How should we interpret the importance that our Prophet (PBUH) gave to knowledge?
The beauty, perfection, wisdom and thoroughness of everything relies on its relation to knowledge. The futility and uselessness of all things are harmful fruits of ignorance and lack of knowledge.
The gracious Prophet (PBUH) has expressed the huge importance he gave to the knowledge in most of his hadiths. He is the one that has the biggest role in causing the Islamic civilization to rise on the foundations of knowledge by encouraging his companions and his entire ummah to increase their knowledge. Pointing to the merits of knowledge, he implied that the scholars were in the place of him, and he said: “He who visits a scholar is like one who has visited me. He who shakes hands with a scholar is like one who shook hands with me. He who sits in the company of a scholar is like one who sat beside me. He who sits beside me in the worldly life will be placed by Allah to sit beside me in the Paradise.” (Ianetu’t-Taibin)
“To keep oneself busy with knowledge for an hour is better than praying a hundred thousand rakahs of voluntary prayer, than a hundred thousand mantras, than to give away ten thousand chargers (war horses) in the way of Allah.” (Tariqat-ı Muhammadiyya)
Yes, if a person leads another person to faith by the knowledge he gains, he gains earnings “better than anything that the sun rises and shines upon”, as it was put in the hadith. Through Islam, which contains all sorts of true knowledge and is a mercy for the worlds, the gracious Prophet (PBUH) has shown that it is only with the knowledge that one leads others to the truth and right path as well as draw them away from evil. Disbelief and heresay have their roots in ignorance, and faith and true guidance are built upon principles of knowledge. The worldly happiness and the happiness of the afterlife can only be possible with knowledge. It is, again, with knowledge that one can get to know Allah, and rise to the highest perfection. It is with knowledge that the subtlest things can be straightened out properly, so the order of this seemingly infinite universe is with the principles of knowledge, too.
To summarize, we can simply say that the beauty, perfection, wisdom and thoroughness of everything rely on its relation to knowledge, and that anything is futile and useless is a harmful fruit borne by ignorance and lack of knowledge.
How do we understand the value of our Prophet (PBUH) in the sight of Allah?
Our gracious Prophet (PBUH) has quite an exalted rank. He has the highest rank among all beings. He is the source of pride for the universe. He is referred to as “Oh my lover, if I hadn’t created you, I wouldn’t create the universe” by our Lord. With this word, he has been announced to have a value in the eyes of Allah above all the creatures, and thus became a most lovable servant and lover. This is because the gracious Prophet has become a centre where the divine reasons of creation are clustered. Moreover, the Gracious Prophet is a wonderful guru that leads the humans, which are the fruits of the tree of universe, to eternal happiness. It is thanks to him that the meaning of the creation is revealed. It is thanks to him that the creation gains maturity. He is the greatest centre of the divine love, which is the light, base and the strongest tie of this universe.
How was our Prophet’s servitude to Allah?
Our Prophet would perform prayers at night till his feet swelled. He would fast every other day, eat little, sleep little and talk little. He would give away to people whatever he possessed.
Allah has programmed everything with a point of perfection. The perfect existence and the pleasure thereof are by acting in accordance with and moving around the divine circle of creation. Our Prophet has taught all the humanity that the dignity, maturity, happiness and pleasure of human nature lie in servitude. He said that the “big trust” is to fulfill the obligation of servitude. He asked from Allah to be a serving Prophet rather than be a Prophet who would have the authority of a king. The Prophet personally maintained the dignity of being an absolute servant throughout his life. He showed that the material and spiritual embroideries of the divine beautiful names concealed in humans became visible in the servitude programme. In a hadith, he summarized servitude as “Whoever shows humility for Allah, Allah will elevate him.” Many conceited people bowed before the humility of our Prophet. The deceitful and hypocritical traits of the human felt embarrassed and shrank before the glory of the Prophet’s servitude because it realized its mistakes and errors. It thus understood its true identity by prostrating itself before Allah, The Most High. Our Prophet would perform prayers at night until his feet swelled. He would fast every other day, eat little, sleep little and talk little. He would give away to people whatever he possessed. He would never accept being treated like he had a priviledge. He treated everyone equally, regardless of them being poor or rich, free or a servant. He said “I have been sent in order to complete the good moral.” He would never put on a sullen face; he would always smile and would never fall into despair. He would call on Allah most frequently. May Allah have all of us fulfil the obligation of servitude the same way as he did. Amen.
What is there to say about our Prophet being revolutionary?
The once bedouin society came to a point where they would be teachers and rulers of civilized societies like Byzantium and Iran. This social transformation alone is one of the greatest miracles of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
The tribe to which our Prophet was sent was, in the Arabian deserts, a savage and obstinate one which was far from the then civilized manners, ignorant, bedouin and so savage as to bury their daughters alive. The Prophet even had to migrate due to the stubbornness and fanaticism of his tribe. However, in a short time span of 23 years, that savage society remarkably turned180 degrees. Abandoning their antisocial behaviors and wild manners up to that point, those savage people transformed into a meritorious society which had no match in the history of the world and which was made up of righteous people with good morals. The era which came to be known as the Era of Ignorance became the Era of Bliss. What is more, after the Prophet passed away, this tribe, following the training and education of the Prophet, took this education to almost half of the world and predominated. The once bedouin society came to a point where they would be teachers and rulers of civilized societies like Byzantium and Iran. This social transformation alone is one of the greatest miracles of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). This is because no person can cause such a big transformation without the big assistance of Allah. An example of such a transformation did not exist before the Prophet, nor did it exist after him.
How would the Prophet (PBUH) converse with youths?
Our Prophet (PBUH), who knew the value of youths so well, assigned Usame, a young companion who was about 18 or 20 years old, as the commander of an army made up of other companions like Abu Bakr and Omar.
Our Prophet is a supreme personality qualified by Allah as Rauf (Most Affectionate) and Rahim (Forgiving) in the Glorious Qur’an. That is, he was most affectionate and forgiving towards his ummah. He would take care of people from all walks of life in a most closely interested way, would listen to their problems, treat them enthusiastically, protect them and defend them. He would take care of children, adults, youths and the elderly in such a way that one companion even thought he was the very person loved by the Prophet the most. Our Prophet (PBUH), who knew the value of youths so well and showed through his own practice that they were the assurance of the future, assigned Usame, a young companion who was about 18 or 20 years old, as the commander of an army made up of other companions like Abu Bakr and Omar. Having tested the tact and abilities of Muaz b. Jabal, he assigned him as the governor of Yemen. Young companions have been the ones to play the biggest role in transferring the beautiful sunnah of the Prophet, the most important source of our religion, to us. A convincing evidence of this is that people like Aisha, Anas, Abdullah b. Omar, Ibn-i Abbas reached the level of “muqthirun” (a word used to refer to people who narrated a great number of hadiths). Our glorious Prophet is also a sun of compassion in the way that he grasped the youths’ situation, understand their inner worlds and thus prevent them from being drawn to the fire like the moths drawn to a candle. When a young companion approached him saying “Oh Messenger of Allah, permit me to practice fornication”, the Prophet affectionately explained to the companion how unpleasant his will was without breaking his heart. From that day on, that particular companion was never interested in nasty actions like that.
What is the first thing that should occur to our minds when we consider the mercy of the Prophet towards his ummah?
Thanks to the Prophet’s mercy and fondness for them, the glorious companions reached a level where they would willingly sacrifice their lives for the Prophet without a single doubt.
One of the greatest things that proves our Prophet was a genuine Prophet is the affection and mercy that he showed towards his ummah throughout his life. Thanks to the Prophet’s mercy and his being fond of them, the glorious companions reached a level where they would willingly sacrifice their lives for the Prophet without a single doubt. Among their most frequent words of endearment was “my mother, my father and my life be sacrificed for you, o Messenger of Allah!” He showed love and mercy for every single person in such a way that they all said to themselves “The Prophet loves me the most”. The Good Lord refers to his attitude in a verse as such: “Truly, a Messenger has come to you from among yourselves. Your suffering distresses him: he is deeply concerned for you and full of kindness and mercy towards the believers.” According to reliable sources, the first words he uttered right after he was born were “My ummah, my ummah!” Even, when everybody including the Prophets are concerned about their own problems due to the fright of the resurrection area, he will stand between his ummah and the Hell uttering “My ummah! My ummah!”, he himself narrates to us. Therefore, we have been fortunate to be among the ummah of such an affectionate messenger. In return for this huge affection and mercy, what we need to do is follow him by following his sunnah and imitate his morals. May Allah give all of us the chance to take advantage of his intercession on the Day of Judgment. Amen!
What should occur to our mind when our Prophet’s trustworthiness is in question?
Now that the Prophets are the leaders and guides in conveying the message of faith to people, we too are supposed to emulate them and be trustworthy people.
Prior to his Prophethood, our Prophet stood out among other people with his good morals and trustworthiness. He did not worship the idols, nor did he drink, so he kept away from the objectionable habits of jahiliyya (the era of ignorance). He kept his promises, he did not abuse any trust, and he would stretch out his helping hand to anybody. The entire Quraysh tribe agreed on his not lying, his being trustworthy and having good morals. They would refer to him as Al-Ameen rather than his name, Muhammad. Even the senior people among the Quraysh would consult him as a referee regarding their serious issues as well as controversial ones. In one hadith, the Prophet (PBUH) said : “By Allah, I am a trustworthy person on the earth as well as in the heavens.” In a short span of time like 23 years, the Prophet made a remarkable change of faith and behavior in all walks of the Arabian social life. In the roots of this change of behavior lies in his having won the trust and love of the people. All the other Prophets, too, who were sent to announce the orders of Allah to people were trustable and lovable personalities in their own societies. Now that the Prophets are the leaders and guides in conveying the message of faith to people, we too are supposed to emulate them and be trustworthy people.
How did our Prophet pray?
Our Prophet, the pride of the universe, too, was obliged to fulfil the duties of servitude he proclaimed to other people such as faith, worship and praying. None among his ummah has been able to catch up with or surpass the Prophet in fulfilling these duties. Yet his ummah won honour as they succeeded at achieving the Prophet’s supreme rank as regards servitude. The Prophet cannt be matched in terms of his level of faith, his knowing Allah and his servitude and so will he be. For instance, it is impossible to catch up with him in praying, the foundation of servitude next to faith. He would beseech to his Creator so much that no person from the time of Adam could attain to his rank in prayer, even though there have been millions of holy people that have come ever since, and these people can benefit from the prayers of others. The Prophet was praying so perfectly that even if there had been no reason or situation to create the afterlife, Allah was going to create the afterlife for the sake of a single prayer of him.
Finally, I would like to bring up a miracle of him, which is a prayer he uttered in the Era of Bliss, in the hope that it will help explain our point: The Glorious Prophet covered Hadrati Abbas and his four sons (Abdullah, Ubaydullah, Fadhl, Kusem) with a cloth called “mulaat” and said: “Oh Lord, this is my uncle and he’s my father’s full brother. And these are his sons. As I cover them with my cloth, you too cover them from the hellfire.” All of a sudden, the roof, doors and walls of the house joined the prayer by saying “Amen, amen!”.
Could you tell us a little bit about the courage of our Prophet?
According to Ustad Bediuzzaman, “The source of courage, as is the source of all sorts of genuinely good deeds, is faith and servitude.” Since the faith and servitude of our Prophet is unique and cannot be matched, so is his courage. He himself is a unique hero of courage. Ali (radhiallahu anh), Allah’s lion, narrates his courage as such: “When the war was tumultuous and fearful, we would take shelter behind our Prophet.” We see another example of the Prophet’s courage in the Hunain War. When the Islamic army was defeated and began to retreat anxiously in the valley of Hunain, our Prophet called the companions and led them to get together from anew, thus enabling them to gain victory against the enemy. It could be said that the victory of Hunain war is a result of the courage that the Prophet showed during that very moment of defeat. Another example is that one night, it was rumored that the enemy was attacking. When the courageous horsemen looked around, they saw the Prophet coming. It turned out that the Prophet had gone in search of the enemy before everyone else did, so he was only on his way back. It was learned from him that there was no danger. This unique courage of the Prophet, however, never led him astray to extremities nor did he mistreat anyone being overcome by his anger. Just like his other habits, he maintained the middle way and kept away from exaggerations and extremities. For the sake of his unique courage, May Allah give all of us the same courage.