الحمد لله، الحمد لله الذي اختار من خلقه محمدا الهاشمي، وجعل محبتَه فرضا على الأممِ، نحمده تعالى ونستعينه، ونشكره تعالى ونستغفره ونستغيثه، نعوذ بالله من شرور أنفسنا ومن سيئات أعمالنا، من يهد الله فهو المهتد ومن يضلل فلن تجد له وليا مرشدا، ونشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له، له الملك و له الحمد، يحيي ويميت، بيده الخير، وهو على كل شيء قدير، ونشهد أن سيدنا و مولانا محمداً عبده ورسوله، وحبيبه وصفيه، بلغ الرسالة وأدى الأمانة ونصح الأمة، النبي الأمي الذي أرسله الله بالهدى والدين الحق، بشيرا ونذيرا بين يدي الساعة، صلى الله عليه وسلم وعلى آله وأصحابه ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين. أما بعد! فيا عباد الله اتقوا الله حق تقاته ولا تموتن إلا وأنتم مسلمون. يأيها الذين ءامنوا اتقوا الله وقولوا قولا سديدا يصلح لكم أعمالكم ويغفر لكم ذنوبكم. ومن يطع الله ورسوله فقد فاز فوزا عظيما. اتقوا الله فيما أمر وانتهوا عما نها عنه وزجر. قال الإمام البصيري رحمه الله في قصيدته المشهورة البردة:

دَع مــا ادَّعَتهُ النصارى في نَبِيِّهِـمِ             واحكُم بما شئتَ مَدحَاً فيه واحتَكِـمِ

وانسُبْ الى ذاتِهِ ما شـئتَ مِن شَـرَفٍ          وانسُب الى قَدْرِهِ ما شئتَ مِن عِظَـمِ

فَــاِنَّ فَضلَ رســولِ اللهِ ليـس له                حَـدٌّ فَيُعـرِبَ عنـهُ نــاطِقٌ بِفَمِ

 

Imam al-Busayri says in his famous poem, the Burda:

Leave aside what the Christians have claimed for their prophet –

Then praise him as you like, but do so wisely.

Ascribe to his essence what you wish of honour,

Attribute to his exalted status what you will of greatness!

Truly, the Messenger of Allah’s excellence

Cannot be overstated by two lips and a tongue.

On a day that theoretically commemorates the birth of Sayyiduna Isa, alayhi as-salaam, a Prophet for whom the Christians have made the monstrous claim of divinity and saying that he is the son of Allah, ta-ala’lluhu amma yasifun, it is a good moment for us to remind ourselves of our own Messenger, Muhammad ﷺ, and the high regard in which our Lord holds him. Reflect carefully on these words of Imam al-Busayri. Our only limit when it comes to praise of the Messenger of Allah is shirk, associating him with the Creator and worshipping him. Other than that, every good quality possible for creation was his. But it is a most important limit, for if we ascribe divinity to him, we place him beyond and make everything about him inaccessible, his character and sunna something to be marveled at and admired rather than copied and emulated. And that makes this great deen of ours into an unattainable dream when of course it is not, it is the blueprint for every human being to live his life. And that is why our Lord reminds us of the humanity of the Messenger of Allah in numerous places throughout the Quran. One of the most significant and oft-quoted ayas in this regard is His Words, addressing His noble Prophet,

قُلِ اِنَّمَا أنَا بَشَرٌ مِثْلُكُمْ يُوحَى إِلَيَّ

 

the translation of which is, “Say I am but a man like you who has received revelation.” When this aya is taken in its totality and understood with a pure heart, it is the key towards appreciating the reality and station of the Messenger of Allah, but all too often people quote this aya with another agenda entirely. Or take only part of its meaning and leave the other.

Some like the Christians before us with their Prophet, Isa, focus entirely on the yuha ilayya, the divine inspiration and revelation he received, and start to attribute not just the revelation to him but the divinity, disregarding the other part of the aya that he is a bashar, that he was ‘man’. Such people come to the stage where they turn him into an object of worship. While  a second group, like the Banu Israel before us with many of their Prophets, focus entirely on the word bashar, that he was a ‘man’, ascribing to him human weaknesses and shortcomings while almost totally forgetting the divine inspiration and revelation that separated him from the rest of us. This second tendency has become increasingly common today, especially among the so-called progressive, modern Muslims, downplaying his miracles, and ascribing fallibility to him when it comes to his personal opinions, claiming that it was possible for him to make mistakes in matters they see as not being directly connected to the deen.

And they do all this under the guise of avoiding shirk, avoiding the traps fallen into by the Chrisitians with regard to their Prophet Isa, but what they are actually doing is trying to bring the Prophet down to their level so they can feel more comfortable about their own faults and feel less responsibility over their own actions. By placing all their focus on his human aspect at the expense of his having received revelation, they are in fact emulating Abu Jahl and the other mushrikin as is made clear by a well-known story related by Ibn Ata’illah al-Iskandari,

“One of the sultans of the past visited the tomb of Abu Yazid (al- Bistani), may Allah be pleased with him, and asked of those around him, “Is there anyone here who met Abu Yazid in person? He was directed to an old man who was nearby. So the Sultan went to him and asked him, ‘Did you hear Abu Yazid say anything?’ The man replied, ‘Yes, I heard him say, ‘The Fire will not burn anyone who sees me.’’

The Sultan was shocked by this so he said, ‘How could Abu Yazid say such a thing? Abu Jahl saw the Prophet and will burn in the Fire.’ The old man replied, ‘Abu Jahl did not see the Prophet, he only saw an orphan in the care of Abu Talib. If he had truly seen the Prophet, the Fire would not burn him.’

The Sultan understood the man’s words and appreciated his response. He understood that Abu Jahl had not seen the Prophet with the honour and greatness due to him, or as an example to be followed, or in the belief that he was Messenger of Allah – and if had seen him in that light he would not have been burnt by the Fire – but rather had seen him with scorn and disdain, and in the belief that he was merely an orphan (in the care) of Abu Talib. And seeing him in that light did not avail him at all.”

Abu Jahl saw the Prophet as a man just like himself, and so he judged him by what he knew of mankind. He limited him according to the limits of his own character and his own experiences, and made himself the template for judging the Messenger of Allah rather than the Messenger of Allah the template for judging himself. He did not understand the true wonder and potential inherent in the human condition, the breadth of possibility. For the Messenger of Allah was at a different end of the spectrum, a very different breed of human being – he was one yuhaa ilayh, one whose every word and every deed was fully in tune with the commands and guidance of the Divine, to the extent that Allah makes obedience to him tantamount to obedience to himself, saying,

مَنْ يُطِعِ الرَّسُولَ فَقَدَ اَطَاعَ اللهَ

 

the translation of which is, “Whoever obeys the Messenger has obeyed Allah.” Whoever emulates his actions has obeyed Allah, whoever responds to his words has obeyed Allah. No one can say he made mistakes in his personal opinions, because he did not have personal opinions in the way we understand them, every word came straight from the fountain of truth. He was a Messenger from our Lord. Allah says,

وَمَا يَنْطِقُ عَنِ الْهَوَى

 

the translation of which is, “He does not speak from whim.” He did nothing worthy of censure and nothing worthy of blame. He did not err and he did not make mistakes. To say this is not shirk, it is to speak the truth and acknowledge His station and position. And despite what these people claim, he was never rebuked by His Lord. As an indication of his supposed fallibility, they like to quote Allah’s Words,

عَفَا اللَّهُ عَنْكَ لِمَ أَذِنْتَ لَهُمْ

 

the translation of which is, “Allah pardon you! Why did you excuse them?” If Allah had to pardon him, they say, then he ﷺ must have done something requiring pardon. Nothing could be farther from the truth. All this interpretation of theirs does is betray their ignorance, both of aqida and the Arabic language. Qadi Iyad says,

“The word ‘pardon’ (‘afa) in this ayat does not mean ‘forgive’. Rather, it bears the same meaning as when the Prophet said, ‘Allah has pardoned (exempted) you from paying zakat on horses and slaves.’ In other words it was not obligatory for them and therefore not binding on them.

“Al-Qushayri said, ‘Pardon (‘afw) is not only used in Arabic for pardoning a wrong action.’ He said that the meaning of ‘afa in ‘Allah pardon you’ is that Allah did not consider it a wrong action for him. Ad-Da’udi said that it is said that this was to honour him, whilst Makki said that it is an invocation similar to expressions like ‘May Allah make you right’ and ‘May He exalt you’, and As-Samarqandi has related that it means ‘Allah has guarded you.’”

These interpretations are proven by the ayas coming soon after. Allah says,

 

وَلَكِنْ كَرِهَ اللَّهُ انْبِعَاثَهُمْ فَثَبَّطَهُمْ وَقِيلَ اقْعُدُوا مَعَ الْقَاعِدِينَ لَوْ خَرَجُوا فِيكُمْ مَا زَادُوكُمْ إِلَّا خَبَالًا وَلَأَوْضَعُوا خِلَالَكُمْ يَبْغُونَكُمُ الْفِتْنَةَ وَفِيكُمْ سَمَّاعُونَ لَهُمْ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ بِالظَّالِمِينَ

 

the translation of which is, “But Allah was averse to their setting out so He held them back and they were told: ‘Stay behind with those who stay behind.’ If they had gone out among you, they would have added nothing to you but confusion. They would have scurried about amongst you seeking to cause conflict between you, and among you there are some who would have listened to them. Allah knows the wrongdoers.” Allah hated for them to go out to battle alongside the believers and so what the Messenger of Allah did in granting them leave to stay was in fact the best course of action and the one most pleasing to Allah. Qadi Iyad reports that Niftawayh said,

“Some people think that the Prophet was rebuked by this aya. Far from it! In fact he was preferred by it. When he excused them, Allah informed him that if he had not excused them, they would in any case have remained behind and not come out to fight because of their hypocrisy, so no objection can be made to his having excused them.”

And the same is true for all other ayas that seem to suggest rebuke. He ﷺ was a Prophet and, by definition, any wrong action or wrong intention is forbidden them, since we are commanded to follow them in everything and it is a contradiction in terms to make it obedience to follow an act of disobedience. And even were that not the case, there is proof enough in the Book of Allah and the examples of those who have taken on his Sunna that his character and actions were beyond reproach.

He was chosen by his Lord and was the very pinnacle of mankind. All of mankind’s noble characteristics were his and none of their base ones. He represents the absolute highest potential of the human being. His humanity was one bereft of all of man’s weaknesses and defects and characterised by all of man’s qualities and strengths. We cannot ever view him as just being one of us. Allah says,

لَا تَجْعَلُوا دُعَاءَ الرَّسُولِ بَيْنَكُمْ كَدُعَاءِ بَعْضِكُمْ بَعْضًا

 

the translation of which is, “Do not make your calling of the Messenger the same as your calling one another.”

 

أقول قولي هذا وأستغفر الله لي ولكم ولسائر المسلمين من كل ذنب فاستغفروه إنه هو الغفور الرَّحيم.

 

الحمد لله الحمد لله رب العالمين، وأشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له وأشهد أن محمداً عبده ورسوله، صلى الله وسلم وبارك عليه وعلى آله وصحبه، والتابعين وتابعي التابعين ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين. أما بعد! فيأيها الذين ءامنوا اتقوا الله ما استطعتم واسمعوا وأطيعوا وأنفقوا خيرا لأنفسكم. يا عباد الله أوصيكم وإياي بتقوى الله وطاعته وأحذركم وإياي عن معصيته ومخالفته. قال الله تعالى في كتابه الكريم:  ‫وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلى خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٍ

 

Allah says in his noble Book, the translation of which is, “Indeed you are truly vast in character.” adhim – inconceivably vast, worthy of greatness. Every noble human quality without exception was his, and not just in their basic sense but in their absolute fullest sense. He was the embodiment of every one of those qualities, the yardstick upon which we measure them, having encompassed their full gamut. People have written books, indeed whole series of books, listing and enumerating these qualities and describing them the best they can, but they have had to admit their incapacity of finding the words or completing the task. For he was truly vast in character. He outshone everyone and everything, whether that was in compassion, courage, beauty, generosity, knowledge or anything else. Qadi Iyad says in his glorious book, the Shifa,

“We have told you about some of his praiseworthy qualities, glorious virtues and attributes of perfection, and provided you with ample hadiths to show you that he truly had them. However, this matter itself is far more extensive than you can possibly know, so despite the fact that this chapter about him ranges far and wide, we have hardly even begun to exhaust all the proofs. The ocean of the knowledge of his qualities is overflowing, and is barely diminished by the small bucketfuls we have drawn from it.”

And if a book the like and size of the Shifa considers itself to be drawing mere bucketfuls from an ocean, then what can be said in a khutba? A drop, barely enough to wet the tongue. But in these times of drought, even that drop restores the signs of life, and hydrates the hearts of expectant lovers ever in need of a reminder. So let us remind ourselves of just a few of those qualities, inward and outward.

His beauty: Abu Hurayra said,

 

ما رأيت شيئا أحسن من رسول الله ﷺ كأن الشمس تجري في وجهه،

 

“I have not seen anything more beautiful than the Messenger of Allah. It was as if the sun was shining in his face.” In other words, his face was like a light shining forth. Those who saw him for the first time or after some time could not help but be filled with awe, as Sayyidina Ali said.

His speech and words. He ﷺ never wasted words, but neither did he leave his Companions in uncomfortable silence. And the sound of his voice brought them peace and filled their hearts with joy. Umm Ma’bad said in her description of him,

 

حلو المنطق، فضل لا نزر و لا هذر، كأن منطقه خرزات نظمن وكان جهير الصوت، حسن النعمة ﷺ

 

“Sweet in speech, distinct, without using too few or too many words. It was as if his speech consisted of threaded pearls. His voice was strong and very melodious, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.”

His generosity:  Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah said,

ما سئل النبي ﷺ عن شيء فقال: لا

 

“The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was not asked for anything to which he said, ‘No.’ ” His constant state was one of giving, and it was his first thought when something came his way – which of his Companions had need of it. Whatever he received in the day was gone by the night. And even when he had nothing, he would borrow so he could give as is narrated in the Sahihayn.

His humility and lack of pride. The Prophet was never aloof and never considered himself above the day-to-day. He would mend his own clothes, sweep the floor and go to the shops himself to purchase what he needed. And he used to sit with the poor and needy, and attend personally to even the needs and servants and slaves. Anas said,

 

إن كانت الأمة من إماء أهل المدينة لتأخذ بيد رسول الله ﷺ فتنطلق به حيث شاءت حتى تقضي حاجتها

 

“Any of the female slaves in Madina could take the hand of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and lead him wherever she wished until what she needed was taken care of.”

And his courage: When there was danger threatening his people or threatening his deen, he was always the first to confront it. And when the situation grew difficult and there seemed a chance for defeat, he was always the last one standing firm. His courage never wavered, and his resolve never weakened. As Qadi Iyad said, “There is not a single courageous person who has not fled or turned at some point – except for him.” There is a great example of his bravery in the sira. One night, the people of Makka heard a great clamour and became alarmed, so they gathered themselves and made for the source of the disturbance. But on their way there, they met the Messenger of Allah on his way back with his sword hanging from his shoulders. He told them, “Do not be alarmed. It is only a horse of Abu Talha that got loose,” for he had already gone and investigated the disturbance.

These few qualities we have mentioned are but a small taste, but even they are enough to fill us with awe and appreciation for this great man whose umma we are privileged to be part of. We ask Allah to increase us in love of His noble Messenger and awareness of the true extent of his station, and we ask that He gives us a true love that translates into action and emulation of his sunna. We ask Him to place us among the ranks of those about whom the Prophet said,

من أشدِّ أمتي لي حبا ناسٌ يكونون بعدي يودُّ أحدهم لو رآني بأهله وماله

 

“Among those in my community with the strongest love for me are people who come after me, some of whom would have given up their family and wealth to have seen me.”

 

إِنَّ اللهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ، يَا أَيُهَا الذِينَ آمَنُواْ صَلُّواْ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُواْ تَسْلِيماً.

اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ وَسَلِّمْ وَبَارِكْ عَلَيْهِ وَعَلَى آلِهِ وَصَحْبِهِ  أَجْمَعِينَ. وَارْضَ اللَّهُمَّ عَنِ الْخُلَفَاءِ الرَّاشِدِينَ أَبِي بَكْرٍ وَعُمَرَ وَعُثْمَانَ وَعَلِيٍّ، وعن أم المومنين عائشة التي أمرنا الله في سورة النور أن ندافع عنها، وَعَنْ سَائِرِ الصَّحَابَةِ أَجْمَعِينَ، خُصُوصاً اِلأَنْصَارَ مِنْهُمْ وَالمُهَاجِرِينَ، وَعَنِ التَّابِعِينَ وَتَابِعِي التَّابِعِينَ وَمَنْ تَبِعَهُمْ بِإِحْسَانٍ إِلَى يَوْمِ الدِّينِ.

اللَّهُمَّ اهْدِ وُلَاةَ أُمُورِ المُسْلِمِينَ لِمَا يُرْضِيكَ وَلِاتِّبَاعِ سُنَّةِ نَبِيِّكَ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، وَثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَهُمْ عَلَى الصِّرَاطِ المُسْتَقِيمِ، وَأَصْلِحْهُمْ يَا رَبَّ الْعَالَمِينَ.

اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى شَيْخِنَا، وَعَلَى أَمِيرِنَا، وَعَلَى جَمِيعِ أُمَرَاءِ وَزُعَمَاءِ المُسْلِمِينَ.

اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى المُسْلِمِينَ فِي هَذِهِ المَدِينَةِ، وَوَفِّقْهُمْ لِمَا تُحِبُّهُ وَتَرْضَاهُ يَا أَكْرَمَ الأَكْرَمِينَ.

اللَّهُمَّ أَعِزَّ الإِسْلَامَ وَالمُسِْلمِينَ، وَاخْذُلِ الْكُفْرَ وَالْكَافِرِينَ، وَانْصُرِ المُجَاهِدِينَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللهِ. وَاجْعَلْ كَلِمََتَكَ هِيَ العُلْيَا وَكَلِمَةَ الْكُفْرِ هِيَ السُّفْلَى.

رَبَّنَا ءَاتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقَِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ.

إِنَّ اللهَ يَامُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبَى، وَيَنْهَى عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالمُنكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ، يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَّكَّرُونَ، وَلَذِكْرُ اللهِ أَكْبَرُ وَاللهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَصْنَعُونَ. وَقُومُواْ إِلَى صَلاتِكُمْ يَرْحَمُكُمُ اللهُ