Prophet Muhammad – excellent exemplar

By Dr. Uvais Ahamed

Yesterday, February 27 was the birth anniversary of Holy Prophet Muhammad and to Muslims the world over this was a day of rededication. When we commemorate the birth of the Holy Prophet what is most imperative is to rededicate ourselves to the ideals he gave us and to the Holy Quran which was revealed to us through him by Almighty Allah.

As Muslims we necessarily subscribe to that simple but powerful creed, Lailaha Illallah Muhammadur Rasoolullah. It means, there is no object of worship except Allah and Muhammed is the Messenger of Allah. Accordingly, a Muslim clings to no other ideology, except to the ideology of living in consonance with the will of Allah who is the creator and sustainer of everything. What the Holy Prophet Muhammad began to preach after he was chosen for the mission at Mount Hira, where he was meditating on the ills that had infested the world in which he lived, was a spiritual, moral, social, economic and political revolution – a revolution based on divine ideology or the will of Allah. Prophet Muhammad has communicated to us the will of Allah by conveying the divine words revealed to him.

Prophet’s mosque in Medina

Prophet Muhammad’s life has had an impact not only on the people who lived during his lifetime but throughout to the present time. He made Islam a permanent force of vitality answering the social and spiritual needs of humankind.

Islam is undoubtedly a natural religion and the Holy Prophet laid much emphasis and stress on its universal concepts like the oneness of God and the unity of the human race. In this age of far reaching advances in technology, when quick and easy means of communication have reduced the size and the vastness of the world, it has become fashionable to speak in terms of a global village. A Muslim finds himself very much consoled by the universality inherent in the Quran, which teaches him that humankind is one family.

The Holy Prophet worked hard towards the achievement of this goal. He dedicated himself to the establishment of the Brotherhood of Islam and was prepared to go any distance to achieve it. His path of course was thorny and teeming with obstacles. He found himself born into a world, where people were steeped in ignorance, irreligion and irresponsibility. It was an age where the mind of man was completely darkened and values utterly debased.

Tyranny and slavery were the hallmarks of the age in which the very foundation of humanity had become completely corroded by criminally luxurious, extravagant and wasteful life, on the one hand, and misery, frustration and hopelessness, on the other. Men in this age were narrow in outlook and tribal in their affiliations. It was among such men that Prophet Muhammad lived and toiled to realize the concept of one God. He visualized a world of brotherhood where all men would unite in the one God and one humanity. He stressed the equality of man and lived a life exemplary of his teachings.

In the religion that he preached and the life that he led Prophet Muhammad presented an ideal to the people and an example that could be emulated. Since details of his conduct and demeanor have been recorded by his own contemporaries, we know at first hand that he has passed through all phases of life – an orphan, a youth leader, a trader, a husband, a persecuted fugitive, a friend, a warrior, a general and a head of state. In all these spheres he presented an inspiring and encouraging ideal. The Holy Prophet lived a simple and unostentatious life and thus, left behind for the Muslims, the best example of an ideal leader. While prosperity brought out his generosity, magnanimity and forgiveness; adversity gave him occasion to display patience: fortitude and infinite trust in God.

The Holy Quran very clearly says, “Surely you have in the Messenger of God an excellent exemplar.”
Through Islam, the Prophet founded an ideal social order in the world. The social order of Islam could be rightly called the great international revolution of history. According to Islam every individual irrespective of origin, creed, wealth, position or gender enjoys exactly the same status and privilege, socially, politically and economically.

The Prophet was very emphatic when he declared, “O people! Verily God has removed from you the blemish of ignorance and the pride of birth. There are but two classes of people, those who are righteous God fearing and honourable in the eyes of God, and those who are wicked, sinful and dishonourable in His eyes”. In any social behaviour including the congregational prayers in the mosque there is no room for special privilege for any one, even if he is the ruler or the ruled. Islamic culture does not permit or recognize distinctions of race, colour and country.

The Holy Prophet has said “No Arab has any superiority over a non-Arab and no non-Arab is superior to an Arab, except on the basis of piety.” The Prophet made the whole human race his concern. The Quranic verse, “wama arsalnaka Ila ramathil lilameen which means “And we have sent thee as mercy unto mankind” illustrates this point clearly.

The Holy Quran is a universal code of conduct embracing the entire human existence and the Holy Prophet lived as an embodiment of the Holy Quran. Once Sheikhul Akbar Ibnu Arabi of Muslim Spain prayed for better understanding of the personality of Prophet Muhammed. Subsequently he saw in a dream a ring with many jewels.

He started meditating over it and ultimately realized that this many-jewelled ring was the answer to his prayers. It indicated to him that all the qualities manifested by the previous messengers of Allah plus qualities not hitherto manifested were to be seen in the personality of Prophet Muhammed.

With Prophet Muhammed the religion of Islam was so perfected that there was no question of moral, social or spiritual value which did not find adequate expression on representation in his teachings. What his message brought was universality in respect of time and space.

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