Remembering the Prophet: Brief Explanation of a line from Habib Umar’s Mawlid
Special thanks to Ebrahim and Nausheen Omar for their transcription of Shaykh Faraz Rabbani’s talk.
Remembering the Prophet: A Brief Explanation of a Line from Habib Umar’s Mawlid
Bismillahir Rahmaan Ar-Raheem
In the Mawlid that we read, there is one line that I wanted to remind myself of, and all of us:
By Allah! Repeat the mention of the attributes, the traits, the description, the characteristics, of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), so that you can remove from your heart the rust that affects it by one’s worldly distractions.
This is particularly important for us, living as we do in an age of heedlessness in which few are those who are thinking of God in society. Even our day-to-day activities have become bereft of the mention of God. The Rope of Allah (Most High) in that is the remembrance of Allah and the connection with the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). One of the things that we should do, as Sayyidna Habib ‘Umar mentioned, is to repeat regularly the mention of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) in your life in many ways.
Send Frequent Blessings upon the Messenger
The first way is to send frequent blessings upon him (peace and blessings be upon him). We should each ask ourselves, how often do we mention the Prophet by day and by night? If you had a friend named Jack, and he was in love with Jill. You ask Jack when the last time he mentioned or thought about Jill. If he said he didn’t remember her today, you would doubt he really loved her. How often do we think about the Prophet? To keep doing that is to make a commitment to regularly remember the Prophet and send blessings upon him (peace and blessings be upon him).
One of the practical things that the ‘Ulama mention in that is to have a regular form by which one sends blessings upon the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). A form that many of the ‘Ulama have encouraged is one that is very short and light on the tongue:
Allahumma Salli ‘ala Sayyidina Muhammadin wa Aalihi Wasallim
(O Allah! Send Your Blessings upon our Master Muhammad and his folk and grant peace).
When we say wa Aalihi we intend specifically his own family, but we also intend with it the family of faith, because the Aal of someone is both their family but also everyone who has turned to him. So we intend to send blessings on the family of the Prophet, but it also includes within it the mention of the Companions, and all the followers until the end of time.
As mentioned earlier, this is light on the tongue so it can be repeatedly mentioned during the day and night – for example whilst waiting for the computer to boot up.
Learn about the Beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him)
If we claim love for the Prophet, we should ask, what do we know about the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him)? Do we know how he looked? Do we know about his habits, how he lived his life (peace and blessings be upon him)?
So what Habib ‘Umar is telling us here is to repeat regularly the mention of the characteristics of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). The practical thing in that is that everyday, just as we should be reading the Qur’an, there should be something of the Prophetic person, example, or teachings that one should be reading everyday. Even if it’s just one page from a book about the Prophet, by the end of the year you will probably have finished it. Ten years will have passed and you would have read ten books on the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).
A Recommended Book
One of the greatest ever books written about the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) has recently been translated into English, which is a book by Shaykh ‘Abdallah Sirajuddin called Sayyidna Muhammad Rasulullah translated as ‘Our Master Muhammad.’ It is very well translated, and it is one of the most beautiful books in praise of the Prophet, describing how he was, his person, character, conduct, and his teachings (peace and blessings be upon him). It is dripping with love of the beloved Prophet.
I had a Saudi friend who told me that a friend of his was wondering for a while about how to learn more about the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). One night in his dream he saw the Prophet, and so he asked the blessed Prophet, “Ya Rasulullah, how do I learn more about you?’
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said to him, “If you want to know about me, then read the book Sayyidna Muhammad Rasulullah by Shaykh ‘Abdallah Sirajuddin.”
This book was banned in Saudi, so he asked the beloved Prophet where to find it as he has never heard of it. In the dream he heard the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) say, “Go to Halab, and you will find it.”
This man never knew who Shaykh ‘Abdallah Sirajuddin was, or what this book was. He went to Halab and he found out about the book; he read it and it transformed his life.
Similarly, one of my teachers, a Halabi himself Shaykh Muhammad Qaylish, mentioned, ‘I used to be a common person. I was 15 or 16 and I read this book and it transformed me. I used to take this book after ‘Isha, lock my door and sit under the light, and I used to read and cry in yearning for the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). I used to cry in love for the Prophet. I used to cry out of my sense of distance from the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). I would cry at the beauty of this man (peace and blessing be upon him). I would cry at how far I was from his radiant example. Those tears melted how I was, and it transformed me.”
Shaykh Muhammad Qaylish, when I met him, was in his early twenties, and he was truly a remarkable man. It is as Imam Busiri said, ‘By the mention of Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), do hearts come to life and sins and errors are forgiven and cast off. And I long that I live through him, content and successful, and that I meet him and have no burdens upon me. A Prophet, perfected in his qualities, until he was called the Beloved.”
We should really reflect on that, because Allah Most High has told us:
Verily you have in the Messenger of Allah the most beautiful of examples, for whoever seeks Allah and the Last Day.
Appreciate and emulate the Prophetic Example
We should really strive to appreciate that beauty of the Prophetic example, and reflect on it so that we can make our lives, worship, conduct and character beautiful, so that we can be of those who truly seek Allah and the Last Day. The key to that is to make much remembrance of Allah. When we send blessings upon the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), it is of the greatest of Remembrance of Allah because Allah has Commanded us to send blessings upon the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). But the Believer realises that we can’t do anything to repay the debt we owe to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). Sidi Abdul Nawulsi said, “I am just like a flash of light from the Chosen One.” Anything of good that you have in your life, anything of guidance, anything of blessing, it is just like one flash of light from the light of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). So we don’t send blessings upon the Prophet, although we have been Commanded to. Rather, we consign the matter to Allah – “O Allah send Your Blessings on our master Muhammad”
May Allah Most High make us of those who remember Him much, through sending blessings on His Beloved Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him), who can reflect so deeply on the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) that we can say, as many of the greatest Imams of Islam, early and late said, “Were the Prophet veiled from me for more than a moment, I would not count myself as one of the Believers.” Many of the great Awliya said that, because they were in constant Seeking of Allah Most High. If you are true with Seeking Allah, then you take the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) as your constant exemplar and the one you are looking up to at every moment, and whose light reflects in your person, conduct and character.