The Personality of the Holy Prophet, the seal of the Prophets
Obedience to the Holy Prophet (S) is considered by the Holy Qur’an to be equal to the obedience to God. He is “the source, mine and nucleus for the Muslims, and they can explore all their actions, behaviour and duties from this valuable source and mine, and they must do their best to match all of their actions with him.” 1 Prophet Muhammad (S) is the pattern for all Muslims to follow, so it is vital to present and share some of the characteristics of the seal of the prophets. Islam is a religion that is based on rationality, 2 so this is also a brief insight into some of the concepts in Islam, through the personality of the Prophet (S).
Given that one of the main goals in Islam is the self-purification for believers, it is also through the study of the deeds of the Prophet (S) that he serves as a pattern for the development of some of these qualities in the believers. “Influencing others through action is much more effective than trying to influence others through words.”2 The Holy Prophet (S) himself said that “this ummah will not be reformed except through its outstanding personalities.”2 Prophet Muhammad (S) is of course the last of the divine prophets; from the beginning of his mission, he introduced himself as the seal of the prophets and was accepted by the Muslims as such. The personality and the life of Prophet Muhammad (S) is the pattern for all Muslims to follow until the coming of Imam Mahdi.
The deeds of Prophet Muhammad (S)
All of the deeds of the last prophet are present a pattern for the believers, and for all of humanity; the deeds present the desirable qualities of a believer, across all times:
As one example, it has been narrated that the Holy Prophet (S) who was a merchant during his youth and had accumulated great wealth – gave away all his wealth in the way of Allah: he divided all his wealth among the poor. Indeed, the Prophet himself said that “when your good deed makes you happy and your bad deed disturbs you, you are a believer.” 3
Faiz Kashami has narrated from Abul Bakhtari that he said with regard to the Prophet (S): The Prophet (S) never spoke ill of the believers and if by chance he uttered something harsh, he made amends for it immediately by doing a good turn to them. 7
Some famous narrations from the Holy Prophet (S) are the following, “The best of deeds is the most difficult of them;” 5 “The best of deeds in the sight of Allah is the happiness that you bring to a fellow believer, either by driving away his hunger or by relieving him of his distress;” 5 “He who does not guard his tongue has not performed any good deeds.”5 The believer is well advised to become well-versed in the life and actions of the Holy Prophet (S) if he wants to emulate this character of light.
The Holy Prophet (S) as the light of Islam
“We must enlighten our world. Islam is a source of light and insight.” 2 The Prophet (S) is often characterised by the concept of light, as is Islam itself. In statements such as “those who have carried the torch of faith across the ages have been people of great strength, of character and will” 4, referring to Prophet Muhammad (S), again there is the equivocation of the last prophet (S) and light. Numerous ahadith also indicates that the first manifestation of God in the light of Muhammad is an expression for his essence and spirit which is before the creation of matter. 5 The character of the Holy Prophet (S) as central to the light of Islam also places him as the pivotal figure in Islam “in its complete form with no perversion in it, and hence…the right and straight religion.” 6 Prophet Muhammad (S) is thus the Messenger who comes to exemplify the right and straight religion.
Ibn Arabi in his mystical encyclopedia describes that the first creation, the nearest to God, is “the reality of Muhammad who is known as the intellect and is the master of the entire world.” 6 During this Unity Week, and also on the occasion of the Anniversary of the birthday of the Holy Prophet (S), born in Mecca on the 17th Rabiul Awwal in the 53rd year before the hijrah (570 AD), the message of the straight path of Islam across all times, continents and peoples, needs to be reiterated in the study of the Prophet (S).
“One of the important aims of the prophets was nurturing and perfection of intellects…human intellects were gradually perfected through the ages through the efforts of prophets until they reached absolute maturing during the time of the Prophet of Islam (S).” 7