among the essentials of faith is love for the leader of humanity, muhammad peace be upon him. how can a muslim not love his prophet peace be upon him, when he is the means of his guidance to the path of enlightenment and belief and his salvation from disbelief and hellfire.
the prophet peace be upon him said,
"none of you [truly] believes until i am more beloved to him than his child, his parent and all people."(al-bukhari and muslim)
in fact, one's love for the prophet peace be upon him should be greater than his love for himself. `umar ibn al-khattab may allah be pleased with him had said to him, "o messenger of allah peace be upon him, you are more beloved to me than everything except myself." the prophet peace be upon him replied,
"no, by the one in whose hand is my soul – not until i am more beloved to you than yourself."
then `umar may allah be pleased with him said, "now, by allah, you are more beloved to me than myself." so the prophet peace be upon him said, "now, o`umar." (al-bukhari) he meant: now you know and have spoken as you should.
many disobedient muslims claim to love the prophet peace be upon him. however, the issue is not one of professed love, but of actual love. for among the requirements of love for the prophet peace be upon him is obedience to his orders, avoidance of what he prohibited and to worship almighty allah only as he prescribed and not according to innovations and whims. that is why the prophet peace be upon him said, "all of my ummah will enter paradiseexcept those who refuse."
his companions asked, "and who would refuse, o messenger of allah peace be upon him?" he peace be upon him said, "whoever obeys me will enter paradiseand whoever disobeys me has refused."(al-bukhari and muslim)
love for the prophet peace be upon him is not expressed by holding celebrations, ceremonies or chanting poetry containing unlawful exaggeration. rather, it is by acting according to his sunnah, observing his legislation and advocating his guidance. it also includes the defense of his sunnah, belief in what he peace be upon him said, reverence for him, invoking blessings upon him when he is mentioned and avoiding innovations in his religion. and it includes love for his companions, defense of them, acknowledgement of their virtues, hatred of those who oppose his sunnah or legislation and of those who belittle its scholars and narrators. anyone who acts contrary to this is as distant from love of the prophet peace be upon him as the degree he is from his teachings.
for example, the prophet peace be upon him has said, "he who innovates something in this matter of ours that is not a part of it - it will be rejected." (al-bukhari and muslim)
and he peace be upon him said, "beware of newly devised matters, for every newly devised thing is an innovation, and every innovation is misguidance." (abu dawud and at-tirmidhi)
in spite of these warnings against innovation, some people add things to the religion of almighty allah which are not a part of it, thinking they are doing something good or even claiming that these things are expressions of love for the prophet peace be upon him. they might attribute falsehood to him by forging a hadith and will say that it is not against him but in his favour. this is one of the worst kinds of falsehood and misguidance because the religion of almighty allah is complete and is not in need of their false embellishments.
another example of this is that the prophet peace be upon him prohibited insulting his companions and said,
"do not revile my companions, for if one of you should spend [in charity] as much as mountuhudin gold it would not equal one measure [of 2/3kg.] from one of them, or even half a measure."(al-bukhari and muslim)
and in spite of this, some people disparage the companions of allah's messenger, curse abu bakr may allah be pleased with him and`umar may allah be pleased with him and accuse `a'ishah, mother of the believers, of what almighty allah has declared her innocent ofin his book. and they claim it is out of love for the prophet peace be upon him and in defense of his household.
and yet another is that the prophet peace be upon him prohibited exaggerated praise of him, saying,
"do not praise me exceedingly as the christians praised the son of mary. i am only his servant, so say, 'the servant of allah and his messenger.'" (al-bukhari) but in spite of this, some people follow the manner of the christians by describing the prophet peace be upon him in ways that are only befitting to almighty allah, and supplicate to him for provision, for cure from illness, for relief from afflictions and so on, and these are things that may only be sought from almighty allah. then they claim it is out of love for the prophet peace be upon him, while in reality it is a sign of ignorance, a form of polytheism and is in contradiction of almighty allah and his messenger peace be upon him.
. i.e., it will not be accepted by allah