One half of our testimony of faith is to declare “Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.” And indeed, it is central to the Islamic faith that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is Allah’s final Messenger to all humanity.
Allah says to His Messenger (peace be upon him) in the Qur’ân: “We have not sent you but as a messenger to all humanity, giving them glad tidings and warning them.” [Sûrah Saba’
Allah also says: “Say (O Muhammad): Mankind! I am Allah’s Messenger to you all.” [Sûrah al-A`râf
However, there are some people who violate this testimony, not by disbelieving in the Prophet (peace be upon him) or the universality of his Message, but rather by going to extremes with the respect and reverence that they confer to him.
There are those who have declared him to be an eternal light that was passed from one Prophet to the next until finally culminating in the person of Muhammad (peace be upon him). Some have declared him a presence in which Allah manifested himself. The first of these presumptions is advanced by certain extremist Shi’ite and the Bâtinî sects, as well as the most extreme of Sufi groups. The second is the belief of the pantheists.
Such statements are tantamount to heresy.
Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) was merely a human being, and one of Allah’s servants. Allah chose him and honored him by appointing him the Seal of the Prophets and Messengers and making him the most noble of Adam’s offspring. His humanity is an established fact, in spite of the false claims that have been advanced about him, like the
ones we have mentioned above.
Allah says: “Say (O Muhammad): I am merely a man like yourselves who has been inspired that your God is One God. So whoever puts his hopes in the meeting with his Lord should work righteousness and refrain from ascribing any partners to Allah in his
worship.” [Sûrah al-Kahf
Allah also says: “Say: Glory be to my Lord! Am I anything but a man who has been sent?” [Sûrah al-Isrâ’
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “I am but a man like yourselves. I am prone to forget just as you are.” [Sahîh al –Bukhârî
(1/104, 105) and Sahîh Muslim
There are numerous other texts that show conclusively that Muhammad (peace be upon him) was merely a human being and that Allah distinguished him by bestowing upon him prophecy and the Message. Those who go to extremes and raise him above his true status are in fact contradicting their testimony that “Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah”.
There are those who go to excesses by offering to the Prophet (peace be upon him) certain acts of devotion that are to be offered to Allah alone. Some people even offer to him supplications, pray to his grave, and call to him in devout humility.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) went to great lengths to warn us against such behavior. He did so repeatedly and emphatically. Even before he did so, the Qur’ân made the matter perfectly clear. Allah declares supplications, devotions, prayers, and all other forms of worship to be for Him alone.
Allah says: “And your Lord says: ‘Call on Me; I will answer your supplication – but those who are too arrogant to serve Me will surely find themselves in Hell – in humiliation!’ ” [Sûrah Ghâfir
Allah also says: “They were ever quick in emulation in good works; they used to call on Us with love and reverence, and humble themselves before Us.” [Sûrah al-Anbiyâ’
Likewise, He says: “So pray to your Lord and offer sacrifice.” [Sûrah al-Kawthar
Allah also says: “Say: ‘Truly, my prayer and my sacrifice, my life and my death, are all for Allah, the Lord of the Worlds’.” [Sûrah al-An`âm
`Umar b. al-Khattâb relates that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “Do not praise me excessively like the Christians praised Jesus, the son of Mary. I am but a servant, so call me Allah’s servant and Messenger.” [Sahîh al –Bukhârî
`A’ishah relates the following [Sahîh Muslim
When death approached Allah’s Messenger, he began putting a sheet of his on his face. When he became hot and distressed because of it, he would remove it and say: “Allah’s curse came upon the Jews and the Christians because they took the graves of their Prophets as places of worship.”
The Prophet was warning the Muslims against what they had done. Had it not been for the fear that it would be taken as a mosque, his grave would have been in an open place.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) was so stern in prohibiting people from taking graves as places for Allah’s worship, cursing those who did so, because it is a practice that ultimately leads people to polytheism.
So what can we say about those people who actually direct their worship to the denizens of the graves, offer sacrifices to them, supplicate to them, swear oaths by them, or circumambulate their graves?
Al-Qurtubî writes, commenting on this matter [aL-Qurtubî, al-Mufhim lima Ashkal min Talkis Kitâb Muslim
Therefore, the Muslims went to great lengths to block the tendency to do so at the grave of the Prophet (peace be upon him). They raised the dirt walls around it high, completely surrounding it and blocking off the entrances to it.
Then they feared that the location of his grave might be turned into a direction for prayer, because it was in the direction the worshippers face and some of them might get the idea that facing it was an act of worship. For this reason, they built two walls at the northern corners of the grave and placed them at a slant so that they would form a triangle with one of its corners pointing to the North. In this way, no one could be able to directly face the grave while making his prayer.
Those who seek to direct themselves to the grave can only do so with their hearts, because it is quite impossible to actually face it or even reach it.
It is, in fact, just as Ibn Taymiyah describes it. “Approaching his grave is neither possible nor something enjoined upon us.” It took the building of three walls to produce this situation.
This shows us how Allah protected the grave of the Prophet (peace be upon him) in on answer to his prayer. The Prophet (peace be upon him) had offered this supplication: “O Allah! Do not let my grave become an idol that people worship.” [al-Muwatta’
as narrated by Yahyâ b. Yahyâ al-Laythî. (p. 414). The hadîth is related by `Atâ’ b. Yasâr with a discontinuous chain of narration.]
There are still others who go to extremes regarding the Prophet (peace be upon him) by claiming that he knows the unseen. They claim that he is aware of them and their circumstances. Some even go so far as to claim that they have seen him and met with him while they were fully awake.
This is in blatant denial of what the Qur’ân says, and it has in it the implication of disbelief in Allah, since Allah clearly says: “Say: None in the heavens or on earth, except Allah, knows what is hidden: nor can they perceive when they shall be raised up.” [Sûrah al-Naml
Allah also says: “To Allah belongs the unseen secrets of the heavens and the Earth” [Sûrah Hûd
He says: “He knoweth the unseen and that which is manifest. He is the Great, the Most High.” [Sûrah al-Ra`d
Allah commands the Prophet (peace be upon him) with the following: “Say (O Muhammad): I do not say to you, I have with me the treasures of Allah, nor do I know the unseen.” [Sûrah al-An`âm
Allah also commands him with: “Say (O Muhammad): I have no power over any good or harm to myself except as Allah wills. If I had knowledge of the unseen, I should have multiplied all good, and no evil should have touched me: I am but a warner, and a bringer of glad tidings to those who have faith.” [Sûrah al-A`râf
My dear brothers and sisters in Islam, we must know the full meaning and the implications of our testimony that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the Messenger of Allah. Only those who act according to its requirements openly and in secret are true to their testimony. As for those who misunderstand it or act contrary to it, they can fall into serious danger.