His Unique Dignity

Among the Holy Prophet’s peace and blessings be upon him special distinctive qualities is also this, that Allah Most High exalted him with a universal prophetic mission. Neither of the great prophets and messengers who had preceded him had been commissioned with a universal mission and call. They were sent to particular communities or particular regions, whereas he had been sent as a prophet for the whole human race, as has been mentioned in several places in the Quran. Allah Most High states: 

“Blessed is He Who hath revealed unto His slave the Criterion of (right and Wrong), that he may be a warner to the people" (XXV:I)

Concerning this verse Allamah Ibn Kathir writes that it means that he should preach this book to the whole world, warn all, black or white, distant and close, from Allah's punishment He has been sent on a mission towards all those who are under this sky and above this earth, as Allah Himself says: - 

"Say (O Muhammad): O mankind! Lo! I am the messenger of Allah to you all (The messenger of) Him unto whom belongeth the sovereignty of the heavens and the earth" (VII: 158).

Interpreting this verse Allamah Ibn Kathir says that it means: "0 Prophet! Say to Arabia and Iran and all the peoples of the world that you have come as a messenger towards all." This is his greatest honour and glory that the office of prophethood ceased with him and he will remain as prophet for the whole world till the last day. 

It is also reported in one tradition that during the Battle of Tabuk when the Holy Prophet peace and blessings be upon him got up to say the night prayer, some of his Companions began to guard him. After saying the prayer, he turned towards them and said: "Five things have been specially bestowed upon me tonight; these distinctive qualities were never given to any other prophet before me: - 

(1) I have come as a prophet for all the peoples of the world, while before this every prophet used to come as prophets for his own people only. 

(2) I am victorious over the enemy merely by reverence, an enemy that is a month's travel away is overcome by my reverential fear. 

(3) Booty has been legitimised for me and my ummah, before, it was a grave sin to eat the booty; it used to be burnt up. 

(4) The whole earth is ritually clean for me and is a mosque for me. Wherever comes the time of prayer, I can perform tayyamum (ablution performed by using dust in the absence of water) with the dust thereof and can say prayer on the same dust. On the contrary earlier people could worship only in their churches and places of worship. 

(5) The fifth special distinction is this that I have been permitted to ask for one thing, as every prophet has requested for a thing of his liking. I have postponed my demand for the Day of Judgement, and it is for you and for every one who may give witness of the Oneness of Allah. 

One can write volume upon volumes on this topic and yet it will not suffice, as Sheikh Sa'di has said: - 

"The whole volume came to an end and life too reached its end and yet we are still toiling with the description of your first quality only." 

We only want to point out that Allah created us amongst the ummah of such a chosen and beloved prophet for which great and enterprising prophets used to yearn. How wicked not to follow and conform to such a prophet. The Attention of Muslims has repeatedly been drawn towards this. 

Allah Most High, giving the order for obeying Him and the Holy Prophet peace and blessings be upon him, says in the Quran: - 

"0 ye who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the messenger and those charged with the authority among you; and if ye differ in any matter amongst yourselves, refer it to Allah and His apostle if ye do believe in Allah and the Last Day. That is best and most suitable in the end." (IV:59).

In an interpretation of this noble verse Allamah Ibn Kathir has written a detailed article. In it at one place, he says that it is reported in an authentic Hadith: "He who obeys me obeys Allah and he who disobeyed me, disobeyed Allah, and he who obeyed my amir (chief) he obeyed me and he who disobeyed the amir appointed by me he disobeyed me." 

In this noble verse we are asked to obey Allah, that is, to follow His Book and obey the Apostle of Allah. We should conform to the Prophet's peace and blessings be upon him Practices (Sunnahs) and also obey the rulers. Obedience to the rulers is only in conformity with Allah’s order and not in anything contrary. It is unlawful to obey the ulemas or amirs at such a time. It is stated in the Hadith that obedience is desired in the known things only; and within the extent of Allah's and the Apostle's order. There is no obedience to creatures in a thing which there may be disobedience to Allah. 

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