Extolling the life of the Prophet (SAW)
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!