In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Ever Merciful
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all creation. May the salutations of Allah, His peace and blessings be upon our Prophet, his family, his companions and his true and sincere followers until the Last Day then to proceed:
Fellow Nigerians! The blasphemous statement credited to Afenifere, a Yoruba sociocultural group, published by Sahara Reporters online newspaper, comparing the plight of a political thug, Sunday Igboho to that suffered by the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is a great insult to Islam and Muslims all over the world. And it behoves every sincere Muslim to publicly condemn this blatant disrespect to our religion and demand an unreserved apology from the Sahara Reporters online newspaper and the Afenifere group. The ignorance exhibited by Afenifere about the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) shows how lowly the so-called Yoruba nation agitators think of Muslims generally!
Comparing the noble Prophet of Islam to a nuisance like Sunday Igboho is a great disservice to humanity and insult to the sensibilities of Muslims all over the world. It should be retracted immediately and apology tendered.
Afenifere, had in a statement on Monday by its National Publicity Secretary, Jare Ajayi, said: We recall that Moses had to be taken away from the prying eyes of Pharaoh and his agents in Egypt. Prophet Muhammed (S.A.W) too had to leave his hometown, Mecca for Medina in order to escape persecution. Thus, there is nothing wrong in Igboho seeking a respite first to preserve his life and perhaps to re-strategise.
The statement is unconscionable, provocative and disgusting, the comment must be retracted with immediate effect. The statement by Afenifere group stands unreservedly condemned. Their comparison is wrong, unconscionable, provocative, insulting and disgusting. It must be withdrawn immediately.
They must tender an unreserved apologies to the Muslim Ummah for such acts of irresponsible desecration. Nothing is more important and sacrosanct to the Muslim Ummah than preserving, defending and upholding the Pious name of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).
Dear brothers and sisters! Every Muslim is required to know, honour and study the life of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). Allah Almighty has commanded us to know more about his life experiences and how he became a Muslim.
There are over 50 verses in the Quran that tells us to take him as our role model. The Qur’an reminds us that: Indeed in the Messenger of Allah (Muhammad Peace be upon him) you have a good example to follow for him who hopes in (the Meeting with) Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah much. [Quran, [33:21]
We also believe that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is the last Prophet Allah has sent into humankind. He brought the divine message of the Quran. Judaism, Christianity and Islam belong to the Abrahamic traditions. Originally, these three religions bring the same message of Love of Allah and Love of Neighbour. In the spirit of inter religious dialogue, we all need to know who was the last Prophet of Islam.
Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was born in Makkah in the year 570. He was an orphan at young age. His father died before his birth and his mother died shortly thereafter. He was raised by his uncle who was from the respected tribe of Quraish. He was raised unlettered, unable to read or write, and remained till his death.
The Quraish were powerful merchant tribe that controlled Makkah and its Kaabah. According to Pre-Islamic and Islamic tradition they descended from Isma’il (Ishmael), the first son of Ibrahim (Abraham AS). Before his mission as a Prophet, they belong to the pre-islamic period called Jahiliyyah.
Jahiliyyah is an Islamic concept of ignorance of divine guidance or the state of ignorance of the guidance from Allah or Days of Ignorance referring to the barbaric condition in which Arabs found themselves.
As Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) grew up, he became known to be truthful, honest, trustworthy, generous, and sincere. He was so trustworthy that they called him the Trustworthy. He was very religious, and he had long disagreed with the idolatry practices of his society.
By the age of 25, he married a wealthy widow, Khadijah, and began managing Khadijahs caravans. It was not until around the year 610, or when we has at the age of 40 that his Prophethood came into being. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) had the habit of retiring for personal meditation and spiritual cultivation to a cave near Makkah. Historians recorded that he would pack enough provisions for a days retreat, after which he would return home for more.
His place of retreat was Hirah, a cave in a mountain called the Mountain of Light, and his chosen month was Ramadan, the month of heat. It was there one night toward the end of this quiet month that the first revelation came to him. The Quran narrates his experience in this manner:
He heard a voice say: Read! He said: I cannot read. The voice again said: Read! He said: I cannot read. A third time the voice, more terrible, commanded: Read! He said: What can I read? The voice said: Read: In the name of your Lord Who created. Created man from a clot. Read: And it is your Lord the Most Bountiful. Who teaches by the pen, teaches man that which he knew not.
For the first two to three years of his mission, he preached to his family and his intimate friends, while the people of Makkah as a whole regarded him as one who had become a little mad. The first of all his converts was his wife Khadijah, the second his first cousin Ali, the third his servant Zaid, a former slave. His friend Abu Bakr also was among those early converts.
As soon as he began to recite the Qur’an and to preach the truth which Allah had revealed to him, he and his small group of followers suffered persecution from unbelievers. Their group begun to question the status quo in Makkah. They question the barbaric practices of their tribe. They were persecuted fiercely that in the year 622 Allah gave them the command to leave Makkah and proceed to Madinah. This emigration from Makkah to the city of Madinah, some 260 miles to the north, marks the beginning of the Hijrah or the Muslim calendar.
The Prophets entry into Madinah brought guidance for a new phase for the divine message. Islam gaining fresh followers began to assert its strength and soon started to spread out over the four corners of the Arabian Peninsula.
After several years in Madinah, Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and his followers were able to return to Makkah, where they forgave their enemies. Before he died, at the age of sixty-three, the greater part of the Arabian Peninsula had become Muslim, and within a century of his death, Islam had spread to half of the world and as far East as China.
Respected brothers and sisters! Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was a perfect example of an honest, just, merciful, compassionate, truthful, and brave human being. In all his actions and dealings with his fellow human beings, he was ever mindful and fearful of Allah.
He became one of the most influential and respected religious leader in history. Doctor Jonathan Brown, a respected scholar, once said:
It is always interesting to try to understand how he was able to inspire Muslims in so many ways without ever having claimed to be divine in any sense. The Prophets humanness has enabled his admirers and followers to believe and behave in practical, down-to-earth ways while serving Allah in ways indicated by Muhammad in his teachings and general behaviour.
Dear servants of Allah! I hope and pray that our youth today will see Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) as their role model. He is far different from any of the leaders and followers of the terrorist groups like the Islamic State of Iran and Syria, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, Ansaru and the rest. Muslims and non Muslims must study Islam and the life of the Prophet with sincerity and with all their heart.
Dear brothers and sisters! The first pillar of Islam is our testimony that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. The first half of this testimony is our declaration of monotheism. The second half is our declaration that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is Allahs Messenger. We can only fully realise the meaning of the second half of the testimony in our hearts by cultivating the following:
- Belief in everything the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) has told us: We must believe, first and foremost, that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is the Messenger of Allah sent to all humanity to convey to them what Allah revealed to him of the Quran and Sunnah. This is the religion of Islam, and Allah will accept from his servants no other religion.
- Obedience to his commands with full acceptance and submission: We must adhere to his Sunnah and emulate his most excellent example and eschew everything to the contrary.
- Love for the Prophet (Peace be upon him): We must love our Prophet more than we love anyone else, even our own parents and children. In this way, we will show him the respect and deference that he deserves and we will be inspired to do what we must to support and defend him.
Respected servants of Allah, it is incumbent upon every one of us as Muslims to fully realise in our lives the meaning of our testimony:
Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.
We must truly inculcate this faith in our hearts. The hypocrites had said to the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him):
We bear witness that indeed you are the Messenger of Allah.
In turn, Allah Almighty made a rejoinder to them and said: Allah knows that you (Prophet Muhammad) are indeed His Messenger, and Allah bears witness that the hypocrites are liars. [Quran, 63: 1]
My beloved people, there are a number of things that we can do to put our love for the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) into action and carry out our duty to him. We must confront the vicious attacks being waged against him and ransom him with our lives, our loved ones, and our wealth to the extent of our varying abilities. We must all carry out our responsibilities on whatever level we are able.
- Things we can do as individuals
- We can contemplate the evidence which decisively demonstrates that Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is the Messenger of Allah. The first source for this evidence is none other than the noble Quran.
- We can learn the evidence from the Quran, the Sunnah, and the consensus of the Muslims (Ijma) that it is obligatory to obey the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and emulate his most excellent example.
- We can acquaint ourselves with how Allah has protected the Prophets Sunnah. We should learn about the considerable efforts that were made by the scholars throughout the centuries to separate the genuine Sunnah from what was false and how they compiled the authentic Sunnah according to the most stringent conditions. No other civilisation of the past had ever developed a more arduous and learned set of principles for authenticating historical evidence.
- We can cultivate in our hearts our love for the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) by recalling his noble attributes. We can read about his good character and his noble deeds. We can learn how he embodied all the good qualities that can possibly be attained by a single human being.
- We can bring to mind the great favour that he bestowed on all of us and how indebted we are to him. He is the one who conveyed to us the true religion. He carried out this duty in a most excellent manner. He fulfilled his trust to Allah perfectly and delivered to us his Lords Message.
- We can give him due credit for all the good that we attain by Allahs grace in this world and the Hereafter, since he is the one who showed us towards how to attain it and who brought us guidance. Allah has blessed him on our account with the greatest blessings ever bestowed upon a Prophet.
- We can bring to mind how compassionate and merciful the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was to his followers and how concerned he was for our guidance and welfare. Allah the Most High says:
The Prophet is closer to the believers than they are to their own selves. [Quran, 33: 6]
- We can become acquainted with the verses of the Quran and with the Hadith that discuss his lofty status with his Lord and the love that Allah has for him and the esteem in which Allah holds him.
- We can carry out Allahs command to love the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). We should love him more than we love ourselves. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
None of you truly believes until I become dearer to him than his own self, his children, his parents, and all of mankind.
- We can carry out Allahs command to show respect for the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and for his Sunnah. Allah the Almighty says: O you who believe, do not raise your voices above the Prophets voice and do not speak to him loudly as you might speak to one another, lest your deeds become vain while you perceive it not. [Quran, 49: 2]
- We can fulfill Allahs command to come to the defense of our beloved Prophet, Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and protect him from those who wish to harm or defame him. Allah the Almighty says: To believe in Allah and His Messenger that you may assist and honour him. [Quran, 48: 9]
- We can cultivate in our hearts a sincere and constant resolve to defend the Prophet and promote his good name.
- We can bear in mind the great blessings and rewards that in the Hereafter await those who genuinely put into practice their love for the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). They will be his close companions in Paradise, for the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) has promised that: You will be with whom you love.
- We can make it a habit to offer salutations of peace upon our Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) whenever we remember to do so, especially after the call to prayer and on Fridays. This will increase our blessings from Allah In Shaa Allah.
- We can read the biography of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) from authentic sources and benefit from the many lessons that it contains. We can then try to apply those lessons to our lives today.
- We can learn the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) by studying its authentic sources. We must study the Hadiths and strive to understand them correctly. We need to derive from these Hadiths the rulings and the lessons that they contain.
- We can follow the Sunnah in its entirety, giving priority to what we are obligated to do.
- We can strive to emulate the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) even in matters where we are under no obligation to do so. It is better even if we do something the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) did only once in our lives just so we can follow his example to the last detail.
- We can be vigilant to avoid ever belittling any aspect of his Sunnah.
- We can make sure that we feel joy every time we see people putting some aspect of his Sunnah into practice.
- We can feel sorrow whenever we find that some aspect of his Sunnah is being neglected.
- We can feel enmity towards anyone who defames the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) or disapproves of his Sunnah.
- We can show love for the members of our beloved Prophets family (Ahlul Bait) and for his wives and descendants. We can seek nearness to Allah by loving them for the sake of their nearness to the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and for the sake of their commitment to Islam. If we find any of his descendants disobedient to Allah, we should be eager to guide them, since their guidance is something most dear to the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). Umar Ibn al-Khattab said to the Prophets uncle.