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Ever Been Told Not To "Over-Praise" the Prophet ﷺ Because It’s Bidah?

muhammad-calligraphySaying that Muhammad ﷺ was “merely” a messenger as if there is nothing more special about him is a gross innovation. Shaykh Faraz Rabbani shares a number of short stories from the sahabahs, and the Islamic tradition, that highlight how they celebrated the qualities and tremendousness of the Prophet ﷺ. We need to nurture regular gatherings that foster the tradition of celebrating the Prophet ﷺ but without making these too complicated or burdensome.
Shaykh Faraz elaborates further in this video, recording as part of the weekly gathering at SeekersHub Toronto, Circle of Light: A Night of Remembrance, Praise & Inspiration.
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In Soweto: “Allah is Beautiful and Loves Beauty: Celebrating the Beautiful Messenger”

Shaykh Yahya Rhodus delivered a beautiful talk in Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa – a session, which ended with two local women embracing Islam. Listen to it in full on the SeekersHub podcast.

Follow the Spread Light tour of South Africa. Your financial support is crucial to our #SpreadLight campaign, which seeks to provide truly excellent Islamic learning to at least 1,000,000 seekers of knowledge in the coming years. This will serve as an ongoing charity (sadaqa jariyah) so please donate today.

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In Soweto: “Allah is Beautiful and Loves Beauty: Celebrating the Beautiful Messenger”

Shaykh Yahya Rhodus delivered this beautiful talk in Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa, during a session which ended with two local women embracing Islam.
Follow the Spread Light tour of South Africa on the SeekersHub website. Your financial support is crucial to our #SpreadLight campaign, which seeks to provide truly excellent Islamic learning to at least 1,000,000 seekers of knowledge in the coming year. This will serve as an ongoing charity (sadaqa jariyah) so please donate today.

Is Our Master Muhammad (Allah Bless Him and Give Him Peace) the Last Messenger or the Last Prophet?

Answered by Sidi Wasim Shiliwala

Question: 1. What is the difference between a rasul and a nabi?

2. Is the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) the last of both?

3. What about in our times when people receive messages from Allah?

Answer: Walaikum As-salaam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu,

Firstly, may Allah reward you for your concern on such an important subject! Knowledge of revelation and prophecy is a crucial element of our creed (aqida), as it helps us understand the unique and special characteristics of the various Prophets (upon them be peace).

The Difference between a Prophet (nabi) and a Messenger (rasul)

In his commentary on the famous text of Sunni creed Jawhara al-Tawhid, Imam al-Bajuri provides useful definitions of the terms you asked about in your first question.

He defines a prophet (nabi) as a human being who is “free from all repulsive qualities, [and] given a revealed law that he enacts, even if he was not commanded to spread it.”

In contrast, Imam al-Bajuri defines a messenger (rasul) as someone who has the qualities of a prophet “but with the additional stipulation [of him being] commanded to spread [his message].”

In other words, the main difference between a prophet and a messenger pertains to spreading the revealed message (tabligh): messengers only include those commanded to spread the revelation they receive, while prophets include both those who received that command and those who didn’t. This means, as Imam al-Bajuri explains, that “every messenger is a prophet, but not vice-versa.” [Bajuri, Tuhfat al-Murid `ala Jawharat at-Tawhid]

The Final Prophet and Messenger (peace be upon him)

In the 40th verse of Surah Al-Ahzab, Allah calls Muhammad (peace be upon him) the “messenger of Allah and the seal of the prophets” (khatam al-nabi’in). Given that the definition of a prophet is broader than that of a messenger, this verse indicates that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the last of the prophets as well as the last of the messengers.

Indeed, this one line teaches us two important facts about the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Firstly, he (peace be upon him) was a messenger of Allah, meaning that he received revelation and was also commanded by Allah to spread that message. Secondly, he (peace be upon him) is the final prophet, meaning that no one after him will receive revelation. Indeed, even ‘Isa/Jesus (peace be upon him) will rule by the laws of Islam upon his return to earth.

The finality of this message is even further emphasized by Allah in one of the last verses He revealed to the Prophet (peace be upon him): “Today I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and approved Islam for you as a religion” (5:3). [For a more complete discussion of 33:40, see the relevant commentary from Mufti Muhammad Shafi’s Ma’ariful Qur’an]

Between Prophecy and Sainthood

Before discussing the differences between Prophets and Saints, it is first important to understand who a wali (saint) is. Imam al-Bajuri defines a wali as “a knower of God the Exalted and His attributes as much as is possible, one who is diligent to obedience [of God, and] an avoider of sins – meaning that he does not commit a sin without repenting [for it].” What’s important to note here is that the awliya (plural of wali) achieve their nearness to Allah only through following the Prophet (peace be upon him).

According to Sunni creed, it is possible for miracles (karamaat) to be manifested at the hands of the awliya. For example, the Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) miraculously warned faraway Muslim troops of an oncoming enemy. Similarly, while revelation (wahy) is specifically given to prophets, Allah also might speak to His righteous servants in dreams (ilham) or give them deep spiritual insights (kashf). It is related, for example, that Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal spoke with Allah in a dream, wherein Allah told him that reciting the Qur’an is a means of achieving closeness to Him. [Bajuri, Tuhfat]

However, such miraculous events differ from Prophetic miracles (mu’jizaat) and revelation (wahy) in that they are not accompanied by any claim to Prophecy or revelation. Rather, they are personal gifts and blessings bestowed by Allah to his righteous servants. As such, they are not and cannot be used to alter the perfected guidance brought by the Prophet (peace be upon him). Furthermore, they are in reality miracles of the Prophet (peace be upon him), as such miracles occur only to those who wholeheartedly strive to follow his sunnah, both in terms of his inner character and outer actions. Such miracles confirm the exalted status of the Prophetic way. [Sabuni, Al-Bidaya fi Usul al-Din]

Conclusion – the Best Guidance is that of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)

The above paragraphs convey the following crucial points about prophecy:

1. Muhammad (peace be upon him), as a prophet and messenger, was given revelation and commanded to spread it;

2. Muhammad (peace be upon him) was the final prophet and messenger; and

3. Awliya may receive miracles and divine inspiration, but they cannot in any way alter the already complete message of Islam. To the contrary, such miracles only confirm the soundness and blessing of the Prophetic way, and are therefore miracles of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

With all of this in mind, we should come to the conclusion that all true religious guidance comes from the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and that we only accept that knowledge which is connected to him through the Qur’an, Sunnah, and sound Muslim scholarship. Anyone who calls to other than this, or claims to have religious knowledge that contradicts this, must be avoided.

Allah knows best, and He is the best of Guiders.

Jazakum Allahu Khairan,

-Wasim

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

The Difference Between a Messenger & Prophet

Answered by Sidi Abdullah Anik Misra

Question: What is the difference between a Nabi and a Rasul?

Answer: Wa alaikum salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Thank you for your question.

A Prophet (nabi) is someone who received revelation from Allah Most High in the form of Divine instructions; if he is commanded specifically to convey and propagate these Divine instructions to specific people, then he is also called a Messenger (rasul), and if he is not commanded to convey any specific message, then he remains a prophet (nabi) only. Thus, according to the strongest view, every Messenger is a Prophet, but not every Prophet is a Messenger. [Sharh Jawhara al-Tawhid, al-Sawi]

The differing meanings for Prophet and Messenger stem from the difference in connotation of the two words in Arabic, and how they are used in the Qur’an. There are also opinions that both words have the same meaning, or that a Messenger is more general than a Prophet because angels have also been called messengers, however, these are not the strongest views.  [Sharh `ala al-Jawhara, al-Bayjuri]

May Allah Ta’ala send peace and blessings on the Seal of the Prophets, Muhammad ibn Abdullah, and upon all His Prophets and Messengers.

Wasalam,
Abdullah Anik Misra

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Love for the Beloved Prophet Muhammad, by Imam Abdullah al-Haddad

Love

Love for the Beloved Prophet Muhammad — “And know that the loftiest of exemplars, the most noble and the greatest and the most binding to all Muslims is the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and grant him peace: verily he is by unanimous agreement the Greatest Exemplar.

And the obligation due to him is the greatest after that of Allah; and the adab with him the most emphasised of the adab and obediences. For whosoever loves him and immensely esteems him, he has indeed loved Allah and whosoever obeys him has indeed obeyed Allah.

Says Allah, the Exalted: ‘Say, if ye do love Allah, follow me: Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. For Allah is the Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful’ (âl-‘Imran: 31).

And says the Exalted: ‘He who obeys the Apostle, obeys Allah’ (an-Nisaa: 80).

And says the Exalted: ‘So take what the Apostle assigns to you, and deny yourselves that which he withholds from you. And fear Allah; for Allah is strict in punishment’ (al-Hashr: 7).

And says the Exalted: ‘Then let those beware who withstand the Apostle’s order, lest some trial befall them, or a grievous Penalty be inflicted on them’ (an-Nur: 63).

And says the Exalted: ‘Verily, those who plight their fealty to thee do no less than plight their fealty to Allah: the Hand of Allah is over their hands: then anyone who violates his oath, does so to the harm of his own soul, and any one who fulfils what he has covenanted with Allah, Allah will soon grant him a great reward’ (al-Fat’h: 10).

And says the Exalted: ‘So it is those who believe in him, honour him, help him and follow the light which is sent down with him – it is they who will prosper’ (al-A’araf: 157).

And says the Exalted: ‘O who believe! Raise not your voices above the voice of the Prophet, nor speak aloud to him in talk, as ye may speak aloud to one another, lest your deeds become vain and ye perceive not. Those who lower their voice in the presence of Allah’s Apostle – their hearts has Allah tested for piety: for them is Forgiveness and a great reward’ (al-Hujurat: 2-3).

And says he, upon whom be blessings and peace: ‘One of you does not believe until I become dearer to him than the soul that lies between the two sides’.

And says he, upon whom be blessings and peace: ‘One of you does not believe until his desire follows what I have come with’.

And says he, upon whom be blessings and peace of Allah: ‘Were Musa and Isa alive, they cannot but follow me’.

And says he, upon whom be blessings and peace: ‘Whosoever obeys me, has indeed obeyed Allah and whosoever disobeys me has indeed disobeyed Allah’.

And says he, upon whom be blessings and peace: ‘All of you will enter paradise except those who refuse’. And they said: ‘And who refuses?’ And said he, upon whom be blessings and peace: ‘Whoever obeys me enters Paradise, and whosoever disobeys me has indeed refused’. And says he, upon whom be blessings and peace: ‘Who annoys me, annoys Allah and whosoever annoys Allah, He puts him into Hell’.

And what goes to perfect love to him and high esteem and beneficient adab towards him, blessings and peace be upon him, is love for the people of his house and his companions, esteem for them and respect.

Says Allah, the Exalted: ‘Say (O Prophet): no reward do I ask of you except the love of those near of kin’ (ash-Shura: 23).

And says the Exalted: ‘The vanguard (of Islam), the first of those who foresook (their home) and of those who gave them aid, and (also) who followed them in (all) good deeds – well-pleased is Allah with them, as they are with Him’ (at-Tawbah: 100).

And says he, upon whom be blessings and peace of Allah: ‘Love Allah for such of His bounties as He nourishes you with, and love me because you love Allah and love the people of my House because you love me’.

And says he, upon whom be blessings and peace to ‘Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him: ‘Iman does not enter the heart of one until they love you for the sake of Allah and for your nearness to me’.

And says he, upon whom be blessings and peace, to Fatima and ‘Ali and al-Hassan and al-Husayn, may Allah be pleased with them: ‘I am at war with those you are at war with and at peace with those you are at peace with’.

And says he, upon whom be blessings and peace, in the hadith of Zayd bin Arqam, may Allah be pleased with them: ‘And my issues are the people of my house. I remind you, in the Name of Allah, about people of my house’.

And says Abubakr, may Allah be pleased with him: ‘Have a conscientious regard to Muhammad in the people of his house’.

And says he, upon whom be blessings and peace: ‘Uphold me in my companions; do not take them as targets after me; whosoever loves them loves them because of my love; and whosoever is disaffected against them is disaffected against them because of disaffection against me; and whosoever molests them has indeed molested me; and whosoever molests me has indeed invoked the wrath of Allah and whoever invokes the wrath of Allah risks penalty from Him’.

And says he, upon whom be blessings and peace: ‘Do not abuse my companions. Verily, in the Name of Him in Whose Hands my soul is: were one of you to spend the like of the mountain of Uhud in gold he would not attain the rank of one of them, not even half of it’.

Let a Muslim, who is solicitous about his religion therefore, beware of hating a member of the house of the Apostle, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, or one of his companions because that harms his religion and his Hereafter. And because of it, he gets counted among those who offend His Prophet and annoy him, Allah bless him and grant him peace. Let him love them and praise them on account of good (in them) in the same manner as Allah has praised them as well as His Apostle.”

Extracted from Ad-da ‘wa-tut-taammah of Imam ‘Abdallah Ibn ‘Alawi al-Haddad (ra). Translated by Shaykh Mohamed Mlamali Adam.