Rights of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.A.)
By: Sayyid Mahdi as-Sadr
Our great Prophet Muhammad (S) was the ideal in all aspects of perfection. God selected him among the creatures and conferred upon him with the loftiest traits that He gave to the prophets. All glories and dignities are gathered in the personality of Prophet Muhammad (S); therefore, he became the head and the seal of the prophets.
In less than twenty-five years, he, out of his giant efforts and eternal principles, could achieve splendid spiritual victories and religious attainments that cannot be achieved by others even if they take the period of many centuries. He came with the most perfect divine code that is best befitting the stages of life and achieving the worldly and religious spiritual and material pleasures to humankind.
Hence, he could take people out of the murk of disbelief to the light of Islam. Besides, he made his nation the most perfect in religion, the most knowledgeable, the highest in fields of ethics, and the most elevated in fields of civilization. In the cause of achieving all these, the Prophet (S) suffered such unprecedented forms of terrors and ordeals. On that account, any author is too short to calculate the favors and rights of the Prophet (S) that are done and imposed upon Muslims, whatever he writes. Nevertheless, we can, in such a brief essay, refer to some of these rights.
First of all, the rights of the Prophet Muhammad (S) are to believe in his prophecy and all that which he conveyed on behalf of God, and to believe that he is the chief of the messengers of God and the seal of the prophets. Then come the following rights:
1. Obedience to the Holy Prophet (SAWA)
Like the obedience to God, the obedience to Prophet Muhammad (S) is an obligation since he is the representative of God. The meaning of this obedience is to follow his code and apply his eternal principles that achieved happiness and success for Muslims so long as they adhered to them. Thus, Muslims became the target of humility when they rejected these principles.
Enjoining to the compliance with the Prophet Muhammad (S) and warning against the disobedience and defiance to him, God says: “Take only what the Messenger gives to you and desist from what he forbids you. Have fear of Allah; Allah is severe in His retribution (59:7).”
“The believing men and women must not feel free to do something in their affairs other than that which has been already decided for them by Allah and His Messenger. One who disobeys Allah and His Messenger is in plain error. (33:36)”
“Whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger will be admitted to the gardens wherein streams flow and wherein they will live forever. This is the greatest triumph. Whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger and breaks His rules will be admitted to the fire wherein they will live forever, suffering a humiliating torment. (4:13-4)”
“Disgrace will strike those who oppose Allah and His Messenger. Allah has decreed, "I and My Messenger shall certainly triumph." Allah is All- powerful and Majestic (58:20-1).”
2. Love for the Holy Prophet (SAWA)
Reasons of love and admiration vary according to the tendencies of lovers. Some people love beauty, others love heroism, others love liberality, and so on. In the personality of Prophet Muhammad (S), one can find all factors of love and admiration. He was an unparalleled model and a unique example. God gathered all signs of beauty and perfection and all secrets of attraction in his personality. In front of Prophet Muhammad (S), man can do nothing but expressing his love and respect to him.
Describing the features of the Prophet Muhammad (S), Amirul-Mu'minin (a) said: “The Prophet of Allah was white-reddish, black-eyed, lank-haired, bushy-bearded, hairy, and his neck was as same as a silver pitcher in whose clavicles gold is flowing. Like a bar of thread, his hair extends from the upper part of his chest to his navel. Other than this, he has no hair on his belly or breast. He is big- handed and big footed. His walking is as same as pulling the feet from rocks. His coming is as same as descending a slope. When he turns his face, his whole body turns. He is neither short nor tall. His sweat on the face glitters like pearls and smells sweeter than musk1.”
“He was the most openhanded, the most broad- minded, the most truthful, the most faithful, the most tractable, and the most sociable. He who sees him from far away stands in awe of him, and who associates with him from near loves him. I have never seen, and I will not see, his like2.”
Because of the aforesaid features and moralities, all people, despite their variant trends of love, have loved him for his unmatched heroism, heroes have loved him. For his being the ideal example of generosity, the generous have loved him. For his unique worship, worshippers have loved him. For his supreme ideality in nature and ethics, his sincere companions loved him.
Amirul-Mu'minin (a) narrated that, once, one of Ansar3, said to the Prophet (S): “God’s Messenger, I cannot depart you! As soon as I enter my house, you jump in my mind. I therefore leave my home and come to see you, out of my love for you. A question has occurred to me. How can I see you when you will be elevated to the highest point of Paradise?”
Hence, God revealed His saying: “One who obeys Allah and the Messenger is the friend of the Prophets, saints, martyrs, and the righteous ones to whom Allah has granted His favors. They are the best friends that one can have (4:69)”
The Prophet (S) summoned that man and recited this Verse before him, as good tidings4.”
ïAnas narrated: A Beduin came to the Prophet (S) we were happy whenever a Beduin asks the Prophet to ask him when would the Hour of Resurrection fall. Before answering the man, the time of a prayer fell; therefore, the Prophet (S) came to offer it. After the prayer, the Prophet (S) asked about the man who had asked about the falling of the Hour of Resurrection. When the man came before him, the Prophet (S) asked: “What have you prepared for encountering that Hour?” The man answered: “I, in fact, have not prepared many prayers and days of fasting. I, however, love God and His Messenger.” The Prophet (S) commented: “Man will be attached to the one he loves.” This prophetic statement was the second-most gladdening thing after Islam5.
Imam as-Sadiq (a) narrated: An oilman loved the Prophet (S) very much to the degree that he used to come to look at him before he would do any job. As he realized this thing from that oilman, the Prophet used to raise himself when he was sitting so that the man would see him.
One day, the man, as usual, took a look at the Prophet (S) before he would go to his job. He, very soon, came back. When the Prophet (S) noticed that, he waved to him to sit down. The man sat before the Prophet (S), who asked him about his unusual coming back. The man said: “God’s Messenger, by Him Who has sent you with the right I swear, your picture covered my heart totally that I could not go for my job; therefore, I came back to you.” The Prophet (S) addressed nice words to that man and supplicated to God for his good.”
For several days, the Prophet (S) could not see that man. When he missed him, the Prophet (S) asked the others about him, and they answered that they, too, could not see him several days ago. The Prophet (S), accompanied by his companions, came to the market to ask about him. He found his shop locked, and the others informed him that the man had died. They also told that he was trustworthy and truthful, but he had one bad manner he used to look covertly at women.
The Prophet (S) commented: “He loved me very much. Allah will surely forgive him even if he was fraudulent in weighing and measuring6.”
3. Blessing the Holy Prophet (SAWA)
God says: “Allah showers His blessings upon the Prophet and the angels, too, do. Believers, pray for the Prophet and greet him thoroughly. (33:56)”
People used to show different styles of reverence towards the great personalities for their efforts for the sake of their nations. Such being the case, it is not strange to show respect whenever the holy name of the Prophet (S), who is the most reverent and venerable of all, is said or heard.
The holy Verse expresses the utmost honoring of God and the angels to the Prophet (S) God showers His blessings upon the Prophet and the angels, too, do , and then it addresses to the believers to reverence him by seeking God to bless and greet him believers, pray for the Prophet and greet him thoroughly.
Using such a thrilling, attractive style, the words of the Ahlul-Bayt (a) go on explaining the merits of seeking God’s blessings for the Prophet (S).
His son narrated that Abu Hamza said: I, once, asked Imam as-Sadiq (a) about the exegesis of God’s saying: “Allah showers His blessings upon the Prophet and the angels, too, do. Believers, pray for the Prophet and greet him thoroughly. (33:56)”
He answered: “The blessing of Allah is mercy to the Prophet (S), and the blessing of the angels is purification to him, and the blessing of people is supplication for him. To ‘great him thoroughly,’ means to submit to that whichever is authentically- related to him.”
I asked: “How should we bless Muhammad and his family?” The Imam (a) replied: “You should say: ‘The blessings of Allah and the blessings of His angels, prophets, messengers, and all creatures be upon Muhammad and the family of Muhammad. And peace and Allah’s mercy and blessings be upon him and them.’”
I asked: “What is the reward that one will win if he utters such blessings for the Prophet and his family?”
The Imam (a) answered: “The reward is that he will be acquitted from all of his sins, as if he has just left his mother’s womb7.”
“For him who utters the blessings for Muhammad and his family ten times, Allah and His angels will bless him one hundred times, and if he utters the blessings one hundred times, Allah and His angels will bless him one thousand times. This is the significance of Allah’s saying: “It is He who forgives you and His angels pray for you so that He will take you out of darkness into light. Allah is All-merciful to the believers. (33:43)8”
“Before blessing the Prophet and his family, every supplication is prevented to reach the heavens9.”
“The heaviest thing in the balance of a servant’s deeds will be the blessings for the Prophet and his family. As a man’s evildoings are heavier than his good deeds, the Prophet (S) comes to add the blessings for him and his family to the scale in which his good deeds are put. Thus, his good deeds become heavier than the evildoings10.”
Imam ar-Ridha (a) said: “He who fails to expiate his sins should give much of the blessings for Muhammad and his family, for they destroy the sins.”
The Prophet (S) said: “Do not utter the imperfect blessings for me.”
They asked: “What is the imperfect blessings?”
He answered: “The imperfect blessings is to say ‘Lord, bless Muhammad,’ and keep silent. You must say, ‘Lord, bless Muhammad and the family of Muhammad.11’”
4. The Love for the Ahlul-Bayt (A.S.)
In His Book, God makes obligatory on everybody to love the Prophet’s household as the wage for his conveying the divine mission, and makes it one of his rights: “(Muhammad), say, "I do not ask you for any payment for my preaching to you except (your) love of (my near) relatives." Whoever achieves virtue will have its merit increased. Allah is all-forgiving and appreciating. (42:23)”
The Ahlul-Bayt (a) are characterized by all qualities of admiration and incentives of love and loyalty. They are the choice people, the arguments against the creatures, the ships of salvation, and preceded by their father the Prophet (S) the best of everyone who ever lived on this earth in lineage, value, merits, and glories.
It is impossible for the sound conscience to accept to love the Prophet (S) apart from his immaculate family who are worthy of the best concepts of love. To love the Prophet (S), but not his immaculate family, is falsity originated from hypocrisy and meanness.
Abdullah Ibn Mas’oud narrated: One day, we were accompanying the Prophet (S) in one of his journeys when a Beduin with an orotund voice shouted at us, “Muhammad!” “What do you want?” answered the Prophet (S). “What is it if an individual loves a people but he does not imitate them in deeds?” asked the Beduin. “One will be attached to the one he loves,” replied the Prophet (S). “Muhammad,” shouted the Beduin, “Call me to Islam.” The Prophet (S) said: “You should declare that there is no god but Allah and that I am the Messenger of Allah, offer the prayer, defray the zakat, fast during the month of Ramadan, and perform the hajj to the Holy House.”
“Muhammad,” asked the Beduin, “Do you ask for wage for so?” “No,” replied the Prophet (S), “I do not take any wage except that you must regard the relatives.” “Whose relatives? Mine or yours?” asked the Beduin. “It is my relatives,” answered the Prophet (S). The Beduin said: “Give me your hand so that I will declare allegiance to you. No good is expected from him who loves you, but not your relatives12.”
The Imamite13 Shia have agreed unanimously on the fact that the Immaculate Imams of the Ahlul-Bayt (a) are the intendeds in the Verse: “(Muhammad), say, "I do not ask you for any payment for my preaching to you except (your) love of (my near) relatives." Whoever achieves virtue will have its merit increased. Allah is All-forgiving and appreciating. (42:23)”
A good number of great exegesists and traditionists of the other sects of Islam, such as Ahmed Ibn Hanbal, at- Tabarani, and al-Hakim14 (as quoting the opinion of Ibn Abbas15) agreed with the Shia on this fact.
Ibn Hagar, in Chapter One of Section Eleven of as- Sawaaiq ul-Muhriqa, narrates the following: When the Verse (intended) was revealed, they asked: “God’s Messenger, who are your relatives whom we must love and regard?” The Prophet (S) answered: “They are Ali, Fatima, and their two sons16.”
Consider how the Prophet (S) urged people to regard his family through the aforementioned narration. However, many texts concerning the Prophet’s assertion on the obligatory love and regard for his relatives are related by the two major schools of Islam i.e. Shia and Sunna-.
Regarding the Shia, let us cite the following narrations: On the authority of his fathers, Imam as-Sadiq narrated that the Prophet (S) said: “He who loves us the Ahlul-Bayt should thank Allah for the foremost grace. It is the legal birth. Only will the legal sons love us17.”
Imam al-Baqir narrated on the authority of his father and grandfather that the Prophet (S) said: “The love for my household and me will help in seven situations whose horrors are enormous: at death, in the grave, in the Resurrection, in the Recorded Account, in the Judgment, in the Balance, and on the Path18.”
“Any servant who worships Allah for one thousand years and then is slaughtered (wrongfully) like a sheep, but he attends before Allah bearing malice against us the Ahlul-Bayt, Allah will certainly reject all his acts of worship19.”
“On the Day of Resurrection, a servant’s feet will not move before he is asked about four matters: He will be asked how he had spent the age of his youth, how he had finished his age, what earnings he had got and where from he had got them and how he had spent them, and he will be also asked about his affection to us the Ahlul-Bayt20.”
Al-Hakam Ibn Utaiba related the following: I was with Imam al-Baqir (a) in his house, which was suffocated by his people when an old man came leaning on a stick. As he stopped at the door of the house, he said: “Peace and Allah’s mercy and blessings be upon you, son of God’s Messenger.” Abu Ja’far (a) replied: “Peace and Allah’s mercy and blessings be upon you, too.” The old man turned his face to the others and said: “Peace be upon you,” and each one answered him. He then turned his face towards Imam al-Baqir (a) and said: “Son of God’s Messenger, let me approach you, God may make me your sacrifice. By God I swear, I do love you and love everyone who loves you. By God I swear, my love for you and my love for him who loves you is not purposed for a worldly desire. I also hate and disavow your enemy. By God I swear, my hatred and disavowal of your enemy is not for a previous personal enmity between him and me. By God I swear, I deem lawful all that which you decide as lawful, deem unlawful all that which you decide as unlawful, and expect your Affair. Do you may God make me your sacrifice- accept me, then?”
Having heard these words, Imam al-Baqir (a) said to him: “Come to me, come to me.”
When the man sat next to him, the Imam (a) said: “Old man, my father Ali Ibn al-Hussein (a), once, was visited by a man who asked him the same question that you have just put. My father’s answer was, ‘If you die bearing these beliefs, you will be received by the Messenger of Allah, Ali, al-Hasan, al- Hussein, and Ali Ibn al-Hussein (a), and you will be pleased, delighted, and cheerful. And when your soul reaches your mouth i.e. about to depart your body-, you will be greeted with rest and happiness by the Honorable Recording Angels. And if you live, Allah will show you delighted things, and you will be with us on the Highest Peak etc21.
Regarding narrations that are recorded in the reference books of our Sunni brothers, we cite the following as examples: Ibn Hanbal and at-Tirmithi, as recorded in as-Sawaaiq ul-Muhriqa; page 91, narrated the following: The Prophet (S), once, took al-Hasan and al-Hussein from the hands and said: “He who loves me, these two, their father, and their mother will stand in a rank as same as mine on the Day of Resurrection22.”
Ibn Abbas narrated that the Prophet (S), once, looked in the face of Ali (a) and said: “You are sayyid in this world as well as the world to come. Your disciple is my disciple, and my disciple is Allah’s disciple. And your enemy is my enemy, and my enemy is Allah’s enemy. Woe unto him who will hate you after my departure23.”
In his book titled Kitab ul-Wilaya, At-Tabari records the following: Ali (a) said: “Three persons will never love me: the bastards, the hypocrites, and those whom were composed during their mothers’ periods of menstruation.”
At-Tabarani, in his book titled al-Mu’jam ul-Awsat, as- Suyouti, in his book titled Ihyaa ul-Meyt, and Ibn Hagar, in his as-Sawaaiq ul-Muhriqa; Chapter: Urging on the love for the Ahlul-Bayt, recorded the following hadith: The Prophet (S) said: “Cling to the love for us the Ahlul-Bayt, for anyone who meets Allah bearing love for us will be in Paradise due to our Right of Intercession. I swear by Him Who prevails on my soul, unless our right is recognized, none’s deed will be useful (for him)24.”
The term of the Ahlul-Bayt includes the twelve sinless Imams (a), because such lofty characteristics are deserved by no one at all except them, since they are the representatives of God and the auspicious successors of the Prophet (S).
1. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; 6 (Chapter: Moralities and Physical features of the Prophet).
2. Quoted from Safinat ul-Bihar; vol. 2 page 414.
3. Ansar (the supporters) are the people of Medina who received, welcomed, and protected the Prophet (S) and the Muhajirs.
4. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; vol. 6 (Chapter: The Obligation of the love for and the obedience to the Prophet).
5. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; vol. 6 (Chapter: The Obligation of the love for and the obedience to the Prophetóas quoted from Ilal ush-Sharaayi).
6. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 3 pages 143-4.
7. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; 19/78 (as quoted from Meaani al-Akhbar).
8. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 5 pages 228 (as quoted from al- Kafi).
9. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 5 pages 227 (as quoted from al- Kafi).
10. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 5 pages 228 (as quoted from al- Kafi).
11. Quoted from Fadhaail ul-Khamsa min as-Sihah is-Sitta. (This narration is recorded in as-Sawaaiq ul-Muhriqa; page 87).
12. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; 7/389 (as quoted from Sheikh al-Mufid’s al-Majalis).
13. Imamite Shia are those who believe in the divine leadership of the twelve Imams (a).
14. Ahmed ibn Hanbal was the founder of the school of Hanbalism; one of the four major schools of Islamic jurisprudence. Besides, he was one of the most master traditionists. At-Tabarani was also one of the most master traditionists whose books are considered as references of narrations and traditions. Al-Hakim (of Nisapuróa city Northern Persia) was also a famous traditionist whose books are considered as references of narrations and traditions.
15. Abdullah ibn Abbas (the Prophet’s cousin) is renowned for his knowledge of both sacred and profane tradition and for his critical interpretations of the Quran. From his youth, he gathered information concerning the words and deeds of the Prophet (S) from other companions and gave classes on interpretation of the Quran.
16. For more, refer to Sharafuddin’s al-Kalimat ul-Gharraa fi Tafdheel iz-Zahraa, 18.
17. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; vol. 7 page 389 (as quoted from Ilal ush-Sharayi, Meaani al-Akhbar, and al-Amali).
18. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; vol. 7 page 391 (as quoted from al-Khissal).
19. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; 7/397 (as quoted from al- Barqi’s al-Mahassin).
20. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; 7/389 (as quoted from Sheikh al-Mufid’s al-Majalis).
21. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 3 page 139 (as quoted from al- Kafi).
22. Quoted from Imam Sharafuddin’s al-Fussoul ul-Muhimma; page 41.
23. Quoted from Fadhaail ul-Khamsa min as-Sihah is-Sitta; part 1 page 200. (In the book titled al-Mustadrak ala as-sahihayn; part 3 page 127, this narration is recorded).
24. Quoted from Sharafuddin’s al-Muraja’at.