It is the Prophet (peace be upon him) who guided us to understand the nature of our life and taught us the path to self-fulfillment and how to be humane not only to fellow human beings but also to fellow creatures.
By: Yusuf Rios
He or she who wishes to understand what Islam is and who was the person of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) let him resort to what the Qur’an said about the Prophet (peace be upon him). Almighty Allah says,
And we have not sent you except as a mercy to all of Creation.” (Al-Anbiya’ 21:107)
The single verse mentioned illustrates in detail his mission and identity.
The Arabic words of this verse are much richer in meaning. Arabic is the language of the revelation and the oldest living language on the earth. There are other tongues like Sanskrit older than Arabic but they are all dead languages, no longer spoken. Given this reality we wish to expound upon this verse from its original language so that the most meaning can be derived from it. Let us begin to ponder on the meaning of the verse as it is traditionally done in the Arabic language.
An Analytical View of the Verse
1. “And We”
In these two words, the message related is that it is the one and only Allah, the Exalted, who commissioned the Prophet (peace be upon him). So, the origin of the Prophetic teachings and message is not the wisdom of a wise man or an ascetic, but rather it is Divine.
Sometimes, Allah uses the singular first person “I” referring to Himself and sometimes uses the royal “We”. In many languages, there is a mechanism for one to speak in the plural giving the meaning of elevated status. For example, a chief of an Arab tribe might address his people as “We” when talking to them. Of course, after the revelation and the conversion of Arabia to Islam this became restricted to the Qur’an, Islam urges people to be humble.
2. Have Not Sent You except as a Mercy
This part of the verse is very profound and deserves the most possible attention. Here, Almighty Allah is declaring why He commissioned the Prophet (peace be upon him). The Arabic reflects a restrictive meaning as it reads as such -the Prophet was sent for no other purpose except to be a means for humankind to attain Allah’s Mercy. There is an emphasis on the role of the Prophet as a vehicle of mercy sent from Allah, in addition to the point that this mercy is to be shared with all of humanity.
The mission with which Allah sent the Prophet (peace be upon him) is not restricted to a particular audience but rather it is an inclusive message. It is a message to all humanity. In other words, Islam is a message for all of humanity. It is comprehensively characterized by mercy for all of humanity and all of creation, thereby inclusive of the eco-system. This Mercy even applies to those who choose not to believe in it.
To understand the Qur’anic verse better, it is necessary to key in on the notion of “mercy” in this verse. Mercy here means that Allah (glory be to Him) sent the Prophet (peace be upon him) with “guidance to a meaningful existence”. He was sent to teach humankind the path to a communal and social life which is pleasing to Allah. He taught respect and love in a way that grants all the right to co-exist and lead a full life. This understanding of mercy is a path to a peaceful existence in this world and a path to a blissful eternity after death. Also, this can only be understood in the context of Allah having created the human being to lead a purposeful life, a life of worship and a life in which the purpose of existence is fulfilled by living a committed and profound relationship with the Creator.
It is the Prophet (peace be upon him) who guided us to understand the nature of our life and taught us the path to self-fulfillment and how to be humane not only to fellow human beings but also to fellow creatures. This was not merely done by wise sayings but it was through his lived example. The thousands of authentic narrations related about his life (known as Hadiths) were; statements, actions or tacit approvals.
3. To All of Creation
This part of the verse makes clear that the message of Islam is universal and directed at all peoples in all walks of life and from all backgrounds without any kind of discrimination.
In fact this part of the verse is a declaration that Islam calls humanity to brotherhood and cooperation and rejects tribal, nationalistic and racist thinking. Islam considers all humanity as brothers, and promotes mutual sense of brotherhood. Islam declares that the unity of humanity lies in recognizing Allah’s Mercy as presented by all Prophets. The noble Prophets of Allah all taught that even though life is not free of hardship, it has meaning and that existence is not haphazard. The aim of life is to contemplate our origin and our end and to reflect on the deeper order of Creation. It is through reflection upon the life of the Prophet, being sent as “a mercy to mankind”, this issue can be more firmly grasped and better understood.
The following are a list of authentic narrations about the mercy propounded by Almighty Allah by means of the Prophet Muhammad for all of mankind.
- There were a lot of people who went to extreme inhuman measures to assassinate him, cursed him and the divine message with which he was sent, and tortured and killed his followers. Also, there were hundreds of enemies who did many horrible things to the believers. Yet, when asked by his companions to invoke Allah against them, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said,
“I was not sent to curse people. Yet, I have been sent as a mercy.” (Muslim)
- It is also well known that the Arabs were harsh hearted. Men rarely ever interacted with their children and would show little love to them. Once a man came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and saw that He (peace be upon him) was holding his grandson Husain and that He (peace be upon him) kissed him. The man said to the Prophet “I have ten kids and I have never kissed anyone of them”. The Prophet said
“Whoever is not merciful, will not receive mercy.”(Al-Bukhari)
- It is also well known that Arabs used to view their women and servants as inferior beings, and they would often beat them in a fit of anger. Lady `A’isha, the wife of the Prophet and mother of the believers, said about her husband (peace be upon him),
“He never hit a women or a servant.”(Al-Bukhari)
It was also narrated that he said
“I would come to prayer sometimes intending to read a long portion of the Qur’an. Then I would hear a baby crying and I would shorten the prayer, so his mother who wishes to leave the prayer can attend to him.”(Al-Bukhari)
- The Prophet was even merciful and compassionate when in war. He commanded his companions,
“Do not kill women, old men, children, or religious monks and priests. Do not cut or burn down trees.”(At-Tirmidhi and Al-Bukhari)
The most things that specify the Prophet’s morals with his wives were his good companionship, cheerfulness and generosity.
No woman knows a good marital companionship –as that companionship means in the perfectness of a person- as she knew of the Prophet of Allah (peace be upon him), which is clear in the Qur’an in his attitude, sayings, and deeds.
The most things that specify the Prophet’s morals with his wives were his good companionship, cheerfulness, joking with his family, laughing with his wives, mildness, and generosity.
Even when he was racing with `A’ishah (mother of the believers, may Allah be pleased with her) in the desert in one of his trips, it was to show love to her by that. She said that the Prophet of Allah (peace be upon him) raced me and I won, that was
before I gained some weight. Then I raced him after that and he won. He said: “We are equal.” (Abu Dawud)
Also, the Prophet used to gather his wives every day in the house of the one he will spend the night with. He sometimes eats dinner with them then everyone leaves to her home. He used to sleep with his wife on the same sheets, take his rope off his shoulders and sleeps in his loincloth. After praying `Isha’ (Night prayer, which is the last prayer of the day), he goes home and sits with his family a little before he goes to sleep.
Furthermore, the Prophet (peace be upon him) put the criterion of the best of men in the good treatment of men to their wives. He said: “The best one of you is the best to his family, and I am the best one of you to my family.” (At-Timidhi)
That is because artificiality and pretension of high moral standards becomes weak when the person feels that he has authority and power, and becomes weaker when he stays a long time with whom he has authority upon. If the person keeps on his moral perfection in a society he has power upon and has continuous intimacy with, so this is the best person in morals.
If the Prophet (peace be upon him) is the best one for his family, so his companionship with them must be really perfect, in all what goodness means of moral perfection in behaviour, love, justice, mercy, loyalty, and all what marital life demands in all conditions, situations and days as it was clarified in books of Sunnah and the Prophet’s biography books. This was indicated in the honourable Sunnah in many of the Prophet’s sayings regarding his behaviour with his family and his treatment to them.
Regarding the Prophet’s love to his wives, Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “The Prophet of Allah (peace be upon him) said: ‘The things that were rendered beloved to me in this life are; women, perfume, and my tranquillity is in prayers.’” (Ahmad)
`Amr ibn Al-`Aas (may Allah be pleased with him) asked the Prophet: “O Prophet of Allah who is the person you love most?” The Prophet replied: ‘`A’ishah.’ `Amr said: ‘And from men”’ The Prophet said: ‘Her father.’ `Amr said ‘Then who?’ The Prophet said ‘`Umar,’ and he named other men, so I kept silent fearing to be the last one.’” (At-Tirmidhi)
About the Prophet’s playing with his family, `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said, “I used to play with dolls at the house of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and my friends used to come and play with me and when he (peace be upon him) arrives, they leave, so he let them come in to play with me again.” (Al-Bukhari)
`A’ishah also, narrated: “The Prophet of Allah (peace be upon him) was standing at the door of my room covering me with his rope so I can watch the Abyssinians playing in the mosque”.
An example of his good companionship and the nobility of his morals, `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said: ‘When I drink while being menstruating, and then give the cup to the Prophet (peace be upon him), he used to put his mouth where I put mine to drink.’” (Muslim)
Source: Taken with modifications from the book entitled “Prophet as a Husband” by Rasoulallah.net.
There was a man named `Abdullah who loved God and His Messenger so much but he was an alcoholic.
There was a man named `Abdullah who loved God and His Messenger so much that the Prophet (peace be upon him) had to declare about him: “Indeed, he loves God and His Messenger.” (Al-Bukhari)
This man named `Abdullah so loved the Prophet that he used to delight in presenting the Prophet with any delicacy that came to Medina, so when any merchant caravan arrived with something like butter or honey, he would take it for him as a gift. Later, when the seller demanded payment, `Abdullah would bring the seller to the Prophet and say: “Give this man its price.”
The Prophet would then say: “Didn’t you give it to me as a gift?”
`Abdullah would say: “Yes, O Messenger of God; however I cannot afford to pay.”
The two of them would laugh together and then the Prophet would have the merchant paid.
This was the type of close and jovial relationship that `Abdullah and the Prophet had with each other.
It remains to be said that `Abdullah was an alcoholic. He would often become so drunk that he had to be brought staggering through the streets before the Prophet to be sentenced for public drunkenness, and each time, the Prophet would rule to have the prescribed punishment carried out. This was a common occurrence.
After `Abdullah had departed from one of these all too frequent sentencings, one of the Companion’s declared about `Abdullah: “O God curse him! How often he is summoned for this!”
The Prophet rebuked that Companion, saying: “Do not curse him, for I swear by God, if you only knew just how very much indeed he loves God and His Messenger.” (Al-Bukhari) He then added: “Do not help Satan against your brother.”
We can learn a lot from the Prophet’s attitude.
We should reflect first upon the close and affectionate relationship this Companion enjoyed with the Prophet, in spite of this Companion’s shameful fault. Though the Prophet was who he was, it did not prevent him from relating to `Abdullah in a familiar manner, of being his friend, and joking with him.
This shows us that in the society envisioned by the Prophet (peace be upon him) people were not segregated into the pious and the sinners, with social interactions debarred between the two groups. Rather, it was a unified, inclusive society, where each person could be at a different level of piety. Some were at the forefront of righteousness, some were moderately pious, while others were prone to fall into sin. However, no one lived aloof from society, nor was anyone shunned. Everyone remained part of society.
This inclusiveness meant that when some members of society fell into error, the effects of their mistakes were limited and short-lived. No one was marginalized, so there was no chance sinfulness to grow on society’s “fringes”. When anyone made a mistake, there was no end of brotherly support from others in society who were more than willing to lend a helping hand and get that person back on track.
Another lesson the Prophet’s conduct shows us is the importance of maintaining a positive outlook. In spite of the fact that `Abdullah was frequently being summoned before the Prophet for public drunkenness, the Prophet drew everyone’s attention to one of `Abdullah’s positive qualities – that he loved God and His Messenger. Yet, when we think about this particular quality, we find that it was not something unique for `Abdullah, but a quality that all believers have in common. Nevertheless, the Prophet chose to praise `Abdullah for this reason. In doing so, the Prophet could cultivate, encourage, and strengthen this quality in everyone. He also reminded them that if someone slips up, that person’s faith and love of God is still intact.
The society envisioned by the Prophet people were not segregated into the pious and the sinners but it was a unified, inclusive society, where each person could be at a different level of piety.
We can imagine how `Abdullah must have felt when he learned that the Prophet said this about him. He must certainly felt it as an immense honor to have God’s Messenger declare this about him. It served to help him overcome his bad habit and gave him hope, by confirming that his essential being was not permanently marred by the mistakes.
It was the Prophet’s way to point out the good qualities of those who sinned and fell into error. We sometimes forget this, and treat past sins as impenetrable barriers to future good. A person who commits a shameful deed is never allowed to live it down, but is instead often remembered only for that sin. We need to realize that this helps Satan to avail upon the sinner and get that person to sin again. The Prophet’s approach, by contrast, inspires virtue. When reminded of `Abdullah’s frequent drunkenness, he boasted of that man’s possessing the greatest virtue of loving God and His Messenger.
Finally, `Abdullah had done something that was clearly wrong. There can be no doubt that `Abdullah committed a sin. Imbibing intoxicants is a major sin, and the Prophet had often cursed wine. Nevertheless, after the Prophet had the prescribed sentence carried out upon `Abdullah for his public drunkenness, he did not seek anything further against him. He saw any further reprimand to be helping Satan against the man. Rather, he turned everyone’s attention to his merits that compensate for his shortcomings.
This should give us pause, when we consider how harshly we sometimes behave in our disagreements with others whose transgressions are far less serious or certain than `Abdullah’s were. Sometimes, it is merely our opinion that someone has done something wrong and the matter is really open to other points of view, but we still have no hesitations about railing against our opponents with everything in our verbal arsenal. How far this is from the example set by the Prophet, who when faced with a person committing an obvious sin, still found it better to speak good about that person. He still kept up his good relationship with that person, despite his shortcomings.
The Prophet’s conduct with `Abdullah is an excellent example for us, full of valuable lessons regarding not only how we should treat one another, but how society can foster social bonds that are strong, wholesome, and nurturing, bonds which can serve to dissuade people from falling into sin.
This article focuses in Prophet’s love for his wives. It shows us how he dealt with them with utmost love, respect and kindness.
We all read about the life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in the fields of education, faith, politics, war, or economy but seldom was written or published about his life (peace be upon him) inside his house and his relationship with his wives.
A person well informed about the familial relationships of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) finds out that it included meanings that we desperately miss in our present time. These meanings would contribute to the stability of our homes and marriages. In this article we are giving some examples of Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) consideration to the feelings of his wives, his appreciation, and manifestation of love.
Calling one’s wife with the name she loves most or with a nickname or a musical name is one of the forms of pampering and being kind to one’s wife. This can be seen in the life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who, in a saying ‘hadith’ that is agreed upon by scholars, used to say to his wife ‘A’ishahh: “o ‘A’ish, this is Gabriel saying peace be upon you.” She replied: ”And may peace and Allah’s mercy and blessings be upon him. You see what I don’t.” (she meant the messenger of Allah (peace be upon him). (Al-Bukhari)
He also used to call ‘A’ishah: (Homayraa’) a short form of (“hamraa’) which, according to Ibn Kathir in ‘Al-Bidayah and An-Nihaya,’ means the white skinned woman with blushed cheeks. Adh-Dhahabi also said that “Hamraa’” in the language of the people of ‘Hejaz’ means white and blushing, a rare feature among them. So, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to treat ‘A’ishah kindly and call her with lovely names.
From the Prophetic traditions ‘A’ishah narrated about fasting; imam Muslim reported that she said: ‘the messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) used to kiss one of his wives while fasting, and then she laughs, may Allah be pleased with her.
In another Prophetic tradition narrated by ‘A’ishah, she said that Muhammad (peace be upon him) said that the best of the believers is the one who is best in manners and kindest to his own wife.
These sayings ‘hadiths’ demonstrate how Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) cared for his wives and how well he treated ‘A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her).
One of the forms of cuddling and well treating one’s wife is feeding her with one’s own hands. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Whatever you spend is considered charity even the mouthful that you put in your wife’s mouth.” (Al-Bukhari)
Even the food that one feeds his wife with his hands is considered an act of charity that is rewarded by Allah the almighty and not only an action that guarantees her love and cooperation.
Cuddling and being kind to one’s wife has a tremendous emotional effect on her. This action of following the example of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) costs a man nothing and grants him Allah’s reward, his wife’s love and cooperation. Therefore a man is commanded to cuddle and treat his wife kindly.
A man’s nature dictates him a certain way of expressing his feelings that is different from a woman’s. A woman expresses her love with words like; I love you, I miss you, I need you, etc. On the other hand, a man expresses love in actions and production and seldom with words. If a man wants to tell his wife that he loves her he buys her something she wants or brings some food and drinks or furniture for their house. According to a man, this is a form of love expression.
The generous Prophet has indeed overcome this negative trait in the nature of men. He used to express his love and passion verbally for lady ‘A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her). He treated her kindly, pampered her, and let his wives hear what they wished from their beloved husband and this is a significant aspect in a man-wife relationship. Ibn `Asakir narrated on the authority of lady ‘A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) that she said that the Prophet (peace be upon him) told her: “Won’t you be pleased to be my wife in this life and in the hereafter?” I said: “Yes,” he said: “You are my wife in this life and the hereafter.”
Imagine lady ‘A’ishah’s emotions having heard the words that guaranteed her security, love, and peace in this life and in the hereafter.
Al-‘Aas Ibn Ar-Rabi` (the husband of Zainab, the daughter of Prophet Muhammad) leaves Makkah escaping from Islam. She sends to him to return and embrace Islam. So he sends her a letter, an extract of which is: “By Allah, I don’t see your father as an offender and I love nothing more than following the same rout with you dear beloved. However, I hate being said that your husband has let his people down. Would you consider this and pardon me?” The letter demonstrates that Al-‘Aas loved Zainab and wanted to be with her in whatever road. Moreover, he hated that people would talk in a way that displeases her. At the end, he asks her to consider and pardon him, for the sake of that love Zainab managed to go to him and return with him a Muslim.
Some writers demonstrate the respect of the West to women by giving examples like a husband opening a car’s door to his wife. Although this apparently is respect, yet, a mature person can see many aspects in which a woman is being offended and disrespected in the west. Muslims do not have the issue of man/woman conflict because they believe each one completes the other and that mutual respect is a must.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is our example in this. One time during his stay alone in adoration of Allah in the last ten days of Ramadan (observing I`tikaf), his wife lady Safiyyah came to visit him and spoke with him for some time, then went to the door. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) led her to the door to say goodbye. In another narration, he told her: “Do not hurry to leave till I come with you.” Her house was at Usamah’s and he (peace be upon him) left with her. Respect is the source of continual love and stability in a family. Therefore we wish that it prevails between a man and his wife.
If spouses treated each other in such way, a marriage would definitely be beautiful. We desperately need to leaf through the life of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the Islamic history to discover the most beautiful theories in the art of marriage.
Source: Taken with modifications from the book entitled “Prophet as a Husband” by Rasoulallah.net.
How many of us consult his way in our practical lives when it’s a matter of celebration or woe.
Love is a beautiful emotion. It encompasses all the most beautiful things in the world. Every relation and connection gets stronger and durable when there is an element of affiliation and love added to it. Beginning from our first love as a child for our mother to choosing someone to spend our whole life with, love is what makes life worth living. And, like all precious things in the world, this priceless treasure demands guarantees to keep it flourishing.
When you love someone, they are always on your mind and become the driving force of your direction in life. You love to follow them, obey them, do whatever you can to please them and try your best to avoid whatever displeases them. You share with them your problems and consult them for their best advice. Their name soothes you and their company is the most precious time of your day. Never do their messages and mails go unread or ignored.
The world sees you change when this beautiful feeling overpowers you, may this love be for a human, a mission, a career or simply a car or a gadget. Love changes your priorities and the colour of this feeling is evident on your face, feelings, words and actions.
We all love the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), the personality whose greatness is acknowledged by Muslim and Non-Muslim thinkers and scholars. A warm friend and a guide for his companions, a devoted and loving husband for his wives, a shady tree for his daughters, a leader of the Ummah (community of Muslims), an exemplary politician and a reformist who transformed the most uncultured Bedouin into the most disciplined force of people known to history.
His message which begins with the Oneness of Allah and accountability of our deeds in front of Him, gives answers for all the problems we face today. But how many of us have actually explored the message he brought? Do we really know the message?
The Qur’anic code of life sent to us though our beloved Messenger of Allah still remains untouched only to be ‘recited’ when we are in trouble or a calamity afflicts us or becomes a part of the deluxe package that goes with the bride. How many of us consult his way in our practical lives when it’s a matter of celebration or woe.
We never see the Prophet telling a lie, deceiving a human or even an animal, breaking a pact or a promise. He forgives and prays for the humiliating tribal chiefs of Ta’if and the people who throw stones at him. He rejects social inequality and all sorts of racial supremacy and lays down in his final sermon, the basic charter of human rights,
‘An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action.’ (From the Prophet’s Farewell Sermon)
He sets best examples of justice and warns that the previous nations were destroyed because they only punished their weak and poor for crimes. He teaches us to have best of our behaviours and akhlaq (manners) with our neighbours (Muslim or Non-Muslims) so much so that he once thinks that they might get a share in inheritance (because of the stress Allah has put on their rights). He cries for Allah’s forgiveness for us and stresses us to remain united and not be divided due to language, castes or sects.
In his final sermon he stresses that. ”Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly. Do not, therefore, do injustice to yourselves.”
Non- Muslim minorities are at peace under his rule. Justice is served irrespective of faith, status or personal affiliation. He lifts the status of a woman from the one who was buried alive at birth to as high as a guarantee to get best rewards, may it be through serving and obeying one’s mother, taking care of a wife or raising a daughter with love. He brings a message that puts rewards in charity and spending from what we love most, giving an orphan a home and helping a widow to survive.
No one has the right to question anybody’s sincerity of the claim of ‘love for the Prophet’ but we all need some serious self-evaluation. When we claim to be his followers, it automatically makes us his ambassadors and representatives in whatever role and responsibilities we take. Do we consult the Prophet in different matters of our lives?
Let’s follow the Prophet (peace be upon him) to prove that we love him. Let’s celebrate him every day. Let’s light up our hearts with the beacon of his message like we light up the streets on his birthday. Let’s engrave those beautiful stories of his life, which we memorize and narrate, on our actions. Let’s check if our deeds are compatible with our claims of love towards him. In following him, lies the secret of Allah’s love, mercy and forgiveness for us.
Say, (O Muhammad), ‘If you love Allah, follow me, Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful’. (Aal-`Imran 3:31)