He is a human being:
When we think about honoring a human being like the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pboh), we need to always keep in mind the important fact that he is a creature and not the Creator. In this connection, Allah made it known to the whole of mankind that the Prophet (pboh) came into this world just like any other human being; and is also entirely dependent on the Lord for his status, position and even survival. Allah tells us about this in the following verse of the Holy Qur’an:
Say: I am but a human being just like you; but inspiration has come to me; that your Lord is one God. (18:110)
Unlike other human beings, Allah has made it known to everyone that the Prophet (pboh) is special. He says as follows:
And you (O Prophet) are on an exalted status of character. (68:4)
And you (O Prophet) are held in a very high esteem. (94:4)
Your Companion (i.e. Prophet Muhammad) is neither astray nor being misled. Nor does he say anything of his own desire. (53:2-3)
The difference in status in the sight of Allah between the Prophet (pboh) and the other Messengers and believers, is like the difference in beauty and value between diamond and charcoal. While both originated from the earth, one is beautiful and priceless, and while the other has its purpose it does not present itself to the people as beautiful as the diamond.
He is the first believer:
In the Holy Qur’an, Allah made it known that the Holy Prophet (pboh) is the first Muslim. Some people believe that this is so because he is the one who received the Holy Qur’an, and it was with him that Islam was perfected. As a result they interpret the verses of Chapter (6:162-3) to mean that because he gave, through divine guidance, the Religion to the people, and he upheld it completely himself, he is the first to believe. The verses are:
Verily, my worship and my sacrifice; my living and my dying are for Allah; Lord of the Worlds. He has no partner. This I am commanded and I am the first to submit to His Will. (I am the first Muslim). (6:162-3)
If we should look at other verses of the Qur’an regarding the way all the creatures relate to the Lord and Creator of them all, we find the following:
All living creatures in the skies and the earth (they all) prostrate (submit) themselves to Allah with goodwill. (13:15)
And to Allah do all creatures that are in the skies and the earth submit; whether moving creatures or the angels; for, none are arrogant before the Lord. They all serve their Lord high above them; and they do what they are commanded. (16:49-50).
Thunder repeats His praises. (13:13)
If all the creatures in the skies and the earth submit to Allah, it means that they are all Muslims. And because the soul of the Prophet (pboh) is the first thing that Allah created, and he, upon creation declared: There is no god but Allah; then he is the first Muslim.
The Personality of the Prophet (pboh) has two levels or aspects. They are Mundane and Cosmic.
His mundane status:
The mundane aspect of his personality is easier to comprehend. Allah wanted to give to the world a code of life to be followed in order that each person can return to Him successfully. This code outlines what is the Path to be followed and the rules and regulations required to travel along it.
Messengers were sent to each tribe and nation to teach the people and to make their pitfalls known to them. Also they were told of the consequences for deviating. Allah says:
Every people had a guide. (13:7)
Prophet Muhammad (pboh) was the last of the divinely appointed Messengers sent to mankind. His role and function was unique as well as universal. Allah tells us about his universal mission in the following verses.
And you (O Prophet) stand on an exalted standard of character. (68:4)
When we look into the Prophet’s life, we find that he established practically all the qualities that will make life meaningful and purposeful. It will also develop and cement all that is required to make the human race live like one big family. In short he established universal Islamic brotherhood. Allah says:
And hold fast, all together, to the Rope which Allah has stretched out for you and be not divided amongst yourselves. And remember, with gratitude Allah’s favor on you; for you were enemies and He joined your hearts in love. (3:103)
The Prophet (pboh) was able to create this type of lifestyle based on love, sacrifice, goodwill towards all and ill towards none, self denial, forgiving, merciful, and all the other qualities for which he was well known.
Another reason why the Prophet (pboh) was accepted by all the tribes and nation all over the world and at all times was because he was a role model for all. Allah says:
And We have not sent you (O Muhammad) save as a universal model for mankind.
Allah also says that his lifestyle is the best that can be found. This is recorded in the Qur’an as follows:
You have indeed, in the Messenger a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for any whose hope is in Allah, and the Last Day. And (for him) who engages much in the remembrance of Allah. (33:21).
Prophet Muhammad (pboh) taught his followers not to give any importance to worldly lusts and desires. Allah made it known that such qualities and habits will not benefit a person in the Hereafter. He says:
And as for him who had entertained the fear of standing before his Lord; and had restrained his nafs from lower desires. His abode will be the Garden. (79:40-1)
His cosmic status:
Beside the life of the Holy Prophet (pboh) that is known to us, he has other functions; such functions which mankind could at no time able to comprehend. He clearly indicated this to his followers by telling them as follows:
There is a relation between me and my Lord, which no angels; even the highest of them; nor the prophets can understand.Some examples to highlight this point can be found in the following:
- When Allah allowed a little of His Light (tajalliaat) to descend on the mountain at Moses’s request, the mountain blew up and Moses became unconscious. Referring to this incident the Qur’an records the following:
When his Lord manifested His Glory on the Mount, He made it as dust, and Moses fell down in a swoon. (7:143)
- The Prophet (pboh) was able to ascend beyond all created things and stood close in the presence of the Lord, then Allah revealed what He wanted to reveal to the Prophet (pboh), and nothing happened to him. Allah tells us about this as follows:
The he approached and came closer. And was at a distance of but two bow lengths or even nearer. So did (Allah) convey the inspiration to His Servant, what He meant to convey. The (Prophet’s) mind and heart in no way falsified that which he saw. (53:8-11)
- Because the vibrations contained in the words of the Holy Qur’an are very powerful, nothing in the universe was able to receive them; not even the mountains. Perhaps this was the reason why this Book was locked in the divine vault called Lauhi Mahfuz until it was released and impressed on the heart of the Prophet (pboh). Allah tells us about this as follows:
And lo, it is a revelation of the Lord of the Worlds; which the True Spirit had brought down; upon your heart, that you may be one of the warners; in plain Arabic speech. (26:192-95)
- The Prophet (pboh) was able to penetrate the electro-magnetic barriers in the night of Miraj with his total personality, without the aid of any special equipment.
- He was able to split the moon from the earth, just with a sign from his finger.
Prophet Muhammad (pboh) is so close to Allah that he is called by many loving names in the Holy Qur’an. Some of them are within our range of comprehension, e.g. Nabi, Muzammil and Mudassir. Others we are unable to really understand. Some of them are Yaseen and Taahaa. This shows that his personality is beyond our range of comprehension.
His special qualities:
Prophet Muhammad (pboh) is reported to have said: I have been given five things which no other messenger has been given. They are:
· Allah made me victorious by awe over the enemy
· The earth has been made a place of worship for me and a form of purification.
· Booty has been made lawful for me
· I have been sent to the whole of mankind.
· I have been given right to intercession.
The Prophet’s name is mentioned with that of the Lord, in the declaration of Faith. When Allah created the soul of the Prophet (pboh), it immediately declared Laailaaha illallah (There is no god but Allah). Allah responded by saying: Muhammadur Rasoolullah (Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah).
Prophet Muhammad (pboh) is reported to have said: I was a Messenger when Adam was between water and earth.
The Prophet (pboh) is the Mercy to the worlds. Allah says:
And We have not sent you but as a Mercy to the worlds. (21:107)
To take allegiance to the Prophet (pboh) is to take allegiance to Allah. This Allah says to mankind in the following words:
He who swears allegiance to you, swears allegiance only to Allah. (48:10)
If a person should sincerely show love to the Prophet (pboh) Allah will love that person. Allah says
Say to them (O Muhammad) if you love Allah, follow me, Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. (3:31)
Allah mentions in the Qur’an that the actions of the Prophet (pboh) were done under inspiration from the Lord. For example, Allah says, concerning the occasion when the Prophet (pboh) took some sand and threw it over the faces of the people in Badr, and it caused them to become blind. Allah says:
When you threw, it was not you, but Allah, who threw. (8:17)
The Prophet (pboh) had no shadow. This was because the light of his personality was brighter than the light of the sun; as a result he did not cast a shadow while he was in the sun’s light. Allah mentions about this in the following verse of the Holy Qur’an:
There has come to you from Allah a Light and a plain Book. (5:15)
We need to keep in mind all the time that the light that comes from Allah cannot be found anywhere in the universe; as He says:
neither of the east or of the west. (24:35)
Allah and His Angels are constantly sending Salaat on him. This will be discussed in a separate Chapter of this presentation.
Muslims are required to love him more than anything else. He told Omar, after Omar declared that he loved the Prophet (pboh) even more than his own self. The Prophet (pboh) then said to Omar: You have now become a perfect believer.
Allah told Adam and Eve while they were begging for forgiveness: Adam, I have pardoned you and your wife for Muhammad’s sake.
Muslims are commanded to send Salaat and Salaams on him.
Prophet Muhammad (pboh) is called the Imaamul Ambiya, as he led all of them in Salaat on the night when he was to ascend to the presence of Allah.
So important and elevated was the status of the Messenger of Allah that all the previous Messengers predicted his coming.