Six Reasons to Learn the Seerah (Prophetic Biography)
By Yūsuf Badāt
Sīrah is an Arabic term. From a literal perspective it means to traverse and or to journey. In a technical context, it refers to the noble biography of the Final Prophet, Muḥammad (peace and blessings upon him). Some experts have described the sīrah as follows:
اَفْعَالُ وَاقْوَالُ وَاَحْوَالُ وَاَيَّامُ رَسُوْلِ اللهِ
Sīrah refers to the Six Reasons to Learn the Seerah (Prophetic Biography) (peace and blessings upon him).
Here are six reasons why we must study and learn the sīrah
It is an obligation to learn and study it! The Almighty said,
أَمْ لَمْ يَعْرِفُوا رَسُولَهُمْ
“Did they not know their Prophet?” (Qurʾān 23:69)
By studying and getting to know the Messenger, Muḥammad (peace and blessings upon him), we will increase our reverence and love for him. The reality is we can only attain God’s love and perfection in our faith by loving Muḥammad (peace and blessings upon him).
لاَ يُؤْمِنُ أَحَدُكُمْ حَتَّى يَكُونَ اللهُ وَرَسُولُهُ أَحَبَّ إِلَيْهِ مِمَّا سِوَاهُمَا
“None of you have complete faith until God and His Prophet are more beloved to you than anything else.” (Kitāb Al-Sunnah Li Abī Bakr)
One of the things that is certain to occur when studying the sīrah is that it strengthens us. It enables us to remain firm and steadfast on the prophetic teachings. For example, when we hear about the hate and islamophobia that the Prophet Muḥammad and his followers experienced, this will give us strength and hope. We will realize our struggles are not as severe as those faced by Muḥammad and the pioneer Muslims. The Almighty relayed several stories of past prophets and their struggles in the Qurʾān. Thereafter God said,
كَذَٰلِكَ لِنُثَبِّتَ بِهِ فُؤَادَكَ
“Thus, in this manner, we strengthen your heart.” (Qurʾān: 25:32)
Comprehension of the Qurʾān
The Qurʾān is the constitution laid down by God for humanity. In order to understand it, one must study and know the life of Muḥammad (peace and blessings upon him). For he was its first recipient. He was chosen to demonstrate its practice.
As an example, the Qurʾān instructs its followers to establish ṣalāh. Ṣalāh can have several meanings and connotations. However, we understand that ṣalāh refers to the ritual prayer performed with specific postures, recitations alongside several tenants and preconditions. All these details are found and understood in the life story and biography of Muḥammad (peace and blessings upon him).
We can only practice, implement and apply what is known to us. If we are acquainted with the Prophet’s life story, actions and statements, we will easily be able to follow his way. The formula is simple. Studying him will lead to loving him. Our love for Muḥammad (peace and blessings upon him) will result in following him, which in turn will grant us the pleasure of God. This will then allow us to enter God’s Paradise.
قُلْ إِن كُنتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللَّـهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي
“Tell them, [O Moḥammad], “If you love God, then follow me, [thereafter] God will love you and forgive you.” (Qurʾān: 3:31)
While there is a lot of good communicated and conveyed about Muḥammad (peace and blessings upon him), we also know that there is much misunderstanding and falsehood against the Final Prophet. By studying his life, we will be equipped to respond to the ignorance and misinformation.
In conclusion, I pray that we are constantly blessed to learn and practice the noble sīrah.