لَقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِي رَسُولِ اللَّهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ
سُبْحَانَ رَبِّكَ رَبِّ الْعِزَّةِ عَمَّا يَصِفُونَ
وَسَلَامٌ عَلَى الْمُرْسَلِينَ
وَالْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ
Many Muslims remember RasoolAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم more in this month of Rabbi-ul-awwal. The reality is that every single day of our live is a day for us to remember Mustafa صلى الله عليه وسلم; is a day for us to celebrate and commemorate and give thanks to Allah سبحانه وتعالى for Blessing us with him. From the moment we have had iman and till the moment we live as his ummati; every single moment we should celebrate that identity and reflect how we can become a better ummati.
Allah سبحانه وتعالى has used such a beautiful word in the Qur’an-e-karim to define the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. We would think that sayingnabi was enough but so that people understand what is the concept of nabbuwat; Allah سبحانه وتعالى used the word: أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ
It is very important to understand this because many Muslims today have become distant from the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم’s Sunnah; distance from Hadith – Part of the reason is because they don’t view the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم to be an أُسْوَةٌ . They have developed their own understanding of Prophethood; of nabuwwat which is different from the Qur’anic definition of the word أُسْوَةٌ . So, this word أُسْوَةٌ means that Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم is an ideal; a model; an example that everybody should emulate and imitate that is called أُسْوَةٌ! Imitate is a word used to follow zahir. Emulate means to pattern yourself after anyone. So, we have to follow both the zahir and the batin of Sayyidina RasoolAllah saw; that would mean to follow his أُسْوَةٌ. That would mean that when celebrating his birth, we should actually pause and think that should we reflect on the tragedy that is our life – for the real tragedy is that we as his ummatis have failed to follow the أُسْوَةٌ of our nabi صلى الله عليه وسلم. We as his followers have failed to follow the life and the role model of our nabi-e-karim صلى الله عليه وسلم – and thats what demands reflection, and thats what demands our focus.
This is the great legacy that the Sahaba-e-karam ra had left us that they were the greatest followers of Nabi-e-karim صلى الله عليه وسلم . They were the living embodiments of his teachings. And we have to make ourselves as much a living embodiment of his teachings as the Sahaba-e-karaam were.
Many people have a misunderstanding about the Sunnah which is that they think that the Sunnah of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلمis something that is extra, all they have to do is follow the Qur’an – follow the faraidh, wajibaat i.e the mandatory and obliogatory acts of worship but they don’t need to follow the sunnah of RasoolAllahi صلى الله عليه وسلم or they feel that the Sunnah is something for the Ullema and the Awliya.
I would suggest that ever since this ummah began thinking along those lines that following the sunnah is not for every member of the ummah; whereas following fhe sunnah is for some special group called “The Ullema and Awliya” – ever since then this ummah has become downtrodden and oppressed and an outcast from the world because we have left the Sunnah of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. Ever since the ummah left that: families are broken, the hearts of the wives are broken; the hearts of the parents are broken; the hearts of the children are broken; the hearts of the teachers are broken; the hearts of the students are broken. Every failure can be traced back to the sunnah of RasoolAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم because Allah سبحانه وتعالى has placed every blessing every benefit in following the Sunnah. So, just because every single blessing and benefit lies in following the sunnah, every single failure in life can be connected and traced somehow to the failure in following the sunnah. There is no failure that a Muslim can have on earth [not a failure that is part of the Will of Allah سبحانه وتعالى] but there is no failure that a muslim earns unless it is by leaving some aspect of the sunnah of nabi-e-karim صلى الله عليه وسلم.
Nowadays, people are always focusing and talking about their success that how they can succeed, prosper, excel..etc, but they have forgotten that for a Muslim the key to all of these things lies in following the Sunnah of Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. We should know that even the small Sunnahs, even the minute, mundane and trivial Sunnahs [which are not words that can be used to described the Sunnah, but this is how people refer to them] even these Sunnahs have oceans of Qurb towards Allah سبحانه وتعالى; oceans of ‘ilm & ma’rifah within them, oceans of mehboobiat of Allah سبحانه وتعالى – and thats why this is a time to revive the Sunnah of Nabi-e-karim صلى الله عليه وسلم. And, this is what Nabi-e-karim صلى الله عليه وسلم predicted that:
“The Deen of Islam will enter this world as a stranger and it will leave this world as a stranger”
And, one of the aspects of the Deen of Islam that has become a stranger is the Sunnah. RasoolAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم mentions in another hadith that:
“A person who revives even a single Sunnah, will be raised as 70 martyrs on the Day of Judgment”
In Canada, recently there was a conference happening on reviving the Islamic Spirit and everybody had their own definition of what was meant by the Islamic Spirit – and it is tragedic that we think that we can intellectually or philosophically identify what the Spirit of Islam is when Allah سبحانه وتعالى in the Qur’an-e-karim has revealed for us clearly what that spirit is – and the Spirit of Islam is the Sunnah of RasoolAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم.
And so, what we really need is reviving the Sunnah concept or the Sunnah outlook – whether that is the Sunnah of Marriage; or it is the Sunnah of interpersonal relations; or the Sunnah of Ibadah; or the Sunnah tawakkul; or the Sunnah love for Allah سبحانه وتعالى; or even the Sunnah of knowing people well – that RasoolAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم knew the Sahaba-e-karam ra very well and specially those from whom he صلى الله عليه وسلم took special khidmat-e-deen from – he صلى الله عليه وسلم assigned them tasks that were best suited to them. He صلى الله عليه وسلم knew that Ubai’ ibn-e-kaab ra was best suited for qira’at & tillawat; that Abu huraira ra was best suited to be among the ashaab-e-suffah; that Mu’ad ibn-e-jabal ra was best suited to be sent to yemen as a faqih – so this is another aspect of the Sunnah: “Teacher-Student relationship” so to revive the Sunnah of teacher student relationship that was there between RasoolAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم and the Sahaba-e-karaam radiallahu ta’ala anhum ajmaeen. We have seen this is many young Muslims, even young pious Muslims, even young Muslims who are Ullema – who are budding Ullema, students of knowledge or graduates of knowledge, graduates of dar-ul-ulooms and Madressas, – because they didn’t have this Sunnah Student-Teacher relationship with somebody to be their Mentor or their Guide – they are not able to do khidmat of the Deen, sometimes they are not not even able to stay on Deen. So, its not just about the Sunnah learning but its also about the Sunnah living, a Sunnah Lifestyle – living the Sunnah Life of Rasool Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم and reviving his mission; his fiqr – his worry was not that people would celebrate his birthday, his mission was not that people would recite poetry on him; his worry was that people give up their nafs, wishes, desires and passions to live a life that is like his and a life according to his teachings – that was what he صلى الله عليه وسلم was worried about.
We have to bring that same concern in our heart; in the heart of all of the believers of this Ummah; in the hearts of all the families across the world. Really, this is the time that we should be reflect on the life and teachings of RasoolAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم. Even on this program, many times, we have talks on the Sunnah love of Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, the beauty of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, how the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم was the beloved of Allah سبحانه وتعالى, how he صلى الله عليه وسلم was the greatest creation made by Allah سبحانه وتعالى – all of these things are not just there for us to listen to and enjoy, but they are meant to change our heart. To believe that Allah سبحانه وتعالى made him with the most beauty, that He made him صلى الله عليه وسلم His beloved, that He made loving and remembering him صلى الله عليه وسلم part of our Deen, that He has made sending salawat on him صلى الله عليه وسلم part of our Deen – the reason Allah سبحانه وتعالى did that, so that we would be connected to Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, so that we would be emotionally, spiritually motivated to connect ourselves to him, to connect ourselves to his Sunnah. This is the transition that they fail to make. They love talking about Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, they love reciting poetry about Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, they cry in response to that poetry but when they leave that gathering and go back to their life they don’t have the motivation to change their lifestyle, so I would say that any poetry, any gathering in which that motivation to become like Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم is not instilled in a person, that poetry and gathering is absolutely a waste, is completely wasteful and fruitless.
So, what we need to do is to organize gatherings in which people learn about Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم’s life, his beauty, his beloved-ness, and loving him and remembering him – all of that topics that push a person to live according to his Sunnah. This is, sometimes, one of the most lacking things in our ummah and it is unfortunate that even many gatherings that are outwardly claimed to have been organized around the love and remembrance of Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, they don’t impart that feeling inside a person’s heart.
One of the, perhaps greatest, needs of this age is the Sunnah of Marriage. One of the areas in which Muslims are extremely misguided and they are extremely astray is how to marry one another, and once they are married how to be with one another as husband and wife, how to treat one another, etc – all of these things the Muslims are so misguided on and one major reason is because they have left the Sunnah teachings of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم in these matters.
This is what I wanted to talk about today i.e. the importance of following the Sunnah teachings of Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم such that making it one’s mission in life to live according to the Sunnah. This has to be practical, realist, pragmatic approach to following the Sunnah; as opposed to just theoretical, spiritual, emotional approach. That practicality entails that a person has to really research, read hadith books, listen to Ullema and identify actual distinct and discreet Sunnahs that they are not doing in their life and to one by one; step by step, add those Sunnahs to their life whether it is Sunnah dua or the Sunnah way of dressing, whether it is the Sunnah way of eating, whether it is the Sunnah way of talking, whether it is the Sunnah way of walking or whether it is any of the adaab, ikhlaq that Nabi-e-karim صلى الله عليه وسلم had towards others or it is any of the kaifiat; the spiritual states that he had towards Allah سبحانه وتعالى – one has to practically go and identify them one by one and make a practical program, keep some instructions, keep a tutor and learn how to mold one’s self according to that Sunnah of Nabi-e-karim صلى الله عليه وسلم.
I will just mention one of these attributes for tonight, called: Zuhad.
Zuhad means: “To be a person who is not in love with this world” – a person whose emotional attachments and passions are all based on the aakhirah; are based on Allah سبحانه وتعالى; are based on the relationship with Allah سبحانه وتعالى; are based on their Deen; are based on their Ibadah – and therefore because all of their emotions and passions are taken up and occupied by that, they don’t have emotion and passion for the material things in this world. So, maybe they will have emotions and passion for their spouse, family, friends and teachers but they won’t have any emotions and passions for any of the material things of this world be that car, or homes, or clothing etc. Then, even when they have these things they are not emotionally attached to them.
This Sunnah was practiced by the Sahaba so tremendously in their life that even after the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم passed away, when the Sahaba-e-karaam went on to build a vast Islamic Empire, and a lot of treasures of this world fell at their feet – they were entirely disinterested in material pursuits. Then, after the time of Sahaba-e-karam ra, that began to decline and this decline happened rapidly. And the Muslims of this world are only and only oppressed because they don’t have zuhad. If they didn’t have this love for the dunya, if they weren’t attached their wealth, money, cars etc – and instead had zuhad and used that money for the sake of Deen then the Muslims would not be behind in this world.
We have fallen into a big trap of the love of this world, this is precisely what RasoolAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: hubbu-dunya ra’asa kulli khatea’a - that the love of this world is the source of every single error, every single sin.
We should think about it; try to trace back and check our actions, that how are they related to love for this world – what was the dunya that I was loving in my heart when I do that sin – maybe it was the love for physical beauty, maybe it was the love for fame, maybe it was the love for praise, there is something that is there. So, we should try to find where this love lies in our heart and try to remove it and replace it with the Sunnah attribute of Zuhad: of being in the world but not of this world, making functional use of this world, but having no emotional attachment to the world.
And I think this Sunnah must really be implemented by all the Muslims specially those living a comfortable lives in an affluent Society [ like in UK, Canada, Bahrain, South Africa etc] – they really need to analyze themselves and track how much love for the world has peeped into their heart and to practically remove that love and live a Sunnah, nabawi life of Zuhad or of being disengaged or detached of the world.
May Allah سبحانه وتعالى enable each and every one of us to follow the Sunnah of Nabi-e-karim صلى الله عليه وسلم, may He enable us to practically follow its teachings because only then we can spiritually benefit and emotionally feel the beauty of those teachings. Theres no way a person can generally be on a high of the love for Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, when they do not follow the practical aspects of the Sunnah. May Allah سبحانه وتعالى Accept this intention from us in this month.
[These are just some highlights derived from the beautiful tazkya talk by Shaykh Kamaluddin Ahmed db on 17-02-2011]