The best compliment I have ever received was about a protruding vein I have on my forehead. It’s a vein that only surfaces when I am experiencing particular states in extremities such as tiredness, anger, sadness or joy. I feel largely indifferent towards it, but on occasion I rather it not be there.
Until of course, I had a comment made about it. A friend I had met during a course looked at me one day, pointed and touched my forehead and excitedly said ‘you have the same vein like our Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him)!’ I can’t explain the exact feeling I had at the moment of her making such an observation, but I remember a very intense feeling of closeness and longing for the Prophet (peace be upon him). My friend had pointed out that the Prophet (peace be upon him) and I share a feature, and that connection increased a sense of love and gratitude in me; that even if I constantly fall short in my attempts to emulate the Prophet (peace be upon him), at the very least if people aware of his description were to be reminded of him when spotting my vein, then that reminder might be a cause for prayers (salawat) upon him or a rekindling of love in their hearts of him. Surely as and when this vein appears and I notice it, it would be a reminder to me first and foremost of the most blessed of creation.
Her comment at that moment demonstrated knowledge that she acquired earlier that day. We had been going through Shamaa’il al Tirmidhi- a collection of hadiths regarding intricate details of the Prophet (peace be upon him). In a few hadiths, there was a description that the Prophet (peace be upon him) had a vein on his forehead (more specifically between his eyebrows) that would become obvious if he was cross or upset.
I thought about how happy this comparison had made me; how I was going to now look at this feature of mine with affection and how my heart opened with more love for my Prophet (peace be upon him) by feeling like I could relate to him. I reflected on how this was only because I learnt something about him and realised how incredibly crucial it is to continue to revise and read up about him as it is only through knowing him, can we love him, and through loving him can we emulate him in every single aspect of our lives.
Using pointers to remind us of him is a helpful way to maintain constant salawat and reflection. For instance, this summer a friend pointed out something that has now completely changed how I view Mondays. She said that Monday was the day that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was born and rather than being seen as a day of gloom, it should be a reminder of the greatest man to ever live and a day of celebration and remembrance. Reading up on how he acted, what he loved and what he looked like support a greater understanding of him and is a way to foster emulation in behaviour. We can only relate to what we recognise and understand.
Ali (may God be pleased with him) said of the prophet (peace be upon him) that …’He was the most generous-hearted of men, the most truthful of them in speech, the most mild-tempered of them, and the noblest of them in lineage. Whoever saw him unexpectedly was in awe of him. And whoever associated with him familiarly loved him. Anyone who would describe him would say, ‘I never saw, before him or after him, the like of him.’ Peace be upon him.”
I know that he loved to smile, that he respected the elderly and honoured the young. He was playful, kind, generous and loving. He was forgiving and caring and would fully face each person as he spoke to them, such that the person thought he was the most loved by him. He was ethical and cared about the environment and not wasting food and water. He had a name for each of his items of clothing and appreciative of what little he had.
This knowledge of who he was serves as examples for us. Peace and blessing upon him <3.