In a world of confusion, misunderstanding, chaos, pain, and anguish… along with a network of decisions that are made on a daily basis; the human being is in a constant need of assistance.  What is the best course of action to take?  What is the right thing to say?  The human is endlessly searching and hoping that they speak and do the best.

This human yearn for guidance results in the adherence to various institutions or ideologies.  Part of God’s immense Mercy is that He sends this guidance in the form of human messengers and revelation.  Were God to have sent an angel or other-worldly form of guidance, mankind may not have felt that they could reach the ultimate perfection found within  an angelic guidance.  Yet indeed, humans should, and can!  The whole point of existence is to strive on the path of human perfection.  A life without struggle is indeed a boring and dull life.  Whether you call the final goal, nirvana, sage-hood, enlightenment, or vicegerency, the goal is the same:  to be liberated from mundane mirage and released into Divine Reality.

Islam holds the view that there have been approximately 124 000 perfected humans that have exemplified wise actions and beautiful character.  Amongst these humans (messengers of God, prophets) mentioned in the Quran are Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, Solomon, Jesus, and finally Muhammad (May God grant them peace).  Other scholars have speculated that Buddha, Lao Tse, and Confucius have also been prophets.  It is interesting to note that Islamic scholarship accepts all prophets previous to Muhammad while no other religion accepts the Islamic Prophet.  Thus there is an obvious, inherent universality and tolerance in the Islamic faith:

To every people was sent a Messenger:  when their Messenger comes before them the matter will be judged between them with justice, and they will not be wronged. [ Quran 10:47 ]

Say:  We have faith in God, and in that which has been sent down on Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, and Jacob, and the Tribes, and that which was give to Moses and Jesus and the Prophets by their Lord.  We make no distinction among any of them, and to Him we have submitted.  [ Quran 2:136 ]

He has sent down upon you the Book with the truth, confirming what was before it, and He has sent down the Torah and the Gospel aforetime, as guidance to the people.  [ Quran 3:3 ]

Through his actions and speech, each prophet of God has embodied his respective divine revelation.  Therefore, prophetic example is the best source of guidance for social matters and is worthy of emulation.  For Muslims, this means following the example (Sunnah) of the last Messenger of God to mankind, Muhammad (May God grant him peace).

In present times people emphasize obligations toward God (prayer, fasting) over obligations toward God’s creations (good manners, kind treatment).  In part this has had the affect of driving people away from revelation and prophetic example.  In fact, obligations toward other creations have traditionally been emphasized in the past.  Al-Hidaya, the Muslim Hanafi school of law’s most famous book, devotes 75% of its contents towards the obligations due to people, and spends only 25% of its contents towards obligations due to God!  According to Shaykh Husain Abdul Sattar, this is due to the fact that on the Day of Judgment, God may forgive the sins we commit between us and Him, but God will not forgive our sins between us and others until the person(s) we have wronged against forgive us first.

For the Muslim, one of the fundamental questions is:  How did Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his companions exert the best possible character and carry out their obligations toward others in the most perfect manner?  One way of solving this mystery is to dive into the prophetic wisdom embellished within the sayings and written down actions of Muhammad:  the ahadeeth.

The ahadeeth that have emanated from Muhammad’s mouth (peace and blessings be upon him) is proof of his beyond this world wisdom and compassion.  To Muslims, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was the best father, the best brother, the best husband, the best teacher, the best leader, the best humanitarian, the best friend, and the best human.  “I have not been sent except to perfect character”, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) once said to his followers.  Even after his death when Muhammad’s followers were free to say anything about him (pbuh), not one of them uttered a negative remark.  His nickname, Al-Amin (the Trustworthy), which was given to him as a youth was never invalidated.  Even his wife, Aa’isha (may God preserve her), a companion who witnessed his character within the privacy of the home and in the publc realm, proclaimed that, “His character was the Quran.”  This historical fact is phenomenal; which modern-day wife can proclaim that her husband has the same beauteous character outside as the does within the home?  The Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) companion, ‘Amr bin al-‘As (may God preserve him), also affirmed Muhammad’s sincerity:  “We saw everything the Prophet (pbuh) taught us embodied in his own character.”

Although in the later years of his life the Prophet was respected far and wide, he continued to live humbly:  “The Prophet (pbuh) used to mend his own shoes, sew his own clothes and work in his own house just as one of you would work.  He acted like a common man – he patched his own clothes, milked his own goats and engaged himself in routine work.” [Tirmidhi]

This provides evidence that his desire to transmit revelation was not for material gain.  Muhammad’s (pbuh) humility also permeated his actions with others.  He never chastised those who desired to serve him.  A voluntary servant of the Prophet (pbuh) said, “I served the Prophet (pbuh) for ten years, and never said to me ‘Uf’ (a word signifying harshness or impatience) and never blamed me by saying, ‘Why did you do so or why didn’t you do so?'”

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) also never publicly humiliated people for minor sins.  Once a man entered the Prophet’s Mosque and urinated.  A few of the companions became extremely upset and at least one was ready to physically reprimand him, yet Muhammad (pbuh) remained calm and told them to be patient.  The Prophet (pbuh) gently took him aside and explained to the man who urinated that mosques are sacred places and must be kept clean.  Due to Prophet’s (pbuh) noble manners, the man cried out, “Oh God forgive me and Muhammad and no one else!”  The Prophet (pbuh) just laughed and said, “You are limiting God’s vast mercy.”  This statement also demonstrates Muhammad’s (pbuh) sense of humour.  Indeed, he once said, “I joke, but always truthfully.”

Muhammad (pbuh) was the first man to verbally condemn racism based on skin colour when he explicitly said that there is no difference between a white and a black man except by piety and good action.  This is extremely progressive and astounding for his time period of seventh century Arabia, especially considering that America had massive racism only 50 years ago and that this world is still suffering from it.  Those who disbelieve in Islam should hold high regard and esteem for the speaker of this brilliant statement.

There are just a few endless reasons why thousands of people were willing to call him, without any doubt, the Messenger of God.  Indeed, a man of such high character caliber could not have been insane, or worse, invented falsehood:

You are not, by the grace of your Lord, mad or possessed.  Nay, verily for you is a Reward unfailing;  And you stand on an exalted standard of character.  Soon will you see, and they will see, which of you is afflicted with madness. [ Quran 68: 2 – 6 ]

May the Peace and Blessings of God be forever with the Prophet, for without him, this world would lack the most precious gems of wisdom.

~ Haseena Sahib