Saturday, 9 February 2019

Superiority of Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
والصلاة والسلام على رسوله الكريم
وعلى اهل بيته الطيبين الطاهرين المظلومين
والعاقبة للمتقين

The mas’ala of the Prophet Muhammad’s (sall Allahu alayhi wasallam) superiority and excellence over the entire creation is not, in my humble opinion, an issue of iman and kufr. Nevertheless, it is my firm belief and conviction that the Prophet (sall Allahu alayhi wasallam) is indeed the most beloved of all things to Allah Most High, as He says:
عَسَىٰ أَن يَبْعَثَكَ رَبُّكَ مَقَامًا مَّحْمُودًا
It is expected that your Lord will raise you to a praised station
(Sura 17:79)
And He says:
وَرَفَعْنَا لَكَ ذِكْرَكَ
And We raised up for you your mention
 (Sura 94:4)

And He says:
وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلَّا رَحْمَةً لِّلْعَالَمِينَ
And We did not send you except as a mercy for the worlds
(Sura 21:107)

Indeed, the holy Quran is filled with the praise of our beloved master, the Prophet Muhammad (sall Allahu alayhi wasallam), extolling his high virtues and excellences. The rank of Nubuwwa (prophesy) is the highest one among the creation of Allah. But the Prophet Muhammad (sall Allahu alayhi wasallam) isn’t merely a prophet, rather, he is khatam an-Nabiyyin “Seal of the Prophets”. As some of the mystically inclined Ulama have pointed out, the Prophet Muhammad (sall Allahu alayhi wasallam) being Seal of the Prophets should not be understood as referring exclusively to his chronological finality, rather, it is among his excellences and signifies his superiority in rank. Allah Most High says, concerning His Apostles:
تِلْكَ الرُّسُلُ فَضَّلْنَا بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ
Those Apostles – some of them We caused to exceed others
(Sura 2:253)

Therefore, there is indeed an order of excellence within the ranks of the Prophets and Apostles of Allah. During the Mi’raj (spiritual night ascension), the Prophet Muhammad (sall Allahu alayhi wasallam) beheld Adam on the first heaven, Jesus and John the Baptist on the second heaven, Joseph on the third heaven, Enoch on the fourth heaven, Aaron on the fifth heaven, Moses on the sixth heaven and Abraham on the seventh heaven (peace and blessings of Allah be upon them all). But all of these Prophets and Apostles of Allah are humans, and our Prophet Muhammad (sall Allahu alayhi wasallam) is the master of all humanity, as he stated:

أَنَا سَيِّدُ وَلَدِ آدَمَ
“I am the chief of the children of Adam”
(Sahih Muslim)
أَنَا قَائِدُ الْمُرْسَلِينَ
“I am the leader of the Apostles”
(Sunan ad-Darimi)

Keeping this fact in mind, we must still be cautious and mindful of the fact that it is forbidden to contrast the Prophets against each other in a way that results in a Prophet of Allah being put down, as that is extremely disrespectful to the lofty rank of prophesy:
لَا نُفَرِّقُ بَيْنَ أَحَدٍ مِّن رُّسُلِهِ
“We make no distinction between any of His Apostles”
(Sura 2:285)

It is in light of this ordinance the Prophet Muhammad (sall Allahu alayhi wasallam) severely forbade us to give him specific excellence over any other Prophet by name. The Prophet Muhammad (sall Allahu alayhi wasallam) said:
لاَ يَنْبَغِي لِعَبْدٍ أَنْ يَقُولَ إِنَّهُ خَيْرٌ مِنْ يُونُسَ بْنِ مَتَّى
“It does not behove a slave to say that he is better than Jonas son of Amittai”
(Sahih al-Bukhari)

The reason for the Prophet’s specific mention of Jonas (peace be upon him) is because of his story as related in the Quran in which he attempted to flee from his prophetic duty in Nineveh. Because of this, an ordinary person may be deluded by Satan to think he is somehow better than the Prophet of God, though a non-prophet cannot even come close to the great status and rank of a prophet.
When one of the Prophet’s companions from among the Ansar slapped a Jew for having declared the Prophet Moses as being the greatest, the Prophet (sall Allahu alayhi wasallam) stated in a state of anger:

لاَ تُفَضِّلُوا بَيْنَ أَنْبِيَاءِ اللَّهِ
“Do not make distinction of excellence between the Prophets of Allah”
(Sahih al-Bukhari)

By saying so, he thereby warned his own followers and nation not to give him specific excellence over any of the ancient prophets by name, and not to make distinctions between individual prophets. All prophets were sent by Allah and dear to Him, and we have no right to compare and contrast them. It is a fundamental article of our faith to believe in all of them fully without exception, and therefore to honor them all. In another Hadith, sayyidina Anas bin Malik (radi Allahu anhu) narrates:
جَاءَ رَجُلٌ إِلَى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَقَالَ يَا خَيْرَ الْبَرِيَّةِ ‏.‏ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏ ذَاكَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ
A man came to the Apostle of Allah (sall Allahu alayhi wasallam) and said: “O best of the creation”. So the Apostle of Allah (sall Allahu alayhi wasallam) said: “That is Abraham, peace be upon him”
(Sahih Muslim)
These and similar narrations are not necessarily meant to be taken as statements of creed, but are examples of the Prophet Muhammad’s (sall Allahu alayhi wasallam) personal modesty and humbleness.

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