Contents > Chapter 10: Excessive Praise for the Messenger of Allah >
Exaggeration (in the religion) means exceeding the limits set by Allah and His Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam). Exaggeration, whether in belief or actions, is highly condemned in the religion of Islam, Allah says: “O people of Scripture! Do not exceed the limits in your religion…”
Abdullah Ibn Mas’oud (radhi allahu anhu) reported that Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “Destroyed are those who are extreme (in the religion).” He said it three times.
Exaggeration in regards to the honor and status of righteous people was the root cause behind the deviation of previous nations. Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “Beware of exaggeration. Your predecessors perished on account of their exaggeration.”
The Prohibition of Exaggeration in Praising Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam):
Exaggeration in praising Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) involves exceeding his status and attributing Divine qualities to him (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam), invoking him for help, supplicating to him, swearing by him, etc. Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) warned, “Do not praise me as the Christians praised the son of Maryam. Indeed, I am a slave of Allah. So say, ‘the slave of Allah and His Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam).’” This Hadeeth forbids exaggeration like the Christians (who exceeded the limits in praising Eesa (alaihi as-salaam)), and sufficing with the fact that Allah, the Most High, chose Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) as a Prophet and a Messenger, and as His beloved.
When Allah ascended His Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) to the highest Heavens and showed him His greatest signs on the Night of Isra wal-Miraaj, Allah described the Messenger with the attribute of slave (worshiper) saying: “Glorified (and Exalted) be He (Allah), Who took His slave/worshiper (Muhammad) for a journey by night from al-Masjid al-Haraam (Makkah) to the Farthest mosque (in Jerusalem).”
Indeed, the greatest praise we can give to Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) is that we say about him (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) what Allah has described him with, i.e. ‘he is Allah’s slave and His Messenger.’ Only Allah’s saying is the most appropriate, and contains no element of going beyond bounds, nor does it neglect any of his due rights and honor.
When some people said to Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam): “O Messenger of Allah, you are the best and the son of the best among us, and our master and the son of our master.” He (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) addressed him saying: “O people! Make your requests straightforward and let not Shaytaan lure you saying the wrong things. I am only the slave of Allah, and His Messenger. I do not like you to elevate me above my rank in which Allah, the Exalted, has praised me.”
At another occasion, Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) interrupted small girls who described him with the attribute of the Knower of Ghayb (Unseen), ar-Rabee’ah bint Mu’awaidh (radhi allahu anhu) said: “The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) came on the morning of my marriage. I had with me two servant girls, singing and mourning about my relatives who were killed on the Day of Badr, and they said while singing: “Among us there is a Prophet who knows what will happen tomorrow…” The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “What are you saying? Do not say it! No one knows what will happen tomorrow except Allah, the Most Mighty and the Most Majestic.” And in the narration of Saheeh al-Bukharee, he said: “Leave this, and say what you were saying (before).”