Allah describes the noble messenger (pbuh) as the “best of exemplars”. We would do well to study his Sunnah and Sirah properly to imbibe his lofty characteristics in our lives. Many Muslims expect the world to respect the Prophet they ignore.
The Qur’an is not a biography of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), but Allah (swt) describes His beloved Messenger (pbuh) in the most beautiful terms in the noble Book. He is the “best of exemplars” (33:21), with “the most lofty character” (68:04), and a “mercy to all the worlds” (21:107). He is the one who has “brought glad tidings inviting people to Allah” (33:45) “to bring them out of darkness and into light” (65:11).
The Saudis have repeatedly brought up the subject of destroying the Green Dome over the Prophet’s (saws) tomb and relocate his body from there. How diabolical can they get?
The Saudis do not consider anything to be sacred. In their drive to build concrete and steel structures so that the so-called royals can make money, they are planning to demolish the last vestiges of Prophetic history. Now they have plans to demolish the house where the Prophet (pbuh) was believed to have been born. A massive shopping complex will be built on the site.
How the Prophet (saws) acquired and exercise power is an aspect of the Sirah that has not been properly studied by Muslims. There is need to look at both the soft and hard power dimensions of the Sirah. Muslims celebrate the birthday of the noble Messenger of Allah (pbuh) in the month of Rabi‘ al-Awwal. These often include na‘at and nasheed recitals. Lectures, if included, narrate the miracles he performed. There is, however, seldom any discussion of the power dimensions in the Sirah as part of his life-struggle. Zafar Bangash, Director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought, discusses some of these issues.
We try, with Allah’s help, to approximate the vital and life giving meanings of Allah and His Prophet to you as should be the case and as should be the communication effort at a time like this on a day like this. We have been throughout the many many khutbahs in the past trying our best to concentrate on rehabilitating our thoughts about Allah, His Prophet, Islam Iman, Al Amal As Salih, jihad, leadership, etc. and in light of that we will, (as we did in the last khutbah), select some words from the Prophet’s farewell address and try to reconsider their meanings anew. The Prophet of Allah in khutbah al wada’ said oh people- verily Ash Shaytaan is in despair; he has given up that he should ever be the object of your ibadah in this land forever... Now what does these words mean?
We follow in the footsteps of Allah's Prophet as he teaches us and all generations how to socially and politically and militarily behave but some Muslims display an attitude and a behavior even though they confess with their tongues and with their words their dedication to Allah's Prophet but when it comes to their actions and their policies they act in a different manner. We followed Allah's Prophet as he was moving in on Makkah. He was expelled from Makkah under a death threat. He went to Yathrib which became his Madinah and during seven and eight years the legitimacy of Islam began to nibble at the illegitimacy of the Mushriks. And finally we spoke about, (what we called), Umrah Al Hudaybiyah and Umrah Al Qada'. One of the stipulations of the Hudaybiyah agreement was Muslims will be permitted the following year to go to Makkah or to come to Makkah to perform their Umrah. Now we take a closer look at what happened when the Muslims now were performing their Umrah in Makkah.
We are living in developing times. We try our best to address (or) to speak to and to speak of these developments through our understanding of Allah and His Prophet. We have been, (in the past khutbahs), taking a closer look at some details that have been pushed aside through the pressures of tradition and monotony. We will try to continue on this course (to) relate those times with these times. We spoke in the last khutbah about what we call umrah Al Hudaybiyah. The Umrah that preceded which many Muslims are at least technically familiar with what is called Al Hudaybiyah. We said that around one-thousand-and-four-hundred Muslims went out from Al Madinah to Makkah in a peaceful, nonbelligerent manner. We also said that the history of Allah's Prophet before that was a history of civil protests or civil disobedience. This does not come through to the average Muslim of our time.
To begin this Khutbah I would like to preface it with the following remark: many times traditional Muslims or cultural Muslims or ritualistic Muslims try to look at things through to their myopic sights and one of the issues that they try to dwell upon in as far as our presence and our Khutbah here is on Friday is the Khateeb or the Imam does not quote very often the sayings and the statements of Allah's Prophet. For those of you who have been living this extended Friday in all of these years you probably came to realize that we concentrate more on what the Prophet did than on what he is reported to have said. We want the Muslims to transition from saying “the Prophet said this…” to understanding that the Prophet requires us to do this. This in a nut shell is the difference between those who live in an Islamic religion of tradition and those who live out an Islamic conviction and ideology.
We will continue to accompany Allah’s Prophet and to understand where we have in the past failed to understand him. In the past hundred, two hundred years we suffered from a failure in understanding him. We seek to rehabilitate ourselves, to refresh our minds (and) to energize our conscience (and) to understand what he stood for. The Prophet of Allah, we all know, reached a time in which it was no longer possible to have a peaceful of even a normal relationship between him and those who are with him on one side in Makkah and the rest of Makkah on the other side. There comes a time when this has to happen. If this doesn’t happen in our lives then there is a failure on our part to fulfil the character of Allah’s Prophet which he left for us.
Before we quote some ayaat we want to say that when Muslims work for Allah, they are not working in a vacuum; when Muslims sacrifice their time and effort it does not go un-noticed by Allah. The Prophet of Allah and the sacrificing and struggling Muslims with him endured, put-up with whatever pressures came their way. We think we looked, (as far as we could), into the first few years of that struggle that would change the face of the world in the years to come. What happens is it is not only Allah who tales notice of what His obedient subjects are doing, it is also the Shayateen of An Ins and Al Jinn who are also taking notice of what committed Muslims are doing. In the heart and mind of Muslims of taqwa it doesn’t matter what Shayateen An Ins and Al Jinn are saying or doing.
We all know after the first two or three years after the Prophet received the first words from Allah he and those who were with him were discreet about what they had received from Allah. They kept it to themselves more-or-less and around the third year after Al Wahy or the first tanzeel of ayaat- after about three years- the Prophet and those who were with him began to vocalize and publicize the ayaat that they were receiving from Allah. From about the third year to about the seventh year- this period could be called the period of going public with the Qur’an. If we took a look at this time period we would realize that the even though when committed Muslims who were with Allah’s Prophet- who were about thirty-to-forty- went public with this message and they were persecuted and they were put under tremendous pressure, they were on, (what we call in today’s language), the defensive they didn’t go back to the period in which they were underground.
We all concede that we are the followers of Allah’s Prophet but many of us cannot see the difference and the discrepancy between the life of Allah’s Prophet and our own lives. Many of us want to get away with asserting that “we are truly committed and devout and sincere and devoted Muslims” when the facts that are around disclaim that. We said, and we will continue to remind you by saying, that the challenge in the lifetime of Allah’s Prophet came because he took issue with the validity, the legality, the legitimacy and the morality of the Establishment and the system inside of Makkah and inside of Arabia and inside of the world. Because of that he suffered in the twenty-three years or so of his struggle to explain the words of Allah without deviation, without compromise, without fear, without favour, without cutting corners, without circumventing the issues like so many in today’s world who fancy themselves as Muslims but who are doing exactly what the Prophet did not do.
Such are the problems and crises facing Muslims in the world today that many Muslims become deeply pessimistic, even hopeless, about the future of the Ummah. In his talk at a Milad Conference in Pretoria last month, ZAFAR BANGASH, Director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought, highlighted the centrality of optimism in the Seerah.
This month - Rabi al-Awwal in the Hijri calendar - sees celebrations of the birth of the Prophet (saw) all over the Muslim world. In this article, ZAFAR BANGASH, Director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought (ICIT), discusses some key elements of the Seerah.
Muslims need to study the Seerah from its proper perspective: as a guide for us to plan our lives, both collectively and individually, especially by which to acquire power and the ability to do and achieve in the world.
Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala says that the Messenger, upon whom be peace, was sent with clear signs and guidance in order to bring those who commit themselves to Allah, and undertake the tasks commanded by Him to maintain peace, justice and balance in society, out of darkness and into light (65:11)...
The study of the Seerah of the Prophet (saw) to learn lessons relevant to the contemporary Islamic movement is a major project of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought. Here, IMAM MUHAMMAD AL-'ASI, of Washington DC, discusses the centrality of Makkah in the strategy of the Prophet’s Seerah, and its implications for Muslims today.