The Rights of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him)
The Rights of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) is the greatest right of any of the creation. None of the creation have a right greater than the rights of Allah’s Messenger sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam.
Allah – the Most High – says:
“Verily, We have sent you (O Muhammad sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) as a witness, as a bearer of glad tidings, and as a warner. In order that you (O mankind) may believe in Allah and His Messenger (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam), and that you assist and honour him (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam), and (that you) glorify (Allah’s) praises morning and afternoon.” [Surah al-Fath, 48:8-9]
Therefore it is obligatory to love the Prophet sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam over and above any of mankind – even above one’s love for himself, his parents and his children. The Prophet sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam said:
“None of you will truly believes until he loves me more then his parents, his children and the whole of mankind.” [Related by al-Bukhaaree (1/57) and Muslim (no.44), from Anas radi-Allaahu ‘anhu.]
And from the rights that are due to the Prophet sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam are: that he should be honoured, loved and respected – but without any ghuloo (exaggeration) or any falling short in the matter. Honouring the Prophet sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam during his lifetime implied honouring his Sunnah (guidance and example) and his noble character and conduct. As for honouring him after his death, then this implies honouring his Sunnah and the Sharee’ah (the Prescribed laws) that he was sent with. Whosoever reflects upon the lives of the Sahaabah (Companions of the Prophet) will come to know how these great and virtuous people established the obligation of honouring the Messenger sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam.
‘Urwah Ibn Mas’ood said to the Quraysh:
“O my people! I have seen kings. I have seen Caeser, Chosroes and Negus. But by Allah! I have never seen a king whose companions respect and honor him in the way that the Companions of Muhammad honour Muhammad sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam. By Allah! When he spits, the spittle would fall into the hands of one of them, who would then rub his face and skin with it; when he orders them with something, they promptly fulfill it; when he performs wudhoo’ (ablution), they vie with each other for the remains of the water; and when they speak in his presence, they lower their voices and do not look directly at his face, due to their respect and honour for him.” [Related by al-Bukhaaree (no.2731) and Ahmad (3/324), from the lengthy narration of Miswar Ibn Makhramah radi-Allaahu ‘anhu.]
So this is how the Companions radi-Allaahu ‘anhum loved and honoured him, for Allah had endowed and blessed the Prophet sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam with a generous and noble character and a mild and easy-going nature. Had he been harsh and hard-hearted, people would not have been able to gather around him and be with him as they did.
Also from the rights that are due to the Prophet sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam is to believe in all that he informed us of with regards to the accounts of previous people and nations, to do that which he has commanded and leave that which he has prohibited, and to have imaan (faith) that his guidance and example is the best and most perfect guidance and example, and that the Sharee’ah (Prescribed Laws) that he was sent with is perfect and complete – no human laws nor systems are to be given precedence or priority over his Sharee’ah. Allah – the Most High – said:
“But no by your Lord! They will not truly be Believers, until they make you (O Muhammad sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) a judge in all their disputes, and then find in their souls no resistance against his decision, but rather accept it with the utmost submission.” [Surah an-Nisaa’, 4:65]
“Say (O Muhammad sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam to mankind): ‘If you (really) love Allah then follow me (i.e. accept Islaamic Monotheism, follow the Quran and the Sunnah), Allah will love you and forgive you of your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most-Merciful.’” [Surah Ali-‘Imraan, 3:31]
And from the rights of the Prophet sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam is to defend his Sharee’ah and his guidance with the strength and capacity at one’s disposal, and also in proportion to the attack that it is under. Thus, if the enemies ore attacking it with false proofs and doubts, then his guidance and Sharee’ah should be defended with sound knowledge which refutes such false arguments and clarifies the doubts. If, however, the attack is made by any other types of weapons, then the defence should be made in a similar manner. It is not possible for any Believer to hear of some attack upon the Prophet sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam’s Sharee’ah or his noble personality, and then to keep silent about it – especially when one has the power to counter such on attack.
[Author: Imam Muhammad Ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen, Source: Huqooq Da’at Ilayhal-Fitrah wa Qarrarathash-Sharee’ah (pp.6-7)]