Prophet Muhammad (S) – The Prophet of Islam – Part 1

Dr. Habib Siddiqui

Posted Mar 19, 2008      •Permalink      • Printer-Friendly Version
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Prophet Muhammad (S) – The Prophet of Islam – Part 1

by Dr. Habib Siddiqui

It may not be an exaggeration if I were to state that in the annals of human history, there has never been a man who has been so much loved and villified as Muhammad (S) the Prophet of Islam. To the faithful Muslims, he is the best of mankind that was ever created by God (Allah).

The poem below by Hassan ibn Thabit (Radi Allahu Anh’, meaning: May Allah be pleased with him) shows how Muhammad’s (S) companions felt about him:

By God, no woman has conceived and given birth
To one like the Apostle, the Prophet and guide of his people;
Nor has God created among his creatures
One more faithful to his sojourner or his promise
Than he who was the source of light,
Blessed in his deeds, just and upright.

(Sirat Rasulallah by Muhammad Ibn Ishaq)

Muslims don’t utter Muahmmad’s (S) name without the salutation: sal-lal lahu alayhi wa sal-lam (meaning: blessings of Allah and peace be upon him; abbreviated here as (S)). The Muslim testimony of faith includes the sentence: There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. During the call of prayer (ad’han), five times daily - from pre-dawn hours to night, the same words are repeated from the minarets of masjids (mosques) urging Muslims to come and pray to Allah. A Muslim also ends his/her prayer with a supplication to Allah seeking blessing and bounties for the prophet and his family the same way He had blessed the family of Abraham (Ibrahim alayhis salam).

To the faithful Christians, Muhammad (S), on the other hand, is the blasphemer of Christ. Not surprisingly, therefore, that there was not a period in European or American history since the Middle Ages in which Islam was generally discussed or thought about outside a framework created by passion, prejudice and political interests (see “Islam Through Western Eyes” by late Professor Edward Said). Truly, anti-Islamic polemics is older than the Crusades. Since the time of John of Damascus (c.675-c.749), Islam has been depicted as a Christian heresy, and its founder a false prophet.  John claimed that the Qur’an was not a revealed scripture but was created by the Prophet Muhammad (S) and that he was helped in his task by a Christian monk. (See this author’s essay – “An Analysis of Anti-Islamic Polemics” for detailed discussion on this subject.)

In recent years, in the aftermath of 9/11, the attack against Islam and Muhammad (S) in non-Muslim countries has only multiplied several fold. In their new found hatred, most Christians are oblivious of the charter of privilege granted by the Prophet (S):

“This is a message from Muhammad ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them.

Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and by Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them.

No compulsion is to be on them. Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries. No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims’ houses.

Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God’s covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate.
No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight. The Muslims are to fight for them. If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray.Their churches are to be respected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants. No one of the nation (Muslims) is to disobey the covenant till the Last Day (end of the world).”

Such were the precious words of Prophet Muhammad (S) in the year 628 CE, when he granted this historic document, also known as the Charter of Privileges, to the monks of St. Catherine Monastery in Mt. Sinai. As can be seen, this Charter, more than 13 centuries before the promulgation of the (modern) Universal Declaration of Human Rights, consisted of several clauses covering all aspects of human rights including such topics as the protection of Christians (minorities) living under Islamic rule, freedom of worship and movement, freedom to appoint their own judges and to own and maintain their property, exemption from military service, and the right to protection in war.

Sounds strange? Not so, if one cares to recall that in 622 CE, the year of Prophet’s migration (Hijrah) from Makkah (Mecca) to Madinah (Medina), Muhammad (S) signed a Treaty between Muslims, non-Muslim Arabs and Jews of Medina, which was put in writing and ratified by all concerned parties. This stipulated:

“In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful. This is a document from Muhammad, the Prophet, governing the relation between the Believers from among the Qurayshites (i.e., Emigrants from Mecca) and Yathribites (i.e., the residents of Medina) and those who followed them and joined them and strived with them. They form one and the same community as against the rest of men. … Whosoever among the Jews follows us shall have help and equality; they shall not be injured nor shall any enemy be aided against them…. The Jews shall maintain their own religion and the Muslims theirs. Loyalty is a protection against treachery. … The valley of Yathrib (Medina) shall be sacred and inviolable for all that join this Treaty. … Allah is the Guarantor of the piety and goodness that is embodied in this covenant. … Allah approves the truth and goodwill of this covenant. This treaty shall not protect the unjust or the criminal. Whoever goes out to fight as well as whoever stays at home shall be safe and secure in this city unless he has perpetrated an injustice or commited a crime…. Allah is the protector of the good and God-fearing people.”

Such was Muhammad (S) who never broke his promise. He was the most trustyworthy person. He was also the most generous of men. Neither a dinar (gold coin) nor a dirham (silver coin) would be left with him without being disbursed to the needy ones. He was never asked for anything but that he gave it to the one who sought it. He would prefer the seeker to himself and his family.

‘Ali (RA), one of his closest Companions, said: “Of all men he was the most generous, the most open hearted, the most truthful, the most fulfilling of promise, the gentlest of temper, and the noblest towards his family. Whoever saw him unexpectedly was awed by him, and whoever was his intimate loved him.” Whoever was over-awed by his presence would be comforted by him: “Be at rest. I am not a king. I am only the son of a woman of the Quraysh, who eats dried meat.” He was so humble that when anyone called his name, he would answer: ‘At your service.’ When questioned about his humility, he would reply: “I was sent to complete the noble qualities of character.” (Ihya’ Ulum al-Din by Imam al-Ghazzali (R))

Muhammad (S) was unschooled, and yet he was the most learned sage of his era. The following narrative (from this author’s book – Wisdom of Mankind; Musnad-e Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal) is illustrative of his great wisdom.

A bedouin came one day to the Muhammad (S), the Messenger of Allah and said to him: “O Messenger of Allah! I have come to ask you a few questions about the affairs of this life and the Hereafter.”

The Messenger of Allah (S) replied: “Ask what you wish.”

- I would like to be the most learned of men.
- Fear Allah, and you will be the most learned of men.

- I wish to be the richest man in the world.
- Be contented, and you will be the richest man in the world.

- I would like to be most just man.
- Desire for others what you desire for yourself, and you will be the most just of men.

- I want to be the best of men.
- Do good to others and you will be the best of men.

- I wish to be the most favored by Allah.
- Engage much in Allah’s praise, and you will be favored by Him.

- I would like to complete my Iman (or faith).
- If you have good manners, you will complete your Iman (faith).

- I wish to be among the Muhsin (i.e., those who do good).
- Adore Allah as if you see Him.  If you do not see Him, He sees you.  In this way you will be among those who do good (i.e., you will be a Muhsin).

- I wish to be obedient to Allah.
- If you observe Allah’s commands you will be obedient.

- I would like to be free from all sins.
- Bathe your body from impurities and you will be free from all sins.

- I would like to be raised on the Day of Judgment in the light.
- Do not wrong yourself or any other creature, and you will be raised on the Day of Judgment in the light.

- I would like Allah to bestow His mercy on me.
- If you have mercy on yourself and on others, Allah will grant you mercy on the Day of Judgment.

- I would like my sins to be very few.
- If you seek the forgiveness of Allah as much as you can, your sins will be very few.

- I would like to be the most honorable man.
- If you do not complain to any fellow creature, you will be the most honorable of men.

- I would like to be the strongest of men.
- If you put your trust in Allah, you will be the strongest of men.

- I would like Allah to enlarge my provision.
- If you keep yourself pure, Allah will enlarge your provision.

- I would like to be loved by Allah and His messenger.
- If you love what Allah and His messenger love, you will be among their beloved ones.

- I wish to be safe from Allah’s wrath on the Day of Judgment.
- If you do not lose your temper with any of your fellow creatures, you will be safe from the wrath of Allah on the Day of Judgment.

- I would like my prayers to be responded.
- If you avoid forbidden actions (Haram), your prayers will be responded.

- I would like Allah not to disgrace me on the Day of Judgment.
- If you guard your chastity, Allah will not disgrace you on the Day of Judgment.

- I would like Allah to provide me with a covering protection on the Day of Judgment.
- Do not uncover your fellow creatures’ faults, and Allah will provide you with a covering protection on the Day of Judgment.

- What will save me from sins?
- Tears, humility and illness.

- What are the best deeds in the eyes of Allah?
- Gentle manners, modesty and patience in adversity.

- What are the worst evils in the eyes of Allah?
- Hot temper and miserliness.

- What assuages the wrath of Allah in this life and in the Hereafter?
- Concealed charity and kindness to relatives.

- What extinguishes hell’s fire on the Day of Judgment?
- Patience in adversity and misfortunes.

(To be continued)

[About the author: Dr. Habib Siddiqui has authored seven books. His latest book: The Counsel – is now available in Malaysia from the Islamic Book Trust.]