A while back, I read something that made me really think about being a companion of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). What would it have been like?
How much easier would it have been to have actual access to the Messenger of Allah?
How much harder would it have been to face the enemies of Islam?
And how much comfort would it have been to my heart just to see him?
Then I was reminded that it was not Allah’s will to be a companion of the Prophet. And I felt so far away from him (peace be upon him).
I am from a time he would not recognize. I live in a different society, speak a different language, and know and understand a different culture far away from his.
Friends vs. Family
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) came to a graveyard and said:
Peace be upon you! The abode of the believing people and we, if God so wills, are about to join you. I love to see my brothers.
They (the hearers) said:
‘Aren’t we your brothers, O Messenger of Allah?’
Knowing that the Prophet Muhammad has called the future generations of his followers his ‘brothers and sisters’ snaps me out of this self-pity. Because even though I am far from him in time and place and in so many other ways, I strive to be his sister, his family.
If you think about it, what is closer than being a sibling?
We all have companions– friends who hang with us and listen to our problems, and even take our advice. But at the end of the day, no one is closer to us than our brothers and sisters. No one is closer to you than your family.
Calling those who believe in him in future generations his siblings bring solace to my heart and makes me feel very close to him. But how can we be closer to him than his companions?
Believing without Seeing
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was seen by his companion crying. The companions said:
“What makes you cry, Oh Messenger of Allah?”
I miss my brothers.
“Are we not your brothers, Oh Messenger of Allah?”
No, you are my Companions. My brothers are those who will come after me and they believe in me without seeing me. (Ad-Darimi, At-Tabarani, Al-Hakim. emphasis added)
Imagine being a companion and hearing the news that you are not the messenger’s brother.
This must have been hard for them to hear.
However, this status was saved for those who would feel far from him by the distance of time, but who would still believe in his message from Allah without even seeing him (peace be upon him).
This belief without even seeing is the ultimate love and trust that makes us so close.
How can we Increase our Love and Get Closer to Him?
But still many of us feel far from him, even though we feel a great love and respect for him. So how can we feel closer?
There are so many ways to feel close to the Prophet Muhammad and thereby close to Allah. We can:
Send Blessings upon Him
By simply saying “peace and blessings be upon him”– or “sallallahu alayhi wasallam” in Arabic– we are doing both what Allah has asked and coming closer to Him and His messenger.
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:
Allah has angels who go around on earth, conveying to me the salam of my ummah. (An-Nasa’i)
And every time we send salutation to the Prophet (peace be upon him), he responds to us. The Prophet said:
There is not one of you who sends his greetings upon me except that Allah returns the soul to my body (in the grave) and I return his greeting. (Abu Dawud. emphasis added)
Imagine being the brother or sister of such a great human being, and then having him return your greeting. It is truly an honor.
Learn about His Life
Many of us raised as Muslims grew up learning the seerah (path or life) of the Prophet Muhammad. And many converts learn the Prophet’s life path right out the gate. But we shouldn’t stop learning, thinking we know everything there is to know about him.
Many great scholars of Islam spent their entire lives learning and memorizing the details of the Prophet’s life. Who are we to think we know everything there is to know after a few books or lectures? There is always more to learn about his actions and the meaning of his actions. It is a study without end.
Implement His Sunnah
Moreover, as we learn, we can apply the Prophet’s sunnah to our own lives. This is the goal for every Muslim. This life that we have so much information about through Quran and authentic hadith is the example of how Allah wishes for us to live to please Him.
By coming to know the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and knowing about his life, and sending salutations upon him, we become closer to the Prophet and closer to Allah Almighty.
The more we know about Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the more we will not be able to help but love him and want to follow his example.
And in doing this we will become closer to him than even his companions were. We will become his brothers and sisters for whom he cried over missing.
(From Discovering Islam’s archive.)