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Prophet Muhammad’s Farewell Pilgrimage and Sermon

Prophet Muhammad’s Farewell Pilgrimage and Sermon

The Prophet’s speech included all the principles which are needed for the moulding of the perfect believer in Islam.

When the time of pilgrimage drew near, the Prophet (peace be upon him) caused it to be known all over Arabia that he intended to offer the pilgrimage to the Ka`bah, which has always been a religious ritual ever since prophets Abraham and Ishmael (peace be upon them) raised that construction which was, according to the Qur’an, the first house of worship ever to be built.

It was not surprising that people started to arrive in Madinah from all over Arabia shortly after the announcement. Every day, Madinah welcomed people from far and wide.

A Procession of Love

When the Prophet completed his preparations for his blessed journey, he left Madinah at noon on Saturday the 25th of Dhul-Qa’dah in the tenth year of the Islamic calendar, which makes the Prophet’s emigration to Madinah its starting date. With him were all his wives and members of his household, the Muhajirin and the Ansar, as well as all those who came to join him from all Arab tribes.

He had with him 100 camels which he intended to slaughter as a sacrifice. When he arrived at Dhul Hulayfah, which is now better known as Abyar ‘Ali, a place about 10 kilometers from Madinah, he offered ‘asr prayer, shortening it to two rak’ahs, since he was travelling.

He entered into the state of consecration, wearing two white pieces of cloth, wrapping one round his waist to cover his body from the waist to well below his knees and throwing the other over his shoulders. He made his intention to offer the pilgrimage and the ‘Umrah combined – that is, he chose the qiran method of ihram, since he had brought his sacrificial animals with him.

When he mounted his she-camel to resume his journey, he started repeating the following form of talbiyah: Labbayk Allahumma labbayk. Labbayka La sharika laka labbayk. Inna al-hamda wal-ni’mata laka walmulk. La sharika lak.

This may be translated as: “I respond to Your call, my Lord. I respond to You: there is no deity other than You. All praise, grace and sovereignty belong to You. You have no partners”, what epitomizes the worship of pilgrimage which enhances the notion of total submission to God and dedication to His cause”, and which all Muslims repeated, asserting their submission and dedication to God.

It was a procession which spread a feeling of security and reassurance to all around it. Its slogan was one of peace and security. Not a single person in that procession harbored any ill feelings towards anyone. None of them carried a weapon of any sort. None harmed an animal, frightened a bird, cut down a tree or destroyed any plant. It was, in short, a procession of love which spread a feeling of kindness, peace and security all around.

Everywhere animals, birds and trees were at peace. The procession was at peace with all people and with all creatures. Its objective was one of love and solidarity. Its mark was one of true brotherhood and absolute equality. No worldly considerations distinguished any group in that procession over any other group. It was a dedicated procession in which there was no place for carnal desires, futile arguments, social distinction or quarrelling. It was a demonstration of love and brotherhood established on the solid basis of fearing to incur God’s anger and seeking to earn His pleasure.

After several days the procession arrived in Makkah at sunset of the fourth day of Dhul-Hijjah. The Prophet stayed the night at Dhu Tuwa, on the outskirts of Makkah. In the morning he had a bath and entered Makkah in daylight. When the Prophet arrived at the Ka`bah and saw the holy place, he lifted his hands and prayed to God to multiply the honor and sanctity of the House, and to honor and reward everyone who honors the House by offering pilgrimage or ‘Umrah. The Prophet entered the mosque and began his tawaf round the Ka’bah.

When he had finished his tawaf, he offered a prayer behind the position known as Maqam Ibrahim. Mounting his she-camel, he then proceeded to do the walk, sa`i, between the two hills of al-Safa and al-Marwah. When he had finished that, he gave his orders to the Muslims with him who had not brought their sacrificial animals with them to release themselves from consecration, or ihram, until the time for pilgrimage was due. The Prophet and his companions stayed in Makkah until the 8th of Dhul-Hijjah, the time when the duties of the pilgrimage were due. 

Farewell Speech

Starting from Makkah on the eighth day of Dhul-Hijjah, the Prophet at midday, on his she-camel, went to Mina, where he spent the night before leaving, after sunrise, for `Arafat, where he delivered his major speech. The Prophet’s speech that day was the highlight of his pilgrimage, outlining the nature of Islamic society.

After beginning his speech with, as usual, the praise and glorification of God he went on to say:

“People, listen to me as I explain to you, for I do not know whether I will ever meet you again in this place after this year. People, do you know in what month, day, and city you are?

They said: “We are on a sacred day, in a sacred month, in a sacred city.”

He said: “Know, then, that your blood, property and honor are forbidden for you till you meet your Lord in the same way as the sanctity of this day of yours, in this month of yours, in this city of yours. You will certainly meet your Lord and He will certainly question you about what you do. Have I delivered my message?”

They answered: “Yes.”

He said: “My Lord, bear witness.”

“He who holds something belonging to another for safekeeping must give it back to the person to whom it belongs. All usury transactions which have been made in the past days of ignorance are hereby abrogated. You may claim only your capital, neither inflicting nor suffering any injustice.

God has decreed that no usury is permissible. The first usury transactions I abrogate are those of my uncle, al-`Abbas ibn `Abd al-Muttalib. All cases of vengeance killings are hereby waived.

The first case of killing I thus waive is that of `Amir ibn Rabi`ah ibn al-Harith.

Have I delivered my message? ”

They said: “You have.”

He said: “My Lord, bear witness.

“People, the postponement of sacred months is an excess of disbelief, a means by which those who disbelieve are led astray. They declare this postponement to be permissible in one year and forbidden in another, in order to conform outwardly to the number of months which God has made sacred, and thus they make allowable what God has forbidden. Time has now been set back in its original fashion which it had when God created the heavens and the earth.

The number of months, in the sight of God, is twelve, out of which four are sacred, three consecutive ones and a single one: Dhul-Qa`dah, Dhul-Hijjah, Muharram and Rajab, which falls between Jumada and Sha`ban. This is the ever-true law of God.

Do not, then, sin against yourselves with regard to these months. When I am gone, do not revert to disbelief, killing one another.

Have I delivered my message? ”

They answered: “You certainly have.”

Continuing his speech he said:

“My Lord, be my witness.

“People, you have an obligation towards your womenfolk and they have an obligation towards you. It is their duty not to allow into your homes anyone whom you dislike without your permission. Should they do that, God has permitted you to desert them in bed, then to beat them without any severity. Should they desist, they have the right to be provided with food and clothing, in fairness. Your womenfolk are in your custody; they are helpless. You have taken them on the basis of a pledge to God, and they are lawful to you with God’s word. Fear God, then, in your treatment of women, and be kind to them.

Have I delivered my message? ”

They replied: “Yes, indeed.”

He said: “My Lord, be my witness.”

“People, the believers are brothers. It is illegal for anyone to take the property of his brother unless it is given without any coercion. People: your Lord is one and your father is one. All of you are the children of Adam, and Adam was created from dust. The most noble among you is the most God-fearing. No Arab enjoys any privilege over a non-Arab except through the fear of God. Have I delivered my message?”

They answered: “Yes, you most certainly have.”

He said: “My Lord, be my witness.

“People, Satan has given up any hope of being worshipped in this land of yours. He is satisfied, however, to be obeyed in matters which you consider trivial. Guard yourselves against him, lest he corrupts your faith. I have left with you what should keep you safe from going astray should you hold fast to it. It is something clear and simple: God’s Book and the Sunnah of His Prophet. You will be questioned about me. What will you say?”

They said: “We bear witness that you have delivered your message complete and you have discharged your mission and given good counsel.”

The Prophet pointed his forefinger at the sky and lowered it to point to the people, saying all the time: “My Lord, bear witness. My Lord, bear witness.”

The Prophet then concluded:  

“Let those who are present communicate what I have said to those who are not with us today. It may happen that those who come to know of it in this way may understand it better than some of those who have listened to it.”

Key Principles

This memorable speech outlines five basic principles of the Islamic programme of action, two of them work on the level of the individual and three relate to the structure of Islamic society. Islam moulds the character of the Muslim on the basis of two fundamental principles:

1- Islam severs all ties which a Muslim has with Ignorance, or Jahiliyyah, its idols, practices, financial dealings, usury transactions and so on, because the adoption of the religion of Islam means a start of a new life for a Muslim which is completely divorced from the erroneous ways of the past.

2- To guard against all forms of sin. The effects of sin are far more serious than the danger presented by any enemy in battle. The Prophet also made it clear that he did not mean by sin the sinking back into idolatrous worship.

The Prophet has also outlined three basic principles on which Islamic society is founded:

1- The tie of Islamic brotherhood which moulds the proper relationship between all Muslims. It is this brotherhood which makes every Muslim a patron of every other Muslim, giving him whatever help he can.

2- Supporting the weak so that their weakness does not make the whole society vulnerable. One should note in particular how the Prophet stressed the importance of being kind to women, since they are the weaker element in society.

3- The cooperation between an Islamic government and the members of an Islamic society to achieve the proper implementation of Islamic law which works for the removal of all evil from society and its replacement with what is good.

Short as it was, the Prophet’s speech included all the principles which are needed for the moulding of the perfect believer in Islam and the perfect Muslim society.

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This article is excerpted from Adil Salahi’s book Muhammad: Man and Prophet, published by the Islamic Foundation. This summarized version is taken from Onislam.net.

 

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Time Management & Punctuality: Lessons from the Prophet (Part 2)

By Yuksel A. Aslandogan

Part 1

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A very punctual time keeper, the Prophet did not waste even the smallest amount of time.

Various accounts of the Prophet’s daily life tell us that he was very careful in the observation of his daily schedule. We understand this particularly from the observation that when the Prophet changed his schedule, this was a cause for worry in the community.

For instance, one Companion relates: “The Messenger of God (upon whom be peace and blessings) left his home at a time when normally nobody saw him outside.” (Ibn Al-Athir)

Another one is: “The Messenger of God ascended to the pulpit. He was never seen on the pulpit except on Fridays before.” (Ibn Majah)

Night Activities

The narrations from his companions tell us that the Prophet used to divide his night into three segments. One segment was dedicated to worship, one to his family and one segment to his personal matters. At times, he is seen as giving his personal time to his community in meeting with them and trying to address their needs.

The Prophet was observed to halt his daily activities after sunset. This does not mean, however, that he rested for the remainder of the evening; he sometimes held meetings after evening or night prayer.

As a general principle, he did not like sleeping before the night prayer or talking after it (Al-Bukhari). His wife `A’ishah (may God be pleased with her) reports that the Prophet used to sleep during the early part of the night and wake up for worship during the later part. (Ibn Majah). On exceptional circumstances, the Prophet was observed to stay awake and deal with community affairs until late hours of the night.

The night stances (Qiyam Al-layl), the hours he spent in worship, reflection and prayers all occupy an important place in the Prophet’s life. He is reported to have spent on average between 2/3 to 3/4 of each night in worship, remembrance, reflection, and supplication.

This corresponds to a period of 4 to 7 hours each night, depending on the season. He explains this emphasis on night prayers in the following way: “God descends to the first heaven of the earth every night and announces, ‘Is there anyone who repents; I will forgive, is there anyone who prays; I will accept,’ and this continues until early dawn”. (Ibn Majah & Ibn Al-Athir)

He also likened his night stances to those of the Prophet David: “The best nightly prayer in God’s sight is that of David. He used to sleep during the early part of the night, then wake up and spend a third of the night in prayers and sleep a little again before dawn” (Al-Bukhari, Muslim & An-Nasa’i)

Daytime Activities

The Prophet prohibited his Companions from sleeping after the Morning Prayer. He used to stay at the mosque until sunrise and have group conversations with his companions. The subjects of these conversations were both religious as well as entertaining, for example, poetry would be read or the dreams of the previous night would be related. It is understood that these hours were spent in a felicitous way, with Companions laughing at times and the Prophet smiling. (An-Nasa’i & Muslim)

The Prophet underlines the significance of these hours held for him with the following saying: “Sitting together with a group of companions and remembering God with them after the Morning Prayer until the sunrise is more valuable to me than fighting in the cause of God. The same is true for the hours after the afternoon prayer before sunset”. (Ibn Al-Athir)

Following the conversation with his Companions, the Prophet would then spend time with his family. On days when he was not fasting, he would have breakfast during this period. He is known to have eaten two meals each day, a late breakfast and a dinner.

Towards noon, he would take a nap and encourage others to do the same, as this would help them to stay awake at night for prayers. After the Noon Prayers came the time for community matters.

The Afternoon Prayer was followed by time for the family once again. In the Makkan period, the Prophet was married to Khadijah for 25 years, his only wife during this time. His multiple marriages occurred after she had passed away, when he was already over 50. The reasons and occasions for these marriages form the subject of a separate article.

But suffice it to say that in general these marriages could be categorized into three types: (1) Marrying the widow of a martyr to take care of her and to honor the family. (2) Marrying the daughter or other relative of a community leader to establish family ties with that community to avoid armed conflicts. (3) Marriage with a woman of a special status so that woman could become a teacher and role model for Muslim women. This third function was especially important, as the aspects of faith that pertain to special circumstances of women could only be taught by the experience of the wives of the Prophet.

The Prophet was observed to visit and spend equal, fixed times with his wives during his family time.

Human Biorhythm & Activity Changes

Researchers on human biorhythms tell us that multiple periodic biorhythms operate within the human body with different cycle times, changing from 90 minutes (ultradian) to daily (circadian), to longer than a day. (Smolensky, 2001)

As the human body operates with chemicals, hormones, and electrical signals, it needs to replenish these resources once in a while. (Chafetz, 1992) One mechanism for achieving this is having a short break such as a nap (Rossi 1991, Mednick 2002) and another is to change one’s activity when feeling tired.

The Prophet Muhammad points to this important fact by saying “Relieve us O Bilal!” Bilal was the chief caller to prayer. The Prophet was indicating that they were tired and less productive in the activity in which they were involved and that it was a good time to take a break and pray. “Relieve us” means “Please make the call to prayer” so the community will gather in the mosque for a congregational prayer.

The interweaving of different activities in his daily schedule is another indication that the Prophet was cognizant of the effect of the biorhythm on one’s productivity.

The popular mental picture of the Prophet Muhammad in the non-Muslim world depicts a person who spent most of his time in the battlefield or enjoying the spoils of war. Nothing can be further from truth. In this article we examined the life of the Prophet Muhammad from a time management perspective.

All in Moderation

The picture that emerges from this analysis is very different from the popular perception in the west. We learn that the Prophet spent most of his time engaged in worship, prayer, remembrance, and supplications.

The next two most important activities in his life were community matters, including spreading God’s message and family matters. We also learn that the Prophet was a very punctual time keeper. He did not waste even the smallest amount of time and admonished those who did.

We learn that he kept a tight daily schedule to the extent that his companions became worried when this schedule was not observed. He designated certain days and hours of each day for certain activities. He encouraged staying awake after dawn and having a short nap at noon.

He practiced such principles as eating moderately, sleeping moderately, and talking moderately, all of which ultimately help with better time management. He took advantage of every discretionary moment in life for remembering God and offering prayers. Every activity in his life was guided by his main goal of living and sharing God’s religion for a happy life on the Earth and in the Hereafter.

Interestingly, many of these practices are now recognized and recommended by modern experts of time management.

In summary, we witness a life that was lived fully and productively, yet opportunities for smiling were not neglected.

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Source: The Fountain Magazine

 

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The Prophet and Time Management

The Prophet and Time Management

By Yuksel A. Aslandogan

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While always confident of God’s help, the Messenger was also a master of skillful time management.

In the preface to his book The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History, Michael Hart noted the supreme success of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) on both the religious and secular level (Hart, 1978).

The Muslim community, which started as four individuals, himself, his wife Khadijah, his close friend Abu Bakr, and his cousin `Ali, reached over a hundred thousand Companions by his death in 23 years. Only ten thousand or so of these Companions are buried in the graveyard at Medina today, as most of them died in remote lands spreading the message (Gulen, 2000).

Contrary to the common perception in the West, the Prophet Muhammad did not spend most of his time in battle fields or even involved in political affairs. The total number of casualties in the battles in which he participated throughout his life is not even 800.

Instead, the activities that occupied most of his daily life were worship, prayers, and supplications, followed by family and community affairs, including conveying God’s message to his people.

While always confident of God’s help, the Messenger was also a master of skillful time management. Here we will review some of the time management practices that he employed in his life.

Four principles emerge as we examine the life of the Prophet Muhammad from a time management perspective (Canan, 1994). Interestingly, these are also the principles agreed upon by most contemporary experts of time management (Taylor 1998, Jasper 1999, Covey, Morgenstern, 2000). These are:

1- Appreciation of the value of time and, consequently, making the best use of every piece of available time.

2- The guidance of a mission, a set of values, and priorities in planning every activity.

3- Establishment of a time policy or a time budget.

4- The scheduling and completion of activities within allocated time slots.

Now we will give examples of how these principles were put to practice in the prophetic tradition.

Appreciation of the Value of Time

The value of time is emphasized in many verses of the Qur’an and in many prophetic sayings. In particular, God swears by time at the beginning of the 103rd chapter Al-`Asr in the Qur’an, meaning “time through the ages” or “afternoon.”

It is the general opinion of the interpreters of the Qur’an that such references are intended to draw attention to those concepts and emphasize their importance. The remaining two verses of this short chapter reinforce this view:

By the (token of) time (through the ages)! Verily man is in a state of loss. Except those who believe and do righteous deeds, and exhort one another to truth and exhort one another to steadfastness. (Al-`Asr 103:1-3)

Another such oath is to be found at the beginning of 93rd Chapter, Ad-Duha or “The Morning Hours”:

By the morning hours, And by the night when it is still. (Ad-Duha 93:1-2)

In the prayer books attributed to the Prophet Muhammad we see that there are prayers for every occasion. Examples include prayers for beginning an activity, beginning a meal, ending a meal, leaving for a journey, returning from a journey, during the journey, looking in a mirror, during ill health, for rain, against excessive rain, against cold or extreme heat, when entering the bathroom, when exiting the bathroom, and countless others.

From these prayers we learn that there is almost no time slot in the Prophet’s life that was not occupied with a useful activity or a prayer. It was observed on one occasion that the Prophet refused to greet a person who was sitting idly. He greets the very same person on his way back upon seeing them occupied with an activity.

The following Prophetic saying summarizes his attitude: “The majority of humanity is at a loss as they do not recognize the value of two of God’s gifts: Health and (discretionary) time.” (Al-Bukhari)

Guidance of a Mission

After receiving the divine call, the life of the Prophet Muhammad was focused on living and conveying the message. His ultimate goal was to fulfill his mission as a servant and messenger of God. This involved two aspects: On the personal front a spiritual ascension towards the state of being a perfect human as a servant of God and on the social front sharing the faith and practicing conduct that was pleasing to God and others. His values and priorities were shaped completely by the scripture as well as by the other communications of God that he received, which did not become part of the scripture.

In his farewell sermon during his last pilgrimage, he is reported to have asked the present audience, which numbered in the tens of thousands: “Do you bear witness that I have fulfilled my mission as God’s messenger?”

Of course the answer was a resounding yes, accompanied by tears.

Weekly Time Policy

In a weak prophetic tradition narrated by Ibn `Abbas, the cousin of the Prophet, the regular activities of his days are listed: “Sunday is the day for planting seeds and construction. Monday is for travel. Tuesday is for giving blood. Wednesday is for acquisition and alms giving. Thursday is for bringing community matters to the governor. Friday is for weddings and spending time with your family. Saturday is for hunting for livelihood.”

The authenticity of this narration is weak and therefore we cannot conclude that it is obligatory to perform these duties on these days. However, it does give the idea of designating specific days of the week for specific projects or activities. In another prophetic tradition, the Prophet was heard to say, “Seek knowledge on every Monday”

Other prophetic sayings emphasize the importance of Friday as a day of festivity and the early part of Friday as the time to clean the body and care for one’s clothing. Another established prophetic tradition is to fast voluntarily on Mondays and Thursdays.

From the observations of his Companions it has been firmly established that the Prophet (peace be upon him) established a weekly schedule with preferred activities on each day.

Daily Time Policy

The most detailed information about the time management of the Prophet Muhammad is available concerning his daily schedule. Two types of activities occupied his time: The spontaneous (un-programmed) activities and the regular (programmed) activities.

The spontaneous activities included giving an audience to an envoy or a representative group, the meeting of an urgent need, or helping a stranger who spontaneously sought help. Such activities were accommodated within the time slots that were not dedicated to programmed activities.

Furthermore, if a representative body were to arrive in Madinah for a one-off meeting, then it would be scheduled at the first available time. However, if the group was to stay in Medina for a while, then the meetings with this group were included in the regular plan of activities.

An example of such accommodation can be seen in the case of the representative group from the Tribe of Thaqif. As the group was to stay in Madinah for a while, the Prophet visited them and talked with them after each night prayer. When one evening he delayed his visit, the group asked him: “O Messenger of God, you did not come at the time you used to come today; you were late, what is the reason for this?”

Regular/Scheduled Activities

Regular prayer times form the framework around which all other regular activities are scheduled. Two aspects of the Prophet’s daily schedule were (first): The same activities were scheduled in the same time period every day, and (second) each activity had a designated time limit.

Regular daily prayers are ordered by God at specific times:”set up Regular Prayers: For such prayers are enjoined on believers at stated times” (An-Nisaa’4:103) and the start and end times for each prayer were taught to the Prophet Muhammad by the Archangel Gabriel.

In authentic prophetic traditions we learn that Archangel Gabriel asked the Prophet Muhammad to join him in performing each prayer at the beginning of the time period time throughout one day.

The next day, they performed each prayer at the very end of the period that was dedicated to that prayer. The Prophet said “The best of deeds in God’s sight is the prayer that is performed in time”. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

While the beginning time for each prayer period is preferred, the prayer can be done anytime between these limits. If the time limit is exceeded even by a minute, the prayer is invalidated and the person has to perform a makeup prayer in the next period.

It is easy to see that regular observation of these prayer times gives a person a high level of time consciousness. It also reveals the fallacy of the view that precise timing and punctuality are modern traditions.

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Source: The Fountain Magazine

 

Yuksel A. Aslandogan is the Vice President of Institute of Interfaith Dialog, Houston, Texas.

 

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Muhammad: The Noblest of the Prophets and Messengers

Muhammad: The Noblest of the Prophets and Messengers

His Lineage and Upbringing

He is Muhammad ibin `Abdullah ibn `Abdul-Muttalib ibn Hashim ibn `Abd Manaf ibn Qusayy ibn Kilab ibn Murrah ibn Ka`b ibn Lu’ay ibn Ghalib ibn Fihr ibn Malik ibn Al-Nadr ibn Kinanah ibn Khuzaymah ibn Mudrikah ibn Ilyas ibn Mudar ibn Nizar ibn Maʿd ibn `Adnan.

Muhammad- The Noblest of the Prophets and Messengers

He lived a life full of great manners, beautiful conduct and pleasant characteristics.

His noble lineage has been preserved until Adam (peace be upon him), and his mother was Aminah bint Wahb.

He (peace be upon him) was born in Makkah in the Year of the Elephant, equivalent to the year 570 CE.

His father `Abdullah died while his mother was still pregnant with him. When he was born, his grandfather `Abdul-Muttalib took care of him, and his mother passed away when he was six years old. When his grandfather died, his uncle Abu Talib took  are of him.

He lived a life full of great manners, beautiful conduct and pleasant characteristics, so much so that his people gave him the nickname of “The Trustworthy.”

Prophethood

At the age of forty, Muhammad (peace be upon him) attained prophethood when the Truth (i.e. the revelation) came to him in the cave of Hira’ whilst he was worshipping, and he (the angel) informed him that he was the Messenger of Allah. He then began calling his people to iman (belief) in Allah and His Messenger, and calling them to worship Allah alone and to stay away from worshipping other than Him.

As a result, he received various types of harm at the hands of his people, but he remained patient until Allah manifested His religion. He then migrated to Madinah where legislative rulings were prescribed, Islam attained honor and the religion was completed.

He (peace be upon him) then died on a Monday in the month of Rabi` Awwal in the year 11 AH, and his age was sixty-three. He joined the Highest Companions (in Paradise) after he conveyed the clear message, strove hard in Allah’s Cause as he ought to have strove, guided his Ummah to every good and warned them from every evil. So may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him.

His Unique Characteristics

From amongst the unique characteristics of the Prophet (peace be upon him) is that he is the seal of the prophets, leader of the messengers and leader of the pious. The message he was sent with was general for the thaqalayn (the jinn and mankind), and Allah sent him as a mercy to the worlds. He was taken on the night journey (Al-Isra’ to Bayt Al-Maqdis (Jerusalem) and from there ascended to the heavens (Al-Mi`raj).

Allah called upon him (in the Qur’an) by his ascription to prophethood and messengership, and he was given concise speech that entailed vast meanings. Finally, Allah bestowed upon him five unique characteristics that were not given to the other prophets.

Jabir ibn `Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated:

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “I have been given five things which were not given to anyone else before me: Allah made me victorious by awe (by His frightening my enemies) for a distance of one month’s journey; the earth has been made for me (and for my followers) a place for praying and a thing to perform dry ablution, therefore anyone of my followers can pray wherever the time of a prayer is due; the booty has been made lawful for me, yet it was not lawful for anyone else before me; I have been given the right of intercession (on the Day of Resurrection); and every prophet used to be sent to his nation only, but I have been sent to all mankind.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

He (peace be upon him) was also given unique characteristics that his Ummah was not, among which were: permission to continuously fast without break; marrying without giving a dowry; marrying more than four wives at one time; his wives being unlawful to marry after his death; not being allowed to take charity; being able to hear and see what others could not, like seeing Jibril (Gabriel) in his true image that Allah created him upon; and finally, he is not inherited from.

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “Summarized Islamic Fiqh In Light of the Qur’an and Sunnah”, by By Muhammad bin Ibrahim bin `Abdullah Al-Tuwayjiri, translated by Kamil Ahmad & Jawad Beg

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The Prophet’s Biography: A Well-Preserved Model for Mankind

The Prophet’s Biography: A Well-Preserved Model for Mankind

By Salman Al-Oadah

The Prophet…His Biography

God has selected Muhammad as the finale of the divine message. He said:

…he is the Messenger of Allah and the Seal of the Prophets. (Al-Ahzab 33:40)

As such, God made him a model for people:

Truly in the Messenger of Allah you have a good example for him who looks to Allah and the last Day, and remembers Allah much. (Al-Ahzab 33:40)

It is not surprising, therefore, that the Prophet’s biography be so apparent to those who lived during his time, both friends and enemies, men and women, young and less young, those nearby and those at a distance. They knew every detail about his life; nothing of his personality was hidden from them. And that which they could not see about his private life was reported to them in detail by his wives.

So much so that we know of his private life – his ways of eating and drinking, traveling and home staying, while he was awake or sleeping, and other everyday activities, more than we know about any celebrity. We know more about him than we know about our parents or teachers.

I would not be exaggerating if I said that we know more about him than we know about our own selves: some of us do things that we may pay little attention to. But once others have commented on us, we may say that we were not aware of what we were doing if what is said about us is really true. However, we know about the life of our Prophet down to the smallest detail. And what an exalted and fascinating biography it is!

A Well-Preserved Biography

It is with the will of God that this biography was preserved in minute detail. When you read such books on the Prophet’s special features as Al-Shamayl Al-Muhammadiya, by At-Tirmidhi, or its simplified version Al-Mokhtassar, by Al-Albani, as well as other similar works, you see a very detailed portrayal of the Prophet. For example, they would talk about the white hairs in his hair and beard.

Anas reported that “I did not count in the Prophet’s hair and beard more than fourteen white hairs.” (Ahmad and Ibn Hibban) Or, in another report, “…and there were less than twenty white hairs in his hair and beard”. (Ahmad, Al-Bukhari, Muslim, At-Tirmidhi, and Ibn Hibban)

In another report, a Companion states that “Allah had the soul of His Apostle without betraying his age with white hair: there were hardly thirty white hairs in his hair and beard”. (Ahmad) Even the number of white hairs in the hair and beard of the Prophet was documented.

Not only that, the very location of those hairs was specified.

One of the most attractive features of this biography is that by preserving it and making it a model for mankind, God left no excuse to humans. This biography has been carefully preserved by scholars and historians like no other biography has been. And none of the other prophets’ lives has been documented the way this prophet’s life has.

For example, if asked about the life of Moses, the Jews will give scattered accounts from parts of his life, with little historical evidence based on scientific facts. The Muslims, however, have paid attention to the smallest details about him, with utmost rigidity as to the credibility of the reporters of the accounts as well as their names.

The discipline of ‘Al Jarh wa al-Ta’deel’ (Criticism and Commendation (of reporters)) enumerated about five hundred thousand names at the time, although people had no printers, computers, or other assisting machines. However, they reached exceptional levels of memorization and accurate distinctions of names and people which surpassed many of the machines which technology has produced today. All this was done for one purpose– the conservation of the Prophet’s biography, tradition, and guidance.

An Exalted Biography

God – the All Wise – did not choose His Messenger at random. He made pure his interior and exterior, his speech and acts, his body and his heart.

But when you read his biography – when you read about his biography, every aspect of his life stirs further admiration in you for him. When you read about the details of his look, his face, hair, stature, clothing, etc. you feel more love in your heart for him, and your soul bolsters in faith.

His behavior, his manners, and the way he treats all people are all the more amazing!

In a word, the more you discover about him, the more you love him. This is why loving him is a sign of faith. It is a condition of believing in him as a messenger to find in your heart a great place of sincere love for this noble prophet.

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The article is excerpted from the book  “In the Company of the Prophet (God’s Chosen Messenger)” , by Salman Al-Oadah, published by IslamToday, 2012.

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