Love for the Messenger of Allah

May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon the Master of both worlds, Muhammad Mustafa!…

May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon the Messenger to both humans and jinn, Muhammad Mustafa!…

May the blessings and peace of Allah be upon the Leader of the two holy cities, Muhammad Mustafa!…

May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon the grandfather of Hasan and Hussain, Muhammad Mustafa!…

The stages of mortal love can reach their peak in the love felt for the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). No other person can be considered more worthy of mortal love than Him. This is because:

The existence of all creation owes its existence to Allah Most High’s love for the Prophet.

Allah’s Messenger is a means for both man and jinn to encounter eternal truth and thereby is a means for them being saved from eternal pain in the hereafter.

Allah Most High has displayed the bounties of the Qur’an and Islam to His servants through the pure heart of the Prophet.

He endured the greatest of pain for the sake of his community and was subject to trials and distress that no other human being has ever been subject to.

He is filled with deep compassion and mercy for the believers. He is an ocean of kindness. He cares a great deal about his community and it is very hard on him when his community undergoes distress of any kind.

He is an ideal and model example of servanthood.

He is the most crucial means of allowing servants to acquire knowledge of Allah Most High

Out of all of the Prophets, it was on the Prophet’s life that Allah Most High swore by, (“Le’amruka’ – I swear by your life’), thereby desiring that the community of Muslims focus their attention on the best example of the Messenger of Allah’s life.

Allah Most High made obedience to His Noble Beloved a condition of His own love and forgiveness. He says in a verse from the Qur’an:

‘Say, ‘If you love Allah, then follow me and Allah will love you and forgive you for your wrong actions. Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful’(Al’i Imran, 3:31).

Love for the Messenger of Allah is a means to salvation from divine punishment. Almighty Allah has said: Allah would not punish them while you were among them (Al-Anfal, 8:33).

Most importantly of all, Almighty Allah loves him and he is favoured as being called ‘My Beloved’ by Allah (Habîbullah). What a great honour, then, it is to love the Beloved of Allah.

In that case we must engrave upon our hearts the subtle name of that peerless sultan. We must do this with words of love that can never be erased. We must send blessings upon him such that our hearts can begin to become worthy of that elevated worth given to him.

It is worth keeping in mind, however, that the ultimate aim is not love of the Blessed Prophet in itself. The only Being that man should direct his love to is Allah Most High, the Creator of the entire universe. Love for the Beloved Prophet then is the most important means in guiding us to knowledge and love of Allah.

Scenes of Virtue

The Blessed Companions paid great attention and devotion to the Messenger of Allah out of their love for him. They would obey his every word, his every command and even any slightest indication made by him, with the following words:

‘May my mother, my father, my wealth and my life be sacrificed for you o Messenger of Allah!’…

It was a source of much satisfaction for those who were able to touch his skin:

‘See! It was with these two hands of mine that I made a pact with Allah’s Messenger’ (Ibn Sa’d, IV, 306; Haysami, VIII, 42).

Abu Asma As-Shami (r.a)  is an example:

He came to the Blessed Messenger as an envoy. He had learned the principles of Islam and was to transmit them to the tribe that he had come representing. He took the blessed hand of the Messenger of Allah and shook it, thereby making his pact. He must have been very moved after touching the Prophet’s hand and wishing to feel the blessings of the warmth of that blessed hand forever, Abu Asma promised himself that he would never shake hands with anybody again. And so it was that he did not touch any other hand until the day he died (Ibn Hajar, Al-Isabe, IV, 7).

***

The degree of love felt for the Messenger of Allah by the Companions was so great that some of the female Companions would chide their sons if they did not spend a long period of time with him. When Huzayfa (r.a)  did not see the Messenger of Allah for a few days his mother got angry with him and berated him. He narrates this event as follows:

‘One day my mother asked me:

“When did you last see the Prophet?’.

‘I have not seen him for a number of days.’ She got very angry and spoke very angrily with me.

I said:

‘Mother dear! Stop! Do not get angry! Let me go right away to the Messenger of Allah. I will pray the evening prayer with him and will ask him to ask for forgiveness for both you and me’… (Tirmidhi, Manakib, 378; Ahmad, V, 391-2).

***

Jabala, the brother of Zayd ibn Harith (r.a),  explains the devoted love of the Companions for the Prophet as follows:

‘I once went to the Blessed Prophet and said:

“O Messenger of Allah! Send my brother Zayd back with me”. Allah’s Messenger responded:

“Here he is. If he wants to return with you I will not prevent him”. However Zayd rejected my offer and said instead:

“O Messenger of Allah! I would not choose anyone over you”.

Later I was to learn that this stance of Zayd’s was more justified than mine (Tirmidhi, Manakib, 39/3815).

***

After the second pledge of Aqaba, Mus’ab (r.a) , who was the head of the tribe, went first to Allah’s Messenger’s House even before his own. He brought the news that the people of Madina were entering into Islam in great haste. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) was very pleased with this news.

When the pagan mother of Mus’ab learned that he had gone first to the Prophet she became very angry. Mus’ab, on the other hand, said:

‘I would not go to anyone else before the Messenger of Allah. I would not give priority to anyone else while he is alive’.

After asking permission from the Prophet, he then went to his mother and invited her to Islam (Ibn Sa’d, III, 119).

***

While they were heading for the cave of Thawr during the emigration to Madina, Abu Bakr (r.a) would sometimes walk ahead and sometimes behind the Prophet. Allah’s Messenger asked him:

“O Abu Bakr! What is the reason for this?”

Abu Bakr replied:

‘O Messenger of Allah! When I think that your enemies might catch up to you from behind I walk behind you; then when I think that they might ambush you from ahead, I start to walk in front of you’.

Eventually they reached the Cave of Thawr. Abu Bakr (r.a) said:

‘O Messenger of Allah! Wait here while I clear the cave’. He went inside the cave and cleaned it. Whenever he felt a hole with his hands he tore a piece off his robe and used it to plug the hole. In this way he used the entire upper portion of his robe to plug up the holes, however there remained one hole left. When he stopped it with his heel in it, he called out to the Prophet:

‘Now you may enter o Messenger of Allah’.

When it was morning and the Messenger of Allah saw that Abu Bakr had nothing on his upper body, he asked him in amazement:

Where are your clothes o Abu Bakr?

Abu Bakr told him what he had done the previous evening. Extremely touched by this big-hearted act, the Messenger of Allah raised his hands and began to pray for Abu Bakr.[1]

When the Quraysh pagans came to the mouth of the cave, Abu Bakr al Siddiq began to get nervous and said to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh):

‘If I am killed, it is of no consequence for I am but one man. But if anything happens to you then this whole community will be ruined’.

The Prophet was standing in prayer while Abu Bakr was on guard. Abu Bakr said:

‘The Meccans are looking for you. By Allah I am not worried for myself. But I am afraid that they will harm you’.

The Blessed Prophet (pbuh) then said to his friend in the cave:

“O Abu Bakr! Do not worry. Allah is most certainly with us”(Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya, III, 223-4; Diyarbekri, Tarihu’ al-hamis, Beirut ts., I, 328-0).

***

At one time while they were in the Cave of Thawr, Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) lay his blessed head down on the knee of Abu Bakr and fell into a light sleep. At that time Abu Bakr was stopping a hole that had remained open in the cave with his foot.

A little while later, it turned out by divine trial that Abu Bakr was in fact justified in his fear for a snake appeared and bit Abu Bakr on the foot and spat out his venom. Despite his feeling great pain, he did not move so that the Messenger of Allah would not waken, however he could not prevent a few teardrops from flowing from his eyes. One of these drops of pearl dribbled onto the blessed face of the Messenger of Allah. He woke up and asked:

What is wrong o Abu Bakr? What happened?”

However much Abu Bakr tried to reassure the Prophet in answering

‘Nothing is wrong o Messenger of Allah!’, upon the insistence of the Prophet, he was forced to explain.

‘May both my mother and father be sacrificed for you o Messenger of Allah! A snake bit my foot’.

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) spat some of his saliva onto Abu Bakr’s foot. At that point it was as if nothing had happened and Abu Bakr’s pain and suffering came to an end.

Years later, after the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) had passed away, this very same venom began to show its effect and was to be the cause of Abu Bakr’s martyrdom (Bayhaki, Dalail an-Nubuwwa wa Ma’rifeti Ahwali Sahibi as-Shariyya, ta’lik: Abdulmu’ti Kal’aci, Beirut, 1985, II, 477; Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya, III, 223).

***

When Umar  (r.a) once heard some people saying that he was a more superior caliph than Abu Bakr (r.a) he said:

‘By Allah, that single night of Abu Bakr is more superior than the entire dynasty of Umar! When the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) left his home to go to the cave it was Abu Bakr who was with him… (Hakim, III, 7/4268).

***

Bara  (r.a) tells of her father’s desire to hear any memory of Allah’s Messenger:

Abu Bakr al-Siddiq (r.a) bought a saddle from my father for three dirhams and said:

‘Tell Bara to take it to our house’. My father said:

‘No! Not until you tell me how the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) migrated from Mecca to Madina’.

Abu Bakr then narrated the journey of their migration at length. (Bukhari, Ashabu an-Nabi, 2; Ahmad, 1,2).

***

After the Muslim army had settled at their headquarters at Badr, Sa’d ibn Muadh (r.a) made the following speech which demonstrated his love for the Messenger of Allah and how he trembled at his every command:

‘O Messenger of Allah! Let us make some shade for you. Let your animals graze near you. Then we can fight the enemy. If Allah gives us power and victory then how wonderful! If the opposite occurs then you can mount your horse and go back to our brothers whom we have left behind. O Prophet of Allah! They love you as much as we do. If they had of known that you were going to enter into battle they would never have stayed behind. Allah will protect you through them. They are devoted to you and will fight in your path’

The Prophet praised Sa’d and prayed for good for him. Sa’d (r.a) took out his sword and kept guard at the door of the shaded place that had been made.

***

Abdurrahman Ibn Awf  (r.a) narrates the following cautionary event which shows how all of the blessed Companions, both young and old were filled with love for the Prophet:

‘On the Day of Badr I looked to my left and my right. I saw that I was behind two youth from the Ansar. I was not very happy about this. I wanted to be amongst more powerful people. Without letting his friend hear, one of them said to me:

“O uncle! Would you recognise Abu Jahl if you saw him?” I answered:

“Yes I would. What are you going to do (to him)?” The youth said:

“From what I hear he swears at the Messenger of Allah. I swear by Allah who holds the power of my existence in His hands that if I ever see him I will not part from him until either one of us is dead”.

I was left in awe at the words of this youth. The other youth said the same thing. It was then that I felt very happy that I was between these two youths. A little while later I saw Abu Jahl moving about in the battlefield and I said:

“Look, there is the person you were asking about”.

The youths immediately drew their swords and ran to Abu Jahl, jabibng their swords into him. These two youth were Muadh ibn Afra and Muadh ibn Amr (Bukhari, Megazi, 10; Muslim, Jihad, 42).

***

One time when Prophet Muhammad was wounded during the Battle of Uhud he said:

“Allah Most High is very angry at the tribe that has wounded the face of His Messenger”.

Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas said:

“By Allah when I heard these words I was filled with an ambition to kill the one who wounded him like I had never felt an ambition for anything before.

The one who wounded him happened to be my brother, Utba ibn Abi Waqqas”.

That day Sa’d (r.a) whose heart was filled with love for Allah’s Messenger, tore through the rows of pagans and made many attempts to kill his brother. However the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) prevented him from doing so each time.

***

Talha ibn Ubeydullah (r.a) narrates:

When the Companions dispersed at Uhud, the pagans set off on the attack and surrounded Allah’s Messenger on all sides. I wasn’t sure how to defend him, and from where – from in front, from behind, from his right or from his left. I drew my sword and drove away the fighters one time from in front and another time from behind until they had eventually dispersed. (Wakidi, I, 254).

***

Another time during the Battle of Uhud, one of the best archers from amongst the Pagans, Malik ibn Zuhayr, aimed his spear at the Messenger of Allah. Realising that the arrow was headed straight for the Prophet, Talha ibn Ubeydullah placed his hand in front of the arrow and subsequently injured his finger (Ibn Sa’d, III, 217).

***

One time some of the Companions from amongst the Emigrants and the Helpers surrounded the Messenger of Allah, whom they loved more than their own lives; they made a vow to Allah that they would be martyred for him:

“Let my face be a shield for your face, and my body effaced in yours. May the peace of Allah be upon you always. We will never leave your side o Messenger of Allah!” and saying so they fought until the end (Ibn Sa’d, II, 46; Wakidi, I, 240).

***

Abu Talha (r.a)  was a very skilled archer. On the day of the battle of Uhud two or three of his bows broke. The Messenger of Allah told everyone who passed by with their bag of arrows:

Empty your quivers next to Abu Talha”.

The Prophet kept raising his head to look at the pagans behind him. Abu Talha then said:

‘O Messenger of Allah! May my mother and father be sacrificed for you. Do not raise your head. One of the arrows from the pagans may hit you. Let my breast be a shield for your breast. Let whatever is aimed at you hit me instead’ (Bukhari, Megazi, 18).

***

In order to protect the Messenger of Allah, Qatada ibn Numan (r.a)  used to stand in front of him and shoot arrows at the pagans until his bow bent. Eventually he was hit in the eye with an arrow. His pupil fell out onto his cheeks. When Allah’s Messenger saw Qatada like this his eyes filled with tears. The Prophet took Qatada’s pupil in his hand and placed it back into its socket. After that, that eye became more beautiful and had sharper vision than the other one (Hakim, III, 334/5281; Haysami, VI, 113; Ibn Sa’d, III, 453)

***

Ummu Umara (r.ha) was one of the female Companions who protected the Prophet at the Battle of Uhud with a bow and arrow. On returning to Madina after the Battle, the Prophet said:

During the battle whenever I looked around me I saw Ummu Umara fighting right next to me” (Ibn Hajar, Al-Isaba, IV, 479).

Ummu Umara Hatun was complimented by the Prophet on different occasions. The Prophet also prayed for her. One time she said to him:

“Pray to Allah that I may be your neighbour in Paradise”. The Prophet replied:

“O Allah Make her my neighbour and friend in Paradise”. Following this, Ummu Umara said:

“From now on whatever misfortune comes to me in this world is of no consequence” (Wakidi, I, 273; Ibn Sa’d, VIII, 415).

***

During the Battle of Uhud, a group of believers heard a rumour that the Prophet had been martyred and fell into deep despair and confusion. Anas ibn Nadr (r.a) screamed out to them:

“What does it matter if you live or die if the Prophet is slain? Come and fight and become martyrs as he did”. He then attacked the pagans. A little while later he was martyred, having received over eighty wounds (Ahmad, III, 253; Ibn Hisham, III, 31).

***

When the battle of Uhud was over the Prophet (pbuh) sent one of his Companions to find Sa’d ibn Rabi (r.a)  and learn what state he was in. No matter how much the Companion searched for him he was unable to find him and no matter how much he shouted out for him he received no answer. As a last ray of hope he shouted out in the direction where the wounded and martyred lay:

“O Sa’d! The Messenger of Allah has sent me. He commanded me to find out if you are amongst the living or the dead”.

At that point, Sa’d was breathing his last breath and had no strength to reply. However on hearing that the Prophet was worried about him, he gathered all his strength and managed to say with a whimper:

“I am amongst the dead”. It was obvious that he was destined for the hereafter. The Companion ran to where Sa’d lay. He found him, his body in pieces as a result of numerous sword wounds. He managed to hear as a mere whisper the following words which expressed the epic love he felt for the Prophet:

“By Allah, as long as your eyes are able to move, but yet you refrain from protecting the Prophet from the enemy and allow misfortune to befall him then there is no excuse that you can put forth in the presence of Allah” (Muwatta, Jihad, 41; Hakim, III, 221/4906; Ibn Hisham, III, 47).

***

The women of Madina had exited the city in the hope that they could receive some news from the battlefield. Aisha (r.ha) was amongst them.

When Aisha arrived at Harra she encountered Hind ibnt Amr, a righteous woman. Hind had loaded the martyred bodies of her husband, Amr ibn Jemih, her son Hallad, and her brother Abdullah onto a camel and was leading it. Aisha asked her:

“What news is there?”

Hind ibnt-i Amr gave the following superb reply:

“Good news, the Prophet is alive! As long as he is alive, any other misfortune is of no importance”…(Wakidi, I, 265; Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari, Daral Fikr, ts., III, 216; Ibn Abdiller, al-Istiab, Cairo, ts., III, 1168).

***

Another scene from Uhud is described below:

On the day of Uhud, Madina was shaken by some news. It was said that ‘Muhammad (pbuh) has been slain’.

A clamour broke out in the city and the shrieks reached the skies. Everybody headed for the road trying to get news from those who were coming back. When Sumayra Hatun, from amongst the Helpers, received the news that her two sons, her father, her husband and her brother had been martyred, that blessed woman was not shaken but was anxious to learn of the matter that had truly worried her. What had happened to the Messenger of Allah:

“Has anything happened to Him?”, she kept asking.

The blessed Companions said in response:

“Praise be to Allah he is all right. He is alive, as you wish”.

Sumayra hatun said:

“I will not rest until I see him, show me the Messenger of Allah”.

When they showed him to her, she immediately went to him and holding the edge of his robe she said:

“May my mother and father be sacrificed for you o Messenger of Allah! As long as you are alive nothing else matters” (Wakidi, I, 292; Haysami, VI, 115).

Thus the peak of the love felt for the Messenger of Allah, and the sacrifice and examples of virtue showed by these believers whose hearts were filled with love for him.

***

One day the Messenger of Allah went to visit the martyrs of Uhud. Indicating the martyrs he said:

“I bear witness to their faith and loyalty”.

Abu Bakr (r.a) asked:

‘O Messenger of Allah! Are we not their brothers? Just as they became Muslim, did we not become Muslim? Just as they carried out jihad, did we not carry out jihad?’

The Prophet replied:

“Yes what you say is true, but I do not know what sort of innovations you will invent after I am gone”.

Abu Bakr, who could not stand even a moments separation from the Prophet began to weep and then asked:

“Do you mean that I will be left alive after you have gone o Messenger of Allah?” expressing the anxiety and sorrow he felt at having to live a life without him (Muwatta, Jihad, 32).

***

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) would send teachers to neighbouring tribes to teach them Islam. The tribes of Adal and Kare also requested the Prophet send a teacher to them. A group of ten people headed out to meet these tribes. However they fell into a trap. Eight of the teachers were martyred and enslaved. Zayd ibn Dasina (r.a) and Hubayb (r.a) were then given up to the Meccan polytheists where they too were subsequently martyred. Before he was martyred they asked Hubayb:

“Do you not wish that your Prophet was in your place so that you could go free?”

Looking pitifully at Abu Sufyan who had asked the question, Hubayb (r.a) replied:

“Forget me wishing to be amongst my family and the Prophet in my place, I would not even wish that He be pierced by a mere thorn that I might go free”.

Abu Sufyan was left frozen in amazement at this scene of unparalleled love and said:

“This is amazing! Never have I seen two people love each other more than the Companions of Muhammad love him” (Wakidi, I, 360; Ibn Sa’d, II, 56).

Before he was martyred Khubayb (r.a) had a single request to send a greeting of peace filled with love to the Prophet.

But who could he send it with? Helplessly he turned his eyes to the heavens and prayed:

“O Allah! There is no man here who will take my greeting of peace to the Messenger so please take my greeting of peace to him”.

At that point the Messenger of Allah was sitting with his Companions in Madina when he said ‘Wa alayhisselam’ (‘And upon him be peace’). Hearing this, his companions asked in surprise:

“O Messenger of Allah. To whose greeting did you respond?” He replied:

To my brother Khubayb’s greeting of peace. Here is Gabriel who brought it to me”.

***

The love of the Companions for the Prophet was sometimes so great that they could not share the Prophet amongst them. Ka’b ibn Ujra (r.a)  narrates the following event:

“One day we were sitting in the presence of the Messenger of Allah in his mosque. There was a group from the Helpers, the Emmigrants and the Sons of Hashim. We began to wager: ‘Which is it amongst us that the Prophet loves more?” We, the Helpers said:

‘We believed in the Messenger of Allah, we followed him, we fought against his enemies. Therefore the Messenger of Allah loves us more’.

Our brothers amongst the Emigrants said:

‘We migrated for the sake of Allah and His Messenger. We left behind our family and children. We gave up our property. We also took part in the battles that you fought in. Thus the Prophet (should) love us the most’.

Our brothers from the sons of Hashim said:

‘We are the relatives of the Prophet and we fought in the battles that you fought in. This is why the Prophet loves us the most’.

The Messenger of Allah approached us and said:

You were saying something? What was it that you have been talking about?”

We each repeated what we had said. The Messenger of Allah said to each group:

You are right. Who could claim otherwise?’ Later he said:

Would you like me to make a judgement amongst you?’

‘Of course o Messenger of Allah. May our fathers and mothers be sacrificed for you’. The Messenger of Allah said:

You o Helpers. I am your brother’.

In happiness the Helpers said:

“Allahu akbar (Allah is the Greatest). By the Lord of the Kabah we have (won) him”.

The Prophet then said:

O Emmigrants! I am one of you”.

In happiness the Emmigrants said:

‘Allahu Akbar! By the Lord of the Ka’bah we have won him (he is ours)’

Then the Prophet said:

O sons of Hashim! When it comes to you, you are from me and you came to me”.

The sons of Hashim in their joy said:

“Allahu Akbar! By the Lord of the Ka’bah he is ours”.

In this way we were all left content. Each group was happy and satisfied with the compliment of the Messenger of Allah. (Haysami, X, 14).

***

To love what the Prophet loved was a great pleasure for his Companions. Anas (r.a) narrates:

“A tailor once invited the Prophet to a meal he had prepared. I accompanied him. The host brought to the table bread made with barley, a soup containing gourd, and dried meat. I saw him seeking to eat the pieces of gourd from the various sides of the dish. Since that day I have liked to eat gourd.” (Bukhari, At’ime, 33, Buyu’ 30; Muslim, Ashriba 144; Muwatta, Nikah, 51).

To love what one’s beloved loves is the most patent sign of one’s love.

***

The following state of Abu Bakr (r.a) is an unparalleled example of love and sensitivity: On the day that Mecca was conquered he brought his blind and aged father to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) in the hope that he would become Muslim. When the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) saw them he said:

“O Abu Bakr! Why did you bring your aged father all the way here and cause him discomfort? We could have gone to him”.

Abu Bakr (r.a)  replied:

“I brought him to you because I wanted Allah to reward him”.

When Abu Quhafa, the father of Abu Bakr  held out his hand (to the blessed hand of the Prophet) to make a pact with him, Abu Bakr  could not contain himself and began to weep. When the Prophet asked Abu Bakr why he was crying, Abu Bakr (r.a) replied, tears falling down his cheeks:

“O Messenger of Allah! Would that this hand that is now reaching out to you to make a pact with you had been the hand of your uncle Abu Talib and not that of my father so that it would be you who Allah Most High pleased rather than me. How much you would be happy then! Because you loved him very much and wanted him to have faith…” (Haysami, VI, 174; Ibn Sa’d, V, 451).

***

When the Prophet (pbuh) went for the Hajj, he would stop to lead the prayer for the Muslims at various halts along the way. Later the Muslims built mosques at these sites as a sign of their loyalty and love and to keep his memory alive for ever. (Ibn Sa’d, II, 173).

***

The Companions displayed many examples of virtue when it came to the belongings of the Prophet, which they considered to contain great blessings. During the farewell hajj when the hair from the forehead of the Prophet was being cut, Khalid ibn Walid (r.a) begged the Prophet:

‘O Messenger of Allah! Give some of your hair to me and not to anyone else. May my mother and father be sacrificed for you!’[2] When the hair was given to him he brushed it over his eyes and then placed it in the front of his cap. Due to the blessings of this hair there was no one who was able to defeat him on the battlefield. Khalid (r.a) said:

‘Wherever I go with this hair, that place is conquered’ (Wakidi,III, 1108; Ibn Esir, Usdu al-Gabe, II, 111).

***

A female Companion once brought to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) a cloak she had woven. She said to him:

“I wove this with my own hands so that you could wear it”.

The Prophet (pbuh) was in need of just such a cloak and he put it on and then went to his Companions. One of them who saw him said:

“What a beautiful cloak! Would you give it to me so that I can wear it o Messenger of Allah”. The Prophet replied:

Alright”. After sitting with them for a while he went home, folded up the cloak and sent it to the man. The Companions said to that man:

“You did not do a good thing. The Messenger of Allah wore that cloak because he was in need of it. And you asked for it knowing that he never refuses a request”.

The Companion explained:

“By Allah I asked for that cloak not to wear but so that it could be my funeral shroud”.

And so it was that that cloak ended being the man’s funeral shroud (Bukhari, Janaiz 28, Buyu 31, Libas 18).

***

Sahl ibn Sa’d (r.a) narrates the following event which shows how even little children had the same degree of love for the Messenger of Allah:

One time a drink was brought to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). He drank a little from it. On his right sat a child and on his left were some of the older Companions. When it came to offering anything the Prophet was in the habit of starting with those on his right side. The Prophet said to the child with great sensitivity, delicacy and courteousness:

“Would you allow me to offer this drink first of all to the elders (on my left)?”

That intelligent child gave the following amazing reply which surprised everyone there and which was a lesson for all:

“O Messenger of Allah! I would never let anyone else take away from me something that you yourself have offered me”.

The Prophet then offered the drink to the child first. (Bukhari, Ashriba 19).

***

It was a source of much distress and hurt for the Companions when it came time for the Messenger of Allah to depart them, as they loved him more than they did their own lives. Anas ibn Malik (r.a) narrates:

‘When the Messenger of Allah’s sickness got worse his distress increased. Seeing his circumstances, his daughter, Fatima (r.ha) said to him:

“O father! What great pain you are in!” The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) replied:

“My daughter, after this day there will be no more pain for you father”.

When Allah’s Messenger passed away Fatima cried as follows:

“O dearest father besides whom there is no one closer to his Lord.

O dearest father who accepted the invitation of his Lord.

O dearest father whose station is the Paradise of Firdaws[3].

O dearest father. We will share the dark news of your death only with your friend Gabriel”

After the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) was buried, Fatima (r.ha) expressed her loss) and sorrow as follows:

“How could your hands act so quickly to cover the Messenger of Allah with earth. How could your hearts accept this?” (Bukhari, Megazi, 83; Darimi, Mugaddima, 14. See Ibn Majah Janaiz, 65).

***

One day Abdullah ibn Zayd al-Ansari (r.a) came to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and said, in tears:

‘O Messenger of Allah! You are dearer to me than my own soul, my property, my children and my family. If I were not able to come and see you I would wish to die”.

Upon this the Messenger of Allah said:

‘Why are you crying?”

Abdullah ibn Zayd answered:

“O Messenger of Allah! I cried because I was thinking that one day you will die and we will die. You will be in a high state with the other prophets in Paradise while we will be in a lower place, even if we do go to Heaven and so I was crying thinking that I was not going to be able to see you”.

The Prophet, that ocean of compassion was silent for a while and did not reply. At that point the following verse was revealed:

‘Whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger will be with those whom Allah has blessed: the Prophets and the truthful ones, the martyrs and the righteous. What excellent company such people are!’(Nisa 4:69)

One day when Abdullah ibn Zayd (r.a) was working in his garden his son came running breathlessly and brought the news that the Prophet had passed away. Abdullah’s world turned upside down. He made the following prayer:

“O Allah! Take away my sight so that I do not see anything other than the only thing I love, the Messenger of Allah”

The prayer of Abdullah was answered and he lost his sight there and then. (See Qurtubi, V, 271).

***

Another Companion who lost sight after the death of the Prophet carried the same emotions as Abdullah ibn Zayd (r.a). After losing his sight some of his friends came to console him. He responded to their attempts at consolation as follows:

‘I needed those eyes in order to look at the Messenger of Allah. What does it matter now if I have the eyes of the most beautiful gazelle since he has gone” (Ibn Sa’d, II, 313).

After the death of the Prophet (pbuh), the Companions became like candles burning and melting out of their sorrow. That day the Companions were scorched with the pain of being separated from the Messenger of Allah and went from state to state. Even Umar   lost himself for a moment. Abu Bakr  had a very difficult time trying to calm them all down. Those loving hearts had not been able to tolerate not seeing him for even a day. Now how were they going to cope not being able to see him at all.

***

After the death of the Prophet (pbuh) Bilal (r.a), was no longer able to read the call to prayer due to his sadness, even though he had the most beautiful voice. Whenever he tried to read it, not being able to withstand the insistence of the Companions, he would look at the altar where the Prophet used to stand. Not being able to see him there he would get a lump in his throat, his voice would fail him, and he would not be able to read the call to prayer. He left Madina in order to smother the fire of love that was burning within him and went to Syria. One day he saw the Prophet (pbuh) in his dream and he said to him:

“What is this separation o Bilal? Isn’t it time you came to visit me?”

Bilal awoke in sorrow and immediately headed off for Madina. He went to the grave of the Prophet.

While he was crying in the presence of the Prophet, the Prophet’s grandsons, Hasan and Hussain came. Bilal embraced them and kissed them. They said to him:

“O Bilal! We wish to hear your call to prayer” When they insisted he began to call out. At that point Madina was shaken. When he came to the line ‘I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah’, every person, man and woman, came out and went to the Prophet’s mosque thinking that the Prophet had come back to life. Not since the death of the Prophet had the people of Madina cried so much (Ibn Esir, Usdu al-Gabe, I, 244-5; Zehebi, Siyer, I, 357-8).

This blessed Companion, who loved the Prophet dearly, died in Damascus when he was over sixty years of age. While he was dying he said:

“Tomorrow Allah willing I am going to be reunited with my dearest friends – The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and his friends”. Hearing this, his wife began to cry:

“Oh dear”. However Bilal, whose heart was full of longing said:

“O but how beautiful, how nice”. (Zehebi, Siyer, I, 359).

Those people embraced the Prophet’s announcement – ‘You will be together with the one you love’. They tried to increase their love for the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) which was their greatest asset and sole source of consolation. Anas  said:

“After the bounty of becoming Muslim there was no other good news than “You will be together with the one you love” that pleased us more. And so I love Allah, I love His Messenger, and Abu Bakr and Umar. However much I could not perform the deeds that they did, I still hope to be together with them.” (Muslim, Birr, 163).

***

Once whilst Umar (r.a) was patrolling the streets of the city he saw a candle alight in one of the houses. When he approached the house he saw an old lady spinning some wool and reciting a poem at the same time:

“Peace and blessings of the righteous be upon Muhammad Mustafa. O Messenger of Allah! May all of the distinguished people send wishes of mercy upon you. You used to worship at night and weep much during the dawn hours. However death comes to everyone in stages. Oh! If only I knew whether the life of the hereafter would reunite me with my dearest Prophet”.

Umar (r.a) began to cry when he heard this emotion-filled poem. Then he knocked on the door. The old lady asked who it was.

‘It is Umar ibn Khattab” Umar replied. The lady asked anxiously:

“What could Umar want with me at this time of night?

“For the love of Allah please open the door, do not fear”

When the woman opened the door Umar (r.a) said to her:

“Would you please read that poem that you just read again?” The woman did so. When she came to the last line he said:

“I ask that you include me amongst you”. The woman then read the last line of the poem again:

“If I only knew whether the life of the hereafter would reunite me and my dearest Prophet and Umar. O Most Forgiving Allah! Forgive Umar”. Umar then left very content. (Ali al-Muttaki, XII, 562/35762).

***

After the death of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) Fatima (r.ha) was never seen smiling again. (Ibn Sa’d, II, 312).

There was never a time that Abdullah ibn Umar (r.a) mentioned the Prophet’s name without crying. (Ibn Sa’d, II, 312).

Anas  (r.a) : said:

“I have never had a dream in which I did not see the dearest Prophet” (Ibn Sa’d, VII, 20).

Because Anas (r.a) was one who knew the Prophet better than anyone, he lived exactly as the Prophet did and would pray like him too. He always kept on him a stick that belonged to the Prophet and a strand of his hair. When he died this stick was placed next to him in his grave and the strand of hair was placed under his tongue, upon his request.

***

Whenever the Blessed Companions would talk about the Prophet they would use terms of endearment such as ‘beloved’, and ‘my friend’. This would give them great pleasure[4]. Everything on the face of the earth would remind them of their Beloved Friend. Abu Dharr (r.a) said:

“By Allah the migration to the other world of the Messenger of Allah left us in such a state that if we saw a bird flap its wings we would be reminded of a hadith of the Messenger of Allah. Because the Blessed Prophet said:

“All has been explained to you including that which draws you nearer to Paradise, and that which keeps you away from the Fire”.(Ahmad, V, 153, 162; Haysami, VIII, 263).

***

Ukbah ibn Haris (r.a) narrates:

One day Abu Bakr  had finished praying the afternoon prayer and left the mosque. He began to walk with Ali. They came across the Prophet’s grandson Hasan, playing with other children. Abu Bakr immediately grabbed him and placed him up on his shoulders and said:

‘May my father be sacrificed for you.By Allah you look like the Messenger of Allah and not like Ali”, as Ali watched them with a smile on his face (Bukhari, Manakib, 23).

***

When narrating a hadith from the Prophet, his Companions were very careful about not saying anything that the Prophet did not say. Amr ibn Maymun (r.a) narrates:

“I never used to miss the talks of Ibn Mas’ud on Thursday nights. During these talks I never once heard him say ‘The Messenger of Allah said’ due to his sensitivity. However on one of these nights he started his talk by saying ‘The Messenger of Allah said’… then he bowed his head and did not finish his words. After waiting a while I looked at him. The buttons of his shirt had come undone and there were tears streaming down from his eyes. He stood up, the hollows of his cheeks swollen. After standing like that for a while he continued:

“The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said… or he said something like that, or he said something similar…” (Ibn Majah, Muqaddima 3).

***

After the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) had died whenever Abu Bakr (r.a) would narrate a hadith he would begin to cry remembering the Prophet (pbuh) and he would have difficulty talking. Abu Huraira   explains his state as follows:

“One day Abu Bakr  mounted the pulpit and said:

“You all know that last year the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) stood amongst you here where I am standing now”… Then he began to cry. Then he repeated his words but began to cry again. He tried again a third time but he could not control himself and began to cry once more…” (See Tirmidhi, Deawat, 105).

***

Aisha (r.ha)  tells of the time when her father Abu Bakr  was sick on his deathbed. She expressed the excitement that her father felt at being reunited with his only friend, the Blessed Prophet  .

“One day when my father was on his deathbed, he asked:

“What day is it today?”

“Monday”, we told him.

“If I die tonight do not let me wait until tomorrow (to be buried). Because for me, the dearest of days and nights is that which is closest to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) (that is the moment when I will be reunited with him as soon as possible)’ (Ahmad, I, 8).

After the Prophet (pbuh) passed away, Abu Bakr (r.a) ever felt like a stranger in the world. Now that he was about to die he felt excited about making a new migration to Allah and His messenger.

***

When certain of the Companions who loved the Prophet (pbuh) and desired swift reunion with him, became ill, other of the Companions envied them as this meant that they were soon to be reunited with Allah and His Messenger. They would send greetings of peace filled with love via those ill people. One example is Muhammad ibn Munkadir  who once visited Jabir when he was very ill. When he realised that he was near his death, Muhammad ibn Munkadir said to Jabir (who was longing to be with the Messenger of Allah):

“Take our greetings of peace to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh)”. (Ibn Majah, Janaiz 4).

***

It was a sign of the Companions to love the relatives and loved ones of the Prophet. For instance Umar (r.a) had nine plates on which he would place fruit, nuts and other things and send them to the wives of the Prophet (pbuh). And he would send a plate to his daughter last of all. If there was anything missing on this plate, he would fill it up from his own share (Muwatta, Zekat 44).

***

One time Umar (r.a) set aside 3500 dirhems for Usama, the son of Zayd ibn Harise, the slave that the Prophet had set free. And he gave his own son Abdullah 3000 dirhem.

Abdullah protested against this division by saying:

“Why are you favouring Usama over me? He has not participated in more battles than I have”.

Umar  gave the following reply which demonstrated his unparalleled sense of justice and in addition the depth of his heart:

“My son! The Messenger of Allah loved the father of Usama more than he loved your father. And he had more love for Usama than he had for you. This is why I prefer the beloved of the Messenger of Allah over my own beloved” (Tirmidhi, Manakib, 39/3813).

***

Anas (r.a) narrates the following event:

“I once went on a journey with Jarir ibn Abdullah[5]. Jarir began to attend to me when I said to him:

“Please do not do that”. He said in reply:

“I saw the people of Ansar serve and attend to the Messenger of Allah many times and I promised myself that “If I ever make friends with someone from the Ansar I am going to attend to him”. (Bukhari, Jihad 7; Muslim, Fadail-as Sahaba, 181).

What elevated love!…

***

Many of the Companions lived with the memories of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). For instance Abu Mahzura  would not cut the hair on his forehead nor would he part it. This was because the Messenger of Allah (pubh) had once touched his hair.

***

One day the Messenger of Allah said to a woman from Gifari:

“Take a container of water, place some salt in it. Then wash the stains of bloody cloth with it”.

That female Companion took this advice of the Prophet and applied it throughout her lifetime, with great love, and never again washed her clothes without adding salt. In fact when she died she had it put in her will that she be washed with salty water. (Abu Dawud, Taharah, 122/313). What an amazing love. This was a love that never lost its intensity for an entire lifetime and increased with time.

***

One day the nerves in Ibn Umar’s foot contracted and strained. Abdurrahman ibn Sa’d who was beside him said to him:

“Speak the name of the one you love the most”. Ibn Umar then said:

“O Muhammad!” His foot was immediately healed ( Ibn Sa’d, IV, 154).

***

In indicating the deep love felt by his community for him the Prophet had the following to say:

“From amongst those who love me will be a group of people who will come after me. They will sacrifice their property and their family in order to be able to see me”(Muslim, Jannah, 12; Hakim, IV, 95).

Thus there have lived many friends of Allah from the time of the Era of Bliss until our day who have burned with love for Allah and His Messenger. Some examples are as follows:

Abdullah ibn Mubarak narrates:

“I was once with Imam Malik. He was narrating some hadiths from Allah’s Messenger. While he was talking a scorpion came and stung him repeatedly. The colour of his face changed and went pale but he continued to relate the hadith of the Prophet (pbuh). When the lesson was over and the people had left I said to him:

“O Abu Abdullah! There was something odd about you today”

“Yes”, he replied. “A scorpion stung me over and over again but I patiently bore it. This was only possible because of the love and reverence I have for the Messenger of Allah” (Munawi, III, 353; Suyuti, Miftahu al-Jannah, p 52).

Imam Malik (may the mercy of Allah be upon him) lived with a passion to identify entirely with the Messenger of Allah. Out of respect for the spirit of the Messenger of Allah he would not mount an animal in Madina nor would he relieve himself. Whilst he was the imam at the Rawdah (the room in the Prophet’s Mosque in which he died), he would always speak with a soft voice. One time when the caliph Abu Jafar Mansur spoke with a loud voice, immediately he warned him:

“O Caliph! Lower your voice in this place. The caution of Allah was sent to people more virtuous than you” and then he read the following verse:

‘You who have faith! Do not raise your voices above the voice of the Prophet and do not be as loud when speaking to him as you are when speaking to one another, lest your actions should come to nothing without your realising it’ (Hujurat, 49:2).

***

Even from a young age Imam Malik took the utmost care in showing respect for the ahadith of the Prophet. He placed great importance on showing great reverence in order to memorise them correctly and also tried to listen to them calmly and in a peaceful state. This is why he never listed to a hadith being narrated while standing, nor would he take hadith lessons when he was distressed, sad or indecisive. He feared making a mistake when it came to narrating any hadith. One day he was asked:

“Have you ever heard a hadith narrated by Amr ibn Dinar?” He replied:

“I saw him narrating a hadith and there were people standing around him writing (down what he said). However I have never approved of writing down any hadith of the Prophet whilst standing”.

Imam Malik was a majestic personality, just as he was of the best character in all his states and during his lessons. Whether it was whilst giving a fatwa or whether it was whilst he was narrating a hadith from the Prophet, his face would shine. Whenever he was about to narrate a hadith from the Prophet, he would take ablution, get ready and put on his best clothes. He would only sit at the pulpit if he were to read a hadith.

When people came to his house his servant would come out and say to them:

“The Imam asks: ‘Do you want to listen to hadith or do you want to ask about a legal ruling?”. If they wanted to ask about a matter of jurisprudence the Imam would come out and answer their questions. However if it was a hadith that they wished to listen to, he would tell them ‘Sit down’. Then he would immediately go and take his ablution, put on the finest perfume, wear new clothes, tie his turban and mount the pulpit where he would give his hadith lesson in deep reverence. Inside there would be some burning aloeswood and its smoke would send out a beautiful smell until the end of the lesson.

***

Abida as-Salmani (r.a) was one of the leading fiqh and hadith transmitters from the generation of the Tabi’een[6].

He had become Muslim two years before the Prophet died, but had not been fortunate enough to have seen him. The following words of Abida demonstrate the love felt for the Porphet by the first Muslims:

“A strand of hair belonging to the Prophet is dearer to me than all of the treasure in the world” (Ahmad, III, 256).

After reading the above-mentioned words of Abide as-Salmani (r.a), the famous scholar Zehebi also expressed his love for the Prophet as follows:

“The words of Abide which express his preference for a single strand of hair of the Messenger of Allah over all of the gold and silver possessed by men are a sign of the peak of love. If that great scholar can speak such words only fifty years after the death of the Prophet then what would we have to say if after 700 years since his passing away we were to obtain one strand of his hair or a strap of his sandal or one piece of the earthen cup that he drank water from?

If a rich man were to spend a major part of his wealth in order to obtain such an item would you look at him as someone who foolishly spends his money or who wastes it? Indeed not. Do not refrain from spending whatever you have in order to visit the Prophet’s Mosque which he built with his own hands and to send him a greeting of peace from near his Blissful Room in that dearest of cities.

When you arrive in Madina look longingly at his beloved mountain of Uhud and you too love it. Because the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) dearly loved the mountain of Uhud. Visit over and over again his Rawdah and the places where he sat and look to completely satisfy your soul. Because you cannot be a (true) believer unless you love that individual more than you love your own life, your child, everything you own, and everyone in the whole world…” (Zehebi, Siyer, IV, 42-3).

***

One of the students of Imam Shafii’, Rabi ibn Sulayman narrates:

“One day Imam Shafii’ said to me:

“Rabi, take this letter to Ahmad ibn Hanbal and then bring me the reply”

I took the letter and went to Baghdad. I met with Ahmad ibn Hanbal at the dawn prayer which we prayed together. When Imam Ahmad came away from the altar I presented the letter to him and said:

“This letter is from your brother in Egypt, Imam Shafii”. He asked me:

“What is the letter about, do you know?”

I replied that I did not know.

Then Ahmad ibn Hanbal took the letter, removed the seal and began to read it. Suddenly his eyes filled with tears. I asked him:

“O Imam. What is it? What does the letter say?” He said:

“Imam Shafii’ saw the Blessed Prophet in his dream. The Messenger of Allah said to him:

‘Write a letter to Ahmad ibn Hanbal and send him my greetings of peace. He will be subject to instigation and it will be asked of him to make a ruling and say that ‘the Qur’an is created’. Beware and do not bow down to their demands. Allah will make his name be remembered and exalted until the day of Judgement’.

I said to him:

“O Imam! What great news this is for you!”

Then out of happiness the Imam took off his shirt and gave it to me. After receiving the reply I then left for Egypt. I gave the letter to Imam Shafii’ who then said:

“We would not wish to sadden you by taking from you the shirt that he gave to you. But at least take it and dip it in water and then give us that water so that we may receive a share of the blessings of that shirt”. (See Ibn al-Jawzi, Manaqibu’l Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, (thk, Abdullah ibn Abdulmuhsin at Turki) Cairo 1409 pg 609-610).

***

The scholar of hadith and the mujtahid (renewer of the religion), Imam Nawawi had imbued every state and act of his life with following the Messenger of Allah and had become so much at one with the Prophet that he never ate watermelon his entire life because he did not know whether the Prophet ate his watermelon by breaking it or cutting it.

***

It is worth mentioning the love that Imam Bushiri had for the Messenger of Allah:

One day the famous writer of the Qasida Burda, Imam Bushiri, met a weak old man who had abandoned the world, on his way home. The old man said to him:

“O Bushiri! Did you see the Messenger of Allah in your dream last night?” Imam Bushiri answered:

“No I did not”.

The old man said nothing further and left. However his words ignited in his heart the fire of love and ardour for the Blessed Prophet. That night the Imam saw the Prophet in his dream and woke up with a feeling of joy and peace in his heart. Upon this, he began to write verses of praise for the Prophet which would result in many lovers of the Prophet being enveloped in an ocean of love for him.

Some time later half of his body became paralysed to the degree that he could no longer walk or move. It was at that time that he wrote the famous Qasida Burda using it to ask for a cure from Allah. The night he finished writing the Qasida he saw the Prophet again in his dream and he read it to him. After he finished reading it, the Messenger of Allah massaged the paralysed limbs of Imam Bushiri with his blessed hands. What a sign of deep love it was that when he awoke, Imam Bushiri saw that his paralysis had left him and he thanked Allah.

Having been restored to health the morning of that night he went to the mosque in blissful happiness. He met Shaykh Abu’ ar-Reja on the way, who said to him:

“O Bushiri! Would you please read your Qasida that praises the Prophet Muhammad, the pride of the universe?”

Imam Bushiri asked him:

“I have many qasida’s that praise the Prophet. Which one do you want me to read?”

Shaykh Abu ar-Raja said:

“I want you to read the one you read in the presence of the Prophet. Because I saw that the Prophet was very happy with this Qasida”.

Imam Bushiri was amazed as he knew that no one else had heard this qasida (See Ilhan Armutcuoglu, “Qasida-i Burda Manzum Tercumesi,” Konya 1983,p 7-10).

***

Sayyid Ahmad Yasavi was a great Saint who nourished the light of Islam and its effulgence in the hearts, from Central Asia to the Balkans. When he reached the age of 63 he dug himself a representative grave and said:

“After this age I do not need to live above the earth”. According to reports he was said to have spent the remaining 10 years of his life of worship and guidance in this grave, in the hope of becoming (one) with the Messenger of Allah.

***

The conqueror of India, Gazneli Mahmud, had a much beloved servant by the name of Muhammad. He would always call him by his name. One day he called his servant not by his name but by his father’s name. His servant was very hurt by this act of Sultan Mahmud and his heart was broken. When he asked him why he addressed him such, Gazneli Mahmud answered:

“My dear child. I have called you by your name everyday. And on every one of those days I had my ablution. However I do not have ablution at the moment. This is why I was ashamed to say your name without being purified. That is why I called you by your father’s name”.

***

The Ottoman state was a state, the entire nation of which was distinguished by its love of the Prophet. From shepherd to Sultan, they would send peace and blessings upon the Prophet whenever his name was mentioned and place their hands on their heart out of reverence for him. They would stand whenever they listened to verses which related his birth from the Mawlud-i Sharif[7]. These innumerable displays of respect have become tradition. There was never a single Ottoman Sultan who did not renew his ablution whenever the post would arrive from Madina, or kiss and wipe the paper over their eyes or read it without standing.

In addition the Ottomans who repaired the Prophet’s mosque would handle each stone having first made sure that they had their ablution and first saying ‘Bismillah’ (In the Name of Allah). They were of such good breeding that they would cover their hammers with felt in order to avoid disturibng the spirit of the Messenger of Allah. These are examples of good character and respect, the likes of which have never been seen before.

The Surre Alayi[8] which was sent to Madina during the time of the Ottomans, would stop by at a close location before entering the city and would prepare themselves for entering the spiritual atmosphere of Madina. They would perform the istikhara prayer [9] and then enter into the presence of the Messenger of Allah having received a spiritual signal. On their return to their nation, they would take back some of the blessed earth from Madina for its curing properties and its blessings.

The tufts that can be seen on the tops of the turbans of the Ottoman Sultans in various miniatures, which can be considered to be the portraits of that time, symbolise brooms. By these, they meant to imply that they were the sweepers of the Haramayn- Sharif (the two sacred cities of Mecca and Madina) and this is how they considered themselves. The Ottoman Sultans would also pay the salary of the individuals who undertook the cleaning of the haramayn out of their own pocket.

***

Another sign of the great love and respect felt for the Blessed Prophet is the keeping of the strands from the Prophet’s hair and beard which were kept in the pulpits of the mosque. These were wrapped in 40 layers and were an esteemed souvenir. They were given the title ‘Sakal-i Sharif’, and have been a source of blessings and mercy for the community for centuries.

***

Yavus Sultan Selim Han conquered Egypt and the governing of the region of Hijaz had been given to him. On Friday the 20th of February in the Malik Mueyyed Mosque the preacher of the Friday sermon mentioned him as being:

Hakimu al-haramayn ash Sharifayn’ that is the ‘Ruler of the two blessed places of Mecca and Madina’. Yavuz immediately interrupted and with teary eyes, he spoke:

‘No, no! On the contrary. Say ‘Khâdimu al-Haramayn’ ash Sharifayn’, ‘the servant of the two blessed places’. After that he lifted up the rug and prostrated on the earth, praising his Lord. And to express his being the ‘servant of the two blessed places’ he placed a tuft in the form of a broom on top of his turban.

Later the words he spoke to Piri Pasha, to whom he gave the governorship of these blessed lands, are a sign of his sincere love for the Prophet:

“Pasha! The sultanate of Mecca and Madina are in the hands of the noble sons of the Master of the Universe. I did not take those lands by military force. They showed me obedience in the way of Islamic unity out of their own perfection, their beautiful manners, and their own goodness. I am compelled to reward this honour. I praise Allah day and night that my name is remembered in those blessed lands during the reading of the Friday sermon. I would not substitute this joy and happiness for the kingdom of the entire world. Therefore do not withhold whatever is necessary for the people of the al Haramayn ash Sharifayn. And beware that you do not interfere in the affairs of those two blessed lands”.

***

For centuries our blessed forefathers have shown indescribable respect and love for the belongings and sacred keepsakes of the Messenger of Allah. In order to see just a few amazing examples of this, it will suffice to take a look at the history of the Sacred Trusts, the service of which our forefathers have always considered a great honour.

The Ottoman Sultans who did not wish to be distant from the Hirka-i Saadet, the Blessed Cloak of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) for even a moment, took it with them wherever they went by various means. A case was built in the Istavroz Palace, the present location of Beylerbeyi Palace, in order to house the Blessed Cloak, as was done in the Old Edirne Palace, and just like there is in Topkapi Palace today.

The Blessed Cloak was also taken to battle. A miniature painting of one of these expeditions is worthy of attention. From what can be concluded from this miniature, the Blessed Cloak was carried by various appointed protectors throughout the journey.

Mehmed the third, one of the Ottoman Sultans, was very severe in character and quite an angry sultan. Despite this, he was filled with love of the Prophet. Whenever the name of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) was mentioned he would immediately rise and express his love and reverence for him. When Mehmed III went to the Egri expedition he took with him the blessed banner and the Blessed Cloak. Seeing the Muslim soldiers lose hope at one stage of the battle when the threat of defeat was imminent, the mentor of the Sultan, Sadeddin Efendi, said to him:

“My Sultan! In situations such as this one, it befits you, as Sultan of the family of Uthman and a caliph in the way of the Prophet, to put on the Blessed Cloakand pray to Allah Most High”. Thus he gave him permission to wear the Blessed Cloak. Mehmed Sultan III then prayed for peace and blessings on the Prophet and saying ‘Allahu Akbar’ he put on the Blessed Cloak. As a result, he was a source of encouragement for his soldiers and facilitated a certain victory as a result.

***

When Sultan Ahmet I, had his mosque built, he had the blessed preserved footprints of the Prophet Muhammad brought to the tomb of Ayyub Sultan. They were brought from the tomb of Sultan Kayitbay in Egypt. Once the mosque had been built he had them placed in it. However the night that this transfer was taking place, he saw a dream which can be described as follows:

“A great assembly consisting of all of the Sultans had gathered together and the Blessed Prophet was sitting amongst them in the position of judge. A type of court had been set up in which Sultan Kayitbay was a claimant against Sultan Ahmet. He was complaining that he had taken the blessed footprints of the Prophet to Istanbul. The footprints had been a means of people visiting his tomb. As judge, the Messenger of Allah ruled that the footprints be returned immediately…”

Sultan Ahmet woke in extreme fear and terror. He went to certain scholars and shaykhs, including Aziz Mahmud Hudayi and had them interpret his dream. They told him:

“My Sultan! Your dream is quite clear. There is no room for interpretation. The trust must be returned immediately”.

Sultan Ahmed I, who loved the Prophet dearly, obeyed the ruling at once and with great care and sorrow had it returned. However his heart was left burning with love for the Prophet and so he had a model made of the blessed footprints on marble. He had the model placed in his turban as a source of prosperity. The following lines which were penned by him reflect the love he felt for the blessed Prophet:

Would that I could make the pure footsteps of the King of Prophets ever be the crown on my head.

The owner of those footsteps is the rose of prophethood.

Then touch your face to that rose, o Ahmad…

***

Abdulaziz Han was another sultan who loved the Messenger of Allah dearly. He once sent a poignant letter addressing the Prophet, to Madina to be placed in the Rawda Mutahhara[10]. Some of the lines from this letter are written below:

In the name of Allah Most Compassionate, Most Merciful

Praise be to Allah who is One

And the peace and blessings be upon you, O Messenger of Allah

And peace and blessings be upon you o Beloved of Allah

And peace and blessings be upon you o Prophet of this community!…

O Prophet Muhammad… You are the truest of friends. You are the model of kindness and generosity. You are the one about whom Allah said: ‘Were it not for you, I would not have created the universe’. You are the source of pride of all of creation. Our intercessor, our refuge. The one whose every act is pure and gracious. Even the dust from your footsteps would sparkle. The greatest teacher of all of creation. Your every deed was of the sweetest essence. Your love fills the entire universe. You are the last of the prophets and their refuge. You are our leader on the day of judgement and the intercessor of the sinners within your community. You are the one who best demonstrated the Unity of Allah and the embellishment of the prophets. You are the judge of the assembly of prophets and the prophet of those who enter the path of Allah, the Clement One. You are the Beloved of the Most Merciful Allah.

O Muhammad Mustafa! It is you to whom all of these characteristics are addressed…

In my weakness I have had the temerity to wipe my darkened face over your radiant tomb, your radiant chain, and over the pure and clear earth of your land. This I have done in humility and modesty, pleading and with respect. I have shown the nerve to present my case to your threshold which radiates the most beautiful of scents, with my sinful forehead deserving of punishment, amongst thousands of feelings of shame and modesty, to express my sorrow with respect…

All praise be to Allah that He has allowed me to be from amongst that perfect community of the Prophet in loyalty and delight, with honour and faithfulness. That Beloved of Allah who is most generous and bountiful…

I seek forgiveness from Allah for all of my sins. Again and again I seek forgiveness…

Mercy! Mercy! Of Messenger of Allah!. Do not send us back deprived…

O father of Fatima Zahra . Peace and blessings of Allah be upon you.

O grandfather of Hasan and Hussain! Peace and blessings be upon you.

O Master of those who came before and after. Peace and blessings be upon you…’[11]

***

Sultan Abdulhamid Han II had the Hijaz Railway built so that the Muslims of the world could travel in ease to the Haramayn. In order to comply with the traditions of the Prophet, he had stations made where the Prophet had rested during his expeditions. In this way the railway has taken people to Madina in an atmosphere of love.

***

The epithets and commemorative eulogies that poets have written to express their love for the Messenger of Allah could fill volumes. The poet Nabi expresses his love most beautifully:

‘The reason I have dared to praise you is this – that even trees and stones, plants and inanimate creatures have entered into your blessed presence to speak with you’

***

It is true that from time to time even animals and plants, and not just human beings, have expressed their deep love for the Messenger of Allah. An example of this is given by Safina , the freed slave of the Prophet:

‘I had gone out to sea and the boat that I was in had been shattered to pieces. I held onto a piece of wood which took me to a place where the trees were thick and where lions could be found. One of those lions lunged at me in order to tear me apart. I said to it:

“Hey ravenous one! I am the slave of the Messenger of Allah, such and such is my state, and such and such has befallen me…”

Suddenly the lion stopped, lowered its head and moved towards me. It pushed me with its shoulders until I found myself emerged from the thick trees. After bringing me back to the main road it began to purr. I then realised that it was farewelling me. And that was the last I saw of it” (Hakim, III, 702/6550; Abdurrazzak, XI, 281-2; Tabarani, VII, 94).

***

Many more words and innumerable more examples can be narrated about the epic love felt by the community for their Prophet. We have only presented a mere drop from a deep ocean.

This we know for certain, that when it comes to all of the virtues that can be found in the community of the Messenger of Allah, they come from their love for the Him. They are sparkles of his love reflected in their hearts. These virtues include the spirituality of their worship, the civility of their conduct, the refinement of their character, the elegance of their hearts, the radiance of their countenance, the fluency of their speech, the delicacy of their feelings, and the depth of their outlook.

The Blessed Prophet (pbuh) is the sole spring of mercy and love that can take one to the ocean of love of Allah. It is such that love of the Prophet is considered equal to love felt for Allah, obedience to the Prophet is like obedience to Allah and rebellion against the Prophet is considered to be rebellion to Allah.

May Allah Most High bestow upon us an exalted share from the spiritual heart of that unique guide to the Straight Path, the Blessed Prophet. And may He plant prosperity in our hearts from his deep spirituality. May our hearts be eternal manifestations of love for both Allah and His Messenger. May Almighty Allah allow us all to attain to his Great Intercession. Amen…

If You please, o Messenger of Allah!…

Help us, o Messenger of Allah!…

Intercede for us, o Messenger of Allah!…

[1].     See Hakim, III, 7/4268; Ibn Kathir, Al Bidaya, III, 222-3; Ali al-Kari, Mirkat, Beirut, 1992, X, 381-2/6034; Abu Nuaym, Hilya, I, 33).

[2].     At this point Abu Bakr was thinking about what Khalid had done to the Muslisms at Uhud, the Battle of Hendek and at Hudaybiya. He was thinking about that and then watching his state now and was left in amazement.

[3].     Firdaws is one of the levels of Paradise

[4].     Bukhari, Tahajjud 33, Sawm 60; Muslim, Mûsafirin 85, 86; Abu Dawud, Witr 7; Nasai, Siyam 81, Qiyamu’l Layl 28; Ibn Majah, Sadaqat 10; Darimi, Sawm 38; (Ahmad V, 159, Ibn Sa’d, IV, 229).

[5].     Jarir ibn Abdullah was the leader of the tribe of Bajila in Yemen. He had come to Madina in the 10th year Hijri during Ramadhan, that is 3 months after the death of the Prophet. With him was a group of 150 people who came to Madina to become Muslim. He loved the Prophet very much. And the Messenger of Allah loved him too and would smile whenever he saw him.

[6].     The Tabi’een were the generation who came after the Companions. They were Muslims who had met with or spoken to the Companions but not the Prophet himself (translator’s note).

[7].     The Mawlud-i Sharif is a booklet which contains poems depicitng the birth and characteristics of the Prophet.

[8].     The “Surra Alayi” was a pageant which was put on every year before the season of the Pilgrimage in the month of Rajab. Parcels consisting of money, gold and giftts would be sent from the wealthiest people of Istanbul to the poorest people in Mecca and Madina.

[9].     The Istikhara prayer is a prayer that is carried out when one wishes to make a decision about a particular event (translator’s note).

[10].   This letter can be found in Topkapi Palace in the Chamber of the Hirka-i Saadet.

[11].   Hilmi, Aydin, “Hirka-i Saadet Dairesi ve Mukaddes Emanetler”, Istanbul 2004, pg 272-5.