Wednesday 27th September is the 12th of Rabi al Awwal, the birthday of the beloved Messenger (peace be upon him). Many Muslim countries will have an official holiday to mark this momentous day. So, let us thank Allah for this special favour of his, “Allah did a great favour to the believers when he sent a Messenger from among themselves” (Al-Nisa: 164). Here I want to show my admiration for him (peace be upon him).
What is love?
Love is an intense feeling of affection and fondness for someone. So, you love something that delights and pleases you. The Persian poet Saadi Shirazi wrote, “Were I to wash my mouth a thousand times with rose and musk-scented water, still it would be unfit to voice your name”.
The Majestic Quran describes Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) loving, compassionate and caring character, “He yearns for your welfare and deeply cares for the believers” (Al-Tawbah: 128). He (peace be upon him) loves us, so we love him.
History has produced many great leaders who left their marks in different walks of life; philosophers, saints, conquerors, poets, musicians, inventors and doctors. However, the life of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is unique, apart from the others. William Draper in his book, “History of the intellectual development of Europe” said, “Four years after the death of Justinian AD 569, was born in Makkah the man who of all men exercised the greatest influence upon the human race Muhammad”. Similarly, Lamartine in ‘Histoire de la Turquie’ says, “Philosopher, orator, apostle, legislator, conqueror of ideas, restorer of rational dogmas of cult without images, the founder of 20 terrestrial empires and of one spiritual empire that is Muhammad as regards all standards by which human greatness may be measured. We may well ask is there any man greater than him.”
The Quran describes his special role; “The Messenger is a beautiful role model for those wanting to meet their Lord” (Al-Ahzab: 21). We all need role models, children imitate parents, students copy teachers and those who yearn for moral perfection, correct beliefs, best behaviour, then Muhammad (peace be upon him) is their role model.
The disciples showed immense love for the Prophet
The Prophet (peace be upon him) is the centre of a believer’s life, the focal point of his attention. If Islam is a body, then Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the spirit; if Islam is a tree, then Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the fruit; if Islam is a flower then Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the scent. He is the lifeblood. Loving the Prophet (peace be upon him) is the essence of a believer’s life.
The disciples loved him dearly. Urwa bin Masood Saqafi was the ambassador of the Quraysh at the time of the treaty of Hudabiyah, when he returned to Makkah he fervently said, “I witnessed amazing love and loyalty, when Muhammad washed himself, his disciples collected the water in their palms, they rushed to obey him. I have visited the courts of the Roman and Persian emperors, but nowhere have I seen such scenes of dedication”.
The love of the Messenger (peace be upon him) is the energy that drives the believers, a shield which protects them from the evil influences of society. Aisha the mother of believers reported: One day Sauban came to the Messenger (peace be upon him), he looked sad, so the Messenger asked, “Why are you unhappy? Sauban replied “I love you more than myself and my family, and whenever I miss you, I come to see you, I am anxious about what will happen when you depart from this world, you will be with your Lord, and where will I be? I will miss you.” Immediately this verse was revealed: “Whoever obeys Allah and his Messenger are blessed by Allah; the Prophets, the truthful, the martyrs and the righteous. What a wonderful group of friends” (Al-Nisa: 69).
No faith without love
Love of the Prophet (peace be upon him) is the foundation of Islam: “None of you can be a believer until I am dearer to him than his parents, children and the rest of humanity” (Muslim). Anas reported once a man came to the Messenger (peace be upon him) and asked, “When will the world end?” The Messenger (peace be upon him) asked “What have you prepared?” He said, “I haven’t prepared a lot, but I love Allah and his Messenger”, he (peace be upon him) told him, “If that’s the case then you have nothing to worry about since a person will be with the one whom he loves” (Bukhari). Allama Iqbal the poet of Punjab eloquently said:
In the heart’s sacred space, Muhammad’s love must reside,
For without this divine flame, faith remains incomplete, untied
We love someone because they do favours, provide security, solve problems, and are beautiful. Our beloved master (peace be upon him) does this for us. So, we appreciate him by sending Salawat on him, reading his biography, recounting his remarkable life and admiring him. The love of the Messenger (peace be upon him) is a force field of energy, it drives the believers to adopt his moral character and follow his beautiful Sunnah. So, love helps us to imitate, follow and walk in his footsteps.