Suratul Ahzab (verse 5 continued and verse 6)

–         Since the adopted child is not one’s real child, the adoptive parents have to implement the laws of Hijab if the child is not related to them in any other way. The laws of Hijab will therefore not apply to a woman who adopts her sister’s son or a man who adopts his brother’s daughter.

–         A person’s adopted son may marry the (biological) daughter of his adoptive parents if they are not Mahram to each other by any other relation.

–         A person can marry the widowed or divorced wife of his adopted son if there are no other factors to prevent the marriage.

–         Although it is permissible to call other people’s children, ‘My son’ or ‘My daughter’ (out of affection), it is best not to do so.

–         Just as it is not permissible to call another person’s child your own, it is not permissible for one to refer to another person as his/her father. The Holy Prophet (S.A) has mentioned that Paradise is forbidden for the person who refers to another as his father, knowing that the person is not his father. (Bukhari)

Sura Al Ahzab goes further in verse 6 and states:

6. The Prophet is closer to the believers than their ownselves, and his wives are their (believers’) mothers (as regards respect and marriage). And blood relations among each other have closer personal ties in the Decree of Allah (regarding inheritance) than (the brotherhood of) the believers and the Muhajirûn (emigrants from Makkah, etc.), except that you do kindness to those brothers. This has been written in the Book of Divine Decrees.”

The above verse begins by highlighting the great love and compassion the Prophet (S.A) had for his Ummah (nation), and mentions the fact that each believer must hold the Prophet (S.A) dearer than his own self. ‘The Prophet (S.A) is closer to the believers than their own selves’ means that he is dearer and more beloved to them than their own selves’.

One of the explanations given for this verse is that the Prophet (S.A) has more love and affection for the believers than they (the believers) have for their own selves. On account of this love, he shows a lot of compassion and care for them. He is concerned about them and tries his best to avoid difficulties from them. It is about this great love that the Prophet (S.A) had for the believers, verse 128 of Sura Tawbah states, ‘Verily, there has come unto you a Messenger (Muhammad S.A) from amongst yourselves. It grieves him that you should receive any injury or difficulty. He is anxious over you, for the believers full of pity, kind, and merciful.

Regarding the great  love the Prophet (S.A) had for the believers, he once said, ‘I have a greater relationship with the believers than their own selves. Therefore, whoever passes away and upon him is a debt (yet to be paid and settled), then I shall be responsible for paying it. Whoever leaves wealth behind (as his estate), then it shall be for his inheritors’. (Bukhari, Muslim)

The Prophet (S.A) desired  that no believer should suffer any hardship in this world or the hereafter. Even in religious matters, he did not want the believers to encounter hardships in fulfilling the laws of Islam. It is for this reason, we see that the Prophet (S.A) went to Allah several times on the night of the Mi’raj, so that there could be a reduction in the amount of Salaah that the believers must perform every day.

In a similar manner, we find that there are a number of Ahadith in which the Prophet (S.A) refrained from doing an act or refrained from issuing an order, fearing that it may bring hardships upon the believers. In this regard, it is narrated that he once said, ‘Had I not feared for difficulties upon my Ummah (followers), I would have ordered them to do miswaak at the time of every Salaah/at the time of every wudhu. (Bukhari)

Traditions of this nature show the great compassion and consideration the Prophet (S.A) had for the believers. The blessed life of the Prophet (S.A) shows that he went through many hardships and difficulties so that the believers can be rightly guided. He was very concerned for all the believers to the extent that he did everything in his ability to avoid them from going to the fire of Hell. It is about this, he (the Prophet S.A) once said, ‘My example and yours is like a person who lit a fire. When it began to light all around him, moths began to fall into the fire. On account of this, he tries to prevent them from flying into the fire, but they overcome him and continue to fall in it. This is my example; I am saving you from falling into the fire by grabbing hold of your waists. However, you are overcoming me and falling into it’. (Bukhari, Muslim, Ahmad, Tirmizi – from Abu Hurairah (R.A). (It means that although the Prophet (S.A) is trying his best to save them from falling into the fire of Hell, some of the believers, due to their love for the worldly life and following their desires, they are actually flocking to the fire of Hell).

This narration shows the extent to which the Prophet (S.A) exerted his effort in trying to keep the believers on the straight path. The great concern, love and affection the Prophet (S.A) has for the believers will also be visible on the Day of Judgment when he will intercede for them. In this regard, Abu Hurairah (R.A) narrates from the Prophet (S.A), that (although the duas/supplications of every prophet were accepted by Allah), they were all granted one special dua, the acceptance of which was granted to a greater extent. While all the other prophets made this dua in this world, the Holy Prophet (S.A) reserved his dua for the hereafter, when he will use it to intercede on behalf of his Ummah. It will therefore benefit every member of the Ummah of the Prophet (S.A), on the condition that they did not die upon polytheism (shirk). (Muslim)

In summary, the above few narrations are sufficient to show how dear and close the Prophet (S.A) is to the believers. While commenting on the verse, ‘The Prophet (S.A) is closer to the believers than their own selves’, some commentators have stated that the verse also means that the Prophet (S.A) is better and worthier to the believers than their own selves. This is so because of the fact that ‘their own selves’ invite and encourage them to follow a path of destruction, while he invites them to a path which brings about their salvation. Hence, he is more entitled to be followed, and more rightful/deserving to be obeyed. (Tafseer Al Qurtubi vol.14 pg. 111)