The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, “Whoever possesses the following three qualities has tasted the sweetness of faith: the one for whom God and His Messenger are dearer than anything else, [one] who loves a person and he loves him solely for God’s sake, and [one] who hates to revert to a state of disbelief as he hates to be thrown into the fire.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
During his return from the visit, the Messenger (saw) cried. The companions said, “What makes you cry, Oh Messenger of Allah?” He said, “I miss my brothers.” They said : “Are we not your brothers, Oh Messenger of Allah?” He said, “No, you are my Companions. My brothers are those who will come after me and they believe in me without seeing me.” (Ad-Darami, At-Tabaraani, Al-Hakim)
He (saw) also said, “Those in my community with the strongest love for me are from the people who will come after me. Some of them would have given their family and wealth to have seen me.” (Muslim and Bukhari)
Anas related the Prophet said, “Whoever loves me will be with me in the Garden.” (al-Isfahani)
Anas said that a man came to the Prophet and asked, “When will the Last Hour come, Messenger of Allah?” He responded, “What have you prepared for it?” He replied, “I have not prepared a lot of prayer or fasting or charity for it, but I love Allah and His Messenger.” The Prophet said, “You will be with the one you love.” (Bukhari)
One of the easiest ways for us to enjoy the sweetness of iman in this life, and the company of the Prophet Muhammad (saw) in the next is to increase our love of him (saw). Today’s piece will focus on three important ways to increase our love of our beloved al-Mustafa (saw). The first two are rather easy, and the third is really the true test of our love and our faith.
1. Get to know the Prophet (saw) by studying the Seerah, until you miss him the way that he missed you! Subhan Allah, he (saw) cried when he thought about us. Something amazing about reading the seerah, is that it does bring you to tears. His life and the lives of the generation he inspired are nothing short of incredible. I remember a brother who had watched all of ‘Amr Khaled’s lecture series on the Seerah of the Prophet (saw) once told my husband that when he was done watching, he had to make a drive to a different city hours away, and he couldn’t contain his tears in the car because he physically missed the Prophet (saw). Let us increase our love, by getting to know him more.
‘Abda bint Khalid ibn Ma’dan said, “Khalid (one of the salaf) never went to bed without remembering how he yearned for the Messenger of Allah and his Companions among the Muhajirun and Ansar, and he would name them. He said, ‘They are my root and branch, and my heart longs for them. I have yearned for them a long time. My Lord, hasten my being taken to You!’” (al-Shifa)
Ali bin Hussain bin Ali bin Abi Talib, the grandson of Ali bin Abi Talib, would say, “We were taught the seerah like we were taught Quran.”
- Pick a Seerah book from now and divide the pages into days; start now and plan to finish a seerah book by this Ramadan! There are entire books available online, but I recommend buying an actual book and choose one you haven’t read before, so you can take notes in it, write reflections, and have it physically with you. Think about the small deed done consistently! A 300 page book can be completed if you read only 10 pages a day in Ramadan. A 600 page book can be completed if you read just a little bit above that if you start now.
- Think about a bigger deed that can help you jump-start your engine. If there are any Seerah related events in your area during or before Ramadan, plan on attending! People living on the West Coast of America, please plan to attend The Tarbiyah and Ilm Academy’s Seminar “Living the Prophetic Legacy in Our Times” <–please click 🙂 – with Dr. Tariq Ramadan and Dr. Imad Bayoun. Dr. Ramadan is author of the Seerah book “In the Footsteps of the Prophet” for which the first 75 people who register will get a free signed copy! Dr. Bayoun has lectured on the seerah for a number of years, and is known for his amazing ability to derive practical modern lessons from Islamic history.
2. Spend 5 minutes after reading the Seerah to send blessings and prayers on the Prophet (saw). Subhan Allah, if you’ve ever done this while experiencing worry or anxiety about something, it cools your heart so quickly. Imagine how it feels after you’ve just read about the Prophet’s (saw) life. It is such a forgotten act of ‘ibadah— and yet it amazingly suffices you any prayer you wish to make! If Allah (swt) and angels send blessings on the Prophet (saw), what about us?!
“Allah and His angels send blessings on the Prophet: O you that believe! Send your blessings on him, and salute him with all respect.” (33:56)
ʿUrwa b. Masʿūd al-Thaqafī (and in a different narration Suhail ibn ‘Amr) said to the Quraish, “O people, by God I have served as a representative to kings. I have been a representative to the Caesar, Kisra, and Najāshī. By God, I have absolutely never seen a king whose people venerate him the way the Companions of Muḥammad venerate Muḥammad.”
Ubayy bin Ka`b relates: I said, “O Messenger of Allah (saw), I send much blessings on you. What proportion of my prayer should I devote to (sending blessings on) you?” He said, “As much as you like.” I said, “A quarter?” He said, “As much as you like, and if you increased it would only be better for you.” I said, “Then a half?” He said, “As much as you like and if you increased then it would only be better for you.” I said, “Then two thirds?” He said, “As much as you like and if you increased it would only be better for you.” I said, “I’ll devote all of my prayers to sending blessings on you.” The Prophet (saw) said, “In that case it will suffice you from your worries and your sins will be forgiven.”(Tirmidhi).
- So close your eyes, think of the fact that you’ve been blessed to be part of his ummah, think about the person you just read about, imagine him (saw). Send salawat and salam and know inside that he (saw) receives them in his grave, he returns your salam, as does Jibreel (as)! Quench your thirst in missing him (saw) at least to some extent by connecting with him in this way!
The Prophet (saw) said, “Allah has angels who go around on earth, conveying to me the salam of my ummah.” (Nasaa’i)
He also said, “There is not one of you who sends his greetings upon me except that Allah returns the soul to my body (in the grave) and I return his greeting.” (Abu Dawud)
Abdul Rahman ibn ‘Awf mentioned that he came to the Prophet (saw) who rose from an elongated prostration and told him, “Jibreel came to me and he said, ‘whoever sends blessings (salawat) upon you, I will send blessings on him, and whoever sends greetings (salam) upon you, I will send greetings upon him,’ so I prostrated out of thankfulness to Allah.’” (Hakim)
3. Obey the Prophet (saw) by choosing what Allah loves over everything else! Wow. This is a hard one because it’s not a single act, but rather a process that constantly needs to be renewed, and will be tested repeatedly in different ways. It’s the goal—to love Allah and the Prophet (saw) more than our love of anything or anyone else including ourselves. Whenever we have difficulty in this, that is to express our love through obedience, let us feel that Allah (swt) is watching us, and let us imagine that the Prophet Muhammad (saw) is standing next to us. Sometimes it’s a choice between two allowed things, but which is more pleasing to Allah (swt) and closer to the spirit of the seerah? In those moments, the strength of our love is tested.
A man came to the Prophet and said, “Messenger of Allah, I love you more than my family and my possessions. I remember you and I cannot wait until I can come and look at you. I remember that I will die and you will die and I know that when you enter the Garden, you will be raised up with the Prophets. When I enter it, I will not see you.” Allah then revealed, “Whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger, will be with those whom Allah has blessed: the Prophets, the men of truth, the martyrs and the righteous. And such people are the best of company!” (4:68) The Prophet called the man and recited the verses to him. (at-Tabarani)
Ḥasan al-Baṣrī relates that a group of individuals claimed to love Allah and so Allah tested their love by revealing the verses: “Say (to them Oh Muhammad) if you love God, then follow me and God will love you and forgive your sins.” (al-ʿImrān: 31)
Allah says, “Say: If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your kindred, the wealth that you have gained, the commerce in which you fear a decline, and the dwellings in which you delight are dearer to you than Allah and His Messenger, and striving hard and fighting in His cause, then wait until Allah brings about His Decision. And Allah guides not the rebellious”. (Al-Taubah: 24)
‘Umar ibn al-Khattab told the Prophet, “I love you more than anything except my soul which is between my two sides.” The Prophet replied, “None of you will believe until I am dearer to him than his own soul.” ‘Umar said, “By the One who sent down the Book on you, I love you more than my soul which is between my two sides.” The Prophet said, “‘Umar, now you have it!” (Bukhari)
May Allah (swt) fasten His love, and the love of the Prophet Muhammad (saw) in our hearts above all else. May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon our beloved Messenger Muhammad, and upon his family, and companions. Ameen.