Signs of Holy Prophet Muhammad(S.A.W.) are also honorable
By: Ayatullah Shaheed Syed Abdul Husayn Dastaghaib Shirazi
To the extent the Holy Prophet Muhammad is respectable in your eyes, the signs of Muhammad are also similarly honorable. Anybody whom you see not respecting a Sayyid, know for sure that the Sayyids’s grandfather is also not honorable in that fellow’s eyes. He does not regard him great. If one has realized the greatness of Muhammad, even if a Sayyid hits on his head or gives him any hardship, that calamity should appear light to him because he regards that Sayyid as the prince. He is Sayyid and master. Shaykh Ja’far Kashiful Ghita has mentioned reasons for serving the Shaykh. Some money had arrived for distribution among the madressah students and it was distributed accordingly as he himself was busy in prayers. When he finished the first prayer, there came a needy person between the two prayers. He (the needy person) was a self respecting Sayyid. He stood exactly in front of the prayer mat of the Shaykh and said, "Give me my portion (Sahm)." He was told, "You have come late. Whatever we had has been already distributed." The self respecting Sayyid did not at all care for the Shaykh. He spat upon the face of the Shaykh. Spitting on someone’s face is regarded worse than killing among the Arabs. But what did the Shaykh do? (This argument is for the piety of the heart).
He spread the saliva with his own hand on his own face and beard and said, "I want that my face should appear bright in front of Sayyida Fatima Zahra on the Day of Judgment." Thus did he realize the greatness of Fatima. He intends to swallow his anger in front of the offspring of Sayyida Fatima so that he may find a way whereby he may reach the Sayyida’s grandfather on the hardest Day of Resurrection. Unless one realizes the greatness of God he cannot realize the greatness of Muhammad and of Zahra. How then can he understand the greatness of a Sayyid? The said Shaykh did not suffice with this. He stood up and asked the audience, "Whoever respects the beard of the Shaykh should drop some money his lap." The Shaykh spread his own skirt for begging. The faithful followers imagined that the Shaykh was collecting contributions for his pupils.
So they filled up his skirt with coins. The Shaykh gathered the amount, kissed the hand of the Sayyid and put the whole amount in his hand saying most respectfully, "Kindly forgive me and excuse me." This was because he wanted to get near to God Almighty. So, this is true piety. It means the heart should be aware of the Lord of the universe. Man must realize God’s greatness. If a man’s heart realizes the greatness of God, he becomes weak and low before Muhammad. He bows down before the Holy Qur’an, as it is God’s Word. But, if, God forbid, there is no piety in heart then he has no regard and respect for God and everything related to God.
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Surely those who lower their voices before Allah’s Apostle are they whose hearts Allah has tested for guarding (against evil)... (49:3)
Those who lower their voice in the Mosque of the Messenger, due to fear, shame and modesty, God tested their hearts. Noise, shouting and complaints are signs of ignorance and unawareness because of the lack of piety in hearts. This is very strange and astonishing. In the Prophet’s mosque, there are guards who show their backs to the Holy Shrine of the Holy Prophet. What disrespect! They have no piety in their hearts. They do not realize who Muhammad is. Their Shaykh also does not know. Do not say that I am making an allegation. Ibn Taiymiyah himself, who is their foremost peer, also does not know all this. He clearly says that the grave of Muhammad is no different from other places. Just think about whom you are talking? When have you realized the greatness God, by which you could realize the greatness of Muhammad? You turn your back to the grave of the Holy one. You extend your legs towards it. You come to the Prophet’s mosque for prayer but you have no respect for the Prophet! You say visiting the Holy Prophet’s grave is not permitted! All this is because of lack of piety in heart. God has given the piety of heart to you Shias and may he multiply it manifold.
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…are they whose hearts Allah has tested for guarding (against evil)…
Here the Arabic word ‘Imtahana’ means ‘He tested’. He has tested the hearts regarding piety. In other words, it is that God expanded their hearts so that they may know His greatness. Expansion is the opposite of narrowness. Unless one recognizes the greatness of God and His Prophet, he does not become great. How can a twelve years old child realize the greatness of the King! How can he pay respect? Unless the feeling of greatness enters his heart he cannot realize greatness. Unless he goes to school and learns writing how can he realize the worth of a good writer? How can an illiterate person appreciate the value of a scholar? How can he pay respect to him! By God! I am telling you the truth. If man wants to pay respect to God he must realize His greatness. He must make himself small. You will certainly ask me what is highness and what is lowness?
When you were four or five years old, you used to get a two rial or a five qiran coins from your parents to buy a toy. Now you have become owner of thousands and millions. Yet you are as little as when you were four or five years old. The name makes no change. If you like, I may make it more clearly for you. You have already heard the story of Mulla Nasiruddin who said: Praise be to Allah! There has been no change in me though I have become old. People asked, "How can it be? You have become obviously old." He replied, "No. My strength and capability has not changed at all. There was a heavy thing in our house. I could not lift it in my youth. Now, when I am old, I cannot yet lift it. Thus, I have not been changed since my youth." There are some who have not changed ever since their childhood days. One had a small house wherein he had opened a little shop. If any other child tried to kick it, he would catch the child’s leg, saying do you want to destroy my house? In childhood, his house was of a few bricks. Now the number of the bricks is, say four thousand. Briefly, littleness is in not thinking and understanding. May God make man understand here, not in the grave! May God give us a house, which may not be destroyed, a house wherefrom man may not be driven out, a house that is forever strong. When man gives up his thinking about permanent matters he is still a child even at the age of ninety.
(As for) those who call out to you from behind the private chambers, surely most of them do not understand. (49:4)
The Almighty God recalls their incapability and says
: Most of them have no sense. Sense means capability of understanding. They have no human intelligence. They have not become higher than animals in the matter of understanding whereby they could know things fully. So that they may know the full meaning, may recognize God and His Messenger, may appreciate the status of messengership and Prophethood. Of course, this requires that man himself should be great enough to comprehend that messengership has a very high status. It is the place where God’s revelations arrive. Here there is a connection with the unseen world. God selects the one who is superior to all others from the viewpoint of chastity, morality, purity and piety, personal hygiene etc. God selects only such person.
Be patient till the Prophet comes out
The next verse contains many important meanings. It should be remembered what this verse says:
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And if they wait patiently until you come out to them, it would certainly be better for them, and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. (49:5)
These Bedouins are undisciplined and ignorant. Had they shown patience and self-control, had they not made haste in calling you from out of the room until you came out yourself, and then had they submitted their needs it would have been better for themselves. Honor of the Holy Prophet, maintaining the respect of the status of messengership, is for the benefit of Muslims themselves. One of the benefits is that they reach their goal in a better way. Also, as a result of the respect shown by them to the Holy Prophet, God makes their faith stronger and firmer, their hearty relation and their friendship closer and their reward higher. How many rewards are there for showing patience just for a little while! O ignorant people! There is much good, luck and reward for you in this.
Here, I want to show you the full meaning of…it would certainly be better for them…today, so that many misconceptions be removed.
Christian allegations against the Prophet
One of the Christian writers has, with his sinister pen, made false allegations against Qur’an and the Prophet of Islam, by misrepresenting facts. Finally, a European also wrote a book titled An Apology to Muhammad and the Qur’an. Another fellow wrote a book, Muhammad, the Prophet who should be recognized a new. These Christian clerics have hurled many false and baseless allegations against the Holy Prophet. They have drawn a distorted picture of the Prophet’s noble character. One of the mischievous allegations is that Muhammad was very much fond of fame, power, honor and respect; that he has extensively praised himself in Qur’an. What do these five verses of Qur’an from Surah Hujurat show?
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Be not forward in the presence of Allah and His Apostle…
Here He, puts himself first and also says thereafter that do not bring yourselves before Muhammad and do not raise your voice louder than the voice of Muhammad; that is, keep quiet; do not call him without his permission; maintain the greatness of Muhammad. This goes to show that (God forbid) Muhammad wanted that people should honor him, or for instance, he has commanded that whenever one takes or utters his name one must send Salawat on him and similar other allegations.
The duties are only for the benefit of Muslims
The reply to all these foolish words and idle talks, allegations and indecent utterances is in the verse itself:
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…it would certainly be better for them…
: O Muslims! O believers in Qur’an! In all the commands of this Qur’an your own outward and inward benefit has been aimed at. Every address is in the interest of Muslims. Whatever brings good luck to them has been ordained and there is nothing like personal interest in them. Curse of God on the one who utters such blasphemic words and says that Muhammad had his own personal interest.
Learn true abstinence from Muhammad
What is personal benefit? It is property and wealth, position and grandeur, fame and kingdom. But from the worldly viewpoint Muhammad never placed a brick over a clay brick, even though if he had wished he could have placed one sliver brick over one golden brick to build his palace. But when he left this world, what worldly wealth did this great Prophet leave behind? What moveable or immovable property did he ever have? It was these few rooms (Hujurat) made of clay bricks, mud and wood. What was the floor of the house of Muhammad made of? It was sand. Sometimes there was a piece of straw mat thereon. So this was his carpet. And what kind of bed had he? Full details of the household materials of the Holy Prophet are written in books. The pillow of the Holy Prophet too was of palm fibers filled in a goatskin, which he placed under his holy head. The mattress and the quilt of the Holy Prophet was a combined cloth measuring fourteen meters. He placed half of it under his body and used the other half to cover himself from above. There was nothing in between. In the last days of his holy life his wives said to one another: Since the bones of his body have begun to show up let us do one thing. Let us make his bed sheet four-fold so that it may become somewhat soft. So once they did so. That night the Holy Prophet rose from his bed a little later, that is, he took a more restful sleep. When he woke up he asked? Who did this? One of the wives replied, "O Messenger of Allah! We did it. Now your body has become very weak. We thought your bed should be a little soft." He said, "You have done injustice to me. Tonight as my bed was softer, I woke later. It should be as before."
The Holy Prophet had nothing like luxury. Even in hot season though he wore no shirt he used to sleep on the hard mat. Once one of his companions arrived and saw that the mat had left marks on the Holy body. He wept and asked, "O Messenger of God! You are the king of kings. What kind of life are you living?"
What I mean to say is that Muhammad was not as the liars have alleged. What is property and riches? What is rank or position? What is fame? (May God forgive), curse of God on the false defamers. Why do you not come and read the life history of Muhammad? When did Muhammad seek fame, power and kingdom?
On the ground like slaves and servants
Once the rich women of Medina passed by Muhammad and saw that he was sitting on the ground. He himself said, "I like to sit on the ground till the last day of my life." This is spiritualism, which only the wise can understand.
At last it was seen that the Holy Prophet was about to have his meal. Now it was either dates or a piece of bread. The lady said, "O Master! You are sitting like a slave and you are also eating like a slave! If someone passes by you one will not recognize who you are!" The Prophet replied, "And who can be a better slave than me? I am the slave of the Lord of the lords and the King of the kings." The lady said, "Please do me a favor. Kindly give a little from this morsel that you eat." The Prophet extended his hand to give a little from his food to the lady. But she said, "Please, for God’s sake, give me from your holy mouth." The Holy Prophet gave her a little from his mouth, which she ate. As testified by Amirul Momineen that lady never fell ill since that day until she breathed her last. It was the grace of the morsel from Prophet’s mouth.
Was the Messenger of God a seeker of fame and name? Whenever he came to a gathering he never sat on a prominent place. In fact, the gatherings of the Holy Prophet did not have any such thing as high or low. People used to sit in a circle on the ground. Everyone sat where he was. Whenever foreigners arrived or whenever representatives of alien countries brought some communication or wanted to meet the Holy Prophet they had to ask, "Where is Muhammad?" They were told, "He is in the mosque." In the Mosque, they used to see that it was a round gathering. After seeing this they were compelled to ask, "Who among you is Muhammad?" They saw that there was no distinction at all; that here all were equal; there was nothing like protocol. All were sitting in a circle. Then the Holy Prophet used to say, "Yes, I am Muhammad, how may I help you?"
Always first in Saluting
Was Muhammad a seeker of fame and position? Did he ever want worldly greatness? Muhammad used to say, "I wish that I should not leave or give up some things until I live: One, sitting on the ground, another to be the first in saluting others." He never sought the first Salam from others. Muhammad was the first in saluting even youngsters. If he saw someone from a distance, before that person said a word, Muhammad would exclaim first: Peace be upon you (As-alamu Alaikum).
I have read in a narration that some Muslims who wanted to be the first in greeting the Holy Prophet, hid themselves so that he would salute him first. However, when the Holy Prophet reached that point, he used to say, "Salamun Alaikum, O the one, who is behind the wall! I do not want out be later in offering Salam until I breathe my last."
Hastening in offering Salam to others drives away ego. O sirs! Be the first in saying Salam to those who are younger than you. Whenever you enter your own house, say Salam to your wife and children. Never say: I am master and so they should salute me first. On entering your home, say Salam to your wife. When your wife comes to you say Salam, to her. When your child reaches you, say Salam to him or her also. The Holy Qur’an says:
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So when you enter houses, greet your people with a salutation from Allah…
Hastening in Salam is the remedy of human ailments. It is very effective in gaining humility. They Holy Prophet followed this path as God ordained him
: O Muhammad! Whenever the believers come to you, salute them.
After the virtue of sitting on the ground and being the first in offering Salam, is the matter of seating others on animals while riding.
Never rode when companions walked
The third thing which the Holy Prophet did not want to give until his last was making others sit behind him while riding. It is bad that one rides while others walk beside him. By God’s grace now there is no horse or ass riding. In earlier days, the master used to ride and his servant used to walk with him. Woe unto the one who rides while his companion continues to walk with him. The Holy Prophet never did this during his entire life. Firstly, there was no particular animal he rode. He rode whatever was available, be it a donkey or a mule, a camel, be there a saddle or not, be there stirrups or not, a bridle or not. He put a date leaf rope around the donkey, held the same in hand and went on.
Whenever he saw anyone walking with him the Holy Prophet used to ask him, "Come and sit behind me." He used to make a child, a youth or an elder ride with him. Names of such persons mentioned in Hayatul Haiwan, who had this good fortune, numbers thirty-four, one of them being Fazal bin Abbas the Prophet’s cousin. The Holy Prophet was probably returning from Arafat and was proceeding to Mina riding on a camel. This youth came walking in the sun. The Holy Prophet made him sit behind him and also gave him admonitions during this ride.
By the way, it also is mentioned in a narration that at that time Fazal looked at an alien woman. The Holy Prophet turned his face as he wished that Fazal should not commit the sin of looking at an alien lady. Well, let us proceed. The Holy Prophet never left anyone walking when he himself was riding. He either made him ride with him or he used to say: Either you go first or let me go, and you may come later. Was the Prophet seeking glory and pomp? With such manners what more and how much more should we mention? While dining, the Holy Prophet never took any support for sitting.
The Prophet did not demand a particular food item
He never wanted any particular food. Anas had served the Holy Prophet for nine years, that is, he used to prepare and serve food to him. He says that one day the Prophet was late in arriving home. "I thought he might have dined at someone’s house so I consumed a little milk which was kept for him. When he arrived, he sat for a while and then went to bed without telling anything to me. I went to the Mosque and asked one of the companions as to where and in whose house had the Holy Prophet been. He replied: The Holy Prophet was in the mosque. I asked: Why so late? He replied: People had asked about a problem, which took time. I said: By God! Muhammad did not eat at all and went to bed without saying anything to me; I am so ashamed. What should I do? I wished I should go down into the earth. After the Holy Prophet went to sleep I told myself: What will happen at dawn? There was nothing to eat. The Holy Prophet woke up for the predawn prayer, kept quiet, said nothing and hearing the call for prayer, proceeded to the mosque for Morning prayers. He fasted the next day without having the dawn meal. Not only this, he never mentioned this ever."
Let those who malign the Holy Prophet by writing that Muhammad was fond of fame, name, dignity and power, tell us if this is the path leading to such worldly things? How was the life style of Muhammad? God’s cursed on every liar and on all those who make false allegations. Is this a luxurious life, which Muhammad led? His life was full of patience, forbearance and hard labor. He was acting against the demands and desires of the heart.
Need of Anas
Anas had the honor of serving the Holy Prophet for nine years. The reason for it also was that at the time of the Holy Prophet’s arrival in Medina, every faithful believer had brought some gift for him. The mother of Anas held her child, Anas’ hand and came to the Holy Prophet. She said, "O Messenger of Allah! I am an old and weak poor woman. I have nothing to bring to you as a gift. I have brought this son of mine. Kindly accept him so that he may serve you." The Prophet of God also accepted this offer. This boy was in the house of the Holy Prophet for nine years and, as I have said, he was so fortunate to have this honor. As a result of his mother’s offer as well as his own wish, after nine years he sought permission to leave so that he may work somewhere for earning his own livelihood. The Prophet of God told him, "You have labored for nine years in our house. Now, ask for whatever you want so that I may give it to you. I will fulfill every need of yours." By the way, this was the time when Islam had spread wide and gained wealth. If Anas wanted, the Holy Prophet might even have given him some land in the Islamic state.
He said clearly: Ask whatever you want. During these nine years, Anas also had become wise and clever under the training of the Messenger of God. He replied, "O Messenger of God! Kindly give 24 hours’ time so that I may think over it." After all, it is not an ordinary thing to ask anything from the Prophet of God, who is the owner of both this world and the Hereafter. The Holy Prophet said, "Well, think for 24 hours as desired by you." Anas thought during the night: What should I ask? Sometimes his thoughts went after worldly things, like a herd of a hundred sheep or camels, or governorship. Such thoughts came to his mind but he pushed them all behind and pondered what was the benefit of all that? All were perishable. Even if I ask for a hundred sheep or camels, or land he would give but what is the gain in this bargain? A wooden chair or throne connected with the wooden plank, which makes a coffin is not really beneficial. What is better is that, which will last forever.
Then he began to think deeply: What should I ask for my hereafter? Salvation demands Paradise and companionship of Muhammad forever. Nothing else is better and higher than this. The company of Muhammad is the highest thing. This is what all of us seek through the supplication while reciting the Ziyarat Ashura earnestly. So this indeed is the last and the highest need of every faithful believer. The explanation of spiritual company has been mentioned in the book Qalbe Saleem. In the Ziarat’s conclusion is the phrase that mentions the wish for the Praised Position (Maqam-e-Mahmood). O reciters of the Ziyarat Ashura! Ask for every need, which must be for this aim and, Insha Allah (God willing) you will attain it. However, the Ziyarat Ashura is higher than such partial matters. Worldly needs have no value therein.