The Exemplar beyond Compare Prophet Muhammad Mustafa (pbuh)

The pages of the book of prophetic history were first turned with the presentation of the Light of Muhammad to the first man, coming to a close with the bodily manifestation of Muhammad (pbuh)on Earth. Simpler stated, from the first moment, this exalted Light proceeded through the purest and noblest genealogical lines until reaching Abdullah, from whose forehead it then passed onto Aminah, the fortunate mother pregnant with the Light of Being, wherefrom it was eventually handed over to its true owner, the Prophet (pbuh), the Most Excellent of creation.

The fascinating system that is the universe, owes its existence to the Light of Muhammad (pbuh). Flows of Divine Power perceivable throughout the universe and numerous patterns of beauty to be seen in full view are simply reminders, glimpses of that Light. As alluded to in the below excerpt from a hadith, the only reason the heartfelt repentance of Adam (a.s) was accepted was because the dust from which he was created had a grain of the dust of the Prophet (pbuh):

“‘Lord…I ask Your forgiveness for the sake of Muhammad!’ pleaded Adam (a.s) after realizing his error for committing the blunder that led to his expulsion from Paradise.

Then Allah, glory unto Him, asked:

‘How do you know Muhammad when I have not yet created him?’

‘When You created me,’ said Adam (a.s) ‘and breathed into me from Your Spirit, I looked up and saw the words La ilaha ill’Allah Muhammadun Rasulullah inscribed above the pillars of the Throne. I knew there and then that You would only mention the most beloved of all creation next to Your Name.’

Thereupon Allah, glory unto Him, declared:

‘You have spoken the truth, Adam! Surely, he is the most beloved for Me of all creation! So implore me for his sake; and since you have, I hereby forgive you. Had Muhammad not been, you would not have been created!’”[1]

Submitting the name of Muhammad (pbuh) as a means, a wasilah in his repentance, Adam (a.s) was able to receive Divine Amnesty. The Muhammedan Light then proceeded forth, becoming temporarily embodied in Ibrahim (a.s), whereby the fire of Nimrod was tamed to coolness and pleasance; and as a pearl enclosed in the wrapping that was of Ismail (a.s), it induced the sending of a ram as sacrifice from the Heavens.

As can be seen, even prophets made the most of Divine Mercy through his name. There were even those like Musa (a.s) who yearned to become simply a number among his ummah, just to reap the blessings of his adherence, as illustrated in a hadith narrated by Qatadah ibn Numan (r.a):

Musa (a.s) once prayed:

‘My Lord…On the Tablets[2] You have given me, I see there is mentioned a virtuous nation brought forth from among mankind, enjoining good and forbidding evil. Let them, oh Lord, be my nation!’

‘They are Ahmad’s nation!’ replied Allah, glory unto Him.

‘Lord…I see made mention in the Tablets a nation last to appear on Earth yet poised to enter Paradise first. Let them be mine!’ then pleaded Musa (a.s).

‘They are Ahmad’s’, the Almighty responded once more.

‘The Tablets mention a nation who recite their Scriptures by heart, from memory, whereas those before needed their written Scriptures in front of them to read and would not remember a letter of it once their Scriptures had  vanished. You have without a doubt given this nation, my Lord, a power to memorize and protect, of a kind You have not given any nation before. So let them be mine!’

‘They are Ahmad’s’, declared the Almighty once again.

‘My Lord,’ continued Musa (a.s). ‘Mentioned there is a nation, who believe both what has been revealed to them and before them, who persevere against all kinds of deviance and the one-eyed impostor Dajjal. Please, let them be mine!’

‘But they are Ahmad’s’, stated Allah, glory unto Him.

‘The Tablets refer to a nation, my Lord, who are given a reward just for intending to do a good deed, even if they do not carry through with it, and if they do, are rewarded ten to seven hundred times in return. I beg to You to make them mine!’

‘They are Ahmad’s nation’, Allah declared.

Thereupon Musa (a.s) put the Tablets he had been holding aside, and pleaded:

‘Then my Lord, make me member of Ahmad’s nation!’”[3]

Thus each ring of the chain of prophets, each a flame of guidance in their own right, were auspicious harbingers of the coming of Muhammad Mustafa (pbuh), sent as mercy to the entire realm of being.

And At long last, in the year 571, on the Monday morning of the 12th of Rabiulawwal, the anxiously anticipated Light arrived at the world of manifestation to honor the entire extent of space and time, from the bountiful marriage of Abdullah and Aminah,

Divine Compassion overflowed throughout the universe with his arrival. Days and nights changed complexion. Feelings grew deeper, tastes profounder; everything gained a unique meaning, a peculiar elegance. Idols collapsed, crumbling to pieces. The grand pillars and towers of the pretentious palaces of Medain, the domain of Persian Emperors, fell apart. Akin to the swamp of ignorance that was to suffer the same fate, the Lake of Sawa dried up. Hearts became filled with a grace and prosperity that encompassed the entire universe and the whole spatiotemporal scope alike.

Had the Blessed Prophet (pbuh), the epitome of all virtues,not made his honorable arrival to the world, mankind would have been left struggling in the throes of oppression and brutality until the end of time, leaving the weak captive at the hands of the strong. The pendulum would have swung in the favor of evil, at the expense of balance. Earth would have been a haven for oppressors and tyrants, a sentiment elegantly reverberated in the poem:

Messenger, had you not have come,

Roses would not have bloomed,

Nightingales would not have sung,

To Adam, the names would have forever remained unknown

And left without meaning,

Being would have been left to mourn…

Mawlana Rumi (q.s), that great voice of Truth, propounds the degree of gratitude we ought to feel for the Noble Prophet (pbuh), who for a life time endured the most unthinkable of hardships to shatter the idols and overthrow oppression:

You, who today enjoys being a Muslim; know that had it not been for the supreme effort of our one and only Ahmad (pbuh), and his resolve in smashing the idols, you too would have been an idolater like your forefathers.”

***

Not only did the wisdom and knowledge laden content of what the ‘Unlettered Man’, who appeared in an ignorant society remote from civilization, leave the people of the time in awe, it also bequeathed to posterity a miraculous ocean unfathomed and indeed unfathomable till the Final Hour. Attesting to this is the fact that even though the Sacred Quran touches upon a variety of issues from the recounting of past events to the foreboding what is to come of social and scientific nature alike, for what is now over 1,400 years, no discovery has been able to disprove its assertions. Yet even the most prestigious encyclopedias today are afflicted with the recurring need of self-correction and improvement by way of publishing additional volumes and appendixes each year.

That orphan and unlettered Prophet (pbuh) never received any education from any one person; still, he proved to be a savior of entire mankind, a translator of the realm of the unknown and a master of the school of Truth.

Musa (a.s) had conveyed certain laws. Dawud (a.s) excelled through the prayers and psalms inspired in him by Allah, glory unto Him. Isa (a.s) was sent as an exemplar of virtue and piety. Muhammad Mustafa (pbuh) came with all of these. Pronouncing laws, he at the same time taught ways of refining the self and praying to Allah with a pure heart. The paramount virtues he taught, he epitomized throughout his life. He advised not be beguiled by the deceiving dazzle of the world. Succinctly said, he embodied all the rights and duties of the entirety of prophets before him. The nobility of both lineage and conduct, of beauty and perfection were personified in him.

Forty years among an ignorant society, he spent, during which most of the perfections he later was to promote remained a mystery to nearly all of them. He was not known as yet as a man of state. Little were aware of his orating abilities. Speaking of his potential as an illustrious commander was one thing; he was not renowned even as an ordinary soldier.

Still without a doubt, the fortieth year of his life proved to be the most extraordinary turning point in the course of the history of humankind.

Before that, nobody had heard him talk about the histories of peoples and prophets of the yesteryears, or of paradise and hell. Reputed only for leading a distinctive life of utmost virtue and solitude, that momentous return from the Cave of Hira where he was entrusted with Divine duty, marked an incredible change.

Once he began the invitation, entire Arabia was left in shock and awe, enthralled by the eloquence of his call. Contests of poetry and literature the Arabs had reveled in until then suddenly became devoid of essence. Nobody no longer dared to hang their prize winning poetry on the wall of Kabah, laying to rest an age old tradition; such that the sister of the famous poet Imr’ul-Qays, reputed for her depth of poetic insight, upon hearing the Quranic verse:

وَق۪يلَ يَاۤ اَرْضُ ابْلَع۪ي مَاۤءَكِ وَيَا سَمَاۤءُ اَقْلِع۪ي
وَغ۪يضَ الْمَاۤءُ وَقُضِيَ الْاَمْرُ وَاسْتَوَتْ عَلَى الْجُودِيِّ
وَق۪يلَ بُعْدًا لِلْقَوْمِ الظَّالِم۪ينَ

 “Then the word went forth: O earth! Swallow up your water, and O sky! Withhold (your rain)!” and the water abated, and the matter was ended. The Ark rested on Mount Judi, and the word went forth: Away with those who do wrong!” (Hud, 44), remarked:

“This leaves us all lost for words. Even my brother’s poems can boast no more”, immediately after which she brought down the qasidah of Imr’ul-Qays pinned on the uppermost part of Kabah’s wall, leaving no other choice for the other lesser poems of the Muallaqat, fastened below it, than to be taken down.[4]

The Messenger of Allah taught (pbuh) entire mankind, in the flesh, the truth of his being the Prophet of the Real, glory unto Him. He instated only the most perfect principles pertaining to society, culture, economy, governance and international relations, the inner wisdoms of which would take even the most preeminent scholars and scientists a lifelong experience of research, into both man and matter, to grasp. To be sure, humankind will better appreciate the Muhammedan Truth, as it further develops in theoretical knowledge and practical experience.

The remarkable Prophet, who had never before laid his hands on a sword, without previous military training except for participation in only one battle, and that as virtually a spectator, unfolded to be a courageous soldier, a competent commander in way of the struggle of tawhid and the enforcement of social peace, in spite of exuding a compassion vast enough to encompass the whole of mankind.

He communicated the religion of Allah, glory unto Him, from door to door notwithstanding the preferences of the hapless to shut their doors insolently on the face of the Sun of Guidance and forever remain in their crass darkness. Their hearts of stone at times provoked them to treat him rudely; yet the Prophet (pbuh) never took their rudeness personally, only grieving on behalf of them, for their careless ignorance.

To such people, he always simply stated:

“No reward do I ask of you for this (Qur’an), nor am I a pretender.” (Sad, 86), reminding them he had but the pleasure of Allah in mind.

In a matter of nine short years, he triumphed over the entire Arabian Peninsula, almost always with forces a third the size of the enemy; and what’s more, with minimal loss of lives on both sides. Instilling a spiritual power and a military training to the hitherto unruly group of people granted him a miraculous success in the said campaigns, such that those to follow after him would end up routing the two strongest and most dominant powers of the time, in Byzantine and Persia.

Realizing the greatest revolution in the history of humankind, in spite of the inauspicious circumstances, the Prophet of Allah (pbuh) thus effaced the oppressors, wiping the long shed tears from the eyes of the oppressed. His sacred hands became combs for the heads of orphans. Hearts were freed from grief with his comforting touch.

Enunciating this beautifully is Mehmed Akif:

Then the Orphan had matured and reached forty,

Bloody feet stomping on heads, till then, were flushed,

With a breath, the Innocent saved all mankind,

A strike, and the Caesars and Khosraus were brushed,

Revived were the weak, the sole right of who was to suffer,

And oppression, no one would think it would, was crushed,

A Mercy to the Worlds, indeed, was his Clear Way,

And he got, whosoever wanted justice as their hide,

Whatever the World has, it is all but His offering,

To Him is obliged society, and so the individual obliged,

Obliged is all of humankind to that one Innocent, oh Lord

Revive us in the Hereafter with this thought on our mind!     

***

The prophethood of Muhammad Mustafa (pbuh) is akin to a boundless ocean, with those of the remaining prophets analogous to rivers pouring into it. A cut above all the previous prophets, reportedly around 124,000 in number, in all their eminent traits known and unknown alike, he has come to represent the zenith of perfection in virtuosity. Setting a standard for humanity in his time, in all aspects of their hitherto developed thought and ways of life, he in addition is a quintessential point of reference for what needs may arise until the Day of Judgment; for which reason he is the Prophet of the Final Hour.

In confession of being endowed with supreme morals, the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) is in fact known to have said:

I have been sent to complement good morals.” (Muwatta’, Husn’ul-Khuluq)

Having left behind him no worldly property worth the scantiest of value, the Prophet (pbuh) nonetheless bequeathed the most precious legacy conceivable, a towering morals and character.

[1].     Hakim, al-Mustadrak ala’s-Sahîhayn, Beirut 1990, II, 672/4228.

[2].     Pages of the Torah.

[3].     Tabarî, Jâmiu’l-bayân an tawîli âyi’l-Qur’ân, Beirut 1995, IX, 87-88; Ibn Kathîr, Tafsîru’l-Qur’âni’l-Azîm, I-IV, Beirut 1988, II, 259, (in the commentary of A‘râf, 154).

[4].     Ahmed Cevdet Paşa, Kısas-ı Enbiyâ ve Tevârih-i Hulefâ, Istanbul 1976, I, 83.