“… his name is the messiah jesus,
son of mary; he is honored in this
world and the hereafter.”
love is the most beautiful and highest value in both religion and daily life. there are many causes for the love of one human being for another. they include an open and cheerful personality, sincerity and truthfulness, loyalty, modesty, rationality, fairness, honesty, fine speech, a pleasant smile, tolerance, attentiveness, generosity and willingness to consult others and to overlook their shortcomings. they also include encouragement of an offender to get back on his feet after having fallen by filling his heart with hope, not causing embarrassment to others, expression of humanitarian feelings, willingness to give, do favors and offer assistance, showing gratitude, appreciating beauty, upholding human dignity and inviolability, an honest desire to teach beneficial knowledge, consistency in word and deed, transparency, willingness to pardon and forgive, preference of peace, promotion of dynamic activity, perfectionism at work and a refined sense of humor.
it is for all these qualities that the prophet of islam, muhammad bin abdullah, is loved. they were inherent in his personality and could be found on the surface and deep within him, in both his public dealings and his private life. they were the perennial qualities that never abandoned him throughout his personal, family and social life; be it with his wives, children and grandchildren, companions, and even his enemies. yes, muhammad, who is a source of pride for mankind by being the best of its members, is loved for those qualities. every man of sound constitution, presence of mind and active conscience loves such qualities, for a human being by nature loves everything beautiful.
indeed, muhammad bin abdullah, the prophet of islam, is loved for those qualities. he is loved all the more, and in an exceptional way, for another unique virtue, namely, his great love and high appreciation of those leaders of the human race who preceded him, namely, the previous prophets and messengers.
what makes this a virtue that merits deep, intense and unique love? historical and current events are evidence of a dark and evil tendency that has plagued humanity since it came into being and that still exists today. it is the tendency toward mutual enmity, hatred, envy, rejection and disdain among people of equal status.
of this predisposition for envy and ingratitude, the prophet of islam was completely free. he was completely disassociated from it. but how?
the previous prophets and messengers were similar to prophet muhammad in almost every way: in having been chosen by god, having received divine revelations, having delivered divine messages, and having been blessed with an immaculate moral character.
prophet muhammad gave a beautiful and highly impressive picture of celebration and appreciation of the prophets and messengers who preceded him. he loved and cherished them all, rejoicing for the past existence on this planet of every messenger who spoke of truth,goodness, and beauty. he believed in every scripture revealed by god to one of his messengers and spoke of the perfect qualities of every preceding messenger.
it is true that the moral standards of prophets are of such sublimity and magnitude that they cannot be equaled by any human being except one chosen and inspired by god. yet, to have the names of abraham, moses, and jesus mentioned in the very scripture revealed to muhammad many more times than his own name is something unprecedented, unusual and most impressive in the realm of divine legislation, ethics and human relationships.
in the qur’an the name of abraham is mentioned forty-eight times; the name of moses, 136 times; the name of jesus, thirty-six times; while the name of muhammad is mentioned four times, and ahmad , once. thus, muhammad is mentioned by these two names a total of five times only.
the reader can himself calculate the proportions of these messengers’ mention in the qur’an and compare the number of times muhammad is mentioned with the number of times abraham, moses, and jesus are mentioned in the book revealed to muhammad.
this in itself is a scientific and ethical proof that the prophethood of muhammad is true and certain. no one could reach such a high level of fairness, objectivity and selflessness, giving his peers precedence over himself in profuse commendation, frequent mention and abundant praise – no one other than a true prophet conveying the truth in accordance with what was inspired to him and concealing none of it.
this impression that motivates love for muhammad is strengthened by other supporting facts that produce love for him as well. for example:
1. the fact that the qur’an, revealed by god to prophet muhammad, is the record that most precisely documents the biographies of other prophets and messengers, as well as the history of their scriptures, sources, messages, and missions of truth.
first, it is a record of the biographies of previous prophets and of their messages in general terms:
• «say, praise be to god, and peace upon his servants whom he has chosen.» (surah an-naml, 27:59)
• «god chooses from the angels messengers and from the people.» (surah al-hajj, 22:75)
• «and indeed they are, to us, among the chosen and outstanding.» (surah saad, 38:47)
• «and [we sent] messengers about whom we have related [their stories] to you before and messengers about whom we have not related to you.» (surah an-nisaa’, 4:164)
second, it is a record of the lives of previous prophets and their messages in detail. references to and accounts of prophets and messengers occur in various qur’anic contexts, such as those in surahs al-an`aam and maryam:
• «that was our [conclusive] argument which we gave abraham against his people. we raise by degrees whom we will. indeed, your lord is wise and knowing. and we gave to him [i.e., abraham] isaac and jacob – all [of them] we guided. and noah, we guided before; and among his descendants, david and solomon and job and joseph and moses and aaron. thus do we reward the doers of good. and zechariah and john and jesus and elias – and all were of the righteous. and ishmael and elisha and jonah and lot – and all [of them] we preferred over the worlds.» (surah al-an‘aam, 6:83-86)
• «and mention in the book [the story of] abraham. indeed, he was a man of truth and a prophet.» (surah maryam, 19:41)
• «and mention in the book, moses. indeed, he was chosen, and he was a messenger and a prophet. and we called him from the side of the mount at [his] right and brought him near, confiding [to him]. and we gave him out of our mercy his brother aaron as a prophet.»(surah maryam, 19:51-53)
• «and mention in the book, ishmael. indeed, he was true to his promise, and he was a messenger and a prophet. and he used to enjoin on his people prayer and zakah and was to his lord pleasing [i.e., accepted by him].» (surah maryam, 19:54-55)
• «and mention in the book, idrees. indeed, he was a man of truth and a prophet. and we raised him to a high station. those were the ones upon whom god bestowed favor from among the prophets of the descendants of adam and of those we carried [in the ship] with noah, and of the descendants of abraham and israel [i.e., jacob], and of those whom we guided and chose. when the verses of the most merciful were recited to them, they fell in prostration and weeping.» (surah maryam, 19:56-68)
2. the fact that muhammad,s religion is a universal religion for all humanity rather than a local or a racial religion. owing to its universality and appeal to all mankind, muhammad,s heart, soul, and mind was generous enough to accommodate all other prophets and revealed scriptures. he eloquently praised his «brothers» among the former prophets and messengers.
3. the fact that the final message is a complete and perfect one, yet, the prophet was required to abide by the pattern of previous prophets in the basics of belief, obligations of faith and high moral standards.
«you have a good example in abraham and those who were with him.» (surah al-mumtahinah, 60:4)
«these are the ones whom god has guided, so from their guidance take an example.» (surah al-an‘aam, 6:83-90)
the reference here is to the succession of prophets and messengers whose names adorn the verse preceding this one.
indeed, muhammad is loved for all this: for his personality and moral character in which all the qualities of beauty and perfection are inherent, and for his noble relationship with his brothers among the prophets and messengers who lived in various times at various places and spread knowledge, enlightenment and morality – from noah to jesus, the son of mary, peace be upon them all.
this introduction is a general reference to the relationships on which the book focuses in detail in its following chapters. as we perceive from this relationship the high morality in which the chosen, righteous messengers lived, wise and magnanimous people of all ages are encouraged to be principled in their relationships with one another by practicing truthfulness, loyalty, dignity and refinement. by so doing, they follow the way of the prophets and messengers.
among the purposes of sending prophets and messengers on missions to humanity is to provide practical and observable evidence that attaining high morality is possible and workable in actual human life and not a mere mental fantasy. for this reason, prophets were sent as human beings rather than angels.
• «their messengers said to them, we are only men like you.» (surah ibraheem, 14:11)
• «say, i am only a man like you, to whom has been revealed that your god is one god. so whoever would hope for the meeting with his lord – let him do righteous work and not associate in the worship of his lord anyone.» (surah al-kahf, 18:110)
likeness in species, form, nature and human characteristics ensures the ability of people to follow the example of prophets and messengers in many respects and to emulate them as much as possible in establishing civilized human relationships free from hatred, envy and lack of appreciation and overflowing with love, admiration, honest praise, and positive testimony.