The Importance of Seerah in Islam
What does Seerah mean?
The biography of a person is called Seerah.
The word ‘Seerah’ comes from a verb that means ‘to travel’. The biography of a person is called Seerah because when we read it, we are essentially traveling the person’s journey.
So, when we study the life and times of the Prophet (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم), it is as if we are following in his footsteps; it is as if we are traveling in his journey.
Even though the Arabs used to use this word for the biography of any person, after the Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) Muslim scholars have used this word exclusively for the best human being. Therefore, no scholars now say Seerah except that they mean biography of the life and times of the Prophet (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم).
Why study Seerah?
Why study the Seerah? Why spend our time coming here to understand the Seerah of the Prophet (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم)?
The benefits are numerous. First and foremost, Allah has commanded us to know this man. This is an obligation that Allah has put upon us. We have to know this person. There are over 50 verses in the Qur’an that command us to take the Prophet (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) as an example. (1).
(1).Transcript Sheikh Yasir Qadhi's Lectures on Seerah
Importance of studying Seerah in Islam
It’s a crystal clear fact that Islam pays lots of attention to The Prophet Muhammad’s (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) Seerah. It’s also because in Islam Quran and Sunnah has a status of Touchstone. Your every deed will be checked to measure of the Quran and Sunnah if it would be according to them, then your deeds carry weight otherwise it would be rejected badly. There are also many reasons that indicate why Islam gives lots of Importance to The Seerah of Prophet Muhammad (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم).Those reasons are under below.
- Ø Perfect Role Model
In Quran Allah says that in Prophet Muhammad (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) you have an excellent role model.
Uswa – means something you follow – hasana – means a perfect – So you have in the Prophet, the perfect example to follow. Therefore, the study of the life and times of the Prophet is the study of somebody we need to follow.
لَقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِي رَسُولِ اللَّهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ لِمَنْ كَانَ يَرْجُو اللَّهَ وَالْيَوْمَ الْآخِرَ وَذَكَرَ اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا
Verily in the messenger of Allah you have a good example for him who looked unto Allah and the Last Day, and remembered Allah much. (1)
He is not only good enough to follow him for doing worship that whenever you want to do worship of Allah you just follow the way of Prophet (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم). but he is also good enough to follow him in every aspect of life, that’s what this verse demands from us. The amazing thing of prophet’s life is that no matter what angle you look at the life of the Prophet (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم), you will benefit from that.
(1).AL Quran, Surah Al-Ahzaab, Ayat#21
- Ø Love for the Prophet
Another blessing of studding the Seerah is that it is the number one medium to increase our love for our beloved Prophet. A sad fact about this Ummah is that unfortunately we have neglected this study, and most of our children are totally unaware about the Seerah of Prophet (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم). They don't even know the names of his children, or the important dates such as when did he emigrate, how old was he when waḥy came down. And yet they know so much of this World and it is embarrassing for us as parents that our children know so much about film stars, actors and sports personalities; but they have no clue as to the reality of the person whom they should know about. Firstly, the love of the Prophet (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم). in Islam is also necessity for a true believer and it must be more than any other as it mentioned in hadith below.
“It was narrated that Anas said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “None of you truly believes until I am more beloved to him that his father, his child and all the people.” (1)
As a Muslim, We should realize the high status to which Allah has raised him, for he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is the best of mankind.
It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “I will be the leader of mankind of the Day of Resurrection, the first whose grave will be opened, the first to intercede and the first to be asked to intercede.” (2)
(1). (Narrated by al-Bukhari, Hadith#15; Muslim. Hadith#44)
(2). (Narrated by Muslim, Hadith#2278)
- Ø Helping us in understanding Quran
The other major reason that why Islam gives much importance to Seerah is because it’s a major source of understanding Quran. The Quran is a very complex book, a very profound book, and it cannot be understood without context.
You will not understand many verse, until you understand the Seerah. When was it revealed? Why was it revealed? The context of the revelation was, when the Prophet (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم), was facing persecution he was wondering – why isn't Allah helping me? Why isn't the Nasr of Allah coming? Why isn't the wahy coming? Why isn't the Quran coming? So the bottom line is that you cannot understand Quran totally without the help of Seerah. Seerah plays a very important role in understanding of Quran.
The Quran is a guide for all of us and if we want to be successful in this world and here after then we should understand the Quran and that’s only happen when we start studying Seerah too because without the help of Seerah it’s very difficult to fulfill the demand of the Lord. The Seerah and the Quran has a very close relation with each other.
(1).AL Quran Surah Ad-Dhuha, ayats1-3
- Ø Helping us in understanding Tawheed
The other major reason that why Islam gives much importance to Seerah is because of Tawheed. Tawheed is the noun derived from the Arabic root verb: يُوَحِّدُ / وَحَّدَ.It means to believe in oneness of Allah. In Quran Allah asserts on that there is no God but only Allah. But the fact is that without the help of Seerah it’s not easy for anyone to understand Tawheed. If you look at the Seerah of the Prophet Muhammad (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم), you will see that Prophet (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم), spend his whole life to calling people towards Allah. And this Surah is a witness of that.
قُلْ هُوَ اللَّـهُ أَحَدٌ ﴿١﴾ اللَّـهُ الصَّمَدُ ﴿٢﴾ لَمْ يَلِدْ وَلَمْ يُولَدْ ﴿٣﴾وَلَمْ يَكُن لَّهُ كُفُوًا أَحَدٌ ﴿٤
Say: He is Allah, the One!, Allah, the eternally Besought of all!, He begets not, nor was begotten., And there is none comparable unto Him.(1)
In beginning of Islam Prophet (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم)called people towards Tawheed secretly but when the numbers of committed Muslims grow He started calling people towards Tawheed openly.
At a time of Prophet (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم), People worships idols and the shrik was on its peak. At that time Prophet told people not to worship idols but do worship Allah. It was a strange call at that time, in a situation where people were totally unaware from his Lord calling people towards their actual Lord it was not an easy task, in response He bears lots of Problems in his life only because of calling people towards Allah. But he bearded every pain happily and this is a lesson for this Ummah to strive to spend the beautiful message of Tawheed towards those who are totally unaware from it and don’t give much attentions to those pains which come in their way.
(1).Al Quran, Surah Ikhlas, ayats1-4
- Ø For the betterment of Humanity
One of the major reason why Islam gives lots of importance to Seerah is because Seerah gives a tremendous message to his reader .Seerah teaches us how to deal with your parents, how to deal with your children ,how would be your relationship with your neighbor ,how to behave with your wife, how to communicate with your friends ,how to deal with your brothers and sisters ,on the other hand Seerah also guides us how to deal with non-Muslims ,how can you guide him towards right path. How much you rely on them, in short in all aspect Seerah has a great guidance for humanity. The Islamic view of humanity is filled with mercy and compassion.
- For performing worship according to Sunnah
In the Islamic concept of worship is for pleasing Allah and it should be according to the Islamic law, that’s why Seerah gets much importance because through Seerah we can know how to perform worship because in Islam only that worship consider valid which is according to the Quran and Sunnah and if it is not according to both of them, then it will be definitely rejected. So it’s a duty of every Muslim to study the Seerah and know the actual way to perform the worship because if you want to please Allah then you has to aware about the Seerah too. Allah says in Quran if you love Allah then you must follow the path of his Prophet.
قُلْ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللَّهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللَّهُ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ
Say: If you love Allah, then follow me, Allah will love you and forgive you your faults, and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. (1)
And in other ayat Allah says in Quran obey Allah and his Prophet (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) and don’t waste your deeds.
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ وَلَا تُبْطِلُوا أَعْمَالَكُمْ
O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger, and do not make your deeds of no effect. (2)
(1)Al Quran Surah Al-Imran, ayat#31
(2).Al Quran, Surah Muhammad, ayat #33
In the end I just want to say that nobody can deny from the importance of Studying Seerah in Islam, this is the only solution for this Ummah if it wants to be successful not only in this world but here after we should start studying the Seerah of the holy Prophet (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم).And not only study the Seerah but also try to learn it and spread the message of the Prophet (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) to those who are totally unaware of his message. As a Muslim this is our duty to carry on that campaign which Prophet (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم), had started and try to attract people towards his Sunnah by telling them about his Seerah and try to clear the mind of those people who have some misconceptions about the Prophet (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم)..
© 2015 Khawaja Iqbal