solution through them to any issue they encounter. Guidance can be found in his teachings on every subject matter. And if we follow these beautiful teachings, we will become successful in both worlds.
So we need to emulate the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم in all aspects of our lives: ‘aqa’id (beliefs), ‘ibadat (acts of worship), mu’amalat (dealings and transactions), mu’asharat (social conduct) and akhlaq hasanah (good character). It is unfortunate that many of us have confined Din to the first two branches, ‘aqa’id and ‘ibadat, only. Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم has warned of destruction for such people. Once Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم asked his Sahabah:
“Who is a poor person?” They replied, “A poor person amongst us is he who has neither dirham nor wealth.” Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “The poor person in my Ummah will be the one who will come on the Day of Judgement with his salah, sawm and zakah; however, he swore as someone, accused someone, unlawfully consumed the wealth of someone, killed someone and hurt someone, then his good deeds will be given to his victims. And if his good deeds are exhausted but the compensation of his victims remain, then their sins will be taken and entered in his account and he will be thrown in the hell-fire.” (Muslim)
In addition to protecting our good deeds, the practice of mu’amalat, mu’asharat and akhlaq hasanah presents the beauty of our Din to the whole of humanity, as they predominantly relate to social interaction. The life of Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم and of those who followed him to the highest degree, contain numerous episodes of winning the hearts of people, through practically demonstrating these branches of Din.
If we strive to make our lives fully in accordance with the teachings of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and emulate him in every way, then we will become the beloved of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى.
Say [O Prophet ], ‘If you really love Allah, then follow me, and Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. Allah is Most-Forgiving, Very-Merciful.’(3:31)
Once we become His beloved, we will automatically become the beloved of His entire creation. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم has said:
“When Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى makes a servant His beloved, the Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى summons Jibra’il u and says, ‘indeed, Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى loves such a person; you too love him.’
When Jibra’il u hears this command of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى, his hearts are infused with the love for this person. Such a person is now the beloved of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى and Jibra’il u. Then Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى commands Jibra’il u to address the dwellers of the heavens and say: Indeed, Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى loves such a person; you too love him. Upon hearing the command, their hearts too are infused with his love. This person is granted acceptance amongst the people on the earth [resulting in everyone entertaining love for him].” (Al-Bukhari)
This is a simple solution to the problems that are blighting the entire world at the moment; in fact, this is the only solutio. As Muslims, we should endeavour to adopt the way of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم in every facet of our lives. Our ‘aqa’id (beliefs), ‘ibadat (acts of worship), mu’amalat (dealings and transactions), mu’asharat (social conduct) and akhlaq hasanah (good character) should all be like that of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم.
If we desire that people of the world look at us with love and respect, then we need to resolve to live our lives according to the way of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم so that we become the beloved of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى and as a result become the beloved of the entire creation.
Let us resolve today, assess/review our lives and rectify any shortcomings. When our actions completely reflect the teachings of the beloved of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى, then spiritual blessings will become apparent which will resolve all our issues in this world and the Hereafter. This is a very pertinent matter at the current time and needs our utmost attention. If we make a firm resolution to learn the way of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and act upon it accordingly – whether the action is fard, wajib, sunnah or mustahab – then success awaits.