Descriptions of Prophet Muhammad, sws
Jurgens Centre, Englefield Green, Surrey, UK. Date, 2017
“A-úthu billáhi minash shaytánir rajeem. Bismilláhir rahmánir raheem
Al hamdu lillahi nahmaduhu wanasta’eenahu, wanastagh-firuhu, wanatoobu ilayhi, wana’oothu Billaahi min shuroori an-fusinaa, wamin sayyi aati a’maalinaa. May- Yahdillahu fa huwal muhtad, wa may- yudlill falan tajidaa lahu waliyan murshida. Wa ash-hadu an Laa ilaaha ill-Alláh, wahdahoo laa shareeka lah, wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan ‘abduhoo warasooluh”
All Praise is due to Alláh, We praise Him and we seek help from Him. We ask forgiveness from Him. We repent to Him; and we seek refuge in Him from our own evils and our own bad deeds. Anyone who is guided by Alláh, he is indeed guided; and anyone who has been left astray, will find no one to guide him. I bear witness that there is no god but Alláh, the Only One without any partner; and I bear witness that Muhammad, peace and blessings on him, is His servant, and His messenger.
Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem! Ya Ay-yuhal-latheena ‘aamanut taqul-laaha, haqqa tuqaatihee wala tamu tun-na, il-la wa antum Muslimoon.”
O You who believe, – Be aware of Allah, with correct awareness, an awe-inspired awareness, and die not except as Muslims.
Ya Ay-yuhal-latheena ‘aamanut taqul-laaha, wa qooloo qawlan sadeedaa. Yuslih-lakum a’maalakum wa yaghfir lakum thunoobakum, wamay yu-til-laaha warasoolah, faqad faaza fawzan atheemaa.”
O You who believe, – Be aware of Allah, and speak a straightforward word. He will forgive your sins and repair your deeds. And whoever takes Allah and His Prophet as a guide, has already achieved a mighty victory.
In the opening verse of Sura An-Nisaa’, Allah says:
“O mankind! Show reverence towards your Guardian-Lord Who created you from a single person, created, of like nature, his mate and from the two of them scattered (like seeds) countless men and women;― Be conscious of Allah, through Whom ye demand your mutual (rights) and (show reverence towards) the wombs (that bore you): for surely, Allah ever watches over you.”
My Dear Sisters and Brothers,
Last Friday our Khutbah dealt with the question: Why do bad things happen to good people? We learned that bad things happen as to all of us as a test from Allah. Sometimes we are punished by the same bad behaviour that we show towards other people. For example, if we suffer from racism and discrimination, maybe it’s because we are a bit racist and prejudiced ourselves. The simple solution is to change our ways so that Allah will be pleased with us. This explains (Sura Ra’d 13:11) which declares that:
““Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is within themselves.”
The way to change ourselves inwardly is to follow the Golden Rule: To “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. As Rasool Allah sws taught us in a well-known Hadith: “A believer is not a believer until he desires for his brother whatever he desires for himself.” As soon as we follow this Golden Rule, which is taught by all religions, Allah will indeed change our conditions for the better. That’s Allah’s promise, and Allah never breaks His promise.
Because of the exams and our time is limited, today I want to focus on our beloved Prophet, Muhammad sws. I believe it’s no exaggeration to say that if the modern world followed the example of Allah’s Prophet, there would be no man-made disasters like poverty, war, and the destruction of our life-sustaining environment.
I will read to you two descriptions of Prophet Muhammad sws. One is mainly a physical description. The other one describes his noble character.
The Hilye of his cousin and son-in-law, Sayyidna ‘Ali is recorded by Al-Tirmidhi as follows:
“Transmitted from Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, who, when asked to describe the Prophet, peace be upon him, would say, “He was not too tall nor too short. He was medium sized. His hair was not short and curly, nor was it lang but in between. His face was not narrow, nor was it fully round, but there was a round-ness to it. His skin was white. His eyes were black. He had long eyelashes. He was big-boned and had wide shoulders. He had no body hair except in the middle of his chest. He had thick hands and feet. When he walked, he walked inclined, as if descending a slope. When he looked at someone, he looked at them in full face. Between his shoulders was the seal of prophecy, the sign that he was the last of the prophets. He was the most generous-hearted of men, the most truthful of them in speech, the most mild-tempered of them, and the noblest of them in lineage. Whoever saw him unexpectedly was in awe of him. And whoever associated with him regularly loved him. Anyone who would describe him would say, ‘I never saw, before him or after him, the like of him.’ Peace be upon him.”
My dear respected sisters and brothers, this is how Sayyidna Ali described his cousin and father-in-law, Prophet Muhammad, sws. Let us remember him and try hard to be like him.
“Alhamdu lillahi Rabbil ‘Aalameen. Was-salaatu was-salaamu alaa Khairil mursaleen. Muhammadin-nabeey-yil Ummiy-yee, wa-‘alaa aalihee, wasah-bihee, aj-ma’een. Ammaa ba’ad:
“Innalláha wa malaaikata yusallúna alan nabi. Yá ay yuhal latheena ámanu sallú alayhi wasalli mú tas leema. Allahumma salli alá Muhammad, wa ala áli Muhammad, kama salayta ala Ibrahim, wa ala ali Ibrahim. Allahumma barik ala Muhammad, kama barakta ala Ibrahim, wa ala ali ibrahim. Fil ála meen, innaka hameedun majeed.”
“Soob’ hanallahi wal hamdu lillah, wala hawla wala quwwata illah billah yu althi yual theem”
Glory to Allah! Praise to Allah! There is no power and no strength except from Allah!
My dear sisters and brothers,
Here is a condensed description of Rasool Allah, sws, which Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad has paraphrased from a passage by Imam al-Ghazali, in Book 19 of his Revival of the Religious Sciences, Ihya Ulum ud-Din.
‘The Messenger of Allah was the mildest of men, but also the bravest and most just of men. He was the most restrained of people; never touching the hand of a woman over whom he did not have rights, or who was not his mahram. He was the most generous of men, so that never did a gold or silver coin spend the night in his house. If something remained at the end of the day, because he had not found someone to give it to, and night descended, he would go out, and not return home until he had given it to someone in need. From what Allah gave him […] he would take only the simplest and easiest foods: dates and barley, giving anything else away in the path of Allah. Never did he refuse a gift for which he was asked. He used to mend his own sandals, and patch his own clothes, and serve his family, and help them to cut meat. He was the shyest of men, so that his gaze would never remain long in the face of anyone else. He would accept the invitation of a freeman or a slave, and accept a gift, even if it were no more than a gulp of milk, or the thigh of a rabbit, and offer something in return. He never consumed anything given in sadaqa. He was not too proud to reply to a slave-girl, or a poor person in rags. He would become angered for his Lord, never for himself; he would cause truth and justice to prevail even if this led to discomfort to himself or to his companions.
‘He used to bind a stone around his waist out of hunger. He would eat what was brought, and would not refuse any permissible food. If there was dates without bread, he would eat, if there was roast meat, he would eat; if there was rough barley bread, he would eat it; if there was honey or something sweet, he would eat it; if there was only yogurt without even bread, he would be quite satisfied with that.
‘He would never fill himself, even with barley-bread, for three consecutive days, until the day he met his Lord, not because of poverty, or greed, but because he always preferred others over himself.
‘He would attend weddings, and visit the sick, and attend funerals, and would often walk among his enemies without a guard. He was the most humble of men, and the most serene, without arrogance. He was the most eloquent of men, without ever speaking for too long. He was the most cheerful of men. He was afraid of nothing in the dunya. He would wear a rough Yemeni cloak, or a woolen tunic; whatever was lawful and was available, that he would wear. He would ride whatever was available: sometimes a horse, sometimes a camel, sometimes a mule, sometimes a donkey. And at times he would walk barefoot, without an upper garment or a turban or a cap. He would visit the sick even if they were in the furthest part of Madina. He loved perfumes, and disliked bad smells.
‘He maintained affectionate and loyal ties with his relatives, but without preferring them to anyone who was superior to them. He never snubbed anyone. He accepted the excuse of anyone who made an excuse. He would joke, but would never say anything that was not true. He would laugh, but not uproarously. He would watch permissible games and sports, and would not criticise them. He ran races with his wives. Voices would be raised around him, and he would be patient. He kept a sheep, from which he would draw milk for his family. He would walk among the fields of his companions. He never despised any pauper for his poverty or illness; neither did he hold any king in awe simply because he was a king. He would call rich and poor to Allah, without distinction.
‘In him, Allah combined all noble traits of character; although he neither read nor wrote, having grown up in a land of ignorance and deserts in poverty, as a shepherd, and as an orphan with neither father nor mother. But Allah Himself taught him all the excellent qualities of character, and praiseworthy ways, and the stories of the early and the later prophets, and the way to salvation and triumph in the Akhira, and to joy and detachment in the dunya, and how to hold fast to duty, and to avoid the unnecessary. May Allah give us success in obeying him, and in following his sunna. Amin ya rabb al-alamin.‘
Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad goes on to say:
This moving portrait by Imam al-Ghazali depicts our role model, and simultaneously our ideal of humanity lived in the form of absolute beauty. His was a life lived in fullness. There was no aspect of human perfection that he did not know and manifest. And his perfection also indicates the nature of specifically masculine perfection. He was a great warrior; a sound hadith narrated by Imam al-Darimi tells us, on the authority of Ali, that
‘On the day of Badr I was present, and we sought refuge in the Prophet (s.w.s.), who was the closest of us all to the enemy. On that day he was the most powerful of all those who fought.’
“One of the Companions described him riding his horse, wearing a red turban and holding his sword, and said later that never in his life had he seen a sight more beautiful.
In 23 years he became undisputed ruler of Arabia. Through his genius and charisma, and the attractive force of his personality, he united the Arabian tribes for the first time in their history. He took his people from the depths of idolatry into the purest form of monotheism. He gave them a law for the first time. He laid down, in his mosque in Madina, a system of worship, self-restraint and spiritual fruitfulness that provided the inspiration and the precedent for countless generations to come. In affirming the Ka‘ba, he affirmed beauty; so that all else that he did was beautiful.
And in all this, he attributed his success only to Allah. He was, as Imam al-Ghazali records, the most humble of men. He was forbearing, polite, courteous, and mild. He paid no attention to people’s outward form, but assessed and responded to their spirits. He forgave constantly. He was indulgent with the simple Bedouin of Central Arabia, the roughest people on earth. When one of them who wanted money, pulled his cloak so violently that it left a mark, he merely smiled, and ordered that the man be given what he wanted.
All of this came about through his detachment. The veil of self and distraction was gone: he saw by the Truth. He knew his own prophetic status, but was not made proud by this. He said: ‘I am the first around whom the earth shall split open at the Resurrection – and I do not boast’. He knew his worth, but because he knew his Lord, he was not proud.
His sunnah entailed living in the world, not running away from it. After the overwhelming experience of revelation on Mount Hira, facing the Ka‘ba, he went down again into Meccan society. He had his solitary times with his Lord, in the long watches of the night, forms of tahajjud so long and exacting that he forbade his companions to imitate him. He fasted in rigorous ways that he would not allow to others. He was detached, and yet in his world, and, in the end, commanding his world. He was truly the khalifa: the one who has no ego, and hence speaks, and acts, and rules, by and for Allah alone.
Living the sunnah therefore means emulating his inner as well as his outer perfection. The sunnah has to come easily and naturally to us, as the normal lifestyle of our species. ‘Not one of you has iman’, he insisted, ‘until his desire, his personal preference, his hawa, is in accordance with what I have brought.”
And with those inspiring words of Shaykh Abdal Hakim,
Brothers and sisters, we conclude our khutbah:
InnaAllaha, Yamuru bil adel, wal ihsaan, wa eetaa-i zil qurba; wa yanha anil fuhshaa-i, wal munkari walbaghi; ya-idzukhum lallakum tathak-karoon. (Sura 16:90), Fadth kuroonee adth kurkum, wash kuroolee walaa tak furoon [2:152]. wala thikrul-Laahi akbar, Wal-Laahu ya’lamu maa tasna’oon.” [29:45].
“Surely Allah commands justice, good deeds and generosity to others and to relatives; and He forbids all shameful deeds, and injustice and rebellion: He instructs you, so that you may be reminded.” “and remember Me: I will remember you. Be grateful to Me, and do not reject faith.” “and without doubt, Remembrance of Allah is the Greatest Thing in life, and Allah knows the deeds that you do.”
Ameen. Aqeemus salaah