The Prophet Muhammad (saw)
Prophethood
 

Prophet Muhammad as a Human and a Prophet

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Knowing Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is a quintessential to accepting him, feeling closeness towards him and following his example. It is not possible to believe in, to have affection for, or to follow a person without knowing them. The Holy Quran clearly states this issue and asks the non-believers whether they deny the Prophet because they do not know him.

Knowing someone is not enough on its own. It is important that the person be known adequately and correctly. Our aim is to understand the human identity of Prophet Muhammad, not those that are connected to the prophethood. His superhuman quality is related to those things that we must accept as part of the faith. Such qualities are beyond the limits of our knowledge and comprehension, and are manifested only by prophets; it is meaningless to talk about demonstrating such qualities. But the Prophet's human identity is that in which the divine revelation becomes concrete and we must understand this identity, learn from it and follow it.

One of the points that we must take care to understand in correctly perceiving and following Prophet Muhammad is the fact that Islam is not a religion designated for a single nation and Prophet Muhammad was not a prophet sent specifically to a single nation. The religion of Islam has messages that include universal values, it embraces local and national motifs, it considers different practices to be the natural results of a system of virtues all based on the same foundation, and it paves the way for the development of cultural wealth. Accordingly, different formats have emerged from the same universal values, bringing closeness, not polarity. Possibly the most important thing to do to separate local and cultural motifs from religious motifs when learning about and following Prophet Muhammad is to always perceive the sunnah as consisting of three dimensions, namely the reality, comprehension of the sunnah, and informing others of the sunnah without abusing the consistency of the Quran and the sunnah.
 

THE PROPHETHOOD OF PROPHET MUHAMMAD, HIS RESPONSIBILITY FOR CONVEYING AND HIS TEACHINGS

There was once a respected and trustworthy young man with a noble character who was assigned to convey a word, a word that was difficult to convey, a word which was unique, the like of which could never be uttered by humans; he was startled by an unexpected voice at an unexpected time "And thou hadst not expected that the Book would be sent to thee except as a Mercy from thy Lord: Therefore lend not thou support in any way to those who reject ((Allah)'s Message)" (Al-Qasas, 28/86). "Soon shall We send down to thee a weighty Message" (Al-Muzzammil, 73/5). "Say: "If the whole of mankind and Jinns were to gather together to produce the like of this Quran, they could not produce the like thereof, even if they backed up each other with help and support" (Al-Isra, 17/88). Moreover, the first order given to this illiterate young man is very significant and striking "And thou wast not (able) to recite a Book before this (Book came), nor art thou (able) to transcribe it with thy right hand: In that case, indeed, would the talkers of vanities have doubted" (Al-Ankabut 29/48). This call for Ikra (to read) signifies that Allah will teach His prophet those things he does not know. It also means that the duty of prophethood starts with placing knowledge on the basis of the faith. From the fact that the word ikra is also used to mean "sending one's regards" we can understand that the Creator was sending His regards to the people, making the beginning of the message warmer and more meaningful:

"Read: in the name of thy Lord and Cherisher, Who created man, out of a (mere) clot of congealed blood" (Al-Alaq, 96/1, 2).

"Read: And thy Lord is Most Bountiful, He Who taught (the use of) the pen, taught man that which he knew not" (Al-Alaq, 96/3, 4, 5).

His Responsibility for Conveying the Message

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) always emphasized that he expected no interest or rewards, that he did not want payment, that he was not seeking immunity, that he was like everyone else, that he had no supernatural powers or authority, that he did not have any powers that would benefit or hurt himself, other than Allah's blessings. He was the hero chosen to convey the concept of A Single God and to convey the orders Allah sent to Him.

"Those were the (prophets) who received Allah.s guidance: Copy the guidance they received; Say: "No reward for this do I ask of you: This is no less than a message for the nations" (Al-Anaam, 6/90).

His Teachings

The Prophet's (pbuh) teachings were designed to form a society which would avoid idolatry, one that believes in a single God, one which has a mission to earn an identity in the framework of not obeying anyone other than Allah, one which is self-reliant, one that avoids the extreme, that is moderate, that understands that this world is a place of trial, that praises and glorifies every good deed, that criticizes and rejects every bad deed, that raises patient believers, that is influenced by the virtues of the same source in the social framework, that has balanced relations and that is sensible. To obey the messenger who conveys these orders in the name of Allah is considered to be the most fundamental concept of such teachings. As a matter of fact, the most important element of dialogue between the Creator and the people are the Prophets. Otherwise, it would not be possible to establish dialogue with the Creator.
The following verse perfectly summarizes the theme of Prophet Muhammad's message and it defines the immutable principles of social agreements. It is very much like a manifesto in its style and rhetoric:

Say: Come, I will recite unto you that which your Lord hath made a sacred duty for you:

  1. That you ascribe no thing as partner unto Him
  2. And that you do good to parents,
  3. And that you slay not your children because of penury
  4. That you draw not nigh to lewd things whether open or concealed.
  5. And that you slay not the life which Allah have made sacred, save in the course of justice. This He has command you, in order that you may discern. (Al-Anaam, 6/151)

It is possible to summarize the five basic principles that constitute this social agreement as follows:

  1. Faith
  2. The Family and Individual
  3. Economy
  4. Morality, (Ethics)
  5. Social relations 

It is possible to characterize Prophet Muhammad's prophethood, responsibility of conveyance and principles of teachings found in the verses of the Quran as follows:


  • I am not the first messenger.
  • I do not know what will happen to me or to you.
  • I do not possess the treasures of Allah.
  • I am not an angel.
  • I do not know when the Day of Judgment is.
  • I have no power to harm myself or to help myself outside of the will of Allah.
  • Miracles and disasters only come from Allah.
  • I have no power to harm anyone, even myself or to help anyone, even myself.
  • All prophets before me were humans. They had wives and children.
  • To those who told me to change the message I will say, "I do not have the power to do this."
  • Allah considers clean things to be halal (permitted), and filthy things to be haram (forbidden).
  • I expect nothing from you but to believe in Allah.
  • Prophets will also be judged (They have no immunity).
  • Prophets are messengers and warners.
  • And finally, the feature peculiar only to Prophet Muhammad: I was sent to all people, and I am the last messenger.

 

HARDHIPS ENCOUNTERED

(Resistance against His Message, Social Oppression and Reactions)

As with other prophets, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was subjected to a variety of harsh reactions by the society to which he conveyed the message; these ranged from not being taken seriously, being exiled, receiving death threats and assassination attempts.

Without making any comment, we would like to reflect, as expressed with clear statements in the Quran, some of the acts of intimidation and repression which were directed against Prophet Muhammad by those who rejected his Message: They were baffled by the coming of a prophet. They despised God. They ridiculed and they slandered the Prophet saying: We shall not accept such a human; these are only muddled dreams which he has invented. He is a poet; there is no doubt that he is insane. He is a man who attempts to prevail over us. Had Allah wished, He would have sent an angel prophet. This is magic, nothing but the word of a man. There is another who is teaching him the Quran. This man is a lying sorcerer; this is obvious magic. He is a mad poet and conveys the tales of old civilizations.

The following examples were some of the hardships encountered by the Prophet: The people perceived Allah in a way that was different from the revelation and put pressure on the Prophet to change the revelation; the people who supported the Prophet were abhorred and disdained, and those opposed attempted to turn others against them. They showed a lack of tolerance in listening to the Prophet, acted with animosity, humiliated and tormented the Prophet in an extreme manner so as to drive him into exile, constantly concocted lies, attacked the Prophet and the leaders, physically and verbally, directing the social reaction against the Prophet until it escalated to the level of a lynch-mob.

Despite the excessive resistance and suppression, which were unprincipled and highly unethical, lacking humane dignity and honor, disrespecting all universal norms, and violating the rules and values of society, Prophet Muhammad succeeded in continuing his conveyance by means of his sincere commitment and fidelity to the divine message

Great suffering is the unchanging rule of prophethood;

"And their purpose was to tempt thee away from that which We had revealed unto thee, to substitute in our name something quite different; (in that case), behold! they would certainly have made thee (their) friend!" (Al-Isra,17/73).

"And had We not given thee strength, thou wouldst nearly have inclined to them a little" (Al-Isra,17/74).

 "In that case We should have made thee taste an equal portion (of punishment) in this life, and an equal portion in death: and moreover thou wouldst have found none to help thee against Us!" (Al-Isra,17/75).

"Their purpose was to scare thee off the land, in order to expel thee; but in that case they would not have stayed (therein) after thee, except for a little while" (Al-Isra,17/76).

"(This was Our) way with the apostles We sent before thee: thou wilt find no change in Our ways" (Al-Isra,17/77).

 

Some of the Revelations Indicating the Hardships, Reactions and Slander Encountered by Prophet Muhammad:

"And We have explained to man, in this Qur'an, every kind of similitude: yet the greater part of men refuse (to receive it) except with ingratitude!" (Al-Isra,17/89).

"They say: "We shall not believe in thee, until thou cause a spring to gush forth for us from the earth" (Al-Isra,17/90).

"Or (until) thou have a garden of date trees and vines, and cause rivers to gush forth in their midst, carrying abundant water;" (Al-Isra,17/91).

"Or thou cause the sky to fall in pieces, as thou sayest (will happen), against us; or thou bring Allah and the angels before (us) face to face" (Al-Isra,17/92).

"Or thou have a house adorned with gold, or thou mount a ladder right into the skies. No, we shall not even believe in thy mounting until thou send down to us a book that we could read." Say: "Glory to my Lord! Am I aught but a man,- an apostle?" (Al-Isra,17/93). 

"Never comes (aught) to them of a renewed Message from their Lord, but they listen to it as in jest,their hearts toying as with trifles. The wrong-doers conceal their private counsels, (saying), "Is this (one) more than a man like yourselves? Will ye go to witchcraft with your eyes open?"  (Al-Anbiyaa 21/2, 3).

"When Our Clear Signs are rehearsed to them, thou wilt notice a denial on the faces of the Unbelievers! they nearly attack with violence those who rehearse Our Signs to them. Say, "Shall I tell you of something (far) worse than these Signs? It is the Fire (of Hell)! Allah has promised it to the Unbelievers! and evil is that destination!" (Al-Hajj, 22/72)

"Ye they say: ‘Why are not Signs sent down to him from his Lord?' Say: "The signs are indeed with Allah. and I am indeed a clear Warner" (Al-Ankabut, 29/50).

"Even if We did send unto them angels, and the dead did speak unto them, and We gathered together all things before their very eyes, they are not the ones to believe, unless it is in Allah.s plan. But most of them ignore (the truth)" (Al-Anaam, 6/111).


HIS DIVINE PROTECTION AND SUCCESS

(The Road to Victory)

Despite all the oppression, slanders and humiliation, the Prophet had faith in Allah; His Lord did not forsake him. Allah did not withhold help and made clear the lies and slander encountered by the Prophet. Allah openly heralded that the Prophet was under the protection of Allah, like all other prophets.

Allah also consoled the Prophet, announcing that He was going to support him with the help of angels and help those who had helped him; Allah informed the Prophet that he should not fear no one but Him and that all the prophets, who were under His protection, had never feared anyone and that He had not withdrawn from the promise given to the Prophet. Allah and the angels sent the Prophet regards and prayers, and finally the Prophet was informed by Allah that he would be given easy success and victory was nigh. (Allah has decreed: "It is I and My apostles who must prevail": For Allah is One full of strength, able to enforce His Will" Al-Mujadala 58/21)

The following statement clearly shows that Allah would never allow anyone to malign the Prophet, and that those who acted in such a way would be punished in the afterlife: "Those who annoy Allah and His Messenger - Allah has cursed them in this World and in the Hereafter, and has prepared for them a humiliating Punishment" (Al-Ahzab, 33/57).


Revelations Showing that Allah Almighty Refutes the Slander against Prophet Muhammad and that He Shall Protect the Prophet and all Other Prophets:

"Let not those grieve thee who rush headlong into Unbelief: Not the least harm will they do to Allah. Allah.s plan is that He will give them no portion in the Hereafter, but a severe punishment" (Al-Imran, 3/176).

""For my Protector is Allah, Who revealed the Book (from time to time), and He will choose and befriend the righteous" (Al-Araf, 7/196).

"Should they intend to deceive thee,- verily Allah sufficeth thee: He it is That hath strengthened thee with His aid and with (the company of) the Believers" (Al-Anfal, 8/62).

 "O Messenger. sufficient unto thee is Allah,- (unto thee) and unto those who follow thee among the Believers" (Al-Anfal, 8/64).

"Those who annoy Allah and His Messenger - Allah has cursed them in this World and in the Hereafter, and has prepared for them a humiliating Punishment" (Al-Ahzab, 33/57).

 ""For my Protector is Allah, Who revealed the Book (from time to time), and He will choose and befriend the righteous " (Al-Araf, 7/196).

"And do thou be patient, for thy patience is but from Allah. nor grieve over them: and distress not thyself because of their plots" (An-Nahl, 16/127).

"But grieve not over them, nor distress thyself because of their plots" (An-Naml, 27/70).

"But for the Grace of Allah to thee and his Mercy, a party of them would certainly have plotted to lead thee astray. But (in fact) they will only Lead their own souls astray, and to thee they can do no harm in the least. For Allah hath sent down to thee the Book and wisdom and taught thee what thou Knewest not (before): And great is the Grace of Allah unto thee" (An-Nisaa, 4/113).

"Those men,-(Allah) knows what is in their hearts; so keep clear of them, but admonish them, and speak to them a word to reach their very souls" (An-Nisaa, 4/63). {mospagebreak title=His Identity as A Human Being}

 

HIS IDENTITY AS A HUMAN BEING

(His Character, in General and in Particular )

PERSONALITY AND CHARACTER

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) wore smart, clean clothes, he spoke well; he was as he appeared and appeared as he was. He had a generous heart, was open-minded and far-sighted, he was honorable and industrious, working diligently day and night. He gave value to people, was faithful and protected the people whom the Quraishi aristocrats despised and attempted to banish. He did not judge his companions by their social status and considered the virtue of being human enough. He was modest, shy, humane and extremely compassionate. Allah depicts and eternalizes his humane and compassionate identity in the following words:

"Now hath come unto you an Messenger from amongst yourselves: it grieves him that ye should perish: ardently anxious is he over you: to the Believers is he most kind and merciful, but if they turn away, Say: "(Allah) sufficeth me" (Al-Tauba, 9/128).

"Thou wouldst only, perchance, fret thyself to death, following after them, in grief, if they believe not in this Message" (Al-Kahf, 18/6).

"If their spurning is hard on thy mind, yet if thou wert able to seek a tunnel in the ground or a ladder to the skies and bring them a sign,- (what good?). If it were Allah.s will, He could gather them together unto true guidance: so be not thou amongst those who are swayed by ignorance (and impatience)!" (Al-Anaam, 6/35).

"If thou art anxious for their guidance, yet Allah guideth not such as He leaves to stray, and there is none to help them" (An-Nahl, 16/37).

"Yet no faith will the greater part of mankind have, however ardently thou dost desire it" (Al-Yusuf, 12/103).

 

Some of the Revelations revealing the Personality and Character of Prophet Muhammad:

"We sent thee not, but as a Mercy for all creatures" (Al-Anbiyaa, 21/107).

 "And lower thy wing to the Believers who follow thee" (Ash-Shuaraa, 26/215).

 "And thy garments keep free from stain!" (Al-Muddaththir, 74/4).

"Therefore do thou hold Patience,- a Patience of beautiful (contentment)" (Al-Maarij, 70/5).

"And have patience with what they say, and leave them with noble (dignity)" (Al-Muzzammil, 73/10).

"Repel evil with that which is best: We are well acquainted with the things they say" (Al-Muminun, 23/96).

 

HIS HUMAN AND MORTAL ASPECT

It is without a doubt a fact that Prophet Muhammad, like all the other prophets was a human and a mortal. The prophets frequently stated, and proved with their acts, that they were mortals like everybody, that they would be held responsible for their acts of worship and for all orders given to them by Allah, that they had no immunity, that they had no freedom or choice to act against the orders of Allah which they conveyed to the people, rather that they abstained from such acts and sought shelter in Allah.

To those who were baffled by the fact that a human was sent as a prophet, Allah reminded the people that the previous prophets who had been sent to the people had been mortals who had fathered children, ate and drank, and walked in the markets among the people and Allah explained that they should not see this as being unusual. He could have sent them prophets who were angels, yet even if angels had been sent, people would still think in a similar way and be amazed and confused.

The revelations state as follows:

"And the apostles whom We sent before thee were all (men) who ate food and walked through the streets: We have made some of you as a trial for others: will ye have patience? for Allah is One Who sees (all things)" (Al-Furqan, 25/20).

"We did send apostles before thee, and appointed for them wives and children: and it was never the part of an apostle to bring a sign except as Allah permitted (or commanded). For each period is a Book (revealed)" (Al-Rad, 13/38).

 

Some of the Revelations Expressing the Human and Mortal Qualities of the Prophets:

"Then shall we question those to whom Our message was sent and those by whom We sent it" (Al-Araf , 7/6).

"Say thou: "I am but a man like you: It is revealed to me by Inspiration, that your Allah is one Allah. so stand true to Him, and ask for His Forgiveness." And woe to those who join gods with Allah,-" (Al-Fussilat, 41/6).

""I tell you not that with me are the treasures of Allah, nor do I know what is hidden, nor claim I to be an angel. Nor yet do I say, of those whom your eyes do despise that Allah will not grant them (all) that is good: Allah knoweth best what is in their souls: I should, if I did, indeed be a wrong-doer" (Al-Hud, 11/31).

 "Their apostles said to them: "True, we are human like yourselves, but Allah doth grant His grace to such of his servants as He pleases. It is not for us to bring you an authority except as Allah permits. And on Allah let all men of faith put their trust" (Abraham, 14/11).


THE SOCIAL RELATIONS AND ATTITUDES OF PROPHET MUHAMMAD

 

Prophet Muhammad was aware of his responsibilities, he valued people, was aware of the hardship and sadness of the people around him, grieved over the destruction of those who did not believe in his prophethood, was self-reliant, respected the identities of others, was in tune with nature as well as with the cultural mosaic of the society in which he lived, was able to establish good dialogue between Muslims and non-Muslims and treated them all well. His attitude to social relations involved the idea that peace was the most righteous path, that it was better to live in peace and tranquility than to be at war, and that no one should be forced to change their beliefs or convictions.
Prophet Muhammad forgave all the injustices imposed on him, yet when the rights of society were concerned he did what was necessary. Anyone who carries out any research about the Prophet will quickly notice that this characteristic came to the fore in all his prayers.

It can be understood from the Holy Quran, which describes his attitudes towards those who denied his prophethood and showed animosity against him, that Prophet Muhammad endured the criticism of the people; instead of expecting them to immediately accept, rather he gave them time and acted patiently, leaving those deniers alone by themselves and putting them in God's hands, tolerating their rudeness, acting with kindness and politeness rather than being harsh or rude, was forgiving and invited such people to the path of faith and righteousness with beautiful and effective words. When he left such people he left them pleasantly.

The Prophet's attitude towards women was one of value and esteem. He ensured that women were treated with honor and dignity. The Prophet preserved in this, despite all the hardships and difficulties. His efforts on the path of Allah, his perseverance and decisiveness became a role model for the society in which he lived and his attitudes reflected that of Mary, who was worthy of being mentioned in the Holy Quran.

"O Prophet! When believing women come to thee to take the oath of fealty to thee, that they will not associate in worship any other thing whatever with Allah, that they will not steal, that they will not commit adultery (or fornication), that they will not kill their children, that they will not utter slander, intentionally forging falsehood, and that they will not disobey thee in any just matter,- then do thou receive their fealty, and pray to Allah for the forgiveness (of their sins): for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful" (Al-Mumtahana, 60/12).

 

Some of the Verses which Explain the Social Relations and Attitudes of Prophet Muhammad:

"Strain not thine eyes. (Wistfully) at what We have bestowed on certain classes of them, nor grieve over them: but lower thy wing (in gentleness) to the believers" (Al-Hijr, 15/88).

"Repel evil with that which is best: We are well acquainted with the things they say" (Al-Muminun, 23/96).

"Therefore do thou hold Patience,- a Patience of beautiful (contentment)" (Al-Maarij, 70/5).

"I but fulfil towards you the duties of my Lord's mission: I am to you a sincere and trustworthy adviser" (Al-Araf, 7/68).

"And (remember) her who guarded her chastity: We breathed into her of Our spirit, and We made her and her son a sign for all peoples" (Al-Anbiyaa, 21/91).

 

"Already has He sent you Word in the Book, that when ye hear the signs of Allah held in defiance and ridicule, ye are not to sit with them unless they turn to a different theme: if ye did, ye would be like them. For Allah will collect the hypocrites and those who defy faith - all in Hell" (An-Nisaa, 4/140).

For the entire text, please see Ali Akyuz, “Beser ve Peygamber Olarak Hz. Muhammed”, Islam´in Anlasilmasinda Sunnetin Yeri ve Degeri (The Place and Value of Sunnah in Understanding Islam) (Kutlu Dogum
 

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