Before dealing with the subject we must bear in mind that a description of the Prophet’s life and Seerah should not be treated as a matter of theoretical importance or as a philosophical discourse or even as a mere devotional act. It has in fact a great lesson, which is of immense value for all Muslim brothers and sisters. It brought about a refreshing and righteous thorough change in the lives of early converts to Islam possesses even now the capacity and capability of transforming the character and conduct of the Muslims of to-day, provided they are determined to take a lesson from the life of the Prophet.
But if there is no such resolve then we shall go on in the usual way without realizing what the mission of the Prophet was, what was its significance and importance for the world, what is its relevance today, what beneficial role it can play in solving the problems confronting the humanity in the twentieth century, how it would go on benefiting the future generations of man till the end of this world, how the early converts to Islam fulfilled that noble mission, and what is the responsibility of the present day Ummah in regard to that noble message of Tauheed. If we have the firm determination like that of the early converts to Islam, to benefit from the Seerat of the Prophet and then only then it will certainly mould all departments of our life, like those of the companions of the Prophet, and no aspect thereof shall remain outside the purview of the Prophet’s life sketch.
We should bear in mind that the Quran is the mirror in which the full-fledged life-picture of the Prophet can be seen. No other book in the world is so authentic and genuine as the Quran in giving a faithful description of the life and Seerat of the Holy Prophet. It is admitted on all hand – seven by the worst enemies of Islam – that the Quran has come down to us as complete as it was revealed to the Holy Prophet and not even a syllable thereof has been changed or tampered with during the last fourteen centuries. It is as intact today as it was during the lifetime of and at the time when the Prophet passed away from this world. Nothing has been subtracted from and nothing added to the original version. Hence there is not the least possibility today of any error creeping in the Quran which might tarnish the beautiful image of the Prophet described therein.
The saying of Hazrat Aisha (R.A.) fully corroborates the statement made by me that the Quran faithfully mirrors the life of the Prophet and it also establishes the fact that the Seerat of the Prophet and the Quran are essentially synonymous. It is therefore the Quran that we must turn to for guidance in every matter, individual or collective, social, economic, political etc, if we want to study and benefit from the life of the Prophet; By sincerely following the Quran in its entirety we shall be following the Holy Prophet, if we overlook the Quran or recite it for the sake of reciting or study just as some non-Muslims also do, and not with the sole object of metamor phasising ourselves, then we shall go astray from the path shown and treaded by the Prophet. The importance of the Quran vis-a-vis the life and Seerat of the Prophet must therefore be clearly understood and appreciated.
A study of the Quran will however show that Allah has emphasized:
“Say, (O Muhammad, to mankind): If you love Allah, follow me; Allah will love you and forgive your sins. Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.” (3:31)
Is there any Muslim who can dare say that he does not love Allah? But the test given in the Quran for loving Allah is that he should follow the Prophet. A study of the Quran also shows that the Quran does not furnish us with details about many things mentioned therein. For example the Quran lays great stress on Salat and Zakat but it does not say how many Rakats there are in each of the five times prayers etc. or what percentage is to be spent as Zakat and so many other details about Salat and Zakat. These were supplied by the Prophet under the direct guidance and supervision of Allah and the Quran exhorted the Muslims:
“So take what the Apostle assigns to you, and deny yourselves that which he withholds from you. And fear Allah; for Allah is strict in punishment”. (59:7)
The companions of the Prophet accepted this exhortation with sincerity. They faithfully did what the Prophet ordered them to do and shunned scrupulously what he forbade them, for they had implicit faith in the Divine statement.
“Nor does he say (aught) of (his own) desire” (53:3)
They had also implicit faith in the Quranic verse:
“Whoso obeyed the messenger obeyeth Allah, and whoso turneth away. We have not sent thee as a warder over them”. (4:80)
They also bowed their head in submission to the Divine injunction.
“Obey Allah and His Apostle, if you do believe”. (8:1)
Thus it is clear that after the Quran it is the collection of genuine Ahadith that is to be relied upon as the second source of the Life and Secret of the Holy Prophet. The collection of genuine Ahadith supplements explains or corroborates the statements made in the Quran. Nowhere in the world have people gathered so meticulously and preserved so faithfully the correct facts about any personality as the Muslims have done in the case of the Prophet. The Quran and the Hadith will therefore supply us with the genuine material about the noble and grand performances of the Prophet during the twenty-three years of his prophetic mission.
The Quran gave the clarion call to the Believers.
“There is indeed in the Apostle of Allah a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for any one whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in remembrance of Allah”. (33:21)
It is certainly not an ordinary individual or an extraordinary personality or a king or sovereign or president of a republic who is making this extraordinary statement, but It is Allah Himself the Creator and the Lord of all that is in the Heavens and the Earth, Who tells us that those whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day and who engages much in His remembrance, only for such persons is there a good pattern of conduct in the life of the Prophet. If one is not conscious, and/has no hope of meeting Allah, nor is he conscious of the fact that he will have to give an account on the Day of Judgment of all good and bad that he has done in this world and will be rewarded for good deeds and punished for wrong deeds and is oblivious of the omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotence and other qualities and attributes of Allah, also being forgetful of what Allah has ordained and what He has forbidden, then such a person cannot benefit by the good pattern of the Prophet, no matter how many books on Seerat he may have read and no matter how many lectures, symposia,discussions etc. he may have attended. It is only when we are ever-conscious of meeting Allah, and are conscious of our accountability before Him on the Day of Judgment and remember Him and always keep His commandments in mind that we can benefit from the Seerat of the Prophet and can be able to follow in his footsteps.
The Quran exhorts us:
“And celebrate the praise of Allah often (and without stint) that you may prosper.” (62:10)
So in fact success depends upon remembering Allah very much.
Now Iet us have a cursory glance at the life of the Prophet. Allah is a witness to the fact that the Prophet was:
“Ardently anxious is he over you: to the Believers he is most kind and merciful”. (9:128)
Are our Muslim rulers imitating the Prophet and behaving with their people in the manner that he did?
It is not that the Prophet was Rauf and Rahim to believers only. His image as portrait in the Qur’an encompasses the whole universe. He is Rahmatui Lil-alimeen, a mercy to all mankind just as Allah is Rabbul Alameen, Lord of all people, and not the Lord of Muslims only. Similarly the Prophet is a mercy to the whole of mankind. Now the Muslims should ask themselves: Are we behaving as “compassionate amongst each other” and a mercy to all people?
Another beautiful portrait of the Prophet is given in another passage of the Quran which reads:
“Allah verily hath shown grace to the believers by sending unto – them a messenger of their own who reciteth unto them His revelations, and cause them to grow, and teacheth them the Scripture and wisdom, although before (he came to them) they were in flagrant error” (3:164)
It was this process adopted by the Holy Prophet which brought out men from darkness into light by shedding their ignorance. If we want the present-day world surrounded by darkness, superstition and ignorance to gain lightsplendor we would have to do the same as the Prophet did.
Look at another magnificent portrait of the Prophet when the whole of Arabia was under his sway and he was the master of all he surveyed, was at the zenith of glory and victory and when delegation after delegation visited him and accepted Islam, a wonderful revelation came to him in the form of :
“When comes the help of Allah, and victory, and thou dost see the people enter Allah’s religion in crowds, celebrate the praises of your Lord and pray for His forgiveness for He is oft-Returning (in grace and mercy)” (1:10)
Look at the difference between a worldly ruler and the Prophet! The former would have on such an occasion rejoiced beyond measure and there would have been rejoicing, dancing, music, cultural shows and what not in his kingdom if he had achieved such a signal success as the Prophet did. But the Holy Prophet carried out the Divine command in letter and spirit. History records that when he received this revelation after reaching the pinnacle of glory he engaged himself continuously and ceaselessly in celebrating the praises of Allah and praying for His forgiveness. Is not this worthy of imitation by our Muslim rulers on whom Allah has bestowed His bounties and who will meet Him one day when He will ask them about those favors:
“Then shall you be questioned that Day about the joy (you indulged in!)” (102:8)
What will be their reply on that fateful Day when no one will be able to help them? They will succeed on that Day only if they have followed the Holy Prophet in all their activities.
In the end, I would say that you and I, all of us, should follow the teachings of the Prophet sincerely and follow the code of life laid down by him as directed by ‘Allah if we want success in this world and the Hereafter. We must go in asking ourselves all the ‘time how far arc we complying with the Divine commands in our daily life and how far have we neglected them. If one overlooked them one must repent sincerely and ask forgiveness of Allah for one’s shortcomings and should resolve that in future one will not in any event do anything, which would be contrary to the Divine injunction. Only then can a person benefit from the Seerah of the Holy Prophet.