Ordinary souls experience serene moments, pure from earthly dross and defilement, when any bitter or harsh feelings they have are softened, and their thoughts are elevated from earth to the pure and fresh air of heaven, where a sense of peace and tranquility pervades their being.
But they soon descend to their low ground, where they live most of their time, and glance at these moments of true spiritual ecstasy as transient flashes or a star glowing from a far-off galaxy.
Contrarily, great souls live with a much wider outlook from a higher altitude of life, much keener awareness, and stronger feelings. They are upright on the straight path, from which they rarely swerve. They are accustomed to soaring high, and rarely fly low. If they come down, they soon flap their wings and ascend to the heights where they dwell.
God created mankind as such, and so they have varied in their levels since the beginning of time.
Such variations include common people bound by the shackles of their limited goals from which they sometimes break free, and special people who have emancipated themselves from most worldly shackles, one of which may cling to their feet and burden them for some time before they shake it off.
These special people vary among themselves in righteousness and virtue, just as stars vary in their luminosity.
While people believe they can uplift themselves to the level of those who – although far away – are still within reach, some, because of the wide gap, are beyond imagination.
The extent of their diversity is indeed infinite. And so was the wisdom of God that He chose the carriers of His Revelations from among the best of the chosen few, who excel over others in everything.
If a race was held between the most gifted and skilled people ever to have lived, whose intuition was the strongest, whose hearts were the purest, and whose morals were the most virtuous, the sole winners would be the Prophets of God.
The Prophets were men of matchless intelligence, strength of determination, far reaching goals, penetrating sagacity, and full insight into human nature and inclinations.
It is a great error to think that it was merely goodness or simplicity of character that qualified these Messengers to lead their people during eras of impediment and naivety.
True leadership of nations, past or present, is realized only through people gifted with spiritual and moral capacities that are able to draw the multitudes around them with willing hearts and ready shoulders:
And mention Our servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – men of might and vision. We purified them with a pure thought, remembrance of the Home (of the Hereafter). And indeed, in Our Sight they are of the chosen and the best. (38: 45-47)
Have you grasped the secret of their greatness within the folds of this concise Quranic description?
It is power and vision; men of bravery without a tinge of incapability, and discernment without a tinge of ignorance. They were chosen above all other generations of humanity, as when choosing from among marvelous bouquets, leaving what is beautiful for what is even more beautiful. This is God’s election or choice.
Glancing at the Custodians of the blessed Revelations, your eyes will not miss their noble foreheads crowned by grandeur and virtue and adorned with certitude and truthfulness; their prominence almost hiding and dimming all other humanity.
These were the Prophets who were entrusted with the guidance of people for long periods during the early eras. Amidst this company of righteous men, you behold, with veneration and awe, Muhammad ibn Abdullah, the unique Prophet, who was entrusted with the guidance of humanity to the end of time, sent with a Book (the Glorious Quran) that shall remain among them as long as day and night shall last, in whose person was gathered the morals and beliefs destined for the welfare and righteousness of the first and last generations.
You can easily become acquainted with the timeless wisdom – that is the highest of all ideals in flesh and blood – from the Book with which Prophet Muhammad was sent. His emotional and intellectual life sprang from his pure and clear knowledge of God, his continuous remembrance of Him, and his steadfast attachment to the meanings of perfection in His Divine Names and Attributes.
Truly, the world, from its beginning to its end, will not know a human who walked on earth with his heart attached to heaven as did Prophet Muhammad:
O my Lord, make me thankful to You, always remembering You, always fearing You, always obeying You, to You humble, tearful, and repentant. O my Lord, accept my repentance, wash off my sin, answer my supplication, strengthen my argument, guide my heart, correct my tongue, and remove ill will from my chest. (At-Thirmidhi)
Indeed, one of the most prominent attributes of great spiritual guides is the ability to trigger energy within those who approach them, releasing their hidden powers to serve the ultimate truth, each according to his gifts.
Therefore, sinners who desire repentance, the ignorant who desire knowledge, the confused who desire peace, the sick who desire healing, and the imperfect who desire perfection, will, in their endeavors to reach their aims, learn much about Prophet Muhammad through guidance from a Quranic verse or benefit from a piece of his wisdom.