My dear friends! The subject of today’s lecture is the perfectness of a biography. No life can serve as a model unless it shows perfectness in all aspects, even if it were based on historically sound and reliable sources. No life can be adjudged perfect and free of all shortcomings unless all its details are available to us. Looking at the life of the Prophet of Islam (Peace be upon him) from this perspective, we find that every significant moment of his life from birth to death was known to the people of his time, and since then has been preserved in the history of the world. There has not been a single span of time from his whole life that remained unknown to his people.
His birth, infancy, childhood, adolescence, manhood; his business deals, his travels; his marriage; his friends before his Prophethood; his participation in the fight of the Qureish and the subsequent peace treaty; the title of “Trustworthy” given to him by his people (prior to his Prophethood); his amicable solution to the problem of fixing the sacred stone in the holy Ka’bah and thus avoiding a great bloodshed amongst the Qureish; his gradual withdrawal from the then corrupt society of Makkah and retreat to the Mount Hera outside the city; his contemplation and the first revelation of the Word of God; the advent of Islam; his call to Allah, his preaching of the Divine message; the opposition of the elite of Makkah; his journey to Taif; the Meraj (his ascendence to the Heavens); his migration to Madinah; his battles against the non-believers; the Peace Treaty of Hudaybiyah; his letters to various rulers of the World calling them to embrace Islam; serving Allah, the Creator and Nourisher of the Universe; the Spread of Islam; the completion and perfection of the Divine Message; his Final Pilgrimage to Makkah and his death; in short every one of these events is before the whole world, clear and complete to the smallest detail. There is not a single aspect of his life hidden from history. Even the false and fabricated stories about him have been preserved and passed down to history by his Muslim biographers so that everybody could see the truth from false hood, the right from the wrong, and then form their own independent opinion. Sometimes one wonders why his Muslim biographers have saved the fabricated traditions together with the authentic traditions or the ones that show a weak link in the chain of narrators of those particular traditions. Perhaps there is a hand of Providence in that so that none of his opposers could say that his followers have tried to cover up the alleged weakness of their Prophet (Peace be upon him) by omitting certain traditions, like the objection raised against the Christian literature these days. Therefore, our worthy scholars have collected and presented the whole literature, including the fabricated reports about their Prophet (Peace be upon him) and have set down rules and produced historical evidence to tell the difference between the false and the true traditions.
Every detail of the holy Prophet’s life, as clear as the daylight, is known, written and preserved in books. Even the everyday routine is recorded, such as his manner of sitting and standing, sleeping and waking up; his marriage and children; his friends and companions; his praying and fasting; his worship during the day and night; his wars and peace; his travels; his manner of washing, bathing, eating, drinking; smiling, weeping, walking, talking; his jokes; his privacy, his public appearances, his manner of meeting others; his habits; his personal appearance even the intimate relations between a husband and wife. At this point I would like to read out to you one of the oldest biographies of the holy Prophet (Peace be upon him). The book deals with the personal features of his personality and is recognized as one of the best and most authentic on the subject. I will only read out the subtitles from a chapter of this book known as Sha-ma-il Al-Tirmizi.
- The holy Prophel’s personal appearance
- His hair
- His comb
- The number of gray hairs
- His hair-dye
- His use of an eye cleansing substance
- His clothes
- His daily life
- His socks
- His shoes
- His ring
- His sword
- His armour
- His helmet
- His headress
- His trousers
- His manner of walking
- How he shielded his face with a piece of cloth
- His manner of sitting
- His bed and pillow
- How he leaned back on his pillow
- His food
- His bread
- The meat and soup that he ate
- His manner of washing for prayers
- The prayers he said before and after eating something
- The bowl he used
- The kinds of fruit he ate
- What he drank
- How he drank
- His use of perfume
- His manner of talking
- The way he recited poetry
- His way of telling stories at bedtime
- His manner of sleeping
- His manner of worship
- The way he smiled
- His sense of humour
- His prayers in the early morning
- His performance of optional prayers at home
- His fasting
- His recitation of the holy Quran
- His weeping and crying
- His bed
- His modesty
- His kind manners
- His hair-cut
- His names
- His life style
- His age
- His death
- What he left behind after his death
All of these subtitles are concerned with his personal life and under each one several traditions have been collected to create a very clear, detailed and bright image of his personality. Not a single minute of the holy Prohpet’s life was hidden. At home he was surrounded by his family and children and outside he used to be among his followers and friends.
My dear friends! Even the greatest of heroes is an ordinary person inside his house. According to Voltaire’s well-known saying “No man is a hero to his valet.” In Bosworth Smith’s opinion this does not apply, at least, to the Prophet of Islam (Peace be upon him). Gibbon says that no Prophet has put his followers to a greater test than Muhammad (Peace be upon him) because he first presented himself to those as a Prophet who knew him intimately well as an ordinary human being. He claimed to be a Prophet first to his wife, his personal servant, his cousin and his closest friend and none of them showed any hesitation at all in accepting the truth of his claim. No one knows the inherent weaknesses of a person better than his own wife. But is it not a fact that the first person to believe and declare her faith in the Prophet was his wife? She had shared fifteen years of married life with him before his Prophethood. She knew intimately all sides of his personality. When he claimed to be a prophet of Allah (Peace be upon him), she was the first to accept the veracity of that claim.
Even the most pious and the purest of persons cannot allow his wife to tell others about his private life. The holy Prophet (Peace be upon him) had nine wives and every one of them had his permission to convey to others in public whatever they observed about him in private. They were all allowed to say in daylight what they had seen in him in the darkness of the night because he had complete confidence in the purity of his heart and the sincerity of his actions. He did nothing that had to be hidden from the public eye. Can any one match the purity of this conduct and such moral courage?
The books of traditions are all fulll of the details of the holy Prophet’s perfect moral conduct and excellent human virtues. In particular, Qadi Ayyadh Andulasi’s book Al-Shifa deals with this aspect of the holy Prophet’s biography in an excellent manner. Once, during my visit to France, a European orientalist had remarked that in order to introduce the virtuous life of the holy Prophet to the West, it would be sufficient to translate Qadi Ayyadh’s book into a European language.
In my own biography of the holy Prophet (Peace be upon him) I have arranged the personal details of his life under the following subtitles:
- his appearance;
- the Seal of Prophethood;
- his hair;
- his manner of walking,
- speaking and smiling;
- his clothes,
- his ring,
- helmet and armour;
- his food and manner of eating;
- his liking for decent clothes;
- his favorite colours;
- his dislike of certain colours;
- his use of perfume;
- his good taste;
- his love of riding.
Under his daily routine the subtitles include everything he usually did from morning to sunset:
- his manner of sleeping;
- his long hours of worship during the night;
- his manner of praying;
- his usual sermons;
- his routine during travelling and during a holy war;
- his visits to the sick and the suffering to offer his sympathy and condolences;
- his visiting with others and his general routine.
Under the title of his assembly with his companions these subtitles are included:
- his court;
- his public meetings for the purpose of preaching Allah’s Message;
- the etiquette observed in those meetings;
- the usual time of those meetings;
- separate meetings for women;
- his way of preaching;
- the relaxed atmosphere of those meetings;
- the beneficial effect of his company;
- his manner of speech;
- the nature and wholesome influence of his talks.
The detailed account of his manner of worship is given under the sub-headings:
- his supplication and performance of prayers;
- his pilgrimage to Makkah (the Hajj);
- his remembrance of Allah at all times;
- his remembrance of Allah during fighting;
- his fear of Allah;
- his grief and weeping;
- his love of Allah;
- his faith in Allah;
- his fortitude and his thanks-giving
The holy Prohpet’s morals and manners are described in complete detail, under these subtitles:
- a general description of his noble character;
- his steadfastness;
- his polite manners;
- his fair dealing;
- his love of justice;
- his kindness and generosity;
- his self-sacrifice;
- his dislike of beggary;
- his refusal to accept any charity for his personal use;
- his acceptance of gifts;
- his avoidance of asking others for help;
- his hatred of violence;
- his dislike of fault finding with others and self-praise;
- the simplicity and spontaneity of his manners;
- his avoidance of the display of riches and showing off;
- his modesty;
- his love of equality;
- his dislike of undue praise and flattery;
- his preference to do his work with his own hands;
- his fortitude;
- his courage;
- his truthfulness;
- keeping his promises;
- his self-denial and contentment;
- his treatment of the infidels and non-believers;
- his treatment of the Jews and Christians;
- his kindness to the poor;
- his forgiveness for his deadly enemies and his praying for them;
- his love of children;
- his treatment of women;
- his love of animals;
- his kindness and courtesy for everyone;
- the tenderness of his heart;
- his cheerful temperament;
- his affection and love for his own children and his wives.
Another standard biography, Zad-ul-Ma ‘ad, by Hafiz Ibn Qayyim, deals in great length, with the personal aspect of his personality. Here are some details:
- The holy Prophet’s correspondence;
- his manner of eating,
- his marriages and family life;
- his manner of going to bed and getting up;
- his manner of riding;
- his acceptance of personal servants;
- his business deals;
- taking care of his toilet;
- the manner of growing and trimming his moustache;
- his manner of speech;
- his silence,
- his smiles and tears;
- his manner of delivering a speech;
- his manner of performing Wudhu, Tayammum and Masah on his socks;
- his manner of performing prayers;
- his way of sitting between the two Sajdahs (prostration);
- his way of prostration;
- his manner of sitting just before ending the prayer and while in this position pointing with his index finger as he uttered his prayers;
- the way he ended his prayer;
- his supplication and other details of his prayers;
- his prayers at home and in the mosque,
- his prayers during travelling;
- his praying at night; his habit of taking a short nap before the dawn prayer;
- his way of reciting the holy Quran;
- his praying in the early part of the day;
- his way of prostrating to show his gratitude to Allah;
- his way of prostrating while reciting the holy Quran;
- his usual practice on Fridays;
- his worship on Fridays and his Friday sermon;
- his manner of prayers on the two Eid festivals;
- his prayers during eclipse;
- his manner of offering special prayers to bring the rain;
- his journeys;
- his prayers during travel;
- his manner of joining two obligatory prayers together when necessary;
- his manner of reciting and listening to the holy Quran;
- his way of consoling the sick;
- details of his attending of funerals and his manner of performing funeral prayers for an adult or a child;
- his way of offering his condolences and visiting the graves;
- his manner of praying at times of horror;
- his charity and alms-giving;
- his fasting;
- his extra effort and zeal in worship during the month of Ramadan;
- his manner of beginning his fasting with the sighting of the new moon;
- his acceptance of witnesses for the sighting of the new moon;
- his manner of fasting during his travels;
- his fasting on different occasions other than the holy month of Rarnadan;
- his dislike of fasting on Fridays alone;
- his manner of performing the Hajj and Umrah (Pilgrimage to Makkah);
- his slaughtering of animals as a sacrifice during the Hajj;
- his way of naming a new born baby,
- sacrificing sheep on that occasion,
- reciting of Azan in the baby’s ears etc.;
- his extreme care in the choice of words while speaking;
- his manner of entering his house;
- his manner of entering a lavatory and getting out of it;
- his way of putting on his clothes;
- his prayers while performing his Wudhu (washing for prayers);
- his way of repeating the words of Azan while the Muezzin called the faithful to prayers;
- his prayers at the first sighting of the new moon;
- his prayers before and after having a meal;
- his manner of eating;
- his way of greeting others;
- his asking permission before entering a house;
- his manner of travelling and the prayers he said particularly during a journey;
- his particular prayers while conducting someone’s marriage;
- his dislike of the use of certain words;
- his manner of conducting a holy war;
- his treatment of the prisoners of war;
- his treatment of the prisoners spies and slaves;
- how he dealt with the non-believers, hypocrites, Jews and Christians regarding peace, and no-war agreements;
- offering them protection under the Muslim rule and taking in return a nominal tax called Jizyah;
- his way of treating certain physical diseases.
I have presented before you only a partial list of the subheadings of certain details about the holy Prophet’s life. You can judge for yourself and form some idea of how the more significant and basic features of the holy prophet’s life must have been collected and recorded, and in what detail, considering these smaller details which have so meticulously been recorded and preserved. In short, all aspects of his life have been observed and re corded.
Gentlemen! I hope I have succeeded in making it clear to you what I meant by “Completeness” and “Comprehensiveness”. I have reasonably justified my claim that no biography of any prophet can come up to this standard except that of the holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).
I am aware of the shortage of time at my disposal while the subject demands a lot more. However, putting it briefly let me say that it was the holy Prohpet’s instruction to everyone, and at all times, to make everything be known about him whether it concerned his private life or public life. There were instructions to note everything about him and let others know whether it concerned his presence in the mosque or the battle field, praying to Allah alone at night or leading an army in a battle, delivering a sermon or quietly meditating. His wives (May Allah be pleased with them) have told the world about his private life and his behaviour as a husband. In the holy Prohpet’s mosque a place had been reserved for those of his followers who were homeless. For their livelihood they used to cut firewood during the day turn by turn so that they would spend the rest of their time in the company of the holy Prophet (Peace be upon him), learning the Divine Message from him. Their time was spent in observing the holy Prohpet’s activities and listening to his teachings. There were about seventy of them including Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) who is credited with the greatest number of the holy Prophet’s traditions. These seventy companions watched the holy Prophet (Peace be upon him) day and night with the zeal and keenness of a detective and then passed on to others whatever they had learnt about him and from him. The whole population of Madinah had the opportunity to see his every movement at least five times a day for a continuous period of ten years. During his campaigns against the infidels, thousands of his worthy companions got the opportunity to see very closely and observe his noble practice. Upon his victorious entry into Makkah he was accompanied by ten thousand of his faithful companions. On his journey to Tabuk there were thirty thousand of them and on the occasion of the Farewell Pilgrimage there were a hundred thousand who got a chance to visit him or see him in all kinds of circumstances, in private and in public, teaching or praying in the mosque or leading his men in the battlefield. They watched every movement of the holy Prophet (Peace be upon him) and conveyed their knowledge of him to others because they had his permission to do so. In fact it was his standing order that whatever was learnt about him must be conveyed to others.
You can well imagine now if any aspect of the holy Prophet’s life could have been left hidden from the world. His whole life was like an Open book and yet his worst enemies could not find any fault or weakness in his spotless character. Even today, many of his hostile biographers, particularly from the West, with all their research and scrutiny, have not been able to find any fault except their misconceived criticism of the questions of polygamy and the so-called holy war. Now, is it becoming on our part to consider this well known and well documented life pure and noble, or the lives of those the greater part of which is forever hidden from our eyes?
Look at the holy Prophet’s life from another angle. He did not spend all his life amongst his followers and well wishers. In Makkah, he lived amongst the Qureish, his avowed enemies. He had dealt with them as a trader at a time when pitfalls of dishonesty, unfair deals, going back on one’s word were a common practice in that society. Before he was ordained the Prophet of Allah he had spent forty years of his life with them, and because of his integrity, honesty and fairness in every deal that he made as a businessman had earned him the title of Al-Amin (the trustworthy) from them. Even when they bitterly opposed him as the Prophet of Allah (because he called them to the worship of One God), they continued keeping their valuables in his trust. That is why at the time of his emigration to Madinah, he had left his cousin Ali behind (May Allah be pleased with him) in Makkah so that he could return people their valuables. When he declared his Prophethood to the Qureish, they became his bitter enemies and in their rage cut off all relations with him. They persecuted him, threw refuse and stones on him, plotted to kill him, called him names, called him a sorcerer, a poet and a lunatic but none of them could ever lay a finger on his spotless character and pure morals. To lay claim to prophethood means to lay claim to total purity of character and infallibility in conveying the Divine message. In order to discredit him, all that the Qureish needed to do was to find a few faults in his character and collect some evidence to prove their point. But history has shown us that in their opposition to his mission and to falsify his claim to Prophethood the Qureish spent their wealth lavishly, lost their sons in wars against him and sacrificed their own lives too, but they could never find any blemish in his immaculate character: Does it not prove that he was as pious and noble even in the sight of his enemies as he was to his friends?
Once, all the elders and prominent leaders of the Qureish were sitting together and talking about the holy Prophet (Peace be upon him). Nasr bin Harith, the most experienced of them addressed the gathering and said, “O Qureish! You have failed to find an answer to the challenge posed by Muhammad. You have watched him grow up from a child into a young man. He used to be the most favoured among you. He was the most truthful and trustworthy in your sight. Now that his hair has started turning grey and he has put forth the Divine message, you claim that he is a wizard, a fortune teller, a poet and a lunatic. By God I have heard him and none of these things can be found in him.” (Quoted from Ibn Hisham)
His biggest enemy, Abu Jahal, used to say “Muhammad! I don’t call you a liar but I don’t consider the message you preach to be true.” Imam Tirmizi quotes the following verse of the holy Quran saying that it was revealed on this occasion: –
“Indeed We know that what they say makes you sad, because it is not you whom they reject, but the transgressors actually deny the signs of Allah.”
(Chap, 6: Vrs, 33)
When the Prophet (Peace be upon him) was ordered by Allah to begin his mission by warning his own people first, he cried out from the top of a hill. “O People of Qureish!” In response to his call they all gathered around him. He said to them, “If I tell you that a host of enemies is about to attack you from behind this mountain, would you believe me?” They replied in unison “Yes, because we have never heard you tell a lie.” (Al-Bukhari)
Look at the Roman Emperor’s court where the holy Prophet’s emissary has just arrived. Abu Sufyan (who has been the Prophet’s worst enemy and has led many military campaigns against him in the past six years) has been called by the emperor who wants to enquire about the holy Prophet (Peace be upon him). Imagine how critical the moment is from the Muslims’ point of view. Here is an avowed enemy who wants to destroy the holy Prophet and his mission by whatever means available to him. By his evidence in the powerful emperor’s court he can win his favour. If he manages to convince the emperor, he can have the powerful Roman legions on his side marching towards Madinah to destroy the Muslims. How ever, listen to the dialogue between the emperor and Abu Sufyan:
The emperor: This man who claims to be a Prophet—what is his family like?
Abu Sufyan: He comes from a noble family
The emperor: Has anyone of his ancestors ever claimed to be a Prophet?
Abu Sufyan: No!
The emperor: Has there ever been a king in his family?
Abu Sufyan: No!
The emperor: The emperor: What about his followers? Are they well off and influential or humble people?
Abu Sufyan: They are weak and humble
The emperor: Are they increasing in number or decreasing?
Abu Sufyan: They are on the increase.
The emperor: Has he ever lied to you people?
Abu Sufyan: Never.
The emperor: Has he ever broken his promise or betrayed his trust?
Abu Sufyan: Not so far. But we will watch him for future,
The emperor: What are his teachings?
Abu Sufyan: Abu Sufyan: He says, worship One God, establish prayers, be pious, be truthful and fulfil your family obligations.
I would like to draw your attention to a point here. The holy Prophet’s early followers who first declared their faith in him were not simple fishermen, nor the ever oppressed masses of an Egyptian Pharaoh. Rather they belonged to a nation that had for ever remained free and independent. They were a fiercely independent and proud people, well-known for their wisdom and prudence. They had never bowed to a foreign power at any time in history. They were experienced travellers whose trade had spread well beyond their borders: up to Iran, Syria, Egypt and Asia minor. They had amongst them persons whose wit and humour, common sense and judgement has since been preserved in the books of history. After embracing Islam, they have produced military leaders who successfully defended their homeland against the might of foreign armies. They have also produced able and just rulers who showed great ability in administration and government. Can anyone imagine for a moment that such a people could, have been fooled by Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) that they should have failed to see any falsehood in him? On the contrary, they were the very people who noted each and every action of the holy Prophet (Peace he upon him) and felt proud in obeying all his teachings. There cannot be a better proof of the truth and perfection of the personality and character of the holy prophet (Peace be upon him), after we have looked at the history of his first followers.
On his part, Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) never tried to hide anything about himself. The way he was, was known to everyone and is still known to everyone. His wife, Ayesha (May Allah be pleased with her) remained with him for nine years. She says “If anyone ever said to you that Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), hid some of Allah’s commandments and did not convey all of the Divine Revelation, never believe such a person because Allah Himself says in the Divine Revelation, the holy Quran:
“O Messenger, convey all that has been sent down to you from your Lord. If you do not, then you shall not have conveyed His message (at all)……”
(Chap, 5: Vrs, 67)
No one in the world likes to flaunt even the smallest of his mistakes, particularly when he happens to be the moral and spiritual leader of a nation. But there are several verses in the holy Quran wherein the holy Prophet (Peace be upon him) has been admonished by Allah for his apparent errors of judgment. However, he conveyed each one of such verses to the people who memorized them (like the rest of the holy Quran). These verses were recited in every mosque, and even today wherever there are followers of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) they are being recited. The world would never have known about these negligible mistakes of judgment, had they not been mentioned in the holy Quran. But a noble life was to be presented as a whole and so it was done.
To the Arabs, it was objectionable to many the divorced or the widowed wife of one’s adopted son. The holy Quran does not consider such a marriage unlawful. It mentions clearly the event of the Prophet’s marriage to Zainab, the divorced wife of Zaid who was not his real son. According to Ayesha (May Allah be pleased with her) if the Prophet could, he would have certainly omitted this verse (regarding his marriage), in order to avoid the criticism of his adversaries. Yet, he did not do so. This proves that no aspect of his life has remained in darkness.
Bosworth Smith’s comments are worth mentioning here. He says, “There is full light of day upon all that light can ever reach at all. The abysmal depths of personality indeed are, and must always remain beyond the reach of any line and plummet of ours. But we know everything of the external history of Muhammad—his youth, his appearance, his relations, his habits: the first idea and the gradual growth, intermittent though it was, of his great revelation; while for his internal history, after his mission had, been proclaimed, we have a book absolutely unique in its origin, in its preservation, and in the chaos of its contents, but on the substantial authenticity of which no one has ever been able to cast a serious doubt. There, if in any book, we have a mirror of one of the master-spirits of the world; often inartistic, incoherent, self-contradictory, dull, but impregnated with a few grand ideas which stand out from the whole; a mind seething with the inspiration pent within it, intoxicated with God, but full of human weaknesses, from which he never pretended—and it is his lasting glory that he never pretended—to be free.”
He continues: “It has been remarked by Gibbon that no incipient Prophet ever passed through so severe an ordeal as Muhammad (Peace be upon him), since he first presented himself as a Prophet to those who were most conversant with his infirmities as a man. Those who knew him best, – his wife, his slave, his cousin, his earliest friend—he, who, as Muhammad said, alone of his converts turned not back neither was perplexed—were the first to recognize his mission. The ordinary lot of a Prophet was in his case reversed; he was not without honor save among those who did not know him well.”
The above evidence makes it quite clear that the better one knew the Prophet the stronger their faith grew in him. This has not been generally the case with other Prophets. They were first recognized by those who did not know them and later came the ones who were close to them. Here, Prophet Muhammad’s case is entirely different. His first believers were those who knew his life, his character and morals more than anyone else, and each one of them had to go through the severest test imaginable of their faith. His wife Khadija (May Allah be pleased with her) shared his ordeal with him when his tribe ostracized him and they were confined in the wilderness of She’ab Abi Talib near Makkah for three years, often going without food or water. His friend, Abu Bakr Siddique (May Allah be pleased with him), was his only companion on his journey to Madinah while his enemies were looking for him every where, thirsty for his blood. His cousin, Ali (May Allah be pleased with him,) took his place in the bed that night while the house was surrounded by the Qureish who had come to murder the Prophet. His slave Zaid (May Allah be pleased with him) refused to go with his own father even when the Prophet had set him free. Zaid had been abducted and sold in Makkah and his father had found him there after a long and painful search. He gladly allowed his son to remain in Makkah with the Prophet, saying he was in much better hands.
Godfrey Higgins says in Apology for the Life of Muhammad, “The Christians would do well to recollect that the doctrines of Muhammad created a degree of enthusiasm in his followers which is to be sought in vain in the immediate followers of Jesus….when Jesus was led to the Cross, his followers fled, their enthusiasm forsook them, they left him to perish….The followers of Muhammad, on the contrary, rallied round their persecuted Prophet, and risking their lives in his defense, made him triumph over all his enemies.”
In the famous Battle of Uhad, when the warriors of Qureish managed to confuse the Muslim lines, and tried to surround the holy Prophet by attacking him from all sides, he called out “Who wants to sacrifice his life in my defence?” Hearing this call, seven Ansari youth appeared from no where and fighting bravely died one by one defending their beloved Prophet (Peace be upon him). An Ansari woman lost her father, her brother and her husband. Each time, when she was informed of the death of one of her loved ones, she asked “but how is our beloved Prophet, the Messenger of Allah?” She was told that he was quite safe. She came to the place where the Prophet had been and found him alive and well, she cried out, “No loss can be greater than your loss. No calamity is a calamity if you are alive. The loss of my father, brother and husband is but a humble sacrifice for your sake.”
My friends! These supreme examples of selfless love, dedication and sacrifice are of those people who knew the Prophet well. Had he not been the perfect example in their sight, they would not have sacrificed their lives for him. The Islamic faith requires its followers to hold their Prophet as a perfect model and a guide, following whose example they can attain the love of God. A verse of the holy Quran states:
“Say (O Prophet): ¯If you really love Allah, then follow me, and Allah shall love you…..”
(Chap, 3: Vrs, 31)
So, the criterion for God’s love is how much one follows the ideal life of His Prophet, Muhammad (Peace be upon him).
It is not too difficult to give up one’s life in a moment of religious frenzy. The worthy companions of the holy Prophet (Peace be upon him) made a more difficult choice. They chose a way of life that would please Allah. They chose a lifetime of following the practice of His Prophet in everything they did. This was, by no means, an easy test but they passed it with flying colours. They followed in his steps all the way. It was this spirit which made the holy Prophet’s companions, their disciples and then those who came after them, the scholars of the Prophet’s traditions, the Muslim historians and biographers to look for each and every of his sayings, his actions and movements and record them for the coming generations so that every Muslim could follow him to the best of his capacity. This fact makes it quite clear that in their minds the life of the holy Prophet (Peace be upon him) was a perfect and ideal life that was meant to be followed in all its details. The standard of perfection, in their sight, was the degree to which one followed the holy Prophet’s example.
In Islam, the holy Prophet’s life is the supreme model for a Muslim. Therefore, all its aspects should be clearly known to everybody, and so they are. No link is missing. No event of his life is shrouded in mystery. Every thing is as clear as a mirror, preserved for ever in the books of history. That is the evidence that helps one to believe in an ideal, innocent and perfect life which is as clear as daylight. Only such a life can serve as a model for all mankind.
This world has produced great civilizations such as those of Babylon, Assyria, India, China, Egypt, Greece and Rome. Great ethical systems were evolved. Rules for a civilized and polite behaviour were set. Etiquettes and conventions were established for all kinds of human activities such as sitting, standing, eating and drinking, clothing, visiting people, sleeping, marriages, funerals, meeting, inviting, saluting, greeting, bathing and cleansing, offering congratulations, offering condolences and conducting burials etc. It took centuries to establish the principles of these ancient civilizations, yet they could not stand the challenge of time. Centuries old conventions crumbled in no time. All those great civilizations are now found only in history books. Whereas the Islamic civilization evolved and established in just a few years. And after a passage of over 1400 years it is there, constant and unchanged, present in hundreds of nations spread all over the world. The basic reason is that it originates from one source—the life of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). This faultless and noble way of life was reflected in the lives of his worthy companions and then in those of their dedicated disciples and thus it became the established way of life of the world of Islam. The holy Prophet’s life was the centre around which revolved the lives of his companions. The later generations have expanded the circle. Although the present day Muslims are at quite a distance from the centre of that circle, they are tracing the same path. The holy Prophet’s way of life became the way of life of his immediate followers and then that of the entire Muslim world through the ages. Today that picture is with us in its entirety, intact and complete. In today’s Africa or India if a tribe is converted to Christianity, it gets its religion from the Bible but is taught the ways and culture of Europe. But when a wild tribe of remote Africa converts to Islam, it gets its faith and a complete way of life from the same single source. When a person enters Islam, the complete picture of the life of the Prophet of Islam comes before him, guiding him through various human conditions and needs. This living picture becomes a reflection of the whole life of a Muslim.
Once, a Jew sarcastically remarked to a companion of the holy Prophet (Peace be upon him): “Your Prophet teaches you everything, even the most mundane deeds of daily life.” He said: “Yes! And he has even taught us how to cleanse our private parts” The Muslims can proudly present his total guidance to the modem and complex world of today. Prophet Muhammad’s life is a mirror which shows human life in its entirety. Anyone can look at it and find guidance for all his deeds and actions—actions of body and mind, of his inner self and his outward appearance, of his tongue and his heart. It will show him a comprehensive and complete way of life. That is why no Muslim (society or individual) has ever needed to look outside their religion and their Prophet’s life for their moral, ethical and social conduct. By comparing it with other social norms and ethical and moral systems they can easily differentiate between Good and Evil, between the Beautiful and the Ugly. And since no human life is available in such a complete and comprehensive form, the Prophet of Islam is the only ideal and perfect model following whose example the whole mankind can live a pure, decent and complete life.
May Allah shower His best Blessings on him.