Thirty Ways Allah (swt) Favored the Prophet (saw)

Parts 1-30 of Bidayat as-Sul fi Tafdil ar-Rasul
The Beginning of the Quest for the High Esteem of the Messenger
By Imam Izz ibn Abd al-Salam
Translated by Aisha Bewley

Allah, exalted is He, says to our Prophet Muhammad (the blessings of Allah and His peace be upon him) out of generosity to him and apprising us of his worth to Him: “Allah has sent down the Book and Wisdom on you and taught you what you did not know. Allah’s favour to you is indeed immense.” (4:113) (p 21-22)

Allah, exalted is He, has favoured some messengers over others, He says, “We favoured some of these Messengers over others. Allah spoke directly to some of them and raised up some of them in rank.” (2:253). The first favour [i.e., that of Allah speaking to some] clearly speaks about the very basis of favour, and the second [i.e., that of raising some in rank] lies in the multiplication of favour by rank. The word rank in the verse is left indefinite to indicate greatness, and so it means “We raised some of them to tremendous ranks.” (p 22)

Allah, exalted is He, favoured our Prophet Muhammad (saw) in various ways. (p 22)

1. He is the master of all mankind. The Prophet (saw) said, “I am the master of the children of Adam, and it is no boast.” “The master” is whoever is characterised by sublime attributes and luminous qualities of character. This shows us that he is better than them in both abodes. As for in this world, it is because he is characterised by tremendous qualities of character. As for in the Next World, it is because repayment is arranged according to one’s qualities and character. Since he is better than them in this world in virtues and attributes, he is better than them in the Next World in his ranks and degrees.” (p 22)

He (saw) said, “I am the master of the children of Adam, and it is no boast” to inform his community about his position in respect to His Lord – mighty and exalted is He! As mentioning one’s virtues is usually done out of pride, the Prophet (saw) meant to dispel the illusion of any ignorant person, who might assume that he stated it merely in order to boast, by saying, “It is no boast.” (p23)

2. One of favours granted him is found in the words of the Prophet (saw), “The Banner of Praise will be in my hand on the Day of Rising, and it is no boast.” (p 23)

3. One of the favours is found in the words of the Prophet (saw) “All prophets, Adam and those after him, will be under my banner on the Day of Rising, and it is no boast.”
These special qualities indicate his high rank above Adam and others, since the only meaning of being shown preference is by being singled out for virtues and ranks. (p 23)

4 – One of them is that Allah, exalted is He, told him that he was forgiven of his past and future wrong actions. It is not transmitted that Allah told any of the prophets anything like that. It is clear that He did not tell them that because in the Standing when each of them is asked to intercede, he will mention the error which he committed and will say, “Myself! Myself!” If any of them had known that his error would be forgiven, they would not have been alarmed at it in that position. When people ask the Prophet (saw) to intercede in that Station, he will answer, “I will do it.” (p 24)

5 – Another favour is that the Prophet (saw) is the first to intercede and the first whose intercession will be accepted. This indicates that he is singled out and preferred. (p 24)

6 – Among the favours is that the Prophet (saw) preferred others to himself since every prophet was given a supplication which was answered and each of the prophets hastened his supplication in this world but the Prophet (saw) kept his supplication as intercession for his community. (p 24-25)

7 – One of them is that Allah, exalted is He, swore by his life (saw) and said, “By your life, they were wandering blindly in their drunkenness” (15:72). Oaths made by the life of the one sworn by indicate the honour and preciousness of his life in the sight of the One Who swears by him, and that his life (saw) is worthy of being the object of an oath because of the general and particular blessing it contains, and this is not established about anyone besides the Prophet (saw). (p 25)

8 – Another favour is that Allah, exalted is He, showed respect for him when addressing him and called him by the most beloved of his names and most radiant of his qualities, saying, “O Prophet!” (8:64, 65, 70 and other places), “O Messenger” (5:41, 67), “You who are enwrapped in your clothing!” (73:1) and “You who are enveloped in your cloak!” (74:1). This quality is not established about anyone else, but rather it is established that each prophet was called by his name. He, exalted is he, says, “And We said, ‘Adam, live, you and your wife in the Garden” (2:35), “Isa son of Maryam, remember My blessing to you” (5:110), “Musa, I am Allah” (28:30), “O Nuh, descend with peace from Us” (11:48), “Dawud, We have made you a caliph in the land” (38:26), “Ibrahim, you have fulfilled the vision” (37:105), “Lut, we are messengers from Your Lord” (11:81), “Zakariya, We give you the good news” (19:7), and “Yahya, take the Book strongly” (19:12). (p25)

It is obvious to everyone that when a master addresses one of his slaves by his most sublime attributes and radiant characteristics, while addressing others by their proper names that do not signify a quality or a characteristic, the position of the one addressed with the most sublime names and qualities is dearer and closer to him than the one he calls by his proper name. This is known from custom. If someone is called using the best of his qualities and characteristics, all of that emphasizes his esteem and respect for him, so much so that one person said:
Do not call me other than ‘O her slave!’ for it is the best of my names. (p 25-26)

9 – Another favour he was granted is that of the miracle of every prophet ceased and came to an end while the miracle of the Master of the first and the last, namely the Immense Qur’an, will remain until the Day of Rising. (p 26)

10 – Another is the stones greeting him and the palm trunk sighing for him, and such events are not established about any of the other prophets. (p 26-27)

11 – Another one is that his miracles are distinguished from the miracles of others by a greater degree of inimitability, such as causing water to gush from between his fingers. This is a greater breaking of normal patterns than making water gush from a rock, because water does gush out of some rock structures. His miracle in making water gush from between his fingers is greater than its gushing from the stone for Musa (as). (p 27)

12- Another favour to him is that Isa (as) healed a blind person whose eye remained in its normal place while the Messenger of Allah (saw) restored an eye after it was hanging down on the person’s cheek. This is a miracle in two ways:
One is that it was healed after it had been hanging down on his cheek.
The second is that sight was restored to it after its loss. (27-28)

13 – One favour is that the spiritually dead who were brought from disbelief to the life of iman are greater than the number of those whom Isa (as) revived from physical death. What a great difference there is between the life of iman and physical life! (p 28)

14 – Another favour is that Allah, exalted is He, records a reward for every prophet according to the actions, states and words of his community, and his community will be half of the people of the Garden, and Allah, exalted is He, reported that his community is the best community brought out to people. (3:110) Their being the best of all communities is because of the knowledge, goodly states, words and actions which characterise them. Every knowledge, goodly state, worship, statement or anything by which one draws close to Allah, mighty is He and exalted, that the Messenger of Allah (saw) directed people to and prayed for, he has the reward for it and the reward for whoever acts by it until the Day of Rising because of his (saw) words, “Whoever calls [others] to guidance has the reward of it and the reward of whoever acts by it until the Day of Rising.” None of the [other] prophets reached this rank. (p 29)

It is reported in a hadith, “Created beings are the dependents of Allah, and the most beloved of them to Him are those who are the most beneficial to His dependants.” Since the Prophet 9saw) was beneficial to half of the people of the Garden, and the other prophets were only beneficial to one section of the other half, his position (saw) in nearness [to Allah] is according to his position in being of benefit. (p 29)

There is no gnostic of his community but that the like of the reward of his gnosis is added to the gnosis of the Prophet (saw). (p 29)
There is no one in his community with a goodly state but that the Prophet (saw) has the same reward for his state added to the states of the Prophet (saw). (p 30)
There is no one with a statement by which he draws near to Allah, mighty is He and majestic, but that the Prophet (saw) has the same reward of that statement added to his statements and his conveying of His Message. (p 30)

There is no action by which one draws near to Allah, mighty is He and majestic, whether of prayer, zakat, setting slaves free, jihad, piety, dhikr, steadfastness, pardon, and forgiving, but that the Prophet (saw) has the same reward as the one who does it added to his reward for his actions. (p 30)

There is no high degree or glorious rank which any of his community obtains by his guidance and direction but that the Prophet (saw) has the same reward added to his degree and rank (saw). That is multiplied because for those of his community who call people to guidance or initiate a good sunnah, he has the reward for that according to the number of those who act by it and then this multiplied reward goes to our Prophet (saw) because he directed people to it and guided to it. This is why Musa (as) wept on the Night Journey with longing for the good fortune of the Prophet (saw) since more of his community would enter the Garden than those of the community of Musa. He did not weep out of envious resentment as some ignorant people imagine, rather it was out of sorrow for what he had missed of a rank like his. (p 30-31)

15 – Another favour is that Allah, mighty is He and majestic, sent every prophet to his own people while He sent our Prophet Muhammad (saw) to both the jinn and mankind. Each of the prophets received a reward for conveying his message to his community while our Prophet (saw) will have the reward of conveying the message to everyone to whom he was sent, to some by directly conveying it and to others through those who conveyed it on his behalf, and that is why Allah was gracious to him when He said, “If We had wished We could have sent a warner to every town.” (25:51). The manner of the favour is that if Allah had sent a warrior in every town, then the Messenger of Allah (saw) would only have obtained the reward of his warning the people of his own town. (p 31)

16 – Another is that Allah, exalted is He, spoke to Musa (as) on Mount [Sinai] and in the Holy Valley and he spoke to our Prophet (saw) at the Lote Tree of the Furthest Limit. (p 30-31)

17 – Yet another favour is that the Prophet (saw) said, “We are the last of the people of this world and we will be the first on the Day of Rising, who will be judged before other creatures and we will be the first of those who enter the Garden.” Muslim (856) from Hudahyfah, Muslim (855) by Abu Salih from Abu Hurayrah… (p 32)

18 – Another is that when He mentioned his leadership in general, he restricted it to the Day of Rising, so that he said, “I am the master of the descendants of Adam on the Day of Rising, the first from whom the grave will be opened, and the first intercessor and the first whose intercession will be accepted.” (p 32)

19 – One favour is that the Prophet (saw) reported that the whole creation will humbly petition him on the Day of Rising, even Ibrahim (as) (p 32)

20 – Another is that seventy thousand of his community will enter the Garden without reckoning, and that is not established about anyone else. (p 32)

21 – Another favour granted to him is seen in his words: “The wasila is a station in the Garden which is only proper for one of the slaves of Allah, exalted is He, and I hope that I will be of him. If anyone asks for the wasila for me, intercession will be incumbent for him.”

22 – Another favour is Kawthar which he will be given in the Garden, and the Basin which he will be given at the Standing. (p 33)

23 – Another one is expressed by the words of the Prophet (saw) “We are the last, the forerunners,” the last in time and forerunners in virtues and qualities. (p 33)

24 – Another favour is that booty was made lawful for him while it was not made lawful for anyone before him, the rows of his community were made like the rows of angels, and the whole earth was made a mosque for him and its earth was made a means of purification. These special qualities indicate his high rank and the kindness [shown] his community. (p 33-34)

25 – One favour is that Allah, exalted is He, praised his character and said, “Indeed you are truly vast in character” (68:4). When the great hold something in high esteem it indicates its immensity, so what of the case when it is esteemed by the Greatest of the great?

26 – Another is that Allah, exalted is He, spoke to him with three types of revelation:
(1)the true dream
(2)Direct speech without intermediary
(3)Through Jibril (as)
(p 34)

27 – Another favour is that his Book contains what the Tawrah, Injil, and Zabur contain, and he was granted the Mufassal as well. (p 34)

28 – Another is that his community has performed less actions than those before it but will receive a greater reward as is stated in sound hadith. (p 35)

29 – Another of them is that Allah, mighty and majestic is He, offered him the keys to the earth’s treasures and gave him the choice between being a prophet who was a king or a prophet who was a slave, and he consulted Jibril (as) who indicated, “Be humble!” He said “Indeed, [I will be] a prophet who is a slave. I will be hungry one day and full one day. When I am hungry, I will call on Allah. When I am full, I will thank Allah.”
The Prophet (saw) intended to be occupied with Allah both in times of hardship and ease, in blessing and affliction.

30 – Another favour is that Allah, exalted is He, sent him as a “mercy to all being” (21:106) and so He gave respite to the rebels of his community and did not hasten their punishment, so that they were preserved, contrary to prophets before him. When they were denied, the punishment was hastened for those who denied them.

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