THE DEFINITION OF SEERAH:
Linguistically it means a path a person takes during his life. It also means ‘way of life’, conduct, behavior and biography. Seerah can be the biography of any person and not only that of Rasūlullah صلى الله عليه و سلم . However, we have used it so much in regards to Rasūlullah صلى الله عليه و سلم that the term Seerah automatically refers to His blessed biography in normal circumstances.
WHY DO WE STUDY THE SEERAH?
- The life of Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم is the history of Islam; we are studying a concise history of Islam by studying the Seerah. Muhammad Bin Sā’d Bin Abi Waqqās رضي الله عنه said: “Our father would teach us the battles of the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم and the Seerah and he would tell us that these are our traditions and our culture, therefore study them properly.” Ali Bin Husain Bin Ali Ibn Abi Taalib رضي الله عنه said:” We were taught the Seerah like the way we used to be taught the Qur’an.”
- It is to develop love for Rasūlullah صلى الله عليه و سلم in our hearts. Loving him is part of our religion. It has been narrated in a Hadith that: “None of you will attain complete Imaan until he loves me (Rasūlullah صلى الله عليه و سلم ) more than he loves his parents, his children and the whole world.” Suhail Ibn Amr رضي الله عنه was sent to the Rasūlullah صلى الله عليه و سلم as an ambassador. He came back saying:” I visited the Roman kings, Persian emperors and the Negus, but I have never in my life seen a leader that is so beloved and respected by his followers like Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم . I saw unimaginable things, such as when Rasūlullah صلى الله عليه و سلم would be making ablution the companions would rush to grab the water dripping from his body.
- To follow the way of Rasūlullah صلى الله عليه و سلم . Ibn Hazm رحمه اللہ said: “Whoever seeks success in the hereafter, the wisdom of this life, the embodiment of morality and perfect character, let him follow Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم .
- Understanding the Holy Qur’an. The Seerah explains many verses of the Glorious Qur’an.
- Ummul Mu’mineen Aisha رضي الله عنها was asked about the character of Rasūlullah صلى الله عليه و سلم , she answered that the character of our beloved Rasūl صلى الله عليه و سلم is the Qur’an, which means that his blessed life was completely in accordance to the teachings of the Qur’an Shareef.
- It is an Ibādah. Allah Ta’āla’s mercy descends upon such congregations wherein the Seerah is studied.
- Developing a Muslim identity and much needed Islamic-awareness. Global culture is being forced on us. We have to protect and promote our Islamic culture. Alexander Szoltsen a known historian, once said that” to destroy a people you must first sever their roots.” The way to counter this is by developing a pristine Islamic identity that conforms to the teachings of Rasūlullah صلى الله عليه و سلم .
- The life of Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم is a testimony to his Prophethood. Through the Seerah we may learn how Rasūlullah صلى الله عليه و سلم became the beloved of Allah Ta’ala, how he became a political and spiritual leader, military commander, teacher and how he impacted the lives of the Sahabah رضي الله عنهم اجمعین, to such an extent that Allah Ta’ala declared that He is eternally pleased with them. All of that was achieved in a short period of 23 years. This shows that we are studying the life of the greatest man to have ever walked the surface of the earth.
An American historian, Michael H. Hart has termed Rasūlullah صلى الله عليه و سلم as the most successful and influential person in his book, The 100 of the most influential persons in history. He writes:
“My choice of Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم to lead the list of the world’s most influential personalities may surprise some readers and may be questioned by others, but he was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular levels.”
Allāmah Shibli Nu’māni رحمه اللہ has written in his magnum opus, Seeratun Nabi:
Verily, it is a matter of great honour for the Muslim Ummah, that every single action and word of Rasūlullah صلى الله عليه و سلم has been preserved. There is no other individual in history whose lifestyle has been preserved and emulated to such an extent. The scholars of Islam have been so diligent and meticulous in the science of Seeratun Nabawi that they have recorded the biographies of approximately 13,000 individuals who have narrated and witnessed the actions of Rasūlullah صلى الله عليه و سلم . And this was done during that era wherein the science of recording biographies was still at its onset. “
The purpose of studying the Seerah is to acquaint one’s self with the lifestyle of our beloved Nabi صلى الله عليه و سلم and to emulate the embodiment of piety, subservience and all the other sublime attributes which were found in Imāmul Ambiyā صلى الله عليه و سلم . From this perspective, the scholars of Islam have termed the Seerah of our Nabi صلى الله عليه و سلم as the speaking Qur’an. Once Sayyidatinā Aishah رضي الله عنها was questionned regarding the character of Rasūlullah صلى الله عليه و سلم. She answered:
كَانَ خُلُقُهُ الْقُرْآنَ
The character of Rasūlullah صلى الله عليه و سلم was that of the Glorious Qur’ān
The above statement of Ummul Mu’mineen, Sayyidatinā Aishah رضي الله عنها is a very comprehensive statement. It denotes that the character and attributes which are encouraged by the Glorious Qur’an were found in the life of Rasūlullah صلى الله عليه و سلم . The most outstanding aspect of our beloved Rasūl’s صلى الله عليه و سلم Seerah is that of practicality. The lifestyle and teachings of Rasūlullah صلى الله عليه و سلم is not limited to a selected class of individuals but rather, every single Ummati can practice upon the teachings of Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم .
اَللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلى مُحَمَّدِنِ النَّبِيِّ عَدَدَ مَنْ صَلَّى عَلَيْهِ مِنْ خَلْقِكَ، وَصَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّدِنِ النَِّبيِّ كَمَا يَنْبَغِيْ لَنَا أَنْ نُصَلِّيَ عَلَيْهِ وَصَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّدِنِ النَِّبيِّ كَمَا أَمَرْتَنَا أَنْ نُصَلِّيَ عَلَيْهِ