The love and affection that Muslims have for the Prophet ﷺ is only natural, as Allah says:
النَّبِيُّ أَوْلَى بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ مِنْ أَنفُسِهِمْ
“The Prophet is closer to the believers than their own selves” [Al-Ahzab: 6]
“Man’s love for Allah and His Messenger is to obey them and to accept what Allah سبحانه وتعالى has commanded and the Messenger of Allah ﷺ has brought.”
Anas that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:
“None of you would be considered a believer until I become more beloved to him than his family, wealth and all the people.”
The companions of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ were very much concerned about the application of this duty.
‘Abdullah b. Hisham said:
We were with the Prophet ﷺ when he took the hand of ‘Umar. Umar said: “I love you more than anything except my soul which is between my two sides.” The Prophet replied, “None of you will believe until I am dearer to him than his own soul.” ‘Umar said, “By the One who sent down the Book on you, I love you now more than my soul which is between my two sides.” The Prophet said, “‘Umar, now you have it!”
If a believer finds any aspect of the sunnah of the Messenger of Allah is not beloved to them, they are quick to change that within themselves. Believers have no better way of expressing their love for our Prophet ﷺ than to love all that He ﷺ loved and to dislike all that he disliked. Believers know that what was most beloved to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ is also what is most beloved to Allah سبحانه وتعالى, so they strive to make that the most beloved to themselves.
If the people were to criticise an aspect of Islamic shariah law, a believer would not want to change Islam to make the people happy. Rather, he would cling onto the shariah, explaining its superiority over all other ways and the error of the ones criticising.
The Prophet ﷺ as truly honoured among the Prophets عليهم السلام, as he was singled out to be the last and final messenger to all of mankind. `Ali bin Abi Talib رضي الله عنه said that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said,
“I was given what no other Prophet before me was given.” We said, “O Messenger of Allah! What is it” He said, “I was given victory by fear, I was given the keys of the earth, I was called Ahmad, the earth was made a clean place for me (to pray and perform tayammum with it) and my Ummah was made the best Ummah.”
The reason we were made the best ummah is stated in the ayah:
كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللّهِ
“You are the best ummah singled out for mankind: you enjoin what is right (ma’roof), forbid what is wrong (munkar), and believe in Allah.” [Al-Imraan: 110]
When believers hear of an aspect of the Messenger’s ﷺ sunnah is not being upheld, they are quick to encourage it, as therein lies the proof of their love – to love what he loved. Qatadah said, “We were told that Umar bin Al-Khattab recited this Ayah [3:110] during a Hajj that he performed, when he saw that the people were rushing. He then said, ‘Whoever likes to be among this [praised] Ummah, let him fulfil the condition that Allah set in this Ayah.’”
Discussion around the excellent qualities of the Prophet ﷺ should be encouraged among young and old, as they will only increase love for this noble Messenger that Allah sent to us, but in that we must not be selective only focusing on some parts of His ﷺ sunnah, whilst neglecting the rest.
We must not forget what it was that the Prophet sent for? What was his mission? What did he bring to us? These are questions which sometimes are lost in the discussion.
Month of Hijrah
It should not be forgotten that Rabi’ul-Awwal is also the month of the hijrah of the Prophet ﷺ. From the very first day he ﷺ established the authority for Islam. The Establishment of Islam in Madina was the first day of joy for the Muslims. Often when the hijrah is discussed, we can limit ourselves to the details describing how the Prophet ﷺ hid in a cave or who slept in his ﷺ bed. This inevitably diverts us from discussing the true significance of the event. Umar رضي الله عنه is reported to have said:
“The Hijrah has separated truth from falsehood, so calculate dates from it.”
The hijrah to Madinah did not take place because the Muslims in Mecca wanted to avoid the persecution there, or to run away from the hardships they faced in that city. Rather, it was an event that took the dawah of Islam in a new direction. Prior to the hijrah the people of Madinah accepted Muhammad ﷺ only as a Prophet. However, when he ﷺ arrived in Madinah, they were receiving him ﷺ as a ruler and a Prophet. Before the hijrah, he ﷺ was a Prophet criticising the values of Quraysh. After the hijrah, he ﷺ was the one who implemented the values and laws of Islam. Islam had gone from addressing and pointing out the problems, to tackling them and providing solutions for them. It was at this point that the Prophet ﷺ was able to apply the rules and systems of Islam into real life.
Rasool Allah ﷺ, as the best example, showed the world the meaning of justice, yet today the lands of his followers are among the most unjust. Dictators and democratic agents of the West together work day and night to delay the Islamic State that the Prophet ﷺ promised would return after such oppression when he said:
“Then there will be a rightly guided Khilafah according to the method of Prophethood.”
Those who cling to the message of Islam calling for its complete application in life, whether personal, economic, social, or political are accused of being too extreme, imprisoned and even killed, in the name of defending liberal democratic values.
Today our Islamic way of life is criticised openly in the media, politicians accuse our values of being backward, our brothers and sisters are slaughtered overseas to secure colonial interests, and our beloved Prophet is insulted in the name of free speech. Yet the Muslims are expected to remain silent at this!
The Message of Islam shows mankind how to escape the oppression of whimsical man-made law. It shows how men and women should not mix freely, thus securing family values. It gives dignifies and elevates the status of women, as opposed to her objectification in the West. Islam shows how to prevent the peoples’ wealth being squandered by a mighty elite club of bankers and politicians. Capitalist economics favours the business elite and ‘representative’ democracy favours the political elite. The Islamic way of life implemented by the coming Khilafah إن شاء الله offers a superior way of living for all mankind, so why should Muslims be silent about it?
Death of Allah’s beloved
Rabi’ul-Awwal has further significance for Muslims, as on twelfth day, ten years after hijrah He ﷺ passed away. The news of the Prophet’s death was so hard upon close companions and Muslims that some of them refused to believe that he had passed away. Upon hearing this, Abu Bakr رضي الله عنه went to the mosque and delivered one of the noblest speeches:
“O People! If it was Muhammad whom you worshipped, then know that he is dead. But if it is Allah whom you worshiped, then know that He does not die.”
He then recited the following verse, which was revealed after the Battle of Uhud:
وَمَا مُحَمَّدٌ إِلَّا رَسُولٌ قَدْ خَلَتْ مِنْ قَبْلِهِ الرُّسُلُ أَفَإِنْ مَاتَ أَوْ قُتِلَ انْقَلَبْتُمْ عَلَى أَعْقَابِكُمْ
“Muhammad is no more than an Apostle: many were the Apostles that passed away before him. If he died or were slain, will you then turn back on your heels?” [aal-Imran 3:144]
If a Muslim dies, it is obligatory for Muslims to bury him as soon as possible. But the sahabah did not bury the Prophet ﷺ immediately. Al-Haythami said, “It is known that the Sahabah رضي الله عنهم consented that selecting the Imam after the end of the era of Prophethood was an obligation. Indeed they made it (more) important than the (other) obligations whilst they were busy with it over the burial of the Prophet ﷺ.”
We must honour the struggle and sacrifice of the Prophet ﷺ and his Sahabah رضي الله عنهم, whom were people that the He ﷺ loved. We must do this by narrating their stories and following in their footsteps, behaving as they would when faced with what we face.
When asked by the king of Persia why he had come, The companion of the Prophet ﷺ Rabiah Ibn ‘Amir رضي الله عنهsaid:
“Allah عز وجل has sent us to deliver you from worshipping the creation to worshipping the Creator of the creation, and to deliver you from the constriction of this world to the vastness of this world and the afterlife, and from the oppression of the religions to the justice of Islam. Allah عز وجل has sent us to save you from worshipping each other.”