September 8, 2019
Week 1 Lecture Notes
The Prophet (saw) had a magnetic presence and charisma that drew people close to him. Before his prophethood, he was well-liked and trusted as an honest man among the Quraish of Arabia. Once Muhammad (saw) received revelation many people turned away from him but from his good manners, kindness, concern and gentle personality he drew many people to Islam and eventually amassed a large following of Muslim believers.
Many of these believers are known as the Sahabah or companions of the Prophet. They spent many years in his company and learned directly from the prophetic example of how to practice Islam as a lifestyle. Many of the hadith of the Prophet (saw) come from the Sahabah’s narrations. The Sahabah were put through many trials, they were abused and attacked when they were living in Makkah, they gave up their homes and migrated to Medina a foreign city. They even fought with Muhammad (saw) in battle to uphold the name of Islam and eventually rid Makkah of idols.
Being so close to the Prophet (saw) the Sahaba took on many of his noble qualities such as compassion and service Allah (swt) and to the ummah. Rasulullah (saw) said this about his Sahabah, “My companions are like guiding stars. Whomever you follow, you will be rightly guided.”
Al- Khulafa Ar- Rashidun:
Of these Sahaba, four of them in turn led the ummah after the death of the Prophet (saw) and are collectively known as the Al- Khulafa Ar-Rashidun, the rightly guided caliphs. The four caliphs are Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, and Ali who stayed very close to the Prophet (saw) throughout his life. They adopted his ways of worship, helping people, and lived everyday life like him. These four leaders of the ummah are referred to as “rightly guided” because they followed Islamic teachings in every aspect of their lives without any deviations from the Prophet’s (saw) teachings.
The Farewell Pilgrimage:
The final years of the Prophet’s life began upon the victory over Makkah. The Prophetic mission of the holy Prophet (saw) was completely fulfilled, and his religion cemented. Upon receiving Surah Nasr, the final surah, Prophet Muhammad (saw) understood that his time on Earth was coming to an end and declared his intention to perform Hajj, the sacred ritual that every Muslim should perform at least once in their lives. He and many followers, including his Sahabah performed Hajj with him. The Prophet (saw) took his followers through the rites of Hajj and the Sahaba noted every act he performed that would later be the basis for all Muslims to perform Hajj. Upon Mount Arafat, the Prophet (saw) delivered his famous speech known as the Farewell Sermon. It was also on the plains of Arafat, that the verses of Surah Ma’idah were revealed: “Today I have completed your din for you.” The Revelation of Allah was finally completed in the Qur’an. This would be the last time he addressed the ummah in such large numbers. His speech outlines five important principles of Islam.
Islam molds the character of the Muslim on the basis of two fundamental principles:
- Islam is a religion free from the ignorant practices of the past. When Muslims adopt the religion of Islam, they sever all ties with the age of Ignorance such as its idols, practices, societal ills, unsavory financial deals and so forth.
- Muslims should guard against all forms of sin. The effects of sin are even greater than the dangers of war and battle.
The Prophet has also outlined three basic principles on which Islamic society is founded:
- The ties of brotherhood and sisterhood between Muslims are the foundation of our ummah. We should honor these ties and help our Muslim brothers and sisters whenever we can.
- We should support the weak to keep our community strong. The Prophet (saw) emphasized the importance of helping the poor, orphans, and showing kindness to women.
- There should be cooperation between an Islamic government and members of an Islamic society. This cooperation replaces the evil of society with good and benefits all.
Despite being a short speech, the Prophet briefly outlined everything a necessary for a believer to practice Islam and how to create a Muslim society. Rasulullah (saw) entrusted his sahabah with the passing on of his message to future generations and the rest of the world. The Farewell Pilgrimage was a signal to the Sahabah that the Prophet’s time was nearing its end. This greatly saddened the Sahabah who wondered who would lead their ummah and offer them counsel after the Prophet (saw) was gone. But they understood that the Qur’an and the Prophet’s (saw) sunnah would guide them and the rest of the ummah for all time.
The Prophet’s Death:
Shortly after the Farewell Pilgrimage, Rasulullah (saw) fell ill and everyone grew worried. In his sickness the Prophet (saw) instructed his close friend Abu Bakr to lead the prayers. After some days of sickness, the Prophet (saw) passed from this world. Many people were so distraught in hearing the news. And could not believe he had actually passed. Abu Bakr visited Aisha (ra) where the Prophet’s body was and said farewell. He then came and spoke to the people saying,
“Oh people, if anyone worships Muhammad, know that Muhammad is dead; if anyone worships Allah, know that Allah is alive, and He never dies.”
It was with these statements that all Muslims accepted Rasulullah’s (saw) death and mortality but understood that Allah (swt) is eternal.