Prof. Dr. Mahmud Es'ad COŞAN

AKRA FM Friday Discourse

June 9, 2000


As-salaamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh!

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

May Allah's peace, mercy and abundance be with you all. This Friday, the topic of our discourse is the attributes of our beloved Prophet. I selected this topic because the next week, the 12th day of the lunar month Rabi' al-Awwal, will be his birthday. The night before will be observed in the Muslim world as a special night. In the ahadith I selected, the Prophet responds to the requests inquiring information about himself.

a. The Most Honorable among Mankind!

The first hadith was narrated by Jâbir RA:

RA 153/3 (Ana ashrafun-nâsi hasaban wa lâ fahra, wa akramun-nâsi qadran wa lâ fahra. Ayyuhan-nâs! Man atânâ ataynâhu, wa man akramanâ akramnâhu, wa man kâtabanâ kâtabnâha, wa man shayyea mawtânâ shayya'nâ mawtâhu, wa man qàma bihaqqinâ qumnâ bihaqqihî. Ayyuhan-nâs! Jâlisun-nâsa alâ qadri ahsâbihim, wa hàlitun-nâsa alâ qadri adyânihim, wa anzilun-nâsa alâ qadri muruwwâtihim, wa dârun-nâsa biuqlikum.)


In this hadith, which was collected by Daylamî, the Prophet SAS said:

(Ana ashrafun-nâsi hasaban) "From the personal qualities and merits point, I am the most honorable among the mankind." As you know, in Islam, before the rulings of Islam, people are equal just like the teeth of a comb. The difference is in their taqwa, their consciousness of Allah. The best one is the most God-conscious, and the most obedient one. Be it a slave, a poor person, a shepherd or an illiterate person, one who does the deeds that are favorable to Allah is the beloved servant of Allah and the most valuable person. That is why the Prophet said, "From the personal qualities and merits point, I am the most honorable among the mankind." This is just a statement of fact. He added, (wa lâ fahra) "I do not boast about it." That means, "You asked about my attributes, my character, so I am responding to that inquiry. This is a judgement, a decree of Allah that He had chosen me, created me and appointed me as a messenger. That is why I am the most respectable, the most honorable among mankind. I am not bragging about it."


A person could only be thankful to Allah in such a state. He could never use such attributes to abuse people. The Prophet emphasized this fact when he said "wa lâ fahra."

The Prophet continued: (wa akramun-nâsi qadran wa lâ fahra) "From the dignity, value and rank point, I am the most noble among mankind, and I do not boast about it." Allah SWT chose him as a messenger, and he was a beloved servant of Allah. He was a noble person.

The prophet added: (Ayyuhan-nâs! Man atânâ ataynâhu) "O mankind! We visit those who visit us." He liked visiting people, and encouraged visiting one another and brotherly relations. When somebody did something nice, he would respond to it with something nice. He would recommend giving gifts, responding to gifts with gifts. He would advice people to keep warm relations. He would visit people who visited him.

He would attend the invitations even if the inviting person were poor and offer something of very little value. Imagine some soup made of camel's trotters (feet) boiled in water which was not considered as a valuable meal then. He would not refuse even such a meal. He said, (wa man akramanâ akramnâhu) "If a person treats us nobly and respectfully, we treat him nobly and respectfully. (Wa man kâtabanâ kâtabnâha) If a person makes a written agreement with us, we also sign it and uphold the agreement."


Here, kâtaba-yukâtibu-mukâtabatan is the expression used for the agreement between a slave and his owner. The slave makes an agreement with the owner that he would work for other people during the day or night and earn money to buy his freedom from his owner. They sign the written agreement. This is called mukâtaba.

"If somebody wants to make an agreement with us, we will come to an agreement. If a slave wants to buy his freedom, we will agree and respect the agreement. If somebody wants an agreement with other matters, we will come to an agreement. We will not create difficulties, and we will respond well."

He continued, (wa man shayyea mawtânâ shayya'nâ mawtâhu) "If people attend our funerals, we will attend their funerals. (Wa man qàma bihaqqinâ qumnâ bihaqqihî) We respect the rights of those who respect our rights." These are also advice for us in our relationships with others. We are recommended to respond to good treatment with good treatment.

(Ayyuhan-nâs!) "O mankind! (Jâlisun-nâsa alâ qadri ahsâbihim) When you are with people, treat them with respect." That is, observe the respect for elderly and noble ones; do not treat them as you would treat your close friends and younger ones. Control your behavior when you are in a group. "(Wa hàlitun-nâsa alâ qadri adyânihim) Advance your friendship with people according to their sincerity in following the religion." That means a person should be close friends with practicing religious people. That would help him live a life in compliance with Islam and also provide opportunities to learn more about Islam. They all will be better servants of Allah.


"(Wa anzilun-nâsa alâ qadri muruwwâtihim) Entertain people according to their maturity. (Wa dârun-nâsa bi'uqlikum) Manage people's affairs with your intelligence and reasoning." That is, do not treat them selfishly; do not let your emotions take over when you deal with them.

Here the Prophet SAS briefly mentioned his attributes and advised people on human relations. He basically recommended the reciprocity in good relations. Then he recommended friendship with religious, devout people. He advised respectfulness and reasoning in dealing with people.

b. I am a Prophet of Jihad!

The Prophet SAS says in another hadith:

RA. 153/4 (Ana Muhammadun wa Ahmadun, ana rasulu'rrahmati, ana rasûlu'l malhamati, ana muqaffî wa'lhàshiru, buith-tu bil jihâdi wa lam ub'athu bi'zzirâ'.)

In this hadith, too, Prophet (pbuh) gives information about himself. From this information, very beneficial points will arise for us.

(Ana Muhammadun) "I am Muhammad." When he was born, his grandfather named him Muhammad that means "highly praised person." As this was not a common name among Arabs then, people got surprised:


"Why did you name him like this?"

"I wanted him a person praised on earth and in heavens," he replied.

Of course naming of such beloved people occurs according to inspirations from Allah Almighty. Thus, Muhammad is his name as well as one of his attributes.

(wa Ahmadun) "I am Ahmad" This has the same meaning with Muhammad and Mahmood. Grammatically it is a word in taf'eel form which expresses abundance and power. For example, while "daraba" means "he beat", "darraba - tadreeb" means "he beat a lot." Similarly, "hamida" means "he praised" and "ahmada" "he praised very much." While "Muhammid" means "one who praises very much," "Muhammad" means "one who is praised very much."

In the old scriptures, which Allah (S.T) revealed to other prophets, our beloved Prophet was called "Ahmad." For example it is stated as Paraklitus in the Bible. There is no original copy of Bible available but only translations. These translations have the word Paraklitus which also means "highly praised." If the original copy is found, the proper word will be seen to be "Ahmad" because Allah (S.T) says in the surah As-Sâf:


(wa is qala îsabnu maryama ya banî isrâîla innî rasûlullahi ilaykum musaddiqan lima bayna yadayya minat tawrati wa mubash-shiran birasûlin ya'ti min ba'dismuhu ahmad. As-Sâf:6).

"O children of Israel, I am a messenger sent to you by Allah, confirming the Old Testament sent before me and giving the good news of a Messenger who will come after me, whose name will be Ahmad".

In fact, we know that "Gospel" means "good news." There is a person called "Abd'Al-Ahad," who was a former priest converted to Islam. While his old name was "Abd -Al-Maseeh," [i.e., the servant of the Massiah] he changed it and took the name "Abd-Al-Ahad" [i.e., the servant of the One]. He had a good education. He had a Ph.D, became a professor, spoke several foreign languages. He wrote books on the Bible and Qur'an. He explains:

"Gospel means good news. Because Prophet Jesus told in his sermons, 'A Prophet will come after me, follow him when he comes.' Hence it means good news."

Thus both of the names Ahmad and Muhammad are valid. In the Qur'an, Muhammad is also stated. For example, in the Surah Al-Fath, the expression Muhammadun Rasulullah is present. In another verse:


(wa ma muhammadun illa rasool) "Muhammad is nothing but a prophet" (Ali Imran:144). In surah As-Sâf Ahmad is stated.

Our Prophet has also various other attributes which we will be learning. The attributes of the Prophet are used as his names.

"I am Muhammad and Ahmad" says the Prophet SAS. (Ana rasulur rahmati) "I am the prophet of mercy!" This means "I am a Prophet who will convey Allah's mercy to people and whom Allah has sent to people for mercy." He is giving us the good news of Allah's mercy: "If you become believers, you will go to Paradise and attain the mercy of the Most Merciful." What is more important is that our beloved Prophet is a Prophet of mercy as it is stated in the Qur'an:

(Wa mâ arsalnâka illâ rahmatan lil àlamîn.) "We have sent you for nothing but as a mercy for the worlds." What does being sent as a mercy mean? Allah has sent him to the mankind as a warning for them to reach Allah's forgiveness and to enter the Paradise. Allah warned mankind in advance: "If you do such and such you enter the Paradise! Do not do them, it is not good. If you do such and such, you will loose. If you do them, you will go to hell."


Warning beforehand is a mercy. He made this warning in advance instead of testing people silently after sending them to the earth and throwing the sinner into the hell. This is to warn them, make them aware, correct themselves and attain Allah's mercy.

Our beloved Prophet has been sent as a mercy, too. He has been sent to save humans. That is why he is a "Prophet of Mercy." His very own existence and prophethood are mercy.

(Ana rasulu'l malhamati) "I am the prophet of battle!" Malhama means bloody battle. As it is an occasion in which people fight each other, get wounded, kill and be killed the word malhama which means the place where blood is shed, flesh is cut and bodies are wounded was used.

The Prophet SAS declares that he has been sent as a prophet of mercy as well as a prophet of war. There seems to be a contradiction in this declaration, but there is not. This means that if some mischievous people don't obey Allah's orders, prevent good things from being done, commit the evil acts that Allah has prohibited, measures should be taken to prevent them. The order of the world and the happiness of people depend on this. To this, states have been established, laws have been passed; that is why there are police to prevent the evil. If they catch, they try and sentence. This has been true throughout the history. Humans do not want to give a chance to evil. They try to deter the mischievous and punish them while encouraging the good all over the world.


Our beloved prophet was not a weakling or a passive, silent or fearful person. He was not instructed to "turn the other cheek" when he faced an injustice. He was brave in establishing the justice. That is why he was the prophet of battle.

The Prophet added: (Ana muqaffi) "I am the one that comes in the end." The word "qàfiya" (rhyme in a poem) comes from the same root. The rhyme closes the lines of a poem, that is it comes in the end of lines. Our beloved prophet closed the prophethood. That is, Allah sent prophets to enlighten mankind throughout the history. They reminded people about their responsibilities, and invited them to the path of Allah. Prophet Muhammad was the last of the prophets. He was (Men lâ nebiyye ba'dehu) "one after whom there will be no prophets."

We read in newspapers about some individuals who claim to be prophets. They must have run away from a mental hospital or they should be placed into one. There will be no prophet after our beloved Prophet.

The previous prophets had already let their people know about the arrival of Prophet Muhammad. He was described as the final prophet. Because of this, many Christian scholars know about this fact. There are also Jewish scholars who are aware of the fact that Prophet Muhammad was the final prophet.


(Wa'lhàshiru) "I will also gather people on the day of resurrection." All believers, from the time of Adam AS, will be gathered around Prophet Muhammad, under the Banner of Praise.

The prophet continued: (buith-tu bil jihâdi wa lam ub'athu bi'zzirâ') " I have been sent for jihâd not for farming." The prophet was not appointed in this world to grow crops or to raise cattle; he was sent to establish Islam as a way of life, to struggle with all kinds of hurdles in the way of spreading the message of Allah. This makes jihâd to be the first and foremost duty and service of Muslims. Each and every Muslim must work in the service of Islam to protect and spread Allah's religion. This is stated clearly.

In another hadith the Prophet warned Muslims. When Muslims are overwhelmed with their business or farming and neglect ordaining the good, forbidding the evil and carrying out jihâd, calamities will fall on the Muslim ummah. Then even the prayers of the righteous will not be accepted, and the calamity is not removed from them until the Muslims start carrying out their responsibilities in jihâd as well as in ordaining the good and forbidding the evil. The principal duties of Muslims are spreading the teachings of Islam and inviting people to Islam. If these duties are neglected, then the enemies dominate and gangs appear.


When the enemy invades a country, they ruin it. The homes will be destroyed, burned, leveled to the ground. Women and children will be left in a terrible state; men will be killed en-masse. It will be a terrible catastrophe for the nation just because the good ones did not carry out their duties and responsibilities.

Muslims were different; they were not oppressors. When they took over a piece of land, they treated people well. For instance, Ottomans took over Balkans and went all the way to Vienna. The Serbs remained as Serbs, the Greeks as Greeks, the Bulgarians as Bulgarians. They all kept their churches and clergy. Ottomans ruled these lands close to 700 years with an exemplary administration.

During the Ottoman's rule, the non-Muslims were exempted from the military service. In the most precious sections of Ankara, Kayseri, Konya and Talas, for instance, there are houses and mentions owned by minorities such as Armenians and Greeks. They lived with the rest of the society in peace for many centuries.


Once I was told that during the latter years of Ottomans, in the 19th century, Armenians would go from the Eastern part of Turkey to the United States of America. They would make some money there and come back. In Erzincan, one person asked or suggested: "Why don't you take your wife to America, too?" The Armenian responded: "I am not crazy to take my wife there. She will be very safe here. I can trust our neighborhood here. As I work there my mind will be in peace if she is here." I heard about this story when I served in the military. I was amazed to hear such a story.

Ottomans let the minorities live in peace. They choose viziers, representatives, and other statesmen among them. Due to the provocations from outside enemies, some minorities committed atrocities. They give people a very hard time regardless of the fact that they had been in peace with them for so long. Some acted with the enemies during and after the First World War. They guided the Russians when the Russians invaded Erzurum. When the French moved in the southern parts of the country, they provided guidance for them. When Italian and Greek troops were moving in the country, some minorities joined with them and committed terrible crimes. People had to defend themselves.


I am telling all of these to explain that the good people have responsibilities and they have to carry them out. Some may say, "Why is there war?" Islam does not initiate war, but Muslims have to defend themselves and their interests. These days everybody seems to be attacking Muslims. We all can remember the infamous Crusaders. We also remember attacks from Hindus. I heard that some Sikhs put on a red ribbon on their head and do not remove it until they murder a Muslim. I could not believe such an intense enmity.

Muslims do not act like that. They go and say, "Do not worship Buddha. Do not worship the cow. Worship one and only God. Worshipping Allah is the only valid religion." If they say, "Yes, We accept!" they live happily ever after. But the other ones do not do the same. As soon as they get an opportunity, they commit genocide. They attack the women and young girls. They kill infants. They torture innocent people.

During the time of crusaders, some soldiers ate children's flesh saying that it was tender. This was recorded in the diary of a priest.


As the saying goes, "We may sit crooked, but we have talk straight." We have to be fair and observe the truth. Why is there a war going on against Muslims? Who is benefiting from it? Why do not they discus the matter like two civilized groups? They should say "La ilaha il-lal-lah--there is no deity but Allah." We do not want anything else from them. Just accept the unity and supremeness of Allah. Allah says, "I created them, I provide for them, yet they worship deities but Me." We are trying to prevent such a mistake, a wrong action.

If someone invades a property or violates a right, then there will be a response. The one who is affected has the right to defend himself.

c. I am the Leader of Prophets!

The next hadith is also about the Prophet SAS himself. As narrated by Ummu Karz RA, the Prophet said:

RA 152/4 (Ana seyyidul-mursalîna idhâ bu'ithû, wa sàbiquhum idhâ waradû, wa mubash-shiruhum idhâ ublisû, wa imâmuhum idhâ sajadû, wa aqrabuhum majlisan idhajtame, a takallamu fayusaddiqunî, wa eshfa-u fayushaffi-unî, wa asal'u fayu'tînî.)


(Ana seyyidul-mursalîna) "I am the leader of prophets, messengers and saints who have been sent to mankind." The Prophet SAS has the highest position among the prophets. Allah SWT gave him the best position in the hereafter. One of his names is Mahmud and he is the possessor or the best position (maqàm-i mahmud) in paradise. This position was reserved for only one person: our beloved Prophet SAS. All other prohpets would like to become his ummah. All of them, Adam AS, Moses AS, Jesus AS, mentioned the merits of our Prophet SAS to their people.

(Ana seyyidul-mursalîna idhâ bu'ithû) "I will be the leader of all prophets and messengers when they rise from dead (in the hereafter). (Wa sàbiquhum idhâ waradû) When they go the Fountain of Kawthar, I will be leading them." Warada means to arrive, to go to an important water source. Our beloved Prophet will have the priority to go to the Fountain of Kawthar

(Wa mubash-shiruhum idhâ ublisû) Here, Ablasa-iblâs-ublisu means to lose hope. "On the day of judgment when everyone lose his/her hope, I will give the good news." Allah SWT will permit the Prophet SAS to to intercede for people. He will try to ease people's scare and worries.


(Wa imâmuhum idhâ sajadû) "I am the imam when they pray. He SAW has led the prayer during the incidence of Mi'raj. He will lead the prayer on the Day of Judgment because he is the leader of them.

(Wa aqrabuhum majlisan idhajtame) "When they gather, I will have a place that is the closest to Allah SWT." That means when the righteous servants of Allah are gathered in the shade of the Throne of Allah, our beloved Prophet will sit in the most prestigious place. (A takallamu) "I will ask Allah SWT permission for me to talk to people on the Day of Judgment. (Fayusaddiqunî) Allah SWT will testify my speech by saying 'You are telling the truth o my beloved Prophet.' (Wa eshfa-u fayushaffi-unî) And I will intercede (shafa'ah) 'My Lord, be merciful to my ummah. Even if they committed offenses, forgive them their sins.' I will request forgiveness for them. (Wa asal'u fayu'tînî) Allah SWT will accept my request and grant what I ask for." Then those ones who need intercession will be forgiven and enter the paradise.


While everyone will be in a very bad condition, shaking and trembling, and speechless, the Prophet SAS will be given many privileges. His shafa'ah will be accepted, he will sit in the best place in the gathering, he will lead the prayer, and he will give good news. He will be the leader of the prophets on the Day of Resurrection.

d. Liwâul-Hamd Will be in My Hands

The last hadith for today's discourse is from the collections of Ahmad ibni Hanbal, Ibni Majah and Imam Tirmidhî. These are authentic sources of ahadith. Our beloved Prophet said:

RA 152/2 (Ana sayyidu waladi âdama yawmal-qiyâmati wa lâ fahra, wa biyadî liwâul-hamdi wa lâ fahra, wa mâ min nabiyyin yawma idhin âdamu faman siwâhu illâ tahta liwâî, wa ana awwalu man tanshaq-qu anhul-ardu wa lâ fahra, wa ana awwalu shâfi-in wa awwalu mushaffa-in wa lâ fahr.)

(Ana sayyidu waladi âdama yawmal-qiyâmati) "On the Day of Resurrection, I will be the leader of the children of Adam(wa lâ fahra) I do not brag about it!" That is, "This is the way it is; it is the decree of Allah. I am stating this because you have asked about myself."


(wa biyadî/biyadayya liwâul-hamdi wa lâ fahra) "The Banner of Praise "Liwâul Hamd" will be in my hand/hands. I do not brag about it."

Those who had performed pilgrimage can imagine the Banner of Praise if they compare it to the various banners at Arafat, Muzdalifa and Mina. There, leaders of groups raise a banner that could be identified from a distance so that pilgrims who fall behind can locate the group and join their companions. Similarly, on the Day of Resurrection, Almighty Allah will give the Banner of Praise to Prophet Muhammed, so everybody will see where he is. The prophets, saints, martyrs, righteous servants of Allah, and believers will gather around him. It is a great honor to have the Banner of Praise in the hands.

(wa mâ min nabiyyin yawma idhin ) "There will be no prophet on the Day of Judgment (âdamu faman siwâhu ...) including Adam AS and other prophets ... " In fact Hadrat Adam is the grand father of all prophets, the oldest of all. (... illâ tahta liwâî) "... but under my banner." That is, "On the day of judgement all prophets including Adam AS and others will be under the Banner of Praise that I will carry." Adam AS will be there and other one-hundred-twenty-four thousand -- Allah knows their exact number -- prophets will be gathered under the banner. May Allah place us among those who gather under the Banner of Praise.


(Wa ana awwalu man tanshaq-qu anhul-ardu) "When the earth, the ground, split and push the bodies of the dead out, I will be the first one to come out." That is, people are buried in the graves after they die. When the trumpet (sur) is blown for the resurrection, they all will raise from dead. The earth will split and they will get up from their graves. The first one to resurrect will be our beloved prophet, Muhammad Mustafa because he is the leader, he is the guide. (wa lâ fahra) "This does not make me feel proud. These were decided by Allah, and you asked about myself. I do not boast about this matter."

(Wa ana awwalu shâfi-in ) "I will be the first one to intercede." Our prophet will request from Allah, "My Lord, forgive your servants their sins. Have mercy on the believers." He will intercede at different times and different places on the Day of Judgement.

(Wa awwalu mushaffa-in) "And I will be the first one whose intercession is accepted. (Wa lâ fahra) This is not a matter of brag."

There are other ahadith that the prophet gives information about himself. We know that he will be the first one to arrive at the gate of the paradise. There will be high walls surrounding the paradise. At the gate, an angle whose name is Ridwan will ask the prophet: (Man anta?) "Who are you?" The Prophet will introduce himself: (Ana muhammadun) "I am Muhammad." Upon this response, the angle will say: "(Bika umirtu an lâ aftaha qablaka yâ rasûlallah!) O prophet of Allah, I had been ordered not to open this gate to anybody before you." The angel will open the gate. Thus our beloved Prophet will be the first one to enter the Paradise. He will be the first, the leader in all good things.

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