The Prophet’s rights
October 29 2020 10:25 PM
Masjid-e-Nabawi (Prophet’s Mosque) in the holy city of Madinah.

By Umm AbdurRahman/Hirschfelder

Prophet Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, deserves special rights, which are due only to the final Prophet and Messenger. These rights have been enjoined upon us by Allah and are part of safeguarding the perfect religion of Islam. Unfortunately many Muslims today have become confused with regard to these rights and have innovated practices that have no basis in Islam. The Prophet himself knew that such practices would happen and warned against them, “Beware of newly invented matters (in religion that is) for every invented matter (in religion) is a cursed innovation which leads astray.” (Tirmithi and Abu Dawud)
So as Muslims we must stick to giving our Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, his rights as commanded by Allah and stay away from the innovations that either ignore these rights or take them to extremes.
Allah sent Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, to all of mankind, with the divine message of la ilaha illallah (there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah). He brought glad tidings of Paradise to the believers and warning of the punishment of Hellfire to the disbelievers. He called to tawheed, the belief that Allah is the sole Creator and Lord of the universe, and therefore He alone should be worshipped. Believing in Allah is also believing in His Messenger.

To believe in him
There is no doubt that the first of our Prophet’s rights is to believe in him and to believe in the message he was sent with. Allah says, “Believe in Allah and His Messenger and the light which He sent down.” (64:8) Qadhi Eyadh said in his famous and important book about the rights of the Prophet, Ash-Shifaa, that, “Belief in the Prophet Muhammad is therefore an obligation for every individual. Belief is not complete without it and Islam is only valid with it.”
Allah has linked belief in Him with belief in His Messenger. They are inseparable. This is what shahadah, the declaration of faith, means. Even if a person follows other prophets like Musa and Eesa, alayhemas salam, he is not a believer until he completely follows the teachings of Muhammad. Abu Hurairah, radhiallahu ‘anhu, reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “I was commanded to fight people until they testify that there is no god but Allah and believe in me and what I have brought. When they do that, their blood and property are protected from me except for a right (they owe). Their reckoning is with Allah.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
Believing in the Prophet, therefore, is about living according to his guidance. It is much more than just mere recognition of the fact that he is a prophet. Allah says, “When the hypocrites come to you, they say, ‘We testify that you are the Messenger of Allah’ and Allah knows that you are His Messenger and Allah testifies that the hypocrites are liars.” (63:1)
At the time of the Prophet Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, the Jews who lived in Arabia had been waiting for the promised Prophet that they knew of from their scriptures. But when Muhammad came they rejected him out of arrogance because he was not a Jew. Many of the rabbis, however, recognised that he was a Prophet but did not accept him or believe in him. Allah says about them, “Those to whom We gave the scriptures recognise him as they recognise their sons. But verily, a party of them conceal the truth while they know it.” (2:146)
Ibn Ishaq reports in his biography of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, that Safiya bint Huyayy said, “I was the favourite child of my father and my Uncle Abu Yasir. When I was present they took no notice of their other children. When the apostle was staying in Quba with the brother ‘Amr ibn ‘Auf, the two went to see him before daybreak and did not return until after nightfall, weary, worn out, drooping and feeble. I went up to them in childish pleasure as I always did, and they were so sunk in gloom that they took no notice of me. I heard my uncle say to my father, ‘Is he the one? Do you recognise him?’ Can you be sure?’ ‘Yes!’ ‘And what do you feel about him?’ ‘By God I shall be his enemy as long as I live!’”
Believing in something is more than just recognising that it exists. Satan, as explained in the Qur’an, recognises that Allah exists yet he is the worst of the disbelievers.

To obey him
The second right, which is due to our beloved Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, is that we obey him. Allah says, “O you who believe, obey Allah and His Messenger...” (8:20) Allah has mentioned obedience to the Messenger in connection with obedience to Him. You cannot have one without the other. Obeying the Messenger means, following his commands and staying away from what he has prohibited. Abu Hurairah narrated that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “All of my ummah will enter Paradise except for those who refuse to.” They asked, “O Messenger of Allah, who will refuse?” He replied, “Whoever obeys me will enter the Paradise. Whoever disobeys me has refused.” (Bukhari)

To follow him
Allah says, “You have a good model in the Messenger of Allah for one who hopes for (the meeting with) Allah and the Last Day.” (33:21) Commenting on this verse, Imam Tirmithi said, “To take the Messenger as a model means to emulate him, follow his Sunnah and avoid opposition to him in either word or action.” We should strive to follow his mode of life, his sayings, and doings, his conduct and manners.
We can see from Prophet’s companions, the way in which they emulated the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, followed his examples, and modelled their behaviours upon his. This is what it means to follow the Prophet Muhammad. A man from Khalid ibn Asid’s family asked Abdullah ibn Umar, “Abu Abdurrahman. We find the ‘fear salah’ and the ‘salah at home’ in the Qur’an, but we do not find the ‘travelling salah’.” Ibn Umar said, “My nephew, Allah sent Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, to us when we did not know anything. We do as we saw him doing.”
When Umar, radhiallahu ‘anhu, looked at the black stone he said, “You are a stone and can neither help nor harm. If I had not seen the Messenger of Allah kiss you, I would not have kissed you.” Then he kissed it. Umar ibn Abdul Aziz said, “The Messenger of Allah made a Sunnah and the people in command after him made sunnahs. To adopt them is to confirm the Book of Allah and to act on them is to obey Allah and strengthen the deen of Allah. It is not for anyone to change the Sunnah, or alter it, or to look into the opinion of those who oppose it. Whoever follows it, is guided. Whoever seeks help by it, will have victory. Whoever opposes it and follows other than the path of the believers, Allah will entrust him to what he turns to and will roast him in the hellfire, which is a bad ending.”

To love him
A Muslim must love the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, truthfully. Allah says, “Say, if your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your tribe and the possessions you have earned, the commerce you fear may slacken, dwellings you love – if these are dearer to you than Allah and His Messenger and to struggle in His way, then wait until Allah brings His command.” (9:245)
The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said, “None of you will believe until I am more beloved to you than your children, your fathers and all people.” Umar ibn al-Khattab said to the Prophet, “I love you more than anything except my soul, which is between my two sides.” The Prophet replied, “None of you will believe until I am dearer to him than his own soul.” Umar said, “By the One who sent down the Book to you, I love you more than my soul which is between my two sides.” The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said, “Now O Umar, now you have it.”
Related to this love is nasiha. Nasiha is usually translated as good counsel and sincere conduct. It is “used to designate the desire for what is good for the one who is its object.” Linguistically it means purity. The Messenger of Allah said, “The deen is nasiha. The deen is nasiha. The deen is nasiha.” They asked, “To whom, Messenger of Allah?” He said, “To Allah and His Book and His Messenger and the imams of the Muslims and the common people.” Nasiha to the Messenger of Allah is confirming his Prophethood, obeying him, supporting and protecting him, and following his Sunnah.
Abu Bakr al-Ajurri said, “Nasiha for his sake includes two types of sincere conduct. One is nasiha during his lifetime and the other is nasiha after his death.” During his lifetime it was helping, protecting, and obeying him. After his death it is “by maintaining esteem, respect and great love for him. By persevering in learning his Sunnah and understanding his Shari’ah. It is to love for the people of his house and his companions, avoiding things disliked in his Sunnah and what deviates from it.”
As loving the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, is an obligation, it comes with an excellent reward. Anas, radhiallahu ‘anhu, said that a man came to the Prophet and asked, “When will the last Hour come, Messenger of Allah?” He said, “What have you prepared for it?” He said, “I have not prepared a lot of salah or fasting or charity for it, but I love Allah and His Messenger.” The Prophet said, “You will be with the one you love.” He also said, “Whoever loves me will be with me in the Garden.”
Love for the Prophet Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, manifests itself in many ways. One will prefer what the Prophet came with, over his own desires. His anger against people will be for the sake of Allah. He will mention the Prophet often. He will have a yearning to meet him. He will exalt and respect him and be humble when he hears his name mentioned. He will have love for the Qur’an, which the Prophet brought. He will have compassion for his community, striving for their best interests. And another sign of love for the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, is that he who aspires to it, does without in this world and prefers poverty. The Prophet said, “Poverty for those among you who love me comes quicker than a flood from the top of the mountain to the bottom.”

To respect him
Allah says, “O Prophet, We have sent you as a witness and a bringer of good news and a warner, so believe in Allah and His Messenger and help him and respect him.” (48:7-8) Respect for the Prophet includes honouring him, exalting him, calling him with the noblest title such as the Messenger of Allah or Prophet of Allah. It includes putting his opinion over our own and defending him if he is verbally abused.
Malik said that when he was asked about Ayyub as-Sakhtiyani he said, “I have not reported from anyone without Ayyub being better than him.” He went on, “I went on Haj twice and watched him. Whenever the Messenger of Allah was mentioned, he wept until his eyes were red. When I saw him do that and the respect he had for the Prophet, I wrote down things from him.”
Respect for the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, also includes respecting his family. The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said, “Recognition of the family of Muhammad is freedom from the fire. Love of the family of Muhammad is crossing over the sirat. Friendship for the family of Muhammad is safety from the fire.” He also said about al-Hasan and al-Husayn, his grandsons, “Whoever loves these two and their father and mother will be with me on the day of rising.” Abu Bakr said, “Respect Muhammad by respecting the people of his house.”
It also includes respecting his companions. Allah says about those who pledged allegiance to the Prophet at al-Hudaybiyah, “Allah was pleased with the believers when they gave allegiance to you under the tree.” (48:18) The Prophet said, “Do not curse my companions. If any of you were to spend the weight of (mount) Uhud in gold, it still would not reach the measure of one of them or even one-half of it.”
Likewise, it is forbidden to curse the Prophet Muhammad. Allah said, “Those who harm Allah and His Messenger, Allah has cursed them in this world and the next world. He has prepared a humiliating punishment for them.” (33:57) The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said, “Whoever curses a prophet, kill him. Whoever curses my companions, beat him.”
It is also not allowed to even joke about the Prophet or the religion of Islam. Allah said, “If you ask them, they declare, ‘We were only talking idly and joking.’ Say, ‘Was it Allah and His ayah and His Messenger that you were mocking?’” (9:65) It is reported that in the course of the campaign of Tabuk, a man came up one day and declared, “We have seen no people with greater appetite, more lying, or more cowardly in battle than the Prophet of Allah and his reciting companions.” Awf ibn Malik rose and said, “It is rather you that are a liar. You are a hypocrite, pretending to be a Muslim. I shall tell the Prophet of Allah about you.”
Awf then went to the Prophet to inform him but found that revelation had already preceded him. (When the news reached) the man, he mounted on his camel, sought the Prophet of Allah and said, “But we were only joking, trying to pass the time while travelling.” Ibn Umar said, “He was clinging to the saddle belt of the Prophet’s camel as it ran, his feet and legs being battered by the rough ground and repeating, “But we were only joking.” And the Prophet insisting without turning his face to him, “Joking? Joking with Allah, with His revelation? With His Prophet?”

To judge according to his Shari’ah
The sixth right of the Prophet Muhammad is to judge by him and be pleased with his judgement. Allah said, “If you quarrel over anything, then refer it back to Allah and the Messenger.” (4:58) Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to look in the Qur’an and the hadith of the Messenger of Allah when we have a question about something. We must follow the laws that the Prophet Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, brought and judge by them, and rule according to them.
At the time of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, when he was once reciting, “They took their rabbis and their monks to be their lords beside Allah, and the messiah, son of Maryam, while they were commanded to worship none but One deity, none has the right to be worshipped but He. Praise and glory be to Him, far above is He from having the partners they associate.” (9:31)
A former Christian, Adi ibn Hatim, said, “O Allah’s Messenger. They do not worship them.” Allah’s Messenger said, “They certainly do. They (ie, the rabbis and monks) made lawful things as unlawful and unlawful things as lawful, and they (ie, Jews and Christians) followed them, and by doing so, they really worshipped them.”
We cannot put our own desires above the laws of Allah and that which the Messenger brought. To do so essentially, is to believe that we know better than Allah. Allah is our Creator and He knows us better than we know our ownselves. “Verily, he is the All Knower of what is in the chests.” (67:13) He knows what is best for us and He has perfect wisdom and He is Just in all that He decrees. Ruling by other than what Allah revealed is therefore tantamount to disbelief.

To send prayers and salaam
The seventh right that is due to the Prophet Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, is saying the salah and salaam upon him. Allah says, “Allah sends His salah (blessings, mercy) on the Prophet and His angels too (ask Allah to bless and forgive him). O you who believe, send your salah on him and (you should) greet him with the Islamic way of greeting (ie ‘assalamu alaikum).” (33:56) Prophet Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said, “Whoever blesses me once, Allah blesses him with 10 salahs and 10 wrong actions fall away from him and he is raised by 10 degrees.” And he said, “The nearest people to me on the Day of Rising will be those who have said the most salahs on me.”
The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, taught one way in which to say the salah on him. Abu Humayd as-Saidi said that they said, “Messenger of Allah, how should we pray on you?” He replied, “Say, O Allah, bless Muhammad and his wives and his descendants as You blessed the family of Ibrahim and grant blessing to Muhammad and his wives and descendants as You granted blessing to the family of Ibrahim. You are the Praiseworthy, Glorious.’” This is the tashahud, which is said in the sitting of the salah. Another way is to say, ‘sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam’ when the Prophet is mentioned.
The meaning of sending salaam upon the Prophet is asking Allah to preserve him from any harm coming to him and it is also a greeting to the Prophet. Abu Hurairah said that the Messenger of Allah said, “Whenever anyone greets me with peace, Allah will return my soul to me so that I can return the greeting.” The Prophet also said, “I will hear whoever blesses me at my grave. If someone is far away and blesses me, that is also conveyed to me.”
Since Allah has commanded that we send salah and salaams upon the Prophet Muhammad then it is a general obligation and not restricted to a specific time. The obligation is that we must do it at least once. However, saying it more than once is highly recommended and is the Sunnah.
Other times include when one is supplicating to Allah for something. Ibn Mas’ud said, “When one of you wants to ask Allah for something, he should begin by praising and extolling Him as He deserves, and then by blessing the Prophet. Then his supplication is more likely to be accepted.” Likewise, during the Aathan, on Friday, when entering the masjid and leaving the masjid, at the funeral salah, and when writing letters, are other highly recommended times. The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said, “Whoever blesses me in a book or a letter, the angels continue to ask forgiveness for him as long as my name is on it.”

Modesty is a part of faith
It was related on the authority of Abu Mas’ood al-Badri, may Allah be pleased with him, that: “The Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “One of the admonitions of the previous prophets which has been conveyed to people is that if you have no shame, you can do whatever you wish.” [Al-Bukhari]
Explanation of the Hadith:
The saying of the Messenger : “…If you feel no shame, you can do whatever you wish” is in the command form, and can be looked at from two angles, each conveying a distinct meaning:
(1) The first is that it is a form of threat and a challenge thrown down against those who engage in inappropriate behaviour. Such people have no shame in front of Allah and therefore, no matter what course they take, it would not make any real difference. In this case, it would be as if the Hadith is stating: “If you do not feel any shame from doing these prohibited acts, then do whatever you wish…” Modesty is the quality that prevents one from immodest behaviour, and the lack of it will only cause one to increase in distancing himself from Allah and make him indifferent to creed or deed.
(2) The second meaning pertains to doing that which is lawful. That is, if the action that one is about to do is not within the category of the unlawful, and we are not ashamed of doing the act in front of Allah or the people, then we are free to do it. However, if we are ashamed to do it, then we should not. The Hadeeth gives a measuring stick by which we can evaluate actions, both privately and publicly.
Thus, the first explanation relates to a lack of consciousness regarding Allah and the second is regarding the opposite, which is to be conscious of Allah and of His watching over a person and his actions.
The former explanation relates to an unbridled Nafs (base desires and lower self), whereas the latter implies observance of due constraint over it, so that it does not embark on the road to destruction.
Modesty is of two types:
Modesty is either natural or acquired. Natural modesty means that the individual has this quality by nature and does not need to exert any effort to acquire it. Acquired modesty, on the other hand, is attained by those who possess knowledge concerning Allah, being cognisant concerning His Greatness, Proximity and His Inspection of all that they do.

Points related to modesty:
1. Modesty is one of the most honourable attributes and is a consistent virtue found in all the various laws sent down to each prophet and messenger.
2. It is one of the most perfect and desirable characteristics to possess and an excellent state to be in.
3. Modesty only brings good to individuals and is an indication of faith.
4. Bashfulness and shame is in direct opposition to indecency and shamelessness.
5. Modesty is an element of faith, and indecency has no relation to it.
6. Modesty adorns one’s nature and personality and is indicative of his being Islamically cultured and refined.
7. Indecency, on the other hand, shows that one lacks virtues and is uncouth, dishonourable and uncultured.
8. We are obligated to guard ourselves against indecency and from acting indecently or uncultured, as qualified by Islam.
9. We must never misconstrue bashfulness or shyness with cowardice - Islamically they are far from synonymous.
10. Modesty, as mentioned, is a root virtue. One of the fruits of modesty is chastity.
11. There is no modesty when it comes to teaching the laws of Islam or searching for the truth.
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