By Shaykh Abdool Rahman Khan
He, who is the best of the children of Adam;
He, who will be the first to be granted intercession;
He, who possesses the honored waseela (lofty position), the fadheela (a rank above the rest of creation) and the maqaam mahmoodaa (raised platform);
He, who was granted the kauthar (a fountain in paradise);
He, who was taken to the highest heaven to meet with his Lord and returned to earth to narrate his encounter;
He is Muhammad ﷺ.
Allah says, “The Prophet is more worthy of the believers than themselves” [Saheeh Intl 33:6] and the Prophet ﷺ said, “None of you will be a true believer until I am more beloved to you than yourself”. [Bukhari]
To explain the verse, Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah (radi Allahu `anhu – may God be pleased with him) explains that the Prophet ﷺ has a ‘higher claim’ on the believers than they have on themselves. That is, he is more important to them and more loved by them than anyone else, including their own self.
Once Umar (radi Allahu `anhu – may God be pleased with him) was walking with the Prophet ﷺ, and he said “By Allah, I love you O Prophet of Allah”. The Prophet ﷺ asked, “More than your children, O Umar?” Umar (ra) replied “Yes, O Prophet of Allah.” The Prophet ﷺ asked, “More than your money, O Umar?” And Umar (ra) replied, “Yes, O Prophet of Allah” The Prophet ﷺ then asked him, “More than yourself, O Umar?” Umar (ra) replied, “No, O Prophet of Allah” The Prophet ﷺ then told him “O Umar, your faith will never be complete until you love me more than yourself.”
To rectify this, Umar (ra) briefly isolated himself. When he returned, he stood in the center of the Masjid and proclaimed “O Prophet of Allah, now I love you more than myself.” The Prophet ﷺ replied “Now, O Umar, now, O Umar”. It was at this moment, when he loved the Prophet ﷺ over himself, that his faith became complete.
Later, Umar (ra) was asked what he had done to increase his love for the Prophet ﷺ in such a short period of time. He said, “I asked myself who did I need more, myself or the Prophet of Allah? I found that I needed the Prophet more. I will not intercede for myself on the Day of Judgment, but the Prophet of Allah will. My deeds will not place me at the highest of levels, but my love for the Prophet will. I did not take myself from the darkness to the light, but the Prophet of Allah did. Accordingly, the love of the Prophet deepened in my heart as compared to my love for myself.”
To love the Prophet ﷺ deeply, necessitates knowing him deeply. One of the ways in which we can do this is to study his seerah – his biography – as individuals, as families, and as communities. Acquiring an understanding of his life and personality will enable us to develop a love based in knowledge and appreciation for his sublime character.
“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.” [Saheeh Intl 33:21]
As a teacher, an administrator and a leader, his example is impeccable. He did not simply hand down commands; he was the first to undertake action in pursuit of a goal. For example, at the time of the Battle of the Trench, he participated in digging the pit alongside his companions.
Allah praises the Prophetﷺ, saying “And indeed, you are of a great moral character.” [Sahih Intl 68:4].
His selflessness and sincerity, his honesty and truthfulness, his generosity and magnanimity – there is no comparison. When the people of Makkah persecuted him and he was injured, he said, “O Allah, forgive my people, they do not know what they are doing,” as he wiped blood from his face.
The Prophet’s ﷺ purpose in this world is highlighted by the verse, “And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds.” [Sahih Intl 21:107]
His compassion and mercy are unparalleled. He played with orphans shunned by society. He joked with children and served the elderly. In one well-known incident, he prolonged his prostration during prayer so as not to disturb his grandson who had climbed on to his back.
His kindness extended towards the earth and the creatures that dwell on it. He looked after animals, once repairing the wing of an injured bird. He encouraged water conservation and warned against polluting the rivers and seas. He urged the planting of trees, stating, “Whoever plants a tree and it matures, Allah plants a tree in paradise for that person.”
He is the icon for justice. He did not discriminate between strong and weak, rich and poor, friend or enemy, and Muslim or otherwise. His relationship with everyone was based in love, affection and understanding. The Jewish community in Madinah was appropriately impressed by his impartiality and fairness and often took their disputes to him to arbitrate.
Ali (radi Allahu `anhu – may God be pleased with him) is reported to have said, “The Prophet is dearer to us than our wealth, our children, our fathers, our forefathers, our mothers and cool water at the time of severe thirst.”
As we strive to develop this level of love for our Beloved Prophetﷺ, we must understand that it is not only a static emotion, it is also an active process. Our love for him manifests in our actions through devotion and obedience. Allah says, “And obey Allah and the Messenger that you may obtain mercy.” [Saheeh Intl 3:132]. Let us endeavor to follow his model, observe his teachings, and live by his example.
اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَعَلَى آلِ مُحَمَّد كَمَا صَلَّيْتَ عَلَى إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَعَلَى آلِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ إِنَّكَ حَمِيدٌ مَجِيدٌ. اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ، وَعَلَى آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ كَمَا بَارَكْتَ عَلَى إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَعَلَى آلِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ إِنَّكَ حَمِيدٌ مَجِيدٌ.
Allahumma salli ala Muhammad wa ala ali Muhammad, kama sallayta ala Ibraheema wa ala ali Ibraheem, innaka hameedun majeed. Allahumma barik ala Muhammad wa ala ali Muhammad, kama barakta ala Ibraheem wa ala ali Ibraheem, innaka hameedun majeed
O Allah, let Your peace come upon Muhammad and the family of Muhammad ,as you have brought peace to Ibrahim and his family. Truly, You are Praiseworthy and Glorious. Allah, bless Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, as you have blessed Ibrahim and his family.
Truly, You are Praiseworthy and Glorious.
Shaykh Abdool Rahman Khan is a graduate of The Islamic University Madinah, faculty of Shari’ah, specializing in Islamic Inheritance. He is a graduate of The University of Guyana in English and holds a Diploma of Education. Shaykh Khan is the former principal of the Guyana Islamic Institute, a position that he held for a period of eight years. He is the Imam and head of Islamic Studies at the Muslim Community Center of Greater Rockford, Illinois. He is actively involved in the field of Da’wah (Religious Dialogue). Shaykh Abdool Rahman Khan is the Chairman of ICNA Shari’ah Council and an executive member of the Fiqh Council of North America.