One of the calamities of religions is when the Messenger becomes exalted over the One who sent him. We do not believe the Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) is divine. We have been given the gift of understanding the Messenger in relation to the One who sent him. The Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) is central to teachings of Islam. You cannot exalt the Creator without exalting His Messenger, and you cannot exalt His Message without exalting His Messenger. We are commanded by God to magnify the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam). Shaykh Hamza Yusuf eloquently explains why we must celebrate the Prophet every day of our lives. He also adds at the end an elucidating explanation of how Muslims should emulate the behaviour the Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) had during trying times, reminding us that Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) taught. The believer is one from whose evil humanity is safe and that he was sent only as a mercy to everyone.
Love (mahabba) for people arises from three characteristics: 1) their physical outward beauty, 2) their inward beautiful character, and 3) the good or the sacrifice they do for us. To increase and maintain his love for the Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam), Sayyidina Hassan (the Prophet’s grandson) sought descriptions of all three of these aspects of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) because he wanted something to hold on to. Adding his own commentary to these intimate descriptions, Shaykh Hamza, with his usual eloquence, passionately relates what Sayyidina Hassan gathered about the Beloved of Allah. Shaykh Hamza says if you knew what the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) did for you, you would fall in love with him and explains that mahabba grows like a seed. For those who desire to fall in love with the Beloved of Allah, this talk is for them.
Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
Hasan ibn Ali asked his maternal uncle Hind bin Abi Haalah about the description of the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam). He said about his uncle that he was very capable of describing, he had given an excellent description of the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam). He said “I desired to hear this description from him because I wanted something to hold onto”.
One of things about the ulema, they say mahaba (love) for most human beings arises out of three things. The first is the physical love. You see something beautiful and your heart inclines towards it. So He put the love of beauty in the hearts of human beings. If you see something beautiful, you incline towards it. Your eye delights in it. If you see a human being that is beautiful, you can fall in love, it can happen just from sight. The ulema have maintained the physical description of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) because that is a level of mahaba – to actually hear how beautiful he was. He was the most beautiful human being. He was more beautiful than Yusuf. One of the gifts of this ummah is that we have an exact description of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam), it is as if you are looking at him. There was a desire to keep the description of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) so people could have a physical attraction to him as well as the first stage of love.
The second type of love comes when you hear about the beautiful qualities. You have outward beauty and inward beauty which is akhlaq. They moved to the akhlaq of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) and the next level of love is love you feel for somebody who has done good to you or that you find out somebody made a sacrifice for you. If somebody does good to a good person, they love them more and more for that reason. But other people, if you do good to them, they have envy and start feeling resentment towards that person because their heart is diseased. So they actually get sick because they feel indebted and they do not like to feel indebted so they begin to use strategies in themselves to not feel indebted to the person. These are the sick people, this is why the munafiqun are the sickest people, they are in the lowest place. If people do good to you, human hearts by nature love those who do good to them. If somebody does good to you and then you do not have love for them it is because your heart is not in a natural state. It is in a diseased state.
If you knew what the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) did for you, you would fall in love with him. Not just for you, but for humanity. His concern was not just for his sahaba, his family. Most human beings, their concern is limited. Their concern might be their wife, children, husband, family, extended family. Some people, their concern is the community. They care about the poor people in the community. They want to find them and help them because it is about the heart. The bigger the heart, the more capacity for love. The smaller the heart, the lower the capacity for love. It grows like a seed. Haba is seed in Arabic. That is the nature of mahaba, the bigger it gets the bigger the heart has to be to bear the love. There are people whose love extends to the ummah. Their concerns are the concerns of the ummah. They think about people in other places. Umar said his concern was for animals. He said “if an animal was being unjustly wronged in Iraq, I would feel concern for it”. That was his responsibility. The Messenger of Allah felt concern for all of humanity and this is why he went to non muslims. He was not doing dawah to the muslims. He was concerned about the people who had not heard of Islam. This is why he used to go and get literally what most people would call humiliation. He was a Sharif from the aristocratic clan of Quraysh. He was going to the Ghifaris to the lowest tribes on the peninsula and talking to them about Islam, humbling himself before them bearing patiently.
The physical description is what he is talking about initially.
- He was very awe inspiring when you saw him.
- He was monumental, grand in nature when you saw him.
- His face was like a moon on laylatul badr. It had a light coming out of it like a moon on laylatul badr.
- He was taller than a moderate build but not exceedingly tall. If you see somebody very tall then it is strange even amongst tall people. If you see somebody short then it is also noticeable. He was of a middle stature inclining towards height because everything about him was middle.
- Even his physical description of colour was middle. He was not pasty white and he was not black. He was inclining towards light skin because of the racism of human beings. That is one of the hikmah of that. He was inclining towards light skin because of the racism of human beings. It has to do with the stupidity of human beings in distinguishing between people because of colour. He was a colour like what we call the harvest moon. He was not white nor dark, he was light skinned what we would call in English, a reddy complexion.
- His hair was neither straight or curly. It was wavy, it was middle. Everything about him was middle. He had a full head and his hair was wavy. If he parted it, it parted. It never went past the lobe of his ears if he allowed it to grow long because sometimes he would cut it for ibadah like the umrah or hajj. It went to the lobe or in some riwayah it went to the shoulder.
- He did not speak slow or fast. He spoke in a moderate tone. His words were neither too short nor excessive but they were always just right. When he spoke, people felt as it exactly the right amount of words were used. Everything about him was moderation.
- He had a large forehead which is an indication of high quality. He had a vein on his forehead. If he got upset they could see the vein.
- His eyebrows were full and there was a slight space between them.
- The upper part of his nose was aqualine. He had a beautiful nose that had a bridge on the upper part. He had a light that came from that area of his face that was clearly discernible.
- He had a full beard and his eyes were very dark.
- He had high beautiful cheek.
- He had a mouth that was full so when he spoke his pronunciation was perfect.
- His teeth were beautiful, there was a slight space in the teeth.
- He had a light hair on his chest which was manliness without having a lot of hair.
- His neck was like a gazelle’s neck. He had a beautiful neck and a high neck. It had like a beautiful silvery clarity to it.
- He was balanced in all of his outward aspects. He had a strong build and it was all perfectly formed.
- His stomach and chest were equal. He never had a large stomach. He had no paunch. Even when he was in his sixties, his stomach was always flat. He had light hair on his stomach. He had no hair over his breasts.
- He was full chested and his shoulders were broad. He had large bones.
- He had hair on his arms and he was sinewy and strong.
- There was a space in his trachea.
- His limbs were strong and he had full calves.
- His feet were very smooth. Because they were desert people and they walked a lot, their feet would have a lot of roughness to them. His feet were smooth that water would pour off them.
- When he walked, he walked softly but he was quick paced as if he was walking on an incline.
- When he looked at somebody, he did not just move his head, he turned his entire body to give full attention to that person.
- He looked more at the ground than he did up. His glance was generally down because of the power of his glance. When he looked at people, he did not maintain his stare. He would look then move away. As he looked at people, he never fixed his focus on people because of the effect that would have on people.
He said to him “describe to me how he spoke”. He said “he was always grief stricken” but the ulema who commented on that hadith have said that does not mean he was depressed. It means if you looked at him in the masjid you would think he was grief stricken because his presence with his Lord was so intense that his face would have a sense of being completely absorbed in thought. So people who would look at him would think he had grief. There is another hadith that says the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) was always happy. The ulema say when he was with his Creator he was in a deep state of contemplation, when he was with his people he was happy. He smiled, he always looked at people, smiled and made them feel joyful. He never made them feel depressed. He laughed at what they laughed at.
He told jokes. Aisha said “he was always joking with us in the house”. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said “I joke but I never tell a lie in my jokes, always I speak the truth”. A man came to the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) and said “let me borrow a camel”. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said “I will give you the baby of a she camel”. He said “what would that benefit me, a baby of a she camel”. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said “Isn’t that the baby of a she camel?”. Another time a Jewess came up to him and said “O Rasulullah! Am I going to jannah?”. He said “Old women do not go to paradise”. She became so upset then he laughed and said “you will go in young and youthful” and then she was happy. A man came the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) and said “I slept with my wife in Ramadhan and I made an oath I would not do that”. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) asked “why did you do that?”. He said “I saw my wife in the moonlight and I could not help myself”.
The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) laughed at the man and said “go and do the expiation”. That was his nature, even when people came in a state of sin. He was showing this man his humanity by letting him feel that he just made a mistake. He made them realise that the doors of rahmah are open. That is why to make people despair of the mercy of the Lord, these are evil people who do that. The hadith that says those who say “Allah will not forgive you, He will send that person to hell”. Do not judge people and do not say you know where Allah’s mercy is, barakah is, none of that. Who do we think we are? We do not know anything, nothing, we have no knowledge. Do not elevate yourself over Allah. You do not know who is going where. You do not know where you are going. So do not assume other people are going where you do not even know where you are going. We have big hopes in Allah.
- He was always reflecting. He did not take rest like other people. He was concerned about his ummah.
- He never spoke about anything that was unnecessary. He had long periods of silence. He used to open his words and close them with a full expression when he spoke. He spoke with comprehensive words. He never had excess. He was never at a loss for words. If he spoke, he would put his right thumb into his left palm.
- He had soft and gentle character. He was not harsh. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) was not harsh. “If you were harsh hearted they would have fled from around you”. He was not gruff or harsh ever.
- He always elevated the blessing even if it was a minute blessing.
- He never found fault in anything even in a small amount of food. Any type of food that was given to eat he did not find fault in it nor did he excessively praise it.
- If he got upset, it never put him in a state of agitation. He never got upset for himself nor did he ever seek any redress wrong done to him.
- There was never a time when a right was presented to him that he would go to fulfil that right.
- He did not point with his finger, he pointed with his whole hand.
- He would say SubhanAllah.
Most of his laughing was smiling. He rarely laughed the way most people laughed. He smiled but when he smiled his teeth were like hailstones. Then Hassan said “I did not tell Hussein ibn Ali about this (because he was young) finally I told him about it and I found he had actually got it before me”. He had asked his father Ali about how the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) went in and out of his house and what his majlis was like, what he looked like. He did not leave anything I had out and then Hussein said “I asked my father about the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam), how he came in his house”. When he went in. he went with permission into a place. He gave three parts. He gave a part to Allah, a portion to his family and a portion for his nafs. He used to give a portion of that between the people and him. He would leave that upto the general people for the elect of the people. He never kept anything from them.
In his seerah, he would preferred the people of fadl but with their permission. So when he would give things, if they were older he would always give them things. If there was somebody of virtue he would take permission from the person of haq to give it to that person so even when Ibn Abbas was young, he took permission from him to give to the older people. Ibn Abbas refused because he wanted the barakah. But that was his nature to always take permission from somebody who had a right to give it to somebody who had the fadl or the virtue.
He would always occupy people in what benefited them and the ummah. He would ask about them. He would ask news about them. If somebody was not there, he would say “where is so and so?”. These are teachings for the people. Now we have people disappear and nobody remembers them. They do not ask about them. This is the messenger of Allah and he had an ummah. This was a whole ummah of people. The old woman who used to clean the masjid. She used to sweep the masjid. One day she died and they buried her. The Prophet(sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) came and asked about her. They said “she died O Rasulullah”. He said “Why didn’t you tell me she died so I could go pray on her?”.
He would ask about somebody who was not there and say “tell me about people in need who are not able to come and ask me”. He told them “those people who help other people who are not able to go and get help, Allah will make firm their feet on the day of judgment”. Looking after people, taking care of people, he was teaching people how to be human beings. This is all it is. We are just learning, it is like human beings do not know how it is to be human. This is all just to teach you to be human beings. The beginning is to force yourself until it becomes your nature. It is not easy. Being human is the highest thing in creation. There is nothing higher, it is higher than the angels. That is the maqam of Bani Adam that if you fulfill your humanity you are higher than the angels and if you do not then you are lower than the animals because you had the potential. The animal could only be what it was made to be. You can go either up or down.
They used to come in seeking and go out guides. What a beautiful description of his majlis. That people come in looking and go out showing other people what to find what they were looking for.
- He never spoke except with what concerned him.
- He always brought people together and never separated them.
- He would honour the dignatories of every people and put him over those people.
- He guarded himself with people and he was vigilant because of the makar of those people.
- The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) knew human nature and he knew what people were upto but never by being rude. He would still always smile.
- He would seek out his companions.
- He would consider what was beautiful beautiful and he would show people it was a good thing. What was foul, he would show it to be foul. He would make it look insignificant to them, not worth doing.
- He was always moderate and never departed from that quality.
- He would never be weary of a people when people were speaking he would never lose his attention out of fear that they would lose their attention and get bored. He was always present with them.
- He was ready for anything and everything.
- The best people for him were the ones who benefited and were the most sincere. The ones he had the highest estimation for were the ones who served the most, helped others and consoled others. Those were the people who he looked at not those sitting around and doing nothing. Sometimes everybody looks at those who serve as the low ones, that is why they are doing the khidmah. That is why the old woman in the mosque, maybe people thought she was not very significant but she was in khidmah.
- He gave all of the people who sat with him full attention so that each one of them thought thy were the most important person in the majlis. “I was sent to perfect noble character”.
- If somebody got angry in his presence or had some need and was forceful, he would be patient with him and he would do that to the point where that man would end up being calm or forgetting about what he wanted because he was so patient.
- If anybody asked him anything he never refused. If they did not get specifically what they wanted they went out with words of wisdom and consolation from him. He encompassed all of these people with his character. He was like a father to them and they were all the same as far as he was concerned in rights. Only he saw differences in taqwa.
- His majlis was a majlis of clemency, modesty, sabr, trustworthiness, never were voices raised, never were anything that was holy and sacred in any way desacrilised, all of them were humbled in his presence.
- Always he honoured the older and had mercy on the younger. They would help those in need and they had special compassion for strangers and guests.
Then he said “I asked him about his qualities when he sat with people”.
- He was always smiling, he had gentle character. He was always kind and gentle with people. He was not harsh or coarse.
- He never shouted. He did not use foul language.
- He rarely found fault, if he did it was to point out something that was harmful.
- He was not excessively praiseworthy, it does not mean he did not praise, he did not do praise that was not warranted.
- He would tell people to encourage them and speak highly of people to encourage. He did not flatter.
- If he did not like something, he would act as if he did not notice it. No one ever despaired of him.
There were three things that were not part of his nature: 1. Ostentation, 2. Excessiveness and 3. Things that did not concern him. He left three things that he did not do to people 1. He never blamed anybody 2. He never found fault and 3. When he spoke people in his gathering lowered their heads as if birds were perched on them. When he was silent they spoke and never argued in his presence. If anybody spoke in his gathering they would all listen until that person finished his words and then they would begin the speech of what they were talking about.
- He would laugh at what they laughed at, he would wonder at what they wondered at or marveled.
- If somebody who did not know his gathering was harsh, then he was patient with them.
- If he saw anybody he would tell his companions “help them out” if that person was in need.
- He never sought any praise.
- He never cut anybody off when they were speaking until they were finished or the gathering had ended. That is what Sufyan ibn Wakee related on this.
The last reason which is the highest reason for muhabbah is because he is the habib of Allah. Allah put his love in the hearts of the people that have been graced with that love and mercy. Allah increase our love of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam).
Allah says in the Quran “we have not sent any messenger except that he is obeyed by the permission of God or by the authority of Allah”. The purpose of the messengers is that they are obeyed, but because of the nature of the human condition, human beings always fall short of being in a state of obedience and the idea of obeying is that we recognise authority. Human beings in the presence of authority tend to be very well behaved for instance when people speed in cars when they see police they often slow down. We basically view it as hypocritical for a person to do something that he knows is wrong but when he is in the presence of one who can redress that wrong he stops doing it. It is very interesting what authorises somebody to have authority over other people. We have governments instituted because human beings recognize we need to live in society and if we do not have governments we would tend to treat each other poorly because many human beings are aggressive by nature. Many human beings when they want something they will do what they perceive they need to do to achieve that thing so human beings have instituted governments.
One of the things that we do not think about very often is that government is actually a mercy from Allah. Allah in the Quran says “had Allah not used some of you to constrain others there would be corruption everywhere”. Earlier commentators tended to interpret it as “had it not been muslims stopping non muslims then the world would be corrupt”. Fakhridin ad Raazi the famous musfair was a very deep and insightful human being and he took it to another level in his famous tafseer. One of the meanings of this verse is the blessing of government irrespective of who is in charge. One of the examples of this is in Iraq, there were many images of Iraqis angry at the Americans because they had not established order. Once they came they took out the government. Suddenly there was anarchy and people houses were being looted. The poor people do not get looted, they usually do the looting and largely they feel they are getting back at the rich people who have been looting them under the semblance of order for a long time. This is what you have in unjust societies. You have rich people loot the poor people and then the order is there to make sure the poor people do not get what they have lost. But this is what the people wanted, they wanted order, to establish order. They did not want anarchy because anarchy is a tragedy so we do not reflect on the blessing of social order and the loss of social order and what that means.
One of the gifts that Allah has given are Prophets and they are sent to be obeyed because their obedience is in fact the obedience of Allah, they are not God but obeying them is the same as obeying God. Allah has given them authority in His name. This is why the law is of the essence of humans interaction with other humans and at the essence of the Islamic understanding of the relationship with our Lord. Our Lord has given us prayer not like some traditions when you can pray anytime. We have specific times we have to pray. They have been legislated. They are in the books of legal sacred law. So we are told to pray at Fajr, you cannot pray at 10am because you like to sleep late. You have to make an effort. Now why do you obey that law? Because you believe it is from God and God has ultimate authority. The more you become aware of Allah in the same way that a policeman is in your presence you tend to follow the law. There are different levels of that. Some people might only speed, run a stop light when nobody is around. They might do insignificant things. There are other times when they see something that is not their property, they want it and they take it. Why, because there is no internal mechanism to stop them. This is what we call your conscious. This is something that is developed. It is developed largely when we are young. We are told things by our parents. We recognise right and wrong and we enter into this conscious.
When Allah sent these messengers, he sent them to be obeyed by the authority of Allah. We do not obey them by their own authority. We obey them by what they represent. This is why the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said “the political authority is the shade of God on earth”. What do you do in the shade? You seek protection from the heat of the sun so that you do not die. Shade is a blessing so political order is a blessing. Also the order of your house, the sultan of parents over the children. If the children rebelled against the parents then what order do you have in the house? If the children just did what they wanted, if they refused to go to school and learn then how do we teach the next generation the necessary knowledges that have been acquired over centuries and it is transmitted from one generation to the next generation and the understanding that when you go to a school and that teacher has something that you do not have, you recognise his authority. When your parents tell you something, you recognise their authority. Why? Because they know things that you do not know. They have been on earth longer than you have and they are not always right. The nature of human authority is that it is fallible.
But the nature of divine authority is that it is infallible but even with divine authority how do we understand it? Then we have problems because this is when the human understanding comes into revelation and this is what we called ijtihad and human beings can make mistakes in their ijtihad and human beings can do absurd things in the name of religion in the same way that laws can be passed in a secular society that are absolutely ridiculous that systems can come into existence and people wonder why they are there. It sometimes takes a great deal of time to get rid of them so when the messengers come, they come with this authority and those who submit to that authority submit for two reasons because they genuinely believe it or it is simply what they were told. They inherited it, they do not know why or the real reasons other than this is what I was told. That type of person will not be adhering in the same way as the one who actually believes it. “Are they the same those who know and those who don’t know?”.
Now the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said “I was only sent to teach”. My only purpose amongst you is to teach you. In another hadith, he said “I was sent only to perfect noble character”. It does not negate the first because noble character is what he is teaching. How do we become human beings? We are not animals. The word in Arabic for human being is “the rational animal”. There is no other animal on earth that shares that quality, that we are thinking creatures, we are homo sapiens. Even in the West, the classification in biological classification is the sapiential animal. The knowing creature, the one who knows. Allah has told us in the Quran that there are two types of knowledge. They know about the outward of the world but they do not know about the other world – the akhirah. This is the first world. There is a last world. Allah has told us there are two types of knowledges. Knowledges of this world and knowledges of the other world.
You can become completely ignorant of one or the other or both. The jahil is the person who does not have knowledge or the jahil is also someone who does not act according to his knowledge. That is also jahil. Jahil is also the person who thinks he knows something but understands it incorrectly. That is another jahil. Jahil or ignorance in Islam is not just one kind of ignorance. There are different types of ignorance. You can know how to build a bridge or fly an aeroplane but you might not know how to go the bathroom, how to clean yourself from impurities. You might know that pi relates to a circle but you might not know that you were created for worship so you can understand something about irrational numbers and not understand something that is beyond number. The infinite. One in Arabic is not a number. Allah is not a number. One is not a number in Arabic. Numbers begin at 2 in the Arabic language.
If we look at our situation as muslims we are people that Allah said “we only sent messengers except to be obeyed”. So how do we relate that then if they were only sent to be obeyed, how do relate that state of disobedience to our Lord and how we rectify that with out Lord? The verse goes on “had it not been that they transgressed and oppressed themselves, they come to you O messenger of Allah and asked forgiveness of Allah and the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) asked forgiveness for them. They would have found Allah full of mercy”.
Our inability to obey authority is part of the human condition and Allah has said that in order to redress this flaw that has not only been purposefully put into you because the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said ”had you not disobeyed would have feared something worse than disobedience which is vanity or ujb that you start thinking yourselves to be wonderful”. Whose crime is that? It is the crime of Iblees. It is why he was not made the khilafah in the earth according to our tradition. Iblees worshipped Allah.
There is a tradition that said there was no place on earth where he did not make sajdah but every sajdah he did increased him in his sense of superiority. Instead of engendering humility in his soul, it actually resulted in pride so when he was asked to bow down to Adam, he refused. Allah asked “what has stopped you from prostrating to Adam?” He had arrogance and refused because of arrogance. Allah asked him not that He needed to know but in order to reveal something to Iblees for himself. He did not say “I did not prostrate because I am arrogant”. He said “I am better than him, I am created from fire and air and he is created from water and earth”. My elements are fire and air and are gaseous in other words they move up by their nature, earth and water move down so he looked at it from the eye of the outward and the material world. He said mine are more subtle, ethereal, they are not low elements, they are high elements. He believed that made him superior and that in a sense is the first act of racism because if you ask someone why are you better than an Iraqi or Pakistani? People say because I am white, anglo saxon, this or that.
I am better because I am Punjabi and he is Beloushi. I am a Qurayshi and he is Tamimi. These are sicknesses in the heart and this is the disease of Iblees. To see yourself better than others and this is why the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said “I was commanded to humble myself until no one showed arrogance towards another person because if anyone had a right to feel superior than anyone else it would be me because I was chosen by Allah, but I refused to do that. I am the master of the children of Adam and I have no pride in declaring that to you”.
Not only because he was showing his humility and giving us a legal ruling that we need to know as muslims. This is a legal ruling. Who is the greatest of creation is a legal ruling to understand a hierarchy. He was also letting us know that is pride is not in mastery over the children of Adam but in his uboodiyah to Allah. He is the real life servant of Allah. “Glory be to the One who has taken His servant on this night journey”. Why did Allah say servant? It was because this was not in his relationship between creation, it was in his relationship between the Creator and himself. His relationship between himself and Allah is a relationship of uboodiyah. His relationship between the creation of Allah is his relationship as a messenger. He is Rasulullah as an intermediary between Allah and creation but he is Abdullah as an intermediary between Allah and His creation.
In other words he is calling creation to Allah but he is also calling Allah to creation. He is calling creation to Allah but he is also calling Allah to creation. “O Allah forgive my people, they do not know what they are doing”. On the day of qiyamah, he will call Allah to his creation. His function is abd and Rasul. This is his authority that Allah has given him. He says to him “intercede and it will be granted to you”. Allah could have forgiven His creation without intercession but He is teaching us something about the nature of this world. There is nothing that does not exist without causation. There is nothing that does not exist without intermediaries. You cannot exist without the hydrogen bond holding all of your DNA together. You cannot breathe without the means of lungs and oxygen, nitrogen and gaseous exchanges. Your heart cannot beat. Blood cannot circulate. Everything is by intermediaries, because only Allah is free. If Allah wants a thing, there is no intermediary. This is the uncreated word of God, it is not even with letters. It is the iraadah of Allah, the qalam of Allah and the knowledge of Allah that all exists as one reality with Allah. We speak of them as separate things but in reality they are one thing. This messenger that was sent to be obeyed that the more you become aware of him the more you become aware of your obligation to obey him. The more distant you are from him, the less present he is in your life, and the less credence you give to his creed.
If you never saw the police, you would start driving in a certain way. You would stop obeying the laws, you would not have that sense of authority present. If you lose a sense of divine authority in your life, you also begin to lose a sense of your need to obey that authority and that is why the messenger of Allah is central to our teaching. You cannot exalt the Creator without exalting His message and your cannot exalt His message without exalting his Messenger. He was sent that you exalt him, that you honour him. Those who exalt the symbols of God, they are doing it because of something in their hearts and when you magnify the Creator, you are magnifying what Allah has commanded you to magnify and that is why we celebrate him.
We do not declare his divinity. “Leave what Christians have said about their Prophet”. He is our Prophet also but Imam al Busri has said leave aside what they ascribe to him which means divinity. He was a man, a human being. That is the Aryan position which was large group of Christians in the early period. They believed he was a human being. The divination was declared orthodoxy in 325 after the birth of Isa. This was a debate amongst the Christians for 325 years whether he was divine or not. We could have made the same mistake. There are some muslims who made that mistake about Ali. They never made it about the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam). Nobody has ever declared our Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) divine and that is one of the miracles of our Prophet that there are people who declared Ali divine and that they did not declare the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) divine. That is a miracle and if you cannot see that you are a fool. Allah has protected his Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) from being associated with Allah.
The proof is that they associated Ali with Allah and where is Ali in relation to the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) with all his greatness and stature? He is a drop in the ocean and yet there are people who claim divinity for him. But we did not make that mistake with our Prophet, why? It is because he did not test our intellects with more than we can understand our of a covetous desire for our guidance so we neither wander or go astray. This is why he said “do not claim for me what the Christians have claimed for Isa, but say the servant of Allah and the messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam). I am a man like you but I am not like you” because we do not receive wahy. He is not the same yet he is the same. One of the scholars said “the Prophet is a human but not like other humans like a ruby is a mineral but not like the other stones”.
This is the gift we have been given. We have been given the gift of understanding the messenger in relation to the One who sent him which is one of the calamities of religion when the Messenger becomes exalted over the One sending. This is the failure of the Buddhists, Hindus and ultimately the failure of the Christians in our understanding. So what we are doing when we reflect on these meanings and I would say that I believe the mawlid that if you celebrate it one day out of the year it is a bidah. I would say you should not do that. The mawlid should be celebrated every single day of your life until you die because if you are not happy that he was born you are a kafir. We celebrate his birth everyday of our lives and we know that his own Uncle was given respite in the hellfire, Abu Lahab because he celebrated his birthday according to the sahih hadith. He freed a slave girl that came and gave him the news of the birth of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam). In the sahih hadith, he is given water in the hellfire because of that one act.
So what do you say about a man who celebrates his birthday everyday of his life? What is his reward? We are here to celebrate but not today, tomorrow, the next day and the day after until the last breath you take. We say that hope springs eternal. The nature of spring is that it gives you hope. He was born in Spring in April the most temperate month of the year, the month we all yearn for, we look forward to the flowers. If you look around you, you see a lot of green. What does that green do to us? It delights the eye because it connects us with a very deep truth. Green in the spectrum of colours that is between purple and red. It is exactly in the middle. If you look at the light spectrum of the 6 or 7 according to Newton, there are 7 colours in the light spectrum. If you look at them and add them altogether and divide by 2, you get the spectrum of green because it is the middle colour. It is the colour that the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) loved the most. He was born on Monday because according to the ulema it was on the day that Allah created vegetation.
There is something else about green, his dome was painted green out of a wisdom by the people at that time because they were the people of the internal and they painted the dome green because it represents something. The secret of life in biology is photosynthesis. What is photosynthesis? It is two greek words. It means to make light. What is being made is chlorophyll and what is chlorophyll? It is green. So the secret of life is the ability to produce green. That is what life is, the ability to produce green. Why did Allah make the secret of life related to the colour green? This is a modern discovery, This is not something they knew 1400 years ago. Everything that you see in the outward world is a meaning set up in an image. Those who discern this are from the people of intelligence. This whole world is meanings set up in images. So whenever you see some outward thing you should know that it indicates something else.
The Arabic word for world alam is the means by which you came to the knowledge ilm. What did we come to know? Our Lord and that is the secret of the whole universe. Like the poet said “isn’t it in every sign, in everything it is a sign indicating the truth of the Oneness of Allah of the shahada”. The whole world is testifying and witnessing the truth. So what is it when light hits vegetation there is an extraordinary event that occurs in which it causes a process to happen and in that process photosynthesis occurs which is the production of chlorophyll. What happens is that is what gives us our nourishment. Even protein that we from the animals is still from chlorophyll. Even the meat that you eat is as a result of this secret. Your whole body is as a result from this secret. Every cell in your body cannot exist without this reality. The same is true for the soul. There is something, when light is allowed into the soul it produces something and this is the light of the messenger of Allah. “Light has come to you”. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) had a light and anyone who denies that light is a kafir. The sahaba said “we saw in his face that light and that light is his secret”.
This light that Allah has placed in his Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam)and Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) in turn gave that light out, that light is what transforms the earth and brings it to life. That light that the messenger of Allah grants you. He grants it because he is the giver. “Allah is the giver but I am the one who disperses what He gives. I am the one who has been given that authority to disperse this”. This is why he is central to our teachings and that centrality goes on as long as we go on. People misunderstand this but they are foolish because these are at the essence of what we have been given. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam), this light that enters into the heart by praying on the Prophet. Allah says “the Prophet is an object of His action and his action is of the essence”. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) is an object of that and it is a special object in the same that we are also an object of that. We are an object of that because Allah says Allah prays on us but how does He pray on us? The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said “no one says a prayer on me except Allah says a prayer on him ten times”.
So we do not associate our Lord with our Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam). We do not do that. We do not believe he is divine, we do not believe he is uncreated. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) is a creation of Allah. He came into existence from nothing. So we do not attribute to him divinity and we negate that. We recognise the centrality of his authority and his opposition. It is by the permission of Allah. If you love Allah, follow me. We cannot love Allah according to our understanding without following a Prophet of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam). The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) of our age is our Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam)and we accept all of the Prophets before him and we love them all. We love Jesus, Moses, John, Ilyas all of these Prophets. These are our Prophets and we love them but we love our Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) as our Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) who specifically was sent to us. He is the beloved of Allah.
I want to finish this by saying a few things:
Good intentions without guidance is of no benefit. You have to have guidance. When I was taught, I was taught there is no reward for action without knowledge. There is no benefit in it. Some say it harms and certainly causes harm because as you lose the love of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) you lose the light of traditional Islam. You lose the light of this deen. “I was sent only as mercy to this world”. How do I attribute that to my Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) if I think I can go kill a Jew because he is a Jew. If I think I can blow up a synagogue in Morocco and the Morroccan Jews are the last Jews left actually like the muslims and have a high regard for the muslims because they are the last Jews that still now their existence is owed to Islam because they fled from the persecution of Spain, from the Christians to the Muslims and that is why they are there. There are there because our Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said he was the protector of the dhimmiyeen. He said “whoever betrays the trust of a dhimmi, I am the advocate of that Jew, Christian, Magian, Buddhist on the day of judgment”. He is not going to stand by the muslim. He is going to stand by the Jew of Christian and you should think about that because it is a sound tradition.
Our religion is not about tribalism, that is other traditions. Our religion is not about I am in the right tribe no it is I am on the right side. If you are on wrong side in any situation, then you should know that your Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) is not standing by you unless you repent. That is what has happened, these people have lost sight of our Prophet(sallallahu alayhi wa sallam). What right do you have to remove somebody’s life from this world without just cause? If you say “this is what they do to us”, they are not our teachers. Since when did they become our teachers? If we do not stop this madness we are going to end up like the Jews. We will end up in the oven because they will just get fed up of us. Seriously, and do not think that is not possible. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said “you are going to follow the Jews”. If you look at their persecution and what was done to them, do not be surprised if that happens to us. But we should be speaking out about this now, this is not our religion. We should not allow people to speak on our behalf, either with their words or by their actions. We need to condemn these things because they are wrong. I am saying this because this is my understanding of Islam and I do not find any other understanding. I have read their arguments and do not buy them.
Show people the true face of Islam. The mercy, generosity, faithfulness of Islam, the honesty of the tradition, the uprightness that it inculcates in the hearts of the followers and adherence. This is what you have to do, if you do not do it, I am telling you, things are getting bad and they are going to continue to get bad. They have just passed the Abu Hamza law in England which means they can redeem citizenship from people they deem undesirables. That is named after a muslim who has become so heinous in their sight and obnoxious that they have passed a law to rescind citizenship from people like that. We have to think deeply and seriously. I am saying this as naseeha with serious counsel and advice to myself and you. We have to think deeply and be able to dialogue.
I went into a mosque the other day and I was almost attacked physically. I was thinking why aren’t we human anymore? Why can’t we sit down? Why have we descended to the level of dogs and vicious animals? Raising our voices and shouting at each other. We can’t have a civil conversation. Our Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said that a mumin does not raise his voice over another mumin but he listens until he finishes what he has to say. That is how he describe the character of a believer. They walk gently on the earth and when ignorant people speak to them, they say peace. That is the description. I don’t find any descriptions in the Quran that say be fierce with the kuffar. There is a verse that says “Allah does not prohibit you from being nice to people who do not abuse you, persecute you for your religion or steal you land from showing them birr, sharing your wealth with them”. Allah loves people who do that. He says He loves those people who show non muslims kindness because they in turn have been kind to them.
When the Christians of Najran came to the Prophet, they came with humility. He let them pray in his mosque according to one riwayah. These are the teachings we have forgotten. Why have we forgotten them? It is because we have forgotten Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam). We forgot he came as a mercy to everyone. The muslim is the one who muslims are safe from his evil. So if you want to be a mumim then you have to elevate your level of consciousness through a higher level. That is why people become muslim. Now people think Islam is a hotel they have reserved for themselves and there is no more room. They put up a sign saying sorry no vacancies. If you come they slam the door in your face because they think it is booked until yaum ul qiyamah so they don’t even have to be nice thinking they might come back later when we do have a vacancy. We have muslims out there, this is their attitude “kuffar”. Who gave you that authority to send people to hell? I thank God these people aren’t my judge on yaum ul qiyamah. That is why Allah said if He put rahmah in your hands you would have been misers. You would not have shared it, but our Lord is not like that and nor is our Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam).