The Necessary adab when mentioning reports about the Prophet

When someone speaks, either in the course of study or when teaching, about what is permitted for the Prophet and what is not permitted regarding his states he must, as we mentioned in the previous section, show esteem and respect for him. He must be careful about what he says and not be careless. The signs of adab should be apparent on him when he mentions the Prophet. If he mentions the hardships the Prophet endured, he should show signs of apprehension and grief, and antipathy towards his enemies, and wish that he could have protected the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, from it if he had been able to have helped him if it had been possible.

When he begins to discuss the subject of inviolability and speaks about his words and actions, he must be careful to use good expressions and have adab in what he says as much as possible. He should avoid anything repugnant in it and ugly terms – such as “ignorance” , “lying” or “rebellion”.

When he speaks about difficult things, he should say, “Is it not possible that there was a discrepancy in the words or that something had been reported differently from the way it happened by oversight or error?” He should avoid the expression “lying” altogether. When he speaks regarding knowledge, he should say things like, “Is it not possible that he only knew what he was taught? Is it not permitted for him not to have knowledge of certain things until they were revealed to him?” He should not use “ignorance” since that word is ugly and repugnant. When speaking of actions, he should say, “Is opposition permitted for him in respect of certain commands and prohibitions and by the occurrence of some wrong actions?” These are better words and show better adab than, “Is it permitted that he rebel or do a wrong action, or a certain type of rebellion?”

This is part of respect for the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and the esteem and consideration which are his by right. I saw one of the ‘`ulema’ who did not protect the Prophet in this way and displayed ugliness regarding him. I did not find his expressions correct, and found that one of the tyrants attributed false reports to him which he had not, in fact, said, all because he had ceased to be careful in the way he expressed himself. This `alim was denounced for his scornfulness and the tyrant was declared an unbeliever.

Since things like this are considered ordinary good manners and are employed by people in their daily society and speech, it is still more necessary to employ them in respect of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and it is more important to hold closely to them in his case. The excellence of the phrase used can make a thing good or ugly. The formulation of the phrase and its refinement is what exalts or abases a particular matter.

This is why the Prophet said, “There is magic in eloquence.”¹ If someone quotes something in order to reject it and be clear of it, there is no harm in stating the term and being explicit, like saying, “Lying is not permitted for him at all, nor doing a major wrong action in any way nor tyranny in judgment in any case.” But in spite of this, he must show esteem, respect and consideration when the Prophet is mentioned. Intense states were seen in the Salaf when he was simply mentioned as we have already noted in Part Two.

Some of them even held to this when they recited the ayats of the Qur’an. In it, Allah relates the words of His enemies and those who rejected His signs and forged lies against Him. So they lowered their voices in those places out of esteem for their Lord, exaltation of Him and apprehension about being like those who rejected Him.


[1] Malik, Ibn Hanbal, al-Bukhari, Abu Dawud and at-Tirmidhi from Ibn `Umar.

(Ash-Shifa’ bi-ta`rif huquq Mustafa (“Healing by the Recognition of the Rights of the Chosen One”), Qadi `Iyad ibn Musa al-Yahusubi)


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Filed under Aqidah/Belief, Character, Hadith, Islam, Religion, Seeking knowledge, Seerah, Tasawwuf

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