Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is the man beloved by more than 1.6 billion Muslims from all over the world as of 2010. He is the man who taught us patience in the face of adversity, and taught us to live in this world but seek eternal life in the hereafter. Quran is revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. Along with this Book of guidance Allah sent Prophet Muhammad, whose behaviour and high moral standards are an example to all of us. Prophet Muhammad’s life was the Quran. He understood it, he loved it and he lived his life based on its standards. He taught us to recite the Quran, to live by its principles and to love it. When Muslims declare their faith in One Allah, they also declare their belief that Muhammad is the slave and final messenger of Allah. There will be no more prophets coming.
Muslims do not worship Prophet Muhammad; they understand that he was a human being just like any other man. Prophet Muhammad was a man but it is his love for humanity that sets him apart. Muslims love Prophet Muhammad, but it is his love for us, that makes him a man like no other. He longed for Paradise not only for himself but also for all of us. He wept tears not for himself but for his Ummah and for humanity. He was often heard to cry “O Allah, my Ummah, my Ummah”. (“Ummah” means nation in Arabic. However, it means more than a country with borders, it is a fellowship of men, women and children united in their love for One Allah and their admiration for Muhammad)
In the night of Prophet Muhammad’s ascension, Allah asks him “My beloved Prophet. Make your wish whatever you want.” He said “I demand from you only my Ummah.” Allah repeated his questions again and again. However, our prophet’s answer did not change. He was only after his Ummah.
“Verily, there has come unto you a Messenger (Muhammad) from amongst yourselves. It grieves him that you should receive any injury or difficulty. He (Muhammad) is anxious over you (to be rightly guided, to repent to Allah, and beg Him to pardon and forgive your sins, in order that you may enter Paradise and be saved from the punishment of the Hell-fire), for the believers he is full of pity, kind, and merciful.” (Quran 9:128)
Muslims also believe in the same Prophets mentioned in Jewish and Christian traditions, including Noah, Moses, Abraham and Jesus, and they believe that all prophets came with the same message which is to worship Allah alone, without partners, sons or daughters. There is, however, a difference between all other prophets and Prophet Muhammad. Before Muhammad, prophets were sent to particular people in particular places and periods. Muhammad however, is the final Prophet and his message is for all of humankind.
Allah tells us in the Quran that He did not send Prophet Muhammad except as a mercy for humankind. “And we have sent you O Muhammad, not but as a mercy for humankind and all that exists.” (Quran 21:107) Allah did not say Muhammad was sent to the people of Arabia, or to men, or to the people of the seventh century. He made it clear that Prophet Muhammad was a prophet like no other, one whose message would spread far and wide and be applicable in all places for all times. Muslims love him, respect him and follow him. They hold him in such regard that for many it is emotionally painful to see or hear their beloved mentor ridiculed or disrespected.
Muhammad was a perfect example of an honest, just, merciful, compassionate, truthful, and brave human being. Though he was a man, he was far removed from all evil characteristics and strove solely for the sake of Allah and His reward in the Hereafter. Moreover, in all his actions and dealings, he was ever mindful and fearful of Allah.
Muhammad was a selfless man who devoted the last 23 years of his life to teaching his companions and followers how to worship Allah and how to respect humanity. Prophet Muhammad was acutely aware of just how much responsibility had been thrust upon him by Allah. He was careful to teach the message just as Allah had prescribed and warned his followers not to adulate him the way Jesus, son of Mary was praised.
Prophet Muhammad taught us to love Allah and to obey Him. He taught us to be kind to each other, to respect our elders, and care for our children. He taught us that it was better to give than to receive and that each human life is worthy of respect and dignity. He taught us to love for our brothers and sisters what we love for ourselves. Prophet Muhammad taught us that families and communities are essential, and he pointed out that individual rights although important are not more important than a stable, moral society. Prophet Muhammad taught us that men and women are equal in the sight of Allah and that no one person is better than another except in respect to his or her piety and devotion to Allah.