The Obligation to Respect the Messenger ﷺ

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The Prophet is buried in the Sacred Chamber along with two of his companions Abu Bakr and Umar

As we continue our journey through Qadi Iyad’s Al-Shifa we learn that the Messenger (peace upon him) is to be believed, loved, respected and honoured in a special way. Since he’s special, the chosen one and a beloved servant of Allah. Here Qadi Iyad shares some moving stories from the lives of the companions that show their deep respect for him.

Messenger, We sent you as a witness, a bearer of glad tidings and a warner. So that people believe in Allah Almighty and His Messenger and support and respect him” (Al-Fath: 8-9).

Believers, do not raise your voices above the voice of the Prophet, nor speak noisily to him as you do to one another lest your works are annulled without your knowledge, fear Allah. Allah is the Hearer, the Knower” (Al-Hujarat: 2).

These verses of The Majestic Quran are an order to honour the Prophet Muhammad (peace upon him). Some say this means he should be helped and assisted. The verse concludes with a severe warning that your good deeds may amount to nothing if you fail to observe this order. Al-Sulami said it means ‘fear Allah, if you disregard what is due to the Prophet then Allah will punish you.’

Urwa ibn Masood was sent by the Quraysh as an envoy to the Prophet, to negotiate the treaty of Hudaybiya. He was surprised by the overwhelming respect the companions had for the Prophet (peace upon him). Urwa later said, “never have I seen such respect paid to anyone, when he made ablution the companions rush to receive his leftover water, and nearly fought to receive it. They take his spittle and wipe it over themselves. If a strand of his hair fell, they rush to pick it up, when he ordered them they rushed to fulfill his command, when he spoke they fell silent. I have visited Sirius of Persia, Caesar of Rome, and the Negus of Ethiopia, but never have I seen a king treated with the respect that the ompanions of Muhammad show.”

The respect and high regard for the Prophet after his death

In the same way as it was necessary to respect the Prophet (peace upon him) during his lifetime, it is essential to respect him now after he passed away. This includes respect for the Prophet’s sayings, traditions, name, family and companions.

One day Abu Ja’far, the ruler, had a dispute with Imam Malik in the Mosque of the Prophet, Malik reminded him, “Prince of Believers, do not raise your voice in this Mosque. Allah taught us how to behave by saying, “Believers, do not raise your voices above the voice of the Prophet” thereby reminding him that even after he had passed away the same respect is due. Abu Ja’far was humbled and asked Malik, “Imam Malik, when you supplicate do you face the direction of prayer or do you face the Messenger of Allah?” Malik replied, “Why would you turn your face away from him when he is your means and the means of your father, Adam, to Allah on the Day of Resurrection? I face him and ask him to intercede because Allah grants his intercession. Allah says, “If they wrong themselves, they must come to you and you will seek forgiveness for them…” (Al-Nisa: 64).

The respect for the things and places associated with the Prophet

Another aspect of reverence for Prophet Muhammad (peace upon him) is to respect all things and places connected to him in Makkah, Madinah and elsewhere.

Safiya, daughter of Najda tells ‘Abu Madhura had a long lock of hair on his forehead that touched the ground when he sat down. He was asked, why don’t you cut it?’ He replied, “How can I cut this lock that was touched by my beloved master?”

The great general of Islam, Khalid ibn Waleed had some strands of the Prophet’s (peace upon him) hair inside his helmet. During one of the battles the helmet fell off, but he fought fervently to recover it. He told the soldiers that he had not fought for the sake of the helmet but to retrieve the strands of the Prophet’s hair that were tucked inside it. He did not want to be deprived of their blessing and to stop the disbelievers from laying their hands on them. Abdullah ibn Umar used to wipe his hands on the seat of the Prophet’s pulpit and then wipe it over his face.

Imam Malik would not mount a horse or mule in Madinah and said “I am fearful of Allah to trample with animal hoofs the earth in which the Messenger of Allah is buried.”

Conclusion

In these writings we have seen the tremendous importance of loving, obeying and helping the beloved Mustafa (peace upon him). Here we read how we must respect him and anything associated with him. Why not! He is the path to our Lord, the light in the dark world, and our guide in this bewildering time.