Our Sublime Prophet
The Prophet’s Sublimity
Maulana Abul Hasan Attari Madani
In the previous issue, we learned that the Beloved Prophet’s mercy has two aspects: i. teaching mercy and compassion to others and; ii. being merciful and compassionate. Having already explored the first aspect in relative detail, this month, we delve deeper into the second aspect.
2. His personal display of mercy and compassion
As we already know, the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم was not only sent as a mercy to his own Ummah but to the entire universe. All creatures availed something of his universal mercy:
Mercy for His Nation
He صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم was so merciful and compassionate towards his nation that the Lord of the Universe addressed his Ummah thus:
لَقَدْ جَآءَكُمْ رَسُوْلٌ مِّنْ اَنْفُسِكُمْ عَزِیْزٌ عَلَیْهِ مَا عَنِتُّمْ حَرِیْصٌ عَلَیْكُمْ بِالْمُؤْمِنِیْنَ رَءُوْفٌ رَّحِیْمٌ(۱۲۸)
‘Indeed, there has come to you that Messenger from amongst yourselves; heavy upon him is your suffering, he immensely desires your wellbeing; utmost kind, merciful for the Muslims.’
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 11, Surah Taubah, Verse 128)
In this blessed verse, Allah Almighty describes four qualities of the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم, all of which relate to his mercy towards his Ummah:
1. عَزِیۡزٌ عَلَیۡہِ مَا عَنِتُّمۡ - heavy upon him is your suffering;
2. حَرِیۡصٌ عَلَیۡکُمۡ - he immensely desires your wellbeing;
3. رَءُوۡفٌ - utmost kind;
4. رَّحِیۡمٌ - merciful.
How merciful and generous is our master who was concerned about his nation from the time he arrived in this world to his departure from it. He sacrificed his nights, spending them in prostration before Allah Almighty, pleading for his Ummah to be forgiven and saved. This is the prophet who would distribute Paradise among people; the prophet who, despite being cognizant of his lofty rank, wept out of mercy and compassion for his nation upon learning that many of his Ummah will be admitted into the Hellfire.
He صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم spoke of the boundless mercy he has towards his Ummah in the following words:
My example is like that of a man who lit a fire, and when that fire illuminated the surrounding area, moths and insects began to fall into it, so he stopped them from falling into the fire but they overwhelmed him and fell into the fire in droves. This is my example and your example; I am grasping your backs and preventing you from falling into Hell and saying to you, ‘Do not go towards Hell! Do not go towards Hell!’ but you people do not listen to me and [like the moths falling into the fire] are falling into Hell. (Sahih Muslim, p. 965, Hadith 5957)
His mercy for children, birds, animals, and non-Muslims
If a child would begin crying during Salah, he صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم would shorten the prayer, in consideration for the mother and what she would be feeling. (Sahih Al-Bukhāri, vol. 1, p. 253, Hadith 709)
Ponder the extent to which his heart was brimming with mercy; choosing to shorten his worship and intimate communion with his Lord for the sake of a child and its mother.
When someone once took a bird’s chick, the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم became restless after seeing the bird become restlessness for her chick. He immediately had the chick returned to her. (Sunan Abī Dāwūd, vol. 3, p. 245, Hadith 3089)
In a miraculous event, a camel complained to him صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم about being underfed and overburdened. The Merciful Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم immediately comforted it and alleviated its problems. (Sunan Abī Dāwūd, vol. 3, p. 32, Hadith 2549)
Not only this, rather, he صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم encouraged us to be gentle towards the animal which is to be slaughtered and to put it at ease by not sharpening the knife in front of it and to slaughter it with a sharp knife so as to cause it minimal pain and distress. (Sahih Muslim, p. 832, Hadith 5055)
Even those ill-behaved disbelievers who threw stones at him, causing him to bleed profusely, experienced his mercy. The angels were at the ready to destroy those wicked souls, had the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم desired that, however, our merciful and compassionate Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم responded, ‘I have hope that Allah Almighty will bring forth from their loins such people that will worship Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ alone and will not engage in polytheism.’ (Sahih al-Bukhāri, vol. 2, p. 386, Hadith 3831)
Someone once asked him to supplicate against the disbelievers, to which he صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم replied, ‘I was not sent as a curser; I was sent as a mercy.’ (Sahih Muslim, P. 1074, Hadith 6613)
A poet captured the sublimity of his mercy in these verses:
رَبّاكَ رَبُّكَ جَلَّ مَنْ رَبَّاكَا
وَرَعَاكَ فِیْ كُنُفِ الْهُدٰى وَحَمَاكَا
Your Lord raised you, how sublime is the One who raised you,
And raised you in the shade of guidance and supported you.
سُبْحَانَه اَعْطَاكَ فَيْضَ فَضَائِل
لَمْ يُعْطِهَا فِی الْعَالَمِيْنَ سِوَاكَا
Glory be to the One who granted you such tremendous virtues,
That none besides you were given the likes of them in the entire universe.
سَوَّاكَ فِیْ خُلُقٍ عَظِيْمٍ وَارْتَقٰى
فِيْكَ الْجَمَال فَجَلَّ مَنْ سَوَّاكَا
He made you a beautiful exemplar of noble character,
And granted you great beauty, so how sublime is the Lord who made you sublime.
سُبْحَانَه اَعْطَاكَ خَيْرَ رِسَالَةٍ
فِی الْعَالَمِيْنَ بِهَا نُشِرَت هَدَاكَا
Glory be to Him; He gave you the best message,
Through which your guidance spread across the worlds.
وَحَبَاكَ فِی يَومِ الْحِسَابِ شَفَاعَةً
مَحْمُوْدَةً مَّا نَالَهَا اِلَّاكَا
He granted you intercession and the station of praise on the Day of Judgment
Which none besides you will receive.
اللهُ اَرْسَلَكُمْ اِلَيْنَا رَحْمَةً
مَا ضَلّ مَنْ تَبِعَتْ خُطَاهُ خُطَاكَا
Allah sent you as a mercy to us,
Those who follow your footsteps never go astray.