Prophet Muhammad’s Meritocratic Life and Ethic Demonstrate Ideals to be Achieved in Muslim World: Dynamism, Social Responsibility, and Balance Between Din (Faith) and Dunya (World)
Prophet Muhammad’s name, followed by his title “Apostle of God”(left centre), inscribed on the gates of the Prophet’s mosque in Medina. Photo: Wikipedia.
A ‘BEAUTIFUL MODEL’
The Prophet’s life and his conduct should become a model on which every Muslim should aspire to build one’s life according to the situation facing the person. Allah says in the Holy Qur’an:
“Verily, in the apostle of God you have a good example for everyone who looks forward (with hope and awe) to God and the Last Day and remembers God unceasingly.” — 33:21.
The prophet (nabi) of Allah, Muhammad, never claimed to possess any superhuman qualities. He maintained that he was a mortal and a servant (‘abd) of Allah to whom revelation (wahi) came. He knew that his role was to be the messenger (rasul) and mediator of Allah in guiding mankind. The Prophet preached that the revelation that he received was by Allah’s unbounded grace, and through this act of mercy and kindness, he was appointed to be a guide amongst the people.
He never claimed vanity inspite of his exalted position as indicated in the Holy Qur’an. As Allah ‘taught Adam the names of all things’, (2:31) so did He teach Muhammad the Qur’an; with the first revelation coming to him on the Night of Qadr. (96:3) The designation of the Prophet as being ‘Mercy for the mankind’, rahmat lil-alamin (21:107), is another example of his lofty post. He saw his role amongst his people as their guide and teacher, and by his example he was to steer them to salvation. Whosoever followed him and his way understood their purpose and meaning of their existence in the world.  In this context, the chosen (al-mustafa) prophet became the prototype (uswa hasana), a ‘beautiful model’.
The function of the Prophet has been misunderstood by non-Muslims. His function was not only to be a spiritual guide, but also the organiser of the new social order which came as a result of the last of the revealed books, the Holy Qur’an. Outsiders have understood his role, for example, as a political figure of high distinction and great statesmanship. However, his role as a religious and spiritual guide and how his life could be emulated by those who are aspiring sanctity and piety is still misunderstood.
With regard to this misunderstanding Seyyed Hossein Nasr, the eminent contemporary Muslim scholar, says: “This is particularly true in the modern world in which religion is separated from other domains of life and most modern men can hardly imagine how a spiritual being could also be immersed in the most intense political and social activity.” The integration of the material and spiritual aspect of one’s life was the hallmark of the lifestyle of the Prophet, and how he managed to fulfil this dual role should become an example for Muslims, who today face immense challenges and difficulties in trying to live in societies which have become increasingly material.
BALANCE BETWEEN DIN AND DUNYA
Prophet Muhammad participated fully in social life (…)
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