"O People, and understand words which I convey to you. I leave behind me two things, the QURAN and my example, the SUNNAH and if you follow these you will never go astray." The Prophet's last Sermon delivered on the Ninth Day of Dhul Hijjah 10 A.H in the Uranah Valley of Mount Arafat.
Who is the model for humanity? Most positively, it is none other than the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). "You have indeed in the messenger of Allah a good example for those of you who look to Allah and the Last Day, and remember Allah always." (Qur'an 33:21).
The prophet (pbuh) engaged the Qur'an at a deep spiritual level, lady 'Aisha, Mother of The Faithful described his character as a likeness of the Qur'an. In her words she said, "He was the Qur'an walking."
The Prophet's Sunnah constitutes a major source of guidance for Muslims and the second source of Islamic jurisprudence. "And whatever the Messenger gives you, take it, and whatever he forbids you, leave it." (Qur'an 59:7). Undoubtedly, The first source of Islamic jurisprudence is the noble Qur'an. "By the Qur'an, full of Wisdom... " (Qur'an 36:2). Both sources are an indispensable stream in which a fountainhead of divine knowledge gushes forth; one cannot practice Islam without bathing in its prevailing currents.
Beyond any doubt, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) practiced the principals of the noble Qur'an; on every occasion, he always spoke the best words in the best manner; whether he was conveying a general application of knowledge to a large group of people or imparting practical knowledge to an individual. The following is an example of the Prophet (pbuh) applying a general application of knowledge, when countless Muslims were present. This account is from the prophet's last Sermon: "All mankind is from Adam and Eve. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor does a non-Arab have any superiority over an Arab; a white has no superiority over a black, nor does a black have any superiority over a white; [none have superiority over another] except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly. Do not; therefore, do injustice to yourselves."
Numerous narratives from the Sunnah provide us with many illustrations where the prophet (pbuh) utilized his prophetic skills while applying a practical application of knowledge to individuals who came seeking divine guidance: Narrated by Abu Aiyub Al-Ansari: A man said, "O Allah's Apostle! Inform me of a deed which will make me enter Paradise." The people said, "What is the matter with him? What is the matter with him?" Allah's Apostle said, "He has something to ask (what he needs greatly). The Prophet said (to him) (In order to enter Paradise) you should worship Allah and join none in worship with Him: You should offer prayers perfectly, give obligatory charity (Zakat), and keep good relations with your Kith and kin."
Narrated by Abu Huraira: A man said to the Prophet, "Advise me! "The Prophet said, "Do not become angry and furious." The man asked (the same) repeatedly, and the Prophet said in each case, "Do not become angry and furious."
Abu Barzah al- Aslamee related, he said, "O messenger of Allah! Show me a deed that will put me in Paradise or benefit me." He replied, " Remove harmful things from the path of Muslims."
In the above example, each questioner asked the same basic question but received a different response to their question. This is not a conflict with the principles of the Sharia or the Sunnah. In devotional matters, questions are valued in accordance with their underlying intention. Here, each person received an answer that would be most beneficially to his or her spiritual growth.
The prophet (pbuh) was an embodiment of goodness and recognized common decency in everyone, including nonbelievers. A report from the tradition states: A dog was going round a well and was about to die of thirst, an Israeli prostitute saw it and took off her shoe and watered it. So The Prophet said, " Allah forgave her because of that good deed."
Non-Muslims who have studied the life of the Prophet extolled the virtues of his moral excellence. Mahatma Gandhi, he father of India independence stated in 'Young India published in'1924: I wanted to know the best of the life of one who holds today an undisputed sway over the hearts of millions of mankind. I became more than ever convinced that it was not the sword that won a place for Islam in those days in the scheme of life. It was the rigid simplicity, the utter self-effacement of the Prophet the scrupulous regard for pledges, his intense devotion to his friends and followers, his intrepidity, his fearlessness, his absolute trust in G-d and in his own mission. These and not the sword carried everything before them and surmounted every obstacle. When I closed the second volume (of the Prophet's biography), I was sorry there was not more for me to read of that great life.
Sir George Bernard Shaw in 'The Genuine Islam,' Vol. One, No. 8, 1936. "If any religion had the chance of ruling over England, nay Europe within the next hundred years, it could be Islam. I have always held the religion of Muhammad in high estimation because of its wonderful vitality. It is the only religion which appears to me to possess that assimilating capacity to the changing phase of existence which can make itself appeal to every age. I have studied him - the wonderful man and in my opinion for from being an anti-Christ, he must be called the Savior of Humanity. I believe that if a man like him were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world he would succeed in solving its problems in a way that would bring it the much needed peace and happiness: I have prophesied about the faith of Muhammad that it would be acceptable to the Europe of tomorrow as it is beginning to be acceptable to the Europe of today."
In a hadith reported by Asmaa bint Yazeed: The Prophet said: Shall I not inform you of the best ones from amongst you? They said: Yes, indeed. He said: Those who when they are seen, then Allah is remembered. Shall I not inform you of the worst ones from amongst you? They said: Yes, indeed. He said: Those who go about carrying tales to cause mischief between friends, those who seek harm and corruption for the innocent.
Testifying to his sublime character, Allah (swt) says to His beloved messenger, "And surely you are indeed of a sublime character" (Qur'an 68:4).
Allah sends His Salat (Graces, Honors, Blessings, Mercy, etc.) on the Prophet (pbuh) and His angels too (ask Allah to bless and forgive him). O you who believe! Send your Salat on him, and (you should) greet (salute) him with the Islamic way of greeting) salutation, i.e. As- salaam-u- alaikum). (Qur'an 33:56)
Imam Ivan G. Nassar is a Cleveland base Islamic freelance writer. His research covers Islamic history, culture, and civilization. I have written other article that has appeared in the following publications: The Cleveland Plain Dealer, The Muslim Journal, The Muslim Observer, The Sacred Journey, The Akron Reporters, The Cleveland Monitor, The Cleveland Call and Post, letters to the editor in Al Jumuah Magazine and Islamicity.com. I have also contributed a chapter to a book: Title ' Illuminations' [Expressions of Personal Spiritual Experience] and have contributed a chapter to a book title: ' Cleveland Stories' published by Kent State University.
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