By Monique Hassan
I was being submerged under water after being told to proclaim Jesus (as) as my savior and route to Allah (most revered, most glorified). The Pastor proclaimed my sins to be cleansed as a newly baptized Christian, yet I did not realize the grave sin everyone of us stepping into the pool was making. I did not realize this was not love for a prophet, this was assigning divinity and worshiping the idolic image of a cross.
As Muslims we must have love and admiration for the Prophet Muhammad . We also need to be mindful not to turn this love into assigning divinity and idolatry. For those of us that used to be Christians, we were taught to apply divinity to Jesus .
Most reverts do not grow up with stories of the prophet helping us to develop love for his character. If anything, we are more exposed to false stories and negative representations. This raises the question how can reverts develop and grow love for the prophet .
Study the Seerah
Making time to study seerah should be considered necessary for reverts as well as those born Muslim. If we don’t take the time to study the life of the Prophet Muhammad then how can we understand his character and why even non-Muslims have referred to him as the most influential man in human history.
It is through a greater understanding of his life that we realize the amount of trials he went through. Beginning at a young age with the death of his parents, these trials persist throughout his life. As we learn more about our Messenger’s hardships, we are reminded of his patience and the fact he never resorted to sinful actions or betrayal; he was never dishonest.
This was a man that despite how much the leaders of Quraysh despised him and wanted him to stop delivering the message, they testified to the fact that he was of trustworthy character and called by the nickname Al-Amin; the trustworthy.
To truly understand a man you need to know the full story and not just the ending. It is important to understand his life, his decisions, and how they all impacted him as well as the people around him.
Apply the Sunnah
We often talk about something being sunnah -such as growing a beard or breaking fast with dates-, but how often are we reflecting on what that means when we apply the sunnah in our lives?
Every morning when I put my shoes on, I start with the right foot first because this is an act of sunnah. Such a small action might not seem impactful, but it is a way of making me more mindful of my faith, and self-aware of my actions. When we apply acts of sunnah into our daily life, we are reminding ourselves of the actions of the Prophet and trying to emulate his example within our own lifestyle.
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ وَأُولِي الْأَمْرِ مِنكُمْ فَإِن تَنَازَعْتُمْ فِي شَيْءٍ فَرُدُّوهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَالرَّسُولِ إِن كُنتُمْ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ ذَٰلِكَ خَيْرٌ وَأَحْسَنُ تَأْوِيلًا
O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you. And if you disagree over anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day. That is the best [way] and best in result. [Surah An-Nisa;59]
Consider for a moment that the Prophet was the best example of understanding the Quran and applying it to his own life, as if he was a walking and talking representation of the revelation. This can only mean that when you draw yourself closer to the Prophet by applying his sunnah into your life, you are drawing yourself closer to Allah . When we look at it from this perspective, it increases our love for the prophet , as his behavior directly influences our connection with the Quran.
In keeping with this concept of increasing love to increase our connection with the Quran, this will undoubtedly make us more grateful towards the Prophet . Gratitude will not only increase our love and appreciation for him, it will make us want to learn more and apply more acts of sunnah within our life.
We know from various hadith that the Prophet interceded for us many times; for instance when he asked for leniency in the amount of prescribed prayers, and in how many dialects are permitted in recitation, and in him making dua’ for his ummah on the Day of Resurrection. How can we as believers not feel gratitude and our hearts touched by love for him when we consider that a Prophet of Allah is saying he will make dua’ for us then!
“There was for every apostle a prayer with which he prayed for his Ummah and it was granted to him; but I wish, if Allah so wills, to defer my prayer for the intercession of my Ummah on the Day of Resurrection.” [Muslim]
Choose Friends Wisely
The people we chose to surround ourselves with will impact our love for the Prophet and our connection to the Quran. If you choose to be around people that love following the Quran and sunnah, this will likely have a positive impact on you. It can help increase your love for the Prophet while also providing greater bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood. On the other hand, if you choose to be around people that laugh at acts of sunnah while saying “That is JUST sunnah. It is nothing!”, you shouldn’t be surprised when this negatively impacts you.
“Man follows his friend’s religion, you should be careful who you take for friends.” [Al-Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud]
Assign Love, Not Divinity
While we strive to increase our love and admiration for the Prophet [saws], we must be mindful not to transgress and step into the realm of assigning divinity. If we look at the ruling on creating images of the Prophet , we know that this is a protection for ourselves. If we had pictures hanging in our house of the Prophet , how many would fall into sin by worshiping these images or praying while clutching them close as if they were talismans.
Developing love for the Prophet is developing love for the best of men; the best of mankind. Yet, in our love for the Prophet , we must always bear in mind that we do not pray nor prostrate to any Prophet or any man, and we must always keep Allah at the center of our hearts and intentions.
Monique Hassan is a writer specializing in behavioral health and Islamic psychology . She also works at an inpatient behavioral health hospital. She has a bachelors of science in psychology with a biology minor and is certified in crisis prevention and intervention. She is a revert, a wife and a mother. Visit her website www.MoniqueHassan.com