Love for the Messenger, (ﷺ) is a requirement
Respect and reverence for the Messenger, (ﷺ)
It is said that the first companion of love is respect, and among the companions of love, the fundamental requirement of loving the Messenger, (ﷺ), is to wholeheartedly show respect because speaking loudly and casually in the presence of the Messenger, peace be upon him, is equivalent to losing faith, just as the Almighty has guided us:
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ لَا تُقَدِّمُوا۟ بَيْنَ يَدَىِ ٱللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِۦ ۖ وَٱتَّقُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌۭ ١
O you who believe, do not proceed ahead of Allah and His Messenger, and fear Allah. Surely Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing. (49:1)
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ لَا تَرْفَعُوٓا۟ أَصْوَٰتَكُمْ فَوْقَ صَوْتِ ٱلنَّبِىِّ وَلَا تَجْهَرُوا۟ لَهُۥ بِٱلْقَوْلِ كَجَهْرِ بَعْضِكُمْ لِبَعْضٍ أَن تَحْبَطَ أَعْمَـٰلُكُمْ وَأَنتُمْ لَا تَشْعُرُونَ ٢
O you who believe, do not raise your voices above the voice of the Prophet, and be not loud when speaking to him, as you are loud when speaking to one another, lest your good deeds should become void while you are not aware. (49:2)
إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ يَغُضُّونَ أَصْوَٰتَهُمْ عِندَ رَسُولِ ٱللَّهِ أُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ ٱلَّذِينَ ٱمْتَحَنَ ٱللَّهُ قُلُوبَهُمْ لِلتَّقْوَىٰ ۚ لَهُم مَّغْفِرَةٌۭ وَأَجْرٌ عَظِيمٌ ٣
Surely, those who lower their voices before Allah’s Messenger are the ones whose hearts Allah has tested for piety; for them there is forgiveness, and a great reward. (49:3)
إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ يُنَادُونَكَ مِن وَرَآءِ ٱلْحُجُرَٰتِ أَكْثَرُهُمْ لَا يَعْقِلُونَ ٤
As for those who call you from behind the chambers, most of them have no sense. (49:4)
When this blessed verse was revealed, the honorable companions became very cautious. During conversations with the Prophet, they took great care to ensure their voices were not raised. Moreover, they also strictly instructed others to adhere to this etiquette. Here, we present an incident related to this:
The Prophet (ﷺ) could not find Sayyid Thabit bin Qais. One companion said, “O Messenger of Allah, I will bring you news of him.” Then, Thabit bin Qais himself came, and it was seen that he was sitting in his house with his head bowed. When asked about his condition, he said he was in distress because he used to speak loudly in the presence of the Prophet. He felt that all his good deeds had been negated and he was destined for hell. He then went to the service of the Prophet (ﷺ) and informed him of his thoughts. Musa bin Anas narrated that the man came back again with great news for him. The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Go to him and tell him that he is not among the people of hell, but rather he is among the people of paradise.(Bukhari 2842, Sahih Muslim 119)
Sayyid Abdullah bin Zubair (May Allah be pleased with him) relates about the condition of Sayyidna Umar (May Allah be pleased with him) after the revelation of this verse:
فكان عمر بن الخطاب، بعد ذلك إذا تكلم عند النبي صلى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم لم يسمع كلامه حتیٰ یستفتمه
After that incident, when Umar bin Khattab would speak to Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), he would speak so softly that his words were barely audible, to the extent that the listener often had to ask him to repeat himself.
Respected listeners, such was the etiquette of the noble companions, may Allah be pleased with them all, during the life of the Messenger of Allah. For us, the proper etiquette towards the Prophet (ﷺ) is to truly love him, bow our heads in submission in front of his teachings and instructions, and whenever the salutations upon him are being mentioned, to pay utmost attention.
2: The Passion of Sacrificing Wealth and Life for the Prophet
One of the demands of loving the Prophet (ﷺ) is that your love for him should surpass your love for the entire world. Even if this love demands the sacrifice of one’s life, one should not hesitate. Sayyidna Anas bin Malik narrates that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) once said.
وَعَنْ أَنَسٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «لَا يُؤْمِنُ أَحَدُكُمْ حَتَّى أَكُونَ أَحَبَّ إِلَيْهِ مِنْ وَالِدِهِ وَوَلَدِهِ وَالنَّاسِ أَجْمَعِينَ»
Anas reported God’s messenger as saying, “None of you believes till I am dearer to him than his father, his child, and all mankind.” (Mishkat al-Masabih 7)
2. The eminent Sahabah (Companions) loved the Messenger of Allah, (ﷺ), so deeply that they were ready to risk their lives for his protection. Let’s listen to an example of this. Sayyidna Jabir bin Abdullah relates:
On the day of the Battle of Uhud, when many retreated and fled, the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) was present on one side with some Ansari Companions among whom was Talha bin Ubaidullah. When the pagans surrounded them, the Messenger of Allah looked towards them and asked, “Who will fight on our behalf?” Talha (رضي الله عنه) responded, “O Messenger of Allah! I will defend you.” The Prophet replied, “Stay as you are.” Another Ansari Companion stepped forward and said, “O Messenger of Allah, I am ready to defend.” The Prophet commanded, “You, fight them!” He fought until he was martyred. The Prophet, then looking at the situation, again called out, “Who will guard us?” Talha responded, “I will.” The Prophet said, “Stay as you are.” Then another Ansari Companion said, “O Messenger of Allah, I will guard.” He fought the pagans and was martyred. This pattern continued, one Ansari after another stepping up to fight and being martyred, until only the Messenger of Allah and Talha bin Ubaidullah were left. The Prophet then cried out again, “Who will guard us?” Talha (رضي الله عنه) responded, and started fighting just like the eleven martyred companions before him. While fighting, his hand received a deep cut, and fingers were severed. He exclaimed, “Ah!” The Prophet said, “If you had said ‘Bismillah’ (In the name of Allah), the angels would have lifted you in front of the people.” Finally, Allah caused the pagans to retreat, and they returned to Mecca.
3. Obedience to the Messenger, (ﷺ)
Obedience to the Messenger is essential in love for the Messenger, because it is through obedience to him that it will become evident how much we truly love the Messenger of Allah, (ﷺ). Allah Almighty has commanded us regarding this:
قُلْ إِن كُنتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ ٱللَّهَ فَٱتَّبِعُونِى يُحْبِبْكُمُ ٱللَّهُ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ غَفُورٌۭ رَّحِيمٌۭ ٣١
Say (O Prophet): “If you really love Allah, then follow me, and Allah shall love you and forgive you your sins. Allah is Most-Forgiving, Very-Merciful.” (3:31)
قُلْ أَطِيعُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ وَٱلرَّسُولَ ۖ فَإِن تَوَلَّوْا۟ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ ٱلْكَـٰفِرِينَ ٣٢
Say: “Obey Allah and the Messenger.” Then, should they turn back, Allah does not love the disbelievers.”(3:32)
كل أمتي يدخلون الجنة إلا من أبي ، قالوا يا رسول الله، وَمَن يَأبي؟ قال من أطاعني دخل الجنَّةَ وَمَنْ عَصَانِ فقد أبی
Every individual from my Ummah (nation) will enter Paradise except the one who refuses.” The companions inquired, “O Messenger of Allah! Who is the one who refuses?” The Prophet, (ﷺ) replied, “Whoever obeys me will enter Paradise, and whoever disobeys me has refused.” (Sahih Bukhari – 280, Al-Mustadrak Ala al-Sahihain Al-Hakim – 182)
Respected listeners! When one looks at the lives of the eminent Sahabah (Companions), may Allah be pleased with them all, one is amazed at how they fulfilled their love and commitment to the Messenger, (ﷺ). There wasn’t an aspect of the Prophet’s life that they hadn’t carefully observed and then molded their lives accordingly. We present a few examples for your consideration:
Abu Usaid Ansari (رضي الله عنه) narrates that he heard the Messenger of Allah, (ﷺ) saying, as he was coming out of the mosque and people were mixing with women on the way, the Messenger of Allah, (ﷺ) instructed the women:
استاعون فإنه ليس لكن أن تحقق الطريق عليكن يعاقات الطريق، فكانت المرأة للتصق بالجدار على إن ثوبها ليتعلق بالجدار من أصولها به
Move back; it is not appropriate for you to walk in the middle of the path. It is better for you to walk along the edges of the path.” After this instruction, women began walking so close to the walls that their clothes (like cloaks and other garments) would sometimes get caught on the walls.
4. Revival of Sunnah
One of the demands of loving the Prophet, Peace Be Upon Him, is to love his Sunnah (practices) and adopt it. After implementing it in one’s own life, others should also be invited to act upon it. In doing so, one supports and revives the Sunnah of the Prophet. As Allah Almighty has stated: “Those who believe in him, honor him, support him, and follow the light that was sent down with him are the successful ones.” Similarly, the Messenger of Allah, Peace Be Upon Him, has said: “Whoever revives my Sunnah, and people act upon it, will receive a reward equivalent to those who act upon it, without any decrease in their rewards.”
5.Sending Blessings and Salutations on the Prophet,(ﷺ)
To express and affirm love for the Messenger, Peace Be Upon Him, it is essential to send blessings and salutations upon him. This practice is not only followed by humans but also by Allah and His angels. As Allah Almighty has stated:
إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ وَمَلَـٰٓئِكَتَهُۥ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى ٱلنَّبِىِّ ۚ يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ صَلُّوا۟ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُوا۟ تَسْلِيمًا ٥٦
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), elucidating the virtue of reciting Durood Sharif (blessings upon him), said: “Whoever sends blessings upon me once, Allah Almighty bestows ten mercies upon him, ten of his sins are forgiven, and his rank is elevated by ten levels.”
Entering Paradise without sending Durood Sharif on the Prophet (ﷺ) is difficult. The Messenger of Allah has said: “He who forgets to recite Durood upon me has erred in finding the path to Paradise.”
Respected listeners! It is not necessary to be in a specific gathering or choose a special time to present the gift of Durood and Salam to the Prophet (ﷺ). Instead, one should recite it while walking, sitting, standing, and especially whenever there is a mention of the Prophet (ﷺ); blessings should be sent upon him immediately.
6: Familiarity with the Life of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) (Seerat-un-Nabi)
To truly love someone, one must be familiar with their character. Therefore, to express love for the Prophet (ﷺ), it is essential to study his life (Seerat). To achieve this, one should repeatedly read reliable books written on the Seerat-un-Nabi, such as “Zad al-Ma’ad”, “Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum”, and the “Encyclopedia of Seerat”.
7: Completing the Prophet’s Mission
Another manifestation of love for the Prophet is to continuously advance the mission for which Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) came to this world. His mission was to guide people from the quagmire of disbelief and polytheism to the path of Allah, saving them from idolatry and leading them to worship one God. He spent day and night working tirelessly to transform thousands of lives. Let us, too, devote our time to this mission and eradicate disbelief from the world.
8: Love for Those the Prophet Loved
Another requirement of love for the Prophet (ﷺ) is to love those whom he loved. This includes his family, all the companions, especially the Ahl al-Bayt, the Ansar, and the Muhajirun. Similarly, we should also love every object and place that the Prophet (ﷺ) loved, such as Mecca, the mountain of Uhud, fragrances, and various foods like gourd.
9: Defense of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ)
Our belief is not complete until we defend the honor and name of the Prophet (ﷺ). Today, with the prevalence of social and print media, various disrespectful words and comments are made about our beloved Prophet. In such circumstances, it’s our responsibility to defend him to the best of our ability. Allah Himself defends His beloved by saying that those who cause pain to Allah and His Prophet will be cursed in this world and the hereafter, and a painful punishment awaits them.
10: Complete Faith in Prophethood
Just as it is essential to believe in Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) as the messenger of Allah, it is also necessary to believe in him as the Seal of the Prophets (Khatam-un-Nabiyyin). This too is an expression of our love for him. Allah has emphasized this in the Holy Quran, stating:
مَّا كَانَ مُحَمَّدٌ أَبَآ أَحَدٍۢ مِّن رِّجَالِكُمْ وَلَـٰكِن رَّسُولَ ٱللَّهِ وَخَاتَمَ ٱلنَّبِيِّـۧنَ ۗ وَكَانَ ٱللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَىْءٍ عَلِيمًۭا ٤٠
MuHammad is not a father of any of your men, but he is a messenger of Allah and the last of the prophets. And Allah has the Knowledge of every thing. (33:40)
11: Adopting Moderation When Speaking of the Honor of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ)
One of the requirements of love for Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) is that when one speaks about his honor and status, there shouldn’t be any exaggeration or hyperbole. This is because the Prophet (ﷺ) himself disliked excessive praise or any embellishment regarding his stature. Umar ibn al-Khattab (رضي الله عنه) reported that the Prophet (ﷺ) said: “Do not exaggerate in praising me as the Christians exaggerated in praising Jesus, son of Mary. I am only a slave of Allah, so call me the slave of Allah and His messenger.”
Similarly, it’s mentioned in Sahih Bukhari that a young girl was singing a song that mentioned the Prophet (ﷺ), saying something along the lines of “among us is a Prophet who knows what will happen tomorrow.” Upon hearing this, the Prophet (ﷺ) corrected her and said, “Do not say this. Sing what you were singing earlier but refrain from this statement.”
This indicates that we should only speak about the Prophet’s status and characteristics as they have been mentioned by Allah in the Quran and as they have been described by the Prophet (ﷺ) to his companions. One should avoid fabricating virtues or relying on hearsay when it comes to discussing his honor.