Standards from the Stars

A characteristic unique to him, the Noble Prophet (pbuh) would never store anything worldly, donating instead whatever he had in his hands on the way of Allah, glory unto Him. Abu Zharr (r.a)recounts:

“We were walking with the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) in outer Medina on a rocky field. Mount Uhud appeared from a distance.

Abu Zharr!’ said the Messenger of Allah (pbuh).

‘Yes’, replied I.

Having gold as much as Mount Uhud would not make me happy’, he said. ‘Except for that which I would keep aside to close a debt, I would not wish to set aside even a dime for more than three days.” (Muslim, Zakat, 32; Bukhari, Istiqrad, 3)

There would be times when he would fast two, maybe three days on end without break, cautioning the Companions wanting to follow in his footsteps, saying:

You can not endure it,” banning them trying to do the same. (Bukhari, Sawm, 48)

We must therefore touch upon the fact that as important as it is to know that the Noble Messenger (pbuh) is, for us, the sole guide and exemplar, it is of equal importance to be aware of the standards of emulating him, insofar as his behavior and acts fall under two categories, namely:

1. Those that bind him only;

2. Those that bind all.

Consequently, we are not obliged to follow his example in virtues that are peculiar to the Prophet’s (pbuh) sublime character; for deeds of such profound virtue are virtually standards from the stars, which we do not have the power to perform. But with respect to acts and behavior that come under the second category, we stand compelled to emulate the Prophet (pbuh) and follow in his dazzling footsteps as much as it is allowed by our power and competence, until the very end of our lives.

Although attaining to the Prophet’s (pbuh) level of individual perfection remains a sheer impossibility, still, each person devoted to following his lead can become a little ‘Muhammad’ in his own world. That the Turks have dub their soldiers defending the frontiers of Muslim lands ‘Mehmetçik’ i.e. Little Muhammad, is inspired by this delicate consideration.

To elaborate, insofar as compulsory deeds like almsgiving are financially assessed, we are in a position to know the amount to give that would relieve us of the relevant responsibility. But it is impossible for us to know in exactitude our degree of responsibility for all the other opportunities and abilities we have been blessed with by the Almighty, for which reason we are compelled to live a life of servanthood till we breathe our last.

The sturdiest scales on which we can weigh our positions are provided by the Ansar and Muhajirun, the Companions reared under the spiritual training of the Prophet of Grace (pbuh); the Companions who, in order to pay the price for the blessings they were endowed with, traveled to lands as far as Central Asia and China to convey the Call, never showing even a glimpse of tiredness in their iman enthused struggle.