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Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) — 61: Aspiring To Real Greatness

16 February 2011

Islamic Perspectives - Muslim Journals

Arab News & Information - By Sheikh Muhammad Al-Ghazali

What sort of attitude did Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) have toward the life of this world? Did he like it, or did he feel disgusted by it? The answer is that he knew it well, and appreciated it in a healthy and sound way, but he was preoccupied with what is far greater and nobler. His full attention was focused on God's glory. Hence, prayer was his great love and fasting was the stage where his soul found its fulfilment. He looked up to what was with God, knowing that it was far superior to any position ambitious people aspire to attain.

He wanted his wives to accept this pattern of life. He explained to them that anyone who covets the riches and adornments of this world has no place with him: "Prophet! Say to your wives: If you desire the life of this world and its charms, I shall provide for you and release you in a becoming manner; but if you desire God and His Messenger and the life of the hereafter, know that God has readied great rewards for those of you who do good." (33: 28-29) They, however, looked up to what he aspired. They worked hard to rise to the same level of keen worship and to strengthen their bonds with God.

Juwayriyyah, his wife, reports that one morning he left her rooms after having finished his dawn prayers. She was in her position of prayer. He came back in midmorning to find her in the same place. He said: "Have you been in the same place since I left?" She answered in the affirmative. She spent the whole time in prayer and glorification of God. He said: "After I left you I said four sentences three times. Had these been weighed against all that you said today, they would have proved to be weightier: Limitless is God in His glory and praise; as many times as His creatures; as often as He pleases; as weighty as His Throne; and as plentiful as the ink needed to write His words."

Abu Hurayrah quotes the Prophet as saying: "When I say, ‘Limitless is God in His glory; all praise belongs to God; there is no deity other than God; God is supreme', I feel happier than if I would have everything under the sun." His happiness as he repeated these words and contemplated their meanings was greater than being in possession of the entire world. Suppose he owns such a vast wealth of gold and silver: What would he do with it? He said that if he were to have as much as Mount Uhud in gold, he would have given it all away within three days, giving it to the poor. Should he be left with something after having given every poor person his needs, he would leave the balance for potential disasters, which are always happening in this world. On more than one occasion he owned sheep and cattle to fill a whole valley, and he gave it all away within the day. His love was directed elsewhere: it was a love of God and His book, the Qur'an. He loved to address God with passion, seeking His pleasure.

How did he feel toward the Qur'an, the book God revealed to Him containing His last message to mankind? Reflect on this appeal he used to say: "My Lord, I am Your servant, son of two servants of Yours, and subject to Your control; my forelock is in Your hand; Your judgement of me is unquestioned; whatever You determine for me is just. I appeal to You by every name You have called Yourself, or mentioned in Your book, or taught to any servant of Yours, or withheld along with whatever knowledge You keep for Yourself, to make the great Qur'an my heart's spring season, and the light of my eyesight. Make it the cure of my grief and the healer of my worries."

How splendid! God's revelations were the very foundation of his message. Hence, it was his permanent companion. When he travelled, he crossed deserts reading it in his prayers, and when he stayed at home, his consciousness was weaved of Qur'anic meanings.

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