The first pillar of Islam is our testimony that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. The first half of this testimony is our declaration of monotheism. The second half is our declaration that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him). We can only fully realize the meaning of the second half of the testimony in our hearts by cultivating the following:
Belief in everything the prophet (peace be upon him) has told us. We must believe, first and foremost, that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the Messenger of Allah sent to all humanity to convey to them what Allah revealed to him of the Qur’ân and Sunnah. This is the religion of Islam, and Allah will accept from his servants no other religion.
Obedience to his commands with full acceptance and submission. We must adhere to his Sunnah and emulate his most excellent example and eschew everything to the contrary.
Love for the prophet (peace be upon him). We must love our prophet (peace be upon him) more than we love anyone else, even our own parents and children. In this way, we will show him the respect and deference that he deserves and we will be inspired to do what we must to support and defend him.
It is incumbent upon every one of us as Muslims to fully realize in our lives the meaning of our testimony “Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah”. We must truly inculcate this faith in our hearts. The hypocrites had said to the prophet (peace be upon him): “We bear witness that indeed you are the Messenger of Allah.” In turn, Allah said: “Allah knows that you are indeed His Messenger, and Allah bears witness that the hypocrites are liars.” (Surah, 63: 1)
There are a number of things that we can do to put our love for the prophet (peace be upon him) into action and carry out our duty to him. We must confront the vicious attacks being waged against him and ransom him with our lives, our loved ones, and our wealth to the extent of our varying abilities. We must all carry out our responsibilities on whatever level we are able.
THINGS WE CAN DO AS INDIVIDUALS
1. We can contemplate the evidence which decisively demonstrates that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the Messenger of Allah. The first source for this evidence is none other than the Qur’ân.
2. We can learn the evidence from the Qur’ân, the Sunnah, and the consensus of the Muslims that it is obligatory to obey the prophet (peace be upon him) and emulate his most excellent example.
3. We can acquaint ourselves with how Allah has protected the Prophet’s Sunnah. We should learn about the considerable efforts that were made by the scholars throughout the centuries to separate the genuine Sunnah from what was false and how they compiled the authentic Sunnah according to the most stringent conditions. No other civilization of the past had ever developed a more arduous and learned set of principles for authenticating historical evidence.
4. We can cultivate in our hearts our love for the prophet (peace be upon him) by recalling his noble attributes. We can read about his good character and his noble deeds. We can learn how he embodied all the good qualities that can possibly be attained by a single human being.
5. We can bring to mind the great favor that he bestowed on all of us and how indebted we are to him. He is the one who conveyed to us the true religion. He carried out this duty in a most excellent manner. He fulfilled his trust to Allah perfectly and delivered to us his Lord’s Message.
6. We can give him due credit for all the good that we attain by Allah’s grace in this world and the Hereafter, since he is the one who showed us towards how to attain it and who brought us guidance. Allah has blessed him on our account with the greatest blessings ever bestowed upon a Prophet.
7. We can bring to mind how compassionate and merciful the prophet (peace be upon him) was to his followers and how concerned he was for our guidance and welfare. Allah says: “The prophet is closer to the believers than they are to their own selves.” (Sûrah, 33: 6)
8. We can become acquainted with the verses of the Qur’ân and with the Hadîth that discuss his lofty status with his Lord and the love that Allah has for him and the esteem in which Allah holds him.
9. We can carry out Allah’s command to love the prophet (peace be upon him). We should love him more than we love ourselves. The prophet (peace be upon him) said: “None of you truly believes until I become dearer to him than his own self, his children, his parents, and all of mankind.”
10. We can carry out Allah’s command to show respect for the prophet (peace be upon him) and for his Sunnah. Allah says: “O you who believe, do not raise your voices above the Prophet’s voice and do not speak to him loudly as you might speak to one another, lest your deeds become vain while you perceive it not.” (Sûrah, 49: 2)
11. We can fulfill Allah’s command to come to the defense of our prophet (peace be upon him) and protect him from those who wish to harm or defame him. Allah says: “To believe in Allah and His Messenger that you may assist and honor him.” (Sûrah, 48: 9)
12. We can cultivate in our hearts a sincere and constant resolve to defend the prophet and promote his good name.
13. We can bear in mind the great blessings and rewards that in the Hereafter await those who genuinely put into practice their love for the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). They will be his close companions in Paradise, for the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has promised: “You will be with whom you love.”
14. We can make it a habit to offer salutations of peace upon our prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) whenever we remember to do so, especially after the call to prayer and on Fridays. This will increase our blessings from Allah.
15. We can read the biography of the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) from authentic sources and benefit from the many lessons that it contains. We can then try to apply those lessons to our lives today.
16. We can learn the Sunnah of the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) by studying its authentic sources. We must study the Hadîth and strive to understand them correctly. We need to derive from these Ahadîth the rulings and the lessons that they contain.
17. We can follow the Sunnah in its entirety, giving priority to what we are obligated to do.
18. We can strive to emulate the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) even in matters where we are under no obligation to do so. It is better even if we do something the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) did only once in our lives just so we can follow his example to the last detail.
19. We can be vigilant to avoid ever belittling any aspect of his Sunnah.
20. We can make sure that we feel joy every time we see people putting some aspect of his Sunnah into practice.