“What is the matter with such and such people?”
· The Testimony of Faith
· To come to know of the importance of the Testimony of Faith
· To come to know the meaning of the second part of the Testimony of Faith.
· Shahadah - Testimony of Faith.
Previously, we have discussed the meanings found in the first part of the Shahadah, “Laa ilaaha ill-Allah”. In this series of lessons, we will discuss the second part, “Muhammadun Rasool-Allah”. We will come to know the man named Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of Allah be upon him, and we will learn what bearing testimony to his prophethood actually entails.
Who was Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of Allah be upon him?
Muhammad, was born in a noble tribe of Mecca in Arabia in the year 570 CE. His ancestry traces back to Prophet Ishmael, one of the two children of Prophet Abraham. His father died before his birth and his mother died when he was six years old. He was raised first by a nursemaid in the desert, as was customary in those days, then by his grandfather and then by his uncle. As a young man, he was known to be a good man, true to his word, never known to go back on his word. At the age of 40, God chose him as a prophet, as foretold by previous prophets such as Moses and Jesus, and the Gabriel brought the first revelation from God, while he was meditating in the cave of Hira in Mecca. Thereafter, God sent revelations to Prophet Muhammad for a period of 23 years. This book of revelations is called the Quran - his greatest existent miracle and proof of his truthfulness.
Like all prophets before him, he was a human being chosen by God to convey His message to the creation. He ate, drank, slept, and lived like other humans. His knowledge of the future was limited to what God revealed to him. In short, he had no part to play in the running the affairs of the universe. He was not divine, he is not god, and Muslims do not worship him. He was a prophet and messenger, one in a long line of prophets including Abraham, Moses, the Hebrew prophets, and Jesus. He declared the fraternal brotherhood of all prophets:
“The Prophets are all paternal brothers. Their mothers are different but their religion is one.” (Al-Bukhari, Muslim)
It is important for one to come to know Prophet Muhammad, his life, biography, his manners, and his lifestyle. In doing so, one will benefit in the following ways:
(1) One will love and respect him. Loving the Prophet is an essential part of Faith, as he himself declared:
“None of you will truly believe until I am more beloved to them than their own children, parents, and all other people. (Muslim)
It is impossible to love someone a person does not know, and one’s love increases when they realize the excellent qualities the person holds.
(2) One’s belief in the message will increase. When one come to know the sequence of events of his life and times, they will have no doubt that the religion he brought is indeed true, and that he was indeed a messenger aided from high above.
Our Beloved Prophet
“I began to look at him and at the moon, he was wearing a red mantle, and he appeared to be more beautiful than the moon to me.” (Al-Tirmidhi)
This is how Jabir ibn Samura described the Last of the Prophets, the Crown of the Messengers, the Chief of the Pious, the Prince of the Believers, the Chosen One of the Most Merciful God.
He had a pleasant face that was round, white, and fair. His hair fell to his ear lobes. His beard was thick and black. When he was pleased, his face would light up. His laugh was no more than smiling. His eyes were blackish, and his eyelashes were long. His long eyebrows were curved. When the eyes of Abdullah ibn Salam, the greatest Jewish scholar of Medina of his time, fell on his face, he declared it could not be the face of a liar!
He was of medium height, neither tall nor short. He walked inclining forward. He wore tanned leather sandals. His lower garment would reach to the middle of his shin or sometimes just above his ankles.
On his back, towards his left shoulder, was the ‘Seal of Prophethood’. It was the size of a pigeon’s egg with spots like moles on it. His palms were described to be softer than silk.
He was recognized by his fragrance when he approached from a distance. Drops of his perspiration were described to be like pearls. His disciples are reported to collect his sweat to mix with their perfumes which made them even more fragrant!
Islamic doctrine holds the devil has been forbidden from coming in one’s dreams pretending to be him. If someone sees him in his real form as described, then we believe they have seen the noble Prophet himself.
He would keep silent for long periods of time and was the most dignified when silent.
When he spoke, he uttered nothing but the truth in a voice pleasing to the ears. He did not speak rapidly; rather his speech was clear and each word was distinct so that those who sat with him could remember it. In fact it was described to be such that anyone who wished to count his words could have done so easily. His companions described him to be neither vulgar nor indecent. He neither cursed people, nor abused them. He merely reprimanded by saying:
The most hateful conduct to him was lying. Sometimes he used to repeat himself twice or even thrice to enable his listeners to understand him well. He would give short sermons. While delivering the sermons his eyes would become red, his voice would rise, and his emotions become visible to the point that it would be as if he were warning of an imminent assault from the enemy.