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Is Prophet Muhammad a role model for the Muslims?

Introduction

Most Muslims claim that prophet Muhammad is the role model for them as he will save them using his power of intercession on the Day of Judgment. They believe that following his life style as well as the life style suggested by him as detailed out in Hadith and sunnah invented after 200 years of his death are appropriate ways and means to lead a righteous life to be successful on the Day of Judgment. The scenario is much more worse when they proclaim him to be the final and the greatest prophet being so emotional and proud that as if they are making one step ahead for getting closer to him to be qualified for his intercession considering it to be the only way to go to Heaven. They never think of verifying their belief, emotion, practices and show off whether they are doing right or wrong in light of Quran which is the guidance, the clear guidance and the statute book given to us by God who is the owner of Heaven and its Key belongs to Him. Instead, what they are just trying to accomplish is make them inheritors of the blissful Paradise riding on Muhammad’s shoulder. However, here are different sets of instructions from God to verify and confirm whether their claim and show off conform to the teachings of God as spelled out in the Quran:

Quran is detailed with clear guidance

God has given us Quran as our clear guidance and statute book having every details and all words that we need to lead a righteous life while whatever He has left out of it is left out deliberately to use our wisdom and common sense what we need for our everyday life:

[2:2] That scripture in which there is no doubt is guidance for the righteous.
[2:185] Ramadan is the month in which the Quran was revealed as guidance for the people, the clear guidance, and the statute book. So whoever among you witnesses the month, then he should fast in it, and whoever is ill or on a journey then (should fast) the prescribed number in other days. God wishes for you ease and He does not wish for you hardship, and that you can complete the prescribed number, and that you can glorify God for what He has guided you, so that you may be grateful.
[7:52] We have given them a scripture that is fully detailed, with knowledge, guidance, and mercy for the people who believe.
[10:37] This Quran could not possibly be authored by other than God. It confirms all previous messages, and provides a fully detailed scripture. It is infallible, for it comes from Lord of the universe.
[18:109] Say, “If the ocean were ink for the words of my Lord, the ocean would run out, before the words of my Lord run out, even if we were to bring another like it for (ink) supplement.”
[31:27] If all the trees in the earth were made pens, and the ocean would be (ink), adding seven to it one after another, the words of God would not run out. God is Almighty, Most Wise.

Note: Quran is from God revealed once in Ramadan, which is a guidance having every details to lead a righteous life but for the true believers only.

Mention Muhammad by name

God has mentioned Muhammad 4 times by his name in the Quran informing us that he was a messenger like other messengers chosen before him but has been blessed to be the prophet of the final scripture which is sent down with truth from our Lord. Those who believe it and work righteousness, God will forgive their sins and bless them with contentment and they can easily be distinguished from the disbelievers because of their bowing and prostrating through establishing Salat seeking God’s blessings and approval:

[3:144] And Muhammad is not a messenger other than the messengers have certainly passed away before him. So if he dies or is killed will you turn back on your heels? And whoever turns back on his heels, he will not harm God in anything. And God will reward the thankful ones.
Note: It is an additional command for the believers to make no distinction among messengers especially between Muhammad and any other messengers of God. The believers are required to uphold the message to appreciate God whether the messenger is among us or not.

[33:40] Muhammad was not father of anyone of your men but having a messenger of God and seal of the prophets, and God has done being Knower of everything.
Note: Core message – Quran is the final scripture being singificant of what was given to different prophets while absolutely there is no teaching for us to be proud of Muhammad chosen as the last prophet except an evil behavior as there is no distinction among His chosen whether someone is a prophet or a messenger or both, i.e., who is chosen to deliver what or when (time period).

[47:2] Those who believe and work righteousness, and believe in what was sent down to Muhammad – which is the truth from their Lord – He remits their sins, and blesses them with contentment.
[48:29] Muhammad – the messenger of God – and those with him are harsh and stern against the disbelievers, but kind and compassionate amongst themselves. You see them bowing and prostrating, as they seek God’s blessings and approval. Their marks are on their faces, because of prostrating. This is the same example as in the Torah. Their example in the Gospel is like plants that grow taller and stronger, and please the farmers. He thus enrages the disbelievers. God promises those among them who believe, and lead a righteous life, forgiveness and a great recompense.

Note 1: Establishing Salat by the believers distinguishes them from the disbelievers.
Note 2: Verses as arranged in the composition matches the order of revelation as well.

Address Muhammad as prophet

In addition to mention Muhammad by name, he has been addressed as prophet in many verses of the Quran to refer him in connection with his lifetime activities such as handling of war, captives, prisoners and spoils of war, cultural stuff including to deal with the contemporary believers when he had been direct contact with people and the disbelievers of the message that came down to him as a witness, bearer of good news and warner. This set of instructions is very important for us to understand so that we can follow them without any misinterpretation when he is no more among us:

[7:157] Those who follow the messenger, the gentile prophet (Muhammad), whom they find written in their Torah and Gospel exhorts them to be righteous, enjoins them from evil, allows for them all good food, and prohibits that which is bad, and unloads the burdens and the shackles imposed upon them. Those who believe in him, respect him, support him, and follow the light that came with him are the successful ones.
[7:158] Say, “O people, I am God’s messenger to all of you. To Him belongs the sovereignty of the heavens and the earth. There is no god except He. He controls life and death.” Therefore, you shall believe in God and His messenger, the gentile prophet, who believes in God and His words. Follow him, that you may be guided.

[3:161] Even the prophet cannot take more of the spoils of war than he is entitled to. Anyone who takes more than his rightful share will have to account for it on the Day of Resurrection. That is when each soul is paid for whatever it earned, without the least injustice.
[8:64] O you prophet, sufficient for you is God and the believers who have followed you.
[8:65] O you prophet, you shall exhort the believers to fight. If there are twenty of you who are steadfast, they can defeat two hundred, and a hundred of you can defeat a thousand of those who disbelieved. That is because they are people who do not understand.
[8:67] No prophet shall acquire captives, unless he participates in the fighting. You people are seeking the materials of this world, while God advocates the Hereafter. God is Almighty, Most Wise.

Note: God’s law is equally applicable to prophet either without any discrimination and also found in (3:161).

[8:70] O you prophet, tell the prisoners of war in your hands, “If God knew of anything good in your hearts, He would have given you better than anything you have lost, and would have forgiven you. God is Forgiver, Most Merciful.”
Note: The above verses are to strengthen prophet’s heart and advise him how to handle war, captives and prisoners, and spoils of war.

[9:61] Some of them hurt the prophet by saying, “He is all ears!” Say, “It is better for you that he listens to you. He believes in God, and trusts the believers. He is a mercy for those among you who believe.” Those who hurt God’s messenger have incurred a painful retribution.
[9:73] O you prophet, you shall strive against the disbelievers and the hypocrites, and shall be stern on them. Their abode is Hell and is a miserable destination.
[9:113] Neither the prophet, nor those who believe shall ask forgiveness for the idol worshipers, even if they were their nearest of kin, once they realize that they are destined for Hell.

Note: God’s law only allows us to ask God’s forgiveness for the believers.

[9:117] God has redeemed the prophet, and the immigrants (Muhãjireen) and the supporters who hosted them and gave them refuge (Ansãr), who followed him during the difficult times. That is when the hearts of some of them almost wavered. But He has redeemed them, for He is Compassionate towards them, Most Merciful.
[33:1] O you prophet, you shall reverence God and do not obey the disbelievers and the hypocrites. God is Omniscient, Most Wise.
[33:13] A group of them said, “O people of Yathrib, you cannot attain victory; go back.” Others made up excuses to the prophet: “Our homes are vulnerable,” when they were not vulnerable. They just wanted to flee.
[33:28] O prophet, say to your wives, “If you are seeking this life and its vanities, then let me compensate you and allow you to go amicably.
[33:30] O wives of the prophet, if any of you commits a gross sin, the retribution will be doubled for her. This is easy for God to do.
[33:38] The prophet is not committing an error by doing anything that is made lawful by God. Such is God’s system since the early generations. God’s command is a sacred duty.
[33:45] O prophet, we have sent you a witness, a bearer of good news and a warner
.
Note: This verse is very crucial to avoid misunderstanding that NOT the prophet himself BUT the message (Quran) given to him is a witness, bearer of good news and warner for the people.
[33:50] O prophet, we made lawful for you your wives to whom you have paid their due dowry, or what you already have, as granted to you by God. Also lawful for you in marriage are the daughters of your father’s brothers, the daughters of your father’s sisters, the daughters of your mother’s brothers, the daughters of your mother’s sisters, who have emigrated with you. Also, if a believing woman gave herself to the prophet – by forfeiting the dowry – the prophet may marry her without a dowry, if he so wishes. However, her forfeiting of the dowry applies only to the prophet, and not to the other believers. We have already decreed their rights in regard to their spouses or what they already have. This is to spare you any embarrassment. God is Forgiver, Most Merciful.
[33:53] O you who believe, do not enter the prophet’s homes unless you are given permission to eat, nor shall you force such an invitation in any manner. If you are invited, you may enter. When you finish eating, you shall leave; do not engage him in lengthy conversations. This used to hurt the prophet, and he was too shy to tell you. But God does not shy away from the truth. If you have to ask his wives for something, ask them from behind a barrier. This is purer for your hearts and their hearts. You are not to hurt the messenger of God. You shall not marry his wives after him, for this would be a gross offense in the sight of God.

Note: Here is a hint that God keeps us away from knowing prophet’s private life but his mistakes are brought to our notice for our teaching that he was a human being and can make mistake (80:1-2, 33:7).
[33:56] God and His angels help and support the prophet. O you who believe, you shall help and support him, and regard him as he should be regarded.
Note: This verse is also crucial to avoid misunderstand that here is the order for the contemporary believers to help and support the prophet at his lifetime NOT sending blessings for the prophet down the generations except to follow the Quran he left for us.
[33:59] O prophet, tell your wives, your daughters, and the wives of the believers that they shall lengthen their garments. Thus, they will be recognized (as righteous women) and avoid being insulted. God is Forgiver, Most Merciful.
[60:12] O you prophet, when the believing women (who abandoned the disbelievers) to seek asylum with you pledge to you that they will not set up any idols besides God, nor steal, nor commit adultery, nor kill their children, nor fabricate any falsehood, nor disobey your righteous orders, you shall accept their pledge, and pray to God to forgive them. God is Forgiver, Most Merciful.
[65:1] O you prophet, when you people divorce the women, you shall ensure that a divorce interim is fulfilled. You shall measure such an interim precisely. You shall reverence God your Lord. Do not evict them from their homes, nor shall you make life miserable for them, to force them to leave on their own, unless they commit a proven adultery. These are God’s laws. Anyone who transgresses God’s laws commits an injustice against himself. You never know; maybe God wills something good to come out of this.
[66:1] O you prophet, why do you prohibit what God has made lawful for you, just to please your wives? God is Forgiver, Merciful.
[66:3] The prophet had trusted some of his wives with a certain statement, then one of them spread it, and God let him know about it. He then informed his wife of part of the issue, and disregarded part. She asked him, “Who informed you of this?” He said, “I was informed by the Omniscient, Most Cognizant.”
[66:8] O you who believe, you shall repent to God a firm repentance. Your Lord will then remit your sins and admit you into gardens with flowing streams. On that day, God will not disappoint the prophet and those who believed with him. Their light will radiate in front of them and to their right. They will say, “Our Lord, perfect our light for us, and forgive us; You are Omnipotent.”

Note: Those who believe and uphold Quran and follow it to lead a righteous life will go to Heaven.
[66:9] O prophet, struggle against the disbelievers and the hypocrites and be stern with them. Their abode is Gehenna, and a miserable destiny.

Muhammad’s duty as a messenger of God

As a messenger, the key role of Muhammad was to faithfully deliver the final message without explaining it but he had to use it for himself as well to establish appropriate belief in his heart and perfect his religious practices to develop his own soul for successful return to God being redeemed as he was not more than a warner or different from any other messengers:

[5:99] The messenger has no obligation except the conveyance. And God knows what you reveal and what you conceal.
[42:48] So if they turn away, then we did not send you (Muhammad) a guardian over them; on you (your responsibility) is not except the conveyance. And indeed, when we cause to taste the human being mercy from us, he rejoices in it, and if adversity afflicts them for what their hands have sent forth, then indeed, the human being is ungrateful.

Note: The key role of the messenger is to deliver the message which has been confirmed with the double negative in the Arabic text to emphasize the focus on the message.
[18:27] You shall recite what is revealed to you of your Lord’s scripture. Nothing shall abrogate His words, and you shall not find any other source beside it.
[29:45] You shall recite what is revealed to you of the scripture, and observe the Contact Prayers (Salat), for the Contact Prayers prohibit evil and vice. But the remembrance of God(through Salat) is the most important objective. God knows everything you do.
[6:50] Say, “I do not say to you that I possess the treasures of God. Nor do I know the future. Nor do I say to you that I am an angel. I only follow what is revealed to me.” Say, “Is the blind the same as the seer? Do you not reflect?”
[6:106] Follow what is inspired to you from your Lord: there is no god except He, and turn from the idolaters.
[46:9] Say: “I (Muhammad) am not different from the other messengers, and I do not know what will happen to me or to you. I do not follow except what is revealed to me and I am not but a clear warner.”

Note: These verses are clear indication that Muhammad followed what is revealed to him and he had no knowledge of any future events except what was mentioned in the Quran.

[3:79] Never would a human being whom God blessed with the scripture and prophethood say to the people, “Idolize me beside God.” Instead, (he would say), “Devote yourselves absolutely to your Lord alone,” according to the scripture you preach and the teachings you learn.
[6:51] And preach with this (Quran) to those who fear that they will be gathered before their Lord; for them there is no protector or intercessor other than Him so that they may become righteous.
[69:44-46] It (Quran) is a revelation from Lord of the worlds. And if he (Muhammad) had uttered any other words. We would have surely seized him by the right hand. Then we would have surely cut off the aorta (the main artery) from him. Then none of you could be protectors from Him. Indeed, it is undoubtedly a lesson for the righteous.

Note: These verses are warnings for Muhammad not to utter anything other than Quran but are teachings for us just to follow the revelation from God, what he left for us.
[75:16-19] Do not move your tongue to hasten it. It is we who will collect it into Quran. Once we recite it, you shall follow such a Quran. Then it is we who will explain it.
Note: Muhammad was forbidden from explaining the Quran in advance when it was being revealed to him while Quran has answers of any of our questions and concerns.

Muhammad’s religious practices

We know that all the religious rites that we practice today revealed through prophet Ibrahim existed at the time when the Quran was revealed as God has preserved those rites through practices of people generation after generation. However, when Muhammad had been blessed with the Quran, God found him astray but guided him and commanded him to preach and follow the religion of prophet Ibrahim, and he had done that being one of His chosen servants:

[2:130] And who would forsake the religion of Abraham except one who fools himself? We have chosen him in this world, and in the Hereafter he will be with the righteous.
[3:95] Say, “God has proclaimed the truth, so you shall follow the religion of Abraham, monotheism, and He was not an idol worshiper.”
[4:125] Who is better guided in his religion than one who submits totally to God, leads a righteous life, according to the creed of Abraham: monotheism? God has chosen Abraham as a beloved friend.
[16:123] Then we inspired to you (prophet) that “You shall follow the religion of Abraham, monotheism, and he was not an idol worshiper.”
[22:78] And you shall strive in the cause of God as you should strive for His cause. He has chosen all of you and has placed no hardship on you in the religion – the religion of your father Abraham. He named you submitters from before, and in this that the messenger is a witness of you, and you are witnesses of the people. So, you shall observe the Contact Prayer and give the Obligatory Charity, and hold fast to God, He is your Protector, the best Protector and the best Supporter
.
Note: God reminded the people in the Quran that whoever has submitted to God practices the religious rites revealed through prophet Ibrahim for development of one’s own soul. The above verses are mentioned according to the order of revelation.

[93:7] And He had found you (Muhammad) astray, then He guided (you).
[40:66] Say, “Indeed, I (Muhammad) have been forbidden to worship those whom you call other than God when the clear proofs came to me from my Lord, and I was commanded to submit to Lord of the worlds.”

[16:123] Then we inspired you (Muhammad) to follow the religion of Abraham, the monotheist; he never was an idol worshiper.
Note: Muhammad used to worship idols but he was ordered to stop doing that when he had been blessed with the message (Quran) and to follow the religion of Abraham.

Respect Muhammad as a prophet

God chooses messengers from us to deliver His message to guide the people. Thus, He teaches us how we should respect them when they live with us or when they are not among us. The order for the contemporary believers to respect the messengers when they are alive is for the successful delivery of His message but such teachings are not applicable for the subsequent generation of believers when they are not among them except to follow the message left for us:

[49:1] O you who believe, do not place your opinion above that of God and His messenger. You shall reverence God. God is Hearer, Omniscient.
Note: The messenger delivers the God’s message and strictly follows His commands, the believers should not have any opinion other than God and His messenger, and it does not matter whether he lives with us or not.
[49:2] O you who believe, do not raise your voices above the voice of the prophet, nor shall you shout at him as you shout at each other, lest your works become nullified while you do not perceive.
[49:3] Surely, those who lower their voices at the messenger of God are the ones whose hearts are prepared by God to become righteous. They have deserved forgiveness and a great recompense.

Note: Obviously, the contemporary believers could not possibly raise their voices above the prophet’s voice. In addition, respecting the prophet helps outsiders and visitors in coming to God’s message.
[49:4] As for those who call on you from outside the walls, most of them do not understand.
Note: As the prophet was a fatherly figure among the believers, it was not befitting for them to call him from the other side of the wall that also conforms to the order of enjoining them from marrying the wives of prophet after him (33:53). These orders were only applicable to the contemporary believers.

Muhammad’s recompense from God

Muhammad faithfully performed his job including leading a righteous life through appropriate belief and perfect practicing of religious rites according to the revelation given to him. Thus, the honest prophet qualified himself for a great recompense from God being obedient to Him at his all circumstances during his lifetime:

[68:2] You have attained a great blessing from your Lord; you are not crazy.
[68:3] You have attained a recompense that is well deserved.
[68:4] You are blessed with a great moral character.

Note: God has informed us about Mohammad’s recompense to serve it as a good news for the believers so that they can also make efforts to attain the same status if they follow what he had followed in his lifetime.

In conclusion, what we learn from examining the above sets of God’s instructions are: (1) ways and means that Muhammad used to fulfill all of his obligations including faithful delivery of the final scripture, (2) he became so successful that when he left this world, left with an assurance that he has attained a higher rank at God even being an idol worshiper and (3) what helped him to achieve such a great honor is to worship God alone following God’s teachings, laws and systems in the message revealed to him. Now those who really accept him as their role model, should uphold and use the same source realizing that everyone of us must worry about our own necks (5:105) giving up all weird ideas such as going to Heaven riding on his shoulder in disguise of intercession or pleasing him having beard (men) and covering hairs (women) or uttering “Hazrat” and “Sallallahu Alayhi wal-Salaam” before and after his name when he has no connection with this world any more, or using him as a source of income, and if anyone can do that has the opportunity to raise his status at God even equal to him before the departure of this world (17:80):
[5:105] O you who believe, you should worry only about your own necks. If the others go astray, they cannot hurt you, as long as you are guided. To God is your ultimate destiny, all of you, then He will inform you of everything you had done.
[17:80] And say, “My Lord, admit me an honorable admittance, and let me depart an honorable departure, and grant me from You a powerful support.”

Peaceful Friday, salaam and God bless.
Tafazzal (8/11/2015)