Using the Heart and the Reason
The Almighty has rendered human beings unique, granting them the rank of ahsan’ul-taqwim, the cream of creation, in whose service, as He has moreover declared, are whatever there is on earth and in the skies. But of course, these are for those who can think.
What this means is that our greatest duty lies in contemplating the blessings given us by Allah, glory unto Him, and evaluating them in accordance with the purpose for which they have been given. In particular, we are obliged to put our heart and reason to the most proper use.
What is the proper use of reason?
Reason must not be slave to the ego; rather, through an acquaintance with divine realities, it should rise to the awareness of being in a world of trial.
What is the proper use of heart?
The heart is the precinct of Real Love, the point of view of the Divine. It therefore must be kept free of all else, pure from sin and filled with dhikr and tawhid, thus be returned to Divine presence in its purity. And for such a blend:
The Sole Example…The Blessed Prophet (pbuh)
For the purpose of warning and imparting awareness, the Almighty has sent prophets, around a 124,000 in number up until fifteen centuries ago, an indication of His Boundless Generosity. The prophet He most loved, the most impeccable and the most unique, He left till last. Each prophet was sent to certain people, guiding them in accordance with their social structure. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh), on the other hand, has been sent to entire humankind, with the time until the end of human history entrusted in his guiding light.
At a time when disbelief and ignorance was at the depths of despair, Allah sent him as a one man guide for mankind, just like the sun, presenting him as the most splendid gift.
The Greatest of All Miracles
Allah, glory unto Him, granted the Prophet with the greatest miracle of all: The Holy Quran. The Quran itself will prove being Word of Allah and the truth of His Messenger’s prophethood till the Day of Resurrection; until when all human beings shall witness the miracle and gain an insight to it.
The Prophet constructed such a society with the miracle of the Quran that it has come to be known as the society of the Age of Bliss. No similar case in history exists. From the dregs of an ignorant people, there was produced a virtuous society of previously unimaginable magnitude, much like a rise from the base of the Indian Ocean to the summit of the Himalayas. The spiritually inspiring education of the Prophet (pbuh) imparted such sensitivity of feeling, compassion and responsibility that a wild mob who previously buried their own daughters alive could no longer bear even the mauling of a weak lamb by a wolf at the shore of Tigris. Simply this example could suffice as testimony to the greatness of the Blessed Prophet’s (pbuh) character and how quintessential of an example he has set.
The Blind Vilify the Sun
Hearts will certainly see the Blessed Prophet (pbuh), given they are not blind. Unless they are cross eyed, they will not be able to find in him the least deficiency. Those who try to point the finger at him only point the finger at their own faults and deficiencies.
History abounds in disgusting slanders made against prophets by their own people. As the Divine Truths they communicated did not comply with the egoistic desires of certain people, they were discomforted by the beauty of revelation. They were thus in an attempt to malign prophets with their own shortcomings and ugliness, in order to ensure that the egocentric lives they lead gained legitimate acceptance.
Thus likewise, the entirety of the ugly campaigns of slander launched against the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) today, reflect nothing other than the contemptibility and misery of the slanderers themselves.
Beings can only survive in a habitat suitable for their nature; and human beings are no exception. Just as it is unfeasible to get a honeybee to live anywhere other than its world of pollens and flowers where it both feeds and breathes, it is inconceivable to expect a rat, whose nature is fit only for filth, to dwell in a rose garden. Grand spirits are nourished through the inspiration that springs from the Muhammadan Truth, while wicked souls are content with dirt.
At times, Abu Bakr (r.a)would look at Noble Prophet’s (pbuh) face, filled with admiration, and remark ‘how beautiful!’. In essence, through that mirror he was only gazing at his inner world. Indeed, his emotional reply to the Prophet of Mercy (pbuh) when he said, “I have not advantaged from the possessions of anyone else than that of Abu Bakr”, showed that he had in fact devoted all his existence to the Prophet of Allah (pbuh) and had become annihilated in him:
“Are not I and my possessions for your sake alone, Messenger of Allah?” (Ibn Majah, Muqaddimah, 11) His inner world was but a mirror reflection the morality of the Gracious Prophet (pbuh).
Abu Jahl, on the other hand, the archenemy of Allah and His Messenger, would receive a totally opposite impression from that wonderful face, oblivious to its beauty and splendor. The difference there is that it was their own realities, that is to say their inner worlds, both saw in the Mirror of Muhammad (pbuh); for prophets are like shiny mirrors, through which each person gazes at his inner world. Mirrors do not lie for anyone; neither do they display the ugly as beautiful, nor the beautiful as ugly. They only reveal whatever is mirrored onto it.
Confronted by the power and majesty of Allah, glory unto Him, who has taken Islam under the might of His protection, it is certain that those attempting to defy the Blessed Prophet, the Quran, and Muslims alike, are sooner or later doomed to be struck with Divine vengeance.
Obvious is the enormous degree of insult caused upon innocent Muslim hearts brimming over with love for the Noble Prophet (pbuh) by tongues of venom and pens of senselessness, which from time to time spit out the poison of their sinister inner worlds.
It should also be well known that it is impossible to destroy the inclination towards truth granted to human nature by the Almighty. However much irreligiousness may be advanced through coercion, it cannot be successful in preventing the flourishing of religious feeling, rooted deep within the spirit and conscience. The need for the servant to gain closeness to the Creator shatters all restriction, a sublime natural sentiment that recognizes no bounds; simply for the reason that Divine Power has willed the need for religion and seeking nearness to the Lord as part of sunnatullah, the unchanging law of the Almighty.
Mawlana Rumi vividly depicts the heedless, who turn a blind eye to the Real and pointlessly try to snuff out divine light:
“To vilify the sun that brightens up our world, to search for its defect is but to vilify oneself, to admit to being blind, having both eyes that see only darkness.”
“When Allah wills to tear someone to shreds, to expose their shame, He throws in his heart the want to condemn people of purity.”
Let alone abstaining from vilifying the Noble Prophet (pbuh), humankind should be instead thinking of ways to express its gratitude for him. Truly, a heart is not a heart that is not filled with feelings of appreciation seeing him shiver for the salvation of humanity, from his birth to his very final breath.
The compassion the Prophet of Mercy (pbuh) nurtured for us was certainly far greater than that of parents for their children. The Prophet (pbuh) who says no other human being has been threatened and subjected to a greater agony and hunger more than him (Tirmidhi, Qiyamat, 34/2472); his conscience nonetheless bears no personal complaints, apart from a heart burning on behalf of his suffering ummah. Such a compassionate and thoughtful prophet he is that, like he has striven in this world for the sake of us receiving forgiveness and salvation, so shall he fall prostrate before the Throne on the Day of Resurrection, tearfully pleading Allah, glory unto Him, until his wish of interceding for his ummah is granted.
In gratitude for a prophet who makes a supreme effort to intercede on behalf of our forgiveness, both in Here and the Hereafter, should not we also make a supreme effort to become Believers of the kind he envisaged, hold him more precious than even ourselves and become infatuated with his love?
A Lover Follows the Beloved
“One is with whom he loves” states a hadith. (Bukhari, Adab, 96) Now how much do we love our Blessed Prophet (pbuh)?
Of course, this kind of love should be understood as togetherness shared between the lover and beloved. Togetherness, in the truest sense of the word, requires a mutual resemblance through a transmission of hal, a commonness of character. One is together with whom he loves in essence, in every word spoken, as well as behavior, in feelings and thought and no less in living itself.
Lacking this kind of togetherness where the lover assumes a different path to that of the beloved, then the lover is not really with the beloved, for he feels no love, in the truest sense.
Accordingly then how much do we love our One and Only Prophet (pbuh)? How much do we embrace his Sunnah? To what extent do we explain him to our children and our surroundings? What degree of a togetherness of heart do we have with two of his greatest legacies, the Quran and the Ahl’ul-Bayt? How much of a resemblance do our homes have to the homes of Ahl’ul-Bayt, permeated with the spirituality of Sunnah?
Following Him Requires an Education of the Heart
To attain bliss both in this turbulent world and in the field of resurrection, the turf of fright, we stand under an imperative need to take after the Noble Prophet (pbuh) in all aspects of our lives, be it social, domestic or work related. He is the sole example for human beings, from the lowest to the highest ends the social scale. How are we to be like him? Simply through reading from paper? No. Rather immersing our hearts in his education; an education whose method the Almighty clearly reveals in the Quran:
“Certainly you have in the Messenger of Allah a quintessential example for him who hopes in Allah and the Latter Day and remembers Allah much.” (Ahzab, 21)
So the first requirement is to hope in Allah, glory unto Him; in reuniting with Him. The remembrance of giving an account for our deeds in Divine Presence should always accompany our conscience.
The second requirement is to hope in the Latter Day, the Hereafter, with a certain belief. We must grasp mortality and overcome its bounds, expressed beautifully by Mawlana Rumi:
“The life of the world is but a dream. Becoming wealthy there is like chancing upon treasure in a dream. Possessions, passed on from one generation to another, eventually stay put in the world.”
It is therefore vital that we are aware of existence in a world of trial and through setting aside the desires of the ego thereby, turn out hearts into voyagers of eternity. We must acquire such a blend that the Hereafter, for us, should become a field of reunion. And for such education, it is necessary we obtain a share of the uswat’ul-hasanah, the quintessential example of the Noble Prophet (pbuh). Only then does the Almighty promise us His Paradise and bless us with reunion with His Beauty.
As for the third requirement, it is a constant remembrance of Allah, glory unto Him. The heart needs to continually be with the Almighty. How often? The answer to that is hinted in a verse as being as often as, “………………..” (Ali Imran, 191) In other words, constantly; a unceasing consciousness of being under Divine surveillance. True, our Lord is closer to us than our jugular vein, though how close are we to Him? It is in instituting precisely that closeness that we need to take the example of the Blessed Prophet (pbuh).
The Prophet of Allah’s (pbuh) Value and Us
There is no way of covering distance towards Allah without comprehending and being trained in the value and honor of the Blessed Messenger (pbuh). Allah, glory unto Him, places especial accent on the value with which He Himself sees the Prophet (pbuh):
“Allah and His angels send blessings on the Prophet: O Believers! Send your blessings on him and salute him with all respect.” (al-Ahzab, 56)
The Almighty, too, sends His blessings to the Blessed Prophet (pbuh), to the noblest of all His creation, with the angels joining in. Comprehending the true nature of what that might be is impossible for our hearts, consciences and understanding alike. How does Allah, glory unto Him, send His blessings to a being He created? Together with some explanation afforded regarding the matter, in truth, it is a Divine Enigma. But one thing is for certain that the Almighty nurtures an exceptional love and care for the Blessed Messenger (pbuh), something He wants us to be aware of as well, commanding:
“O Believers! Send your blessings on him and salute him with all respect.”
But these blessings and salutes ought not to be made merely with the tongue. Rather, one’s entire existence should be a virtual blessing on and a salutation of him. Our behavior in all social dealings, whether it is at home or work, should transpire in a way worthy of being a blessing and a salutation for the Prophet of Grace (pbuh).
One should stop to self-critically think, for instance, to what degree would the Noble Prophet (pbuh) consent to one’s dealings with family, in business and treatment of other human beings in general? Or to the manner in which one raises her children? Or to the quality of one’s deeds of worship?
If we fail to interrogate ourselves and our hearts and weigh them up against questions today, sure to be much more terrifying is the weighing up and the interrogation of the Day of Resurrection; a day in which it will be declared:
اِقْرَاْ كِتَابَكَ كَفٰى بِنَفْسِكَ الْيَوْمَ عَلَيْكَ حَس۪يبًا
“Read your book; your own self is sufficient as a reckoner against you this day” (al-Isra, 14)
Our book of deeds will expose who we really are, in all its frankness, with not a secret left unexposed. We will watch the film that has been our lives, viewing the performance of our salats, our fasts, and so forth, in all their barren actualities. We shall see, then, whether we simply paid lip service to servanthood or were indeed triumphant in putting our heart and soul into performing our primary duty. We will see what we did, during life, in appreciation of the innumerable blessings of the Almighty upon us, observing just how much of the spirit, reason, wit and wealth we were able to let others in on and how much of it we put to waste. We will know first hand how much we were able to love Allah and His Messenger and equal to the task of being enshrouded in their character.
All this will be shown us in the very near future in our book of deeds, screened on the monitors of the Hereafter. And then:
“Till, when they reach it, their ears and their eyes and their skins testify against them as to what they used to do.” (Fussilat, 20)
We must therefore constantly cross-examine ourselves.
What do our eyes watch?
How much of Divine Revelation and Prophetic Advice do our ears listen to?
To what extent are we using our bodies and opportunities in the way of the Real?
More important is to assess ourselves and take necessary precaution while there is still opportunity at hand.
The Trial of Love and Adab
Human beings are in a world of trial. To be sure, the world is but a school of Divine test, an important phase of which comprises loving, obeying and upholding proper manners, or adab, towards the Blessed Prophet (pbuh). Thus declares the Almighty:
“O Believers! Obey Allah and obey the messenger, and render not your actions vain.” (Muhammad, 33)
“O Believers! Do not raise your voices above the voice of the Prophet, and do not speak loud to him as you speak loud to one another, lest your deeds became null while you do not perceive. Surely those who lower their voices before Allah’s Messenger, are they whose hearts Allah has proved for guarding (against evil); they shall have forgiveness and a great reward. As for those who call out to you from behind the private chambers, surely most of them do not understand.” (al-Hujurat, 2-4)
It turns out that our courtesy for the Noble Messenger of Allah (pbuh), strive to know him more personally and adherence to his Sunnah is a test of piety for our hearts, and no less, a means for nearness to Allah, glory unto Him…
It turns also out that only the mindless, dimwitted can dare to be rude to the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) and yell at him from a distance.
Another outcome we can draw from there is with regard to how we should take the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) as example, and the manner in which we should weigh up our lives against his. The clear command of the Quran in relation is:
“Whoever obeys the Messenger, he indeed obeys Allah, and whoever turns back, so We have not sent you as a keeper over them.” (an-Nisa, 80)
The Measure of Loving Him
The incident recounted by Abdullah ibn Hisham (r.a) is significant for indicating the intensity with which one ought to love the Noble Messenger (pbuh):
“We were once with the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). He was sitting, holding Omar’s (r.a) hand in his own. Then Omar (r.a) suddenly remarked:
‘You are dearer to me than everything, Messenger of Allah, except for myself’, to express his love.
‘No’, responded the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). ‘By Allah, under whose Power and Will I abide, you will not have truly believed until I become dearer to you than your own self.’
‘Then, by Allah’, Omar (r.a) immediately said, ‘you are now dearer to me than myself’. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh)thereupon assured:
‘Now it is, Omar, as it should be!’” (Bukhari, Ayman, 3)
That is the measure of love and affection with which we ought to follow the Blessed Prophet (pbuh), crowning him on the throne of our hearts, letting him be the guide of our lives. Loving him has been decreed compulsory. The Quran states:
اَلنَّبِيُّ اَوْلٰى بِالْمُؤْمِن۪ينَ مِنْ اَنْفُسِهِمْ
“The Prophet is closer to the Believers than their own selves…” (al-Ahzab, 6)
He is closer and dearer to us than our own selves.
Loving the Blessed Prophet (pbuh)has therefore also been cited as a condition of true belief.
“By Allah, under whose Power and Will I abide, one will not have truly believed until I become dearer to him than his mother, father, children and everybody else.” (Bukhari, Iman, 8)
The Companions would thus race to fulfill even the smallest desire of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), justifying their love at every given opportunity, with each exclaiming, “May my mother, father, my life and whatever I have, Messenger of Allah, be sacrificed in your way!”
To remain indifferent to this love or worse still, to react rudely to it, is a mark of ignorance. Clutching onto it, on the other hand, will prove an eternal cure.
The Mark of Loving Him
One continuously talks about what or whoever it is that he loves, exploiting every opportunity to describe it to those around.
A businessman caught up in work always speaks about his trades and dealings, how much he supposedly earned or lost; where there is money to be made or wasted, and so forth. Some adore their children, talking about them wherever and whenever.
But the distinguished Companions and the righteous, with great admiration, always talked about the Blessed Prophet (pbuh), with whom they were infatuated, taking an inexplicable enjoyment out of it.
There, is a love of the Prophet (pbuh), permeated with an enthusiasm to know and imitate him and to be with him in the Hereafter. May Allah bless us also with an enthusiasm to know and love him…Amin…
Another secret of ‘love’, the reason of the existence of being, lies in the lover adopting the hal, the inner state, of the loved. Whatever lack of capability and power a lover may be withheld by, she will attain a result in accordance with the caliber of the one loved.
The Difficulty of Properly Explaining Him
Commanding a small force, Khalid ibn Walid (r.a)had once stopped over next to a Muslim clan. The chief of the clan asked him to explain the Blessed Prophet (pbuh).
“It lies beyond my power to explain the beauties of the Messenger of Allah”, replied Khalid (r.a). “If you are expecting a proper explanation that is impossible.”
“Explain as much as you can. Make it short and to the point then”, said the chief, prompting Khalid (r.a)to give the following reply:
اَلرَّسُولُ عَلٰى قَدْرِ الْمُرْسِلِ
“The Sent is appropriate with the honor of the Sender…” (Since the sender is the Lord of the Worlds, the Creator of the Universe, then you imagine the honor of the sent!)
May Allah grant our hearts shares of the love of the Companions for the Blessed Prophet (pbuh)! Through the love of our Prophet (pbuh), may He cast beauty upon our lives!
. See, Bukhârî, Anbiyâ, 3, 9; Mislim, Îmân, 327, 328; Tirmidhî, Qiyâmat, 10.
. See, at-Tawba, 24.
. Munâwî, V, 92/6478; Kastalânî, Mevâhib-i Ledünniyye Tercümesi, İstanbul 1984, p. 417.