In the name of Allah, the All-beneficent, the All-merciful
Numerous books and articles have been written for the elucidation of the qualities and attributes of the honorable Prophet of Islam, the Seal of Prophets, Mohammad Al-Mustafa (peace be upon him and his household).
In the words of the writers and poets
Both Shia and Sunni Muslims, as well as the orientalists, and the Arab and Non-Arab poets have written extensively in the appraisal of His Holiness, but all of them confessed to their incapability while describing the qualities of His Holiness.
One of the non-Arab poets who has written a eulogy praising the greatness of Prophet Mohammad al-Mustafa (peace be upon him and his progeny) was Surosh Isfahani, whose nickname is Shams al-Shu’ara, in his compilation of poetry:
امروز فسرد آذر برزين * كردند براق مَحْمِدَت را زين
امروز بهشتيان به استبرق * بستند بهشت عدل را آذين
امروز بُوَد فرشتگان را سور * و اهريمن، سوگوار و اندُهگين
امروز شكست صفه كسری * و آمد به جهان يكي درست آيين
امروز به گلْستان دين بشكفت * شمشاد و گل و بنفشه و نسرين
سالار پيامبران ابوالقاسم * آن كرده خطاب، ايزدش ياسين
چون شعله كشد جحيم آتش را * حبّ وي و آل وي دهد تسكين
And the Arab poets have also praised His Holiness and written numerous eulogies and poems regarding his endless virtues. For example, the Arab poet Ahmad Al-Shauqi said in one of his poems:
ولد الهدى فالكائنات ضياء * و فم الزمان تبسم و ثناء
الروح و الملأ الملائك حوله * للدّين والدّنيا به بشراء
والعرش يزهو والحظيرة تزدهي * و المنتهى والسدرة العصماء
Then he adds:
بك بشّر الله السماء فزينت * و تضوّعت مسكاً بك الغبراء
يوم يتيه على الزمان صباحه * ومساؤه بمحمد وضاء(1)
These are examples of those poems that were written in the praise and exaltation of His Holiness, Seal of the Prophets.
From the Qur’anic Viewpoint
Whatever we say or others confess to, is nowhere near the sublime words of the Qur’an:
«لَقَدْ مَنَّ اللهُ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ إِذْ بَعَثَ فِيهِمْ رَسُولاً مِنْ أَنْفُسِهِمْ يَتْلُو عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتِهِ وَ يُزَكِّيهِمْ وَ يُعَلِّمُهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَ الْحِكْمَةَ وَ إِنْ كَانُوا مِنْ قَبْلُ لَفِي ضَلاَلٍ مُبِينٍ.»(2)
“Allah certainly favored the faithful when He raised up among them an apostle from among themselves to recite to them His signs and to purify them and teach them the Book and wisdom, and earlier they had indeed been in manifest error.”
We truly cannot speak about the personality of His Holiness, Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him). Mankind becomes astonished. Even those who are very lofty become astonished.
In the words of the Commander of the Faithful (as)
One must describe the attributes of the Prophet like the Commander of the Faithful (peace and mercy upon him) has done. If you want to read the attributes of His Holiness, refer to the noble sermon of the Commander of the Faithful (peace be upon him) in Nahj al-Balagha, where he says:
«إِنَّ اللهَ تَعَالَى بَعَثَ مُحَمَّداً نَذِيراً لِلْعَالَمِينَ وَ أَمِيناً عَلَى التَّنْزِيلِ وَ أَنْتُمْ مَعْشَرَ الْعَرَبِ عَلَى شَرِّ دِينٍ وَ فِي شَرِّ دَارٍ مُنِيخُونَ بَيْنَ حِجَارَةٍ خُشْنٍ وَ حَيَّاتٍ صُمٍّ تَشْرَبُونَ الْكَدِرَ وَ تَأْكُلُونَ الْجَشِبَ وَ تَسْفِكُونَ دِمَاءَكُمْ وَ تَقْطَعُونَ أَرْحَامَكُمْ الْأَصْنَامُ فِيكُمْ مَنْصُوبَةٌ وَ الْآثَامُ بِكُمْ مَعْصُوبَة»(3)
“Allah sent Muhammad (SAAW) as a warner (against vice) for all the worlds and a trustee of His revelation, while you people of Arabia were following the worst religion, and you resided among rough stones and venomous serpents. You drank dirty water and ate filthy food. You shed blood of each other and cared not for the relationship. Idols are fixed among you and sins are clinging to you”.
Or in another instance from Nahj al-Bagaha, he said:
«أَشْهَدُ أَنَّ مُحَمَّداً عَبْدُهُ وَ رَسُولُهُ أَرْسَلَهُ وَ أَعْلَامُ الْهُدَى دَارِسَةٌ وَ مَنَاهِجُ الدِّينِ طَامِسَةٌ فَصَدَعَ بِالْحَقِّ وَ نَصَحَ لِلْخَلْقِ وَ هَدَى إِلَى الرُّشْدِ وَ أَمَرَ بِالْقَصْدِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَ آلِهِ وَ سَلَّم.» (4)
“I also testify that Muhammad is His slave and His Prophet whom He deputed when the signs of guidance were obliterated and the ways of religion were desolate. So, he threw open the truth, gave advice to the people, guided them towards righteousness, and ordered them to be moderate. May Allah bless him and his descendants”.
The Commander of the Faithful, Ali Bin Abi Talib (peace be upon him), narrates a miracle from the Prophet in the sermon of Qasi’a (5), regarding which one of the historians writes: I do not doubt that this miracle had occurred because at a time when the people from the time of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) where alive, the Commander of the Faithful delivered this sermon before the same people and they all knew that this incident had occurred.
His Holiness said in that sermon:
«لَقَدْ كُنْتُ مَعَهُ لَمَّا أَتَاهُ الْمَلَأُ مِنْ قُرَيْشٍ. فَقَالُوا لَهُ: يَا مُحَمَّدُ إِنَّكَ قَدِ ادَّعَيْتَ عَظِيماً لَمْ يَدَّعِهِ آبَاؤُكَ وَ لَا أَحَدٌ مِنْ بَيْتِكَ وَ نَحْنُ نَسْأَلُكَ أَمْراً إِنْ أَنْتَ أَجَبْتَنَا إِلَيْهِ وَ أَرَيْتَنَاهُ عَلِمْنَا أَنَّكَ نَبِيٌّ وَ رَسُولٌ وَ إِنْ لَمْ تَفْعَلْ عَلِمْنَا أَنَّكَ سَاحِرٌ كَذَّابٌ»
I was with him when a party of the Quraysh came to him and said to him, “O’ Mohammad, you have made a big claim which none of your fore-fathers or those of your family have made. We ask you one thing; if you give us an answer to it and show it to us, we will believe that you are a prophet and a messenger, but if you cannot do it, we will know that you are a sorcerer and a liar”.
The Messenger of Allah said: “What do you ask for?”
They said: “Ask this tree to move for us, even with its roots, and stop before you.”
The Prophet said, “Verily, Allah has power over everything. If Allah does it for you, will you then believe and stand witness to the truth?”
They said “Yes”.
Then he said, “ I shall show you whatever you want, but I know that you won’t bend towards virtue, and there are among you those who will be thrown into the pit and those who will form parties (against me).”
Then the Holy Prophet said: “O’ tree, if you do believe in Allah and the Day of Judgement, and know that I am the Prophet of Allah, come up with your roots and stand before me with the permission of Allah.” By Him who deputed the Prophet with truth, the tree did remove itself with its root and came with a great humming sound and a flapping like the flapping of the wings of birds, till it stopped before the Messenger of Allah while it was shaking and cast its higher branches over the Prophet, while some of its branches came down onto my shoulders, and I was on the right side of the Holy Prophet.
When the people saw this they said by way of pride and vanity: “Now you order half of it to come to you and the other half of it remain (in its place).” The Holy Prophet ordered the tree to do the same. Then half of the tree advanced towards him in an amazing manner and with greater humming. It was about to touch the Prophet of Allah. Then they said, disbelieving and revolting, “Ask this half to get back to its other half and be as it was.” The Prophet ordered it and it returned.
Then I said, “There is no god but Allah! O Prophet of Allah, I am the first to believe in you and to acknowledge that the tree did what it did just now with the command of Allah, the Sublime, in testimony to your Prophethood and to heighten your word. Upon this, all the people shouted, “Rather a sorcerer, a liar”.
The Orientalists and the Personality of the Prophet (s)
In short, if we talk about the dimensions of the personality of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) every day also, even then it will not conclude. Even the foreigners and the orientalists have also bowed down to the virtues of the holy existence of the Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny):
Thomas Carlyle, in his book Al-Abtal (whose translation has been published by the name of Qahrman), speaks about those who have become the champions and victors from different fields, i.e. those who have become successful in their fields, like Al-Batl Fi Surat al-Shair (the champion in the form of a poet). He said in his book: While writing about Al-Batl fi Surat al-Nabi, (the champion in the form of an apostle), he did not mention the names of the Prophet Moses or Prophet Jesus, nor did he mentioned Prophet Abraham, instead, he said that the champion in apostleship and Prophethood is Muhammad.
The Personality of Imam Sadiq (peace be upon him)
The great personality of His Holiness Imam Sadiq (peace and mercy be upon him) was the same. It if wasn’t for the school which Imam Jafar Al-Sadiq (peace be upon him) inaugurated for the Islamic nation, it can be said that the religion would remain incomplete. He explained all the roots and branches of Islam. Abu Hanifa said: ‘I have not seen anyone more learned than Jafar bin Mohammad”. (6)
Ibn Uqdah (d. 333 Hijra), one of the reliable and widely accepted narrators for all the Muslims, irrespective of Shias and Sunnis, wrote a book named “Asma Al-Rijal Al-Lazeena Rawao An Al-Sadiq Alayhis Salaam”. In that book, he wrote the name of those four thousand individuals who collectively narrated traditions from Imam Sadiq (peace be upon him) and acquired knowledge for His Holiness. Unfortunately, like many other books, this book is also unavailable today but the senior clerics have mentioned its name. (7)
Najashi has reported from Ahmad bin Esa Ash’ari in his book of Rejal that he said, ‘I went to Kufa seeking the knowledge of Hadith and reached the service of Hasan bin Ali Washa there. I told him, ‘Give me the book of Alaa bin Zarin and Aban bin Othman Ahmar so that I can duplicate from them; he gave me those two books. I said: Grant me permission for narration. He said: May Allah have mercy on you, you are in such a hurry. Take it with you and write it down, then bring it back to me and read for me so that I can listen and then grant you the permission for narration.
I said: I do not feel secure from the forthcoming time for myself.
Hasan bin Washa said: How strange! If I knew that narrations have such seekers and customers, I would have gathered more than what I have. I have seen 900 Sheikhs in the Kufa mosque who used to say unanimously: Jafar bin Mohammad narrated for me”. (8)
The Lofty Position of The Holy Progeny (peace be upon them)
What a school it was! Such great knowledge and teachings it gave! With time, it became evident why Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him and his household) said several times, ‘My household and my progeny’ (9), or “Do not teach them for they are more learned than you” (10). It was not said because they belonged to the family and the household of the Prophet, but because of the knowledge, status, and position that they possessed.
Ahmad Bin Abd Al-Aziz, famously known as Ibn Ayyash, is one of our renowned clerics from the fourth century who passed away in the year 401 Hijri. He has authored a book by the name “Muqtadhab Al-Athar Fi Al-Nas Ala Al-A’immah Al-Ithna Ashar”. I have seen a copy of that book more than 50 years ago, but it wasn’t published properly. I decided to get it published once again. In order to confirm that this book belonged to that era, I went through all the sources and pieces of evidence and found out all those books which have narrated from it afterward.
I also had the opportunity to write a preface for it wherein I quoted an excerpt from the speech of Shabrawi, former head of Al-Azhar University. Al-Shaykh Abdullah Al-Shabrawi has authored a book named “Al-Ithaf Bi’Hubb Al-Ashraf” on the topic of the nobilities of the Sadaat.
In that book, he has mentioned the quotes of a learned cleric:
He said: Whoever denies the nobilities of the Holy Progeny (peace be upon him), is like someone who wishes to hide the sun. No one has ever questioned them about anything which might have left them clueless.
Then he says:
We must understand the importance of this school of thought and this precious treasure of knowledge and teachings. Moreover, it is our responsibility to propagate these teachings amongst all the citizens of the world so that everyone – who is thirsty for this knowledge – can benefit, if Allah wills, from this unparalleled ocean of cognition and knowledge.
1. This eulogy is mentioned in the book Al-Shauqiyat of Ahmad Al-Shauqi, published by Dar Al-Shuruq, Egypt.
2. Aal e Imran, verse 164.
3. Nahj Al-Balagha, sermon 26.
4. Ibid, sermon 195.
5. Ibid, sermon 192.
6. Tabaqat Al-Huffaz, Al-Zahabi, Al-Tabaqat Al-Khamisa, p. 166.
7. Indication to this book has been made in the book of Rijal by Allama Hilli, section 2, chapter 4, the account of Ahmad Bin Mohammad Bin Saeed, famously known as Ibn Uqdah/Rijal Al-Tusi, Al-Muqaddima.
8. Rijal Najashi, the account of Hasan Bin Ali Bin Ziyad Al-Washa.
9. Bihar Al-Anwar, vol. 23, chapter 7, Hadith 10.
10. Kafi, vol. 1, Baab “Ma Nassallaho Azza wa Jalla wa Rasooluhu Alal A’immah”.