07-02-2005, 11:23 PM
Say (O Muhammad) : ‘This my way; I invite unto Allâh ...” (Yusuf 12:108) Reply
The Prophet ( , sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, meaning: may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) first himself followed the Qur’ânic guidance and then, as part of the call of this guidance, invited everyone to follow it. By practising it first, he set the example and urged people to follow the same. He asked them to observe his way. In this sense he is in Islam the first monotheist, the first believer and the first Muslim, a point recognised by Allâh:
“Say (O Muhammad): ‘Verily, my prayer, my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allâh alone, the Lord of all that exists. He has no partner. And of this I have been commanded, and I am the first of the Muslims.’” (Al-An’am, 6:162,163)
The above verse clarifies that the Prophet is the first Muslim, the first to pledge obedience to Allâh. Given this, he is the first to follow the Qur’ân. His practice preceded his call. As the guide, he called others to the right way. He is undoubtedly the only leader, guide and Imam of his Ummah. In line with Divine guidance, he alone set the way to the Hereafter. All Companions, Successors, their followers, Hadith scholars, jurisprudents, saints and pious persons attained proximity to Allâh by following only the Prophet’s way. Obedience to him is a condition for one seeking to get salvation. His way ensures success and prosperity for his Ummah.
What is the Prophet’s way?
The Prophet’s way stands for his sayings, actions, Sunnah, Hadith, life, conduct, morals and manners .His sayings and his practice embody his way. The guidance provided by his Sunnah, Hadith, life, conduct, morals and manners point the way to Paradise. These indicate his right way and ensure one’s entry into Paradise.
Fruits of accepting the Prophet’s call
Narrated Jabir ( , RadhiAllahu anhu, meaning: May Allah be pleased with him) Angels visited the Prophet ( ) while he was asleep. They told one another: “There is a saying for this person (Muhammad, ) and they related the same (so that it may reach the Prophet’s followers).” Some angels said: “Since he is asleep, it is pointless to relate the same”. To this some said: “While he is asleep, his heart remains awake (so it should be related)”. Then they elaborated: “His similitude is that of one who built a house, managed for a feast there and sent a person to invite the people to the same. Then the one who accepted the invitation, would enter the house and have food. But the one who rejects his invitation would not enter the house and get no food”. Some angels asked its further clarification — so that he may follow it. Someone observed: ‘He is asleep’. To this others replied: ‘He is asleep while his heart remains awake’. Then the angels said: (In the above similitude) the house represents Paradise, the caller is Muhammad . One who accepts his call stands for the one who obeys Muhammad and thus obeys Allâh; and the one who rejects his call disobeys Muhammad and thus disobeys Allâh. Muhammad thus distinguishes between people in respect of truth and falsehood’. (Bukhâri)
Explanation: What the above-quoted Hadith means is that Allâh built a house i.e., Paradise, and arranged for provision therein. Then He sent down Muhammad as Messenger among people, asking him to invite people to the provisions in Paradise. According he invited people to the same. Those who greeted his call, affirming sincerely that there is no God but Allâh and Muhammad is His Messenger, and led their life in obedience to him would enter the house, i.e., Paradise and enjoy Divine bounties by partaking provisions in Paradise. And those rejecting his call would not enter the house. Nor would they get any of the provisions of the house i.e., Paradise.
As already observed, the angels pointed out that those greeting the Prophet’s call represent those obedient to him and to Allâh. In contrast, those not responding to his call are rebels to him and to Allâh. Moreover, those greeting his call are those who believe in his Messengership, follow his word and deed, hold him in utmost love and obey him at all cost. They are the ones who follow his way in response to his sayings.
It is worth noting that Allâh deputed angels to inform people through the Prophet that he invites them to Allâh. He urges fellow human beings to turn to Allâh. Those responding positively to him, believing in his Messengership, professing Monotheism and following him throughout their life would enjoy Allâh’s provisions in His house. In other words, those accepting the Prophet’s call in his life would be blessed with Allâh’s feast in the Hereafter. Angels made it plain as well that those not responding to the Prophet’s call rebel against him and against Allâh.
While it is obligatory on adherents of all other religions to accept the Prophet’s call, it is imperative for the believers to accept all of the Prophet’s Ahadith and Sunnah, without rejecting any. They must not neglect any of his commands, statements and calls. Moreover, they must realise that the Prophet alone is to be followed in matters of religion. They should not turn to anyone other than him. One reminding them of the Prophet’s call, however, deserves to be followed. For the Prophet alone was blessed with revelation and with the Book and therefore he alone is the spokesperson for religion.
Muslims enjoined to respond to the Prophet’s call
On the authority of Abu Sa‘îd bin Al-Mu‘alla it is reported in Sahih (Bukhâri) that while he was praying in mosque, the Prophet called him. He did not, however, instantly respond. When he finished the prayer, he approached him, pleading that he was praying. The Prophet told him: Do you not know that Allâh has directed:
“Answer Allâh and (His) Messenger when he calls you.” (Al-Anfâl, 8:24)
According to another Hadith, a similar incident happened to Ubai bin Ka‘ab . The Prophet told him the same Divine command: “Answer Allâh and His Messenger when he calls you” (Al-Anfal, 8:24). To this Ubai replied: “O Messenger of Allâh! Although I was aware of this command, I committed a mistake. I would not, Allâh willing, do the same again”.
Hanzalah bin Safwân had made love to his wife while there was issued the Prophet’s proclamation for joining the battle of Uhud. He did not take the ritual bath lest he might be late in answering the Prophet’s call. In the same state he joined the Jihâd and attained martyrdom. Angels bathed him. The Prophet asked why it was so that angels bathed him. The matter was referred to the martyr’s wife who related the whole story.
The above reports about two Companions that the Prophet directed them to discontinue the prayer for answering his call, and about Hanzalah who joined his call for Jihâd without any delay, prove that the Prophet (SAW) is to be obeyed unconditionally. It is clear from the above-quoted Qur’ânic verse and Hadith reports that the Prophet’s call should be answered instantly. Since he is no longer in our midst, his Sunnah deserves the same treatment in that his Sunnah and Hadith embody his call.
Penalty for not accepting his call
Abu Hurairah narrated that the Prophet said:
“All my community would enter Paradise, except those who did not answer my call.” Companions asked: “Who is he who did not answer your call?” He clarified: “One who follows and obeys me would enter Paradise whereas one who disobeys me does not answer my call.” (Bukhâri)
Explanation: Obedience to the Prophet consists in responding to his call. Disobedience to him lies in the rejection of his call. Another important point in this context is that in a choice between the Prophet’s word and the word of a scholar of his nation, if one deliberately prefers the latter, he belongs to the category of those who disobey and reject the Prophet’s call.
Shah Abdul-Haq Muhaddith Dehlavi’s explanation
On the above-quoted Hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah, Shah Abdul-Haq Muhaddith Dehlavi observes: “Following the Prophet represents holding fast to the Qur’ân and Sunnah. The same point is made in another Hadith: “I leave behind in your midst two things. You would never fall into error as long as you strictly adhere to these — the Qur’ân and Sunnah”.
Regarding the disobedient ones the Shah holds: “Whoever disobeys, practises heresy, follows his desires and whims is guilty of rebellion.” Rebellion consists in disobedience and practising heresies. Muslims are well-advised to shun disobedience to the Prophet (SAW). They should observe with heart and mind his Sunnah and Ahadith and avoid heresies.
The Prophet pulls us out of fire
Abu Huraira narrated that the Prophet said:
“My similitude is of the one who lit up a fire and when the fire lighted the surroundings, moths started falling into it. He then began to prevent these from falling into the fire, but instead of his efforts they kept on dropping in the fire. I (Prophet Muhammad) am like the one who prevents you from fire while you persist on entering into it’. (Bukhâri)
The Prophet publicly invited people to his way to his call, asking them to follow him. He preached as much as possible. He related to them Divine commands and warned them of Hell-fire. Yet the unfortunate ones ran away from him and jumped headlong into the Hell; without paying any heed to his repeated calls they turned to Hell.
Muslims who recite the Kalimah of Islam should listen to only one call, that of the Prophet . They should turn deaf to all other calls which vie with his. The believers should ask their religious leaders to recite to them only the Prophet’s call.
Identification of the way to Paradise
Narrated Abdullah bin Mas‘ud :
Allah’s Messenger saw a straight line (for our comprehension) saying that it is the way to Allâh. Then he drew oblique lines on both the left and right of the straight line, saying that Satan prompts you to follow these. He recited part of the Qur’ânic verse: “This is My way, the straight one. So follow it..” (Ahmad, Nasa’i and Dârimi)
The Straight Path
The Prophet was a sincere well-wisher of his Ummah. He invited people by all means to goodness and showed them the straight path. For example, he drew a straight line and couple of oblique lines on its sides:
According to another Hadith, Jâbir narrated:
We were sitting in the company of the Prophet . He drew a straight line and two others on its each side. Placing his hand on the straight one he remarked: “This is Allâh’s way; all others are not His.” (Ibn Mâjah)
Both the narrations make the same point: the middle straight line, according to the Prophet , represents Allâh’s way in that it leads a person to Him. It is the way of those who attain salvation — Messengers, the truthful ones, martyrs, and the pious ones. What sets it apart is that it is the way of Prophet Muhammad , the leader of Messengers and Seal of Prophets. He followed this way, which is described at some length in the following Hadith:
Abdullah bin ‘Amr narrated that Allah’s Messenger said:
“My Ummah (nation) would find itself in the times completely similar to that of the Israelites.(6) If someone from among those people would have openly approached his mother for unlawful acts, there would also be someone of my Ummah who would commit exactly the same crime. (The Israelites were afflicted with divisions and dissensions as a result of the mischief of their rabbis.) They were divided into seventy-two sects. My nation would be divided into seventy-three sects (owing to the mischief of misguided Ulama). Listen! All the sects would enter Hell, except one.’ All the sects would enter hell, except one.’ The Companions enquired into the identity of this sect. He (SAW) replied: ‘The way of myself and my Companions.” (Mishkât)
Those following the way of the Prophet and his Companions would attain salvation as their beliefs and deeds would be similar to those of the Prophet and his Companions.
The Saved Group
The following narration of Muâwiyah is reported in the Hadith collections of Ahmad and Abu Dâwud that Allah’s Messenger said:
“Seventy-two sects would be in Hell while one in Paradise. This one would be ‘Al-Jamâ‘ah’.(7) There would emerge many groups from my Ummah and they would be overwhelmed with desires (i.e. their beliefs and actions tainted with heresy) as rabies overtakes one’s body affecting its each muscle and joint.” (Abu Dâwud)
Way of the Prophet and his Companions
The Prophet identified the Saved Group as the one that would follow his way and of his Companions. As already noted, the straight line drawn by him and branded as Allâh’s way is the one pursued by him throughout his life. Same was the practice of his more than one hundred and twenty-five thousand Companions. In terms of the way of life, rituals, beliefs and actions one should obey the Prophet and his Companions. Success lies in the following only this way. The Saved Group would follow in the footsteps of the Prophet and his Companions in all matters — rituals, beliefs and actions.
The Straight Path is the Path of the Messenger
One should better ask oneself at this juncture: Does Sunnah not stand for the practice of the Prophet ? Does Hadith not signify his sayings and commands? Since his way, beliefs and actions constitute Sunnah and Hadith, should every Muslim not follow the same? Moreover, we know that the Companions followed only the same. As it is the case, should we not follow their practice which signifies obedience to the Prophet ?
It must be remembered that the Prophet’s way i.e., his Sunnah and Hadith stand for the straight line, as referred to in the above Hadith. Furthermore, it being Allâh’s way ensures our salvation and the means for entering Paradise. All the Companions, Successors and their followers pursued the Prophet’s way in observing Hadith and Sunnah. Let us pledge that we would follow only Hadith and Sunnah, nothing else. And we would dismiss the sayings of others which run counter to Ahadith and we would not accept any belief or action or practice which is not endorsed by Hadith.
Command to revive Sunnah
Religion is based on the sayings and actions of Allâh’s true Messenger, Muhammad . If any of his sayings and actions is neglected or abandoned, it would impair Faith in the same measure. The Prophet has, therefore, commanded that his neglected and abandoned Sunnah be revived; and he promised a great reward for those who circulate and propagate his Sunnah. Bilâl bin Hârith narrated that the Prophet said:
“Whoever revives a Sunnah of mine which was neglected after me is entitled to the same reward which is due to those who practise it. And it would not render any loss to their reward.” (Tirmidhi and Ibn Mâjah)
O Muslim brethren! Revive the Prophet’s Sunnah. Circulate and propagate these. Whoever follows these and gets reward, and equivalent reward would accrue to you. Revive the Sunnah which are part of Salât and have been abandoned. Its revival would make you eligible for the Prophet’s glad tidings. Likewise, you should revive other Sunnah which are part of other forms of worship. It would help you achieve the status of one who revives Sunnah. In all walks of life draw on guidance from Hadith and Sunnah.
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