Written by Hadrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahib, M.A.
Taken from the Forty Gems of Beauty
Narrated by Jābir, Allāh be pleased with him: The Prophet of Allāh (peace and blessings of Allāh be on him) said:
“I have been granted five distinctions which none of the Prophets was granted before me. Firstly, I have been reinforced with awe extending as far as a month’s journey, secondly the entire earth has been made for me a mosque and a means of purity, thirdly, the booty of war has been made lawful for me; it was never made lawful before me; fourthly, I have been granted the honor of intercession with the Lord and fifthly, while Prophets before me were commissioned to their particular people, I have been sent to the entire mankind.” (Bukhārī)
In this Ḥadīth our Chief (may my life be dedicated to his service) has detailed five distinctions granted to him exclusively which go to show his exalted station and the abounding mercy of Allāh the Excellent on him.
His first distinction is the divine gift of awe extending to as far as a month’s journey. [The] history of Islām furnishes strong supporting evidence showing how notwithstanding his apparently slight physical frame and unostentatious living, an enemy would tremble in awe before him, surely a God-given gift. Even it so happened on many occasions that the enemy planned to attack Medina and as the Holy Prophet
(peace of Allāh be on him and His blessings) sallied forth with a small group of companions, to meet him, he (the enemy) fled on the first alarm. Again when the Holy Prophet (peace of Allāh be on him and His blessings) addressed a letter to the Roman Caesar inviting him to accept Islām and the Caesar learnt further details about him he exclaimed,
“If I could go and pay obeisance to this Messenger of Allāh, I would indeed consider it a great honor if he permitted me to wash his feet.”
The second distinction of the Holy Prophet is that the entire earth has been made a mosque for him. As a result of this, a Muslim can offer Prayers anywhere as and when the time for his Prayer comes and he does not require a special place for worship like followers of other faiths. This was necessary in order to facilitate the extensive campaign of the Muslims to carry the message of Islām all over the world. Similarly, the earth was made for him the means of purification. A minor aspect of this is the fact that in the event of non-availability of water, a Muslim can perform Tayammum in place of Wuḍū. This combination of water and earth is in keeping with the creation of Adam who was created, according to Qur’ānic idiom, out of moist earth.
His third distinction is that, as against the laws of earlier religions, which required the war booty to be burnt, the Islāmic law allowed the Holy Prophet to use the booty that
fell in his hands, as lawful. The wisdom underlying this was firstly to stop this needless wastage of national wealth, and secondly to teach aggressors the lesson that if they did not desist from oppressing others, their own wealth would be taken away from them and given to the oppressed; and thirdly to provide the weak among Muslims with a source of strength in the Islāmic defensive wars.
The fourth distinction of the Prophet is the grant to him of the highest office of intercession. Shafā‘at literally means ‘mate’ or ‘like,’ and according to the idiom too it does not mean common prayer. Instead it signifies the special office held by a favorite of God by virtue of his dual role, on the one hand, of close contact with God and on the other of his near association with men. He is entitled to intercede with the Lord. The gist of this intercession would run as follows: “O God, in the name of your past favors to me and my heartfelt solicitude for the good of your creatures (or some particular individual from amongst them), I beg and pray that have mercy on your poor frail creatures and grant them your forgiveness,” urging, on the one hand, the plea of his special contact with Him and on the other the heartfelt solicitude for the welfare of His creatures (or for that matter a particular person), begging thereby of Him mercy for His frail creatures and His forgiveness. In this connection, the Holy Prophet (may peace of Allāh and His blessings be on him) says, in another Ḥadīth that when, on the day of Judgment, the people will be seized with extreme panic and consternation, despairing of all others, they will ultimately turn to him, and then, he will intercede for them with God, and that, his intercession will be accepted.
The fifth destination of the Holy Prophet is that whereas the former prophets were sent to particular peoples for particular periods of time, he was raised for the entire world, for all peoples and for all times. This is a special characteristic and a great distinction indeed. The result was that his God-granted mission extended to every people, to every country and to every age and he was declared the perfect and Perfected manifestation of God. In other words, it meant that as God of the entire world is One, through His appointment, there was likewise one prophet for the entire mankind.
Allāh! Bless Muḥammad and grant him and his offspring peace.