We continue with the mention of rights of the Prophet (Peace and blessings of Allah upon him) upon his followers:
5. Spreading his message
Loyalty to the Messenger of Allah (Peace and blessings of Allah upon him) includes spreading his invitation to Islam throughout every part of the earth, because he (Peace and blessings of Allah upon him) said,
"Convey from me, even if only one verse." (Al-Bukhari)
He (Peace and blessings of Allah upon him) also said,
"That should Allah guide through you a single man is better for you than possessing red camels." (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
And he (Peace and blessings of Allah upon him) stated,
"Through you [Muslims] I will have more numerous followers than [other] nations on the Day of Resurrection." (Ahmad)
Among the ways his nation will increase is through da`wah, or invitation to Allah(Almighty), which brings people into Islam. Allah(Almighty) stated that invitation to Him has always been the occupation of the prophets and their followers. He ordered:
Say, "This is my way; I invite to Allah with insight, I and those who follow me." (12:108)
The Muslim Ummah must fulfil the duty for which Allah(Almighty) raised it, which is da`wah and delivery of the message, enjoining right and forbidding wrong. As Almighty Allah has said:
You are the best nation produced [as an example] for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in Allah. (3:110)
6. Revering him in life and death
This is among the rights which many people have neglected. In the Qur'an, Allah(Almighty) said:
Indeed, We have sent you as a witness and a bringer of good tidings and a Warner, that you [people] may believe in Allah and His Messenger and honour him and respect him [i.e., the Prophet] and exalt Him [i.e., Allah] morning and afternoon. (48:8-9)
Ibn Sa`di explained: "To honour and respect the Messenger (Peace and blessings of Allah upon him) means to revere him, hold him in esteem and fulfil his rights because of the great debt of gratitude you owe him."
The Prophet's (Peace and blessings of Allah upon him) companions used to honour him, respect him and hold him in great esteem, so much that when he (Peace and blessings of Allah upon him) spoke they would listen to him attentively, as if birds were perched on their heads. After Allah(Almighty) had revealed:
O you who have believed, do not raise your voices above the voice of the Prophet or be loud to him in speech like the loudness of some of you to others, lest your deeds become worthless while you perceive not (49:2),
Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with them) said, "By Allah, I will not speak to you after this except [softly] with facial expression."
As for respecting him after his death, it is by following his Sunnah, by deference to his order, by acceptance of his rulings, by courtesy toward his sayings and by not preferring any opinion or school of thought over his teachings. Imam ash-Shafi`i said, "All Muslim scholars agree that whoever has understood the Sunnah of Allah's Messenger (Peace and blessings of Allah upon him) is not permitted to abandon it for the opinion of another."
7. Invoking Allah's blessings upon him whenever he is mentioned
Allah(Almighty) has ordered believers to invoke blessings on him, saying:
Indeed, Allah confers blessing upon the Prophet, and His angels [ask Him to do so]. O you who have believed, ask [Allah to confer] blessing upon him and ask [Allah to grant him] peace. (33:56)
And the Prophet (Peace and blessings of Allah upon him) said,
"May the nose be rubbed in dirt of a man who, when I am mentioned before him, does not invoke blessings upon me." (Muslim)
And he (Peace and blessings of Allah upon him) said,
"The closest of people to me on the Day of Resurrection will be the ones who invoked blessings on me the most." (At-Tirmidhi – graded as Hasan by al-Albani)
And, "The stingy one is he before whom I am mentioned and does not invoke blessings on me." (Ahmad and at-Tirmidhi – graded as Saheeh by al-Albani)
It is indeed discourtesy for a Muslim to hear the mention of Allah's Messenger (Peace and blessings of Allah upon him) and then be too miserly to invoke blessings on him. Imam Ibn al-Qayyim mentioned many of the benefits of invoking blessings on the Prophet (Peace and blessings of Allah upon him) in his book entitled “Jalaa' al-Afhaam fis-Salaati was-Salaami `ala Khayr il-Anaam”.
8. Alliance with his allies and hatred of his enemies
Allah(Almighty) has said:
You will not find a people who believe in Allah and the Last Day having affection for those who oppose Allah and His Messenger, even if they were their fathers or their sons or their brothers or their kindred. (58:22)
Alliance to him also means alliance to his companions and love for them, devotion to them, acknowledgement of their rights, praising them, following their example, asking forgiveness for them, refraining from discussion of their disagreements and animosity toward their enemies and those who insult or defame them. And it means alliance to the members of his household, support and defence of them, but at the same time, avoiding excessive praise and exaggeration of their attributes.
And alliance to him includes love for the scholars of Ahl as-Sunnah, support of them and avoidance of disdaining or dishonouring them. And it includes animosity towards their enemies among the disbelievers, the hypocrites and those who advocate innovation and error.
A man from among the latter group once said to Ayyub as-Sakhtiyani, "May I ask you about a word?" He turned away from him with a sign of his finger meaning, "Not even half a word," out of reverence for the Prophet's (Peace and blessings of Allah upon him) Sunnah and enmity toward its enemies.