Our Prophet: The Most Sublime, The Most Great
The Prophet’s Sublimity
Maulana Abul Hasan Attari Madani
‘اَنَا اَعْرَبُكُمْ، اَنَا قُرَشِیٌّ، وَاسْتُرْضِعْتُ فِی بَنِی سَعْدِ بْنِ بَكْرٍ’ ‘I am more eloquent than all of you; I am Qurayshi and I was nursed in Banu Sa’d,’ (Seerat-e-Ibn-e-Hishaam, p. 68)
Arabic in general is a rich language, distinguished by innumerable unique features but the vernaculars of Quraysh and Banu Sa’d held a distinct status in Arabia. Born to the Quraysh and spending his early years with the Banu Sa’d, the Messenger of Allah صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم had a deep bond with both tribes. Once, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ, who had encountered many dialects of Arabic through his extensive business trips, remarked, ‘Messenger of Allah صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم! I have not met anyone more eloquent than you.’ The Beloved Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم replied, ‘How could I not be eloquent when I am from the Quraysh, and I grew up with Banu Sa’d’. (Seerat-e-Halbiyyah, vol. 1, p. 131)
The annals of history have not seen anyone as articulate and eloquent as Allah’s Messenger صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم; the depth and potency of his words remains unmatched. Clear, articulate, and engaging, a handful of his words would envelope tides of meaning, akin to an ocean being contained in a pitcher.
In Tafseer Siraat-ul-Jinan, it is related that Shaykh Abdul Haq Muhaddis Dihlawi رَحْمَةُ اللهِ عَلَيْه said: ‘The Beloved Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم was the epitome of eloquence. His words were profound and his expressions unique, full of wisdom and decisive insight; rarely is a person able to grasp their entire depth. Neither is it possible to describe all of the Beloved Prophet’s qualities nor is it viable to replicate his words because Allah Almighty has not created anyone more articulate and well-spoken than him. Once, Sayyiduna Umar Bin Khattab رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ remarked, ‘Messenger of Allah صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم! You have not visited foreign lands, and you have not accompanied their people, then how did you acquire such eloquence?’ He صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم answered, ‘The language and lexis of Sayyiduna Isma’eel عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام, that had become extinct and lost, was brought to me by Sayyiduna Jibra’eel عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام which I then internalised.’ Moreover, he صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said, ‘My Lord taught me Adab, so this enhanced my Adab further.’ The discipline of Arabic that explores eloquence and rhetoric is called as Adab,’ (Madarij-un-Nubuwwah Persian, vol. 1, p. 10)
‘Allamah Abdul Mustafa A’zami رَحْمَةُ اللهِ عَلَيْه writes, ‘The blessed tongue of Allah’s Messenger صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم is the interpreter of divine revelation, the fountainhead of signs, and the treasury of miracles. Its eloquence and stylistics are inimitable. Seasoned linguists and rhetoricians were left amazed and astounded upon hearing it,’ (Seerat-e-Mustafa, p. 575)
A’la Hadrat Imam Ahmad Raza Khan رَحْمَةُ اللهِ عَلَيْه writes:
Tayray aagay yon hayn dabay luchay fusaha ‘arab kay baray baray
Koi janay muh mayn zaban nahin, nahin balkeh jisam mayn jaan nahin
Woh zuban jis ko sab kun ki kunji kahayn
Us ki naafiz hukumat pay lakhon Salam
Us ki piyari fasahat pay bay had Durood
Us ki dilkash balaghat pay lakhon Salam
(Hadaiq-e-Bakhshish, pp. 108, 302)
1400 years have passed since this Arabian Beloved graced the world with his words, yet scholars, jurists, Hadith experts, and linguists continue to expand and elaborate on his utterances. His speech, which contains layers of subtle meanings and deep implications, is described as Jawami’-ul-Kaalim. ‘Allamah Badr-ud-Deen Al-‘Ayni رَحْمَةُ اللهِ عَلَيْه explains this as, ‘Discourse which is concise but profound in meaning.’ In only a handful of the Beloved Prophet’s words, Allah Almighty enclosed vast meanings that were contained in entire divine scriptures before him,’ (‘Umda-tul-Qaari, vol. 10, p. 294, under the Hadith 2977).
This quality was unique to our Beloved Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم and not shared by the prophets before him. This is why he صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم stated: ‘اُعْطِیْتُ جَوَامِعَ الْکَلِم’ ‘I was gifted with concise but profound discourse,’ (Muslim, p. 210, Hadith 1167)
Some examples of his sublime eloquence and style are listed below:
A companion once requested, ‘Advise me with a counsel that I can act upon throughout my life, and it should not be too long, lest I forget it.’ The Epitome of Eloquence صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم replied with only two words: ‘لَا تَغْضَبْ’ ‘Do not get angry,’ (Muwatta Imam Maalik, vol. 2, p. 405, Hadith 1726)
In another incident, a person asked, ‘Messenger of Allah صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم! Advise me.’ So, he صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم told him not to get angry. The individual later said about this, ‘As soon as the Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم uttered these words, I pondered over them, concluding that anger gathers all evils. Meaning, anger is a compilation of evils,’ (Musnad-e-Ahmad, vol. 9, p. 57, Hadees 23231).
On one occasion, while advising people about mercy, he صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم shared these words: ‘مَنْ لاَ يَرْحَمُ لاَ يُرْحَمُ’ ‘He who does not show mercy to creation, will not be shown mercy,’ (Bukhari, vol. 4, p. 103, Hadith 6013)
Furthermore, in only four words, copious morals and wisdoms were gathered that continue to provide guidance to leaders, managers, and other responsible persons.
He صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said: ‘سَيِّدُ القَوْمِ خَادِمُهُم’ ‘The leader of a people is a servant to them,’ (Kanz-ul-‘Ummal, part. 8, vol. 5, p. 18, Hadith 24829)
In a single sentence, he صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم summed up the key to prosperity in all aspects of life: ‘لَا ضَرَرَ وَلَا ضِرَارَ’ ‘Do not cause harm and do not be harmed,’ (Ibn-e-Majah, vol. 3, p. 106, Hadith 2341)
In one instance, he صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم explained in two words how a person can be safe in both worlds: ‘اَسْلِمْ تَسْلَمْ’ ‘Accept Islam and you will be safe,’ (Ibn-e-Majah, vol. 1, p. 67, Hadith 87)
These are a few examples, otherwise the compendiums of Hadith and Seerah are filled with marvels of the Beloved Messenger’s eloquence and miraculous speech.