Oh Allah, sustain us with Your love and the love of those who love you and the love of deeds that bring us closer to Your love.
There’s a Love…
We live in a world where so many of us feel alone, unguided and unsupported. We crave deep love but seldom find it. We pray but wonder if our prayers are being heard and answered.
There is a love that does not disappoint, and a prayer that is always answered exactly as we ask it.
The Prophet (S) said in an authentic Hadith in Sahih al-Bukhari “None of you believes until I am more beloved to his father, his children, and all people.”
The truth is that many of us, deep down, are afraid of the Prophet (S).
Some of us are afraid because of the propaganda against him (S) from people with an agenda against Islam.
Some of us are afraid because of Muslims who attribute to him (S) their own inhumane attitudes, or crude translations and truncations of his (S) statements and actions that have misrepresented him and the One who sent him.
Some of us are afraid because we don’t understand what it means to love in a spiritual way. Or because we are afraid that if we put this deep love and trust in the Prophet (S) we will encounter something of the above that will break our trust and our hearts.
Some of us are afraid because if we converted from Christianity there is a fear that love for the Prophet (S) will stray into the realm of shirk that former love for Jesus (AS) strayed into.
Some of us are afraid because there are Muslims who have told us that it is dangerous to “love him (S) too much” and we don’t know what that means.
As Shaykha Samira az-Zayid says in her (Arabic-language) book “Lessons from the Sira”, modern Muslims have accepted substitutes for the love of the Prophet (S). Indeed, we feel longing and aching deep down, but either we don’t know that it is love of the Prophet (S) we need or we have been frightened away from loving him, and we fill that hole in our heart with substitutes that are deficient and will never fill the place in our hearts that love of the Prophet (S) is meant to fill.
We fill that hole with excessive love of husbands (who cannot live up to the unnatural standards we set for them), speakers, authors, celebrities, organizations, historical and political figures. For converts in particular and those raised in this culture, this unconditional love feels almost impossible to truly understand, especially when the substitutes we choose so often disappoint us with shortcomings and scandals.
Love of the Prophet (S) is a love that will never disappoint. He was chosen by Allah to be the carrier and teacher of Islam- not just to the people of his time but ALL of us. He even knew this himself, and referred to it when he said “I miss my brothers”. When the Sahaba asked “are WE not your brothers?” he (S) said that his brothers are those who would come after who would believe in his message without having met him (S). He was chosen and prepared and sent by Allah specifically to be the “mercy to the worlds” and the carrier of Allah’s message, a “walking Qur’an” to all people until the Day of Judgment.
A man came to the Prophet (S) and admitted that he had not prepared anything much for the day of judgment in the way of great worship, but, he declared, “I love Allah and His Messenger” to which the Prophet (S) replied “you will be with those you love”.
The Prophet (S) also said “the closest of you to me on the Day of Judgment are those who say prayers on met (salawat) the most”. [Tirmidhi]
Prayers on the Prophet (S) are a prayer that is always answered just as we ask it. When we ask Allah for anything else, we always receive an answer of some kind- either we get what we ask for eventually, we get something better, or a harm is averted from us. We can ask for a million dollars, we won’t necessarily get it. Yet when we say “Allahumma Salli `ala sayyidna Muhammad” we get exactly what we ask for.
But we get more! Not only is this prayer and blessing delivered to the Prophet (S) just as we ask, but he (S) is allowed to greet us and pray for us in return. He (S) said in an authentic Hadith in Sahih Muslim “There is not one of you who greets me with salam except that Allah returns the soul to my body and I greet him with salam in return.”
Allah takes this greeting, this prayer for us, and multiplies it by TEN. The Prophet (S) also said in an authentic Hadith in Sahih Muslim: “Whoever prays upon me, Allah returns it to him ten times.” So we are guaranteed to not only have our duaa for the Prophet (S) answered just as we ask it, but his (S) duaa for us is answered and multiplied by Allah. Imagine how much blessing this can bring into our lives!
We have to know someone in order to love them. But learning about the Prophet (S) isn’t practiced here. We don’t study his (S) life deeply and completely, constantly analyzing his ways in order to discern signs and teachings for our way of life. Instead, we take his (S) statements in isolation, piecemeal- a statement here, a statement there- and try to determine his intent and make judgments about him without even knowing him (S) in the first place! And when we know the Prophet (S) we will not only love him but we will want to emulate him and obey him.
It is important that we observe the way the Prophet (S) engaged in the upbringing of people, who those people were, the way they learned from him (S), LOVED him (S) and respected him (S) and also the way they learned together, supported each other and loved each other. These values and behaviors have become lost in modern times, and to our severe detriment.
Modern Americans revel in the myth of “the self-made man” who needs only their own greatness to survive and thrive. “Independence” is considered supreme, and dependence equal to weakness and stupidity. We suffer from deep cynicism about relationships as marriages break up, children reject their parents, and people move frequently without putting down deep roots. Modern religious and political movements have plugged into these trends by teaching people to avoid attachment to teachers, to avoid deep love, to learn only superficially by reading a few articles and books, and to favor the lowest common denominator when it comes to worship and learning.
We will not progress spiritually or in our lives, either as individuals or communities, until we bring back an emphasis, rooted in the sunnah of the Prophet (S), on love and relationships: with Allah and His Messenger and with each other. Relationships for the sake of Allah, seeking Allah. “You will be with those you love.” It starts with “Allahumma Salli `ala sayyidina Muhammad.”