By Yūsuf Badāt
The lunar month of Rabīʾ Al-Awwal is a time wherein Muslims profess and renew their love of the Final Prophet Muḥammad (peace and blessings upon him). This is the month of his blessed birth. His arrival was a game changer. His presence on this earth was the beginning of unmatched transformation for billions across the globe. Today, no matter what kind of Muslim or what level of practice, every Muslim would not hesitate to say, “I love the Prophet Muḥammad (peace and blessings upon him).”
Who Did He Love?
Muḥammad (peace and blessings upon him) loved God the most. His intimate deep love was reserved for the Almighty. He once declared,
أَلَا إِنِّي أَبْرَأُ إِلَى كُلِّ خِلٍّ مِنْ خِلِّهِ وَلَوْ كُنْتُ مُتَّخِذًا خَلِيلًا لَاتَّخَذْتُ أَبَا بَكْرٍ خَلِيلًا إِنَّ صَاحِبَكُمْ خَلِيلُ اللَّهِ
“Let it be known, I have distanced myself from every [intense] loving friendship. If I were to have taken anyone as an intimate loving friend, I would have taken Abū Bakr (may God be pleased with him) as such. However, my intimate beloved friend is only Allāh.” (Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim)
Muḥammad (peace and blessings upon him) did love others, such as his family, friends and Companions, however his highest love was clearly only for God. God was the greatest priority in his life.
Aptitude in Faith Requires His Love
Even though the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) professed his greatest love for God. The common follower of Muḥammad (peace and blessings upon him) cannot claim the same. For verily without loving the Prophet Muḥammad, our love for God is deficient. Love of the Prophet is integral to completing īmān (faith).
لاَ يُؤْمِنُ أَحَدُكُمْ حَتَّى يَكُونَ اللهُ وَرَسُولُهُ أَحَبَّ إِلَيْهِ مِمَّا سِوَاهُمَا
“None of you have complete faith until God and His Prophet are more beloved to you than anything else.” (Kitāb Al-Sunnah Li Abī Bakr)
In fact, one is unable to experience the genuine sweetness and passion of īmān (faith) without loving the Prophet Muḥammad (peace and blessings upon him).
God’s Messenger (peace and blessings upon him) has stated,
ثَلاَثٌ مَنْ كُنَّ فِيهِ وَجَدَ حَلاَوَةَ الإِيمَانِ أَنْ يَكُونَ اللهُ وَرَسُولُهُ أَحَبَّ إِلَيْهِ مِمَّا سِوَاهُمَا
“Whoever has the following three traits will certainly experience the sweetness [and delight] of faith. The first being the one to whom God and His Prophet becomes dearer and loved more than anything else.” (Bukhārī)
Love can be claimed and or expressed as a feeling. This is easy for anyone. However, true love is proven by words, gestures and actions, in heart, mind, body and soul.
سُئِلَ عَلِيُّ بْنُ أَبِي طَالِبٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ كَيْفَ كَانَ حُبُّكُمْ لِرَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ؟
Someone once asked the great Companion, ʿAlī bin Abī Ṭālib (may God be pleased with him), “How was your [the Companions] love for the Messenger of God (peace and blessings upon him)?”
قَالَ كَانَ وَاللَّهِ أَحَبَّ إِلَيْنَا مِنْ أَمْوَالِنَا وَأَوْلَادِنَا وَآبَائِنَا وَأُمَّهَاتِنَا وَمِنَ الْمَاءِ الْبَارِدِ عَلَى الظَّمَإِ
He replied, “By God we loved him more than our wealth, children and parents. In fact, more than [the love of drinking] cold water on intense thirst.” (Kitāb Al-Shifā)
Knowing Him Leads to Loving Him
The quickest way to increase our love for the Prophet Muḥammad (peace and blessings upon him) is to know him on an intimate level. Studying every detail of his life and teachings will thrust the adoration. The formula is simple. Studying him will lead to loving him. Our love for Muḥammad (peace and blessings upon him) will result in following him, which in turn will grant us the pleasure of God. This will then allow us to enter God’s Paradise.
Confidence in Love
Be confident of your belief and relationship with God’s Messenger. Love requires confidence. You are not shy, embarrassed or weak about your love for God’s beloved, Muḥammad (peace and blessings upon him).
Look at the confidence expressed and displayed by Saʾad Bin Muʿādh (may God be be pleased with him) when he sensed hesitation from the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) as he was about to request Saʾad’s clans to join him to defend Islam and the city of Madīnah. This was at a time when the evil forces and armies had gathered to wipe out every living Muslim of the time, for no reason what so ever.
يَا رَسُوْلَ اللهِ هَذِهِ أَمْوَالُنَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْكَ خُذْ مِنْهَا مَا شِئْتَ وَدَعْ مِنْهَا مَا شِئْتَ وَمَا أَخَذْتَهُ مِنْهَا كَانَ أَحَبّ إِلَيْنَا مِمَّا تَرَكْتَهُ لَوْ اسْتَعْرَضْتَ بِنَا الْبَحْرَ لَخُضْنَاهُ مَعَكَ مَا تَخَلَّفَ مِنَّا أَحَدٌ إِنَّا وَاللهِ لَصَبرٌ فِي الْحَرْبِ صِدْقٌ عِنْدَ اللِّقَاءِ فَامْضِ بِنَا يَا رَسُوْلَ اللهِ حَيْثُ أَمَرَكَ اللهُ
Saʾad Bin Muʿādh (may God be be pleased with him) confidently said, “O Messenger of God, this is our wealth. We place it in your presence. Take or leave whatever you want from it! What you take is more beloved to us than what you leave for us. We are with you, so if you intend to travel across the sea with us, we will dive in with you. None among us will remain behind. We are such that we persevere in harsh conditions and we are true to our spirit even in the presence of the enemy. Take us with you O God’s Messenger where ever God has instructed you!” (Sīrat Ibn Hishām)
Having confidence in our love for the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) and his ways will only strengthen our practice of his teachings. The next time your non-muslim friend offers you wine, weed or any impermissible item or activity, do not say you are not in the mood [or something similar]. Be confident and say, “My religion, my God and my Prophet taught me not to do this!”. You are so confident about your love for the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) that your every word and action displays the required confidence, because you love him and his ways.
Evidence of Love
Love of something and or someone is easily seen by an onlooker. We could tell a raptors or a leafs fan, a mile away. Your choice of brands, is quickly understood by those who surround you. What you stand for is vivid to those who interact with you. Similarly, your love for the Prophet Muḥammad (peace and blessings upon him) is distinctly apparent in your speech, apparel, appearance, attitude and behaviour. Your loyalty and faithfulness to Muḥammad is seen and experienced in every movement of yours because you are in love with Muḥammad (peace and blessings upon him).
Abu Bakr’s tears of joy were evidence of his love for Muḥammad (peace and blessings upon him) in the following occurrence.
إِسْتَأْذَنَ أَبُوْ بَكْرٍ الصِّدِّيْق رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ النَّبِيّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فِيْ الْهِجْرَةِ فَقَالَ لَهُ لَا تَعْجَلْ لَعَلَّ اللهُ يَجْعَلُ لَكَ صَاحِباً فَلَمَّا أَذِنَ اللهُ ـعَزَّ وَجَلَّ لِنَبِيِّهِ بِالْهِجْرَةِ قَدِمَ عَلَى أَبِيْ بَكْرٍ يُخْبِرُهُ بِالْأَمْرِ فَقَالَ لَهُ أَبُوْ بَكْرٍ الصُّحْبَةُ يَا رَسُوْلَ اللهِ فَقَالَ لَهُ اَلصُّحْبَةُ تَقُوْلُ عَائِشَةُ رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهَا ـفَوَاللهِ مَا شَعرْتُ قَطُّ قَبْلَ ذَلِكَ الْيَوْم أَنَّ أَحَداً يَبْكِيْ مِنَ الْفَرْحِ حَتَّى رَأَيْتُ أَبَا بَكْرٍ يَبْكِيْ يَوْمَئِذٍ
“Abū Bakr (may God be pleased with him) sought permission from the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) to migrate with others to Yathrib. The Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) instructed him as follows, “Do not rush! God will shortly give you a companion [to journey with].” When God, the Almighty, [finally] graced His Prophet permission to migrate, he came to inform Abū Bakr (may God be pleased with him) of the matter. Abū Bakr (may God be pleased with him) then asked, “May I please join you [for the travel] O Messenger of God?” The Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) responded saying, “Yes, you and I will accompany one another in this journey.” ʿĀʾyesha (may God be pleased with her) says, “By God, I never believed, before that day, anyone could tear from the ecstasy of joy, until I seen [my father] Abū Bakr crying in joy of the news [to travel with him].” (Al-Bidāyah Wa Al-Nihāyah, Bukhārī)
This is amazing love, evident in the life of Abū Bakr (may God be pleased with him). Likewise, you are so passionate in your love for the Prophet Muḥammad (peace and blessings upon him) that it is very apparent, even if you attempt to conceal it!
Sacrifice for Love
The nature of us humans is that we generally spend from our resources and valuable time for that which we deem as important and beloved! We sacrifice for what we love. Intense love has no qualms about making considerable sacrifices.
The sacrifice of Ṭalḥah bin ʿObaidullāh (may God be pleased with him) is an example and a testimony to his love for the Prophet Muḥammad (peace and blessings upon him) during the expedition of Uḥad. Despite his injuries in the Uḥad expedition, he sacrificed to help the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) at a crucial moment. The event is recorded in the books as follows,
وَفِيْ غَزْوَةِ أُحُد عُرضَتْ لِرَسُوْلِ اللهِ صَخْرَة مِنَ الْجَبَلِ فَنَهَضَ إِليْهَا لِيَعْلوهَا فَلَمْ يَسْتَطِعْ فَجَلَسَ تَحْتَهُ طَلْحَةُ بْنُ عُبَيْدِ اللهِ رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ فَنَهَضَ عَلَيْهِ فَقَالَ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَوْجَبَ طلْحَة أي الْجَنّة
“During the Uḥad expedition, a large boulder on the mountain obstructed the Messenger of God [preventing him from entering its cave for refuge]. He leaped up to climb in but was unable to do so. Ṭalḥah (may God be pleased with him) quickly came forward and crouched [requesting the Prophet to step on him to reach into the cave], he therefore got into [the cave, using Talḥah’s support]. Upon this, the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) remarked, “Talḥah has earned paradise [in result of this sacrifice].” (Sīrat Ibn Hishām)
Every believer is in love with Muḥammad (peace and blessings upon him). Let us all take a moment, as we reflect on his blessed birth that our love for him is drenched in learning and practicing his timeless teachings. May the Almighty gather us with our beloved on Judgement Day!
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