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In the footsteps of the Prophet


In the footsteps of the Prophet

Bismillah irahman nirahim

In the name of Allah, the most kind and Merciful

Say: ‘If you love Allah, follow me; Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. (3,31)

May we follow in the blessed footsteps - qadam, of Prophet Muhammad Abul Qasim (salla lahu alayhi wa'ale hi wasallam). A man whose life stands as the most celebrated and revered throughout history. There has never been any created like him, before or after his coming onto mankind as a blessing of peace and mercy.

‘We sent you as a mercy to all people’. (21,107)

The Prophet of Allah (swt) - Rasulallah (salla lahu alayhi wa'ale hi wasallam) was unique amongst the creation, the Seal of the Prophets who would complete the message of guidance for mankind. His nobility, courage, beauty and ofcourse his divine message were without blemish. Allah (swt) bestowed on him complete perfection. The word of Allah (swt) is the Glorious Qur’an, the complete guidance for mankind and the most elevated teacher was chosen and created to deliver the lecture.

The Prophet’s(saw) teachings and traditions have been compiled and preserved over centuries in large extensive volumes called the ‘Ahadith’. The most authentic being ‘Sahih Bukhari’ and ‘Sahih Muslim’. These traditions are the second most important source of guidance after the Quran itself. In fact it is correct to say that the Quran cannot be fully understood and followed without the Sunnah of our Prophet(saw). This honour was bestowed only on our Nabi(saw), his teachings, sayings, traditions and every aspect of his life remains with us. This is only possible by the divine will of Allah (swt).

The glorious Quran is the final book - kitab, which remains the divine source of guidance until the final hour so a role model was given, an example was needed for mankind to follow in times of great hardship and trials. The Muslim Ummah - nation should follow the beloved Prophet(saw) in all times and ages that follow. The Quran talks about times of ‘fitnah’, when there will be trials, disasters, catastrophes and the emergence of many liars who will try to mis-lead the Muslim Ummah. These are the times when we need a great teacher’s example, from which we can seek guidance, someone who faced even greater trials and hardships, one who also faced persecution and violence. The blessed Prophet (saw) would smile at the abuse of his oppressors and prayed for them as they mocked and cursed him. The Prophet (saw) always remained patient and strong, reciting the truth and sending glad tidings but when the time came he also entered the battlefield to defend the truth.

A closer look at the Prophet Muhammad’s (salla lahu alayhi wa'ale hi wasallam) sunnah - traditions reveals a man whose complete life was lived by the Qur’an. His blessed wife Aisha(ra) said according to an authentic hadith that Prophet Muhammad (salla lahu alayhi wa'ale hi wasallam) was the walking, talking Qur’an. This means that Prophet Muhammad (salla lahu alayhi wa'ale hi wasallam) was the living Qur’an and needs to be followed in all aspects of life.

Even before the Prophethood was revealed to Rasulullah (saw), he did not believe in idols as was the belief in those times. He also used to fast and was known as ‘Al-Ameen’ the trustworthy. Traditions reveal that Prophet Muhammad(salla lahu alayhi wa'ale hi wasallam) must have followed the religion of Abraham (as), which was the religion of Hanif, the worship of one, true God. The message of all the noble Prophets (as) was to worship Allah (swt) without association. The Prophet (saw) was unlettered therefore could not have read any previous scriptures, the truth existed in the heart of the final messenger from his noble birth by the hidaaya -  guidance of Allah(swt). The first revelation of the Qur’an came to the Prophet (saw) at forty years of age in Mount Hira, where our Prophet (saw) used to spend time searching for inner-peace and guidance. Prophet Muhammad (salla lahu alayhi wa'ale hi wasallam) was the greatest Messenger, he was sent for the whole of mankind and his revelation were the most complete. This is why his blessed life remains the example for all believers of the true faith - deen.

‘We have sent you as a messenger onto mankind’. (4,79)

The emergence of different ideologies within Islam has confused the true meaning of the Sunnah of the beloved Prophet (saw). Unfortunately there are people belonging to specific sects who believe that there is no obligation to follow Prophet Muhammad’s(salla lahu alayhi wa'ale hi wasallam) Sunnah but only to follow the Qur’an. There is a famous story involving a great Islamic scholar Imam Abu Hanifah (ra) that simply clarifies this mis-conception. A lady had commented to him that she read in the hadith of the Prophet (saw) that women should not colour their nails, however as she did not read this in the Quran, therefore she was not obliged to follow this. Imam Abu Hanifah(ra) replied simply asking her if she had read in the Quran to follow the path and teachings of Prophet Muhammad (salla lahu alayhi wa'ale hi wasallam). She replied that she had read this in several verses. Her own answer had cleared up her mis-understanding. We fail to read and understand the ayats - verses in the Quran where Allah(swt) has repeated His command for us to follow the heavenly word and also follow the path of Prophet Muhammad (salla lahu alayhi wa'ale hi wasallam).

‘Obey Allah and His Messenger’. (3,32)

Obey Allah and the messenger, that you may find mercy‘ (3,132)

O ye who believe, Obey Allah and obey the messenger. (4,59)

Obey Allah and obey the messenger (5,92)

Obey Allah and His Messenger, if you are true believers. (8,1)

The above are just a few examples in the Qur’an commanding us to follow Prophet Muhammad (salla lahu alayhi wa'ale hi wasallam).

As Muslims today we follow the five pillars of Islam. All Muslims agree that the following are the fundamental pillars of our faith. In the hadith of the Prophet (saw) these five pillars are actually listed;

Allah's Apostle (saw) said: Islam is based on (the following) five (principles):

1. To testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad is Allah's Apostle.

2. To offer the (compulsory congregational) prayers dutifully and perfectly.

3. To pay Zakat (i.e. obligatory charity) .

4. To perform Hajj. (i.e. pilgrimage to Mecca)

5. To observe fast during the month of Ramadan. (Bukhari)

The Qur’an has not in itself given the details of the fulfilment of these conditions. Allah (swt) has given His noble commands and left his elevated teacher to explain the method and practical application of them. The Kalima is to testify that Allah (swt) is the only Deity worthy of worship and the Sayyedina Muhammad (salla lahu alayhi wa'ale hi wasallam) is the Prophet of Allah. The clarification of how the kalima is declared can be found through the sunnah, which is explained as being accepted through three conditions. These are to testify with the tongue, believe in the heart and follow through actions. If one of these conditions are not met the testimony is incomplete. The Qur’an has not explained the way of performing the Salaat - prayer. The bowing, kneeling and prostration of the fulfilment of prayer, which are called the arkaan - actions are only explained in the Ahadith - teachings of the Prophet (saw). Everything we read in our prayer comes from the sunnah of the Prophet (saw) and it is his example that we follow. Similarly the paying of Zakat has been explained in the Sunnah, in regard to the amount and what it is applicable on. When we perform the pilgrimage to Mecca - Hajj, which is a duty upon every Muslim who has the means to embark on this blessed journey, the actions and rituals we perform are in accordance with Prophet Muhammad (salla lahu alalyhi wa ale hi wasallam) and Prophet Abraham (as). All the Muslim world fast during Ramadan, from sunrise to sunset yet the special supplications we read and even the eating of kujoor - dates come from the example of the beloved Prophet (salla lahu alayhi hi wa'ale hi wasallam).

This is the sublime will and decree of Allah (swt) that we accept his beloved Prophet (saw) as the greatest and unique example in Islam.

‘Allah has shown grace to the believers by sending them a messenger of their own who recites unto them His revelations, and cause them to grow and teaches them the scripture and wisdom’. (3,164)

Prophet Muhammad (salla lahu alayhi wa'ale hi wasallam) was the best of all creation, yet he came onto this world as a human being not an angel. He came amongst us to live with us, in order that he becomes an example for all living in Islam. The greatest example of this is that the Prophet (saw) also departed from this world in the same manner that we all do. The life - seerah of the Prophet (saw) is the example of humanity and modesty, his times of sorrow show that he had times of difficulties and hardships that far exceed the times that we experience. The Prophet (saw) was the most honest and trustworthy person in Makka, but when learning of Prophethood and the tremendous duty he was given by Allah (swt), the scriptures reveal his confusion and concern. The Prophet (saw) was petrified when he received the first revelation of the Qur’an, he felt fear just as we all do. The Prophet (saw) had doubts whether he can carry out this great responsibility. The chapter of the Qur’an; Surah Muzammil (73) begins with Allah (swt) addressing his beloved Prophet (saw) as O thou wrapped up in thy raiment. This chapter refers to how the Prophet (saw) would ask his wife Hasrat Khadija (ra) to wrap him up in cloaks after receiving the revelations.

The Sunnah of the Prophet (saw) are the definitive examples that display his characteristics and manners, of a life lived in balance and versatility. The traditions reveal the tremendous love the Prophet (saw) had for his family, he spent much time with his children and grandchildren, also he would discuss social and family affairs with his people but would never enter into any useless or loose talk. The other duties that all Muslims should adhere to are from the example of the Prophet (saw), for example visiting the sick and treating all people equal, whether a king or a slave. The Prophet (saw) established a life of religious law and social progress, even his time spent in prayer was an amount that could be followed by his companions and followers. The Prophet (saw) showed great tolerance and restrain even when he was physically harmed and abused, he also showed diplomacy even when the conditions were seemingly unfavourable to him. The Prophet (saw) had rules even when defending Islam on the battlefield, where the conduct of the Muslims would be a glowing example even for the enemies. Prophet Muhammad (salla lahu alayhi wa'ale hi wasallam) asked nothing for himself, he lived a life of modesty in humble surroundings. He measured everything he did so that his people followed the example and did not in any age, neglect the true message of Islam. In the Glorious Qur’an we find the wisdom and the laws as commanded by our Creator, however the sunnah of the Prophet (saw) shows us how the Qur’an is applied. This is done through the life and example of the Prophet ‘s(saw) life and teachings. The learned scholars have agreed that the Sunnah of the Prophet (saw) includes every aspect of his life, which are his actions, sayings, appearance and everything he approved and disapproved of. This is so we do not mis-interpret any action or spoken word of our great teacher and always view the entire context of the life of the Prophet (saw). As believers we need to follow and revere the beloved Prophet (saw) in every aspect of life. We have made the riches and success of this world as our only goal and desire yet our Prophet (saw) rejected much greater riches in favour of complete submission to Allah (swt) and the Message of Islam. We recite the Qur’an every morning and pray five times but fail to understand why we remain far from the guidance and peace. There is a reason for this and that is our abandonment of the Prophet of Allah (swt). We fear other people and their opinions, yet we forget the trial of Taif that saw the Prophet (saw) stoned by his opponents because of his belief in the message of Islam. Today we are following many others in deen - religion and in the duniya - world. We follow the sayings and beliefs of our parents without ever trying to find out whether even their interpretation is correct. Many follow saints and religious leaders blindly in matters of deen, and inevitably in worldly affairs become engrossed in the hero-worship of actors and sports stars. This is evidence of the weakness in our faith. As the Ummah of the Prophet (saw) if only we truly understood all aspects of our beloved teacher’s life and became completely dedicated in being like our beloved Prophet (saw). Not only would we adopt the physical appearance of the Prophet (saw), trying to capture just one atom of his immense beauty but also follow his example in character and actions. As believers we should detach ourselves from any person or action that takes us away from the true understanding of the Qur’an and Sunnah, we should feel lucky and blessed as the ones chosen to recite the kalima and follow the greatest and noblest of all Prophets - Prophet Muhammad (salla lahu alayhi wa'ale hi wasallam).

‘those who swear allegiance to you, swear allegiance to Allah’. (48,10)

As believers how much do we work for our religion and what are our concerns. Many of us have given up concern for the Ummah and are far away from trying to spread the message of Islam. How much do we even care about our beliefs and what are we doing to preserve and strengthen our emaan - faith?

We should not let ourselves deviate from the true understanding of Islam. If we begin to follow the sunnah, this will automatically lead us to the pleasure of Allah (swt) and all the duties and responsibilities of deen and duniya. Allah (swt) will not forgive any believer who failed to give his most beloved Messenger the greatest of love and devotion. May Allah (swt) guard us from any error entering into our life, heart and mind.

O ye who believe, Put not yourselves forward before Allah and His Messenger, and keep your duty to Allah. (49,1)