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Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)

Contents:

  1. Who is Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)?
  2. Mission of Mercy
  3. Forgiveness
  4. Equality
  5. Tolerance
  6. Gentleness
  7. Humbleness
  8. The Ideal Husband
  9. The Ideal Example
  10. Comments from Non-Muslims

Who is Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)? 

Muslims believe that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was the final Prophet in the long chain of Prophets sent by Allah. All the Prophets were sent by Allah in order to call people to obey and worship Allah alone. Some of the other Prophets include Prophet Moses, Abraham, Adam, Jacob, Isaac, Solomon, David, Jesus (peace be upon them).

Just as Moses (peace be upon him) was sent with the Torah ( the original uncorrupted revelation sent to Moses) and Jesus (peace be upon him) was sent with the Gospel (the original, uncorrupted revelation – not the present day versions), Muslims believe that Muhammad (peace be upon him) was sent with the Quran to all of humanity.

The Prophet’s (peace be upon him) wife, Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her), was once asked to describe the Prophet (peace be upon him), and she replied that ‘his character was a reflection of the Quran’ (Muslim, 40), meaning he implemented the noble teachings of the Quran into his daily life.

Mission of Mercy

“And We (God) have not sent you (Muhammad) except as a mercy for mankind.” (Qur’an 21:107)

As well as calling people to pray, fast and give charity, the Prophet (peace be upon him) taught that one’s faith in God should also affect one’s treatment of others. He said: “The best of you are they who have the best character.”

Many sayings of the Prophet (peace be upon him) emphasize the relationship between belief and action, for example: “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, should not hurt his neighbour, and whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, should serve his guest generously, and whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, should speak what is good or keep quiet.”

The final Messenger (peace be upon him) taught humans to show mercy and to respect each other: “He who does not show mercy to others, will not be shown mercy.”

Forgiveness 

“Let them forgive and overlook: do you not wish that Allah should forgive you? For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Qur’an 24:22)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) was the most forgiving of all people and the kindest. If someone abused him, he would forgive him, and the harsher a person was, the more patient he would become. He was extremely lenient and forgiving, especially when he had the upper hand and the power to retaliate.

Muhammad (peace be upon him) was all for forgiveness and no amount of crime or aggression against him was too great to be forgiven by him. He was the best example of forgiveness and kindness, as mentioned in the following verse of the Qur’an: “Keep to forgiveness (O Muhammad), and enjoin kindness, and turn away from the ignorant.” (Al-Qur’an 7:199)

Equality 

“Indeed the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you.” (Qur’an 49:13)

In the following sayings of the Prophet (peace be upon him), he taught that all humans are equal in the sight of God:

“All humanity is from Adam and Adam is from clay. There is no superiority for an Arab over a non-Arab, nor for a black over a white; except through piety.”

“God does not judge you according to your appearance and your wealth, but He looks at your hearts and looks into your deeds.”

It is related that once a companion of the Prophet (peace be upon him) called another companion in an offensive way, “Son of a black woman!” The Prophet (peace be upon him), became angry and replied, “Do you condemn him because of the blackness of his mother? You still have within you traces of ignorance from the pre-Islamic period.”

Tolerance

“Good deeds and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is best, then he with whom you had enmity shall become as a loyal friend.” (Qur’an 41:34)

“You should not do evil to those who do evil to you, but you should deal with them with forgiveness and kindness.” This is how the final Messenger of God (peace be upon him) reacted to personal attacks and abuse.

Islamic sources include a number of instances where the Prophet (peace be upon him) had the opportunity to take revenge upon those who wronged him, but refrained from doing so.

He taught man to exercise patience in the face of adversity: “The strong is not the one who overcomes people by his strength, but the strong is the one who controls himself while in anger.”

Practising patience and tolerance does not mean that a Muslim should be a passivist and not defend himself in case of attack. Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) stated that, “Do not wish to meet the enemy, but when you meet (face) the enemy, be patient (i.e. stand firm when facing the enemy).”

Gentleness

“By the grace of Allah, you are gentle towards the people; if you had been harsh and hard-hearted, they would have dispersed from around you.” (Qur’an 3:159)

A companion who served Muhammad (peace be upon him) for ten years said that Muhammad (peace be upon him) was always gentle in his dealings with him. “When I did something, he never questioned my manner of doing it; and when I did not do something, he never questioned my failure to do it. He was the friendliest of all men.”

On one occasion, the wife of the Prophet (peace be upon him) reacted angrily after being insulted by a person.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) advised her: “Be gentle and calm, O ‘Aisha, as Allah likes gentleness in all affairs.”

He also said: “Show gentleness! For if gentleness is found in something, it beautifies it, and when it is taken out from anything, it makes it deficient.”

Humbleness

“And the servants of The Most Gracious (God) are those who walk on the earth in humbleness, and when the ignorant address them, they say: ‘Peace.’ ”Qur’an 25:63

The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to prevent people from standing up for him out of respect. He used to sit wherever there was a place available in an assembly and never sought a prominent or elevated place. He never wore anything to distinguish himself from his companions or appear in higher rank than them. He used to mix with the poor and the needy; he used to sit with the elderly and support the widows. People who did not know him could not tell him apart from the rest of the crowd.

Addressing his companions, he said: “Allah has revealed to me, that you must be humble. No one should boast over one another, and no one should oppress another.”

Such was his humbleness that he was fearful of being worshipped, a privilege only befitting God:

“Do not exceed bounds in praising me as the Christians do in praising Jesus, Son of Mary. I am only the Lord’s servant; then call me the Servant of Allah and His Messenger.”

The Ideal Husband

“And live with them (your spouses) in kindness.”Qur’an 4:19

The Prophet’s beloved wife, Aa’isha, said of her noble husband: “He used to repair his shoes, sew or mend his clothes and do what ordinary men did in their houses.”

Not only was he a devoted husband, he also encouraged his companions to follow his example: “The most perfect of the believers in faith are the best of them in morals. And the best among them are those who are best to their wives.”

The Ideal Example

“Indeed you (O Muhammad) are on an exalted standard of character.”Qur’an 68:4

What has preceded is only a glimpse of how Muhammad (peace be upon him) lived his life. The examples of kindness and mercy mentioned may come as a surprise to some people given the portrayal of Islam in the media and its constant misrepresentation.

It is important when trying to understand Islam that one goes directly to its sources: The Qur’an, and the sayings and actions of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and that anyone does not judge Islam based on the errant actions of a few Muslims.

Comments from Non-Muslims

Mahatma K Gandhi, a major political and spiritual leader of the Indian independence movement, remarked: “It was the rigid simplicity, the utter self-effacement of the Prophet, the scrupulous regard for his pledges, his intense devotion to his friends and followers, his intrepidity, his fearlessness, his absolute trust in God and in his own mission. These and not the sword carried everything before them and surmounted every obstacle.”

George Bernard Shaw, the British playwright, declared: “The world is in dire need of a man with the mind of Muhammad; religious people in the Middle Ages, due to their ignorance and prejudice, had pictured him in a very dark way as they used to consider him the enemy of Christianity. But after looking into the story of this man I found it to be an amazing and a miraculous one, and I came to the conclusion that he was never an enemy of Christianity, and must be called instead the saviour of humanity. In my opinion, if he was to be given control over the world today, he would solve our problems and secure the peace and happiness which the world is longing for.”

Alphonse de Lamartine was a French writer, poet and politician.  This is what he said about Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in his book “Histoire de la Turquie” (1854):

“As regards all standards by which human greatness may be measured, we may well ask, is there any man greater than he?”

Source:

Islamic Pamphlets

Every Nation was Sent a Prophet

Prophets in islam

Muslims believe that thousands of prophets were sent periodically by God, at least one to every nation, as a mercy to mankind for their guidance. Some of the Prophets sent include Adam, Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and Jesus (peace be upon them).

In certain circumstances, the message of the Prophets was lost, corrupted, forgotten, neglected, or denied by the people. These were some of the reasons why a new Prophet would be sent to re-convey Allah’s message.

Muslims believe in and respect every Prophet sent by God. Muslims also believe in all of the divine books which were revealed to the Prophets, mindful of the fact that none of these books exist today in their original form, aside from the Quran.

“It is He (Allah) Who has sent down the Book (the Quran) to you (Muhammad) with truth, confirming what came before it. And He sent down the Torah and the Gospel.” Quran 3:3

Characteristics of Prophets

All Prophets have common characteristics which make them exceptional human beings.

The main difference between an ordinary human being and a Prophet is that a Prophet receives revelation from God (Allah).

Prophets never sought personal benefits such as wealth, high status or power – rather, they only sought the approval of God.

Prophets were the best examples amongst their people in character and righteousness. They lived in obedience to God, with excellent morals and were always truthful in speech and conduct. For this reason, Muslims reject totally the false attribution of major sins to the Prophets, as appears in some scriptures of other religions.

Prophets are not divine

While Prophets are chosen by Allah Almighty, they are in no way divine and should not be worshipped. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was commanded to say:

“I am only a man like you. It has been revealed to me that your God is One God.” Quran 18:110

It is clear even from the Bible, both the Old and New Testaments, that the Prophets were not divine, and would worship and prostrate to the One True God.

“And he [Jesus] went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed…” Matthew 26:39

“And they [Moses and Aaron] fell upon their faces…” Numbers 16:22

“And Abram [i.e. Abraham] fell on his face: and God talked with him…” Genesis 17:3

The Message of the Prophets

Since all Prophets were sent by the One True God, they all conveyed the same message and had the same mission – to remind and educate their people of the purpose of life.

“And verily, We have sent among every Ummah (community, nation) a Messenger (proclaiming): “Worship Allâh (Alone), and avoid (or keep away from) Tâghût (all false deities, etc. i.e. do not worship Tâghût besides Allâh).””  Quran 16:36

The main focus of all the Prophets was to clarify the concept of God: that He has no partners or equals, and that all worship should be directed exclusively toward Him. In the Quran, there are numerous examples of Prophets proclaiming this message:

Noah (peace be upon him) said [Quran 7:59],

“O my people! Worship Allah! You have no other gods besides Him.”

Abraham (peace be upon him) said [Quran 21:66],

“Do you worship besides Allah, things that can neither bring you benefit nor cause you harm?”

Moses (peace be upon him) said [Quran 7:140],

“What! Shall I seek for you a god other than Allah even though He has made you excel (all) created things?”

Jesus (peace be upon him) said [Quran 3:51],

“Indeed Allah is my Lord and your Lord: so worship Him (alone): this is the Straight Way.”

Muhammad (peace be upon him) said [Quran 18:110],

“It has been revealed to me that your God is One God. So whoever expects to meet his Lord then let him do good deeds and associate none as a partner in the worship of his Lord.”

This message was consistent throughout the generations, and highlights the importance of having the correct belief in God.

The Final Prophet

As mentioned earlier, Muslims believe that thousands of Prophets were sent periodically by Allah to specific groups of people.

“And for every nation there is a messenger.” Quran 10:47

Over time, the messages with which the Prophets came were lost or corrupted.

However, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was not sent to a specific people, but to mankind as a whole, and his message has been preserved both in the form of the Quran and the Sunnah. Since the Quran and Sunnah are preserved and easily accessible, there is no need for another Prophet.

“Muhammad is not the father of any one of your men, but he is the Messenger of God and the last of the prophets.” Quran 33:40

The Quran is the spoken word of Allah, and is free of any corruption, errors or contradictions. It is a book of “guidance for mankind… and the distinction (between right and wrong).” Quran 2:185

God has guaranteed the Quran’s protection from any corruption or distortion. Allah says in the Quran,

“Verily, We, it is We Who have sent down the Dhikr (i.e. the Qur’an) and surely, We will guard it (from corruption).” Quran 15:9

The Sunnah is a collection of the sayings and actions of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), as recorded by his companions and their students. The fact that there are thousands of these recorded and rigorously authenticated makes it very easy for anyone to follow Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) correctly.

The message of Prophet Muhammad is in complete harmony with the teachings of the previous Prophets, and reaffirms their message.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the final Prophet for all mankind from his time up until the end of time, including current and future generations. He was a perfect example of an honest, just, merciful, compassionate, truthful and brave human being. He, like other Prophets before him, did not have any evil characteristics and strove solely for the sake of Allah.

Sources:

  • “Prophethood in Islam” Pamphlet by islamicpamphlets.com
  • A Brief Illustrated Guide to Understanding Islam, I.A Ibrahim, Second Edition, Darussalam

What is Islam?

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Muslims praying in Makkah facing the direction of the Ka’bah.

Islam is a monotheistic religion with over one billion followers all over the world. Islam means ‘submission to the will of Allah’. Muslims believe that the Quran is the word of God (Allah) and the Truth revealed to the final prophet Muhammed (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Islam governs every aspect of life and teaches man to adhere to righteous deeds while restraining from all evil.  Allah says in the Quran (interpretation of the meaning) :

“Alif Lam Ra. (This is) a Book which We have revealed to you (O Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)) in order that you might lead mankind out of darkness (of disbelief and polytheism) into light (of belief in the Oneness of Allah and Islamic Monotheism) by their Lord’s Leave to the Path of the All-Mighty, the Owner of all Praise. “ (Quran 14:1)

There is a misconception that Islam is a new religion which came into existence nearly 1400 years ago and that Prophet Muhammed (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was the founder of this religion. This is NOT the case as Islam has existed since man set foot on earth and Prophet Muhammed (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is not the founder of Islam, rather he is the last and final Messenger of God. Throughout ages, Allah has sent many Prophets and Messengers to people in order to invite them to the worship of Allah and Allah alone, to order them not to ascribe partners unto Him and bring them out of the darkness of polytheism into the light of Monotheism. Allah says in the Quran:

“And verily, We have sent among every Ummah (community, nation) a Messenger (proclaiming): ‘Worship Allah (Alone), and avoid (or keep away from) Taghut (all false deities i.e. do not worship Taghut besides Allah).’ Then of them were some whom Allah guided, and of them were some upon whom the straying was justified. So travel through the land and see what was the end of those who denied (the truth) .” (Quran 16:36)

All the previous revelations were sent for a particular group of people and was supposed to be followed till a particular time period. However the last and final revelation is the Quran, revealed to the last messenger Prophet Muhammed (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) for the whole of mankind. Allah says:

Say: “O men! I am sent unto you all, as the Messenger of Allah, to Whom belongeth the dominion of the heavens and the earth: there is no god but He: it is He that giveth both life and death. So believe in Allah and His Messenger, the unlettered Prophet, who believed in Allah and His words: follow him that (so) ye may be guided.”  (Quran 7:158)

So the aim of sending these Prophets and Messengers to men and jinn was only that they should worship Allah Alone, as Allah says:

“I have only created jinns and men, that they may serve Me.”  (Quran 51:56)

And to worship Allah means to obey Him and to do all He has ordained and to fear Him by abstaining from all that He has forbidden. This present realm of existence contains trials and tests for each individual. However after death, the final destination for all is either Paradise or Hell.  As Allah says:

“But those who have faith and work righteousness, they are Companions of the Garden therein shall they abide (for ever)” (Quran 2:82)

“And if ye are in doubt as to what We have revealed from time to time to Our servant, then produce a Surah like thereunto; and call your witnesses or helpers (if there are any) besides Allah, if your (doubts) are true. But if ye cannot and of a surety ye cannot then fear the Fire whose fuel is Men and Stones, which is prepared for those who reject Faith.” (Quran 2: 23-24)