Reflection No. 5:01 on Q 33:6 – Closeness to the Holy Prophet (S)
We convey our prayers of felicitations (tabrikāt) to the Imam of Our Time, al-Mahdī al-Qā’im (af) and the Muslim ummah as they celebrate milādun nabī – the birth of Prophet Muhammad, sallāahu ‘alayhi wa-ālih.
Annabiyu awlā bil-mu’minīna min anfusihim
The Prophet is closer to the Believers than their own selves
(Sūratul AHzāb, No.33, Āyat 6)
The Holy Prophet Muhammad (s) is the dearest of all creation to God. He is the Beloved of Allah, the Light sent for guidance to lead people towards God. As such he has an unparalleled authority over the believers, an authority that stems from the authority of God over creation.
In the verse above the Prophet is declared as awlā to believers than their own selves. The word awlā has been interpreted in different ways. It can mean;
- a) The one who has the most right of judgement
- b) The one who has the most right to be obeyed
- c) The one who is most beloved
- d) The one who is close
According to Tafsīr Namūne a believer reaches the heights of faith when his strongest attachment is only for Allah and what is connected to Him. The attachment creates love in his heart, a desire to submit and obey, and an acceptance of authority without resentment or skepticism. This is what is required of the believer in his attitude towards God. Awlawiyat is for one who was sent by God as the human connection between God and His servants.
The Holy Prophet (s) is most beloved to believers. The Almighty states in the Quran: Say, ‘If your fathers and your sons, your brethren, your spouses, and your kinsfolk, the possessions that you have acquired, the business you fear may suffer, and the dwellings you are fond of, are dearer to you than Allah and His Apostle and to waging jihād in His way, then wait until Allah issues His edict (Q 9:24). In fact the Prophet says: By the One in whose hands is my soul, none of you is a believer until I am more beloved to him than himself, his wealth, his children, and all of mankind.
When the Holy Prophet (s) made his announcement at Ghadīr, he first asked the people; am I not awlā over you than your own selves? This was a reference to this verse. The people all replied in the affirmative. Then he told them the famous declaration: O whosoever I am the Mawlā Ali is also his Mawlā.
This verse is a strong reminder of how close the Prophet (s) is to the believer. Recite it to strengthen your bond and attachment to the Prophet. Realize that none can be as dear as he is and pray that the Almighty may grant you the pleasure of his company in the Hereafter.
Āyatuallāh Nāsir Makārim Shirāzī (Ed.); Tafsīre Namūne;
Aghā Muhsin Qarā’atī Kāshānī.