Juwairiyah bint Al-Harith (May Allah be pleased with her) reported, the Mother of the Believers: The Prophet (peace be upon him) came out from my apartment in the morning as I was busy in performing the dawn prayer. He came back in the forenoon and found me sitting there. The Prophet (peace be upon him said, “Are you still in the same position as I left you.” I replied in the affirmative. Thereupon the Prophet said, “I recited four words three times after I had left you. If these are to be weighed against all you have recited since morning, these will be heavier. These are: Subhan-Allahi wa bihamdihi, `adada khalqihi, wa rida nafsihi, wa zinatah `arshihi, wa midada kalimatihi [Allah is free from imperfection and I begin with His praise, as many times as the number of His creatures, in accordance with His Good Pleasure, equal to the weight of His Throne and equal to the ink that may be used in recording the words (for His Praise)].”[Sahih Muslim]. Take two minutes to memorise the above and repeat it three times in the morning and in the evening. And it really does take only two minutes.
Iwould like to talk about a dopic that is up to debate in some quarters. And strange as it may seem people actually like to debate on how much should we Praise Nabi SAW. There are many disgreements between different groups of Muslims, who accuse each other of over praise or under praise. Now I am not here to take sides. My plan is to present any evidence and then for you to decide what you should, you should go with what your heart inclines to.
There is a very famous hadith that is often quoted recorded by Imam al-Bukhari in his Sahih, on the authority of Sayyiduna Umar ibn al-Khattab (Allah be pleased with him) that he heard the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) say: “Do not exaggerate in praising me as the Christians praised the son of Mary, for I am only a Slave. So, call me the Slave of Allah and His Messenger.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, no: 3261)
The meaning of this Hadith is quite clear and simple, in that one must avoid exaggeration in praising the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & grant him eternal peace) in a manner the Christians praised Sayyiduna Esa (peace be upon him). Anything besides this has been implicitly permitted in this Hadith.
Now, we need to see how the Christians exaggerated in their reverence for Sayyiduna Esa (peace be upon him). The Christians exaggerated in praising Sayyiduna Esa (peace be upon him) to the level that they considered him to be either a God, son of God or a partner of God. Hence, it will be completely unlawful and disbelief to elevate the status of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) in a manner that one considers him to be a God, son of God or a partner of Allah.
Allah Most High is one and unique in his essence and attributes, as Imam al-Tahawi (Allah have mercy on him) states: “We say about Allah’s unity (tawhid) – with Allah’s help- that Allah is One, without any partners.” (al-Aqidah al-Tahawiyya, p: 5)
The renowned commentator of Sahih al-Bukhari, Imam Hafidh Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani (Allah have mercy on him) states in the explanation of this Hadith, quoting from Ibn al-Jawzi:
“The reason behind this prohibition (m: of exaggerating in the praise of the Prophet) was due to what was mentioned in the Hadith of Mu’adh, where he (Sayyiduna Mu’adh, Allah be pleased with him) sought the Messenger of Allah’s (Allah bless him & give him peace) permission in order to prostrate before him. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) forbade him from doing so. Hence, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) feared that someone else may exaggerate even more, thus he was quick to prohibit such exaggeration with great emphasis. Ibn al-Tin said: The meaning of “Do not exaggerate in praising me” is that do not praise me as the praise of Christians. So much so that some exaggerated and regarded him (Sayyiduna Esa) to be a partner of God. Some claimed that he was God himself, whilst others said that he was the son of God.” (Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, Fath al-Bari, 12/183-184)
The above passage from one of the greatest commentary on Sahih al-Bukhari quite clearly indicates that the prohibition is of giving the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) the rank and status of Allah in any way or form. He is not God, neither a partner of God, nor His son. He is the Servant of Allah and his beloved Messenger (eternal peace and blessings be on him).
This Hadith does not in any way forbid one from praising the beloved of Allah greatly and excessively. Our presence is because of the Messenger of Allah. He is our master, beloved, intercessor and leader. We love him greatly, more than anything and everything in this world. Hence, we should send blessings on him and praise him as much as we can. If we don’t praise the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) and show reverence to him, then who will we praise.
As long as one avoids considering the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) being equal to Allah Most High and avoids attributing divinity to him, there is absolutely nothing wrong in exaggerating in his love and praise, as the author of Qasida al-Burda, Imam al-Busayri (Allah have mercy on him) so beautifully said:
“Leave what the Christians claim about their Prophet. Then decide and say what you wish in praise of him (Allah bless him & give him eternal peace).”
By Sidi Nazim