The superiority of the Prophet (sallaallahu alayhi wa sallaam) to all of creation

Question: I believe for sure that Muhammad Rasulullah isthe best of all the prophets. But is there any evidence in the Quran or Sunna to support this belief in the light of the verse of the Quran which says we dont differentiate (nufariq) among them (the prophets)

Answer: Praise be to Allaah. Truly Allaah says: "We make no distinction between one another of His Messengers" (Q2[al-Baqarah]:285).

Ibn Katheer said in his Tafseer of this aayah: The believers believe in all the Prophets and Messengers, and the books revealed from heaven to the slaves of Allaah, the Messengers and Prophets; they do not differentiate between any of them, believing in some and rejecting others. Rather they regard all of them as truthful, righteous, rightly-guided and guiding to the path of goodness, even though some of them abrogated the laws of others, until all of them were abrogated by the shareeah of Muhammad, the Seal of the Prophets and Messengers, upon whose shareeah the Hour will come". (Tafseer Ibn Katheer; 1/736)

With regard to the superiority of some of the Prophets over one another, Allaah tells us of this, when He says: "Those Messengers! We preferred some of them to others; to some of them Allaah spoke (directly); others He raised to degrees (of honour)" (Q2 [al- Baqarah]:253) Allaah tells us that some of them are several degrees above others, hence the chosen ones among the Messengers are "those of strong will". Allaah says: "And (remember) when We took from the Prophets their covenant, and from you (O Muhammad), . and from Nooh (Noah), Ibraaheem (Abraham), Moosaa (Moses), and Eesa (Jesus) son of Maryam (Mary). We took from them a strong covenant" (Q33 [al-Ahzaab ]:7)

Muhammad Is The Best Of Them And Muhammad (sallaallahu alayhi wa sallaam) is the best of them. This is indicated by the fact that he was their imaam on the night of the Miraaj, because no one but the best is put forward. More evidence that he is the best of them comes from Abu Hurayrah, who said: "The Messenger of Allaah (sallaallahu alayhi wa sallaam) said: I will be the leader of the sons of Adam on the Day of Resurrection. and the first one for whom the grave will be opened.

And the first to intercede. and the first whose intercession will be accepted." (Muslim) Al-Nawawi said in his commentary on Saheeh Muslim: "The phrase "I will be the leader of the sons of Adam on the Day of Resurrection and the first one for whom the grave will be opened. and the first to intercede. and the first whose intercession will be accepted:-_ al-Harawi said: the leader (sayyid) is the one who surpasses his people in goodness. Someone else said: He is the one to whom they turn at times of calamity and hardship, so he takes care of them, carries their burdens and protects them.

The phrase "the Day of Resurrection" - even though he is their leader in this world and in the Hereafter. The reason for this specific mention is that on the Day of Resurrection his position of leadership will become apparent to everyone, and there will no longer be anyone who disputes or stubbornly rejects it, unlike the case in this world when the kings of the kuffaar and the leaders of the mushrikeen competed with him.

Not A Point Of Pride

The scholars said, he did not say "I will be the leader of the sons of Adam" out of pride. Indeed, that is clearly stated in the famous hadeeth narrated bycompilers other than Muslim: "I will be the leader of the sons ofAdam. and I am not boasting." Rather; he said it for two reasons.

The first was in obedience to the command of Allaah: "And proclaim the Grace of your Lord", and the second was that it was part of the message that he was commanded to convey in totality to his ummah so that they would acknowledge his status and believe in him. and do as he commanded, and respect him as required by his status and as Allaah commanded them. This haadeeth implies that he is superior to all of creation, because the view of Ahl al-Sunnah is that human beings, i.e., the people of obedience and piety, are superior to the angels, and he is superior to human beings and [then] to others.

Do Not Differentiate

With regard to the other hadeeth "Do not differentiate between the Prophets" - it may be responded to in five ways. The first is that he said this before he knew that he was the leader of the sons of Adam; then when he came to know he spoke of it. The second is that he said it out of politeness and humility. The third is that the prohibition refers to the kind of differentiation that leads to undermining the position of the one who is less preferred. The fourth is that the prohibition applies to the kind of differentiation that leads to dispute and fitnah (tribulation), as is well known in the reason for the hadeeth. The fifth is that the prohibition applies only in the case of prophet hood itself, not to superiority within the ranks of the Prophets; rather, it applies to superiority in characteristics and other virtues, so it is essential to believe in that. Allaah says: "Those Messengers! We preferred some of them to others ... " (Q2 [al-Baqarah]:253) And Allaah knows best.

He Is Superior Here: The characteristics of the Prophet (sallaallahu alayhi wa sallaam) confirm that he is superior to the rest of the Messengers. We will mention some of them which are narrated in the Quraan and Sunnah.

Only His Book Is Preserved: Allaah has singled out the Quraan, to the exclusion of other Books, to be preserved. Allaah says: "Verily, it is We Who have sent down the Dhikr (i.e. the Quraan) and surely, We will guard it (from corruption)" (Q I 5[al-Hijr] :9) In the case of the other Books, Allaah entrusted their protection to their people. A1laah says: "Verily, We did send down the Tawraat (Torah) [to Moosa (Moses)]. therein was guidance and light.

By which the Prophets. who submitted themselves to Allaahs Will. Judged for the Jews. And the rabbis and the priests [too judged for the Jews by the Tawraat (Torah) after those Prophets]. for to them was entrusted the protection of Allaah's Book and they were witnesses there to" (Q5[al-Maaidah]:44)

The Seal Of Prophets: He is the Seal of the Prophets and Messengers: Allaah says: "Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but he is the Messenger of Allaah and the last (end) of the Prophets" (Q33[al-Ahzaab]:40) He is unique in that he was sent to all of mankind: Allaah says: "Blessed be He Who sent down the criterion (of right and wrong. i.e. this Quraan) to His slave (Muhammad) that he may be a warner to the Aalameen (mankind and jinn) "(Q25[al-Furqaan]: 1)

He Will Be Superior There: Al-maqaam al-mahmood: Among his unique characteristics in the Hereafter is that he will be the owner of the "position of praise and glory (al-maqaam al-mahmood)" on the Day of Resurrection. Allaah says: "And in some parts of the night (also) offer the Salaah (prayer) with it (i.e. recite the Quraan in the prayer) as an additional prayer (Tahajjud optional prayer Nawaafil) for you (O Muhammad). It may be that your Lord will raise you to Maqaam Mahmood (a station of praise and glory. i.e.. the honour of intercession on the Day of Resurrection)" (Q17[al-lsraa1:78)

Ibn Jareer (RAH) said: Most of the commentators said that is the position which he will occupy in order to intercede for the people on the Day of Resurrection, to ask that their Lord might grant them respite from the great hardship that they are suffering on this Day". (Tafseer Ibn Katheer)

Leader There Too: And he will be the leader of all of mankind on the Day of Resurrection, as stated in the hadeeth quoted above. He will be the first one to cross al-Siraat with his ummah. A1-Bukhaari narrated a lengthy hadeeth concerning that from Abu Hurayrah, in which it says, "... and I will be the first one among the Messengers to lead his ummah across it." (al-Adhaan, 764).

Another indication that he is the best of the Prophets is the fact that they will not intercede, rather one of them will refer the people to another; until Eesa refers them to Muhammad (sallaallahu alayhi wa sallaam). He will say, "I (will do it) then he will step forward to intercede for everyone, and the first and the last will praise him for that, the Prophets and the rest of mankind.

His unique characteristics, as mentioned in the ayaat and saheeh ahaadeeth (authentic sayings), are too many to mention in this brief summary; entire books have been written on this topic. (See Kitaab Khasaais al-Mustafa (sallaallahu alayhi wa sallaam) bayna al-Ghulw wal-jafaaby al-Saadiq ibn Muhammad,33-79) To sum up, we prefer our Prophet Muhammad (sallaallahu alayhi wa sallaam) over all the other Prophets and over all of mankind, because of the evidence that has been narrated concerning that, whilst also respecting the rights of the other Prophets and Messengers and believing in them and respecting them. And Allaah knows best.


This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited

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