In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, Most Compassionate; blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.
"Anyone who obeys the Messenger has obeyed God..." (Nisaa 4:80)
OF all the talks regarding Prophet Muhammad's birthday which I attended previously, I cherished one remark by an ‘ustaz’. He said: “Please do not remember Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. only on his birthday but keep thinking about him at all times.”
In doing so, he said ‘insya-Allah’ (God willing) all our actions would be in line with his teachings. Then our lives would be guarded; our actions would be based on the five sections of ‘hukum shara’ (law of fiqh or religious law), that are ‘waajib’ (obligatory), ‘sunnah’ (optional), ‘harus’ or ‘mubah’ (probable), ‘makruh’ (improper) and ‘haram’ (unlawful or sinful).
It is ‘wajib’ to perform our five daily obligatory prayers (subuh, zuhur, asar, maghrib and isyak) so perform our best while doing it; it is ‘haram’ to shake hands with those of the opposite sex who are not our ‘muhram’ (those who are closely related to us such as our father, mother and siblings), then just leave it.
But the problem with some of us, we ignore what is ordained upon us; we just follow our ‘nafsu’ (desires), thinking that what we do (such as shaking hands with the opposite sex) is allowed or just a ‘small sin’.
Shaking hands involving the opposite sex is rampant in top party functions. If we were to observe closely the moment when a leader arrived at a function, he would be greeted with handshakes by men and women.
The leader seemed not to have a sense of guilty when shaking and pressing his hand to the hands of other people’s wives (bini orang) or daughters (anak dara orang). It is sinful but the people of that party just ignore it. Women too, were seen pressing or pushing their way to shake hands with the top leaders.
Based on ‘this sinful’ phenomenon, I am afraid we are not thinking about Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. at all times, we are only good at remembering him when celebrating his birthday. Imagine what the Prophet would say, if he were to witness our deeds of not following his teachings and yet during Maulidur Rasul processions some of us are shouting our lungs in praising him.
During this long month of Rabiulawal, Muslims in Malaysia celebrate Maulidur Rasul; on a large scale with most of the events such as gatherings and processions being organized by government and its agencies such as the state religious department. In masjids, events such as reading of the ‘Barzanji’ (a kind of song in praise of Prophet Muhammad) were mainly dominated by the masjid’s committees.
During these gatherings, Muslims were reminded again and again about the life and sacrifice of the Prophet, his humble beginning as an orphan, his becoming a prophet at the age of 40, how he was mistreated in Makkah and about his flight from Makkah to Medina (the Hijra).
And in Medina, it was about the many battle the Prophet lead, the Islamic state of Medina he founded, the expansion of Islam in the Arabian peninsula up to his demise in Medina at the age of 63 in 632 AD.
Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. is the unanimous choice of scholars as the the greatest man in history. Michael H Hart in his book ‘The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History’ ranked the Prophet first, while Lamartine/Histoire de la Turquie/Paris 1854 asked; “If greatness of purpose, smallness of means, and astounding results are the criteria of human genius, who could dare to compare any great man in modern history with Muhammad?”
Hard’s The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History, has sold more than 500,000 copies and been translated into 15 languages. What mainly surprised readers in this book was the first person on Hart's list (Hart, 1992). Hart decided to choose Muhammad over Jesus or Moses. Hart attributes this to the fact that Muhammad was "supremely successful" in both the religious and secular realms.
During the many ‘Maulidur Rasul’ talks I attented, almost all the speakers reminded Muslims to show their love for the Prophet by always remembering him by way of pronouncing the ‘salawat’ (salutations to the Prophet) and to adhere and follow all his teachings and actions.
So what are the teachings of the Prophet s.a.w. or to cut short what is Islam? In the book ‘Essence of Islam’ (Islamic Outreach-ABIM), it is stated that Islam means complete submission or surrender to the will of Allah SWT (The Most High).
Islam also means peace and the way to achieve peace. Islam teaches that there is only one God, who is called Allah in Arabic. Since the time of emergence of the first man on earth, God in His mercy raised among men numerous prophets or messengers, such as Abraham (Ibrahim), Isaac (Ishak), Jacob (Yaakob), Joseph (Yusof), Moses (Musa), David (Daud) and Jesus (Isa). The last of all the messengers was Muhammad s.a.w.
Islam is not a new religion. It consists of the same basic message which God has given in all true religions, and all prophets brought this same message for our guidance.
Muhammad s.a.w., the final Prophet and Messenger of God, taught us the full and complete meaning of Islam (surrender and commitment to the will of God) through his words, his actions and the revealed book, the Holy Qur’an.
All Muslims actions are governed by the principles of ‘halal’ (permissible) and ‘haram’ (forbidden, unlawful or sinful). It is ‘halal’ to be involved in business activities but ‘haram’ in practising ‘riba’ (usury).
It is ‘halal’ to touch one’s wife (or to the extent of having sex with her) but is ‘haram’ for men to touch and shake the hands of non-mahram women, but why does this continue to happen at the ruling party’s functions?
All along the party leaders would be shaking hands with the opposite sex. If dealing with this ‘simple’ matter, they do not follow the teachings of the Prophet, then what could be said about their commitments and pledges in more important and pressing matters.