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Prophet Muhammad’s Rights and the followers’ obligations

Maqsood Ahmed, OBE

According to several Ayats in the Qur’an, Allahسبحانه و تعالىhas categorically spelt out the following Rights of His سبحانه و تعالىbeloved Messenger صَلَّى ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَسَلَّمَ, which his صَلَّى ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَسَلَّمَ followers and all the believers are obliged and commanded to uphold.
Allah سبحانه و تعالى says in Sura Ahzab Ayat 157:
فَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا بِهِ وَعَزَّرُوهُ وَنَصَرُوهُ وَاتَّبَعُوا النُّورَ الَّذِي أُنزِلَ مَعَهُ أُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُون
So those who believe in him respect him and assist him, and succour him and follow the Light which has been sent down with him, it is they who shall prosper (7:157).
Allah سبحانه و تعالى has reiterated the same commandments in Surah al-Fath as follow:
اِنَّاۤ اَرۡسَلۡنٰكَ شَاهِدًا وَّمُبَشِّرًا وَّنَذِيۡرًا ۙ‏ لِّـتُؤۡمِنُوۡا بِاللّٰهِ وَ رَسُوۡلِهٖ وَتُعَزِّرُوۡهُ وَتُوَقِّرُوۡهُ ؕ وَتُسَبِّحُوۡهُ بُكۡرَةً وَّاَصِيۡلًا‏
(O Prophet), We have sent you forth as a witness, as a bearer of good news, and as a warner:so that (all of) you may all believe in Allah and His Messenger, and support him, and revere him, and celebrate Allah’s glory, morning and evening (al-Fath (48) 8-9).
These Rights include:
1) ) Believe in him صَلَّى ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَسَلَّمَ(63:1, 64:8) as Messenger صَلَّى ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَسَلَّمَof Allah. سبحانه و تعالى
(2) Love him صَلَّى ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَسَلَّمَ(9:24), more than any one near and dear – al-Bukhari 15:444
(3) Respect him صَلَّى ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَسَلَّمَ(7:157(.
4) ) Honour and revere him صَلَّى ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَسَلَّمَ(7:157(.
5) ) Love and Respect Alulbait (Prophet’s صَلَّى ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَسَلَّمَhousehold) (al-Muslim 2408, Quran 42:23).
6) ) Send Blessing (salat) and salutation (salaam) on him صَلَّى ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَسَلَّمَ and his صَلَّى ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَسَلَّمَ household (33:56)
7) ) Believing that he was the last Prophet and Prophethood has ended (Quran 48:18, Muslim 2889, Abu Daud 4252
The following four rights are actions- and deeds-orientated
8) ) Obey him صَلَّى ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَسَلَّمَ(Quran 4:80, 8:20)
9) ) Emulate him صَلَّى ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَسَلَّمَand follow in his صَلَّى ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَسَلَّمَfootsteps (Quran 3:31, 33:21, and 68:4).
(10) Support and assist him صَلَّى ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَسَلَّمَ(Quran 7:157).
(11) Implement the teaching of the Qur’an (Quran 7:157).
It is not enough to believe in him صَلَّى ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَسَلَّمَ, but love, revere, respect or honour him صَلَّى ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَسَلَّمَ and consider its implications in deeds. The true faith demands to be guided by his صَلَّى ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَسَلَّمَ message from Allah سبحانه و تعالى and obeys the commands.
Allah سبحانه و تعالى says: “He who obeys the Messenger has obeyed Allah” (Qur’an, 4:80).
Full compliance, obedience, imitation and emulation in words and deeds are the indicators of true love, honour, respect and reverence. For example, understanding the challenges of, and internalising the fact that believing in the seal of Prophet Muhammad صَلَّى ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَسَلَّمَ means huge commitment and obligations for the believers to take on the role and responsibility to continue inviting to Allah سبحانه و تعالىand spreading the message (Dawah)– that is true faith and belief with conviction necessitating actions.
Similarly there is a need to understand the practical significance of loving and respecting Allah’s سبحانه و تعالى Prophet صَلَّى ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَسَلَّمَ and his صَلَّى ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَسَلَّمَ household. Allah سبحانه و تعالى explains:
‏قُلْ إِن كَانَ ءَابَآؤُكُمْ وَأَبْنَآؤُكُمْ وَإِخْوَنُكُمْ وَأَزْوَجُكُمْ وَعَشِيرَتُكُمْ وَأَمْوَلٌ ٱقْتَرَفْتُمُوهَا وَتِجَرَةٌۭ تَخْشَوْنَ كَسَادَهَا وَمَسَكِنُ تَرْضَوْنَهَآ أَحَبَّ إِلَيْكُم مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِۦ وَجِهَادٍۢ فِى سَبِيلِهِۦ فَتَرَبَّصُوا۟ حَتَّىٰ يَأْتِىَ ٱللَّهُ بِأَمْرِهِۦ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ لَا يَهْدِى ٱلْقَوْمَ ٱلْفَسِقِينَ‎
Say, “If are your fathers, and your sons, and your brothers, and your spouses, and your relatives, and wealth that you have acquired and the commerce, you fear a decline (in) it and the dwellings you delight (in) it (are) more beloved to you than Allah, and His Messenger and striving in His way, then wait until brings Allah His Command. And Allah (does) not guide the people – the defiantly disobedient.” (Qur’an, 9:24)
Or as the Prophet صَلَّى ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَسَلَّمَ himself says: “None of you believe until he loves me more than his father, his children and the whole of mankind (al-Bukhari and al-Muslim)”.
In practice, it calls for heartfelt conviction, sacrifices and prioritisation,
Prerequisites of qualifying for effective emulation (Itteba)
Before considering to embarking on Itteba, it is significantto comprehend the conditions and prerequisite ofAllah’s سبحانه و تعالى guidelines to qualify and succeed in reaping the benefits of effective emulation (itteba).
According to Ayat 21 of Surah Ahzab (33):
لَقَدۡ كَانَ لَكُمۡ فِىۡ رَسُوۡلِ اللّٰهِ اُسۡوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ لِّمَنۡ كَانَ يَرۡجُوا اللّٰهَ وَالۡيَوۡمَ الۡاٰخِرَ وَذَكَرَ اللّٰهَ كَثِيۡرًا ؕ‏
You have indeed in the Apostle of Allah a beautiful pattern (of conduct) – a role model – for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the Praise of Allah and His Remembrance(33:21)
Allah سبحانه و تعالى says that Prophet صَلَّى ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَسَلَّمَis a role model for ONLY FOR THOSE people, whose hope is in:
i) Allah سبحانه و تعالى and
ii) The Final Day of Judgement, and
iii) Those who remember Allah سبحانه و تعالى much and consistently.
Figure: Three Conditions for Successful Emulation
Therefore it is imperative to fulfil these conditions to equip oneself to emulate and benefit, including righteous deeds.
i) Hope for Allah سبحانه و تعالى: The hope is the source of guidance for those believers who yearn to perform righteous deeds (like the Prophet صَلَّى ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَسَلَّمَ did) and do the best performances in all acts for Allah’s سبحانه و تعالى pleasure. The hope is not only for Allah’s سبحانه و تعالىmercy and for forgiveness (7:156, 39:53), but Allah سبحانه و تعالىshows us how to create hope for lasting joy both in this worldly life and eternal hereafter by following and emulating the perfect role model – the Messenger صَلَّى ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَسَلَّمَ of Allah سبحانه و تعالى – (33:21). Allah سبحانه و تعالى simply conveys in Sura Kahf(18) Ayat 110,commanding righteous deeds:
فَمَن كَانَ يَرْجُو لِقَاءَ رَبِّهِ فَلْيَعْمَلْ عَمَلًا صَالِحًا
Whoever hopes or expects that meeting with their Lord then let him do righteous deeds (18:110)
The Hope in Allah سبحانه و تعالى means that Allah Almighty is the Creator, Provider and Sustainer and encourages repentance to amend.
There is no God other than Allah سبحانه و تعالى, and as believers, we put all our trust in Him سبحانه و تعالى for all our affairs, who is all-knowing and best planner (8:30) and disposer of affairs (3:173), and we continue conducting ourselves as true believer within the Hadood (boundaries) which Allah سبحانه و تعالى has defined and determined and have hope to be successful on the Final Day (33:21), dependent solely on performing righteous deeds in this worldly life.
ii) Final Day: Firmly believing that resurrection will take place for accounting for life on earth and be hopeful of Allah’s سبحانه و تعالى Grace and Favour, based on the preparation one has done, by resembling the conduct and character of the Messenger صَلَّى ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَسَلَّمَas a role model in this world, who صَلَّى ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَسَلَّمَled the worldly life according to Allah’s سبحانه و تعالى decrees.
iii) Remembrance of Allah سبحانه و تعالى: Remembering Allah سبحانه و تعالىmuch and consistently refers to absolute compliance and submission to His سبحانه و تعالى decrees all the time and leading a pious and righteous life by emulating Prophet صَلَّى ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَسَلَّمَ.
The Itteba in this respect i.e. remembering Allah سبحانه و تعالى consistently consists of the following five building blocks amongst others:
i) By remaining and conducting life within the Hadood (Boundaries) set by Allah سبحانه و تعالى – always doing good and refraining from prohibitions (as Prophet صَلَّى ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَسَلَّمَ did).ii) Byadoringand praising Allah سبحانه و تعالىand be grateful and appreciative for all He سبحانه و تعالى has provided,(as Prophet صَلَّى ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَسَلَّمَ did).
iii) By supplicating and seeking His سبحانه و تعالى guidance and assistance to remain on the right path (as Prophet صَلَّى ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَسَلَّمَ did).
iv) By repenting for any transgressions.
v) By seeking forgiveness (astaghfar) for transgressing and then amending.Turning to Allah سبحانه و تعالى in repentance for astaghfar is enjoined upon all believers. Allah سبحانه و تعالى says:
‏وَأَنِ ٱسْتَغْفِرُوا۟ رَبَّكُمْ ثُمَّ تُوبُوٓا۟ إِلَيْهِ يُمَتِّعْكُم مَّتَعًا حَسَنًا إِلَىٰٓ أَجَلٍۢ مُّسَمًّۭى وَيُؤْتِ كُلَّ ذِى فَضْلٍۢ فَضْلَهُۥ ۖ وَإِن تَوَلَّوْا۟ فَإِنِّىٓ أَخَافُ عَلَيْكُمْ عَذَابَ يَوْمٍۢ كَبِيرٍ‎
And that Seek Allah’sسبحانه و تعالى forgiveness and turn toward Him in repentance. He will grant you a good provision for an arranged term and graciously reward the doers of right. But if you move away, then I truly fear for you the torment of a formidable (a Great) Day (Hud 11:3).

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