I walked faster and faster, hundreds of women pushing me forward. Women all around me cried in love and in pain. They pushed forth with a fervor that emanated from their hearts and took hold of their bodies. I continued to move forward. My heart raced; I don’t know why. I might have been nervous. I might have been anxious. All I knew was that my heart felt as if it would beat right out of my body. My tongue fervently repeated, “Allahumma salli ‘alaa sayiddina Muhammad…” It was almost a year ago and this was my first visit: I was going to be in the presence of Muhammad ﷺ (peace and blessings be upon him).
My eyes swelled with tears and I was no longer able to hold it in. I reached my destination, only a few feet from the grave of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ. My tears rushed from my eyes as if a waterfall, endlessly. My eyes, unable to see, and my body heavy with a burden I didn’t understand, stood in awe. I prayed earnestly that a future meeting with the Messenger ﷺ would have me drinking from his hands next to his fountain. I continued to send peace and blessings upon the Beloved of Allah. I thanked Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala (glorified is He) for bringing me here, for allowing me, in my pathetic state, to stand before the greatest man to ever walk upon this earth.
Every story and every description of the Messenger ﷺ raced through my mind and heart. I imagined his feet, soaking with blood, as he ran from the insults jeered at him by the people of Taif. I remembered the resolve and strength of my Messenger ﷺ in those moments when he prayed to Allah (swt), “O Allah! I complain only to You of my weakness, my scarcity of resources and my humiliation before the people. O Most Merciful of those who are merciful…So long as You are not angry with me, I do not care. Your favor is of more abundance to me…” I thought of him praying in the middle of the night whilst crying. His wife, Aisha radi Allahu anha (may Allah be pleased with her) asking him, “Why do you stay up all night and pray when all your sins have been forgiven—past and future?” His simple reply, “Should I not be a thankful servant?” I thought of the first generation and their love for the Messenger of Allah ﷺ. I wondered how his heart must have felt when the companions (ra) came to him tortured day after day, after having given up everything because of the Jannah (Paradise) he promised them. And I could hear Jaabir (ra) describing my beloved Prophet ﷺ : “I once saw Rasulullah on the night of a full moon. I looked first at the full moon, and then at the face of Rasulullah. And I swear by God that he was more handsome, beautiful and more radiant than the full moon.”
Allah (swt) had allowed my undeserving being to walk upon the same roads the Prophet ﷺ had walked. Can you imagine? He had walked these streets, with rocks around his stomach, attempting to suppress the pangs of hunger. The best of creation went days and nights without food. A smile always etched upon his noble face and his tongue immersed in the remembrance of His Lord. His companions attentively gathered around him, capturing every word and action of his. This city, Madinah, reminded me of the Prophet ﷺ at every turn.
I was now so close to him inside Masjid al-Nabawi. But what if I was actually in the presence of Muhammad ﷺ? I asked myself this question as I slowly distanced myself from his grave and found a place to sit and gather myself. All I imagined was the Day of Judgment. Often when I think of Rasulallah (the Messenger of God) ﷺ, I think of the Last Day. This is because when I was younger a teacher of mine was the first to tell me that on the Day of Judgment everyone would leave me. My friends, my family, and even my parents would abandon me. I would be left before Allah (swt) with nothing, except my deeds, which would be lacking for a surety. She said that mankind would go to each prophet asking for help and each prophet would reply, “Nafsi, nafsi.” “Myself, Myself.” They too would be filled with fear on that Day. Each prophet: Adam, Ibrahim (Abraham), Musa (Moses) and so on will reply, “Nafsi, Nafsi.” And then she finally mentioned the Prophet ﷺ. Our Messenger, Muhammad ﷺ would reply, “Ummati, Ummati.” “My Ummah, My Ummah.” As she said this, my teacher began to cry, as did I. How could I not love someone who loved me so dearly?
Our faith is not complete until we love the Prophet ﷺ more than we love ourselves.
I shamefully admit I thought little over the depth of this statement until I visited the grave of the Prophet ﷺ. In the days that followed—in the moments of self-reflection—I found myself repeatedly asking: Do I love Muhammad ﷺ more than I love myself? And a year later, I still ask myself this question. In an attempt to ease my distress and cultivate a love for the Prophet ﷺ, I have gathered some ways to increase my love for him. I pray that one day my love and your love for him will surpass any and every worldly love we have allowed to take hold of our hearts.
- Love the Qur’an: The Prophet’s ﷺ miracle was the Qur’an. His life changed when the first word of the Qur’an was revealed. It changed his life and it should change our lives as well. He was described as a “walking Qur’an.” His character was the Qur’an. Implement this. The Qur’an is more than a book and we should treat it as such. Read it every day (seriously every day), and ask Allah (swt) daily to put a love for the Qur’an in your heart.
- Read the seerah: Get a reliable book on the life of the Prophet ﷺ and read it. If you know him, then you will love him; for you cannot love someone you do not know.
- Send salawaat upon him every day: Send your peace and blessings upon the Prophet ﷺ every day. Do not go a day without mentioning his name or remembering him. The Prophet ﷺ has said, “Whoever supplicated Allah (swt) to exalt my mention, Allah (swt) will exalt his mention ten times and remove from him ten sins and raise him ten degrees.”
- Follow the sunnah: The way the Prophet ﷺ went about his day was inspired by Allah (swt) and is full of blessing for us. Take the time to learn what he did regularly throughout his day. Take one sunnah (tradition)—just one—and work to implement it in your daily routine. For example, if you do not sit when you eat or drink, begin to sit. If you do not pray 2 rakah sunnah (units of prayer) after Dhuhr salah (afternoon prayer), begin to do so. Begin slowly and do not overwhelm yourself. For the Prophet ﷺ has said that Allah (swt) loves consistency in deeds, not grandeur.
- Humble yourself: Always remember that Allah (swt) is Greater than you. And the Prophet ﷺ was the best of creation. You are merely a servant of God; think of yourself as such. The Prophet’s character was beautiful in that he was the most humble of the people. If we learn humility first, then the rest of the Prophet’s noble character traits will follow close behind.
May Allah (swt) make us among those who follow in the footsteps of His noble messenger and make us among those who love him more than we love all else in this world.