In the name of Allah the Most Gracious the Most Merciful
8 benefits of studying the descriptions of the Prophet (peace be upon him)
By Shaykh Abdur-Razzaaq ibn Abdil-Muhsin al-Badr may Allah preserve him
The shaykh mentions this benefit in the introduction to his explanation of “Shamaa’il an-Nabi” collected by Imaam Abu ‘Esaa Muhammad bin ‘Esaa at-Tirmidhi 289 AH. He said,
There are many tremendous benefits in studying the merits of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and having knowledge of his attributes. These benefits are:
First Benefit: From the obligations of the people of Imaan (faith) is to believe in the Prophet (peace be upon him), and that does not happen except by learning about him. Every time you increase in knowledge of him your faith and desire in following him will increase. From the obligations of having Imaan in the Prophet (peace be upon him) is to learn about his lofty manners and complete attributes. For surely, whoever truly learns about (the Prophet) will not doubt his truthfulness and the truthfulness of his message of the Book, the Sunnah, and the true Deen (way of life). Indeed, his praiseworthy attributes, beautiful merits, truthful beneficial statements, and guided actions are the greatest invitation to believing in him.
Because of this, Allah encourages (in the Qur’an) to ponder over the events in the Messenger’s (peace be upon him) life,
قُلۡ إِنَّمَآ أَعِظُكُم بِوَٲحِدَةٍۖ أَن تَقُومُواْ لِلَّهِ مَثۡنَىٰ وَفُرَٲدَىٰ ثُمَّ تَتَفَڪَّرُواْۚ مَا بِصَاحِبِكُم مِّن جِنَّةٍۚ إِنۡ هُوَ إِلَّا نَذِيرٌ۬ لَّكُم بَيۡنَ يَدَىۡ عَذَابٍ۬ شَدِيدٍ۬
“Say (to them O Muhammad): ‘I exhort you to one (thing) only: that you stand up for Allah’s sake in pairs and singly, and reflect (within yourselves the life history of the Prophet: there is no madness in your companion (Muhammad), He is only a warner to you in face of a severe torment.'” [Saba: 46]
Second Benefit: Having love for the Prophet (peace be upon him) is an obligation Allah ordered His slaves with. Rather, it is obligatory to love him more than (our) parents, children, all of mankind, and even more than ourselves. This is a covenant from the covenants of Imaan, and Imaan cannot be complete except by having this love (for him). There is no doubt that knowing him (peace be upon him), knowing his merits, attributes, tremendous degree, and lofty status will increase in having love, veneration, and respect for him in the heart.
For surely (as ibn al-Qayyim said,) “every time the slave abundantly remembers one who is beloved to him, and (their) good qualities, then this is reason for the slave’s love to be multiplied, and for them to increase in longing for that person.” [Jalaa al-Afhaam pg. 525]
So how many are in need of (knowing) his magnificent qualities, noble merits, praiseworthy attributes, mannerisms, etiquette, his guidance, Sunnah, and his life so that they may increase in love for him?
Third Benefit: Indeed Allah made the Prophet (peace be upon him) as an example and role-model for the slaves. Allah commanded following his path (peace be upon him) and to transverse his methodology. Rather, the Prophet is the greatest Imaam and the most complete example. Allah said,
لَّقَدۡ كَانَ لَكُمۡ فِى رَسُولِ ٱللَّهِ أُسۡوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ۬ لِّمَن كَانَ يَرۡجُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَٱلۡيَوۡمَ ٱلۡأَخِرَ وَذَكَرَ ٱللَّهَ كَثِيرً۬ا
“Indeed in the Messenger of Allah you have a good example to follow for him who hopes for (the Meeting with) Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah much.” [Ahzaab: 21]
وَمَآ ءَاتَٮٰكُمُ ٱلرَّسُولُ فَخُذُوهُ وَمَا نَہَٮٰكُمۡ عَنۡهُ فَٱنتَهُواْۚ وَٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَۖ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ شَدِيدُ ٱلۡعِقَابِ
“…And whatsoever the Messenger gives you, take it, and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it), And fear Allah. Verily, Allah is Severe in punishment.” [Hashr: 7]
قُلۡ إِن كُنتُمۡ تُحِبُّونَ ٱللَّهَ فَٱتَّبِعُونِى يُحۡبِبۡكُمُ ٱللَّهُ وَيَغۡفِرۡ لَكُمۡ ذُنُوبَكُمۡۗ وَٱللَّهُ غَفُورٌ۬ رَّحِيمٌ۬
“Say (O Muhammad to mankind): ‘If you (really) love Allah then follow me (i.e. accept Islamic Monotheism, follow the Qur’an and the Sunnah), Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.'” [Aali ‘Imraan: 31]
Fourth Benefit: Surely Allah made him closer to the believers than their own selves. Al-Bukhari collects a hadith narrated by Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said,
مَا مِنْ مُؤْمِنٍ إِلاَّ وَأَنَا أَوْلَى النَّاسِ بِهِ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالآخِرَةِ، اقْرَءُوا إِنْ شِئْتُمْ
ٱلنَّبِىُّ أَوۡلَىٰ بِٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ مِنۡ أَنفُسِہِمۡۖ
“There is no believer but I, of all the people, I am the closest to him both in this world and in the Hereafter. Recite if you wish:
‘The Prophet is closer to the believers than their own-selves…'” [Ahzaab: 6]
Therefore, the Prophet (peace be upon him) is closer to the believers than their own-selves and that is because of his efforts in giving advice, his compassion, and the mercy he shown to them. There is no other creation that was more merciful and compassionate to the people than him, and because of that, he is the greatest creation and favored over anyone else. This is why it is necessary to learn about his tremendous status, lofty degree, and his attributes so that it will increase (our) love for him, (allow us to increase in) following his methodology, and carrying out his rights.
Fifth Benefit: Allah swore in the Noble Qur’an to the perfect manners of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and its exalted standard. Allah said,
نٓۚ وَٱلۡقَلَمِ وَمَا يَسۡطُرُونَ
مَآ أَنتَ بِنِعۡمَةِ رَبِّكَ بِمَجۡنُونٍ۬
وَإِنَّ لَكَ لَأَجۡرًا غَيۡرَ مَمۡنُونٍ۬
وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلَىٰ خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٍ۬
“Noon. By the pen and by what the (the angels) write (in the Records of men). You (O Muhammad) are not, by the Grace of your Lord, a madman. And verily, for you (O Muhammad) will be an endless reward. And verily, you (O Muhammad) are on an exalted (standard of) character.” [Qalam: 1-4]
This is a tremendous honor for a slave of Allah, for al-Mustafaa (peace be upon him). His Lord described him as having “exalted (standard of) character”. When ‘Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) was asked about his mannerisms she said: “His mannerisms was the Qur’an” [Muslim, Ahmad].
Sixth Benefit: Allah commanded His slaves to send the Salah and Salaam upon the Prophet (peace be upon him). Doing such is following (the Prophet’s) example, the example of the Angels, and leads to reaping the rewards of carrying out this right upon him. Allah said,
إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ وَمَلَـٰٓٮِٕڪَتَهُ ۥ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى ٱلنَّبِىِّۚ يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ صَلُّواْ عَلَيۡهِ وَسَلِّمُواْ تَسۡلِيمًا
“Allah sends His Salah (Graces, Honors, Blessings, Mercy) on the Prophet (Muhammad) and also His angels (ask Allah to bless and forgive him). O you who believe! Send your Salah on (ask Allah to bless) him (Muhammad), and (you should) greet (salute) him with the Islamic way of greeting (salutation.)” [Ahzaab: 56]
Every time an individual increases in insight of (the Prophet’s) characteristics and his life, a person will also increase in sending the Salah to him and doing such in a perfect manner.
Ibn al-Qayyim said, “The sending of Salah by the people of knowledge, those who know the Prophet’s Sunnah and follow his guidance, is not the same as the Salah done by the general people…Whenever the people of knowledge increase in knowing (the Prophet’s) life, they also increase in their love for him and vigor in sending the Salah as is intended.” [Jalaa al-Afhaam pg 531]
Seventh Benefit: Surely the manners and life of the Messenger (peace be upon him) is the essence for the methodology of every Muslim who hopes to attain goodness, status, and a noble life in the worldly life and Hereafter.
Ibn al-Qayyim said, “Allah attributed being blissful in the two worlds to following the Messenger (peace be upon him), and Allah made being miserable in the two worlds as a result of opposing (the Messenger). Following him is guidance, safety, success, power, sufficiency, aid, authority, help, and attaining a good life in the worldly life and Hereafter. Likewise, opposing (the Messenger) is disgrace, fear, misguidance, betrayal, and misery in the worldly life and Hereafter.” [Zaad al-Ma’aad 1/36]
Eight Benefit: Knowing the life of the Messenger (peace be upon him) is from the greatest affairs that will increase a person’s Imaan. Rather, it is from the greatest affairs that leads to having belief, for the one who does not believe (one who is not a Muslim). Also, learning about the Prophet (peace be upon him) will increase the Imaan of those who already believe. Allah said,
أَمۡ لَمۡ يَعۡرِفُواْ رَسُولَهُمۡ فَهُمۡ لَهُ ۥ مُنكِرُونَ
“Or is it that they did not recognize their Messenger (Muhammad) so they deny him?” [Mu’minoon: 69]
Meaning: learning about him (peace be upon him) necessitates, and is (also) a tremendous cause for, attaining Imaan in him.
There are many people who have lied upon the Messenger (peace be upon him). However, there is not one person who studies and closely examines (the Prophet’s) lifestyle, his manners and dealings with others except that (the Prophet) will become the most beloved man on earth to that individual. And whoever reads his Prophetic lifestyle he will find in many instances of people accepting Islaam due to the Prophet’s characteristics, manners, and etiquette. This is the meaning of Allah’s statement,
فَبِمَا رَحۡمَةٍ۬ مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ لِنتَ لَهُمۡۖ وَلَوۡ كُنتَ فَظًّا غَلِيظَ ٱلۡقَلۡبِ لَٱنفَضُّواْ مِنۡ حَوۡلِكَۖ فَٱعۡفُ عَنۡہُمۡ وَٱسۡتَغۡفِرۡ لَهُمۡ وَشَاوِرۡهُمۡ فِى ٱلۡأَمۡرِۖ
“And by the Mercy of Allah, you dealt with them gently. And had you been severe and harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from about you; so pass over (their faults), and ask (Allah’s) Forgiveness for them; and consult them in the affairs.” [Aali ‘Imraan: 159]
To learn more about the descriptions and characteristics of the Prophet (peace be upon him) click this link. Baarakallahu feekum.
Translated by: Abu Awzaa’ee AbdusSalaam
الفقير الى الله