His name was Ahmad – the one who constantly thanks and glorifies Allahﷻ – and so we, his Ummah must be distinguished as people who constantly glorify and thank Allahﷻ. His coming was prophesied by one of the greatest of Allahﷻ’s messengers which Allahﷻ informed us about and said:
وَإِذْ قَالَ عِيسَى ٱبْنُ مَرْيَمَ يَـٰبَنِىٓ إِسْرَٰٓءِيلَ إِنِّى رَسُولُ ٱللَّهِ إِلَيْكُم مُّصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَىَّ مِنَ ٱلتَّوْرَىٰةِ وَمُبَشِّرًۢا بِرَسُولٍ يَأْتِى مِنۢ بَعْدِى ٱسْمُهُۥٓ أَحْمَدُ فَلَمَّا جَآءَهُم بِٱلْبَيِّنَـٰتِ قَالُوا۟ هَـٰذَا سِحْرٌ مُّبِينٌ
Saff 61: 6 And (remember) when ‘Iesa, son of Maryam, said: O Children of Israel! I am the Messenger of Allah unto you confirming the Taurat [(Torah) which came] before me and giving glad tidings of a Messenger to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad. But when he (Ahmad i.e. Muhammadﷺ) came to them with clear proofs, they said: This is plain magic.
When he graced this planet, he was named Muhammadﷺ – the praised one – about whom His Rabb said:
إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ وَمَلَـٰٓئِكَتَهُۥ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى ٱلنَّبِىِّ يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ صَلُّوا۟ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُوا۟ تَسْلِيمًا
Ahzab 33: 56 Allah sends His Salat (Blessings) on the Prophet (Muhammadﷺ) and also His angels too (ask Allah to bless and forgive him). O you who believe! Send your Salat on (ask Allah to bless) him (Muhammadﷺ), and (you should) greet (salute) him with the Islamic way of greeting (AsSalamu ‘Alaikum).
He is the last and final of the prophets and messengers (Anbiya wa Rusul) after whom there is no other and we, his Ummah, are the last of the Umam. He is the one that Allahﷻ called His Neyma (Blessing) and declared:
لَقَدْ مَنَّ ٱللَّهُ عَلَى ٱلْمُؤْمِنِينَ إِذْ بَعَثَ فِيهِمْ رَسُولًا مِّنْ أَنفُسِهِمْ يَتْلُوا۟ عَلَيْهِمْ ءَايَـٰتِهِۦ وَيُزَكِّيهِمْ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمُ ٱلْكِتَـٰبَ وَٱلْحِكْمَةَ وَإِن كَانُوا۟ مِن قَبْلُ لَفِى ضَلَـٰلٍ مُّبِينٍ
A’al Imraan 3: 164 Indeed Allah conferred a great favour on the believers when He sent among them a Messenger (Muhammadﷺ) from among themselves, reciting unto them His Verses (the Quran), and purifying them (Tazkiyyatun Nafs wa Tarbiyatul Akhlaaq), and instructing them (in) the Book (the Quran) and Al-Hikmah [Sunnah], while before that they had been in manifest error.
In Islam there are two kinds of rights. The rights of Allahﷻ on us (called Huqooq-Ullah) and the rights that people have on us (called Huqooq-ul-Ibaad). The right of Allahﷻ is that He should be worshipped without ascribing partners to Him and that He should be obeyed. The rights of people are more complex as everyone we interact with in any aspect of our lives, has a different kind of right on us. Without listing them, the rights that parents have on us are different from those that our children, employees, employers, spouses, governments, customers, and co-citizens have on us. Rasoolullahﷺ said about these rights: “Allahﷻ may forgive transgressions against His rights but He will not forgive transgressions against the rights of people, until those people forgive them first.”
Out of all the Huqooq-ul-Ibaad (Rights of the People) the first and foremost come the rights of Rasoolullahﷺ on us. These are incumbent upon every adult Muslim man and woman and are rights about which they will be held accountable by Allahﷻ. That is why it is essential that we understand what they are and strive to do our utmost to ensure that we fulfill them. This series of lectures is with the intention of reminding us about what we owe to Rasoolullahﷺ so that we can meet Allahﷻ in a state where we had tried our best to fulfill the rights of the one to whom we owe Islam and whose intercession we hope for when we meet Allahﷻ. It is my hope that Allahﷻ will be pleased with us all and enable us to fulfill the rights of Rasoolullahﷺ and forgive us for any shortcomings and decree that we meet Rasoolullahﷺ on the Day of Judgement and receive the water of Al Kauthar from his blessed hand and follow him across the Sirat into Jannatul Firdous.
I ask Allahﷻ for His acceptance and you for your dua.
1456 years ago (1443 + 13) a window opened in the Heavens and God spoke to man. Allahﷻ sent Jibreel with Hisﷻ message, who recited it to Muhammadﷺ. Heﷺ recited it to us, and we believed it because we believed himﷺ. It was the spoken word that came. It was heard, remembered, and conveyed by the one who was known as As-Sadiq ul Ameen (The Truthful & Trustworthy). Later it was recorded, verified with Rasoolullahﷺ himself and became the Kitab of Allahﷻ which we read. We believed it to be the Word (Speech) of Allahﷻ not because Allahﷻ spoke to us, but because Muhammadﷺ said so. We believed in Muhammadﷺ first, then we believed what Muhammadﷺ told us. The foundation of Islam is the truthfulness of Rasoolullahﷺ. Everything in Islam is constructed on this foundation.
That is why Allahﷻ deliberately gave the orders for Hisﷻ worship, the five things we know as the Arkaan (Pillars) of Islam and left it to His Messengerﷺ to teach us how to perform them. Heﷻ said:
وَمَن يَبْتَغِ غَيْرَ الإِسْلاَمِ دِينًا فَلَن يُقْبَلَ مِنْهُ وَهُوَ فِي الآخِرَةِ مِنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ
A’al Imraan 3: 85. And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted from him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers.
And left it to Rasoolullahﷺ to tell us how to enter Islam. It was Rasoolullahﷺ who said to the people, “Qoolu la ilaha illAllahu tuflihu.” (Say La ilaha illAllah and become successful.) Allahﷻ made Muhammadﷺ not only the teacher of the way to enter Islam but made him the door through which one enters this religion. Belief in Muhammadﷺ as the final Messengerﷺ is intrinsic to Islam. Without believing in Muhammadﷺ, you can’t be a Muslim. It’s that simple.
Allahﷻ ordered us to pray:
إِنَّنِي أَنَا اللَّهُ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا أَنَا فَاعْبُدْنِي وَأَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ لِذِكْرِي
Ta-Ha 20: 14. “Verily! I am Allah! La ilaha illa Ana (none has the right to be worshipped but I), so worship Me, and establish As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat) for My Remembrance.
And Heﷻ left it to Muhammadﷺ to teach us how to do it. So Rasoolullahﷺ taught it to the Sahaba and said, “Sallu kama ra’aitumuni usalli.’ (Pray as you have seen me pray.) So, we pray as Rasoolullahﷺ taught us to pray.
Allahﷻ ordered us to fast in Ramadan and said:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ
Baqara 2: 183. O you who believe! As-Saum (fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqun.
And left it to Rasoolullahﷺ to explain what fasting is and all its Matha’ail (principles, rules) without learning and understanding which, it is impossible to fast.
Allahﷻ ordered us to establish Salah and pay Zakat and give Qarz Hasana to Allahﷻ. He said:
وَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ وَأَقْرِضُوا اللَّهَ قَرْضًا حَسَنًا
Muzammil 73: … and establish As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat) and give Zakat, and lend to Allah a goodly loan
And left it to Rasoolullahﷺ to explain to us what Zakat is liable on, how much, and to whom it can be paid. Heﷻ left it to Rasoolullahﷺ to explain all the details of Zakat and Qarz Hasana.
Finally, the last pillar of Islam, about the Hajj, Allahﷻ ordered us:
وَلِلّهِ عَلَى النَّاسِ حِجُّ الْبَيْتِ مَنِ اسْتَطَاعَ إِلَيْهِ سَبِيلاً وَمَن كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ الله غَنِيٌّ عَنِ الْعَالَمِينَ
A’al Imraan 3: 97. . And Hajj to the House (Ka’bah) is a duty that mankind owes to Allah, those who can afford the expenses; and whoever disbelieves [i.e. denies Hajj , then he is a disbeliever of Allah], then Allah stands not in need of any of the ‘Alamin (mankind and jinns).
And Heﷻ left it to Rasoolullahﷺ to teach us what constitutes Hajj. Rasoolullahﷺ said, “Quzoo anni manasikakum” (Take from me, the stages – way- to do Hajj). Rasoolullahﷺ taught us the Arkaan (Pillars) of Hajj to the extent that though Allahﷻ said, “And Hajj to the House (Ka’bah) is a duty that mankind owes to Allah”, It was Rasoolullahﷺ who told us that standing in Arafah is Hajj. That, is the single definer of whether you have done Hajj or not. Not standing in the Haram in Makkah next to the Ka’aba.
I am giving you the examples of the Arkaan of Islam because these are the head of the matter. These are the pillars on which our religion stands. It is therefore through these pillars themselves that Allahﷻ established the importance of Rasoolullahﷺ as the one we must follow without which it would be impossible to enter Islam or to worship Allahﷻ. Muhammadﷺ is crucial, critical, central, seminal, fundamental, and essential to Islam.
Heﷺ is not one among other important principles, or things. Heﷺ is the one without whom, nothing else is possible. That is why Allahﷻ preserved his life, his ways and his words and created an entire generation of men and women who lived with him, observed him closely and recorded everything he said or did. They did it because they loved him more than anyone and anything else. Allahﷻ is their witness and said:
النَّبِيُّ أَوْلَى بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ مِنْ أَنفُسِهِمْ
Ahzab 33: 6 The Prophet is closer to the believers than their own selves.
And about Rasoolullahﷺ’s love for his companions, Allahﷻ said:
لَقَدْ جَاءكُمْ رَسُولٌ مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ عَزِيزٌ عَلَيْهِ مَا عَنِتُّمْ حَرِيصٌ عَلَيْكُم بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ رَؤُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ
Tawba 9: 128. Verily, there has come unto you a Messenger (Muhammadﷺ) from amongst yourselves (i.e. whom you know well). It grieves him that you should receive any injury or difficulty. He (Muhammadﷺ) is anxious over you (to be rightly guided). For the believers (heﷺ is) compassionate, kind, and merciful.
My brothers and sisters, the time has come to make a choice. We ask Allahﷻ to guide us to the Siratal Mustaqeem in every Raka’at of every Salah. Allahﷻ took an oath by the Qur’an and declared in Sura Yaseen that Muhammadﷺ is a Rasool and is on the Siratal Mustaqeem. So, when we ask for guidance to Siratal Mustaqeem, we are asking for guidance to the Sunnah of Rasoolullahﷺ. Please give this some thought, especially when you feel compelled to choose between the Sunnah of Rasoolullahﷺ and any other way. We can’t live on the fence. We can’t cross the river with one foot in each boat. As Allama Iqbal said:
عشق قاتل سے بھی مقتول سے ہمدردی بھی
یہ بتا کس سےمحبّت کی جزا مانگے گا
سجدہ خالق کو بھی ابلیس سے یارانہ بھی
حشر میں کس سے عقیدت کا سلا مانگے گا
Love for the murderer and compassion for his victim also?
Tell me who you will take the reward of love from?
Sajda to Allahﷻ and also friendship with Iblees?
In Hashr from whom are you going to seek the reward for your dedication?
I quote this because this seems to be our situation today. May Allahﷻ protect us from ourselves, we want to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds. We want to live in two mutually exclusive worlds at the same time. We want travel in two opposite directions, simultaneously. The most worrisome development of our times of increasing ignorance and arrogance is the decreasing importance that is given to the Sunnah of Rasoolullahﷺ. People who have not had the benefit of Islamic Tarbiyya, where they would first be connected with Allahﷻ and His Messengerﷺ and then be taught the rest of the Deen, as Rasoolullahﷺ used to do, today people have access to the interenet and ask questions about the application of the law without any understanding of the spirit of the law. They ask about punishments without realizing who they are disobeying. They are more focused on whether the magnitude of their disobedience is small or big without thinking and reflecting on the Majesty and Magnificence of the One they are disobeying. The unspoken implication is that if the disobedience is ‘small’ as defined in Fiqh by the punishment associated with it, it is okay and can be done.
It is in this same spirit of disobedience that they seek to ignore the Sunnah and treat it with unimportance bordering on disdain because they say, “After all it is not Fardh.” I am reminded of the statement of one of the great Ulama of this Ummah, Maulana Sayeed Ahmed Khan Sahib (RA) who said to someone who made that statement about a Sunnah of Rasoolullahﷺ, “Your statement is correct; it is not a Fardh, but your tone is Kufr.” I cannot possibly over emphasize the importance of following the Sunnah because this entire Deen is based on it. If we ignore the Sunnah, we will have nothing left of Islam. Islam is the name of the way of Rasoolullahﷺ which is called his Sunnah. It is to correct our concepts about the importance of the Sunnah and the rights that Rasoolullahﷺ has on us which we are duty bound to fulfill, that I believe it is necessary for us to understand who Rasoolullahﷺ is and what our duty to him means. I ask Allahﷻ for His Mercy and Guidance and to grant us the Baraka of the Sunnah in our lives.