It is no secret, rather it is an accepted fact that throughout human history; there has not been a single man more influential than the Prophet of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him). If you compare him to any of the great men of antiquity; then you, after a short time would be forced to concede that the Prophet is indeed the greatest. His mark upon the world is undeniable, his status unattainable, his genius unimpeachable. He was the greatest man, because whatever he did he excelled in it. He was a truthful trader, a wise teacher, a merciful conqueror, a just ruler, a loving husband, a caring friend even when he was the enemy of a person he was the fairest of enemies; as Allah states, “And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds.” (21:107) This is indeed the best description of him. How could his enemies dislike a man who would weep for them in the depths of the night?
There have been many definitions given by many different people, in regard to defining a truly great man. But the distinguishable trait of a truly great man, nay the greatest man is that he makes other men great by their association to him. If you look at the Pantheon of Greats you will come across names such as: Abu Bakr, Umar ibn Khattab, Uthman ibn Affan, Ali ibn Abi Talib, Salahuddin Al Ayubbi, Mehmet Al Fatih and so many others, all of these men owe their greatness to the Prophet, they all tried to emulate him and I’m sure that their greatest achievement is that their names can be mentioned with the blessed name of Muhammad ibn Abdullah, the Seal of all the Prophets.
Now we slaves we can praise each other all we want, but, it is the Master’s praise that is the most important. He says: “Certainly did Allah confer [great] favor upon the believers when He sent among them a Messenger from themselves, reciting to them His verses and purifying them and teaching them the Book and wisdom, although they had been before in manifest error” (3:164) This is what the Master has to say about the Prophet, that he was a person who found the worst of people and made them the best of people. He purified their hearts of all of their petty blood feuds and made them into the Superpower of their time. But this was only possible because they followed the Prophet of Allah in every aspect of life. They did not look for ways to forsake the teachings of the Prophet, rather they used every opportunity to unquestionably follow the Messenger.
Allah in the Glorious Quran goes to extreme lengths to emphasise the importance of following His Messenger; “He who obeys the Messenger has obeyed Allah” (4:80), “And obey Allah and obey the Messenger” (5:92), from these two verses one can gauge the importance that following the Prophet has been given in the Religion. To the extent that Allah has stated that following the Prophet is synonymous with following Allah. It is simple, if you want to attain the pleasure of Allah then follow his Messenger.
Many people will claim to love Allah, they will be adamant that are the Lovers of Allah. However, Allah has stated: “Say, [O Muhammad], “If you should love Allah , then follow me, [so] Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” (3:31) this is the criteria we all need to meet in order to truly love of Allah. In every aspect we should follow the Prophet, so it is incumbent upon every single one of us that we learn who this peerless man was. It is not a sufficient excuse to claim ignorance, as the lover is always knowledgeable when it comes to his beloved. So we must attain as much knowledge as we can about the Life of the Prophet and his teachings. If you lack knowledge about the man you claim to follow then their are countless means, especially in this day and age to educate yourself on his perfect life.
And what has the Prophet informed us about the one who loves him? “He who loves my Sunnah loves me, and the one who loves me will be with me in Jannah” (Tirmidhi) Is there any better reward? How can Jannah compare to the companionship of the Prophet? Let us all strive for this magnificent reward! It will only become easy when we make our whims and desires submissive before the injunctions of the Best of all creation. We need to remind ourselves that we are in dire need of the Prophet, he is not in need of us.
Contrary to this, the Prophet has stated about the one who disregards his Sunnah; “The person who displays indifference to my Sunnah has no relationship with me” (Bukhari) How unfortunate is this individual? Allah save us from this! Let it not be the case that we are turned away from the Prophet on the Day of Judgement, let us all drink the sweet drink of Kawthar from his blessed hands. We should supplicate that till our dying breath our lives mimic the Prophet’s life. How can we expect the Prophet to intercede for us if we have no relationship to him?
In regards to following the way of the Prophet, Allah explicitly states: “And whatever the Messenger has given you – take; and what he has forbidden you – refrain from.” (59:7) If a person doesn’t know what the Prophet has given or prohibited, how can he act or stay away from these things? You must firstly get this knowledge then you must act upon it. This verse shows that whatever the Prophet has made permissible it is with Allah’s inspiration alone, this too is true for what he has made forbidden. You see that it has become a trend that people are leaving the divinely inspired way of the Prophet. Their justification for doing so is that ‘It’s just Sunnah’, this is a very slippery slope, and it has taken people very far from the teachings of the Prophet and in turn has increased their distance between Allah. The Path to Allah can only be made through the Footsteps of His Noble Messenger.
We must all understand that the Way of the Prophet is not difficult, rather it is the easiest way; and if followed properly it will alleviate every worry and concern an individual has. The King of kings has stated: “There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern” (33:21) This is the creator informing us, His creation, about the blueprint for a successful life, both in this temporary world and the Afterlife. That is the Way of the Prophet. A person will never be disgraced in this world for following the teachings of the Prophet, but countless people have been disgraced because they have left the Prophetic method. We unfortunately look to emulate other people, wheras Allah is assuring us that the best person you can possibly follow is his Messenger.
If we do adhere to the Prophet what will we get? Well, Allah has answered that; “And whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly attained a great attainment.” (33:71) This is true success. Allah is telling us so, it is so easy to gain this, but due to our own shortcomings we falter. We should constantly plead to Allah that every action that we take, and every decision we make, be in accordance to His Beloved.
And as for those who didn’t follow the way of the Prophet, Allah informs us of their state in the Hereafter: “The Day their faces will be turned about in the Fire, they will say, “How we wish we had obeyed Allah and obeyed the Messenger.” (33:66) There is still ample time to avoid this, however, it will not last forever. We need to seize every opportunity to mould our lives so that it becomes like the Blessed Life of the Prophet. Do not be like those people in this verse, they did not follow the example of the Prophet so Allah punished them. The choice rests with us. We we will be held to account for every deed, that is undeniable, but the least we should say to Allah is ‘I tried to follow your Prophet’. It could be due to this simple fact that we are forgiven.
May Allah elevate the status of His Messenger. May he give us the ability to bring his life into ours. May he unite us with him at the Fountain of Kawthar. May he allow us to enjoy his company in Paradise. Ameen.