Muhammad ﷺ – The Best of the Prophets

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Taken from Bidayatus-Suwal

(NOTE: If you want to build a strong and powerful relationship with Allah, check out Islamia TV, where you can watch Islamic speakers from across the globe deliver inspiring and motivational courses. Learn more at www.islamia.tv.)

With the Name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful

O Allah! Raise the rank of our leader Muhammad and that of his family as well, and grant him security. Aid us, O Allah, and make this affair easy for us, and allow us to complete it.

All praise is for Allah, the Lord of all that exists. We ask Him to raise the rank of the chief of all His creation, Muhammad, the seal of the prophets, and that of his family and all his companions.

Allah Most High says:

  And Allah sent down to you (O Muhammad!) the Book and the Hikmah[1], and He taught you what you did not know. And verily the favor of Allah on you is indeed a great one! [2]

Allah also says:

The first verse establishes that there is a distinction in the virtues of the different messengers, and the second verse shows how some messengers are far more virtuous than others. And indeed Allah Most High preferred our Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alaye wa sallam) in many ways. [4]

Chapter One

Muhammad (sallAllahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) is the Sayyid [5]
of the Offspring of Adam

The Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) said:

  These are the messengers, We favored some of them over others. From them is one whom Allah spoke to directly,
and We exalted some of them greatly. [3]
 “ “I am the sayyid of Adam’s offspring, and I do not say this out of pride.” [6]

A sayyid is one who possesses the most superior characteristics and highest manners, and thus holds an exalted position above the rest of the people. This title befits the Messenger (sallAllahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) since he is the best of mankind in both this life and the next. As for this life, he was described as having the highest morals and manners. As for the next life, then the reward is connected to the manners and actions of this life. So if he (sallAllahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) surpassed their best commendable acts and traits in this life, then he will also surpass their positions in the next life.

He only said, “And I do not say this out of pride,” to make his nation aware of the position that his Lord gave him. Usually when people mention their own qualities our positions, it is from pride. So he wanted to eliminate any false or ignorant conclusions that would suggest that he mentioned his position out of pride by saying, “And I do not say this out of pride.”

Chapter Two

He (sallAllahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) Will Hold the Flag of Praise

The Prophet said:

 “ “And on the Day of Judgement I will hold the flag of praise,
and I do not say this out of pride.” [7]

Chapter Three

Adam and All of Mankind Will Stand Under His Flag
(sallAllahu ‘alayhe wa sallam)

The Prophet said:

 “ “Adam and the rest of mankind will be under my flag on the Day of Judgement, and I do not say this out of pride.” [8]

These virtues specific to our Prophet prove his high station. If nothing else, this superiority hints at the virtues of his character and his distinctively high position.

Chapter Four

Allah Forgave All His Sins During His Lifetime
(sallallahu ‘alayhe wa sallam)

Verily Allah informed him that He Glorified and Exalted forgave him for his past and future sins during his lifetime (sallAllahu ‘alayhe wa sallam).[9] There are no narrations to support that Allah forgave any other prophet in this manner.

Apparently, Allah Most High did not inform anyone else of this kind of general forgiveness. We understand this from the hadith of the Intercession, wherein it is reported that the messengers will be asked to intercede for their people. Each one will remember his sin or mistake, and refuse, saying, “Myself, myself!” [10]So if they knew they had been forgiven, they would not be so apprehensive at this important moment. Then, when the opportunity to intercede comes to the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhe wa sallam), he will say:

 “ “This is for me.” [11]

Chapter Five

He (sallAllahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) Will be the First
to be Allowed to Intercede

From his magnificent virtues is that he (sallAllahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) will be the first to be permitted to intercede for the creation. He said:

 “ “I will be the sayyid of Adam’s offspring on the Day of Judgement, the first to be raised from the earth, the first intercessor, and the first one to be given permission to intercede.” [12]

This clearly shows his distinction (sallAllahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) and superiority over the rest of creation.

Chapter Six

He (sallAllahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) Chose to Use His One Answered Supplication to Intercede for His Nation on the Day of Judgement

The Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) put aside his personal needs and chose to intercede for us on the Day of Judgement, as he said:

 “ “Every prophet was given one supplication that would be immediately answered whenever he would ask it. Verily I have delayed my supplication so can I ask Allah to allow me to intercede for my nation on the Day of Judgement.” [13]

So every prophet was given one supplication like this, and each one used his in this life, while he (sallAllahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) patiently chose to use his for the next life to intercede for his nation.

Chapter Seven

Allah Swore by Muhammad’s Life (sallAllahu ‘alayhe wa sallam)

Indeed Allah Most High made an oath by the life of His Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhe wa sallam), as found in His Statement:

 “ By your life, verily they are wandering about in a drunken state! [14]

The fact that Allah Glorified and Exalted swore by Muhammad’s life (sallAllahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) shows that he holds a very high position with Allah, since Allah only swears by the most outstanding things in His Creation. This proves his honor and prestige, and he (sallAllahu ‘alaye wa sallam) is deserving of such a position, since his life was so generally full of blessings, every specific event bearing witness to that.

It has not been established that Allah Most High swore by the life of anyone else.

Chapter Eight

Allah Addressed Him (sallAllahu ‘alayhe wa sallam)
by the Most Honorable of Titles

From the Prophet’s many amazing virtues is that Allah Most High addressed him (sallAllahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) using only honorable and distinguished titles, like:

  O Prophet! Allah is sufficient for you
and for the believers that follow you! [15]

O Messenger! Convey what was revealed to you from your Lord! [16]

 

This is something that gives him (sallAllahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) a great distinction among the prophets, since Allah Most High used only their given names when He called on the rest of them. This is evident from many verses:

And we said,

And when Allah said:

  “O Aadam!
Dwell, you and your wife, in the garden!” [17]

  “O ‘Eesaa son of Mary!
Remember my favor on you and on your mother!” [18]

It was said,

 
O Moosaa! Verily I am Allah, the Lord of all that exists! [19]

Imagine a man who calls one of his servants using a name that depicted his best qualities and most praiseworthy manners, and he calls the rest simply by their names. The high position of the one who is called by his best qualities and manners is firmly established and he is clearly preferred over the rest.

It is well known in people’s customs that to call someone by his best qualities and manners is a way of showing great respect and honor for a person. A poet once said:

  “O Nooh! Come down (from the Ark) as we granted you security and blessed you and some of those with you!” [20]

O Daawood! Verily we appointed you as a ruler on earth! [21]

And we called out to him, “O Ibraaheem!

You have fulfilled (what you were ordered to do in) the dream! [22]

They said, “O Loot! Verily we are messengers from your Lord! [23]

O Zakariyyaa! Verily we bring you glad tidings
of a boy named Yahyaa! [24]

O Yahyaa! Take the book firmly! [25]

  Do not call me except with, “O Servant!”

For that is the most virtuous of all my names.


Footnotes

[1] Hikmah literally means wisdom, but in this context it refers to the Sunnah of the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhe wa sallam).

[2] Meaning of Surah An-Nisaa’ (4):113

[3] Meaning of Surah Al-Baqarah (2):253

[4] Translator’s note: It is as if the author was refuting a common misconception about the messengers, that they are all equal with Allah. This may come from a misunderstanding of the verse that means: ( They believe in Allah, His Angels, His Books, and His Messengers, saying, “We do not make distinctions between any of them” ) [Meaning of Surah Al-Baqarah (2):285] This verse must be understood in light of the two verses mentioned by the author, may Allah have Mercy on him. Since Allah made a distinction between them, preferring some over others, then we affirm these distinctions and do not differentiate between them from our own inclinations, as the Jews did with Moosaa and the Christians did with ‘Eesaa for example. Hence, the believers do not say, “There is no distinction between any of them,” rather they say, “We don’t make distinctions between any of them,” sticking firmly to the exact words of Allah’s verse. For verily Allah, from His all-encompassing Wisdom, legislated virtues for some of His Messengers over others, as the opening verses mentioned by the author clearly demonstrate. And we must understand that to identify a virtue of one messenger over another does not include any defamation of the latter. And Allah Most High knows best.

The chapters of this book are laid out to establish and illustrate this point.

[5] Translator’s note: The following section clarifies the intended meaning of the word sayyid.

[6] This hadeeth is reported by ‘Abdullaah ibn Salaam (radhiyAllahu ‘anhu), and the entire text reads, “I am the sayyid of Aadam’s offspring on the Day of Judgement, and I do not say this out of pride. I will be the first to rise from his grave and the first to intercede. I will hold the flag of praise in my hand, and Aadam and the rest of mankind will be under it.” It is found in Ibn Hibbaan, by way of Abu Ya’laa with a saheeh chain. Its chain can be found in Thilaalul-Jannata fee Takhreejis-Sunnah (#393). It also has a witnessing narration on the authority of Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudree (radhiyAllahu ‘anhu), as found in At-Tirmithee and others. It can also be found in As-Saheehah (#1571).

[7] This is also from the aforementioned hadeeth of ‘Abdullaah ibn Salaam (radhiyAllahu ‘anhu), with a slight difference in the wording. This difference is supported by the hadeeth of Abu Sa’eed that I referred to in the last footnote, and it is found in Ibn Maajah (#4308).

[8] This wording is from the hadeeth of the Intercession as narrated by Ibn ‘Abbaas (radhiyAllahu ‘anhumaa) as found in Ahmad (1/281, 295). It has support from another chain in At-Tirmithee (#3620) and elsewhere. A detailed discussion of its chain can be found in
Ath-Thilaal (#795), and its meaning is also present in the aforementioned narrations of ‘Abdullaah ibn Salaam and Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudree (radhiyAllahu ‘anhumaa).

[9] Translator’s note: When the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) described the events leading up to the Intercession, he mentioned that after the people request Aadam, Nooh, Ibraaheem, Moosaa, and ‘Eesaa to intercede for them, they will ask him (sallAllahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) saying, “O Muhammad! You are Allah’s Messenger and the Seal of the Prophets! And verily Allah forgave your past and future sins, so intercede for us!” This is from the hadeeth of the Intercession, as found in Al-Bukhari and Muslim, on the authority of Abu Hurayrah.

[10] This is a section of the long, marfoo’ hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah (radhiyAllahu ‘anhu) about the Intercession, which begins: “I will be the sayyid of Aadam’s offspring on the Day of Judgement. Do you know what that means? Allah is going to gather the first and last of humankind in one place on the Day of Judgement…” It is found in Al-Bukhari and Muslim. See Thilaalul-Jannah (#811).

[11] This is from Anas’ narration (radhiyAllahu ‘anhu) of the hadeeth of the Intercession.

[12] This hadeeth is found in Saheeh Muslim and others (Abu Daawood and Ahmad -Translator), and a discussion of its chain can be found in Thilaalul-Jannah fee Takhreejis-Sunnah (#792). It has many supporting narrations, which I have detailed in As-Saheehah (#1571). From them are the narrations of ‘Abdullaah ibn Salaam and Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudree, see the footnote to the hadeeth mentioned in Chapter One.

[13] It is found in Al-Bukhari and Muslim among others, on the authority of Anas and Abu Hurayrah. A discussion of its chain can be found in Ath-Thilaal (#798-799).

[15] Meaning of Surah Al-Anfaal (8):64. The phrase, “O Prophet!” is also found in verses 65 and 70 of Surah Al-Anfaal, and other places. (Translator’s note: It is found a total of thirteen times actually. The remaining ten verses are 9:73, 33:1, 33:28, 33:45, 33:50, 33:59, 60:12, 65:1, 66:1, and 66:9.)

[16] Meaning of Surah Al-Maa’idah (5):67. The phrase, “O Messenger!” is also found in the 41st verse of Surah Al-Maa’idah.

[17] Meaning of Surah Al-Baqarah (2):35 (Translator’s note: Allah calls on Aadam by his name four times in the Qur’aan. The remaining verses are 2:33, 7:19, and 20:117.)

[18] Meaning of Surah Al-Maa’idah (5):110 (Translator’s note: Allah calls on ‘Eesaa by his name three times in the Qur’aan. The other two verses are 3:55 and 5:116.)

[19] Meaning of Surah Al-Qasas (28):30 (Translator’s note: Allah calls on Moosaa by his name ten times in the Qur’aan. The other verses are 7:144, 20:11-12, 20:19, 20:36, 20:40, 20:83, 27:9, 27:10, 28:30, and 28:31.)

[20] Meaning of Surah Hood (11):48 (Translator’s note: Allah also calls on Nooh by his name in the 46th verse of Surah Al-Hood.)

[21] Meaning of Surah Saad (38):26

[22] Meaning of Surah As-Saaffaat (38):104-105 (Translator’s note: Allah also calls on Ibraaheem by his name in Surah Hood (11):76.)

[23] Meaning of Surah Hood (11):81

[24] Meaning of Surah Maryam (19):7

[25] Meaning of Surah Maryam (19):12

[26] Abu Nu’aym discussed this point more precisely in his book Dalaa’ilun-Nubuwwah (p.9-11), and As-Suyootee it all in his book Al-Khasaa’isul-Kubraa (3/141), saying, “The scholars say that from Muhammad’s distinctions (sallAllahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) was that Allah did not address him in the Qur’aan by his name…”

(NOTE: If you want to build a strong and powerful relationship with Allah, check out Islamia TV, where you can watch Islamic speakers from across the globe deliver inspiring and motivational courses. Learn more at www.islamia.tv.)



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