Tajamul Ahmad Sheikh
Allah has used numerous magnificent terms in His Divine Text (al Qur’an) which depict the character of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW); these constitute the biggest attribute to Prophet of Islam(SAW) by the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe. Since this blessed month, Rabi-ul-Awal, is exceptional and related with the birth of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW), it would be better and constructive to deliberate over some of these special terms used in the Qur’an by Allah to gain a better understanding of Prophet’s(SAW) personality in all the facets of life, and what these terms taught to humankind which are specially meant for the Messenger of Allah (SAW).
One of the beauties of the Prophet(SAW) is best described in the verse 46 of Surah Ahzab, in which the Messenger of Allah (SAW) is being referred as an illuminating lamp (Siraajan- Muneera). Just as lamp drives out darkness, through His Prophet(SAW), Allah brings light into a dark and sin-stained world and seeks to illuminate the soul and body of man with the light of God-fearing.
At another place in the Holy Quran Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was gifted with the title of “Rahmatan lil Alamin” , that is, a mercy to the mankind and all the creations of earth including animals, birds and so on (21: 107) by the “Rabb al- Alamin” , the Lord of all creation. It is worth reading and remembering that here the Most Merciful (al-Rahman), praised his beloved Prophet(SAW) the personification of mercy to the universe. This is the highest praise ever given to a human being by the Creator of the universe.
The Holy book that the Prophet(SAW) gave to the world as divinely inspired, praises him best in character among humans as mentioned in the early chapters of Qur’an: “And you are on the highest standards of character “(Khulqin Azeem)” (68:4). This verse indicates how the Prophet (SAW)was destined to be the best human being ever to live on earth.
While almost all Muslims across the globe are aware that these titles are meant for Prophet Muhammad (SAW), how many of us in reality ponder over his titles or attributes and think about what these titles mean when we consider the fact that Qur’an also terms the Holy Prophet “Uswatul Hasanah” (the ideal model to emulate) for humanity?
This “ideal model” has variously been portrayed as epitome of modesty, truthfulness, kindness, patience, loyalty, honesty, courage, bravery, generosity, magnanimity, wisdom and the like. Yet is it not calamity that many Muslims who claim to be the true followers of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) are not inspired by the Prophet’s(SAW) civilized manners and are doing contrary to what this emulating ideal model stipulates, with most of the Muslim societies only follow him in some outward characters (such as growing beard, keeping trousers above knees and so on) and lacking honesty, affection, love, justice, knowledge, morals, humility as well as accountability?
Possibly the main reason for this disparity is that Muslims nowadays have forgotten to emulate the behaviour and morality of Holy Prophet (SAW) who himself said that his primary task in this world is to “perfect the morals”, but alas they have replicated other individuals, who are not on the right track themselves, as their role models and imitate their behaviour, dress and so on. It is clear unless we will not control our desires, we will not be able to grasp blessings and spiritual light of the Prophet(SAW) that enlightens rusty hearts— the lamp mentioned in the Quran. Besides praising, which is an act of devotion, people should also follow the Prophet’s(SAW) guidelines in both letter and spirit.
But, where to do we get ideal guidance that Qur’an talks about as world nowadays is filled with the countless fake people, who are wearing masks and claims to be “defenders of faith”, and are doing contrary to what the Prophet(SAW) has taught.
Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (AS) said: “The Prophet of Allah(SAW) dispatched a contingent of the army to the battlefront. Upon their successful return, he said: “Blessed are those who have performed the minor jihad”. When asked, “What is the major jihad (jihad al-akbar)?” the Prophet replied: “The jihad of the self (struggle against self)”. In order to seek the guidance of Prophet one must have control on self, without controlling self it is impossible to reach spiritual station and it is difficult to achieve excellence in morality.
All worldly pleasures, pride, greed, lust, envy, wrath will definitely lead to pain, suffering and toils in the lives of people. So it is useless to intact with all these material things. The essence of the Prophet’ s teaching is that he taught us to gladden the heart of a human being, to feed the hungry, to help the afflicted, to enlighten the sorrow of sorrowful, to remove the wrongs of the injured, to visit the sick, to free the captive (if he be unjustly confined), to assist any person oppressed, whether Muslim or non-Muslim and so on. These all teachings lies in the Sunnah of Prophet (SAW); unless we will not implement these teachings sincerely in our lives we will not be able to get spiritual enlightenment here in this world.
But, how many of us have lived his/ her life in accordance with the teachings the of Prophet (SAW) both at private and public levels? If we see since centuries, mystics, masters, saints and sages have used examples of the Prophet(SAW) in order to attain control over thoughts, wishes and desires, or to build the self; these teachings are not just meant for discussion, but for emulation. It must be noted that majority of the Muslim societies in present days are seriously lacking spirituality but not religiosity, and spirituality can only be attained by following or emulating the Holy Prophet(SAW) in both word and deed. In other words, Muslims must maintain loving and sentimental contact with Prophet Muhammad (SAW) at each and every step of their lives so that they can succeed in both the worlds. I conclude with the words of Maulana Rumi (RA), “if the face of Muhammad (SAAS) is reflected on a wall, the heart of the wall become alive. The wall, through his blessed reflection, will have such great happiness that even the wall be rescued from hypocrisy. It was a shame for the wall to have two faces while the pious and the pure had only one”.
The author is a Doctoral Fellow at the University of Kashmir. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org