Knowledge is light
The Prophetic Biography
Abun-Noor Rashid Ali Attari Madani
Whenever there is the objective to align an individual or a nation with a set of principles and to mould their character so that it complies with a specific framework, it is necessary to present before them a practical example of such an exemplary and accomplished human whose conduct embodies those very principles. To merely elaborate on principles, thoughts and ideologies, no matter in how much detail it may be, would not be sufficient. When someone exhibits these principles and guidance practically, the human mind naturally inclines towards accepting them, and there remains no room of doubt or objection in acting upon those principles.
The majestic Quran is a complete code of life. For as long as this world remains, the Quran will remain a source of guidance. It remains a form of legal governance for every aspect of mankind’s daily life. The Quran is the perfect guide on human character, knowledge, action and all individual, communal, economical and societal facets. This perfect guide (i.e. the Holy Quran) has declared the Holy Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم a perfect practical role model for us. When we advance towards learning about the merciful Prophet’s صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم blessed character and conduct, we come across the following saying of the mother of the believers, the pure and chaste, Sayyidatuna ‘Aaishah Siddiqah رَضِیَ اللهُ عَنْهَا: ‘كَانَ خُلُقُهُ الْقُرْآنَ’ i.e. ‘The Quran is (actually) the mention of his character.’ (Musnad Ahmad, vol. 9, p. 380, Hadees: 24655)
In summary, if one desires to learn of and understand the Prophet’s صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم blessed character and biography, then it is essential to read the Quran. And if one wishes to act upon the Quran, then it is necessary to read the biography of the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم, which stands as a perfect example. Generally speaking, it is very important for every individual who desires to know, understand and act upon Islam to consult the prophetic biography; however, for a Muslim, this is a religious necessity.
Understand the benefit and significance of the Prophet’s صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم biography by considering the fact that in the short period of 23 years from when he صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم announced his Prophethood until he (apparently) passed away, he صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم underwent the different circumstances and experiences that people usually can go through.
Today, our lives have become afflicted by ill-character. Praiseworthy characteristics are disappearing from our society. Which defect do we find ourselves void of? There is not a single vice that a large number of people are not involved in. Reflecting over this will reveal that the major cause for this misguidance and downfall amongst the Muslims is due to adopting the way of others and the shortcoming in our knowledge of the Prophet’s صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم biography. For 16 to 20 years, not only do we cover worldly syllabuses, but we read a plethora of other materials from cover to cover, such as booklets and novels. However, we will not have read the complete biography of our Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم. Remember, reading the Prophet’s صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم biography not only extracts us from the realms of baseness but also benefits individuals, the community, the economy and society as a whole as well.
General benefits of reading the Prophetic biography
The greatest benefit of reading about his blessed life is that it kindles the flame of love from within. This is the very flame that will aid one in the darkness of the grave and the Bridge of Siraat.
All the necessary components that a preacher may require to guide and rectify a community can be found in the prophetic biography. When someone who strives to reform himself and others refers to the prophetic biography, he sees the emergence of an exemplary preacher who calls people towards Allah Almighty with wisdom in a fine manner. Moreover, he assiduously conveys Allah’s message to people.
Reading the Prophet’s صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم life unveils the profound effect of his preaching, which in such a short period of time, transformed the illiterate people of the Arabian Peninsula into scholarly elites and shining stars of guidance. Furthermore, small businessmen who would sell on street stalls and in the markets brought a revolution in international economics.
If a father studies the prophetic biography, he comes to learn of how a daughter should be educated and brought up. He will discover the etiquette of vising his daughter’s home after she is married. He will see the manner that he ought to adopt with his son-in-law. And he will also learn how to be patient if an enemy brings grief to his children.
If a son studies the life of the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم, never mind the respect offered to one’s biological mother, he will even ascertain the level of respect shown to a wet nurse who fed him her milk. He will also come across the mention of being mindful of parent’s rights even after they have passed away.
If a husband consults the prophetic biography, he comes to learn of how the Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم simultaneously fulfilled the rights of his honourable wives duly. He صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم spoke of this manner himself where he said: ‘خَيْرُكُمْ خَيْرُكُمْ لِأَهْلِهِ، وَأَنَا خَيْرُكُمْ لِأَهْلِی’ ‘The best amongst you is the one who is best to his household, and I am best amongst you all to my household.’ (Tirmizi, vol. 5, p. 475, Hadees: 3921)
If the young generation reads the Prophet’s صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم life when he was in his youth, they will find an exemplary youngster of a high rank with a pure and unblemished conduct. They will learn of an exemplary young man who was trustworthy not only with his own but also with others. Such was his character that even his enemies would refer to him as the one who is truthful and trustworthy.
If you are the leader of a house, organisation, tribe or area, the prophetic biography will provide you with a solid system and an established way of managing affairs.
Reading his biography unveils not only his adherence to the commands and prohibitions [of Allah Almighty], but also his relationship with his Lord Almighty, his remembrance of Allah Almighty, his reliance, certainty, humility, humbleness, love towards the creation, asceticism, self-reliance, conviction, perseverance, assiduity and enthusiasm for martyrdom.
To present proof of being a true devotee of the Prophet and to better this life and the Hereafter, every Muslim should read the blessed biography of Allah’s Final Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم and act upon it wholeheartedly. In order to learn about the prophetic biography, in addition to reading the works of reliable authentic or scholars of the Ahl-us-Sunnah, the following publications of Maktaba-tul-Madinah should also be consulted: Seerat Mustafa, Faizan-e-Mi’raaj, Madani Aaqa kay Roshan Fayslay, Noor ka Khilona, The Dawn of Blessings, A Horrific Camel, An Aged (Idol) Worshipper, Abu Jahl ki Maut, Dark Skinned Slave, Madani Infant, Luminous Face and the Faizan-e-Madinah magazine’s issues of Rabi’-ul-Awwal.
May Allah Almighty give us the Taufeeq to read the biography of His Final Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم and act upon it.
اٰمِیْن بِجَاہِ النَّبِیِّ الْاَمِیْن صلَّی اللہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلَّم