This is Part 2 on the series Images from Seerah’s Album’.
The Beloved is both First and Last Eternally. These pictures are very dear to me; I like them immensely.
I wish you could also share my love for them. May you excel me in fondness and constancy for them. Love alone can cross the limits of time and space and bring one closer to the object of one’s adoration. The Mercy for Mankind, peace be upon him, has given the same good news:
One of the Prophet’s companions Abdullah Bin Masud (may Allah be pleased with him) tells us about a person who came to the Prophet (may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him) with a question that disturbed him. We feel the same way but no longer have the opportunity to ask a question of the kind. So, in a way, on behalf of all of us, the man said:” O Messenger of Allah, peace be upon you, what do you say of those who love (some) people but fail to meet them?”
Neither could they get an audience with, nor enjoy the company of the people they adored; there remained the distance of time and space and the difference in the words and deeds of the lovers and the beloved.
The Prophet (may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him) replied:
“Man is with him whom he loves” (Bukhari, Muslim).
This is true about the relationships of this world. You may fall in love and see for yourselves how the differences of time and space vanish. The same is true of the other and ever-lasting world. Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates that a man asked the Prophet:
“When will the Doom be?”
The Prophet said: “Why? Have you made any preparations for it?”
The man said: “None, except that I love Allah and His Apostle,”
The Prophet said, “You will be with those whom you love”.
Could there be a word more delightful than this? Even the people of the time when the Prophet (may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him) was present amongst them felt so joyous that nothing had made them happier since their conversion to Islam. Anas testifies it.
We, who are quite hopeless and dejected weaklings, who have badly failed to prepare for the hereafter, can find comfort and delight in the words of the Prophet. If we love him, we can ensure a place in the hereafter in the company of both Allah and His Messenger, and the circle of those who love them.
The Prophet (may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him) is no more amongst us. What we have is the true and vivid depiction of his vigorous life. His excellent life example, his ‘uswa-tunhasana’, has been preserved with care. If we take a fancy to the charming traits of his character, fix our eyes on them, keep them in our heart and try to emulate them, there is no reason why we should not deserve the glad tidings. Although we cannot sit at his feet today, we can hear the echo of his footsteps. We shall have the pleasure of seeing him in the hereafter and sitting in his blessed company, ‘Insha Allah’.
Moreover, these pictures not only generate ripples of joy but also pangs of sorrow. Pains shoot up from my heart. You too can feel their impact. What causes them? When I compare my own life with these images, I find obvious differences, contradictions indeed, between the two. This comparison is always depressing. I wonder if I have stopped loving these pictures and, in my indifference, chosen wrong ways to tread. I am afraid lest I should be deprived of closeness to the person 1 claim to adore and following whom is my chief desire.
I want to give you this grief of mine. You better take it away along with the pictures. You might complain that sorrow should not be a part of the package. Gifts are supposed to bring with them only bliss and joy. But I assure you if you develop a taste for the type of grief that I offer, you will be immunized once and for all against all kinds of fear, sorrow, anxiety and grief over unfulfilled desires. The glad tidings of ‘On them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve’ will come true in your case too. And you will deserve the high place that ensures the blessed company of our beloved Prophet (may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him).
Look at these pictures so as to enjoy their grace and beauty, develop an immense liking for them, and turn them into a criterion for yourselves. These images should be collectively used as a mirror to show you your own reflection, the days and nights of your life, so that you could see how far your own picture resembles them.
Image: Calling to Allah
How does a picture take its shape? Countless tiny dots gather in a certain order to form a clear picture. A great number of pictures are moved at high speed in a special sequence to give the impact of a moving picture. I placed all of the available images from the Prophet’s life album in an order bequeathed by his worthy companions. I watched each image, one after the other, from end to end. The most distinctive, vibrant and vivid pattern was that of a Caller, calling people to their Lord. He was an apostle sent from Allah with a message. To propagate this message gave meaning to his existence, and was the essence of his life. It became evident to me that his life, from the first Divine revelation in the Cave of Hira, where the first beams of enlightenment lit his heart, to the moment of his death, his rendezvous with the Excellent Companion (Allah), was a dynamic picture of da’wah and apostleship. His concern for the mission, the da’wah, occupied his mind, engaged the heart, directed the efforts, and guided the social relationships. Life moved round the one and only objective: to call people to their Lord.
Owing to a general deterioration of standards the term “uswa-e-hasana” has come to initiate questions like: What kind of clothes did the Prophet wear? What were his table manners? How did he move around and how did he sit? Only rarely do we question: What morals did he hold dear and what was his social behavior? But what the expression ‘uswa-tun-hasana’ does not bring to mind are those images from his life album that depict his struggles in the streets of Makkah, calling the Makkans from the mount of Safa, touring public attractions like the fair of Akkaz, suffering persecution in the valley of Ta’if, and facing war on the battlefields of Badr, Uhad, Hunain, and Hudabia.
The pictures depicting the Prophet’s mannerisms are surely a part of his “uswa” (life pattern); each of these pictures is quite attractive and important for us. But the Qur’an says:
In the Apostle of Allah ye have indeed a beautiful pattern (of conduct) (Al-Ahzab 33:21).
Just try to concentrate on the meanings of the words, “the Apostle of Allah’ and everything will be clear to you. You will realize that all the pictures in the Prophet’s life album are important, yet the most significant image of his life is the one that projects him as an apostle or Messenger. This image, full of life and movement, comprises a series of pictures that show him discharging his duties as a Messenger of Allah: calling people to the way of Islam, warning them, invoking blessings, breaking good news, reading out the verses of the Qur’an, and purifying the hearts.
Every moment of his life reflects these images. Certainly, we should wear, eat, drink, sleep, wake, and move around in the way he liked and in morals we should follow his example. If we truly love him, we must plan our lives on the pattern of his life as a messenger of Allah.
I hope it will be easy for you now to appreciate why I have chosen these pictures for you.
……To be continued, Inshaa’Allah.