By Imam Murtadha Gusau
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
Verily, all praise is for Allah. We praise Him, we seek His assistance and we ask for His forgiveness. And we seek refuge in Him from the evils of ourselves. Whoever Allah guides, none can misguide. Whoever He misguides, none can guide. And I bear witness that there is no deity other than Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger.
Dear brothers and sisters, people are searching for ways to make this world a place full of humanity and peace. To change the world, one must nurture through inspiration. Those who have succeeded before us can be taken as inspiration. They may be religious leaders, loving parents, influential leaders, model teachers, and many more like them.
But if we scan the human history, the one and only complete and matchless personality is Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). Not only in one shade of life but in all spheres of life. There are two enormous fields of life – one is spiritual, religious and moral – other is social, political, cultural and practical. If any personality performed and embedded overwhelmingly, tremendously, elegantly and matchlessly in both the fields, that is the personality of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).
He (Peace be upon him) is the only one who has enriched this garden of world with roses of beautiful words, with deeply immersed character of ethics, with soul stirring personality of morals, with integrated colours of relations, with fragrance of forgiveness, with glory of patience, with sublime acts of sacrifice. He (Peace be upon him) is supreme and incomparable in every walk of life either as a leader of the state or a preacher or a teacher or a friend or a neighbour. His character as husband is with outmost love and as a father with full of compassion. As an educator and a guide, he is unrivalled. As a brave warrior and victorious leader, he is inimitable. He (Peace be upon him) is foremost example in all aspects of life and all his glorious actions and merits are performed in purely natural human way not in a way of extraordinary feasts and miracles.
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He (Peace be upon him) is unparalleled and unprecedented on the page of globe because any great personality of past consists many fabricated accounts but Prophet Muhammad’s life from childhood till now is proven and recorded. There are no myths and fables to his life history. Allah Almighty says in the Noble Qur’an:
“Indeed, in the Messenger of Allah you have an excellent example for whoever has hope in Allah and the Last Day, and remembers Allah often.” [Qur’an, 33:21]
In every aspects of life till the day of judgment, he (Peace be upon him) is a role model. I will present some examples of his dealings, feelings, emotions, political vision, glorious sense of congruency and of astute observation. There are two moments of human life which demonstrates what actually a person is – gains and pains. If one remains stable, steadfast, and symmetric in pains, it means he has the highest essence of humanity and in pains if any personality has glittering and remarkable character, that is Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). To quell the melodious fountain of preaching, the enemies have adopted all the means – baleful, cruel, abusive, violent, explosive, hostile, oppressive and persecuted ways to slack his ardent reforming zeal. They tried to distort Prophet’s message while ridiculing. They tried to defame Prophet as calling him a poet, a story teller, a liar, a madman, pressuring his uncle, threatening with armed conflict, false accusations, slandering, demanding from Prophet superhuman attributes, offering enticement, with intimidation, physical torture, general boycott, attempt to murder. They practiced all tactics but nothing could eclipse the glittering moon!
Prophet (Peace be upon him)’s two daughters Rukayyah and Ummu Kulthum (RA) were divorced. The Quraish held a meeting to outcast and complete social boycott of Banu Hashim and Banu Muttalib. They agreed that no clans would marry their daughters, no business deal, no meeting or company with them, no trade, no help and once they all agreed, they put this agreement in writing. They were forced to leave Makkah. This social boycott was so devastating and rigorous that they had to eat leaves of trees. The cries of children and women with pangs of hunger could be heard in whole valley. This boycott lasted around 3 years. The message of Prophet (Peace be upon him) was repugnant to the haughty Quraish and they fueled their anger and spared no opportunity to demonize him. Uqbah strangled the Prophet (Peace be upon him) from behind, Abu Jahil ordered camel intestines to be dumped over Prophet (Peace be upon him), Utaibah spat in front of the Prophet (Peace be upon him), a woman used to throw garbage. In Taif, enemies set the young boys and slaves to abuse and throw stones at Prophet (Peace be upon him). Sumayyah (RA) was martyred when a non-muslim shoved a spear in her private parts. Yasir (RA) was martyred when enemies of Islam tied him to two horses and ripped his body apart. Bilal was tortured, whipped and made to lay on scorching sand. Khabbab (RA) was forced to lie on burning coals and smell his own flesh cooking. Despite of all their abuse, boycott, expulsion, threats, cruelty, torture and smear campaign, Prophet (Peace be upon him) never budged an inch away from his mission and he (Peace be upon him) with his inexhaustible courage and infinite patience said: “If they place the sun on my right hand and the moon on my left hand in return for giving up my mission, I will never desist until either makes it triumph or I perish defending it.”
So this firmness, courage, steadfastness in a gracious and magnanimous way is matchless in the human history!
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The other essence of human life is how a person deals with his worst enemies when they are under his captivity and specially those enemies who have tortured, intended to murder, enforced to exile, compelled to starve, divorcing daughters, pulling a daughter from camel leading to wounds, brutal killing of companions and so on. But history could not find such a glowing and tremendous person like Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) who dealt his arch enemies as cherished guests. When prisoners of Badr were taken to Madinah, Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) instructed the Muslims to treat the prisoners well and mercifully. The prisoners were treated in such a ways as captors offered best meal to the captives and kept dates for themselves. The uncle of Prophet (Peace be upon him) Abbas was tightened hardly and when Prophet (Peace be upon him) heard him groaning, he could not sleep and Umar (RA) came to know about agitation of Prophet (Peace be upon him), he untied Abbas. When the Prophet (Peace be upon him) consulted with Abubakar (RA) and Umar (RA) on what to do with the prisoners, Umar (RA) suggested to kill them and Abubakar (RA) suggested to free them while charging ransom. The most kind-hearted Prophet liked Abubakar’s suggestion. The amount of ransom was from 4000 dirhams to 10000 dirhams as per captive’s financial condition.
Another form of ransom was adopted that was remarkable and distinguished in history of war prisoners. That was if any prisoner cannot afford ransom amount, he can teach 10 children the art of reading and writing for the sake of his freedom. In prisoners there was an eloquent orator – Suhail Bin Amr. Umar (RA) wished to drew out his front teeth to make him unmelodic because he was considered a brilliant speaker and poet against Islam, but Prophet of mercy (Peace be upon him) stopped Umar (RA). Suhail Bin Amr requested to Prophet telling he has five daughters and he cannot pay the ransom amount. The Prophet of mercy released Suhail without ransom money. Abdullah Bin Rawahah (RA) suggested to throw prisoners into burning fire but Prophet of mercy neglected his suggestion.
Another magnificent victory was the conquest of Makkah. It was prelude to new era. This was city from where Prophet (Peace be upon him) was exiled forcefully with heavy heart but when he regained and entered in Makkah as a conqueror. While seated on his camel, the Prophet bent low in humility that his forehead almost touched the saddle. It was announced that today is the day of mercy, he who ever entered Abu Sufyan house will be safe, and who ever closed his own house door is also safe, and whoever would go in Sacred Mosque is also safe. There is no example of such a clemency in human history, after observing boundless sea of mercy both men and women flocked to Prophet (Peace be upon him) to pay homage and to accept Islam. This was the moment of glory in the history of human beings. Bilal who was descended under feet and was brutally beaten in same city, now was ascending on the roof of Ka’abah. This conquest of Makkah celebrated as a Day of Mercy is a matchless example of mercy in human history.
One of the biggest and the greatest quality which makes Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) matchless is what he preached and practiced. He is a role model in all rainbows of human aspects. He is the best reformer, the best leader, the best soldier, the best worshipper, the best father, the best husband, the best friend, the best teacher, the best preacher and the best human being. The best morals which makes a man immoral are found in Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) matchlessly – his strong faith, sound intellect and knowledge, sincerity, cleanliness, beauty, worship, self-disciplined, simplicity, enjoining good and forbidding evil, resolving disputes, polite and courteous, speech brief and beneficial, forbearance, altruism, kindness and compassion, sharing work, truthfulness, moderate, smiling face, honesty
and reliability, bravery and courage, humbleness, justice and fairness, contentment, forgiveness, generosity and many more! In human history, all teachers and preachers with their outmost effort were able to change some portion of society but matchless feature of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is that he changed both exterior and interior collectively that all aspects of human society – social, political and moral – were merged in a new and novel way. The upright performance was emanated from market to mosque, from schools to houses, from tribal disputes to courts, from nears and dears to warfare, from feeling to dealings, from emotions to relations, from customs to traditions, from thoughts to habits, from sense of rights to performance of duties, measures of good and bad, standards of right and wrong, sense of moral values, concept of bravery and slavery, a sense of peace and war, rules of trade and economy, sense of pride, respect of women, the rules of marriages, daughters were not being slaughtered. The universe has witnessed once and only such a great and matchless personality who gifted the world with new peaceful and respectful era.
He is matchless and unique from the best of the best as narrated by Abbas (RA), that Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: “I am Muhammad Bin Abdullah Bin Abdul-Muttalib, indeed Allah created the creation, and He put me in the best [group] of them, then He made them into two groups, so He put me in the best group of them, then He made them into tribes, so He put me in the best of them in tribe, then He made them into houses, so He put me in the best of them in tribe and lineage.”
The best of mankind with the best teachings, preaching, actions and performance. The matchless features that grown the garden of world with new roses and fragrance. These features are matchless like a matchless personality, unity of ideology and practice, firmness and consistency, compatibility of aim and action, logical sequence of events and his strategy, prioritising the collective and national interest, empirical and practical steps, consistent continuity of struggle, humanitarian foundation of state, combination of Divine will and Noble Prophet’s vision, the best use of available resources, preparation of personal and work force, the best optimistic approach, stayed hopeful and never gave in. So the result of all this struggle and endeavour was so endearing and superb that universe has never seen such a great personality before or after.
All this struggle resulted in a new world order, new change that merged on the map of the world was, restoration of human dignity, exaltedness of woman, boundless respect of mother, jollification on daughter’s birth, eradication of social evils, kind treatment with the whole world, change of mind and thoughts, repaying of evil with good, balance of justice, the bases of testimony, women rights in heritage, considering the moral values in contracts, abolishing the seeds of enmity, elimination of prejudice, rights of relatives and neighbours, restoration of the value of human life, establishing a judicial system, to purify economy from interest, to earn livelihood from legal means, distinction between legal and illegal, changing short sightedness into broad vision, stress on mercy in warfare, kind treatment with parents, gentle and merciful behaviour towards prisoners, changing the rules of ransom, education of tolerance and forgiveness, quashing the hatred weeds, the teachings of human unity, the blessing of monotheism, an end of despondency and suspicion, encouragement to repent, change in standards of beauty, exponents of human equality, merciful instruction while slaughtering an animal, sympathy with the feeble and the week, kind treatment with maids and servants, to pay the wages to labours before their sweat has dried up, good treatment with concubines, taking care of the old ones and children, well serving of the guests and so on. After this revolution the world became so beautiful that even paradise seems to be envying.
Respected brothers and sisters, Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) grew up in a grim world full of different problems and crisis like racism, inequality, and ignorance. Sounds familiar and rings all the bells! What did he do to solve the world’s problems?
So this is a little bit what he (Peace be upon him) introduced to solve them:
1. Education: He started by educating people, young people. He made them aware of their problems and gave them hope for a better future.
2. He created a shared belonging to a group based on reciprocal obligation. [See The Charter of Madinah]
3. He solved the inequality problem.
4. He exterminated racism from the hearts of people.
5. He established an Ethical social-democratic state. A state that purposively harnessed free-market for the benefit of society.
6. He created a sense of purpose to the people.
7. No corruption: He created a corruption-free state.
8. He gave people trust in the state because people knew that they will be treated fairly.
9. Rule of Law: The law reigns supreme. He Himself was under the law. Everyone was equal before the law even his daughter.
9. Social Welfare: The state will collect taxes and take care of the basic necessities of its citizens.
10. Women Right of Inheritance: Daughters and wives have a right in the inheritance. It’s not even guaranteed till this day in the west.
11. Place of a Woman: The best among men is the one who’s the best towards his wife. No one in history has made being a good husband this special.
12. Legacy of Woman: The first person to become a Muslim was a woman i.e. Khadijah (RA). The first Martyr of Islam was a woman i.e. Sumayyah (RA). The biggest scholar of Islam is a woman i.e. Aisha (RA).
13. Equality before law: Search Veil of Ignorance by Rawls. The apex of Philosophy of Justice. This took place in the 20th century. This has already been commanded in the Qur’an in the 7th century.
14. The person of a Woman: At that time when He started preaching. In some places women were seen as half men. In some places they were treated as possessed creatures. In some sent to the desert because of their menses.
15. End of Racism: No black has any superiority over a white. No white has any superiority over a black. Superiority is due to good actions.
16. End of xenophobia, jingoism: No Arab has any superiority over a non-arab. No non-arab has any superiority over an Arab. Superiority is due to good actions.
• Reality of things
What is the reality of life. The reality of death. The meaning of a human being. We are not just flesh and bones. There is a divine spark within us all.
His most important contribution has been to connect humans to Allah Almighty. The ones made in our imagination, ones made out of wood/stone are nothing.
This was one by a person who was born an orphan in a desert in 6th century Arabia.
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all creation; may Allah extol the mention of our noble Prophet Muhammad in the highest company of Angels, bless him and give him peace and security―and his family, his Companions and all those who follow him correctly and sincerely until the establishment of the Hour.
Murtadha Muhammad Gusau is the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and the late Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: [email protected] or +2348038289761.
This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Muharram 17, 1445 AH (August 04, 2023).