Have you ever seen the Prophet walking in snow,
Wrapped in a Hibra shawl tight against the cold?
Leaving prints of guidance in the winter of places
The snow kissed heels of Throne gracing temples
I wonder what would happen if the Prophet walked in snow,
Wrapped as Muzammil, and Muddathir as told.
Would the sun shut down; a blown out candle?
Annihilation in preference to the prints from a sandal.
Would street deep snow, change its state into water?
Preferring to morph, or die; then to trouble its master.
Would the cold wind rush to embrace him with warmth?
Seeking Allah’s mercy and protection from wrath.
Would the sound of night silence shout in jubilation?
‘I’ve found my voice; the sweetest in creation!’
Would red breasted robins give up their cares?
To stare in crowds on branches iced bare.
Would snowflakes race to take pride of place?
Attempting to fall first upon the most blessed of face.
Would wonderland winter now be summer or spring?
Bringing life to dead hearts with crystallised blessing
Would the months agree that winter is the season?
For in it once walked …the most generous of all people.
In the name of Allah do I begin.
The Most Merciful, The Most Kind.
For it was Allah, who delivered the Best of Creation,
To the whole of Mankind.
How great is His favour, for us to see.
For Truth has arrived, and falsehood will flee.
May every blessing be upon thee, O sweet and beautiful Madani.
No sweeter man has there ever been.
None more honest and serene.
Your blessed feet have visited the Arsh.
Thou art Allah’s light upon this darkened Farsh.
Your sweat is sweeter than the scent of a rose. 
Upon your honour, do I compose this prose. 
May every blessing be upon thee, O sweet and beautiful Madani.
Your City is the one with grandeur and Light,
And the Imams knew it all to be true, upon first sight. 
O sweet and precious Madani, with your Sunna I pray,
I might live in harmony. 
I long to see the blessed green dome,
For there resides my heart’s true home. 
They called it al Munawwarra – the Radiant abode.
For it was when you O Madani, blessed it with your presence and made it your home.
Our Iman is not complete, till for you we have true love. 
How can this not be, for you are more radiant than the whitest of doves.
May every blessing be upon thee, O sweet and beautiful Madani.
They all flocked to see, from where the light did come,
Upon thy blessed face did they glance, and be overcome.
In jubilation they sang, “The moon rose over us.” 
And the reality was there.
“Undoubtedly there has come to you from Allah, a light and a book luminous.” 
The Qur’an reminds me, of the moon that rose over us.
For undoubtedly, it is you O sweet Madani, who was that Light.  Delivered to the world, to bring consciousness to a new height. 
Indeed, it was lady Amina, who also witnessed this light.
So much so that when she was with child, the sky was so bright. 
It were the Sahaba who would often recite and set up camp.
And they related to others, your presence overcame both sun and lamp. 
Hassan Ibn Thabit, the Ashiq al-Rasul,
Would often declare that your presence even overshadowed the moon. 
O sweet Madani, you have turned our darkness into a guiding Light, 
So why dear brothers, do we fight and not unite?
For the Sahaba knew best, and did not commit sin.
If only they now saw, the state that we are in. 
The Sahaba described well, the light that they saw.
So why do brothers anger when we agree with what went before? 
May every blessing be upon thee, O sweet and beautiful Madani.
You helped me to see, that besides Allah, there is No other Divinity, And for you and yours, I have great affinity.
Without your love, O Madani, my heart is lost, and in a muddle.
Every time I cry, and for thee shed a tear:
I long to see thou, O, to be so near!
You have taught me it is Allah I should fear,
But it is only by loving you, O sweet Madani, that we shall draw near. 
O Allah! To Thee do I only pray,
And I thank Thee, for showing me the Way.
For I know that when in despair, or I am lost in my way,
I would repeat, what the Pious Predecessors would also say.
‘Abd Allah Ibn ‘Umar and Khalid bin Walid,
Who will dare declare them of any evil deeds?
In numbness and in pain, even after your passing, O sweet Madani.
They cried out “Ya Muhammad !”
So shall it not suffice for a sinner like me? 
May every blessing be upon thee, O sweet and beautiful Madani.
May every moment be spent in saying your Darud. 
May I never leave sense, of the Madinan Hadud.
I wish that my destiny, be tied with Madina.
For there is the Prophet, and blessed Sakinah.
May I become a pious servant of Madina.
Fill my heart, O Allah, with the love of the Sayyid of Madina. 
For with your love, my heart glides like a kite,
Your radiance has provided me, with a guiding light.
I long to see the day, when I can be near your side.
I will stand and recite Darud.
It will be my honour, and my pride. 
Upon you, your ashiqs lavish great praise. 
To those who do not understand,
they simply dismiss this as a craze.
I swear by Almighty Allah, that I will never stop,
Reciting your Darud, until the day I do drop. 
All praise and worship is for Allah,
For bestowing the honour on me.
Of being from the Umma, of the blessed Madani.
Excuse me if I cry, O Sayyid of Madina.
To behold your radiant face, that the Sahaba used to see.
What an honour it will be, for an unworthy one, such as me.
May every blessing be upon thee, O sweet and beautiful Madani.
Some may claim that you are like any one of us,
But who can claim, to have visited the Arsh?
We say bashr, but respect is also due.
For mankind are like rocks, but a pearl are you. 
Why cannot they see, the Magnificence of you, O Madani?
The Imam of the Anbiya, and the Leader of Allah’s Community.
You travelled the Seven Heavens, and your eyes did not lie.
For Jibril could not pass, but you, O Madani, glided by. 
How can anyone deny Allah’s love for you, O sweet Madani?
Whose name has He raised above, for all to see? 
For it is your blessed name, that is besides Allah’s Majesty.
It has been placed there, for the whole of Mankind to see.
The Lord of the World’s called you Rafun and Rahim. 
But still yet, some cannot see,
The majesty and honour, that Allah has bestowed upon thee!
May every blessing be upon thee, O sweet and beautiful Madani.
They call us mad – our love declared a Bid’a  and that which is Something new.
O! If only they understood, what the majnun of Baghdad, Shaykh Shibli knew! 
We say to our brothers, who do not know,
That this is the Islam of the Companions, and to this we can show.
How they went at length to show their love and respect.
When the Companions would rush to catch the blessed water,
There would be chaos, and simply no order. 
So you see, the Love of Rasul has an exceptional rule –
Love him more than yourself – until then, we are all just fools! 
In sha’ Allah, upon us there will be Allah’s Karam,
And you, O Madani, will be our hearts Mehram.
May I one day again, come to your City,
O sweet and precious Madani.
And have true love, like Uways al Qarani 
O! Allah, hear the cries of your Ghulam,
Upon Thy blessed, do I send continuous Salam! 
May countless blessing be upon thee,
O sweet and beautiful Madani!
 The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, slept on a rug in the house of Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, and perspired. Anas’s mother brought a long necked bottle into which she put his sweat. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, asked her about this. She said, “We put it in our perfume and it is the most fragrant of scents” [Muslim & Bukhari]. Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “I have not smelled amber, musk or anything more fragrant than the smell of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace” [Muslim and al-Tirmidhi].
 The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was happy with good poetry, since it is related in Bukhari’s Morals and Manners and elsewhere that he has said, “There is wisdom in poetry.” Jabir bin Samarah, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “I attended the assemblies of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) more than a hundred times, wherein the Sahaba (may Allah be pleased with them) recited poetry and related the stories of the Jahilliya. The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) silently listened to them [and did not forbid them]. At times he smiled with them.” ‘A’isha, may Allah be pleased with her, said:
The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) used to put a mimbar in the masjid for Hassan bin Thabit (may Allah be pleased with him), so that he might stand on it and recite poetry on the praise of, and behalf of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), or (that) he used to defend the Messenger of Allah (in reply to the accusations of the Kuffar). The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) used to say: ‘may Allah assist Hassan with Ruhul Qudus till he defends or praises, on behalf of the Messenger of Allah.’
[Shama’il al-Tirmidhi, under chapter of poetry]
Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said concerning the verse “And as for the poets, only those who are lost in grievous error would follow them” [26:224]: “These verses were abrogated, and exceptions were made to them in the following verse: “Save those who have faith, and do righteous deeds, and remember Allah unceasingly, and defend themselves only after having being wronged” (26:227) [Bukhari’s Adab al Mufrad, Hadith 874]. Sharid said, “The Prophet of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) asked me to recite the poetry of Umayyah ibn Salt for him, and I did so. Then the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) started saying, “More, more!” I ended up reciting nearly a hundred verses to him. At the end, the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “The man (Umayyah was a pre Islamic poet) was very nearly a Muslim” [Bukhari’s Adab al-Mufrad, Hadith 872].
 Imam Malik was asked by the Khalifah, Abu Ja’far al-Mansur, “Shall I face the qibla with my face backwards towards the grave of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) when making du’a?” Imam Malik replied “How could you turn your face away from him, when he is the means [Wasila] of you on the Day of Resurrection? Nay, face him and ask for his intercession so that Allah will grant it to you, as He said, “If they had only, when they were wronging themselves, come unto thee and asked Allah’s forgiveness, and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah indeed Oft returning, Most Merciful” (4:64) [Qadi Iyad, op cit.].
Imam Ahmad said to Abu Bakr al-Marzawi, “Let him use the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) as a means of supplication to Allah.” This is found in Imam Ahmad’s Manasik narrated by his student Abu Bakr al-Marzawi. Hafiz al-Iraqi relates in Fath al-Mutual, that: “Imam Ahmad sought blessings from drinking the washing water of Imam al- Shafi’i’s shirt […]”
Ibn Hajar al-Haythami said that:
When Imam al-Shafi’i was in Baghdad, he would visit the grave of Abu Hanifa, pray two rakats nawafil according to the Hanafi Madhab (out of Ta’dhim to Abu Hanifa), give salam to him, and then ask Allah for the fulfillment of his need through his means (yatwassal ilAllah tala bihi fi qada hajatihi). When my teachers went over this Riwayah, they noted that Imam al-Shafi’i would have a question of Fiqh that he could not conceive, and after leaving the grave of Abu Hanifa, his inquiry would be answered.
This is related in Ibn Hajar al-Haythami’s al-Khayrat al-Hisan.
 Allah says, “Believe in Allah and His Messenger, the unlettered Prophet who believes in Allah and His words. Follow him, perhaps you will be guided.” (7:157) “No, by your Lord, they will not believe until they ask you to judge between them in what they disagree about and then they shall find in themselves no impediment touching your verdict, but shall surrender in full submission.” (4:64) i.e. obey your judgment. Allah also says, “You have a good model in the Messenger of Allah for one who hopes for Allah and the Last Day.” (33:21) Muhammad ibn ‘Ali al-Tirmidhi said, “To take the Messenger as a model means to emulate him, follow his Sunna and abandon opposition to him in either word or action.” Several commentators said words to that effect. It is said that this was intended as a criticism of those who fail to follow him. Sahl said that the ayat from the Fatiha (Sura 1), “The path of those whom You have blessed,” means to follow the Sunna. Allah promises His love and forgiveness to those who follow the Prophet and prefer him to their own passions and inclinations.
‘A’isha, may Allah be pleased with her, said, “The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) did something as an example in order to make things easier for people but some people still refrained from doing it. When the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) heard about that, he praised Allah and said: ‘What do you think of people who refrain from anything that I myself do? By Allah, I am the greatest of them in knowledge of Allah and the strongest of them in fear of Allah’” (Muslim and al-Bukhari). It is related that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “The Qur’an is hard and difficult for anyone who hates it. Whoever clings to what I say and understands it and retains it, then it will be like the Qur’an for him. Whoever considers the Qur’an and what I say unimportant and neglects it loses this world and the Next. My community is commanded to take my words and obey my command and follow my Sunna. Whoever is pleased with my words is pleased with the Qur’an. Allah says, ‘Take what the Messenger brings you’” (59:7) (Abu’sh-Shaykh, ad-Daylami and Abu Nu’aym from al-Hakam ibn ‘Umayr). The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Whoever follows me is of me and whoever wants to abandon my Sunna is not of me.”
Al-Hassan ibn al-Hassan said that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Doing a little of something which is a Sunna is better than doing a lot of something which is an innovation”(al-Darimi). The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Allah will bring a man into the Garden by the fact that he clings to my Sunna.” Abu Hurayra, may Allah be pleased with him, said that the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “The one who clings to my Sunna when the community is corrupt will have the reward of a hundred martyrs” (al-Tabarani). The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “The Banu Isra’il split into about seventy-two sects. My community will split into seventy-three. All of them will be in the Fire except for one.” They asked, ‘Who are they, Messenger of Allah?’ He replied, ‘Those who base themselves on what I and my Companions are doing today’” (al-Tirmidhi).
‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, wrote to his governors telling them to learn the Sunna, the shares of inheritance and the dialects, saying, “People will try to argue with you (i.e. by using the Qur’an), so overcome them with the Sunna. The people of the Sunna have the greatest knowledge of the Book of Allah.” When ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, prayed two rak’ats at Dhu’l-Hulayfa, he said, “I do as I saw the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) doing” (Dhu’l-Hulayfa is the miqat for the people of Madina on their way to Hajj.) [Qadi Iyad, op cit., Section 3: The obligation to follow him and obey his Sunna].
 Ibn ‘Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, related that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said while in prostration: “O Allah, place light in my heart, light in my hearing, light in my sight, light on my right, light on my left, light in front of me, light behind me, light above me, light below me, and make light for me,” or he said: “Make me light.” Salama said: “I met Kurayb and he reported Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) as saying: ‘I was with my mothers sister Maymuna when the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) came there, and then he narrated the rest of the hadith as was narrated by Ghundar and said the words: ‘Make me light’ beyond any doubt.’” Muslim narrates it in his Sahih, book of Salat al-Musafirin. Imam Ahmad in his Musnad also narrates it with a strong chain, but with the reverse order of the first narration cited above, resulting in the wording “[…] and make me light” or he said: “Make light for me.” Ibn Hajr in Fath al-Bari (1989 ed. 11:142) mentions a narration in Ibn Abi `Asim’s Kitab al-du’a which states: “And grant me light upon light” (wa hab li nuran `ala nur).
 Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, said that a man came to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and asked, “When will the Last Hour come, Messenger of Allah?” “What have you prepared for it?” The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, asked. The questioner replied, “I have not prepared a lot of prayer or fasting or charity for it, but I love Allah and His Messenger.” The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “You will be with the one you love”(al-Bukhari).
 The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was met with joy and jubilation as he proceeded to enter Madina from the people of Madina. Al-Bara ibn Azib (a Companion) narrated that: [..] “I had never seen the people of Madina so joyful as they were on the arrival of Allah’s Apostle, for even the slave girls were saying, ‘Allah’s Apostle has arrived!’”[..] Bukhari, volume 5, Book 58, Number 262. Muslim narrates that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said: “I was sent only as (a) mercy. I was not sent as a punishment.” The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was greeted with the following invocation:
Talaa al-badru alayna, min thaniyyat al-wada,
wajaba al-shukru alayna, ma daa ilillahi da
The full moon has risen over us, from the mountains of al-Wada,
We shall ever give thanks for it, As long as there will be callers to Allah.
Anta shamsun anta badrun, anta nurun fawqa nur,
anta iksiru al-wujud, anat misbah al-sudur.
You are a sun, you are a full moon.
You are light upon light, You are the quintessence of existence,
You are the lamp in every breast.
Ashraqa al-badru alayna, fakhtafat minhu al-budur,
Mithla husnik ma raayna, qattu ya wajh al-surur
The full moon has risen over us, eclipsing all other moons.
Such as your beauty we have never seen, No never, O face of delight!
Ya habibi ya Muhammad, ya arus al-khafiqayn,
Ya muayyad ya mumajjad, ya Imam al qiblatayn
O My beloved, O Muhammad, O bridegroom of the East and the West.
The one Allah vindicated and exalted, O Imam of the two directions!
 Al-Qur’an: 5:15.
 There are some Muslims who absolutely refuse to believe that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was a “light” sent to illuminate the world, and hold that to believe it is not only spurious but has absolutely no place in Islam. Because of a stigma that is attached to those who affirm that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was a ‘light’, many Muslims actually are reluctant to even speak about this. This area often brings up intense heated words and argument, when indeed their need not be any. To those who actually deny any possibility or even reference that the Prophet of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was a light is an actual negation of the fact that Allah Himself refers to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, as “light” in His Glorious Book:
· “From Allah has come to you a Light and a Book manifest.” (5:15)
· “O Prophet! Truly We have sent you as a Witness, a Bearer of glad tidings, and a Warner, and as one who invites to Allah by His leave, and as a Lamp spreading Light.” (33:45-46)
This is concurred upon by Imam al-Tabari and Qadi al-Shawkani in their Tafsir’s, who agree that the light was the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace: Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti: “It is the Prophet, (may Allah bless him and grant him peace).” (Tafsir al-Jalalayn, 139); Ibn Jarir al-Tabari: “By Light He means Muhammad, (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) through whom Allah has illuminated the truth, manifested Islam, and obliterated polytheism – since he is a light for whoever seeks illumination from him, which makes plain the truth.” (Jami‘ al-Bayan, 6.161); Fakhr al-Din Razi: “There are various positions about it, the first being that the Light is Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) and the Book is the Qur’an.” (al-Tafsir al-Kabir, 11:194); al-Baghawi: “It means Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), or, according to a weaker position, Islam” (Ma‘alam al-Tanzil, 2.228); Qurtubi (Ahkam al-Qur’an, 6.118) and Mawardi (al-Nukat wa al-‘Uyun, 2.22) mention that interpreting Nur as “Muhammad” (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was also the position by [the Imam of Arabic grammar Ibrahim ibn Muhammad] al-Zajjaj (d. 311/923). Al-Nasafi in his commentary entitled Tafsir al-Madarik (1:276) and al-Qasimi in his Mahasin al-Ta’wil (6:1921) similarly say: “There has come to you a Light from Allah: this is the light of Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) because one is guided by him. Similarly he has been called a lamp (siraj). Imam Ahmad al-Sawi similarly said in his super commentary on Tafsir al-Jalalayn (1:258): “There has come to you a Light from Allah: that Light is the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). He was named a light because he enlightens the sight and guides it to the correct path; and also because he is the root of every light whether material or spiritual.” Allah said: “O Prophet! Truly We have sent you as a Witness, a Bearer of glad tidings, and a Warner, and as one who invites to Allah by His leave, and as a Lamp spreading Light.” (33:45-46) Ibn Kathir states in his Tafsir: “His saying: and a light-giving lamp, that is: your status shows in the truth you have brought just as the sun shows in its rising and illuminating, which none denies except the obdurate.”
Why do we today shrink from saying that the Messenger of Allah is a ‘light” from Allah when this is the interpretation of the earliest Qur’anic commentators?
Ibn Taymiya (in his Majmu ‘at al-fatawa [11:94, 18:366]) argued that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, could not possibly be made of light on the grounds that human beings are created from earth into which the spirit is blown, while angels alone are created from light. To support his view, he cites the hadith from ‘A’isha, may Allah be pleased with her, in Sahih Muslim whereby the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said:
The angels were created from light, the jinn from smokeless fire, and Adam from what was described to you (i.e. in the Qur’an).
However, to deduce from the above that a human being can never be characterised as a light contradicts the understandings of the majority of scholars as well as the many reports from the Sahaba, may Allah be pleased with them all, who often compared the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, to a light or a harbinger of light, particularly a sun and a moon, chief among them his poet, Hassan ibn Thabit, may Allah be pleased with him:
tarahhala ‘an qawmin faddalat `uqulahum
Wa halla `ala qawmin bi nurin mujaddadi
He left a people who preferred their minds over him
And he dawned on a people with a light made new.
mata yabdu fi al-daji al-bahimi jabinuhu
Yaluhu mithla misbahi al-duja al-mutawaqqidi
Whenever his forehead emerged in pitch-black darkness
It would shine like the blazing luminary of dark night.
Bayhaqi narrated the two verses in Dala’il al-Nubuwwa (1:280, 302). The latter verse is also narrated Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr in al-Isti ‘ab (1:341) and al-Zarqani in Sharh al-Mawahib (1:91). Hassan, may Allah be pleased with him, also said:
Nor has Allah created among his creatures
One more faithful to his sojourner or his promise
Than he who was the source of our light.
Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, may Allah be pleased with him, described the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, thus:
aminun mustafa li al-khayri yad`u ka daw’i al-badri zayalahu al-zalamu
A trustworthy one, chosen, calling to goodness, resembling the light of the full moon set off from darkness.
While ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, would recite the following:
law kunta min shay’in siwa basharin
Kunta al-mudi’a li laylat al-badri
If you were anything other than a human being.
You would be the light in the night of a full moon.
Bayhaqi narrated the above in Dala’il al-Nubuwwa (1:301-302).
‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib was the most handsome man that had ever been seen among the Quraysh. One day he went out and was seen by an assembly of the women of Quraysh. One of them said: ‘O women of the Quraysh, which among you will marry this youth and catch thereby the light that is between his eyes? For verily there was a light between his eyes.” Thereafter Amina bint Wahb ibn ‘Abd Manaf ibn Zuhra married him, and after he joined her she carried the Messenger of Allah.
Al-Bayhaqi narrated it in Dala’il al-Nubuwwa (1:87). Al-Tabari in his Tarikh (2:243), Ibn al-Jawzi in al-Wafa’’ (p. 82-83, chapter 16 of Abwab bidayati nabiyyina).
There are numerous other instances where the Prophet of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was described as, and referred to, a “light” which can be found scattered throughout these notes. It should be realised that it were the Mu’tazilis who insisted that the Light in verse 5:15 referred only to the Qur’an and not to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. For those wishing to pursue this topic in greater detail, readers are advised to refer to some on-line sources at:
 The issue of when the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, had existed, has been one that the ‘ulama have had much to discuss about, and of which (specifically) the following hadiths have produced varying opinions:
‘Irbad ibn Sarya relates that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said:
Verily I was written in Allah’s Presence as the Seal of Prophets while verily Adam was still kneaded in his clay.
(Narrated by Ibn Hibban in his Sahih, and al-Hakim in his Mustadrak)
The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, also said: “I was a Prophet while Adam was still between the spirit and the body.” Al-Tirmidhi narrated it and said it hassan sahih, and it is authenticated by al-Hakim 2:609 as sahih, and also narrated by Ibn Abi Shayba in his Musannaf 14:292, and al-Bukhari in his Tarikh 7:374.
Imam Taj al-Din Subki said:
It has been said that Allah created the spirits before the bodies, and the Prophet’s reference to his prophecy in the hadith, “I was a Prophet while Adam was still between the spirit and the body” may be a reference to his blessed spirit and to the Reality of Realities (haqiqat al-haqa’iq). Our minds fall short of knowing such a Reality, but its Creator knows it, and also those to whom He extends a madad of light from Him [man amaddahu bi nurin ilahi]. Allah brings to existence whichever of these realities that He likes in the time that He pleases. As for the reality of the Prophet, (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) it is most likely that it was before the creation of Adam, and Allah gave it its prophetic attribute upon its creation; therefore already at that time, he was the Prophet.
[Quoted by al-Suyuti in Hawi li al-Fatawi, and by Qastallani at the beginning of his Mawahib al-laduniyya 1:31-32.].
Al Hakim narrated on the authority of ‘Umar ibn al Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said:
When Adam, upon whom be peace, committed the sin he said, “O Lord! I ask You in the name of Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) to forgive me.” Allah Almighty said, “How (do) you know him and I did not create him yet?” Adam said, “O Lord! When you created me with Your hands and breathed into me from Your spirit, I looked up and I saw on the Pillars of the Throne had been written There is No God save Allah, Muhammad (is) the Messenger of Allah, therefore I knew you put your name with the name of the Most beloved one of your creatures to you.” Allah said, “O Adam, you said the truth. He (Muhammad) is the most beloved one of the creatures to Me, you asked Me by his name, so I forgive you, because had it not been for Muhammad, I would not (have) created you.
[Imam Abi al-Fidaa Isma’il bin Kathir, Qisaas al-‘Anbiyaa (Adam Publishers & Distributors (Delhi) Revised Edn, 1999) p 21].
The scholars differed regarding the soundness of this report:
Ibn Abd al-Hadi al-Hanbali in his Sarim Almunki and Ibn Taymiya in his fatawa (and his Qaida al-Jaliyya) concluded that there was no evidence to support the authenticity of the above hadith, whereas Imam al-Dhahabi in his Talkhis al-Mustadrak, graded it to be da’if, (weak) due to the weakness of one of the narrators, ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Zayd. However, Imam al-Hakim al-Naysaburi in his Mustadrak and Kitab al-Tarikh, declared the hadith of the Intercession of Adam upon whom be peace, to be Sahih, while many other scholars have not only used it for proof, but explicitly declared it to be Sahih as well, such as, al-Bulqini, Qadi ‘Iyad, al-Suyuti, al-Tabarani, al-Haythami, al-Subki (hassan), Ibn Hajar al-Makki and others. Since Ibn Kathir used the hadith as a part of the make up of his Sirat, it would be erroneous to label those who accept this hadith as committing, kufr, shirk or bid’a, since this was also Ibn Kathir’s view who uses this narration as proof. One note about Ibn Taymiya’s view on this hadith – after acknowledging its weakness, he however states that it is, ‘Salih li istishhad,’ which is a terminology used in ‘ulum al-Hadith meaning that the hadith is supported by other evidences [see Majmu’ at al-Fatawa Ibn Taymiya vol. 2, page 150]. Also, different muhaddithin had different conditions for the acceptance of hadith. So one hadith might be sahih according to the conditions of one Imam, while it might not be so for another Imam.
In the chapter concerning the Prophet’s superiority over all other
Prophets, in his al-Wafa bi Ahwal al-Mustafa’, Ibn al-Jawzi states:
Part of the demonstration of his superiority to other Prophets is the fact that Adam (upon whom be peace) asked his Lord through the sanctity (hurma) of Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) that He relent towards him. The most authentic chain for this report is not that of al-Hakim’s narration from ‘Umar through ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Zayd ibn Aslam who is weak, but that of the Companion Maysarat al-Fajr who narrates it as follows:
I asked: “O Messenger of Allah, when were you [first] a Prophet?” He replied: “When Allah created the earth [Then turned He to the heaven, and fashioned it as seven heavens] (2:29), and created the Throne, He wrote on the leg of the Throne: “Muhammad the Messenger of Allah is the Seal of Prophets” (Muhammadun Rasulullahi Khâtamu al-Anbiya’). Then Allah created the Garden in which He made Adam and Hawwa’ dwell, and He wrote my name on the gates, its tree-leaves, its domes and tents, at a time when Adam was still between the spirit and the body. When Allah Most High instilled life into him he looked at the Throne and saw my name, whereupon Allah informed him that ‘He [Muhammad] is the master of all your descendants.’ When Iblis deceived them both, they repented and sought intercession to Allah with my name.
 Hafiz Ibn Kathir wrote that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “I am the prayer of Ibrahim, (upon whom be peace) the prophecy of ‘Isa (upon whom be peace). When my mother was pregnant, she witnessed so much light from her body, that she could see the palaces of Syria” [Tarikh Ibn Kathir, vol. II. Sirat al-Nabawiyya]. The Messenger of Allah’s uncle, al-‘Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, composed a poem praising the birth of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, in which are found the following words, “When you were born, the earth was shining, and the firmament barely contained your light, and we can pierce through, thanks to that radiance and light, and path of guidance.” The text is found in al-Suyuti’s Husn al-Maqasid, p 5; Ibn Kathir’s Mawlid, p 30, as well as in Ibn Hajar’s Fath al Bari. Ibn Kathir, in his Mawlid, p 19, writes, “The Night of the Prophet’s (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) birth is a magnificent, noble, blessed and a holy night, a night of bliss for the Believers, pure, radiant with lights and of immeasurable price.”
In another narration of the above poem, we read that al-‘Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said to him:
O Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) I wish to praise you. The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) replied: “Go ahead – may Allah adorn your mouth with silver!” He said a poem that ended with these lines: “And then, when you were born, a light rose over the earth until it illuminated the horizon with its radiance. We are in that illumination and that original light and those paths of guidance – and thanks to them pierce through.”
Ibn Seyyed al-Nas narrated it with his isnad through al-Tabarani and al-Bazzar in Minah al-Madh (p. 192-193), also Ibn Kathir in al-Sira al-Nabawiyya (ed. Mustafa ‘Abd al-Wahid 4:51), and ‘Ali al-Qari in his Sharh al-Shifa’ (1:364) says it is narrated by Abu Bakr al-Shafi’i and al-Tabarani, and cited by Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr in al-Isti’ab and Ibn al-Qayyim in Zad al-ma ‘ad.
‘Irbad ibn Sariya and Abu Imama said that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said:
I am the supplication of my father Ibrahim, and the good tidings of my brother ‘Isa. The night I was delivered my mother saw a light that lit the castles of Damascus so that she could see them.
It is narrated by al-Hakim in his Mustadrak (2:616-617), Ahmad in his Musnad (4:184), and Bayhaqi in Dala’il al-Nubuwwa (1:110, 2:8). Ibn al-Jawzi cites it in al-Wafa’ (p. 91, ch. 21 of Bidayat Nabiyyina), and Ibn Kathir in his Mawlid and his Tafsir (4:360). Haythami cites it in Majma’ al-Zawa’id (8:221) and said al-Tabarani and Ahmad narrated it, and Ahmad’s chain is fair (hassan).
Shah AbdulRahim (d. 1131/1719), father of Shah Wali Allah Muhaddith Dehlawi (d. 1176/1762), would hold mawlid gatherings annually. On such occasions, he would prepare and distribute meals to the poor (Al-Dur al-Thamin, p 8). This was also the practice of Shah Wali Allah and his son, Shah ‘Abd al-Aziz Muhaddith Dehlawi (d. 1239/1834). On every 12th of Rabi al-Awwal they used to invite the masses to their mawlid gatherings, in which they would speak about the auspicious events related to the Prophet’s (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) birth. At the end of the celebration, they would distribute food and sweetmeats (Al-Dur al-Munazzam, p 89).
Once, Shah Wali Allah attended a mawlid gathering in Makkah, in which he said that he saw manifestations of light cascading down (Fuyuz al-Haramain, page 80-81). Haji Imdad Allah Muhajir Makki (d. 1317/1899), the shaykh of Rashid Ahmed Gangohi (d. 1323/1905), would hold mawlid gatherings each year as a means of obtaining salvation; during those gatherings, while in a standing position he would recite prayers of blessing and peace for the Messenger of Allah [Faysla-i-Haft Mas’ala (with annotation) p 111]. On the 12th of Rabi al-Awwal of each year, the grand Mufti, Shah Mazhar Allah Dehlawi, would hold Mawlid gatherings in great splendour, continuing all night from ‘Isha prayer until the Fajr prayer at dawn. Salawat and Salam would be recited while standing after which food and sweetmeats would be distributed [Tadhkara-i-Mazhar-i-Mas’ud, pp. 176-177]. The importance of invoking blessings and peace for the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace is stated in Holy Qur’an, which is understood as asserting that angels are at all times reciting praise and blessings on the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace [Qur’an, al-Saffat, 37:1]. In Madina at the blessed funeral bed of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, the angels, men and women, and even children offered Salawat and Salam in groups, for hours in a standing position [Madarij al-Nabuwwa, volume 2, p 440, and examine Fatawa Ridawiyya volume 4, p 54 Ref: Bayhaqi and al Hakim].
Imam Taqi al-Din al-Subki was in a gathering of learned scholars in which the poetry of Imam Sarsari (d. 656/1258) was being recited. Upon hearing a verse in which the poet fervently urged the audience to stand at the time of the Prophet’s auspicious remembrance, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, all of the scholars stood in reverence [Tabaqat al-Kubra, Egypt, volume I p 208]. Allah the Most High states, “Speak of the bounty of thy Lord!” [Qur’an, al-Duha 93:11], and Imam Bukhari states that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, is the greatest bounty of Allah [Bukhari, volume 2, p 566], hence he should become the object of most publicity. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, himself spoke about his blessed birth from the pulpit [al-Tirmidhi, volume 2, p 201]. On his instruction some of the noble companions also described and publicised the Messenger of Allah’s, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, most excellent qualities [Zurqani, volume 1, p 227].
In the year 9AH/630, on the occasion of returning from the battle of Tabuk, al-Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, recited a poem on the birth of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, in his presence [Ibn Kathir, Milad-i-Mustafa (Urdu translation) pp 29-30, al-Suyuti, Husn al-Maqasid p 5]. On another occasion, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, himself put the platform (mimbar) on which Hassan bin Thabit, may Allah be pleased with him, stood and sang an ode in his praise [Bukhari volume I, p 65, al-Musnad (Beirut, 1983) volume 6, p 72, al-Dhababi, Siyar al-Alam, al-Nubala (Beirut, 1992) volume 2, pp 513-541) Bukhari, chapter 68, volume I, p 264], for the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace blessed him with a special prayer.
 Ibn al Jawzi al-Hanbali, narrates that the light of the Messenger of Allah would overcome the light of both the sun and lamp [Al Wafa, Chapter al Wilada, Ibn al Jawzi]. Abu ‘Ubayda ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Ammar ibn Yasir said: “I said to say to al-Rubayyi’ bint Mu ‘awwadh: ‘Describe for me Allah’s Messenger.’ She replied: ‘If you saw him you would say: The sun is rising.’” Bayhaqi narrates it with his isnad in Dala’il al-Nubuwwa (1:200), and Haythami in Majma’ al-Zawa’id (8:280) says that al-Tabarani narrates it in al-Mu’jam al-kabir and al-Awsat and that its narrators have been declared trustworthy.
 Ibn Kathir narrates that Hassan Ibn Thabit, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) is the star from which even the moon of the fourteenth night obtains its light” [Tarikh Ibn Kathir, vol. III].
 “He will bring you out of the darkness into the light” [5:16]. Ibn Kathir also mentions that Ka’ab Ibn Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, recited a poem in the presence of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace of which consisted the lines […] “We have come to you, and you have transformed our darkness into light, and have removed the barriers of ignorance” [Tarikh, and Sirat al-Nabiwiyya, Ibn Kathir, under the heading of “Miracles”]. ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, would recite the following; “ If you were anything other than a human being You would be the light in the night of a full moon.” Bayhaqi narrated the above in Dala’il al-Nubuwwa (1:301-302) and relates that ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, added after saying the above: “The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was like this, and no one other than he was like this.”
 Contemplate over the preceding sayings of the Sahaba and scholars.
 As in 33:46, Allah calls the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, sirajun munir, “a shining Lamp,” an expression which Hassan Ibn Thabit, may Allah be pleased with him, used to describe the Messenger of Allah as the “light” in [5:15]. Furthermore, in the description of the battle of Badr, he narrated that the Messenger of Allah’s face shone like the full moon of Badr, and in his mournful eulogy for the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, he also mentions also the radiant light that shone at the Prophets birth; “And he who is guided to the blessed light, is well guided” [Hassan Ibn Thabit, Diwan. Edited by Walid N. Arafat. GMS, n.s. 21. 2 Vols. London: Luzac, 1971. See Diwan, no. 34, line 8; no. 9. Line 21; also see no. 131, line 9]. In the last section of his Sira, Ibn Ishaq quotes the poem of Hassan Ibn Thabit, may Allah be pleased with him, which he recited after the loss of the Messenger of Allah:
Tell the poor that plenty has left them With the Prophet who departed from them this morning.
He was the light and the brilliance that we followed.
He was the sight and hearing second only to God […]
He was the source of our light, blessed in his deeds, just, and upright.
O best of men! It was as it were a river without which I have become lonely in my thirst.
[The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq’s “Sirat Rasul Allah,” Trans. A. Guillaume (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1955) pp. 690 –91]. Ka ‘b ibn Malik said:
I greeted the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) and there was lightning in his face. Whenever the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was happy, his face would be illuminated as if it were a piece of the moon.
Bukhari and Muslim narrated it, as well as Ahmad in his Musnad. Bayhaqi in Dala’il al-Nubuwwa (1:301) also relates these descriptions of the Prophet by the Companions and others.
 Whoever obeys the Messenger has obeyed Allah [4:80]. Say: If you love Allah, then follow me and Allah will love you [3:31].
 The seemingly sensitive issue of whether or not Muslims can say the words ‘Ya RasulAllah’ needs to be clarified, since this issue divides the Muslim community and causes a great deal of friction among the Muslim communities throughout the world. There are basically two “schools of thought,” over this issue – one contends that stating ‘Ya RasulAllah’ is shirk and that any Muslim proclaiming it in fact goes outside the boundaries of Islam. Contrary to this position, the other School believes that it is indeed permissible to say so, however, they do not insist that one must proclaim this – rather, it is permissible to do so. Unfortunately, the two polar positions have produced two extremities: while one body of Muslims will call shirk to those who profess it, the other body of Muslims will declare those who do not proclaim Ya Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) anything but orthodox. In reality, an absence of the proclamation does not weaken ones Din, while to make the proclamation does not nullify your Din. To blanket condemn everyone who makes this call as being mushriks or people of innovation – reflects ignorance of the accuser. Perhaps these few references will shed some light upon the issue:
Some time after the Messenger of Allah had died, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, ‘Abd Allah Ibn ‘Umar’s, may Allah be pleased with him, leg became numb. A man said to him, “Remember the person whom you love the most.” Ibn ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, replied, “Ya Muhammad” [Imam Bukhari’s Adab al-Mufrad – Book of Muslim Morals and Manners, translated by Yusuf Talal Delorenzo, al-Saadawi Publications, Alexandria, Virginia, 1997, hadith Number 967].
Ibn Taymiya wrote that:
in the same way as ‘Abd Allah ibn Umar’s (may Allah be pleased with him) foot became numb and he remembered the one he loves most, ‘Abd Allah Ibn Abbas’s (may Allah be pleased with him) foot also became numb. Someone also said to him to remember the one who he loves the most. ‘Abd Allah Ibn Abbas said Ya Muhammad! and his foot immediately recovered from numbness
[Al-Kalim al-Tayyib chapter on Khadirat Rijluhu, Ibn Taymiya].
Imam Nawawi mentions in his Adhkar both the narrations whereby Ibn ‘Umar and Ibn ‘Abbas, may Allah be pleased with them, would cry out Ya Muhammad whenever they had a cramp in their leg. The text can be found (amongst other editions) in: 1970 Riyadh edition, p 271; 1988 Ta’if edition, p 383; Makkah edition, p 370; ‘Abd al-Baqi Beirut edition, p 286.
Narrated Abu Hurayra:
I heard the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) say: “By the one in whose hand is Abu al Qasim’s soul, ‘Isa bin Maryam shall descend as a just and wise ruler. He shall destroy the cross, slay the swine, eradicate discord and grudges, and money shall be offered to him but he will not accept it. Then he shall stand by my graveside and say: Ya Muhammad! and I will answer him.
[Abu Ya’la relates this with a sound chain in his Musnad (Dar al Ma’mun edition 1407/1987) 11:462; Ibn Hajar cites it in al-Matalib al-‘Aliya (Kuwait, 1393/1973) 4:23, under the chapter ‘The Prophet’s life in his grave’ and No.4574; Haythami comments in his Majma’ al-Zawa’id (8:5), under the chapter entitled: ‘Isa ibn Maryam’s Descent’ that: Its sub-narrators are the men of sound (sahih) hadith’]
Al-Haytham ibn Hanash [al-Nakha‘i] said:
We were in ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Umar’s house when he felt a cramp in his leg, whereupon one man said to him: ‘Remember (or mention) the dearest of people to you,” so he said: ‘Ya Muhammad!’ and he seemed relieved of his cramp.
[Narrated by al-Nawawi in al-Adhkar (op. cit.,) Ibn al-Qayyim – without the interjection Ya – in al-Wabil al-Sayyib (1952 ed. p 195) and al-Shawkani’s Tuhfa al-Dhakirin (Cairo ed. pp. 291-292, 1970 Beirut ed. pp. 206-207). This report is narrated by Ibn al-Sunni from Muhammad ibn Khalid al-Bardha‘i who said: Hajib ibn Sulayman [al-Manbiji] narrated to us: Muhammad ibn Mus‘ab narrated to us: Isra’il narrated to us: From Abu Ishaq: From al-Haytham ibn Hanash, as cited by al-Shawkani in the Tuhfa (see below)]
A blind man went to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and said:
Invoke Allah for me that he might help me. The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) replied: “If you wish, I will delay this, and it would be better for you, and if you wish, I will invoke Allah for you.” The blind man replied: “Then invoke Him.” The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said to him: “Go and make wadhu’, offer two rakats of prayer, then say ‘O Allah, I am asking you and turning to you with your Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), the Prophet of mercy: O Muhammad (Ya Muhammad), I am turning with you to my Lord with your intercession concerning the return of my sight [another version has: so that He will fulfil my need. O Allah, allow him to intercede (with You) for me].
This is related by Ahmad (4:138 No. 17246-17247), Tirmidhi; Ibn Majah; Nasai; al-Hakim; Tabarani (in his al-Kabir) and has received the mark of vigorously authenticated by at least fifteen hadith masters, including Ibn Hajar al Asqalani, al-Dhahabi, al-Shawkani and even Ibn Taymiya.
Despite the Messenger of Allah’s absence, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, he still ordered the man to say ‘O Muhammad,’ since the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace did not say: “Go and make wadhu’ and come back to me,” or ‘in front of me.’ For those who will then next say that this was only allowed at the time that the Messenger of Allah was amongst the Sahaba, they need to also realise that the very invocation which the Messenger of Allah gave the blind man, was used after the Prophet’s lifetime, as authenticated as Sahih amongst others: al Bayhaqi, Abu Nu’aym, al-Mundhiri and al-Tabarani in al-Kabir. They relate on the authority of ‘Uthman ibn Hunayf’s nephew, Abu Imama ibn Sahl ibn Hunayf that:
A man would come to ‘Uthman ibn Affan (may Allah be pleased with him) for a certain need, but the latter would not pay him any attention nor look at his need, upon which he complained to ‘Uthman ibn Hunayf who told him to ‘go and make wadhu,’ then go to the mosque and pray two rakats, then say this supplication ..’ and he mentioned the invocation of the blind man, ‘then go (to ‘Uthman again).’” The man went, did as he was told, then went to ‘Uthman ibn Affan’s door, to which the door attendant came, took him by the hand and brought him to ‘Uthman ibn Affan who sat with him on top of the carpet and said: ‘Tell me what your need is.’ After this, the man went out and met ‘Uthman ibn Hunayf and said to him: ‘may Allah reward you! Previously he (‘Uthman ibn Affan) would not look into my need nor pay attention to me, until you spoke to him.’ Uthman ibn Hunayf replied, ‘I did not speak with him, but I saw the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) when a blind man came to him complaining of his failing eye-sight.’
Hafiz Ibn Kathir, Imam al-Tabari and Ibn Athir wrote that:
During the caliphate of Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) there was a battle against the false prophet Musaylima. When the battle commenced, the Muslims lost their footing, at which Khalid bin Walid (may Allah be pleased with him) and the rest of the Companions called out, “Ya Muhammad!” and proceeded to win the battle.
[Tarikh al-Tabari, Tarikh Ibn Kathir and Tarikh Qamil by Imam Tabari and Hafiz Ibn Kathir, under chapter Musaylima kadab]
Qadi Shawkani wrote:
If one is in trouble or experiencing some difficulty, they should perform two units of nawafil and then supplicate (to Allah) the du`a […]‘Ya Muhammad!’’ […] and Allah will grant them what they want in that their problems or troubles should go away. The scholars of hadith say that this hadith is authentic and it is recorded by Tirmidhi, Hakim, Nas’ai, Ibn Majah and Tabarani.
[Tuhfa al-Dhakirin chapter on Salat al-Hajah, Qadi Shawkani]
Ibn Sa’d wrote:
After Rasul Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) had passed away, Arwa bint Abdul Muttalib (may Allah be pleased with her) recited the following: “Ya Rasul Allah! You were our (place of) hope.
[Tabqat Ibn Sa’ad Chapter: Wafat al-Nabi, Ibn Sa’ad].
Seyyed Mawdudi wrote that:
When Hajaj bin Yusuf levied a new tax on the new Muslims, they left Basra crying with their fuqaha all saying, Ya Muhammad! Ya Muhammad!
[Khilafat wa Malukiyat, Seyyed Mawdudi, p 270 and also recorded in the Tarikh by Ibn Athir]
Some often fail to realise that we are all required to recite the tashahhud during salat – without it the prayer becomes invalid. The part that is of interest is where we recite: as-salamu ‘alayka ayyuha al nabi – wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh. The point here is that the saying of ayyuha al nabi is actually the same as saying ya nabi.
It is significant to note that neither Imam Bukhari, Imam Nawawi nor Qadi Shawkani for that matter ever raised such a notion as to say that calling out Ya Muhammad amounted to shirk. This practice is often condemned by observers who look to people that often misunderstand the context within which the calling occurs. Imam al-Suyuti mentions that if a practice is sound and has basis in the Shari’ah and is being polluted by the mistakes of the people – do you condemn the activity, rather than correcting the people?
 “Allah and His angels are praying on the Prophet, Oh believers, pray on him” [33:56]. Anas Ibn Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, said that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Gabriel called me and said, ‘whoever prays one prayer on you, Allah prays on him ten times and raises him up by ten degrees’” [Ibn Abi Shayba]. ‘Amir Ibn Rabi’a said that he heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, “The angels will continue to bless anyone who blesses me, as long as he continues to do so, so do a lot, or even a little” [Ibn Majah and al-Tabarani]. Abu Hurayra, may Allah be pleased with him, said that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Whenever anyone greets me with peace, Allah will return my soul to me, so that I can return the greeting” [Abu Dawud and al Bayhaqi]. Ibn Mas’ud, may Allah be pleased with him, said from the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, “The nearest people to me on the Day of Rising, will be those who have said the most prayers on me” [Al-Tirmidhi]. The Messenger of Allah said, “Dust be upon the face of the man who does not bless me when I am mentioned in his presence” [Muslim, from Abu Hurayra]. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Whoever blesses me in a book or a letter, the angels continue to ask forgiveness for him, as long as my name is on it” [Al-Tabarani].
 The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, called himself the Seyyed of all human beings. In addition he called his grandson al-Hassan a Seyyed in absolute terms. (Inna waladi hadha seyyeduna). He also ordered the Ansar, when he saw Sa`d ibn Mu’adh coming, as related by Bukhari in his Sahih: Qumu li seyyedikum or “Stand up for your master.” The implications of that term on the basis of these narrations are that it entails leadership, rank, and respect. The word ‘master’ is used both in the lofty senses mentioned above, as well as in the possibly lowly senses of ‘sahib’ [owner], as in ‘sahib al-bayt,’ ‘sahib al-kalb,’ the owner of the house, of the dog etc. There are further language usages that taint the word ‘master,’ such as the Western/European concept of the word in the context of slavery, where n the words ‘slave’ and ‘master’ infer abuse and injustice but which are absent from ‘abd, mamluk, and sahib, not to say Seyyed. That is partly why the Christians have “lord” instead of ‘master’ in a similar context, but they also use it for “THE Lord,” and so when it comes to Prophets the doctrinal aberration of ascribing divine lordship becomes too glaring, and so Muslims prefer to use ‘master.’
 Those who often argue that standing out of respect for anyone is an act that is prohibited by Islam, (or at the very best, makruh) will often quote the following two hadiths in their favour:
1. ‘Abd Allah bin ‘Abd al-Rahman related that Anas said: “No one was dearer to them (the companions) than Allah’s Messenger (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) yet when they saw him they did not stand up because they knew of his dislike of that.”
[Related by al Tirmidhi].
2. Mahmud bin Ghaylan related that Mu’awiyya came out (from a place) so ‘Abd Allah bin al-Zubayr and Ibn Safwan stood up when they saw him. Mu’awiyya said: sit down for I heard the Prophet say: Let he who is pleased by people standing before him, await his place in Hell.
[Narrated by Abu Dawud and al-Tirmidhi]
Al-Tirmidhi cites the first hadith in Kitab al-Adab and asserts that this hadith is hassan sahih gharib min hadha al wajh. This makes us note that this hadith does not relate to ‘aqa’id or ‘ibadat, but to adab. Imam Nawawi comments upon this hadith and points out that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, stood up in respect for some of the Companions and they stood up out of respect for each other in the Prophet’s presence and he did not forbid nor criticised them for it [See Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, Fath al-Bari fi sharh al-Bukhari (Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, 1993), vol. 12, p 322]. Interestingly, various books and commentaries upon hadiths address the issue of standing up in respect to someone. However, books of fiqh rarely discussed the issue, which is an indication that standing up in respect was not perceived to be a subject of legal inquiry.
As for the hadith narrated in Abu Dawud and al-Tirmidhi through Abu Mijlaz from Mu’awiyya, this again appears in the section of adab. With this hadith, there is a discrepancy that occurs in the various transmissions. Abu Dawud reports that when Mu’awiyya appeared, Ibn ‘Amir stood up and al Zubayr remained sitting. According to Tirmidhi’s version, both Ibn Zubayr and Ibn Safwan stood up, with no mention of Ibn ‘Amir at all. So there is a disagreement as to who exactly stood up and who remained sitting. Also, most of the transmitted versions go back to Abu Mijlaz, of whom not much is known about him as a transmitter. In a different version of this narration, Ibn Baridah reports that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said: ‘Whoever likes men to stand before him let him await his place in Hell.’ This version is not accepted by any of the six books of hadiths.
Regarding this hadith, both Imam al-Tabarani and Imam Nawawi explain that the hadith does not actually prohibit standing up or not standing up. Rather, it says that whoever is pleased with people standing up for him is doomed. In other words, the prohibition applies to the person being stood up for, not the person or persons that are standing. The hadith they conclude, calls for the humility of leaders, but says nothing of the followers [Fath al-Bari, op cit., vol. 12, pp 318-322].
If one really wanted to investigate further into this area, one will find that there are in actual fact other hadiths that can be cited as prohibitions of standing:
Abu Dawud narrated that Abu ‘Umamah reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, came out to the believers leaning on a cane. Upon seeing him the believers stood up, so the Prophet said: “Do not stand up as the a’jim stand up for each other.” However, Imam al-Tabarani argued that this hadith is weak due to problems in its chain of transmission.
Another hadith is related by Jabir, who relates that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, felt ill during prayer so he sat down, but the believers continued to stand. The Prophet of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, saw this and signaled for them to sit down. After the prayer had been completed, the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said: “You were about to do as the Persians and Byzantines do. They stand while their kings sit down. Do not do that!” In another hadith, Anas related that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said: “Those before you have been ruined by the fact that they have glorified their kings by standing up as their kings sit down.”
It is clear from reading the above hadiths that there is a central theme connecting them all – namely the prohibition of standing. There is some appeal to this argument as it can be identified that from the collective memories of the Companions, may Allah be pleased with them all, that they recalled that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, took some issue with them standing up before him. However, in this case, this approach is not reasonable. The problem lies with conflicting evidences which support the contrary. For example:
Usama ibn Sharik narrates:
I went to see the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) while his Companions were with him, and they seemed as still as if birds had alighted on top of their heads. I gave him my Salam and I sat down. [Then the Bedouins came in and asked questions which the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) answered ..] The Prophet then stood up and the people stood up. They began to kiss his hands whereupon I took his hand and placed it on my face. I found it more fragrant and cooler than sweet water.
This was narrated by Abu Dawud in his Sunan, al-Hakim in his Mustadrak, Tirmidhi in his Sunan, Ibn Majah in his Sunan and Ahmad in his Musnad.
Tirmidhi narrates that Abu Kurayyab reported that two Jews kissed the Prophet’s hands and feet. Notably, Abu Dawud, al Bukhari, Muslim and al Bayhaqi narrate through a variety of transmissions, that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah be pleased with him, told the Companions to stand up for Sa’d. According to these reports, after Sa’d’s judgment was accepted by Banu Quraydha (a Jewish tribe), Sa’d returned to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and the Companions upon seeing him, the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, told the companions to ‘stand up for your master’ (Qumu li seyyedekum) [Shaykh Albani insists that the reason why the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, told the companions to stand up, was so that they could assist Sa’d off his horse saddle. He uses a narration that is not found in neither the Adab al-Mufrad nor Fath al-Bari]. It is also narrated by Abu Dawud that Abu Hurayra reported that when the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, would stand up to leave, the companions would also stand up and remain standing until he left the Mosque. Furthermore, in Fath al-Bari, there is a discussion as to whether the Prophet’s standing up to greet Fathima or ‘Ikrimah bin Abi Jahal or the Prophet’s milk brother could also be related to the issue of standing [Fath al-Bari, op cit., vol. 12, p 321].
It is also reported by Tirmidhi and al-Nisa’i that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, would stand up when he would see a passing funeral. In one famous incident, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, stood up for a Jewish woman’s funeral. When informed that the deceased was Jewish, the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace is reported to have commentated: ‘But isn’t she a soul?’ Nonetheless, the scholars have debated whether this rule on standing up for funerals has been abrogated. Imam Malik, Imam Abu Hanifa and Imam Shaf’i said that the standing has been abrogated, while Imam Ahmad, Ishaq and other Maliki fuqaha have said that it is a matter of personal choice. Imam Nawawi said that standing up for funerals is not preferred. Other Shafi’i scholars (such as Mutwali) said that standing is recommended [Refer to Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti, Sharh al-Suyuti ‘ala Sunan al-Nisa’i (Beirut: Dar al Qalam, n p d) vol. 2, pp 43-44].
Returning to the issue of standing, the question then should be, how did the earlier Muslims reconcile the various reports? How did they understand them? The jurists have adopted various positions depending upon how they understood and interpreted the injunctions. Al-‘Ayni, the Hanafi scholar and author of ‘Umdat al-Qari fi Sharh al-Bukhari, said that no set rule was reached by the scholars on the issue of standing because the disagreement over the matter [Badr al Din Ahmad al ‘Ayni, ‘Umdat al-Qari Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari (Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, n p d) vol. 11, p251]. Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani agreed with this assessment. He concluded that no final rule was reached because of disagreement [Fath al-Bari, op cit., vol. 12, p 317]. However, al-‘Izz Ibn ‘Abd al-Salam and Ibn Hajar further add that if the failure to stand up will result in insult or create a mafsada (corruption) then it becomes forbidden not to stand up (i.e. that they should stand)[Ibid. p 323]. As mentioned earlier, Imam Nawawi held that the prohibition applies to people who demand and who enjoys people standing in their presence. As to the person who is doing the standing, Imam Nawawi relied on the principle that people should be given their rightful place (bi ‘umumiyati tanzili al nasi manazilahim). This means, according to Imam Nawawi that one should stand up before one’s elders and the wise [Ibid p323]. Imam Nawawi demonstrated at length that standing out of respect for scholars is permissible in al Tarkhis fi al – Ikram bi al-Qiyyam, or, ‘The Permissibility of Honouring, by standing up, those whose who possess excellence and distinction among the people of Islam: In the spirit of piousness, reverence and respect, not in the spirit of display and aggrandisement.’ Imam al-Suyuti mentions in his Tabyid al-Sahifa, that when Imam Abu Hanifa visited Sufyan after the death of the latters’s brother, Sufyan stood up, went to greet him, embraced him, and bade him sit in his place, saying to those who questioned this act: ‘This man holds a high rank in knowledge, and if I did not stand up for his science, I would stand up for his age, and if not for his age, then for his godwariness [wara’], and if not for his god-wariness, then for his jurisprudence [fiqh].’ Al-Hakim narrates in Ma ‘rifat ‘ulum al-hadith [p 104] that when al Dhuhuli went to see Imam Ahmad, the latter stood up for him and the people were astounded. Then he told his son and his companions: ‘Go to Abu ‘Abd Allah [al-Dhuhili] and write his narrations.’ Ibn Hajar, al ‘Ayni and others held that it is recommended that one stand up for the leader, a just Imam, and elder or knowledgeable person. Al-Baghawi, in his Sharh al-Sunna, al-Bayhaqi and al-Ghazali said that standing up out of compassion or respect is permissible [Husayn bin Mas’ud al-Baghawi, Sharh al-Sunna (Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, 1994) vol. 7 p 213; Fath al-Bari, op cit., vol. 12, pp 320 and 323].
Imam Tabarani held that the standing depended upon the intention. If one stands up to promote arrogance and conceit, then standing is prohibited. If one is merely showing respect, then it is permitted. Ibn Kathir concluded that what was prohibited was the imitating of the Kuffar; but standing up to one who arrives from travel, or to a governor in his place of governorship is permitted [See Shaikh Muhammed bin Jameel Zaynoo, The Methodology of the Saved Sect, Translated by Aboo Naasir ‘Abid bin Basheer (Invitation To Islam: 1999), pp 181-185. The author adheres to the view of Ibn Kathir, while dismissing any other possibility as ‘The Forbidden Standing’ clearly ignoring any possibility of other than his view. He also alludes to the reason why the companions were told to stand for Sa’d, for the reason to ‘…help him down.’ As mentioned earlier, this version of the hadith does not appear in either the Adab al-Mufrad nor Fath al-Bari (See al Albani, Silsilat al-Hadiths al-Da’ifa, vol. 3 p 637; al Albani, Silsilat al-Hadiths al Sahiha (Beirut: al Maktaba al-Islami, 1972) vol. 1, pp 103-106)]. Ibn al-Qayyim and Ibn al-Hajj disagreed and contested that standing up in all circumstances is reprehensible because one can never know whether the one you stand for is truly pious or knowledgeable or not. Ibn Rushd concluded that standing up is of four types:
1. It is prohibited for one to arrogantly and self-conceitedly want others to stand up in his presence
2. It is reprehensible to stand up to one who is not conceited or arrogant but of whom it is feared that he or she will become conceited or arrogant when people stand in his or her presence
3. It is permissible to stand up as a sign of respect before someone who you do not fear will become arrogant
4. It is recommended that one stand up to greet someone who arrives after travelling
[Fath al-Bari, op cit, vol. 12, p 320; Al Albani in his Silsilat al-Hadiths al-Da’ifa, vol. 3, pp 637-8, discusses the authenticity of some of the hadith on standing. Shaykh Albani vehemently attacks those who endorse standing for anyone, yet he strangely endorses Ibn Rushd’s categorisation, but adds that only the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, is immune to arrogance or conceit. Thus he implies, standing is not permissible].
 Imam al-Ghazali wrote:
Love is the inclination of one’s nature towards the wishes of the beloved. When it is very vehement, it is termed Ishq. There is a steady increase in this so much so, that the Ashiq becomes enslaved of the beloved for no price. They sacrifice their wealth and treasures and resources their beloved. Take the example of Zulayaka, for example, who sacrificed all her beauty and wealth in the love of Yusuf, upon whom be peace.
 “Supplications are suspended between heaven and earth, and nothing from it ascends until you send salat on your prophet” [al-Tirmidhi].
 Imam al-Busairi says in his Qasida al-Burda: ‘Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, is a human being, but not like humankind; he is a ruby, while people are as stones.’
 In his Night journey, the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, went pass the Lote tree – the furthest boundary, and drew close to Allah [He drew near and hung suspended and was two bows’ lengths away or nearer (53:9)], and a point even where Gabriel could not pass, since he would have been annihilated. [Nor did] “The heart lie about what it saw,” [53:10], and “The eye did not swerve nor sweep away,”[53:16], refers to the immense favour that Allah, Most High, bestowed solely upon the Messenger of Allah – Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.
 “And [have We not] exalted thy fame?” (94:4) Mujahid said: “Meaning, every time I [Allah] am mentioned, you [Muhammad] are mentioned.” Ibn Kathir mentioned it in his Tafsir. Al-Shafi’i narrated the same explanation from Ibn Abi Najih and so did Ibn `Ata’ as cited by al-Nabahani in al-Anwar al-Muhammadiyya min al-Mawahib al-Laduniyya (p. 379). Al-Baydawi said in his Tafsir: “And what higher elevation than to have his name accompany His Name in the two phrases of witnessing, and to have his obedience equal His obedience?”
 Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, means praised, and Ahmad means the greatest of those who give praise and the most sublime of those who are praised. Hassan Ibn Thabit, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “It is taken for him from His [Allah’s] own name in order to exalt him. The One with the Throne is praised [Mahmud] and he is Muhammad.” Two of Allah’s names are the Compassionate, the Merciful [Al-Rauf, Al-Rahim]. They are similar in meaning. He calls them in His Book when He says, “Compassionate, merciful to the believers.” [9:128].
 The linguistic approach in support of ‘good’ innovation
The objection to there being a possibility of existence of a good bid’a stems from the misinterpretation of the term Kullu [“every”, or “all”] in the hadith to be all encompassing without exception, whereas in Arabic, it may mean “nearly all” or, “the vast majority.” This is how Imam al- Shafi’i understood it or else he would have never allowed for any innovation whatsoever to be even considered good, and he considered a hujja [proof] that is, reference without peer for questioning regarding the Arabic language. Imam al-Bayhaqi narrated in his Manaqib al-Shafi’i (2:42-46):
Al Hassan related from Mahmud al Misri and he was one gifted with Eloquence – that Mahmud said; I saw ash- Shafi’i when I was little, and I heard Ibn Hisham – and I never set eyes on one from whom I took wisdom Such as Ibn Hisham: I was al- Shafi’i’s sitting companion for a long time, and I never heard him use a word except that if that word were carefully considered, one would not find [in its context] a better word than it in the entire Arabic language.
Mahmud also said; I heard Ibn Hisham say al-Shafi’i ’s discourse, in relation to language, is a proof in itself.” It is also related from al Hassan ibn Muhammad al Za’ farani; A group of the people of pure Arabic [qawmum min ahl al ‘arabiyya] used to frequent al-Shafi’i’s gathering with us and sit in a corner. One day I asked their leader: “You are not interested in scholarship, why do you keep coming here with us?” They said, “We come to hear al-Shafi’i’s language.”
The word Kull, is taken here to mean the part by the whole, what is known as a synecdoche in the English language. This is illustrated by the use of Kull in verse 46:25 of the Qur’an in a selective or partial sense not a universal sense; “Destroying all things by the commandment of its Lord. And morning found them so that naught could be seen save their dwellings.”
Thus, the dwellings were in fact not all destroyed, although “all” things had been destroyed. “All” here means specifically the lives of the unbelievers of ‘Aad and their properties except their houses. The same applies with the hoopee-bird’s expression when Allah says that Balkis has been given in abundance from “everything” in Sura al Naml [27:23], whereas she was not given any power over Sulayman nor any share of his Kingdom. Similarly when Allah says, “Every soul [kullu nafsin] shall taste death,” [3:185] it is understood though that not mentioned, Allah Himself is excluded from the meaning.
There are also other verses in the Qur’an where there are generalisations, such as mentioned in Surat al Najm [53:39], where Allah decrees that “..A man can have nothing, except what he strives for.” Despite this, a Muslim can benefit from his Muslim brethren – such as the prayers of the Angels, the funeral prayer that is read over him, charity given by others in his name, and the prayers of others for him. Again, we are told in Surat al Anbiya [21:98] that, “Verily, you and what you worship apart from Allah are the fuel of hell.” The generalisation here is “what you worship,” because it is well known that ‘Isa, his mother, and angels were all worshipped other than Allah Himself – but will not be the fuel of hell, and so is not meant by this verse. Also, where Allah mentions in Surat al ‘Anam [6:44] regarding the heedlessness of past nations that were sent Messengers, “But when they forgot what they had been reminded of, We opened unto them the doors of everything,” but the doors of Mercy were not opened for them [(Shaykh) Nuh Ha Mim Keller, Bida and Sunnah in The Shari’ah, Qalam International, August 1998, Issue II, vol. I, pp. 5-6].
Hadith evidences alluded to support the existence of ‘good’ innovation
‘Umar bin al Khattab said that his actions of calling the Muslims to congregational Tarawih prayers, in the mosque was an excellent innovation [Sahih al Bukhari, vol. III, ‘Alam al Kutub, Beirut, pp. 97-98]. He did this in spite of the fact that during the time of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, the Tarawih prayers were performed in their respective houses, because he [may Allah bless him and grant him peace] was worried that if they were performed in congregation in the Mosque, then they might be given an obligatory status. During the time of Abu Bakr, the Tarawih prayers were also performed in their respective houses.
Abu Amana al-Bahili stated that, “Verily Allah obligates you to perform the Ramadhan fast and did not say [for you] to stay awake at night.” The action of staying awake at night as a pious act towards Allah in the Mosque is a noble innovation on the basis that staying awake at night remembering Allah is a worthy act to perform.
Ibn ‘Umar stated that Duha prayers in congregation at the Mosque is a noble innovation. “The best innovation I did is this innovation” [Ibn Hajar al Asqalani, Fath al-Bari, vol. III, Maktaba al Halabi, Egypt, p 795]. Ibn ‘Umar when questioned by Mujahid on the Duha prayers in the congregation, stated that it was an innovation. He confirmed his innovation as a good innovation when questioned by ‘Ali Shaiba [Sahih Muslim, vol. I (Maktaba al-Misriya: Egypt) p 229].
From the tradition of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, it is understood that innovation from the viewpoint of the Shari’ah can be divided into good and bad [hassana wa sayyi’a]. This is exemplified by the following four points;
The Prophet told Bilal that whoever lives according to his Prophetic practice [Sunna] will be given a good reward commensurate with his performance. Whosoever innovates a deviation will not be accepted by Allah and His Prophet, and will be made responsible in proportion to the deviation brought about [Sunan al-Tirmidhi (al-Jami al-Sahih) vol. IV, Dar al-Fikr, Beirut 1983, pp.150-151]. It is understood that on one hand, innovation in accordance with the tradition of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, is good, while on the other, innovation which is contrary to the tradition of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, is bad and contemptible.
Jurair bin ‘Abd Allah, reported the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said: “ Whosoever invents a good regulation then practices it, for him there is a good reward …and whosoever invents a bad regulation and practices it, will be responsible for it ..” [‘Izat ‘Ali ‘Atiyya, al-Bid’a a Thiduha wa al-Islam Minha, p170].
This tradition of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, indicates that innovation exists and that there are two categories, i.e., that which brings about good and that which brings about evil.
The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Whosoever creates his own actions or activities, these will be rejected” [Narrated by Muslim, by ‘A’isha]. Ibn Abbas reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Whosoever creates his own actions or activities based on ideas not found in the Qur’an and the Prophetic practice, then it is left to Allah (i.e., to His judgment)” [Al-Darimi, Sunan al-Darimi, vol. I (Dar al-Fikr: Beirut) p 53]. Here it is shown that whosoever invents anything that is contravention to the Qur’an and the Sunna, is rejected. However, inventions for which there is no detailed basis in the Qur’an and the Sunna but which are not contrary to them, are permissible.
Both Bukhari and Muslim in their Sahih relate from Abu Hurayra that at the dawn prayer, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said to Bilal, “Bilal, tell me which of your acts in Islam you are most hopeful about, for I have heard the footfall of your sandals in paradise,” and he replied, “I have done nothing I am more hopeful about than the fact that I do not perform ablution at any time of the night or day without praying with that ablution whatever has been destined for me to pray.” Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani says in his Fath al Bari that the hadith demonstrates the permissibility to use personal reasoning [ijtihad] in choosing times for acts of worship, as Bilal reached this conclusion by himself unaided by the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. Similarly, is the example in Bukhari about Khubayb who asked to pray two raka’s before being executed by the Mushrikin in Makkah. He was the first to establish the Sunna of two rak’as for those who are steadfast in going to their death.
Both Bukhari and Muslim relate that Rifa’a Ibn Rafi said, “When we were praying behind the Prophet [may Allah bless him and grant him peace] and he raised his head from bowing and said, “Allah hears those who praise Him,” a man behind him said, “Our Lord, Yours is the praise, abundantly, wholesomely, and blessedly therein.” When he rose to leave [after the prayer], the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, asked, “who said it?” and when the man replied that it was he, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “I saw thirty odd angels each striving to be the one to write it.” Ibn Hajar said in his Fath al Bari, that the hadith indicates the permissibility of initiating new expressions of dhikr in the prayer other than the ones related through hadith texts, as long as they do not contradict those conveyed by the hadith.
Bukhari relates from ‘A’isha that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, dispatched a man at the head of a military expedition who recited the Qur’an for his companion at prayer, finishing each recital with al Ikhlas . When they returned, they mentioned this to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, who told them, “Ask him why he does this,” and when they asked him, the man replied, “Because it describes the All Merciful, and I love to recite it.” The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said to them, “Tell him Allah loves him.” There are no scholars who hold that to do the above is recommended, since the acts of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, are far superior, though his confirming the above demonstrates his acceptance of various forms of obedience and acts of worship, and show that he did not hold them as reprehensible innovations.
What can be easily seen from the preceding three hadiths, is that they all concern the prayer, of which the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Pray as you have seen me pray,” despite which he [may Allah bless him and grant him peace] accepted the above examples of personal reasoning, even though they were not acts initiated by himself.
Bukhari relates from Abu Sa’eed al Khudri that a band of the Companions of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, departed on one of their journey’s and approached an encampment of some desert Arabs and asked them to be their hosts, but who refused to have them as their guests. A scorpion stung the leader of the encampment and his followers tried everything to cure him, and when all had failed, one said, “If you would approach the group camped near you, one of them might have something.” So they came to them and said, “O band of men, our leader has been stung and we have tried everything. Do any of you have something for it?” And one of them [amongst the Sahaba] replied, “Yes, by Allah. I recite healing words [ruqya] over people, but by Allah, we asked you to be our hosts and you refused, so I shall not recite anything unless you give us a fee.” They then agreed upon a herd of sheep, so the man went and began spitting and reciting the Fatiha over the victim until he got up and walked as if he were a camel released from its hobble, nothing the matter with him. They then paid the agreed fee, which some of the Companions wanted to divide up, but the man who had done the reciting told them, “Do not do so until we reach the Prophet [may Allah bless him and grant him peace] and tell him what has happened, to see what he may order us to do.” They came to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and told him what had occurred, and he said, “How did you know it was the words that heal? You were right. Divide up the heard and give me a share.”
The hadith is explicit that the Companion had no previous knowledge or example from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, that the Fatiha can be recited to heal – but did so anyway by means of personal reasoning. However, since his reasoning did not go against the Shari’ah and not contravene anything that had been legislated, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, confirmed this act even though there was no precedent from himself.
Bukhari relates from Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri that one man heard another reciting al Ikhlas over and over again, so when morning came he went to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and sarcastically mentioned it to him. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “By Him in whose hand is my soul, it equals one third of the Qur’an.” Despite this not being the practice of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, himself (restricting himself to this Sura), the Prophet did not find anything in it that was reprehensible and was in the general parameters of the Sunna.
Ahmad and Ibn Hibban relate from ‘Abd Allah Ibn Burayda that his father said, “I entered the mosque with the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) where a man was at prayer, supplicating, “O Allah, I ask you by the fact that I testify You are Allah, there is no god but You, the One, the Ultimate, who did not beget and was not begotten, and to whom there is no equal,” and the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “By Him in whose hand is my soul, he has asked Allah by His greatest name, which if He is asked by it, He gives, and if supplicated, He answers.” This supplication was spontaneous and was not taught by the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, but who nevertheless confirmed it since it confirmed to the Shari’ah. [(Shaykh) Keller, Ibid, pp. 6-8]
In conclusion we can learn from the aforementioned hadiths that:
The first is that the word “every” is not absolute nor universal, since there are examples in the Qur’an and Sunna where cases of generalisations are qualified by restrictions.
Secondly, the Sunna of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was his way or custom to accept [new] acts that were not initiated by himself but nevertheless were good and did not conflict with established Shari’ah; and to reject those that were in conflict with the Shari’ah.
And finally, the third point is that new matters cannot be rejected simply because they did not exist at the time of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, but must be evaluated according to the Shari’ah.
The Sunna of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, is his way of acting, ordering, accepting and rejecting, and the way of the Khalifah Rashidun who also followed his model in acting, ordering, accepting and rejecting. Newly begun practices therefore, must be examined in the Sunna – in the way that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, accepted or rejected newly begun practices. As have been mentioned, many of the Sahaba initiated new practices through their own ijtihad – practices that were not initiated by the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, himself. The Sahaba did so due to their belief and conviction that they were acts that were good, and were done in accordance to Allah’s command, “And do the good, that haply you may succeed.” [22:77], and the hadith of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, “He who inaugurates a good Sunna in Islam earns the reward of it and all who perform it after him without diminishing their own rewards in the slightest.”
 Muhammad bin ‘Umar relates:
I was sitting in the company of Abu Bakr bin Mujahid in Baghdad, when Shaykh Shibili came before them, whereupon Abu Bakr bin Mujahid stood up and hugged him, kissed his forehead and sat him by his side. Muhammad bin ‘Umar said I asked Abu Bakr bin Mujahid, “You are the Shaykh, whilst the whole of Baghdad regards Shibli as Majnun [crazy]. Why have you treated him with so much respect?” To this, Abu Bakr bin Mujahid replied, “I have done nothing strange. I have treated him exactly as I have seen the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, treat him. In my dream, I saw the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) kiss Shibli between his two eyes. I asked the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) “Why did you treat Shibli this way?” To which the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) replied, “I love him because after every Salah, he recites the last verse of Surah Tawba, after which he recites Sallal Laho ‘alaika Ya Muhammad three times.”
[Hafiz Ibn al-Qayyim, Jilal al-Afham, p 80]
 Bukhari relates from Mahmud ibn Rabi’ that:
When the Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) performed his ablution, the Companions almost fought over the excess water.
[Al-Misri, Ahmed ibn Naqib, Reliance of the Traveller, translated by (Shaykh) Nuh Ha Mim Keller, Sunna Books 1994, p 930].
Bukhari narrates in his sahih in the Book of Clothing, under the chapter entitled ‘What is mentioned about grey hair,’ that ‘Usman ibn ‘Abd Allah ibn Mawhab said:
My family sent me to Umm Salama with a cup of water. Umm Salama brought out a silver bottle that contained one of the hairs of the Prophet, and it used to be that if anyone came under the evil eye or ill health they used to send her a cup of water through which she would pass this hair (for drinking). We used to look into the silver bottle: I saw some reddish hairs. Anas said: “When the Prophet shaved his head (after pilgrimage), Abu Talha was the first one to take his hair”
Anas also said:
The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) threw stones at al-Jamra, then sacrificed, then told the barber to shave his head right side first, then began to give the hair away to the people.” He said: “Talha was the one distributing it”
[Muslim, Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud]
He also said:
When the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) shaved his head in Mina, he gave me the hair from the right side and he said: ‘Anas! Take it to Umm Sulaym [his mother].’ When the Companions saw what the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) gave us, they began to compete to take the hair from the left side, and everyone was getting a share from that.
[Ahmad narrated it]
Ibn al-Sakan narrated through Safwan ibn Hubayra from the latter’s father – Thabit al-Bunani said:
Anas ibn Malik said to me (on his death-bed): ‘This is one of the hairs of Allah’s Messenger (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). I want you to place it under my tongue.’ Thabit continued: ‘I placed it under his tongue, and he was buried with it under his tongue.’
Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, said:
I saw Khalid [ibn Walid] asking for the Prophet’s (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) forelock and he received it. He used to put it over his eyes and then kiss it.
It is known that he then placed it in his head cover around which the turban is tied and never faced battle again except he won.
[al-Waqidi (Maghazi), Ibn Hajar (Isaba)].
Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani relates that Imam Malik said:
Khalid ibn al-Walid owned a qalansiyya which contained some of the Prophet’s (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) hair, and that is the one he wore the day of the battle of Yarmuk.
Ibn Sirin (one of the tabi ‘in) said:
One hair of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) in my possession is more precious to me than silver and gold and everything that is on the earth and everything that is inside it.
[Bukhari, Bayhaqi (Sunan kubra), and Ahmad].
Hafiz Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Bari, Volume 10, page 353, said:
They used to call the silver bottle in which the hair of the Prophet, (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was kept jiljalan and that bottle was in the home of Umm Salama.
Hafiz al-‘Ayni wrote in ‘Umdat al-Qari, Volume 18, page 79:
Umm Salama had some of the hairs of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) in a silver bottle. When some people became ill, they would go and obtain blessings from these hairs and they would be healed by means of their blessings. If a person were struck by the evil eye or any sickness, he would send his wife to Umm Salama with a mikhdaba or water-pail, and she would pass the hair through that water and then drink the water and he would be healed, after which they would return the hair to the bottle.
Imam Ahmad narrates in his Musnad (4:42) from ‘Abd Allah ibn Zayd ibn ‘Abd Rabbih with a sound (sahih) chain as stated by Haythami in Majma’ al-Zawa’id (3:19) that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, clipped his nails and distributed them among the people.
Narrated Jabir bin ‘Abd Allah:
I fell ill and Allah’s Messenger (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) and Abu Bakr came to visit me on foot. The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) came to me while I was unconscious. Allah’s Messenger (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) performed ablution and poured the Remaining water of his ablution over me whereupon I became conscious and said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger (may Allah bless him and grant him peace)! How should I spend my wealth? [Or how should I deal with my wealth?]” But the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) did not give me any reply till the Verse of the laws of inheritance was revealed.
[Bukhari volume 9, Book 92, Number 412]
In Bukhari and Muslim:
The Companions would compete for with one another for the water of the Prophet’s (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) ablution in order to wipe it on their faces.
Imam Nawawi in Sharh Sahih Muslim said: “In these narrations is evidence for seeking blessings with the relics of the friends of Allah” (fihi al-tabarruk bi athar al-salihin). The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to heal the sick with his saliva mixed with some earth with the words: “Bismillah, the soil of our earth with the saliva of certain ones among us shall heal our sick with our Lord’s permission” [Bukhari and Muslim].
The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, had everyone in Madina then Makkah bring their newborn, upon whom he would read and into whose mouth he would do nafth and tifl (breath mixed with saliva). He would instruct their mothers not to suckle them that day until nightfall. Bukhari, Abu Dawud, Ahmad, Bayhaqi (Dala’il), Waqidi, etc. all narrate this.
‘Utban ibn Malik was one of the Companions of the battle of Badr. After he became blind he said to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace:
I would like you to pray in my house so that I can pray where you prayed.” The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) went to his house and asked where exactly he would like him to pray. He indicated a spot to him and the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) prayed there.
[Bukhari and Muslim]
The version in Muslim reads: “I (‘Utman) sent for the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) the message: ‘Come and lay for me a place for worship [khutta li masjidan].’” Imam Nawawi in Sharh Sahih Muslim said: “It means: ‘Mark for me a spot that I can take as a place for worship by obtaining blessing from your having been there [mutabarrikan bi aathaarika]…’ In this hadith is evidence for obtaining blessings through the relics of the Friends of Allah (al-tabarruk bi aathaar al-salihin).”
‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, feared that the taking of the tree of the bay ‘a to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, as a place of prayer might lead to a return to idol-worship and he had it cut [Bukhari, Ibn Sa’d (1:73)]. It is known, however, that he derived blessings even from walking in the same spots where the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, had walked and praying exactly where he had prayed both at the Ka’ba and on his travels, and that he watered a certain tree under which the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, had prayed so that it would not die [Bukhari and Bayhaqi (Sunan 5:245)]. Suwayd ibn Ghafalah reported:
I saw ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) kissing the Stone and clinging to it and saying: ‘I saw Allah’s Messenger (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), bearing great love for you.’
This hadith has been narrated on the authority of Sufyan with the same chain of transmitters (and the words are):
He (‘Umar) said: ‘I know that you are a stone, nor would I consider you of any worth, except that I saw Abu al-Qasim [that is the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace] bearing great love for you.’ And he did not mention about clinging to it.
[Muslim: 7: 2916]
Qadi ‘Iyad relates in his Shifa’, in the chapter entitled ‘Esteem for the things and places connected with the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace)” that Imam Malik would not ride an animal in Madina and used to say: ‘I am too shy before Allah to trample with an animal’s hoof on the earth where Allah’s Messenger (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) is buried.’ Imam Malik gave a fatwa that whoever said: ‘The soil of Madina is bad’ be given thirty lashes and jailed.
Al-Tabarani in al-Awsat and al-Kabir (4:16), and Imam Ahmad in his Musnad (5:67-68) with a sound chain as stated by al-Haythami in al-Zawa’id (4:211) narrated through Handhalah Ibn Hudhaym that the latter went with his grandfather, Hudhaym, to the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). Hudhaym said to the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace):
I have sons and grandsons, some of whom are pubescent and others still children.” Motioning to the young child next to him, he said: “This is the youngest.” The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) brought this young child whose name was Handhalah next to him, wiped on his head, and told him, “barakallahu fik,” which means: ‘may Allah bless you.’ After that, people started to bring Handhalah a person with a swollen face or a sheep with a swollen udder. Handhalah would place his hand on that part of his head the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) wiped, then touch the swollen part and say Bismillah, and the swelling would be cured.
Ibn Abi Shayba narrated in his Musannaf (4:121), in the chapter entitled: ‘Touching the grave of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace,’ with a sahih chain as judged by Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani, and Qadi ‘Iyad in his book al-Shifa’, in the chapter entitled: ‘Concerning the visit to the Prophet’s (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) grave, the excellence of those who visit it and how he should be greeted:
Yazid ibn ‘Abd al-Malik ibn Qusayt and al-‘Utbi narrated that it was the practice of the Companions in the masjid of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) to place their hands on the pommel of the hand rail (rummana) of the pulpit (minbar) where the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) used to place his hand. There they would face the qibla and supplicate (make du‘a) to Allah hoping He would answer their supplication because they were placing their hands where the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) placed his while making their supplication. Abu Mawduda said: ‘And I saw Yazid ibn ‘Abd al-Malik do the same.’
The Tabi’i, Thabit al-Bunani said he used to go to Anas Ibn Malik, kiss his hands, and say: “These are hands that touched the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace)” He would kiss his eyes and say: “These are eyes that saw the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace).” Abu Ya`la narrated it in his Musnad (6:211) Ibn Hajar mentions it in his al-Matalib al-‘Aliya (4:111) and al-Haythami declared it sound in Majma’ al-Zawa’id (9:325).
According to Bukhari in his Adab al-Mufrad, ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Razin related that one of the Companions, Salama ibn al-Aku’, raised his hands before a group of people and said: “With these very hands I pledged allegiance (bay’a) to the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace).” Upon hearing this, all those who were present got up and went to kiss his hand. Another version of this hadith was also related by Ahmad. Abu Malik al-Ashja’i said that he once asked another Companion of the Tree, Ibn Abi Awfa, “Give me the hand that swore bay’a to the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) so that I may kiss it.” Ibn al-Muqri related it. Bukhari in al-Adab al-Mufrad also relates that Suhayb saw Seyyedina ‘Ali kiss both the hand and feet of the Prophet’s (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) uncle al-‘Abbas, and that Thabit kissed the hand of Anas because it had touched the Prophet’s hand, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.
The first hadith that Imam Ahmad related from Anas ibn Malik in his Musnad is:
The whole Community of the people of Madina used to take the hand of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) and rush to obtain their need with it.
‘A’isha the Mother of the Believers said:
The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) when he had a complaint, would recite the last three suras of Qur’an, over himself and blow.” She said, “When his pain was great, I would recite it over him and wipe him with his right hand hoping for its blessing.”
Narrated by Imam Malik in his Muwatta’, Book 50, Number 50, 4:10.
Usama ibn Sharik narrates:
I came to see the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) while his Companions were with him, and they seemed as still as if birds had alighted on top of their heads. I gave him my salutations and I sat down [Then Bedouins came and asked questions which the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) answered] … The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) then stood up and the people stood up. They began to kiss his hand, whereupon I took his hand and placed it on my face. I found it more fragrant than musk and cooler than sweet water.
Narrated by Abu Dawud (Number 3855), Tirimidhi (2038 – hassan sahih), Ibn Majah (3436), al-Hakim (4:399), and Ahmad (4:278). Al-Hafiz Imam Bayhaqi cites it in Branch 15 of his Shu’ab al-Iman entitled: The Fifteenth Branch of Faith, Namely A Chapter On Rendering Honour To The Prophet, Declaring His High Rank, And Revering Him (al-khamis `ashar min shu`ab al-iman wa huwa babun fi ta`zim al-nabi sallallahu `alayhi wa sallama wa ijlalihi wa tawqirih) volume 2, p 200 (number 1528).
From Safwan ibn ‘Asal al-Muradi:
One of two Jews said to his companion: ‘Take us to this Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) so we can ask him about Musa’s ten signs… [the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) replied in full and then] they kissed his hands and feet and said: ‘We witness that you are a Prophet […]
Narrated by Ibn Abi Shayba (Book of Adab, Chapter entitled A Man Kissing Another Man’s Hand When He greets Him), Tirmidhi (Book of Adab) who declared it hassan sahih, al-Nasa’i, Ibn Majah (Book of Adab), and al-Hakim who declared it sahih.
Narrated Usayd ibn Hudayr:
AbdurRahman ibn Abu Layla (quoting Usayd ibn Hudayr, a man of the Ansar) said that while he was given to jesting and was talking to the people and making them laugh, the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) poked him under the ribs with a stick. He said: ‘Let me take retaliation.’ The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said: ‘Take retaliation.’ Usayd replied: ‘You are wearing a shirt but I am not.’ The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) then raised his shirt and the man embraced him and began to kiss his side. Then Usayd said: ‘This is what I wanted, Apostle of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace)!’”
Narrated in Abu Dawud, Book 41, Number 5205.
Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr relates, in his Isti ‘ab fi Ma’rifat al-as-hab (p. 673), that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, after forbidding two or three times the use of khaluq (a kind of perfume mixed with saffron), and finding that Sawad ibn ‘Amr al-Qari al-Ansari was wearing it, nudged him in the mid-section with a palm-tree stalk (jarida) and scratched him. The latter asked for reparation; when the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, bared his own stomach to him, he jumped and kissed the Prophet’s stomach, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. Ibn Ishaq’s version of a similar account in the Sira, mentions that Sawad was standing in the ranks of the Companions of Badr at the time of this incident. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was arranging the ranks with his miqra‘a and he nudged Sawad’s stomach with it, scratching him inadvertently, with the words: “Align yourself with the others.” Sawad said: “Ya Rasulallah, you hurt me, so give me reparation.” The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, handed him the tree stalk and said: ‘Take reparation.’ Sawad approached him and kissed his belly. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said: “What made you do that, O Sawad?” He replied, “Ya Rasulallah, the time has come for what you see, and I loved that my last action in this dunya be to touch you.”
Narrated Buhaysah al-Fazariyyah:
My father sought permission from the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) then he came near him, lifted his shirt, and began to kiss him and embrace him out of love for him.
Narrated in Abu Dawud, Book 9, Number 1665.
Narrated Abu Burda:
When I came to Madina. I met ’Abd Allah bin Salam. He said, ‘Will you come to me so that I may serve you with Sawiq (i.e. powdered barley) and dates, and let you enter a (blessed) house in which the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) entered?
[Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 58, Number 159].
Bukhari and Tirmidhi narrate from Qatada:
I asked Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) to describe the sandals of Allah’s Messenger (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) and he replied: ‘Each sandal had two straps’; and from ‘Isa ibn Tahman: Anas took out a pair of shoes and showed them to us. They did not have hair on them.
The remark refers to the Arabian practice of not removing the hair from the leather from which shoes were made.
Bukhari, Malik, and Abu Dawud relate that ‘Ubayd ibn Jarih said to ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Umar:
I saw you wear tanned sandals. He replied: “I saw the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) wearing sandals with no hair on them and perform ablution in them, and so I like to wear them.”
Al-Qastallani in his Mawahib al-Laduniyya said that Ibn Mas’ud, may Allah be pleased with him, was one of the Prophet’s, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, servants and that he used to bring for the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, his cushion (wisada), his tooth-stick (siwak), his two sandals (na’layn), and the water for his ablution. When the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, rose he would put his sandals on him; when he sat he would carry his sandals in his arms until he rose. Qastallani mentions the following from one of the greatest Tabi’in:
Abu Ishaq (al-Zuhri) said: al-Qasim ibn Muhammad (ibn Abu Bakr al-Siddiq) said: ‘Of the proven blessing of the likeness of the Prophet’s (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) sandal is that whoever has it in his possession for tabarruk, will safeguard him from the sedition of rebels and the mastery of enemies, and will be a barrier against every recreant devil and the evil eye of the envious. If the pregnant woman holds it in her right hand at the time of labour, her delivery will be easier by Allah’s change and His might.
Al-Qastallani also said that Abu al-Yaman ibn ‘Asakir wrote a volume on the image of the Prophet’s sandal, and so did Ibn Hajj al-Andalusi. He relates the account of a pious shaykh by the name of Abu Ja’far Ahmad ibn ‘Abd al-Majid:
I cut the pattern of this sandal for one of my students. He came to me one day and said: ‘I saw a wonder yesterday from the blessing of this sandal. My wife was suffering from a pain which almost took her life. I placed the sandal on the spot of her pain and said: O Allah, show me the blessing of the owner of this sandal. Allah cured her on the spot.
Al-Munawi and al-Qari mentioned in their commentary on Tirmidhi’s al-Shama’il that Ibn al-‘Arabi said that the sandals are part of the attire of prophets, (upon whom be peace) and the people only left them due to the mud in their lands. He also mentioned that one of the names of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, in the ancient books is Sahib al-Na’layn or “The wearer of the two sandals.” Ashraf ‘Ali al-Tahanawi wrote a treatise entitled Nayl al-shifa’ bi na’l al-Mustafa (The attainment of cure through the sandals of the Elect One) found in his book Zad al-Sa’eed (Provision for the fortunate). Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhalwi said in his translation of Tirmidhi’s Shama’il:
Maulana Ashraf ‘Ali Thanwi has written in his kitab Zaadus Sa’eed a detailed treatise on the barakaat and virtues of the shoes of The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. Those interested in this should read that kitab (available in English). In short, it may be said that it [the Prophet’s (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) sandal] has countless qualities. The ‘ulama have experienced it many a time. One is blessed by seeing the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace in one’s dreams; one gains safety from oppressors and every heartfelt desire is attained. Every object is fulfilled by its tawassul (means, petition, request). The method of tawassul is also mentioned therein.
Imam al-Dhahabi summarises all of the above as manifestations of the Companion’s intense love for the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. He writes concerning the Sahaba’s actions in Mujam al-Shuyukh (1:73) that:
[…] they enjoyed his presence directly, kissed his very hand, nearly fought each other the remnants of his ablution water, shared his purified hair on the day of the greater Pilgrimage, and even if he spat, it would virtually not fall except in someone’s hand so that he could pass it over his face […] Don’t you see the Companions in their intense love for the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, asked him, ‘should we not prostrate to you?’ and he replied no, and if he had allowed them, they would have prostrated to him as a mark of utter veneration and respect, not as a mark of worship, just as the Prophet Joseph’s brothers prostrated to Joseph, upon whom be peace.
 ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, told the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, “I love you more than anything except my soul which is between my two sides.” The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, replied, “None of you will believe until I am dearer to him than his own soul.” ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “By the One who sent down the Book on you, I love you more than my soul which is between my two sides.” The Prophet said, “’Umar, now you have it!” (al-Bukhari)
 Imam Ahmad relates in his Kitab al Zuhud, that the Messenger of Allah – may Allah bless him and grant him peace, ordered people that should they meet Uways, to have him ask forgiveness on their behalf: The Messenger of Allah said:
Uways ibn ‘Amir will dawn upon you with the assistance of the people of Yemen from the tribe of Murad and Qaran. He was a leper and was healed except in a tiny spot. He has a mother whose rights he keeps scrupulously. If you are able to let him ask forgiveness for you, do it. Al-Hassan al-Basri also related: “More people will enter Paradise through the intercession of a certain man from my community than there are people in the tribes of Rabi’a and Mudar.” Al-Basri said, “That is Uways al-Qarani.”
[Ahmad, al-Zuhud (Dar al-Kutub al ‘ilmiyya: Beirut 1993) pp 413-16]
The narration concerning ‘Uways is that he embraced Islam in Yemen, and greatly desired to travel to Madina to meet the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. But his old mother wanted him to stay home and take care of her. She gave him permission to go on the condition that as soon as he got to the Prophet’s house, he would turn around and would return without going any where else. As the narration unfolds, we are told that the Prophet happened to be out when he reached there. But Uways was obedient to the promise he’d made to his mother, so he never did get to meet the Prophet. For his love for the Prophet and his filial piety, he was raised to the same station as the Sahabah, the Prophet’s Companions. And Allah knows best.
 “Invoke blessings upon me abundantly on Friday because it is a day that is (particularly) witnessed and the angels witness it (abundantly). As soon as a person invokes blessings on me his invocation is shown to me until he ends it.” Abu al-Darda’ said: “Even after (your) death?” The Prophet replied: “Verily, Allah has forbidden the earth to consume the bodies of Prophets.” Related by Ibn Majah with a sound chain through Abu al-Darda’. Also related with a sound chain from Aws ibn Aws al-Thaqafi by Ahmad, Ibn Abi Shayba, Abu Dawud, al-Nasa’i, Ibn Majah, al-Darimi, Ibn Khuzayma, Ibn Hibban, al-Hakim (sahih, confirmed by Dhahabi), Tabarani in his Kabir, and Bayhaqi in many places, some with the initial addition of the following: “The best of your days is Friday, for in it Adam was created, and in it his soul was taken back, and in it is the Blowing of the horn, and in it is the universal Seizure, therefore invoke blessings upon me abundantly on Friday,” etc. [see also Jala al-Afham p 145 by Hafiz Ibn-al-Qayyim].
Imam Nasa’i narrates that there are some angels who visit the earth. Their duty is to go to the person who sends salutations upon the Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace and then to take those salutations to the Prophet Muhammad may Allah bless him and grant him peace.
The scholars’ case is very clear. The celebration of the Holy Prophet’s birthday, an event of unique importance in mankind’s religious history, is classed as a ‘good innovation’ (bid’a hasana) in the weighty tomes of classical fiqh (Islamic law). In a fatwa delivered in 1991, Shaykh Muhammad al-Khazraji, the present Mufti of the United Arab Emirates and author of many authoritative works on Islam, explains that although Mawlid was not known in its present form to the early Muslims, its immense value in inculcating love for the Prophet, and the fact that it does not contradict any principle of the Quran and Sunna, means that it is considered recommended (mustahabb) by the jurists.
Despite the objections of some smaller sects, such as the Kharijites of Oman, this view has been overwhelmingly shared by conservative Islamic scholarship. Great legal experts such as Ibn Hajar, al-Suyuti, al-Nawawi, al-Shawkani and many other orthodox figures have written in confirmation of the classical support for the mawlid celebration. Mainstream Sunni scholarship thus concurs with the ‘salafi’ branch of Hanbalism, which has always been at the forefront of calls to promote this Islamic festival. Ibn Taymiya, for instance, the medieval scholar of Syria, wrote: ‘To celebrate and to honour the birth of the Prophet, and to take it as an honoured season, as some of the people are doing, is good, and in it there is a great reward, because of their good intentions in honouring the Prophet, may Allah bless him.’ (Ibn Taymiya, Fatawa, vol.23, p.163.)
His pupil Ibn al-Qayyim takes the same line: ‘Listening to a beautiful voice celebrating the birthday of the Prophet, or celebrating any of the holy days of our history, gives peace to the heart, and bestows upon the listener a light from the Prophet himself.’ (Madarij al-Salikin, p.498.)
In the tradition of these scholars, the ‘salafi’ sect of Islam has produced a number of beautiful mawlid works written specifically for public recital on these celebrations. Perhaps the best known of these is the famous Mawlid of Ibn Kathir, which soon became popular throughout the Islamic world. This great commentator on the Quran begins his Mawlid by observing: ‘The night of the Prophet’s birth, may Allah bless him, is a magnificent, noble, blessed and holy night, a night of bliss for the believers, pure, radiant with lights, and of immeasurable price.’
Hence despite the efforts of secular regimes and sectarian tendencies to deprive the Muslims of this most happy and beneficial of Islamic festivals, the scholars of all orientations have been overwhelmingly in support of the orthodox position. At a time when conditions for the Muslims are hard, and we need more than ever to rekindle the fire of love for our Prophet in the Umma, our communities should follow their counsel loyally. As Mufti al-Khazraji concludes: ‘Celebrating the Mawlid is a recommended practice, especially in this difficult age of ours, and should never be abandoned.’
Every year, when the month of Rabi al-Awwal comes around once again, bringing in its train the night of the twelfth, it seems to us as if the whole world is perfumed by the memory of the birth of the Final Messenger, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him. Countless millions of Muslims in every corner of the earth fix their thoughts on his birth, by re-reading his biography and learning from his unique values and qualities. For he was the Unlettered Prophet, in whose human essence were combined and perfected every noble and generous trait of character: the best of all role-models, of whom Allah Himself has said: “Truly, yours is a tremendous character.”
Without the slightest doubt, the best way of commemorating this most noble of all birthdays is in reciting the story of his life, to adults and to children, in order to accustom them to the love of Allah’s great Messenger.
My own mother, may Allah show her soul mercy, used to put us in the habit of sitting down and reading the sira books. Even though she herself could neither read nor write, she knew much of the sira by heart, and would constantly encourage her family and neighbours to become intimately familiar with the beautiful life-story of the Prophet.
No-one could deny that gathering to listen to the career of the Master of the Messengers is one of the most desirable of all activities. It can yield a whole range of blessings and benefits, as long as it takes place in a proper Islamic atmosphere without any reprehensible innovations or distortions. Needless to say, the life of the Prophet, upon him be blessings and peace, can and should be commemorated at any time of the year. Nonetheless, when he is remembered in Rabi al-Awwal, people’s attachment to him grows even stronger, for the simple reason that it was in this month that he was born. At this special time, when the impulse to gather for this purpose is at its strongest, one feels an overwhelming sense of connection between our time and his, as the present reminds us of the past, and helps us to bring to mind and relate to events which took place many centuries ago.
The love of the Prophet, and the joy which his birth and career have brought to us, bring every imaginable kind of good thing to a true Muslim. Even an unbeliever can benefit from his birth. The idolator Abu Lahab, one of the greatest enemies of Islam, was pleased when one Monday he heard the news that Muhammad had been born: and he freed his slave-girl Thuwaiba who had brought him the news. We are told that because of this deed his punishment in the grave is reduced every Monday. This hadith, which is narrated by Imam Bukhari, inspired Imam Shams al-Din al-Dimashqi to write:
If an unbeliever, condemned by the Quran to eternal pain,
Can be relieved every Monday through his joy at Ahmad,
Then what must a true servant of God hope to gain,
When with the truth of Tawhid he felt joy at Ahmad?
The Prophet himself, may Allah bless him, used to commemorate his birthday, thanking his Lord for His great kindness to him. He would express this commemoration by fasting, as we are told in a hadith narrated by Imam Muslim. The methods by which his birthday may be celebrated vary widely, but the objective is the same: whether in fasting, giving food to the poor, gathering for the remembrance (dhikr) of Allah or calling down blessings upon His Messenger, and listening to the story of his virtues and mighty achievements.
Allah has commanded us Muslims to rejoice at the things by which His grace and mercy comes to us. In the Holy Quran we read: ‘Say, by Allah’s grace and mercy; and let them be made joyful by this!’ (Yunus, 58.) And we have never received any mercy greater than the Prophet himself: ‘We sent you only as a mercy to the worlds.’ (Anbiya, 107.)
The Blessed Prophet was keenly aware of the connection of the flow of time with the great religious events of the past. Whenever the time of year recalled such an event, he would seize the opportunity to commemorate it, and call to mind its significance.
There are many examples of this. For instance, when he first arrived at Madina, he found the Jews fasting on the Day of Ashoura. When he enquired about this practice, he was told, ‘They fast on this day because Allah rescued their prophet on this day, and drowned their enemy, so that they fast it in gratitude to Allah for this blessing.’ And the Prophet remarked: ‘We have even more right to Moses than have they!’, and ordered that the Muslims should fast on that day as well.
For all these reasons, every year during the month of the Mawlid I devote my time to the great books of the Sira, spending some time enjoying their shade and cool breezes. I recall to my mind the episodes and events of his unique career from the time when the light of Muhammad first shone upon the world: the Arbitration at the Ka’ba, the Beginning of Revelation, the trials and sufferings endured while calling men to Allah, the Hijra, the great and heroic battles against paganism and misguidance, the creation of the Islamic State, the Farewell Pilgrimage, and finally, the moment when revelation to earth came to its conclusive end with the demise of the Blessed Prophet and his passing-on to the Highest Companion in Heaven.
During this month, I spend as much time as I can in this blessed company. This is despite the fact that these astonishing and moving events remain in my thoughts and reflections during the entire year, forming a constant guide, reference and inspiration, as I remember the actions and deeds of him whose every action and deed had the purpose of educating the human race.
Yesterday, my wife came to me while I was engrossed in my reading. She looked at the book before me, and saw that it was about the Mawlid, open at the page where the greatest of all sira writers Ibn Ishaq says: ‘Allah’s Messenger, may He bless and keep him, was born on Monday, during the twelfth night of Rabi al-Awwal, in the Year of the Elephant.’
She asked me this interesting question: ‘Why was he born during that month, rather than during Ramadan, the month when the Quran was revealed, or in one of the Sacred Months, which Allah rendered sacred on the day He created the heavens and the earth? Or even in Sha’ban, the month which contains the blessed Night of Mid-Sha’ban?’
She stopped, and looked at me for an answer. I looked again at the book, and searched for a clue, but without success. So I asked her to give me a little time to allow me to read and do some thinking.
I fell silent and began asking myself: Why did the Almighty Creator decree that this noble Prophet should come into the world on Monday the twelfth of Rabi al-Awwal? Why this date in particular? There must be some exquisite wisdom in this choice: but where and what?
I pulled out the great works of Sira, and turned their pages. I read the words of the scholars and historians of Islam, trying to unearth the secret of this divine decision. After hours of reading and contemplation, the books gave me four subtle indications which together point to the answer.
Firstly, in a hadith we read that Allah created the tree on Monday. This can be taken to mean that the creation of sustenance, fruits and all the good things of the earth upon which the children of Adam depend for their life, and which give them medicines to heal them, and whose very sight brings them rest and joy: all this was decreed to come into existence on this day.
The Prophet, upon him be peace, also came into the world on this day, as a cause of rapture and joy. He is associated with it in other ways also: according to Ibn Abbas, ‘Allah’s Messenger was born on a Monday, became a Prophet on a Monday, and raised up the Black Stone on a Monday.’
Secondly, we should recall that the Arabic name of the month of his birth signifies the season of spring: the time of rebirth and renewal. Shaykh Abu Abd al-Rahman al-Siqilli writes: ‘Every human being is associated in some way with his name and circumstances in time. When we look at the season of spring, we see that it is the time when the Blessed Lord splits open the earth to reveal His bounty within, without which His servants could not subsist. Seeds split open and produce countless kinds of plant, which make all who see them rejoice. Though silent, they mutely proclaim the news of the imminent and delightful ripening of their fruit. Now, the Birthday of the Prophet, may Allah bless him, resembles this closely. His birth in the month of this name gives good tidings of the greatest forms of sustenance and protection for the believers. It proclaims Allah’s mercy, the greatest of which is His granting guidance, through His messenger, to the Straight Path.’
Thirdly, Shaykh Muhammad Yusuf al-Salihi writes: ‘Can you not see that the season of spring is both the most beautiful and moderate of seasons, free of both bitter cold or stifling heat, or exaggerated length in its days or nights? It is the time of year when people feel most refreshed and whole, so that they can enjoy the pleasure of prayer at night, and of fasting during the day. All of this symbolises and resembles the moderation and healthfulness of the Sunna and the Law which the Prophet brought.’
Fourthly, it would seem to be the case that the Wise God sometimes wishes to ennoble times through events, not events through times. A time otherwise left vacant can thereby be filled with a special quality from which people can derive benefit.
Obviously, if the Blessed Prophet had been born in Ramadan, or one of the Sacred Months, or in the holy month of Sha’ban, some people might think that it was he himself who was being ennobled by these times because of their great merit. But it was Allah’s wise decree that he be born in Rabi al-Awwal in order to ennoble that month, and to display Allah’s care and good providence for His Prophet. As an Arab poet has written:
Allah gave good news of you to the heavens, and they were adorned,
The soil of the earth turned to musk when it heard of you.
A day whose dawn is part of history,
And whose evening is made luminous by Muhammad!
To sum up what I have been trying to say: celebrations of the Mawlid are nothing other than a revival of the memory of the Chosen One. When this is done in the context of an Islamically-learned circle of knowledge and remembrance, in which the manners of our Islamic religion are observed, it is something which the great scholars approve of strongly. It provides a superb opportunity to link us to the Sira, to his miracles and beautiful character, and to the magnification of the Prophet whom Allah has commanded us to follow and emulate in all things.
Only by knowing his virtues and good qualities can we have perfect faith in him.
Only by listening to his life-story will we acquire a true and deep love for him.
As Allah Himself has stated: ‘We tell you the stories of the Messengers, in order to make firm your heart.’
O Allah, make firm our hearts in Islam! Make our faith true and deep, and bestow upon us real love for Your Prophet!
The Prophet taught that to find the enemy of peace we must look inwards – not out at others
Article originally appeared in the Independent:
Sunday marks the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday, a public holiday in almost every Muslim country. It is celebrated with drums, street parties, sweets for children, poetry competitions, and, in most British mosques, a startlingly incongruous display of tinsel and fairy lights.
Sunday marks the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday, a public holiday in almost every Muslim country. It is celebrated with drums, street parties, sweets for children, poetry competitions, and, in most British mosques, a startlingly incongruous display of tinsel and fairy lights.
This is fine, of course. Religion is meant to make people happy. Onlookers may frown, mystified, but believers rejoice. This time, the rejoicing is about nothing less than the healing of the torn human heart. God has sent a prophet to “heal hearts”, as the Koran puts it. From spiritual sickness, the Prophet brings his people into wholeness. The Prophet’s birthday is therefore on an emotional par with the party a cancer patient might throw when given the all-clear. There is a sense of relief and of exuberance, and also of gratitude.
All this sits well with Islam’s generally upbeat optimistic temper. The religion has no doctrine of original sin; sexuality is celebrated, private property is sacrosanct, and God is merciful. The risk, of course, is complacency, even smugness. If one has a delicious religion, and a generous Lord, who has promised that, despite all tribulations, goodness and justice will ultimately be victorious, what privilege could be more secure than Islam?
Yet this state of mind is in crisis. The Prophet taught optimism, but the Muslim world today looks hopeless. An array of shabby tyrants, most of them fortified by unshakeable Western support, watch as Palestine shrinks and Iraq implodes. Thanks to the Islamic virtue of patience, most of us stolidly persevere, hoping for the better times which we are promised. The West will stop interfering, and we will be free.
Such is one consolation of classical piety. As America’s finest trample like tyrannosaurs through ancient Muslim cities, most of us hunker down, and pray in hope. Yet classical piety tells us something less consoling as well. The Prophet brought healing, but the treatment itself was painful. In Turkish mosque decoration, the word “submission” is traditionally written with the Arabic dots painted red. This is, we are told, because submitting to God is so difficult that the believer weeps tears of blood. Religion juxtaposes hope with fear. The hope is in God, and the fear is of the ego. There may be no original sin, but there is certainly human perversity, waywardness, and a kind of gravitational attraction to selfishness.
The Prophet’s birthday announced the crushing of the Arabian ego. For centuries, the peninsula had been locked in tribal strife, fuelled by pride and mutually competing idolatries. In place of this, Islam brought brotherhood and unity. Reiterating the moral genius of Hebrew prophecy, the Koran does not vindicate its own people, but subjects them to a barrage of criticism. The Prophet emerged as an Arabic voice denouncing Arab ways, enduring extreme persecution from his own people. By endangering himself he gave them one of the great monotheistic gifts, the duty of collective self-criticism.
“Speak the truth,” says this voice, “though it be against yourselves.” God will only restore the believers’ fortunes “when they put themselves right”. The principle of divine justice should compel believers to blame themselves for their own misfortunes, rather than looking for external culprits.
Radical Muslim discourse of the type that is currently gaining ground seems to ignore this. Yet the conspiracy theories indulged in by many of our people are a secular intrusion into Muslim thinking. The ego tells us to blame others, when the scriptures insist that we have only ourselves to blame. The secular mind may blame enemies, but monotheism tempers this with the awareness that it is all, finally, our own silly fault.
The new sort of Islam that directs the finger of blame outwards, rather than towards the self, has been with us for only a very short time. Thirty years ago, no one had heard of it. Yet it is a sterile hopeless primal scream of desperation that can do no good to religion or to the world. It compounds Muslim grievances against our neighbours, and can lead to forms of self-destructive terrorism that are historically unprecedented for us.
The targeting of innocent bystanders is clearly a symptom of this. The Koran says: “Be steadfast witnesses for God in justice, and let not a people’s hatred make you swerve from justice.” Luckily, the Prophet was right to be optimistic. Such attitudes are not native to Islam, and cannot endure. The new generation, and teenagers in particular, are sick of the dishonour done to Islam by the zealots, and seem everywhere to be returning to the Koran’s own teaching. “Whatever misfortune descends upon you, comes from yourselves.” They, at least, recognise that the Prophet’s birthday is an invitation to be healed, not a claim that this has already happened.
Abdal Hakim Murad is a Muslim chaplain at Cambridge University