Muslims need to know how to pay due respect to the great man who brought them the message of Allah and led them from the darkness of uncertainty into the Light of Knowledge and Faith.
Here are a few points to start us on the life-long journey of love, the privilege that we’re all blessed to have:
Love of Prophet Muhammad (sal-lal-lahu-alaihi-wa-sallam) is the honor of every Muslim. His exceptional character and exemplary manners make it very easy to love him with all your heart, even without seeing him. It’s a pleasure in itself being in awe of his pure heart and soul and his excellence of deeds and character. When we love someone we think about him a lot, we want to know everything about him, and we want him to love us back.
Prophet Muhammad (sal-lal-lahu-alaihi-wa-sallam) already loves us without seeing us because we believed in him and loved him without seeing him; this is what he told his companions about us 1400 years ago, and he called us his brothers and sisters, and said he longed to see us in Paradise. He said: “I miss my brothers”; they asked: “Aren’t we your brothers, O Messenger of Allah? He said: “You are my companions, and my brothers are those who believe in me and did not see me” (Muslim)
Send Salat and Salam on Him
We Muslims must send blessings (Salat and Salam) on our Prophet Muhammad (sal-lal-lahu-alaihi-wa-sallam) as Allah commands us in the Qur’an:
“Allah and His angels send blessings on the prophet: O Believers! do send blessings on him, and salute Him with all respect”. (33:56)
Sal-lal-lahu ala Muhammad, Sal-lal-lahu-alaihi-wa-sallam
Make it a habit to learn a small piece of information about him every day; there are many books and sites that can provide this kind of information. Some sites would even send you a daily email with a Hadith – verbal tradition of Prophet Muhammad (sal-lal-lahu-alaihi-wa-sallam) – or brief story from his life. You can’t love someone without knowing him, so this is your first step to making your love for the Prophet a practical love: by seeking to know him and developing a thirst for knowing more, and a burning need to see him with your heart.
When we were children many of us were told that he is our great-grandfather, and we believed it, and loved him as such, later when we grew up, we found that we loved him even more than a natural grandfather, even without ever meeting him, just through knowing more about him every day.
Learn From Him
As you read about his seerah (life and teachings), you will discover you’re getting a crash course in Muslim life-skills from the ultimate Muslim, whose life story details how he handled each and every minute situation, even extremely personal ones, he had no secrets so that we may learn by example: how he solved problems and faced challenges, how he worshipped, how he treated his family and friends, how he cared for the environment and the wellbeing of every living thing, how he ran his government and created a new society, and how he wept late at night confiding in the Creator his innermost feelings.
This is your unique journey of self-discovery, because each of us emerges a different person from this life-changing experience, depending on our unique characters and environments around the world. Many non-Muslims would tell you the same even without being his religious followers, take Michael Hart and Karen Armstrong for example.
Like everything related to Islam, feelings and words are not enough, action has to follow to make them count and turn aspirations into reality. So after you learn to love him genuinely and re-discover yourself in the process, then comes the time of self-transformation to fit his model that awed you and fascinated you. Take it slowly and one step at a time. Change takes time, but love makes it easier, and the promised rewards from Almighty Lord should give you fuel to keep up. This is the time to remind yourself of the verses of the Qur’an speaking of his exceptional manners, of his love for us, and of following him being a worship which pleases Allah.
You should start noticing you’ve become calmer yet stronger, wiser yet humbler, your circle of care should start widening to encompass more people from every background, and your priorities in life should start rearranging themselves to suit your new self.
Remember that Muslims today are in dire need for good examples to show the world the beauty of Islam, so remember that you are his ambassador to your part of the world. In any trivial everyday situation, you don’t know whom you’re influencing by your good manners, and that alone is worship worthy of reward.
Teach About Him
As the wisdom goes, the best learning comes from teaching, because as you convey thoughts and feelings to others, you relearn your own and grow in your knowledge through the sum of their individual characters. This is a most enriching and gratifying learning experience.
Actually, only then you would have lived up to his example, for what he was but the greatest teacher; not only to his contemporaries but also to all people of reason from his time until the end of time.
This is a life-long journey, searching, discovery and transformation is ongoing for a true Muslim until his last breath, because even then, he has an example of how to exit this world still following in the footsteps of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (sal-lal-lahu-alaihi-wa-sallam), may Allah grant us his company in Paradise, and support us to be his true followers until we meet Him, amen.
(This article, by Sahar El Nadi, is taken from onislam.net with some modification)