Muhammad Syafiq Borhannuddin
Saturday, Muslims worldwide will commemorate the birth of Prophet Muhammad
(peace be upon him), the last prophet and messenger of God, who lived more than
1,400 years ago.
It is alarming;
however, that today’s young Muslims have difficulty in relating to Prophet
Muhammad and what he represents in the consciousness of Muslims.
Muslims today struggle to understand Prophet Muhammad’s perspective — they
suffer from a lack of conviction and have doubts about their belief in the
centuries, love and respect for Prophet Muhammad was an obligation and integral
in the psychological and societal order in the civilisation of Islam, as
eruditely articulated by Wan Mohd Nor Wan Daud in his published article in
Ikim’s Tafhim Journal titled, “The Timelessness of Prophet Muhammad”.
increasing detachment of present-day Muslims has led to the following remark by
the late Sayyid Muhammad Alawi al-Maliki, one of the most eminent Makkah-based
Islamic scholars of the 20th century: “This distance and detachment... is a
matter of manifest peril, with grave consequences... for the Muslim community.”
largely have been able to relate to Prophet Muhammad through the prophetic
embodiments in scholars, teachers and leaders, supplemented by the rich
literature of the Sirah (prophetic biography), Shama’il
(descriptive portrait of the Prophet) and its commentaries, and Qasidah
(poems praising the Prophet) — many of which have been transmitted orally
throughout the ages.
earliest accounts of prophetic biography have survived to this day, thanks to
the efforts of Ibn Ishaq (dated 776) and Ibn Hisham (dated 833), whose sources
were based on earlier oral traditions.
has been translated into English by Abu Bakr Siraj al-Din — Muhammad: His Life
Based on the Earliest Sources — widely recognised as the best English
translation of the Sirah.
monumental book for contemporary Muslims to be reacquainted with the true
stature of the Prophet is the As-Shifa’ Bi-Ta’rif Huquq Mustafa (The Cure by the Recognition
of the Rights of the Chosen One) by Qadi Iyad ibn Musa al-Yahsub. This, too,
had been translated into English by Aisha Abdarrahman Bewley (Madinah Press,
most celebrated poems praising the Prophet was composed by Muhammad ibn
Sulayman al-Jazuli, known as the Dala’il al-Khayrat (Waymark of Benefits), and
al-Busiri’s Qasida al-Burda (Poem of the Mantle).
have spread from Morocco to the Malay Archipelago.
fashionable among Ottoman’s high society — princes had exchanged embellished
copies and the Qasida al-Burda was written on the tiles of the Topkapi Palace,
and commoners treasured them.
It is worth
highlighting some examples of how the Ottomans expressed their love for Prophet
Ottoman historian Mehmet Ipsirli said: “The love of Islam and Prophet Muhammad
was placed at the centre of the Ottoman existence as a comprehensive system,
and not as a sentiment that changed from one sultan to the next in a sporadic
Some of the
Ottoman sultans regarded themselves as a Khadim (servant) of the Prophet and
would practice utmost Adab (decorum) even towards his descendants.
least five centuries, the most learned among them (the Sharifs) were entrusted
as the Custodians of the Two Holy Mosques in Makkah and Madinah, and governor
of the Hijaz with autonomy, while the welfare of their families was taken care
of by the state.
sultans took the responsibility of preserving the sacred belongings of the
Prophet, which are still kept at the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul today.
are the Prophet’s mantle (cloak/shawl), a sandal, cup, footprint on a stone,
swords, bow, his tooth that broke during the Battle of Uhud, the soil he used
for ritual ablution, and his seal.
consciousness of generations of Muslims, Prophet Muhammad is not simply a
historical figure but a continuous source of inspiration and a role model par
excellence — the Almighty described him as Uswatan Hasana (the best
resulting attitude of Muslims throughout the ages is succinctly explained by
Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas in his book, Islam and Secularism: “We praise him
out of sincere love and respect and gratitude for having led us out of darkness
into light, and he is loved above all other human beings including ourselves.”
when a Muslim is secularised in his reasoning, Prophet Muhammad is no longer
regarded as the central personality in his consciousness.
is extended to the larger population, it creates a psychological and societal
rupture within the community.
rupture manifests itself in the crisis of identity between the sexes, between
generations, and the vicious circle of the unattainable in life.
strive to revive that feeling of revered love and respect for Prophet Muhammad
so that Muslims will be guided by his profound wisdom and spiritual vision.
we should be inspired by his exemplary leadership, memorable humanitarian
values and keen understanding of societal reality.
also remember how he had successfully transformed his people from a state of
ignorance (Jahiliyya) and idol-worshipping, to worshipping Allah, the
one and only Creator.
the Prophet’s practice of tolerance and understanding is essential in today’s
world to preserve peace and harmony in a multicultural and multireligious
also bear in mind the Prophet’s four most noble characteristics —
trustworthiness (Siddiq); integrity (Amanah); communicative (Tabligh),
and intelligence (Fathonah). Integrity, honesty, and trust are key
Islamic values and they reinforce the belief that the greatest reward lies not
in this world, but in the hereafter and admission to paradise.
Headlines: Understanding attachment to Prophet Muhammad
Source: New Straits Times