The Beloved Messenger said, “None of you will have faith till he loves me more than his father, his children and all mankind.” [Bukhari]
We live in such times that, subhanAllah, it is no longer just the unbelievers who raise objections to a Muslim’s love for the Prophet. Today, within our own Ummah itself, a Muslim is questioned and cross-examined in case he loves the Prophet “too much”. The essence of our faith, the crux of our obedience to Allah, has become a matter of great debate. We now need references and proof to justify this fundamental aspect of Imaan. The question is, why?
The Beloved Messenger said, “The people most loved by me from amongst my Ummah would be those who would come after me but everyone amongst them would have the keenest desire to catch a glimpse of me, even at the cost of his family and wealth.” [Muslim]
Ask yourself, what proofs did the Companions demand for loving him?
When Sayyidina Abu Bakr surrendered all his wealth to him for Tabuk1;
when Sayyidina Abdullah bin Masud would carry his blessed sandals like a treasure2;
when Sayyidina Talha honoured and kept his blessed hair3;
when Sayyida Umm Sulaym cherished drops of his blessed sweat4;
when Sayyidina Hassaan bin Thabit penned poetry in his honour5;
when Sayyidina Umar kissed the Black Stone only because he did so6;
when Sayyidina Usman rushed at his request to equip the Muslim army7;
when Sayyidina Bilal wept heartbroken at his blessed grave8;
when Sayyidina Ali refused to erase words testifying to his Prophethood 9;
when Sayyida Nusayba bint Kaab shielded him at Uhud10;
when Sayyidina Talha gave an arm to protect him from arrows11;
when Sayyidina Khalid bin Walid safeguarded strands of his blessed hair mid-battle12;
when the Companions would treasure his blessed saliva, and compete for just a drop of his blessed ablution water13
– did they love the Prophet too much?
Sayyidina Umar said to the Beloved Messenger, “O Allah’s Messenger! You are dearer to me than everything except my own self.” The Beloved Messenger said, “No, by Him in Whose Hand my soul is, (you will not have complete faith) till I am dearer to you than your own self.” Then Sayyidina Umar said to him, “However, now – by Allah – you are dearer to me than my own self.” The Messenger replied, “Now, O Umar, (now you are a believer).” [Bukhari]
The cries of ‘shirk’ resonate louder with every step taken out of love for the Prophet. However, the Prophet himself said, “By Allah, I am not afraid that you will worship others besides Allah after me (commit shirk), but I am afraid that you will compete with each other for the pleasures of this world.” [Bukhari]
Our Prophet himself testified to the fact that the Ummah will never be united upon shirk as a majority. That being said, Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaat which is as-sawad al-aazam, firqat an-najiyya (the greater majority, the group of salvation), has shown complete love and devotion towards the Beloved Prophet, and all that is associated with him, for centuries. It cannot be classed as shirk, for if this was the case, the Ummah would never unite upon it. These are the words of the Beloved Prophet himself.
This ever-growing fear of shirk is simply the false alarm of those who believe little in the words of the Beloved Prophet, and whose hearts are devoid of complete devotion. It is an evil whisper of doubt from the devil, the illness of those who have gone to extremes in trying to implement the Shari’ah – about whom the Beloved Prophet said, “Ruined are the extremists!” [Bukhari]
Imam al Nawawi states that in the context of its narration, the above Hadith refers to “those who delve too deeply, are extreme, and go beyond bounds in their speech and actions.” [Sharh Sahih Muslim]
The action of labelling others as mushrikeen (those who indulge in shirk) is a serious matter and should not be taken so lightly.
Sayyidina Anas narrates: “A man asked the Prophet about the Hour (i.e. Day of Judgment) saying, “When will the Hour be?” The Prophet said, “What have you prepared for it?” The man said, “Nothing, except that I love Allah and His Messenger.” The Prophet said, “You will be with those whom you love.” We had never been so glad as we were on hearing that saying of the Prophet.” [Bukhari]
Love for the Prophet has one limitation; that a person does not exceed the limits as the Christians did in regards to their Prophet: “Do not exaggerate in praising me as the Christians praised the son of Maryam, for I am only a slave. So call me the slave of Allah, and His Messenger.” [Bukhari]
This, the Beloved Prophet said as a warning so that none would take him as a deity (na’uzubillah) for Allah alone is our Lord and He alone is worthy of worship.
“Say (O Muhammad): ‘If you do love Allah, follow me: Allah will love you and forgive you your sins: for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.’” [Qur’an 3:31]
Allama Iqbal once said, “Love of the Prophet is like blood in the veins of the Muslims.”
May Allah’s eternal peace and blessings of the highest degree be upon our Beloved Prophet, his Family and his Companions, and upon those he loves and those who love him.
1 When the Beloved Messenger of Allah led the expedition of Tabuk, Sayyidina Abu Bakr Siddique donated all his wealth for the campaign. When the Beloved Prophet enquired as to how much wealth he had left for his household, he replied, “I have left Allah and His Messenger for my family.” [Sunan Abu Dawud]
2 Sayyidina Abdullah ibn Masud would carry the Prophet’s blessed sandals. When the Prophet rose, Sayyidina Abdullah ibn Masud would put them on his sacred feet, and when the Prophet sat down, he would carry the blessed sandals in his arms until the Prophet rose again. [Imam Qastalani’s Mawahib al-Laduniyya; Imam Salihi’s Subul al-Huda wal Rashad]
3 Sayyidina Anas said, “When the Prophet shaved his head (after pilgrimage), Abu Talha was the first one to take of his hair.” [Bukhari]
4 Sayyidina Anas reported that, “Allah’s Messenger used to come to our house and there was perspiration upon his body. My mother brought a bottle and began to pour the sweat in that. When Allah’s Messenger got up he said, ‘Umm Sulaym, what is this that you are doing?’ Thereupon she said, ‘That is your sweat which we mix in our perfume and it becomes the most fragrant perfume.’” [Muslim]
5 Sayyida Aisha narrated, “Once Hassaan bin Thabit asked the permission of the Holy Prophet to satirize (i.e. compose satirical poetry to defame) the infidels. The Holy Prophet e said, ‘What about the fact that I have common descent with them?’ Hassaan replied, ‘I shall take you out of them as a hair is taken out of dough.’ [Bukhari]
6 Sayyidina Umar approached the Black Stone (Hajr-e-Aswad) and kissed it saying “No doubt, I know that you are a stone and can neither benefit anyone nor harm anyone. Had I not seen Allah’s Messenger kissing you, I would not have kissed you.”[Bukhari]
7 When the Beloved Messenger appealed for contributions for Tabuk, Sayyidina Usman gave one thousand camels, fifty horses and one thousand pieces of gold. The Beloved Prophet remarked at this generosity saying, “Whatever Usman does, from this day on, will do him no harm.” [Tirmidhi]
8 It is reported that Sayyidina Bilal visited the blessed grave of the Beloved Prophet and sat weeping, rubbing his face against its soil in his anguish. [Ibn Maja 2:1320, Imam Ahmad, Imam Tabarani, Imam ibn Asakir]
9 Sayyidina Ali penned the treaty of Hudaibiya and he wrote: This is what Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, has settled. The polytheists said, “Do not write the words, ‘the Messenger of Allah’. If we knew that you were the Messenger of Allah, we would not fight against you.” The Prophet said to Sayyidina Ali, “Strike out these words.” He replied, “I am not going to strike them out.” So the Prophet struck them out with his own hand. [Muslim]
10 Sayyida Nusayba bint Kaab fought at Uhud and killed 12. It is reported that the Prophet praised her saying, “Never did I look right or left but she was there defending me and fighting before me.”
11 Sayyidina Talha remained with the Beloved Messenger on the day of Uhud, defending him to the point that his arm was paralysed with arrows. Sayyidina Qais narrated, “I saw Talha’s paralysed hand with which he had protected the Prophet on the day of Uhud. [Bukhari]
12 Sayyidina Khalid bin Walid had some strands of the Beloved Messenger’s hair inside his cap. During one of the battles, this cap fell onto the ground whereupon he fought zealously to retrieve it. At the shock of his Companions, he explained that he had not fought for the sake of the cap, but to retrieve the strands of the Prophet’s blessed hair that were tucked within it, so that he would not be deprived of their blessings, and also to save them from the hands of the unbelievers. [Qadi Iyaad’s Shifa, Vol. 1, page 619; Majma az-Zawaid, Vol. 9, page 349; Mustadrak, Vol. 3, page 239]
13 While Sayyidina Urwa bin Masud was an unbeliever, the Quraysh sent him as envoy to the Beloved Messenger. When he returned to his people, he said, “O people! By Allah, I have been to the kings and to Caesar, Chosroes and an-Najashi, yet I have never seen any of them respected by his courtiers as much as Muhammad is respected by his companions. By Allah, if he spat, the saliva would fall in the hand of one of them (i.e. the Prophet’s companions) who would rub it on his face and skin; if he ordered them, they would carry out his order immediately; if he performed ablution, they would compete to take the remaining water; and when he spoke, they would lower their voices and would not look at his face constantly out of respect.” [Bukhari]