Lessons from the Seerah
Lessons from the Seerah, Of our Beloved Prophet Muhammad sallaAllahu alayhe wasallam
All Praise is due to Allah the Exalted and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon His Messenger Muhammad, his family and Companions and all those who follow them until the Day of Resurrection
O the White Moon rose
over us' -
such were the words surrounding a warm welcome to our
beloved Prophet Muhammad sallaAllahu alayhe wasallam when he
reached the Ansaar in Madinah. It is beneath the glowing light of
this 'white moon'- that illuminated the dark sky of ignorance -
where every Muslim desires to stand. But to truly absorb the
virtues of this light, a journey is required. It is the memorable
journey of studying the remarkable life of the Prophet sallaAllahu
alayhe wasallam, that softens the heart, brings tears to the eyes
and increases faith and love for Allah and His Prophet.
Allah subhanahu wata'ala says,
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ إِنَّا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ شَاهِدًا وَمُبَشِّرًا وَنَذِيرًا
وَدَاعِيًا إِلَى اللَّهِ بِإِذْنِهِ وَسِرَاجًا مُّنِيرًا
"O Prophet (MuhammadSAW )! Verily, We have sent you as witness, and a bearer of glad tidings, and a warner. And as one who invites to Allah, by His Leave, and as a lamp spreading light."
Allah subhanahu wata'ala also says,
وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلَّا رَحْمَةً لِّلْعَالَمِينَ
"And We have sent you (O Muhammad SAW) not but as a mercy for the Alameen (mankind, jinns and all that exists)."
Since the life of the Prophet sallaAllahu alayhe wasallam carries many lessons and wisdoms that we are required to take as a guidance in our life, it is our goal here to shed light on some of these lessons in order that we may implement such conduct into our lives. This is based on the Words of Allah,
لَقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِي رَسُولِ اللَّهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ لِّمَن كَانَ يَرْجُو اللَّهَ وَالْيَوْمَ الْآخِرَ وَذَكَرَ اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا
"You have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for any one whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the praise of Allah."
It this beautiful conduct that the Prophet sallaAllahu alayhe wasallam carried when calling those who were in the deep pits of ignorance to Allah. It is this beautiful conduct which led him to be a just leader. It is this same beautiful conduct through which a society which lived in the darkest of times developed into a community based on love and friendship solely for the sake of Allah subhanahu wata'ala. It is this beautiful conduct which won the hearts of many, who sought to sacrifice their own souls for it's carrier.
And it is the same beautiful conduct through which, by the Will of Allah, the light spread from 'Iqra! (Read!)' until it reached the corners of the earth.
هُوَ الَّذِي أَرْسَلَ رَسُولَهُ بِالْهُدَى وَدِينِ الْحَقِّ لِيُظْهِرَهُ عَلَى الدِّينِ كُلِّهِ وَكَفَى بِاللَّهِ شَهِيدًا
"He it is Who has sent His Messenger (Muhammad SAW) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islam), that He may make it (Islam) superior over all religions. And All-Sufficient is Allah as a Witness."
This 'white moon' remains shining today, it is only upon us to make an effort to turn our sight towards it with gazing eyes and reflect over it's alluring beauty. So that it's light may continue to shine and through our thoughts, speech and actions.
In the following, inshaAllah, we hope to reflect upon the lessons derived from the Seerah of the Prophet sallaAllahu alayhe wasallam based on the book:
Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum (The Sealed Nectar) by Shaykh Safi-ur-Rahman al-Mubarakpuri
Therefore, if we could follow along in this book together according to the section dicussed, this would inshaAllah help us understand the lessons derived better.
But before we procced, let us examine the meaning, importance and objectives of the Study of the Seerah.
Meaning of 'Seerah':
سار Saara: to follow a way
The 'Seerah' (سيرة) technically means a "prepared way taken from that which has been traversed."
In it's linguistic use, it refers to the the way of life that the Prophet sallaAllahu alayhe wasallam passed through or crossed. It includes both the way that was followed and the conditions upon which it has been followed.
"The seerah combines the way that has been followed and mentions within it the maghaazee (military expeditions) and conquests and waht occurred to the Prophet (sallaAllahu alayhe wasallam) and the Companions after him during them."**
Importance and Objectives of Studying the Seerah
1. The study of the Seerah is an act of worship. We are required to follow and obey the Prophet sallaAllahu alayhe wasallam in all walks of life. The Righteous Salaf used to teach their children the Seerah just as they were taught the Quran.
Ali Ibn Al-Hussayn said, "We would be taught the maghaazi (seerah) of Rasulul-Allah (sallaAllahu alayhe wasallam) just like the Quran."
It is also an act of worship which should increase our faith;
وَكُلاًّ نَّقُصُّ عَلَيْكَ مِنْ أَنبَاءِ الرُّسُلِ مَا نُثَبِّتُ بِهِ فُؤَادَكَ وَجَاءَكَ فِي هَذِهِ الْحَقُّ وَمَوْعِظَةٌ وَذِكْرَى لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ
"And all that We relate to you (O Muhammad SAW) of the news of the Messengers is in order that We may make strong and firm your heart thereby. And in this (chapter of the Quran) has come to you the truth, as well as an admonition and a reminder for the believers."
There is particularly a genuine need for the study of the Seerah in our lives today. Muslims have developed a problem of turning to other sources for solutions while they have the example of the Best of Creation right beneath their eyes.
2. The study of the Seerah allows us to foster a realization of the love of Prophet Muhammad sallaAllahu alayhe wasallam; that this love should supersede our love for our father, mothers, relatives, children and even ourselves. It is a reason for increasing our love for him, sallaAllahu alayhe wasallam, as loving him is enjoined upon us;
The Prophet sallaAllahu alayhe wasallam said, "None of you truly believes until I am more beloved to him that his father, his child and all the people."
(Bukhari and Muslim)
It was narrated that 'Abd-Allaah ibn Hishaam said: We were with the Prophet sallaAllahu alayhe wasallam when he was holding the hand of 'Umar ibn al-Khattaab. 'Umar said to him: "O Messenger of Allaah, you are dearer to me than everything except my own self." The Prophet sallaAllahu alayhe wasallam said: "No, by the One in Whose hand is my soul, not until I am dearer to you than your own self." 'Umar said to him: "Now, by Allaah, you are dearer to me than my own self." The Prophet sallaAllahu alayhe wasallam said: "Now (you are a true believer), O 'Umar."
He was, by the Will and Mercy of Allah, a reason for our guidance. He sacrificed his life and bores hardships and torments on this path to spread Islam. This love must be heartfelt love for him, sallaAllahu alayhe wasallam, and it must be translated into obeying Him and following his example;
قُلْ إِن كُنتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللّهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللّهُ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَاللّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
"Say (O Muhammad SAW to mankind): "If you (really) love Allah then follow me (i.e. accept Islamic Monotheism, follow the Quran and the Sunnah), Allah will love you and forgive you of your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." (Aal-'Imran 3:31)
3. The seerah helps us to understand the Quran by presenting a context within which to understand the Quran. Likewise, the Quran helps us to understand the Seerah.
This is because throughout the study of the Seerah, one realizes the occasion and reason of revelation of many verses of the Quran.
4. The study of the Seerah provides a living reality that once upon a time functioned and can be practically applied in our lives today. This Religion has a Divine source and it has a human receptacle. The implementation can never begin seriously unless and until we begin to follow the Seerah, understand it and implement it in our lives through understanding the lessons present therein. We must understand that these are not mere historical events. Rather, there is a light attached to these events that we must reach to stand beneath and absorb the benefit of, in the same manner a plant absorbs the benefits of the sunlight reaching it.
5. Through the study of the Seerah we may also understand and acknowledge the struggle and sacrifice of the Companions for the sake of establishing this Deen and the hardships that they went through. Hence, this understanding should lead us to love them, and follow in their footsteps, for they were the best of all generations.
The Prophet sallallahu alayhe wasallam said, "The best of you (my nation) is my generation, then the one that follows them, then the one that follows them."
6. The Seerah helps us to establish a constant connection or a link between our belief and our behavior and mannerisms in accordance with the guidance of the Prophet Muhammad sallaAllahu alayhe wasallam. The Seerah provides a living and dynamic example for the father, husband, leader, judge, friend, educator, da'ee, merchant, traveler, warrior and peacemaker. In fact it provides a true role model and great exampler in all spheres of life; in both the major issues as well as the minor details. for the minute details of his (sallaAllahu alayhe wasallam's) life have been recorded very authentically. The same cannot be said about other Prophets or leaders as late as 15 years ago.
7. Studying the Seerah helps us to link between the events therein and the current events of the world and also the other happenings and reforms in our society. It teaches us how to reform our societies and communities according to Quran and Sunnah. It is our example and in how to bring about a Muslim community which establishes the laws of Allah in the political realm, economic field, social atmosphere, diplomatic level or nationally or internationally in all of the affairs that human beings deal with.
8. The Seerah gives us hope regarding the situation of our Ummah today. It shows that the suffering of the Prophet sallaAllahu alayhe wasallam and his Companions only led them to victory in the end. Likewise, if we stick to the Truth just as they did, then Allah will surely grant us victory. It makes any sufferring that we go through today as an Ummah seem lenient compared to the sufferring they went through;
أَمْ حَسِبْتُمْ أَن تَدْخُلُواْ الْجَنَّةَ وَلَمَّا يَأْتِكُم مَّثَلُ الَّذِينَ خَلَوْاْ مِن قَبْلِكُم مَّسَّتْهُمُ الْبَأْسَاءُ وَالضَّرَّاءُ وَزُلْزِلُواْ حَتَّى يَقُولَ الرَّسُولُ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ مَعَهُ مَتَى نَصْرُ اللّهِ أَلَا إِنَّ نَصْرَ اللّهِ قَرِيبٌ
"Or think you that you will enter Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty and ailments and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those who believed along with him said, "When (will come) the Help of Allah?" Yes! Certainly, the Help of Allah is near!"
The Prophet sallaAllahu alayhe wasallam said,
"Allah showed me all corners of the earth. I saw its East and its West, and I saw that my Ummah will possess of it what He showed me from it." (Muslim).
"This matter is as the day and night; Allah will make this Deen enter into every house of every inhabitant of the deserts, of villages, of towns, of cities, with either glory or disgrace. Allah will give glory to Islam, and Allah will bring disgrace upon disbelief (kufr)."
(Ahmad, Al Tabarani)
9. The Seerah helps us understand the Prophetic methodology of change that it is based on knowledge and wisdom. They started from creed and this influenced their behavior. Hence the strong point of change is Aqeedah. If this is strong, then all struggles and hardships can be overcome.
Although it takes a long time for the proper belief to sink into the hearts of the people, we must display patience, as we'll see in the example of the Prophet sallaAllahu alayhe wasallam; where they first concentrated on the matters of 'Aqeedah. And if this is the way we adopt in our lives, there is some guarantee for success, by the mercy of Allah subhanahu wata'ala.
One may also derive certain laws regarding how to perform effective da'wah, particularly in the various stages that people may be in.
10. Shows us that the Companions earned success in spreading the Message all over only by sticking and following the sunnah of the Prophet sallaAllahu alayhe wasallam. Hence following his Sunnah is the beginning of the road to unity and success. So in order to get out of the discord that we face today, whether it is in our families or communities, we must first turn to the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet sallaAllahu alayhe wasallam.
The Prophet sallaAllahu alayhe wasallam said, "I am leaving you on brightness; its night is (as bright) as its day. None would deviate from it except the one who is doomed to perish. Whosoever survives would see many differences. Then it would be incumbent upon you to adhere to my sunnah and the sunnah of the righteous and pious caliphs, with which you are familiar."
(Ibn Majah, authenticated by Al-Albani)
11. The Seerah helps us to understand the Prophetic methodology in winning hearts, being affectionate towards one another and how he was able to win souls, by the Permission and Mercy of Allah subhanahu wata'ala.
فَبِمَا رَحْمَةٍ مِّنَ اللّهِ لِنتَ لَهُمْ وَلَوْ كُنتَ فَظًّا غَلِيظَ الْقَلْبِ لاَنفَضُّواْ مِنْ حَوْلِكَ فَاعْفُ عَنْهُمْ وَاسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ وَشَاوِرْهُمْ فِي الأَمْرِ فَإِذَا عَزَمْتَ فَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللّهِ إِنَّ اللّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُتَوَكِّلِينَ
"And by the Mercy of Allah, you dealt with them gently. And had you been severe and harshhearted, they would have broken away from about you; so pass over (their faults), and ask (Allahs) Forgiveness for them; and consult them in the affairs. Then when you have taken a decision, put your trust in Allah, certainly, Allah loves those who put their trust (in Him)."
لَقَدْ جَاءَكُمْ رَسُولٌ مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ عَزِيزٌ عَلَيْهِ مَا عَنِتُّمْ حَرِيصٌ عَلَيْكُم بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ رَؤُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ
"Verily, there has come unto you a Messenger (Muhammad SAW) from amongst yourselves (i.e. whom you know well). It grieves him that you should receive any injury or difficulty. He (Muhammad SAW) is anxious over you (to be rightly guided, to repent to Allah, and beg Him to pardon and forgive your sins, in order that you may enter Paradise and be saved from the punishment of the Hell-fire), for the believers (he SAW is) full of pity, kind, and merciful."
12. To spread and teach the Seerah is the best way to dispel the criticisms and ridicule and attacks of our enemies. For it is one of his, sallaAllahu alayhe wasallam, rights that we defend his honor when he is attacked.
إِنَّا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ شَاهِدًا وَمُبَشِّرًا وَنَذِيرًا
لِتُؤْمِنُوا بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَتُعَزِّرُوهُ وَتُوَقِّرُوهُ وَتُسَبِّحُوهُ بُكْرَةً وَأَصِيلًا
"Verily, We have sent you (O Muhammad SAW) as a witness, as a bearer of glad tidings, and as a warner. In order that you (O mankind) may believe in Allah and His Messenger (SAW), and that you assist and honour him (SAW), and (that you) glorify (Allahs) praises morning and afternoon."