Associate Professor of Islamic Theology and Philosophy, The Muslim College London and Head of Interfaith, London Central Mosque and London Islamic Cultural Centre

By: Dr Alhagi Manta Drammeh (PGCeTHE, FHEA, FRSA), Founder of Timbuktu International Research Centre, Associate Professor of Islamic Philosophy and Theology, Researcher at London Central Mosque

Many great people came and went. With their deaths, people easily forgot them. However, the life of the Propjet Muhmmad is probably the most documented and the most read. His birth, life, death and entire biography is well documented in biographic books by both Muslim and non-Muslim scholars in detail. He was regarded as the most influential person of human history. When we study civilisations and dynasties, we observe that their rise takes a very long time before they are finally established. Prophet Muhmmad could change human history in a very short period. This makes us ask the question why and how? The birth of Prophet Muhammad, we call Gamo or Mawlido heralded a new era in human history and civilisation. While we celebrate this important event around the world, I am honoured to highlight the main values of this great Prophet, his mission and impact upon humanity. It is not merely making a lip service about the Prophet or chanting his name. Rather, it is about celebrating and living his life and to follow his footsteps. Above, all his prophetic mission meant to alleviate human suffering and promote human lofty values. The prophetic mission is largely characterised by ethics (akhlaq). Ethics is unquestionably fundamental to the very survival and existence of any nation or civilisation. In fact, the rise and fall of nations is dependent upon ethics and moral values according to  many philosophers of history.  A nation will perish if it fails to uphold ethical values. Prophet |Muhammad says that his mission was about perfecting moral values.  The Prophet’s kindness and compassion was extended to all without fear or favour. He was just between the poor and the rich, the strong and the weak. Justice was the hallmark of his mission. He ensured that justice was upheld and preached. Even in difficult circumstances of meeting the enemy, the Prophet taught his companions to show restraint, mercy and kindness. He warned against any form of revenge. He pardoned the people of Mecca and led them go free, even though the people of Mecca persecuted him and drove him and his companions from Mecca.  Justice when manifested in our consciousness, it can mould our personalities and behaviours. Justice creates in us equilibrium in whatever we do or say. It creates a balanced personality detached from all forms of extremism and radicalism.  “O you who have believed, fear Allah and believe in His Messenger; He will [then] give you a double portion of His mercy and make for you a light by which you will walk and forgive you; and Allah is Forgiving and Merciful” (Al-hadid, 57:28).  His mission was one of mercy, forgiveness, justice, fairness and guidance to the path of human well-being and welfare.

He was praised in the Qur’an for upholding highest status of morality “And indeed, you are of a great moral character” (AlQalam,68:4). The above Qur’anic passage emphasises the centrality of morality in the Qur’anic discourses in terms of our relation with God and our inter human relations. Indeed, the two Qur’anic moral concepts are: Ma’ruf (good/virtue) and munkar (bad/evil). Ma’ruf is anything that is recognised and known to people as acceptable, good and hence virtuous. Munkar is an action that is unacceptable to people and hence bad and evil. This ethical dynamism of the prophet allowed him to create an ever-lasting religion and civilisation, a civilisation that has greatly influenced world history and civilisation. It is a civilisation that was characterised by acquisition of knowledge to discover the secrets of the earth and the heavens by the grace of Allah. No doubt, Islam produced great thinkers, philosophers, humanist, scientists and theologians in the likes of Avicenna (Ibn sina), Averroes (Ibn Rushd), Al-Ghazali among others.

In the end, I emphasise that the love of Prophet Muhammad is not artificially exhibited. Rather, it is about internalising universal human values he preached and externalise them in our behaviour. Thus, the Prophet summarised Islam as good behaviour towards people. We must pass on this prophetic legacy unto our children  and students for them to be useful and resourceful citizens wherever they may be. We ask the Almighty to bless our country in this blessed month in which the greatest human being was born. May He make this new year and beyond peaceful and prosperous. May He make us lovers and followers of the Prophet. Allahumma salli ala Muhammad waala aal Muhammad.

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