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The Responsibility of Muslims towards Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم

Allah the Most High has placed certain responsibilities on the Muslims towards Prophet Muhammad-peace be upon him. Today, as we continue to witness more and more offensive attacks on the personality of our beloved prophet, it is necessary to enlighten ourselves about rights of the Prophet on us and redouble our efforts in fulfilling these rights. This may be a simple defense strategy within the reach of every Muslim and overwhelming impacts. Below are some responsibilities of the Muslims towards the Prophet as highlighted by scholars.

1.    1. To Believe in Him: This does not mean to merely believe he was a true, historical figure of seventh century Arabia, but to believe in his prophet hood and in Allah’s message to him too. The Qur’an says:

ﭽ ﯤ  ﯥ   ﯦ  ﯧ     ﯨ     ﯩﯪ  ﯫ  ﯬ   ﯭ  ﯮ    ﯯ  ﭼ

Meaning: “Believe, therefore, in Allah and His Messenger, and the light which We have sent down.” [Q64:V8] One hadith says: ‘I have been ordered to fight mankind till they testify that there is no god worthy of worship but Allah and until they believe in me and what I was sent with.’ [Muslim, no.34]

2.    2. To Obey Him: It is not enough to believe in him-peace be upon him. Instead, true faith demands that we should be guided by his message and obey its demands:

ﭽ ﮌ   ﮍ  ﮎ  ﮏ  ﮐ  ﮑ  ﮒ  ﮓ  ﮔ  ﮕ   ﮖ  ﮗ  ﭼ

Meaning: “O you who believe! Obey Allah and His Messenger, and do not turn away from him when you hear him speak.” [Q8:V20]. He who obeys the Messenger has obeyed Allah. [4:80]. one hadith declares: ‘All my nation will enter Paradise save those who refuse.’ They asked: O Messenger of Allah, who would refuse? He replied: ‘Whoever obeys me will enter Paradise; whoever disobeys me has in fact refused.’ [Al-Bukhari, no.7280]

3.    3. To Emulate His Example: Given that Allah says about His beloved Prophet, peace be upon him: ﭽ ﮛ  ﮜ     ﮝ  ﮞ  ﮟ   ﭼ

Meaning: “And indeed, you are of a great moral character.”, [Q68:V4] it should come as no surprise to enlightened minds that emulation of the Prophet-peace be upon him, is also a right we owe him. The Qur’an states: Say: ﭽ ﭮ  ﭯ  ﭰ             ﭱ  ﭲ   ﭳ  ﭽ  ﭼ

Meaning: “If you love Allah, then follow me.” [Q3:V31] in another chapter it tells us: ﭽﯯ  ﯰ        ﯱ  ﯲ  ﯳ  ﯴ  ﯵ   ﯶ ﰀ   ﭼ

Meaning: You have in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful example. [Q33:V21] One celebrated hadith says: ‘Whoever turns away from my Sunnah is not of me.’ [Al-Bukhari, no.5063; Muslim, no.1401]

No doubt, within the overall obligation of ittiba‘ – to “follow” or “emulate” him – there are certain matters where emulation is mandatory, and other places where it is highly encouraged and urged, but not obligated (there are even some matters recorded about his life that are just descriptive, not prescriptive). A sound knowledge of fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence) should help distinguish between these levels of imitation and emulation. With that being so, believers try their best to conform to the prophetic example, and mold their lives in the light of his Sunnah, as far as possible. For it is in him that the human perfection is found and the beauty of behavior made manifest.
[1/10/2016, 14:13] Mol Talha: 4. To Love Him: We find in the Qur’an:

ﭽ ﭻ  ﭼ      ﭽ  ﭾ  ﭿ  ﮀ  ﮁ   ﮂ   ﮃ  ﮄ  ﮅ  ﮆ  ﮇ      ﮈ   ﮉ  ﮊ  ﮋ  ﮌ  ﮍ  ﮎ  ﮏ   ﮐ  ﮑ  ﮒ  ﮓ  ﮔ  ﮕ  ﮖﮗ  ﮘ  ﮙ  ﮚ   ﮛ  ﮜ  ﮝ  ﭼ

Meaning: “Say: “If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your tribe, the wealth you have gained, the trade you fear my slacken, and the home you delight in are more loved by you than Allah and His Messenger and striving in His cause, then wait till Allah brings about His command. Allah guides not the corrupt.” [Q9:V24]. Indeed, love of the Prophet is what distinguishes believers in their perfection of faith, as one hadith says: ‘None of you believes until he loves me more than his father, his children and the whole of mankind.’ [Al-Bukhari, no.15; Muslim, no.44]

An essential part of loving the Prophet, peace be upon him, is to love his family. The Prophet, peace be upon him, once urged: “I advise you concerning my family.” [Muslim, no.2408] Once, Zayd b. Thabit was once praying the funeral prayer for his mother, after which he brought his mule near in order to mount it, upon which Ibn ‘Abbas came and took hold of the stirrup. Zayd said: ‘Let it be, O nephew of Allah’s Messenger.’ Ibn ‘Abbas said: ‘This is how we were taught to treat the scholars.’ So Zayd took hold of Ibn ‘Abbas’ hand and, upon kissing it, said: ‘This is how we were taught to treat the family of our Prophet.’ [Al-Tabarani, Mu‘jam al-Kabir, no.4746]

5. To Honor and Revere Him: True faith (iman) not only demands that he be loved, but that he be honored and revered too. The Qur’an insists:

ﭽ ﮒ  ﮓ  ﮔ  ﮕ  ﮖ  ﮗ  ﮘ   ﮙ   ﮚ    ﮛ  ﮜﮝ  ﮞ  ﮟ  ﮠ  ﮡ  ﭼ

Meaning: “Those who believe in him, honor him, support him, and follow the light that was sent down with him: those are the successful. [Q7:V157] That you may honor him and revere him.” [Q48:V9]. Al-Qazwini contrasts honour, reverence and veneration (described by terms such as tabjil, tawqir and ta‘zim) with that of love and cites Imam al-Bayhaqi saying: ‘This is a higher degree than that of love; for not all who love revere. A father loves his child, or a master his slave, but does not revere him whereas all who revere also love.’

6. To Believe that he is the seal of the Prophets: The Qur’an declares: ﭽ ﯧ  ﯨ

ﯩ  ﯪ  ﯫ  ﯬ  ﯭ  ﯮ   ﯯ  ﯰ  ﯱ  ﯲﯳ  ﯴ  ﯵ  ﯶ  ﯷ  ﯸ  ﭼ

Meaning: “Muhammad is not the father of any man among you, but he is the Messenger of Allah and the Seal of the Prophets; and Allah has knowledge of all things.” [Q33:V40] Needless to say, when a thing is “sealed”, it is complete and so there can be no further addition to it. In a like manner, the Prophet Muhammad sealed the cycle of prophet hood and brought it to a close: he is the last Prophet, after whom there will be no prophet. Henceforth, revealed truths shall be revived and reanimated by scholars, saints and reformers; but never again by prophets. That our Prophet is khatim al-nabiyyin – “the Seal of the Prophets” – is also confirmed in many hadiths; one of which says: ‘There will arise among my nation thirty liars, all of them claiming to be a prophet. But I am the final Prophet; there will be no prophet after me.’ [Muslim, no.2889; Abu Dawud, no.4252
[1/10/2016, 14:14] Mol Talha: 7. To Send Blessings (Salat) and Salutations of Peace (Salam) Upon Him: When telling us that Allah and His angels are constantly raising the rank, status and honor of the Prophet, peace be upon him, the Qur’an states the following:

ﭽ ﭲ  ﭳ  ﭴ  ﭵ   ﭶ  ﭷﭸ  ﭹ  ﭺ   ﭻ  ﭼ  ﭽ  ﭾ  ﭿ  ﮀ  ﭼ

Allah and His angels send blessings upon the Prophet. O you who believe! Send blessings upon him and salute him with a worthy salutation. [Q33:V56]. The hadith literature records: ‘Whosoever invokes one blessing upon me, Allah will send ten blessings on him.’ [Muslim, no.384] And: ‘Those closest to me on the Day of Resurrection are those who invoke most blessings upon me.’ [Al-Tirmidhi, no.484] And: ‘The miser is he who, whenever I am mentioned in his presence, does not invoke blessings upon me.’ [Al-Tirmidhi, no.3546]

As for what it means for Allah to “bless” or “send salat” on the Prophet, Abu’l-‘Aliyah, a famous tabi‘i, explained: ‘Allah’s salat is His extolling him to the angels; the angels’ salat is their supplication [for him].’ The majoritarian view seems to be the one al-Tirmidhi records: ‘It is related from Sufyan al-Thawri and others from the people of knowledge that salat of the Lord is His mercy, and salat of the angels is their seeking forgiveness for him.’

Hence Allah blesses the Prophet by the constant effusion of mercy descending upon him; such divine mercy referring to: light, knowledge, revelation, support, protection, swift response to prayers, exalting in rank and nearness to Him, honorable mention of him, as well as other things that only Allah and His Beloved know. The angels bless the Prophet by praying for him and supporting him. As for salutations (salam), it is praying for protection, safety and peace upon him.

8. Inviting others to his teachings. A Muslim must devote every possible effort and opportunity available to him to call, with wisdom and patience, all others to the Message of Muhammad (Peace be upon him). He should strive to inform those who are unaware and misinformed and strengthen the faith of people with weak, wavering faith. As Allah, the Most Wise, says in the Glorious Qur’an:

ﭽ ﮦ  ﮧ   ﮨ  ﮩ  ﮪ   ﮫ  ﮬﮭ  ﮮ  ﮯ  ﮰ  ﮱﯓ  ﯔ  ﯕ   ﯖ   ﯗ  ﯘ  ﯙ  ﯚ  ﯛﯜ  ﯝ  ﯞ  ﯟ  ﯠ   ﭼ

Meaning: “Invite (all) to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in a way that is better and most gracious. Truly, your Lord knows best who has gone astray from His Path, and He is the Most Aware of those who are guided.” (Q16:V125)

This is also based on the statement of Allah’s Prophet and Messenger (Peace be upon him): “Convey, on my behalf, even one verse.”

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