“There has certainly come to you a Messenger from among yourselves. Grievous to him is what you suffer; [he is] concerned over you and to the believers is kind and merciful.”
Allāh the Most Merciful truly blessed His servants with the coming of His beloved Messenger (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam), a light of guidance for mankind who illuminated this world from the day his blessed being entered it to the day it departed. A man who endeared the hearts towards him with his compassion and concern, to the extent that his beloved companions would lay down their lives for him, thus enacting the words of the Most High:
“The Prophet is more worthy of the believers than their own selves”
A statement that was epitomised by his devoted companions (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhum) throughout his blessed life. Faith cannot be complete without loving the greatest of mankind and most beloved to the Creator, the Prophet Muḥammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam). This love was manifested in its most complete and total form by those that loved him the most – his companions (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhum). For Allāh the Most Wise chose them from the souls of all of mankind to be the ones to be blessed by his companionship and to aid him in his mission. This love and devotion is perfectly illustrated in the observations of Urwa Ath-thaqafi following his negotiations with the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) during Hudaybiah, he said:
“O people, by God I have served as a representative to kings, I have been a representative to Ceasar, Kisra and Najashi. By God, I have never seen a king whose people venerate him the way the companions of Muḥammad venerate Muḥammed. He does not spit except that it lands in the hand of one of them who rubs it on his face and skin. If he commands them they race to fulfil his command. If he makes ablution they fight for the remains of its water, if they speak they lower their voices in his presence and they do not gaze at him intently out of reverence for him.”
This love and respect for their leader, the seal of the Prophets (ʿalayhim al-Salām), sent by the Most Merciful as a mercy to mankind led some of his beloved companions (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhum) to swallow his blessed blood upon treating him and being unable to dispose of it suitably. Others refrained from speaking out for fear of raising their voices above his, while some could not bring themselves to even look him in the eye out of such awe and respect.
Furthermore we have Khubayb (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) who whilst being mutilated alive before his execution by the Quraish and asked “Would you like Muḥammad to be in your place and you be saved?” Responded, “By Allāh, I would not like that I be secure with my family and children while Muḥammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) is so much as pricked with a thorn.” We have his closest friend Abū Bakr As-Siddīque (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) being bitten by a scorpion yet not flinching so as not to disturb his beloved Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) as he lay asleep on his thigh. We have Sa’d b. Abī Waqqās and Talha b. Ubaidillah (may Allah be pleased with them) risking their lives in protection of the Prophet (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) at Uhud. We have the female companion (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanha) afflicted with the calamity of losing her father, her brother and her husband, yet her only concern was the well-being of the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam). The greatest day for them, as one of them mentioned, was the day the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) entered Al-Madīnah and the darkest day was the day his blessed soul returned to its Creator. Yet the greatest manifestation of their love for the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) was in their eagerness to obey his every order and abstain from his every prohibition, for that truly shows one’s love.
The day the blessed Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) was born was indeed a blessed, joyous day and the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) himself instructed us on how to recognise this great day when asked regarding fasting on Monday, he said:
“It is [the day] I was born and revelation was sent down to me.”
Thus we are encouraged by the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) to engage in a regular, weekly act of worship that would bring us closer to our Lord, as opposed to a yearly celebration of his birth.
We must strive to show our love for the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) as demonstrated by his companions (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhum), through obedience, and not by empty slogans. For its likeness is that of a disobedient son who once a year on Mother’s Day stands at her doorstep shouting out to everyone his love for her. She asks him to stop and bring her a glass of water, but he ignores her and continues to proclaim his love for her. Compare this to an obedient son who is humbly at the beck and call of his mother’s every wish every day, without the need for a song and dance. Who would best lay claim to loving their mother?
The companions (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhum) showed their true love for the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) by sacrificing their whole lives, living and dying to do that which pleased Allāh and His Messenger (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) and obeying Allāh’s command:
“And whatever the Messenger gives you – take it, and whatever he forbids you from – refrain from it”
Celebrating the Prophet’s (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) birthday was not a tradition practised by the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam), his beloved companions or the great imāms. Had it been a praiseworthy act they would have been the foremost to engage in it. Rather, it was an innovation introduced five centuries after his death.
The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) conveyed to his companions an earnest desire to meet his brothers. When questioned: “Are we not your brothers?” He replied: “No, you are my companions but my brothers are those who have not yet come.” The companions asked: “How will you recognise those from your community that have not yet come, O Messenger of Allāh?” He replied: “Does not a man who has horses with white legs and white blazes on their foreheads recognise them from amongst horses that are totally black?” They replied: “Of course O Messenger of Allāh.” He continued: “As such they will come on the Day of Rising with white marks on their foreheads, hands and feet from wuḍū’, and I will precede them to the Hawdh. Some men will be driven away from the Hawdh as if they were straying camels and I shall call out to them, ‘Will you not come? Will you not come? Will you not come?’ And it will be said, ‘they changed things after you,’ so I shall say, ‘Then away with them! Away with them! Away with them!’”
How terrible it would be to be rejected by our beloved Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) on such a day, in such need, because we were careless and introduced new practices into our perfected religion. We ask Allāh to make us of those that truly love Allāh and His Messenger, to be raised with whom we love.
Notes: This article has been reposted
Ustadh Gulraz is currently pursuing post-graduate studies in Islamic law at Ummul Qura University (Makkah).