The impulse for writing this article came from a conversation with a colleague who told me that while sitting with other colleagues, he had heard one of them repeat the statement that the Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, was an ordinary human being like the rest of us, except that Allah had given him the Qur’ân. My friend knew very well that this kind of statement had been deliberately circulated among Muslims to detach them from their Prophet, thus cutting them off from the mercy of Allah that descends upon them through their love for him and close adherence to his teachings. This is part of an overall plan to destroy Islam from within, a plan that, we regret to say, is carried out by ignorant Muslims, misled by crude suggestions of the Devil that to love the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and revere him is to worship him beside Allah. My friend told me he became quite angry and challenged our colleagues to take anything of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) at random and compare it with themselves. He found himself saying, “Take his hand for instance!” Then he started discoursing about the special distinctions of the Prophet’s hand, talking for about twenty minutes, all the time aware that he had never spoken like that before. His colleagues listened silently, then when he was finished, begged him to carry on. These were educated people who already had much of this knowledge in their minds, but who had been too busy with worldly things to assemble and envisage their knowledge from that angle before, or to make the necessary effort in understanding how and why they had previously been misinformed.
It is for people like these, people whose hearts contain much love for Allah and His Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and who are honest enough to recognize the truth when they see it, that this article is written. My hope is that it will encourage them to find out more about their leader, teacher, good example, and intercessor. It is certainly not written for the narrow minded followers of the believers in a limited God, a God which they situate in space, located exclusively above the Throne. For such people, the absolute difference between Creator and created is blurred, for they mentally impose limits upon that which is beyond limits. This puts them in the false position of having to belittle the Best of Creation in order to keep Allah in His place as God.
We, the vast majority of Muslims, the Ahl al-Sunna wal-Jamâ’a, know that it is impossible for a Muslim to confuse the Creator with the created, however great the latter may be. We are therefore quite comfortable in our love for the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and our extreme respect and veneration for him.
The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) himself has repeatedly said that those who do not love him more than their fathers, mothers, children, wealth, and their own selves, their faith is defective and their works in danger of being rejected by Allah.
It is deceitful to claim to love the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) but seek to deprive him of the sublime attributes that Allah bestowed upon him, prior to making him the Master of all Creation.
It is to be hoped that those who read this article will be spurred on to increase and complete their knowledge of our beloved Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) from the sources, for such knowledge is an obligation upon each Muslim capable of acquiring it.
To begin, Allah, Exalted is He, says: “Those who swear allegiance to you are but swearing allegiance to Allah. The hand of Allah is over their hands.” [48:10]
Were those who insist on accepting nothing but the literal meaning of the Qur’ân and refuse all figurative interpretation to take this verse at face value, it would have to mean that the hand that gave allegiance to the Companions was that of Allah not that of the Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him. Those endowed with reason, however, will readily understand that because the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) is Allah’s representative on earth, swearing allegiance to him is in reality swearing allegiance to Allah, and the Prophet’s hand represents Allah’s Hand, just as the Black Stone represents it, but, in the Prophet’s case, eminently more deservedly.
The result of taking the Prophet’s hand and swearing allegiance to himfor they swore it to himwas that Allah was satisfied with them: “Allah was satisfied with the believers when they swore allegiance to you under the tree.” [48:18]
Allah’s satisfaction is in seeing that His slaves are obeying His injunctions, avoiding what He has forbidden them, and being satisfied with His decrees. This was the state of the Companions surrounding the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) under the tree in Hudaybiya. Their satisfaction with Allah’s decisions, their extinction of their individual wills in the Divine will made them as Allah says: “Allah was satisfied with them and they were satisfied with Him.” [58:22] It was to the Prophet’s everlasting honour and glory that his hand represented Allah’s on this and all other such occasions.