The position of Rasoolullahﷺ in Islam – 2

Allahﷻ declared that Muhammadﷺ is His Messengerﷺ and the last of them and the Seal of the Prophets and that after him there is no other.

مَّا كَانَ مُحَمَّدٌ أَبَآ أَحَدٍ مِّن رِّجَالِكُمْ وَلَـٰكِن رَّسُولَ ٱللَّهِ وَخَاتَمَ ٱلنَّبِيِّـۧنَ وَكَانَ ٱللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَىْءٍ عَلِيمًا

Ahzab 33: 40    Muammad is not the father of any of your men but is the Messenger of Allah and the Seal of the prophets. And Allah has ˹perfect˺ knowledge of all things.

The first thing to remember about Rasoolullahﷺ and our relationship with him is that we are required to believe IN him. Not just to believe the message, but to believe that he, Muhammadﷺ, was the messenger of Allahﷻ. To believe in Rasoolullahﷺ as the messenger of Allahﷻ is essential because the message is about Al-Ghayb, the Unperceivable. Iman-bil-Ghayb is the fundamental element of our Creed. Everything depends on that. We believe in it because Rasoolullahﷺ said so. We believe him because we believe IN him and believe that he was completely truthful and so if he said that Allahﷻ said such and such, then we believe it. His word is the evidence, Daleel. This is the basic principle of authentication of Ahadith. The Muhadditheen check to see if Rasoolullahﷺ said it. If he did, they don’t go further to see if it can be proven scientifically or in any other way. If it is verified that he said it, we believe it. The reality is that our science doesn’t go far enough to look into the future or to tell us what happens after death or anything of Al-Ghayb. We believe in Al-Ghayb simply because Rasoolullahﷺ informed us about it. If you think about it, this makes the entire Qur’an also a Hadith of Rasoolullahﷺ. We believe that Alhamdulillahi Rabbil A’alameen is an Ayah only because Rasoolullahﷺ told us that it is an Ayah. It could just as easily have been something that Rasoolullahﷺ said, because if you wanted to say, ‘All praise and thanks are for Allahﷻ, the Rabb of the Worlds’, that is how you would say it in Arabic. This is what Abu Bakr As-Siddique (R) said when they told him that Rasoolullahﷺ had said that he had travelled from Makkah to Jerusalem and then into the heavens to meet Allahﷻ. He said, “If he said it, I believe it.” That became the fundamental principle of authenticating Ahadith. That is why it is critical to believe IN Muhammadﷺ, as the Rasool of Allahﷻ because the truth of his message is based on his position as the Messengerﷺ. Allahﷻ ordered him to announce to the world:

قُلْ يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّاسُ إِنِّى رَسُولُ ٱللَّهِ إِلَيْكُمْ جَمِيعًا ٱلَّذِى لَهُۥ مُلْكُ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضِ لَآ إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ يُحْىِۦ وَيُمِيتُ فَـَٔامِنُوا۟ بِٱللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ ٱلنَّبِىِّ ٱلْأُمِّىِّ ٱلَّذِى يُؤْمِنُ بِٱللَّهِ وَكَلِمَـٰتِهِۦ وَٱتَّبِعُوهُ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَهْتَدُونَ

A’araf 7: 158    Say, ˹O Prophet,˺ O humanity! I am Allahs Messenger to you all. To Him ˹alone˺ belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth. There is no god ˹worthy of worship˺ except Him. He gives life and causes death. So, believe in Allah and His Messenger, the unlettered Prophet, who believes in Allah and His revelations. And follow him, so you may be ˹rightly˺ guided.

Allahﷻ reiterated and emphasized this relationship and commanded:

لِّتُؤْمِنُوا۟ بِٱللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِۦ وَتُعَزِّرُوهُ وَتُوَقِّرُوهُ وَتُسَبِّحُوهُ بُكْرَةً وَأَصِيلًا

Fath 48: 9   So that you ˹believers˺ may have faith in Allah and His Messenger, support and honor him, and glorify Allah morning and evening.

The distinction of Rasoolullahﷺ is that though he is called a messenger, he is in fact a teacher. Unlike a postman who carries a bag of letters, which he has nothing to do with. He knows nothing about what the letters contain. His job is merely to deliver the letters to the addressees. In the case of Rasoolullahﷺ, the meaning of ‘delivery of the message’ was to teach people how to live by the orders of Allahﷻ. Islam is the name of a practice, like a martial art for example. To learn it there is some theory to study and some books, but you learn by practicing under a teacher. That’s why Allahﷻ said:

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 has done the believers a ˹great˺ favor by raising a messenger from among them—reciting to them His revelations, purifying them, and teaching them the Book and wisdom. For indeed they had previously been clearly astray.

The job of Rasoolullahﷺ was not merely to recite or inform. But to inform, to purify internally and externally to receive the information, explain what it means and then show them how to implement what had been commanded. Without the preparation, teaching and demonstration, the information can’t be implemented at all. The Messengerﷺ is intrinsic to the Message.

The Message came to be acted upon and without him, the Message can’t be acted upon and lived by. Islam is not merely a theology or a philosophy but a complete way of life. The value of Islam and the matter about which we will be questioned is not knowledge about Islam, but whether we practiced it in our lives. That is why the agents of Shaytaan attack Rasoolullahﷺ because they know that if they can remove the Sunnah from our lives, they would have effectively removed Islam and replaced it with the desires of people, to be manipulated at will until they accompany Shaytaan to his destination. This struggle is primordial. The Mu’atazila and their successors the Quraniyeen do it. Allahﷻ deliberately separated the law from the details of its implementation. He commanded us to pray but didn’t tell us how to do it in the Qur’an but sent that part of the message to His Rasool. The message is complete only when you take the two together. That is why Imam Al-Awzai and others said, “The Book needs the Sunnah more than the Sunnah needs the Book.” That is why Allahﷻ called His Rasool, His Neyma (Blessing) on the Believers, and not His Book, which is what the Rasool brought. Respect for the Book and its message is embedded in respect for the Messengerﷺ. One does not exist without the other. It was narrated from al-Miqdaam ibn Ma‘di Karib (R) from Rasoolullahﷺ that he said: “Verily, I have been given the Book and something like it with it, but soon a man will be lying replete on his couch and he will say: You should adhere to this Qur’an. Whatever you find is permitted in it, take it as permissible, and whatever you find forbidden in it, take it as forbidden. Verily, the (meat of) tame donkeys is not permissible to you, nor is (the meat of) every animal that has fangs.” (Abu Dawood)

Rasoolullahﷺ also prohibited the flesh of birds with talons. This prohibition is not in the Qur’an. What is in the Qur’an however is the blanket command:

وَمَآ ءَاتَىٰكُمُ ٱلرَّسُولُ فَخُذُوهُ وَمَا نَهَىٰكُمْ عَنْهُ فَٱنتَهُوا۟ وَٱتَّقُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ شَدِيدُ ٱلْعِقَابِ

Hashr 59: 7    Whatever the Messenger gives you, take it. And whatever he forbids you from, leave it. And fear Allah. Surely Allah is severe in punishment.

Respect for Rasoolullahﷺ, loving him and following his Sunnah are the bulwarks against Shaytaan. To learn about Rasoolullahﷺ, to study his Seerah with the intention to live the way he lived, to mould our character on his, to follow his Sunnah in every aspect of our lives is a sign that we love him. And he said that on the Day of Judgement we will be with those who we love.

إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ وَمَلَـٰٓئِكَتَهُۥ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى ٱلنَّبِىِّ يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ صَلُّوا۟ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُوا۟ تَسْلِيمًا

Ahzab 33: 56    Indeed, Allah showers His blessings upon the Prophet, and His angels pray for him. O believers! Invoke Allah’s blessings upon him and salute him with worthy greetings of peace.

Let us make sending Salatu was salaam on Rasoolullahﷺ our daily habit of goodness, the minimum reward of which is that Allahﷻ will send salaam ten times on the one who sends salaam on Rasoolullahﷺ once. Finally, the job of Rasoolullahﷺ and of those who follow him is to convey the message as clearly as possible, fearing nobody other than Allahﷻ. Our responsibility is to convey the message. Not to convince anyone. Allahﷻ ordered:

قُلْ أَطِيعُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُوا۟ ٱلرَّسُولَ فَإِن تَوَلَّوْا۟ فَإِنَّمَا عَلَيْهِ مَا حُمِّلَ وَعَلَيْكُم مَّا حُمِّلْتُمْ وَإِن تُطِيعُوهُ تَهْتَدُوا۟ وَمَا عَلَى ٱلرَّسُولِ إِلَّا ٱلْبَلَـٰغُ ٱلْمُبِينُ

Nour 24: 54   Say, “Obey Allah and obey the Messenger. But if you turn away, then he is only responsible for his duty, and you are responsible for yours. And if you obey him, you will be ˹rightly˺ guided. The Messengers duty is only to deliver ˹the message˺ clearly.