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Article appeared Friday, May 3rd, 2019 in The News Today, Bangladesh

The Revelation (569) yousuf mahbubul Islam, PhD


Do we read biographies of great people? Do we try to understand what made them great
and why they are remembered? Do we try to model our self on them? If we do, why –
what compels us? Could it be a desire to be a good human being or someone that
people would look up to? Or do we simply wish to please God by utilizing the potential,
opportunities and resources given by Him?

The life of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is the best example of a person who wished to
please God through actions and activities in all spheres of his life. In doing so, he has
become the most influential person in the history of mankind. Michael H. Hart, a
historian, has placed Prophet Muhammad top of the list {1} in his book, 100 Most
Influential People in the World {2}. With his attitude toward God, history has ranked him
to be the most influential human being ever. In his book, Muhammad, the Ideal Prophet,
Saiyid Sulaiman Nadwi {3}, writes about how no aspect of the prophets life was a secret.
Unlike previous prophets every aspect of his life is well documented – it permits reading
and reflecting on how he conducted himself in the various stages of his life. Nadwi {3}
writes in Pages 89 and 90, that the prophet’s life presents a model that can serve for
every class of the people acting under different circumstances and states of human
emotions. For example,
“If you are rich, there is the example of the tradesman of Mecca and the master of
Bahrain's treasure; if you are poor, you can follow the internee of Shu'yeb Abi Talib
and the emigree of Medina; if you are a king, watch the actions of the Ruler of
Arabia; if you are a vassal, take a look at the man enduring hardships imposed by
the Quraish of Mecca; if you are a conqueror, lay your eyes on the victor of Badr
and Hunayn; if you have suffered a defeat, take a lesson from the one discomfited
at Uhad; if you are a teacher, learn from the holy mentor of the school of Suffah; if
you are a student, look at the learner who sat before Gabriel; if you are a sermoner,
direct your eyes to the discourser delivering lectures in the mosque of Medina; if
you are charged to preach the gospel of truth and mercy to your persecutors,
observe the helpless preacher explaining the message of Allah to the pagans of
Mecca; if you have bought your enemy to their knees, look at the conqueror of
Mecca; if you want to administer your land and properties, discover how the lands
and groves of Bani an-Nadir, Khaybar and Fadak were managed; if you are an
orphan, do not forget the child of Amina and Abdullah left to the tender mercy of
Halima; if you are young, see the character of Mecca's shepherd; if you have a
travelling business, cast a glance at the leader of the caravan under way to Basra; if
you are a judge or an arbiter, look at the umpire entering the holy sanctuary before
the peep of dawn and installing Hajr Aswad in the Ka'aba, or the justice of peace in
whose eyes the poor and the rich were alike; if you are a husband, study the
behaviour of the husband of Kadija and Ayesha; if you are a father, go through the
biography of Fatima's father and the grandfather of Hasan and Hussain; in short,
whoever and whatever you may be, you would find a shining example in the life of
the Prophet to illuminate your behaviour. If you have the life of the Prophet before
you, you can find the examples of all prophets, Noah and Abraham, John and
Jonah, Moses and Jesus. If the life and character of each prophet of Allah were
deemed to be a shop selling the wares of one commodity, that of Muhammad
(pbuh) would verily be a variety store where goods of every description can be had
to suit the tastes and needs of all." {3}
In the quote, Nadwi {3} invites us to study the events and places where the mentioned
role of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was evident. Further, in addition to such biographies,
the sayings (Ahadith) are available as collections by scholars {4}. Is the study of the life
of Prophet Muhammad important? What does the Holy Scripture, the Al-Qur’an say?
“He who obeys the Apostle obeys God: but if any turn away We have not sent
you to watch over their (evil deeds)” [4.80]

The Al-Qur’an therefore commands that we not only study the life and actions of Prophet
Muhammad, but also obey what he says. The following Verse explains why.
“You have indeed in the Apostle of God a beautiful pattern of (conduct) for
anyone whose hope is in God and the Final Day and who engages much in the
praise of God.” [33.21]

So, simply studying the life of the Prophet and not obeying what he has said would be
hypocrisy. Such hypocrisy was also demonstrated during the lifetime of Prophet
Muhammad.

24.53 “They swear their strongest oaths by God that if only you would
command them they would leave (their homes). Say, "Swear not; obedience
is (more) reasonable: verily God is well-acquainted with all that you do."”

24.54 “Say, "Obey God and obey the Apostle: but if you turn away he is
only responsible for the duty placed on him and you for that placed on you.
If you obey him you shall be on right guidance. The Apostle's duty is only
to preach the clear (Message)."”
The Verses recorded in the Holy Scripture Al-Qur’an {5} were revealed from God to
Prophet Muhammad through Archangel Jibrail. The Prophet’s duty was to convey the
Verses in word and deed to mankind – which he did.

24.55 “God has promised to those among you who believe and work
righteous deeds that He will of a surety grant them in the land inheritance
(of power) as He granted it to those before them; that He will establish in
authority their religion the one which He has chosen for them; and that He
will change (their state) after the fear in which they (lived) to one of security
and peace: `They will worship Me (alone) and not associate aught with Me.'
If any do reject faith after this they are rebellious and wicked.”
Those who believe study both the Al-Qur’an [2.121] and the sayings {4, 6} of the
Prophet as they should be studied – as the Creator’s Manual to rely on and as a basis
for living daily life.

24.56 “So establish regular Prayer and give regular Charity: and obey the
Apostle; that you may receive mercy.”
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{Notes}:
{1} https://www.biographyonline.net/people/100-most-influential.html
{2} https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0806513500/richard06-20
{3} http://www.islamicstudies.info/history/seerah/Muhammad-The-Ideal-Prophet.pdf
{4} https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sahih_al-Bukhari
{5} https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quran
{6} https://www.pinterest.com/bilkisJI/sayings-of-prophet-muhammad-saw/