Naureen Aqueel

Loving the Prophet (pbuh), but how?

Posted on: March 21, 2008

An edited version of this article was published in The News, Iqra page, March 21, 2008.

Love is a potent emotion and it is one of the most vulnerable avenues by which the Shaitan attacks and misleads people. When limits are crossed in love, we often fall into the most despised sin in the sight of Allah, and that is the sin of Shirk (associating partners with Allah). We have the example of the people of Nuh (a.s) who, because of  their great reverence and love for their pious elders, ended up making idols of them which later generations began to worship.

Whenever the expression of love deviates from the method taught to us by the Allah (subhanahu wata’ala) and His Messenger (sallallahu alayhe wa sallam) it opens doors to shirk and innovation and we fall into sin while thinking we are involved in worship.

Love for the Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, is an essential part of our Iman. A Muslim’s Iman (faith) cannot be complete unless he/she loves the Prophet more than all other creation. The Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, said: “None of you believes until I am dearer to him than his father, his child, and all of mankind.”  (Bukhari and Muslim)

And the Muslim must hold the Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, dearer than his/her own self. This is made clear by the following hadith. Narrated ‘Abd Allah bin Hisham: ‘We were with the Prophet (s.a.w) and he was holding the hand of ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab (r.a).  ‘Umar said to him, “O Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w)! You are dearer to me than everything except my own self.” Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w) said: “No, by Him in Whose Hand my soul is, (you will not have complete Faith) until I am dearer to you than your own self.”  Then ‘Umar (r.a) said: “However, now, by Allah, you are dearer to me than my own self.”  He (s.a.w) then said: “Now, O ‘Umar, (now you are a believer).” (Bukhari)

We see nowadays, that it has become fashionable to claim to love the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, and to sing elaborate praises to him and make exaggerated claims of all that we could do for him. Sadly, these claims stand void when it comes to practicing what we say. Allah (s.w.t) says in the Quran:

“O you who believe! Why do you say that which you do not do? Most hateful it is with Allah that you say that which you do not do.” (Surah As-Saff 61:2-3)

The best way to express our love for the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) is to follow his teachings and his Sunnah. The companions who greatly loved the Prophet (s.a.w.) expressed this love by following him in every deed to the extent that even if he had his upper button open they would follow him. Urwah Ibn Masood speaking about this to the Quraish, once said:

“O people, I swear by Allah that I have visited kings. I went to Caesar, Chasroes and the Negus, but I swear by Allah that I never saw a king whose companions venerated him as much as the companions of Muhammad venerated Muhammad. By Allah, whenever he spat it never fell to the ground, it fell into the hand of one his companions, then they would wipe their faces and skins with it. If he instructed them to do something, they would hasten to do as he commanded. When he did wudoo´, they would almost fight over his water. When he spoke they would lower their voices in his presence; and they did not stare at him out of respect for him.” (Bukhari)

The Prophet (s.a.w) said: “All of my ummah will enter Paradise except those who refuse.” They said: “O Messenger of Allah, who would refuse?” He said: “Whoever obeys me will enter Paradise and whoever disobeys me has refused.” (Bukhari)

Thus, we see that the true way of expressing our love for the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) is to obey him and follow his Sunnah. This sincere advice of the Prophet (s.a.w) is particularly pertinent here: “I urge you to follow my Sunnah and the way of the rightly-guided khaleefahs after me; adhere to it and cling to it firmly. Beware of newly-invented things, for every newly-invented thing is an innovation (Bid‘ah) and every innovation is a going-astray.” (Ahmad & Tirmidhi)

A paradox of ours is that we can spend thousands of rupees on a gathering the Prophet (s.a.w) never held, but we cannot feed seventy needy people or build one school for the poor. We can take out time to listen to people singing elaborate praises to the Prophet (s.a.w), but we cannot take out time to learn the Sunnah way of Salah. We can illuminate our homes and streets with lights commemorating the birth of the Prophet (s.a.w), but we cannot illuminate our lives with the two things he brought—the Quran and the Sunnah.

We sing excessive praises to the Prophet (s.a.w), but we forget that he taught us: “Do not extol me as the Christians extolled the son of Maryam. For I am just His slave, so call me the slave of Allaah and His Messenger” (Bukhari). We claim to sacrifice our lives for him, but we cannot sacrifice one un-islamic festival that has become a part of out weddings and which goes against the teachings he brought. What kind of love is this?

If the Prophet (s.a.w) were to come today to spend time with us, would we feel happy or restricted? Would we keep living our day-to-day life the way we do, or would we have to change or ways significantly? Would he be proud to see how our homes are decorated and how we spend our time or would we have to do a quick but temporary makeover only to please him?

I believe this provides enough food for thought.

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