Ex­tolling the life of the Prophet (SAW)

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Mon­day De­cem­ber 12, 2016 will be 12 Rabiul Awwal, the date on which the Prophet (SAW) was born. In Nige­ria, the day is usu­ally de­clared a pub­lic hol­i­day by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to mark the oc­ca­sion. Our dis­course this week will fo­cus on ex­tolling the virtues in the birth of the seal of prophet­hood and mes­sen­ger­hood. Prophet Muham­mad (SAW) was the great­est trea­sure mankind ever had. He took mankind out of dark­ness in to light, from ig­no­rance to knowl­edge, from trans­gres­sion to right­eous­ness, from loss to guid­ance, from evil to good, from false­hood to truth, from un­be­lief to faith, and from un­grate­ful­ness to sub­mis­sion. The en­tire life of the Prophet (SAW) from birth to demise re­mains an ocean of charm­ing virtues. Al­lah (SWT) re­minds us in Qur’an 33:21 that “Ye have in­deed in the mes­sen­ger of Al­lah a beau­ti­ful pat­tern (of con­duct) for any­one whose hope is in God and the fi­nal Day, and who en­gages in the praise of God”.

Muham­mad (SAW) though an or­phan, was not hindered from self-ful­fill­ment. He strug­gled to earn a liv­ing. He did not make him­self a li­a­bil­ity to any­body. Rather, he em­pow­ered him­self to be­come a valu­able as­set to his peo­ple. He never went in to beg­ging sim­ply be­cause he had lost his fa­ther and mother. The Prophet (SAW) said in this re­spect: “Ver­ily, it is bet­ter for you to take your rope and bring a bun­dle of woods upon your back and sell it, than to go and beg from oth­ers”. He (SAW) also said: “whoso opens unto him­self the door of beg­ging, Al­lah will open unto him the door of poverty”. Un­like the Prophet (SAW), many peo­ple choose to beg even when they are not or­phans.

Khadi­jah, a widow and wealthy mer­chant of Makkah, em­ployed the Prophet (SAW) to un­der­take busi­ness trips for her. Khadi­jah soon dis­cov­ered Muham­mad’s hon­esty, trust­wor­thi­ness and trans­parency in all his deal­ings. Scarcely to­day do you find peo­ple who do not be­tray the pub­lic con­fi­dence en­trusted in their hands. Con­tent­ment is worth all the riches in this world. Ac­cord­ing to the Prophet (SAW), “Riches are not from abun­dance of worldly goods but from a con­tented mind”. Al­lah (SWT) loves those who are con­tent. Khadi­jah was im­pressed by the ex­cel­lent at­tributes she found in Muham­mad (SAW) and thus de­cided to of­fer her­self for mar­riage to him, which the lat­ter mu­tu­ally ac­cepted it. Khadi­jah thus be­came the Prophet’s first wife. Khadi­jah who then was 40 years of age was 15 years older than Muham­mad (SAW). The age fac­tor in the mar­riage be­tween the Prophet (SAW) and Khadi­jah re­veals the hu­mil­ity in both of them. The Prophet (SAW) once said that: “Hu­mil­ity and cour­tesy are acts of piety”.

Per­se­ver­ance and en­durance are two great qual­i­ties of prophet Muham­mad (SAW). He re­ceived the mes­sage of Is­lam as rev­e­la­tions in the Qur’an from the An­gel Jib­ril at the age of forty. He soon started fac­ing hos­til­i­ties from Makkan pa­gans. Ditches were dug and thorns placed on his path­ways. These mo­lesta­tions never made the prophet (SAW) to give up the task di­vinely placed upon him. The Makkans laughed at him and called him a liar. Un­daunted by open mock­ery and per­se­cu­tions, he (SAW) con­tin­ued to preach and con­vert men from the wor­ship of false gods to that of the one and true God, Al­lah. What ex­pla­na­tion, thus, has any be­liever who en­joys free­dom of wor­ship got to of­fer for be­ing care­less and ir­reg­u­lar in his five daily prayers?

The Hi­jrah with which the Makkan pe­riod ended and the Mad­i­nan pe­riod be­gan, proved a turn­ing point in the life of the Prophet (SAW). Leav­ing the city of his birth as a de­spised Prophet, he hon­ourably en­tered the city of his adop­tion, Mad­i­nah as a leader for both his men and his hosts, the An­sar (Helpers). The Prophet (SAW) through his char­ac­ter earned him­self the lead­er­ship of the multi-re­li­gious city of Mad­i­nah, which then con­sisted of Chris­tians and Jews. He es­tab­lished a com­mu­nity in which co-ex­is­tence be­tween Mus­lims, Jews and Chris­tians was mu­tual and peace­ful. The Prophet (SAW) evolved a con­sti­tu­tion in which the rights and feel­ings of ev­ery mem­ber of the com­mu­nity were pre­served and re­spected. The het­ero­ge­neous and mul­tire­li­gious Nige­rian so­ci­ety has a lot of leaves to bor­row from the Mad­i­nan Con­sti­tu­tion.

With tol­er­ance, pa­tience and un­der­stand­ing, Muham­mad (SAW) was able not only to unite peo­ple of di­verse re­li­gious af­fil­i­a­tions within Mad­i­nah into a strong force against ex­ter­nal ag­gres­sions, but was also able to re­al­ize the Con­quest of Makkah un­der the most peace­ful set­ting. He de­clared on en­try into Makkah that “Truth has come and false­hood has van­ished”. Even the ori­en­tal his­to­rian, Philip K. Hitti, could not re­sist writ­ing about the Con­quest of Makkah that “Hardly a tri­umphal en­try in an­cient an­nals is com­pa­ra­ble to this”. In the tenth year af­ter Hi­jrah, the Prophet (SAW) per­formed pil­grim­age to Makkah. This proved his last visit and was there­fore named “the farewell pil­grim­age”. Three months af­ter his re­turn to Mad­i­nah, he took ill and died on June 8, 632 AD.

Even in the height of his glory, Prophet Muham­mad (SAW) led, as he did in his early days, an un­pre­ten­tious life in a clay built house con­sist­ing of a few rooms with thatched roofs. He was of­ten seen mend­ing his own clothes and was at all times within the reach of his peo­ple. No one from among the hu­man race is con­sid­ered as per­fect and as no­ble as Prophet Muham­mad (SAW); be­ing an em­bod­i­ment of divine virtues and re­ceiver of the univer­sal mes­sage of Is­lam af­ter whom no prophet shall come to both mankind and jinn. May Al­lah (SWT) guide us tio em­u­late the Prophet (SAW) in words and ac­tions, amin. Have a peace­ful Maulid cel­e­bra­tion!

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