* These are notes from Al Maghreb’s The Prophet’s Smile by Sheikh Yaser Birjas. I have made some additions to the notes, and am currently sharing them with sisters on Skype and at Masjed Al Huda in Minneapolis via phone.
Love of the Prophet (saw) is true love. Allah SWT says:
قُلْ إِن كَانَ آبَاؤُكُمْ وَأَبْنَاؤُكُمْ وَإِخْوَانُكُمْ وَأَزْوَاجُكُمْ وَعَشِيرَتُكُمْ وَأَمْوَالٌ اقْتَرَفْتُمُوهَا وَتِجَارَةٌ تَخْشَوْنَ كَسَادَهَا وَمَسَاكِنُ تَرْضَوْنَهَا أَحَبَّ إِلَيْكُم مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَجِهَادٍ فِي سَبِيلِهِ فَتَرَبَّصُوا حَتَّىٰ يَأْتِيَ اللَّهُ بِأَمْرِهِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْفَاسِقِينَ
Say, [O Muhammad], “If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your people [tribe, patriots, fellow citizens etc], wealth which you have obtained, commerce wherein you fear decline, and dwellings with which you are pleased are more beloved to you than Allah and His Messenger and jihad in His cause, then wait until Allah executes His command. And Allah does not guide the defiantly disobedient people.” This is in Surat Al Tawbah verse 24
Let’s look at the ayah closely because there are a number of loves expressed in it, so that we know how above them all the love of the Prophet (saw) should reign:
1) your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your relatives is familial love.
2) your wives is love within marriage.
3) Own people [tribe, patriots, fellow citizens] so loves like nationalism, patriotism, tribalism etc.
4) Wealth with you have obtained love for your personal business, savings, property/ies, you fear for it going into recession etc.
5) and dwellings with which you are pleased love of the home and home life .
You’re love for the Prophet (saw) has to be above and beyond all of these, that’s why the companions used to say to the Prophet (saw), “May my mother and father be sacrificed for your sake O Messenger of Allah.”
There are certain “loves” in the Qur’an that are not dealt with because they come naturally to us human being, like for instance the love of a spouse and parent’s love for their children. But parental love is mentioned and dwelled on because it is an obligatory love and is not necessarily a sentimental one; for as we grow older as do our parents, we become less dependent on them and they become more dependent on us. And oftentimes that love is diluted than when we were children and depended on them for our every need. Want proof? If your child is sick you take them to the doctor wishing them life, but you take your sick parent to the doctor wishing that they would ‘rest’. So, Allah points parental love out as an obligatory love on every child towards its parents, reminds them of it as obligatory on them that makes one dutiful towards them with mercy and compassion . Loving of Allah [SWT] is an obligation—except it does not feel like to those who immerse themselves in knowledge of Allah [SWT] because they love him involuntary, it becomes part of their lives. Others feel the obligation on them as is the love of the Prophet (saw)–so it’s a duty, but they often don’t know why. To make these kinds of love–love for Allah [SWT] and His Prophet (saw)– truly sweetness in our hearts, and effortless we have to immerse ourselves in knowledge of them and allow them to come naturally to us.
One day Umar came to the Prophet (saw) and said, “O Messenger of Allah, I love you more than I love anyone else except myself.”
Rasool Allah (saw) said, “No O Umar not until you love me more [i.e you don’t attain complete faith until you love me more than you love anything, including yourself].”
So Umar (raa) went to think about it, and then came back and said, “Now I love you more than myself.” The Prophet responded, “Now you have attained faith.”
What is the realization/awareness, in your opinion that Umar Ibn Al Khattab, came to for him to be able to frankly say to the Prophet (saw) definitively, “Now I love you more than myself.”?
Our love for the Prophet (saw) is to us the mark of true faith. We do not really believe in Islam unless we love the Prophet more than anyone else. It’s a requirement of our faith. Loving the Prophet (saw) means that when we encounter something that is contrary to what the Prophet (saw) says or orders, we must never hesitate between the two. We must always take what the Prophet says and abandon anything that contradicts it or is different than it. There is another Hadith, which associates loving the Prophet with loving God in which Anas quotes the Prophet as saying: “There are three qualities which are certain to give anyone the sweetness of faith: to love God and His Messenger more than anyone else, to love a person for no purpose other than for God’s sake, and to hate to relapse into disbelief after God has saved him from it as much as to hate to be cast in the fire.” (Al-Bukhari, Muslim and Al-Nassaie).
So, loving the Prophet is seen as part of loving God. Not surprising at all, since through the Prophet we learned about Allah [SWT], everything we need to know about Allah [SWT] and the path to Allah’s acceptance, and an eternal life in Jannah close to Allah [SWT].
If someone saved you/rescued you from peril/danger you feel highly indebted to that person right? If a person makes you happy on a day you are down, you are grateful to that peson. This is just how you feel towards someone who has done you a few good favors. Indeed the Prophet (saw) did you the best turn anyone could ever do us. He:
1) delivered a divine guidance that is the most purest and complete
2) spared us the worst calamity that can ever befall anyone– incurring God’s wrath and punishment of the hellfire.
3) gave us the faith that makes us experience the sweetest of feelings in our heart, the sweetness of faith.
If we realize all this as Umar Ibn Al Khattab did, how can we possibly not love him more than we love ourselves?
Umar’s words were genuine. He did not say words simply to please the Prophet (saw). Umar realized it was an order that over rode what he, his own dearest soul, thought. There’s a beautiful hadith in which you can visualize the role that the Prophet (saw) plays in our lives, he says (saw):
“My parable and that of yours is like a man who kindles a fire. When it has illuminated all around him, the moths and grasshoppers began to fall therein. He tried to push them away, but they overcame him and jumped into it. I am catching hold of your waist ties to save you from the fire, but you slip away from my hand.” [Muslim]
So, since love for the Prophet (saw) is an obligation on us, what are the reasons for such an obligation?
1) Allah [SWT] has commanded us to love the Prophet (saw)—so Allah [SWT] is saying, “If you truly love me then love the Prophet (saw) . . .” Allah [SWT] says in Surat Al Imran ayah 32:
قُلْ أَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَالرَّسُولَ ۖ
Say, “Obey Allah and the Messenger.” But if they turn away – then indeed, Allah does not like the disbelievers.
Not loving [in words and action] hence the word ‘obey’ constitutes disbelief. It’s not acceptable to love Allah [SWT] but hate the Prophet (saw). So, for instance some people say they believe in every word of the Qur’an, but they don’t believe in the Prophet (saw) or his Sunnah. That’s unacceptable, Prophet (saw) was the medium through with the Qur’an was revealed and his Sunnah is a companion to the Qur’an. They come as a package, hence the Shahadha “La Illaha Ila Allah” does not stop there but continues with “Muhammad Rasool Allah”.
2) We love him because Allah [SWT] loves him (saw). Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri: Allah’s Apostle addressed the people saying,
“Allah has given option to a slave to choose this world or what is with Him. The slave has chosen what is with Allah.” Abu Bakr wept, and we were astonished at his weeping caused by what the Prophet mentioned as to a Slave ( of Allah) who had been offered a choice, (we learned later on) that Allah’s Apostle himself was the person who was given the choice, and that Abu Bakr knew best of all of us. Allah’s Apostle added, “The person who has favored me most of all both with his company and wealth, is Abu Bakr. If I were to take a Khalil other than my Lord, I would have taken Abu Bakr as such, but (what relates us) is the Islamic brotherhood and friendliness. All the gates of the Mosque should be closed except the gate of Abu Bakr.” [Bukhari]
“Khulah”—is love that has penetrated, soaked in, absorbed by the heart. So imagine that your heart is like a sponge, and every part of it has absorbed the love of Allah [SWT].
3) His beautiful character and impeccable manners—humans are captivated by” Ihsan” the best of conduct, manners, behavior, personality, dealings etc. Today it’s become cheesy, and the worst of people have taken celebrity status, but this is not natural to us. We are faced with a media that has really lowered our criteria on what constitutes upright human beings. There is no doubt that our Prophet (saw) was the epitome of best manners, the exemplar of best manners. Allah [SWT] says in Surat Al Qalam Ayah 4:
وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلَىٰ خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٍ
“And surely you are indeed of a magnificent character.”
The companions wanted to know if this was just the public characteristic of the Prophet (saw), you know how some people have two faces a private and public. They could be the most loved of people in public, and the most despised in their private lives. So, they asked the closest of people to the Prophet (saw), his wife Aisha (raa).
Sa’d bin Hisham asked Aisha (aa) about the character of the Messenger of Allah (saw), so she replied: ‘Have you not read the Qur’an?’ Sa’d said: ‘Of course.’ Then she said: ‘Verily the character of the Messenger of Allah was the Qur’an. (Sahih Muslim)
He was consistently so, whether in public or private. He was the same person that Allah [SWT] describes in the Qur’an : “And surely you are indeed of a magnificent character.” [Surat Al Qalam: 4]
4) We love him because none of us will be truly be able to emulate him until we love him. Indeed if you don’t follow his example through love for him, then you don’t really love him. Plus following his example out of love for him makes it easier. We are living at a time when pseudo superheroes like “Superman” or “Superwoman” “Batman and Robin” etc. have captivated the hearts and minds of our youngsters. I think young girls feel they have more in common with and affiliation to their Barbie dolls and the values it endorses than they do with the Prophet (saw). Oftentimes, the Prophet’s (saw) life and example is seen as part of history, in a remote past in a far away land. They, and us as well, are moved by it when we hear it but really don’t know how it applies to our lives today; unfortunately some even grow to believe it’s a life impossible to emulate today. So, we really need to up our game first with ourselves, in that we immerse ourselves in his life, adopt his example and follow it because our kids will learn from us first. Values are constant, they do not change—at no time in history will lying be acceptable, rudeness be a positive quality in any personality etc. The trustworthiness and truthfulness, the two characteristics that our Prophet (saw) was known for are still looked up to today, but we need to practice it ourselves to realize that they are very much a part of today and will be of tomorrow, as they were of the past. Our Prophet’s Seerah [biography] is like an formula that can be applied to the new equations that arise in our times, and will arise after our times. We will be talking about characteristics and examples particular to Muhammad (saw) the man , and those that were particular to his Prophethood insha Allah in the coming weeks. So, following his example will be easier if we immerse ourselves in his life.
When the Prophet (saw) returned from the battle of Tabuk , Abdullah ibn Ubay Salul the chief of hypocrites had fallen seriously ill. He was one of those that stayed behind in Madinah, being the leader of the hypocrites. Allah exposed those hypocrites that didn’t participate in Surat Al Tawbah.
Abdullah ibn Ubay Salul tried to destroy the Muslim community and the household of the Prophet (saw). But, despite everything, the Prophet (saw) went to visit him when he was ill. The Prophet (saw) did rebuke him and said, I told you not to side with the Jews of Madinah.
Abdullah ibn Ubay Salul responded by saying ‘Oh Prophet of Allah. This is not the time to rebuke me. I am on my deathbed. I ask you to give me your shirt when I die, pray over me and seek Allah’s forgiveness for me’. The Prophet (saw) left, and then Abdullah ibn Salul’s son (who was a pious, upright Muslim) came to the Prophet (saw). He asked that the Prophet (saw) grant him his shirt as a shroud for his father and to pray over him. The Prophet (saw) said to him that I will give you my shirt.
When Abdullah ibn Ubay Salul died, his family took him and began the burial proceedings, when the Prophet (saw) heard this he went to the burial site and took off his shirt and placed it on the body as his shroud. He then blew on him, and then prayed over him. No one spoke except Umar ibn Khattab (raa) and said “Oh Prophet of Allah. Has not Allah not prevented you from praying over the hypocrites?” He reminded the Prophet (saw) of all the things that Abdullah ibn Ubay Salul had done. In response, the Prophet (saw) said, “Move back, oh Umar. Allah has given me a choice – seek forgiveness for them or do not seek forgiveness for him. If I knew Allah would forgive him after seeking forgiveness 71 times I would do so’ He felt he had a choice—and he chose the way that was closest to his nature and that was to show kindness and compassions to all of humankind without exception.
Nothing says I love you than ‘acts of love’ and nothing says, “I love you O Messenger of Allah” than following in his footsteps. It’s how you show your love, it’s proof, and living evidence of your love. Loving without showing it in actions is ‘lip service’ but not true love. A wife who has enough of her ‘lip service husband’ leaves him and he calls out, “But I love you!” She responds, “Show it. Prove it. Your actions say otherwise.” So, for us to prove that we love the beloved, we have to love him by emulating/following his example.
5) We also love the Messenger of Allah (saw) because of all the struggles that he went through to make sure Islam would read us. Remember that 1400 year ago, and for 25 years of his life, he had to go through immense pressure for our sake. So that this religion would reach you as it was revealed to him, untouched by man. Straight from the source. He was insulted, injured, mocked, called names, pushed, thrown stones at etc. so that you would receive the message. You would do anything for any one today who was willing to put their lives on the line for you, that’s exactly what the Prophet (saw) did for your sake. He asked that the message be conveyed to us, it was in his last sermon [Hujjat Al Wada’a]:
“Let him that is present, convey it unto him who is absent, for many people
to whom the message is conveyed may be more mindful of it than the
And if you were asked about me, what would you say?”
They answered, “We bear witness that you have conveyed the trust (of
religion) and discharged your ministry of Prophethood and looked to our
Thereupon Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) lifted his forefinger
towards the sky and then pointing towards people said:
“O’ Lord: Bear Thou witness unto it.
O’ Lord: Bear Thou witness unto it.”
So, know that the Prophet (saw) loved you back then when he did not know what your lovable characteristics are—he loved you unconditionally and missed you back then, and wishes to meet you in the Hereafter. Question is do you want to meet him? He has shown you how, and he has given you an appointment so are you going to make it or not?
6) Love the Messenger of Allah (saw) because he loved you. He loved us without having ever met us, and this is without knowing that some of us haven’t made his love number one in our lives. Some of us have forsaken his Sunnah, forsaken his path, forsaken the religion that he fought so hard to offer us on a golden platter. He loved us, for a few days before the Messenger of Allah (saw) died he was seeing crying and he said:
“I wish that I could meet my brothers.” The Sahaabah asked: “Aren’t we your brothers?” He replied: “You are my Companions, but my brothers are those who will believe in me without having seen me.” [Sahih al Jaami # 7108]
Wallahi we miss you too O’ Rasool Allah (saw) and we can’t wait to meet you where you said you would be waiting for us. We can’t wait to drink from your basin [Al Kawthar] from your own noble hands. We hope that we make you proud of us and our children, and all our deeds. Ameen.
7) The last point of why we should love the Prophet (saw) is because if we do we will be raised with him insha Allah. Abdullah reported that a man came to Allah’s Messenger (saw) and said: “What is your opinion about the person who loves the people but his acts or deeds are not identical to theirs?” Thereupon Allah’s Messenger (saw) said: “He would be along with the one whom he loves.” (Muslim)
This man was worried that he would not be with the Prophet (saw) in the Hereafter, because if he were to compare his acts and deeds to those of the Prophet (saw) we would fall short miserably. No one can be like Allah’s gift to humankind. The Prophet (saw) understood what the man was saying indirectly [even back then men didn’t like to outright say, “I love you and want to spend the rest of this life and the life after this life with you.”] So, this man was saying indirectly, “I love you O Prophet of Allah and want to be with you in Jannah, but my deeds will definitely fall short of yours.” The Prophet (saw) consoled him and us and gave him and us the glad tiding of , “He would be along with the one whom he loves.”
Homework: Tomorrow is Friday [this was writtern January 12th 2012] and it is recommended that we send Salaat and Salam to the Prophet of Allah (Salah Allah Alayhe wa Salam) so let’s make tomorrow an exceptional one for us, our family and friends in that aspect. Remind yourself and others. Salah Allah Ala Sayedena Muhammad Wa ‘Ala Alehee Wa Sahbehee Ajma’een.