قُلْ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللَّهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللَّهُ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ
“Say (O Mohammed) “If you do love Allah, follow me, Allah will love you, and forgive your sins, as Allah is All-Forgiving, All-Merciful”. Surah Imrân (3:31)
These days it seems as though knowing and studying about our Last Prophet, Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is only the job of the scholars or rather their responsiblity. Parents hardly care if the kid knows anything about this greatest man or not, As long as the Kid knows how to recite Quran that is good enough, Of course reciting Quran (even without understanding) is important but what we forget these days is that the Quran and the Sunnah go hand-in-hand with each other. We cannot leave one thing for another and it would not create a proper balance.
And what is Sunnah? It is the way and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). People these days are just concerned with what is fard (obligatory) as some of the acts of the sunnah are considered voluntary, they just go around asking ''Is it fard?'' if the answer is ''No'' then they make a mental note and it reads out as ''Okay, so I don't have to do it''. But, what about the above verse from the Quran that explicitly explains the importance of following the way of the Prophet (pbuh).
I am no exception to the category of the people I have mentioned above. I knew more about Enrique Iglesias' habits than Prophet Muhammad's (Pbuh) and yes you all can say ''Astaghfirullah'' in chorus :P But, see here is the thing growing up we all are influenced by the kind of surroundings and soceity we live with. Which is why, I mostly talk about the parenting part and its importance. We can nurture the next generation with the teachings and values of Islam at an early stage so that we do not end up with lost young minds full of confusion.
We have to love the Prophet (pbuh ) more than our families, our parents, our own selves. Why, you ask? Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said : "None of you [truly] believes until I am more beloved to him than his child, his parent and all people." (Al-Bukhari)
Most of us claim to love him, you ask any average muslim about Him, he would immediately reply ''Yeah of course man, I am a muslim, I definitely love him''. You ask him about 10 of his companions then no clue. I also fall under this category and hence this post is acting as a reminder to myself too. But, we know soo much about our favorite, sports star, movie star or even authors of books. The place they live in, the car they drive, their likes and dislikes, their favorite food. But what about the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)?? We ''Love'' Him ooo yeah! But, we don't know a thing about Him... This our ''Love''.... There is something definitely missing in this love. Perhaps, The way we love him itself?
So, How do we love him? Love is one of those feelings that cannot be imposed upon a person. Let's think for a moment, How do we love a person and When do we love a person? We love a person when we admire some of their charecteristics, when we have something in common and most importanly we love a person when we get to KNOW him. Which is why we need to know about this greatest man who's ever walked on the face of this Earth, the last Messenger of Allah SWT.
To get a brief insight about the mercy of the Prophet (pbuh) watch this video, it may occur in your mind ''Oh man, it is SO long, I'd watch it later'' and trust me in most probability shaitan will make you busy and forget about it. So, benefit yourself, know about him.
If you would like to initially read a book about the biography of the Prophet (pbuh) then I would totally recommend ''The Sealed Nectar'' in English or ''Ar Raheequl Al Maktoom'' in arabic By :Saifur Rahman al-Mubarakpuri. Here is the link for the ebook. If, you are not the reading ''type'' then Imam Anwar Al Awlaki has done a 50+ Cd's worth of audio lectures upon the life of the Prophet (pbuh) using Ibn Katheer's Al bidaya wa nihaya as a primary source. Ibn katheer has used 2 different sources as his reference to this seerah, Ibn Ishaq's work as well as Bukhari's. You will understand the difference between both the sources once you start listening to the lectures. Where to find it? Here you go .. check out this awesome link
The following are recommended short books list that in my opinion are quite fantastic ;
1. Muhammad - As if you can see Him by A'id al Qarni
2. A Day with the Prophet by Ahmed Von Deffer
3. The Life of Prophet Muhammad: Highlights and Lessons by Dr. Mustafa As-Sibaa'ie (Here's the ebook)
About Ibn Katheer's book volumes, in plain english it means From the Beginning to the End. The compilation i think is of 10 volumes. One of which is about the seerah of the prophet (pbuh), For sure the beauty of reading it in arabic is much more fantastic than reading a translation. Which is why we need to, need to and need to learn the language in which Quran was revealed so that we may enjoy the authentic works of these fantastic scholars. However, we should not take this as an excuse for ourselves, we should try to learn arabic but at the same time use the english books for our benefit, until we reach to that stage.
Thats all for now folks! :)