Will you explain the human and prophetic aspects of the Prophet (pbuh)?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Allah sent a prophet in accordance with the needs of every century and region. Therefore, the prophets acted differently in practice though they were united in their basic belief issues.

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) collected all of the traits of the previous prophets in his spirit and showed that he was the last prophet since the world became civilized compared to the previous ages and became like a city, and the needs increased. His scholars, who are his heirs, retained the basic spirit but chose the most appropriate decrees that were in accordance with the century they lived in. Thus, many madhhabs emerged in the history of Islam; therefore, there is no need for a new religion and shari’ah.

Why an Arab and an illiterate person? Ali Shariati states the following in his book called “The Visage of Prophet Muhammad”:

“Allah chooses immaculate spirits for prophethood. If a scholar, poet or soothsayer had been chosen, people would have said the following abou the Quran: 'This man is knowledgeable; he produces it from his own knowledge and presents it to us.' The following hadith attracts attention to this fact: 'All prophets worked as shepherds.'

Since all of the doors that people could have suspected were closed, the polytheists could only say for the Prophet, 'He is mad' or 'He is a magician'. The following is stated in the Quran:

“Say: ‘If Allah had so willed, I should not have rehearsed it to you, nor would He have made it known to you. A whole life-time before this have I tarried amongst you: will ye not then understand?’" (Yunus, 10/16)

Thus, Allah shows that the Prophet is not mad or a magician, silencing the polytheists who did not accept the reality of revelation. For they called him “Muhammadul Amin” (Muhammad, the Trustworthy).

The most important feature of the ethics of the Prophet (pbuh) is that it is Allah's gift. He has not gained all those good qualities by working and making efforts. His ethics was bestowed by Allah. Almighty Allah created him in a perfect, complete and distinguished manner that would be a model for people.

He always lived based on the same traits and ethics from birth to death. His fine qualities were present in his nature. It is his Supreme Lord who educated him and adorned him with the best features of good manners and high ethics.

Therefore, a person who accepts him as a model will benefit more from him as he imitates him more; his benefit from that luminous light will increase accordingly.  

One of the most distinctive features of the ethics of the Prophet (pbuh) is that he harmonized and compromised perfectly the traits that are opposite to each other in human nature and found the ideal point of all feelings. He found the middle way, the true path without going to extremes.

The Prophet (pbuh) showed in a perfect way throughout his life the supreme values and maturity that everyone wanted but could not achieve, and put them before the eyes of humanity.

He sometimes challenged thousands of enemies on his own without heeding the superiority of the enemy as the most courageous hero. However, even in that case, he did not leave his softheartedness and mercy aside.

For example, he pitied the dead bodies of the enemy children that he saw after a battle so much that he said that children should not be killed even if they were enemies because they were innocent and they would go to Paradise.

On the one hand, he meditated on the supreme ideal of the salvation of humanity and spreading Islam to the world and the state of his ummah that spread all over Arabia and the affairs of Muslims; on the other hand, he never forgot the poor and needy Muslims around him; he did not neglect his own children, their education and needs either. He did not prefer one to the other.  

Although he had such a heavy duty with responsibilities, he devoted himself to his Lord and spent a great part of the day worshipping and praying to Allah.  

His heart was always connected to Allah. Although he seemed to have cut off his relation with the world, he was still in that world. He sought Allah's consent in all of his affairs.

The Prophet (pbuh) protected his Companions all the time and showed them compassion and closeness more than their parents; he always forgave the bad deeds committed against him and did not think of taking revenge. He released those who set up for killing him when he caught them, but he never forgave the enemies of Allah; he did not let go of them.

He gave the fear of Hell to the hearts of the hypocrites who seemed to be Muslims but who were corrupt inside. He reminded them of their grievous state in the hereafter.

The Prophet (pbuh) was the sultan of the Arabs and the ruler of Arabia when the borders of the Islamic land reached Yemen in the south, and Iran and Syria in the north. The possessions and spoils of the enemy left after the battles filled the mosque and the most precious goods were obtained by the Muslims but he was humble enough to lie on a cushion filled with grass and he was contented enough to go hungry though he had all means.

When Hz. Umar said, "The king of the Byzantium and the shah of Iran live in opulence but the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) sits on a mat" and cried, the Prophet consoled his Companion by saying,

"O Umar! Let them live in opulence and take pleasure from the worldly boons. The boons of the hereafter are enough for us."

Thus, he showed his reliance on Allah and consent.

The ethics of the Prophet was in the form of a faculty in him; it was inherent. The sun shines, flowers revive a place with their colors and odors, and trees yield fruits of different kinds; all of them reveal what exists in their nature; similarly, the ethical life of the Prophet (pbuh) passed in its normal course.

Anybody who saw him would come to the conclusion that the Prophet (pbuh) was created with that virtue. No one would believe that he would do anything against good manners. He always helped the needy, protected the weak, smiled, maintained his dignity and solemnity, and acted humbly and tolerantly toward everybody. Just as the sun sends light to those who believe and who do not believe in Allah so too did the compassion of the Prophet that encompassed the world spread to everybody, whether young or old, Muslim or non-Muslim.

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The Human Features of the Prophet (pbuh)

Allah Almighty sent the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) to people as a prophet, a model an instructor and a teacher. He is the only guide of the ummah in all issues. All Muslims take his attitudes and deeds as an example. As a matter of fact, this fact is pointed out in the following verse:

"Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for any one whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the Praise of Allah." 1

Due to this characteristic of the Prophet (pbuh) not all of his attitudes and deeds were miraculous. Allah Almighty sent him as a human. People learn their attitudes and deeds in social life from him. They act by imitating him. They can attain their worldly and otherworldly happiness only through taking him as a model. For, he is a guide in all aspects. If he had been sent in the form of an angel, not as a human, how would people imitate him? How could he have guided his ummah?

They take the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) as a model in everything, from eating, drinking and meeting their needs to the daily worship that needs to be performed. If the Prophet (pbuh) had been wonderful at every stage of his life, for example, if he had lived without eating and drinking, his ummah could not take him as a model in its real sense. On the other hand, if he had been wonderful in all aspects and shown miracles with all of his deeds, the secret of the test would be eliminated and everyone would have to approve him. In that case, there would have been no difference between Hz. Abu Bakr and Abu Jahl.

Those who do not realize this fact cannot see his supreme personality because they view the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) only from the material aspect.

The life and attributes of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) are described in siyar books in detail. However, the aspects described in siyar books are related to his human aspect. He felt cold and got ill like other people; he took part in battles and was even wounded like other people. When they are narrated, they should be narrated together with their high spiritual level.

As Badiuzzaman said Nursi puts it,

"…Every day, even at this moment, the amount of the worship performed by all his community is being added to the record of his perfections. He is also everyday the object of the countless supplications of his vast community, in addition to being the object of infinite divine mercy in an infinite fashion and with an infinite capacity to receive. He was, indeed, the result and the most perfect fruit of the universe, the interpreter and the beloved of the Creator of the cosmos. Hence his true nature in its entirety, and the truth of all his perfections, cannot be contained in the human qualities recorded in books of history and biography." 2

When the life of the Prophet (pbuh) and his blessed appearance are narrated, these aspects should always be mentioned. Otherwise, it is not enough to narrate only his human aspect. When the Prophet (pbuh) is considered, he should be considered in two aspects. His real nature, prophethood, luminous and spiritual personality should also be considered along with his human nature.

Badiuzzaman said Nursi explains with a nice example that the emergence of such a holy and supreme spiritual figure from the human nature of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) should be analyzed with his material personality as well as his spiritual personality and gives the peacock as an example. The egg of the peacock is given warmth, and a chick is hatched from it. Then, this chick becomes a beautifully adorned peacock gilded all over with the imprint of power. It grows and becomes beautiful gradually.

When a connection between the peacock and the egg is established, man should turn his face away from the ordinary egg and look at the beautiful peacock. He should pay attention with that viewpoint. Otherwise, he will not believe that such a beautiful bird will emerge from such an egg. He will not be able to accept the bird's qualities, features and beautiful colors. However, if he takes into consideration the bird with the egg, he will not deny; he will accept the real nature of the bird easily.

Yes, as it is seen in the example, the human aspect of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) is like that egg. His essential nature, illumined with the function of messengership is like the birds of Paradise... That is why, when you think of the man who disputed in the market with a bedouin, you should also turn the eye of imagination to that luminous being who, riding the Rafraf, leaving Gabriel behind, reached the “distance of two bowstrings. Otherwise you will either be disrespectful toward him, or fail to convince the evil-commanding soul."3

In that case, it is necessary to attribute some of the states of the Prophet (pbuh), especially his human aspects, to his imamate and leadership and to consider his great personality and level of spirituality together with them.  

Footnotes:

1. al-Ahzab, 21.
2. Mektubat, 89.
3. ibid. 90.

(Mehmed Paksu, Meseleler ve Çözümleri -I)

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