HUMANITY’S DEBT TO ‘MERCY TO THE WORLDS’
Shaykh Faid delivered a day-long open lecture on 9 August 2008 themed ‘Gratitude to the Prophet’ which compacted personal, universal and the spiritual appeal of Muhammad, on him peace and blessings.
The Shaykh set the tone for the symposium when he described the very presence of the audience gathered in the Almadina lecture hall as “a thanksgiving to the beloved one, our Prophet Muhammad – on him the most handsome salutations!”
The “gift” of the person of the Prophet, on him peace and blessings, and his living message – with all the goodness manifest in both – remains a cause for everlasting thanks, said Shaykh Faid: “It is in the tradition of this ummat to offer thanks for even the smallest good and, after Allah, the Most Merciful, the one who deserves our collective gratitude is Muhammad, on him peace and blessings. Most certainly, he remains the greatest blessing that the Creator bestowed on all His Creation. We are reminded of His saying, ‘Indeed, Allah bestowed a favour upon the believers when he raised up in their midst an apostle from among themselves, to convey His messages unto them, and to cause them to grow in purity, and to impart unto them the Divine Writ as well as wisdom – whereas before that they were indeed, most obviously, lost in error.’ [Al Imran, 3:164].
The candour of the lecture enabled the Shaykh to invite his audience to consider the incomparable blessing that remains with the Muslims: having had a living messenger of the age sent to them, successive generations have retained his message even after the messenger’s departure. “Muhammad, on him peace and blessings, was a fellow-being who took great pains to not only deliver the Divine Writ, but established it through the force of his own personality, his singularly exceptional example,” explained Shaykh Faid. “Successful delivery of the message in the face of barbaric opposition was not enough. Muhammad, on him peace and blessings, spread awareness of the One God to such extent that it would forever remain alive. His Companions, Allah be pleased with them all, and their successors were instilled with such absolute conviction that it is easy to forget what the people who first received the message were like before Islam purified them. It was a transformation unparalleled in all history. It is not because of who they were but because of what they became – a people purified – that the message carries its obvious and timeless appeal. And we know who it is that stayed with them long enough to purify them,- 23 years in fact. Hence after Allah, Great and Glorious, the one most deserving of gratitude is the Prophet, on him peace and blessings.”
The Shaykh highlighted the singularity of the Prophet, on him peace and blessings, in numerous Qur’an verses; in every instance, the stress on the Prophet, on him peace and blessings, acts as a point of reference: as universal teacher, missionary guide, law-giver and moral exemplar. “Here we have ‘The Messenger’, there ‘My Messenger’, now ‘The Messenger among you’, then ‘His Prophet’, and in four instances, simply ‘Muhammad’,” said Shaykh Faid. “The last at once reveals just how close and dear Muhammad, on him peace and blessings, is to the Lord of all the worlds!”
Again and again the Shaykh referred to the example of his willing audience to learn more about Muhammad, on him peace and blessings. The world over, such gatherings elicited by the effervescent appeal of Muhammad, on him peace and blessings, represent genuine gratitude. “We learn about the Prophet – on him the best salutations! – because Allah, Great and Glorious, instructed us to do so in the most reasonable terms,” said Shaykh Faid. “Husband, father, friend, and neighbour, he was a human being just like us and he demonstrated what a human being can do and should do. To know more about the Prophet, on him peace and blessings, is for our own good and benefit. ‘Muhammad embodied the Qur’an.’, as the blessed ‘Aisha said when asked about the Prophet, on him peace and blessings. The messenger who made us aware of our Lord deserves proper gratitude.”