“You are the best nation raised up for mankind…” The Distinction Given to this Ummah, the Followers of the Final Prophet:

ONE:

Allah described the Ummah, the nation and followers of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) in the Qur’an as follows:

وَكَذَٰلِكَ جَعَلْنَاكُمْ أُمَّةً وَسَطًا لِّتَكُونُوا شُهَدَاءَ عَلَى النَّاسِ وَيَكُونَ الرَّسُولُ عَلَيْكُمْ شَهِيدًا ۗ

“And thus we have made you a just nation (ummah) that you will be witnesses over the people and the Messenger will be a witness over you…” (2:143) He (the Most High) also said:

كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ ۗ وَلَوْ آمَنَ أَهْلُ الْكِتَابِ لَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَّهُم ۚ مِّنْهُمُ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَأَكْثَرُهُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ – 3:110

“You are the best nation raised up for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and you believe in Allah. If only the People of the Scripture had believed, it would have been better for them [though] among them are believers, but most of them are disobedient.”

The best nation referred to in this verse are the Sahābah (the Prophet’s Companions) because the āyah addresses them first and foremost. They answered the call of Allah when He said:

وَلْتَكُن مِّنكُمْ أُمَّةٌ يَدْعُونَ إِلَى الْخَيْرِ وَيَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ ۚ وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ – 3:104

“And let there arise from you a group inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong, and those will be the successful.” So the Sahābah answered that call from Allah and then He informed them:

كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ

“You are the best nation raised up for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and you believe in Allah.” After the Sahābah it refers to all those who follow them and take them as a model to be emulated, till the Day of Resurrection. And they are Ahlul-Hadeeth (the People of Hadeeth), Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamā’ah, and they are the Salaf of this Ummah. And in this age, the Salafis are Ahlus-Sunnah and Ahlul-Hadeeth in truth, as they alone follow the earlier generations in every aspect of Religion.

So this Ummah is a witness over previous nations. Bukhāri (4487) collected in his Sahīh that Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri reported that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said,

” يُدْعَى نُوحٌ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ فَيَقُولُ لَبَّيْكَ وَسَعْدَيْكَ يَا رَبِّ. فَيَقُولُ هَلْ بَلَّغْتَ فَيَقُولُ نَعَمْ. فَيُقَالُ لأُمَّتِهِ هَلْ بَلَّغَكُمْ فَيَقُولُونَ مَا أَتَانَا مِنْ نَذِيرٍ. فَيَقُولُ مَنْ يَشْهَدُ لَكَ فَيَقُولُ مُحَمَّدٌ وَأُمَّتُهُ. فَتَشْهَدُونَ أَنَّهُ قَدْ بَلَّغَ “. {وَيَكُونَ الرَّسُولُ عَلَيْكُمْ شَهِيدًا}  فَذَلِكَ قَوْلُهُ جَلَّ ذِكْرُهُ {وَكَذَلِكَ جَعَلْنَاكُمْ أُمَّةً وَسَطًا لِتَكُونُوا شُهَدَاءَ عَلَى النَّاسِ وَيَكُونَ الرَّسُولُ عَلَيْكُمْ شَهِيدًا}  وَالْوَسَطُ الْعَدْلُ.

“Nooh will be called on the Day of Resurrection and he will say, ‘Labbaik and Sa’daik (I am here to serve you), O my Lord!’ Allah will say, ‘Did you convey the Message?’ Nooh will say, ‘Yes.’ His nation will then be asked, ‘Did he convey the Message to you?’ They will say, ‘No Warner came to us.’ Then Allah will say (to Nooh), ‘Who will bear witness in your favour?’ Nooh will reply, ‘Muhammad and his followers.’ So the Muslims will testify that he conveyed the Message:

{وَيَكُونَ الرَّسُولُ عَلَيْكُمْ شَهِيدًا} 

“And the Prophet Muhammad will be a witness over yourselves”, and that is what is meant by the Statement of Allah,

{وَكَذَلِكَ جَعَلْنَاكُمْ أُمَّةً وَسَطًا لِتَكُونُوا شُهَدَاءَ عَلَى النَّاسِ وَيَكُونَ الرَّسُولُ عَلَيْكُمْ شَهِيدًا} 

“Thus We have made of you a just nation that you may be witnesses over mankind and the Messenger will be a witness over yourselves.” (2.143) And Al-Wasat (balanced nation) is Al-‘Adl (the just nation).

So this Ummah is the just Ummah and it will be a witness over the previous nations.

TWO:

This Ummah is the last to appear but it will be first to be judged, and it was given the Day of Jumu’ah (Friday). Muslim (856) reports from Abu Hurayrah that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said:

أَضَلَّ اللَّهُ عَنِ الْجُمُعَةِ مَنْ كَانَ قَبْلَنَا فَكَانَ لِلْيَهُودِ يَوْمُ السَّبْتِ وَكَانَ لِلنَّصَارَى يَوْمُ الأَحَدِ فَجَاءَ اللَّهُ بِنَا فَهَدَانَا اللَّهُ لِيَوْمِ الْجُمُعَةِ فَجَعَلَ الْجُمُعَةَ وَالسَّبْتَ وَالأَحَدَ وَكَذَلِكَ هُمْ تَبَعٌ لَنَا يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ نَحْنُ الآخِرُونَ مِنْ أَهْلِ الدُّنْيَا وَالأَوَّلُونَ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ الْمَقْضِيُّ لَهُمْ قَبْلَ الْخَلاَئِقِ

“Allah diverted Friday away from the nations that came before us. So for Jews was Saturday and for the Christians was Sunday. Then Allah turned to us and guided us to Friday. So Allah made Friday, Saturday and Sunday (for each of the nations as a day of prayers). And those [previous] nations will come after us on the Day of Resurrection. We were the last nation from the people of the world, but we will be the first of creation to judged on the Day of Resurrection before the rest of creation.”

THREE:

This nation will be saved from that which destroyed the previous nations, however, it will be afflicted with differing and in-fighting as occurred with previous nations. But only one sect will be rightly-guided in this Ummah just as was the case with the previous nations. At-Tirmidhi (2175), An-Nasā’ee (1637) and Ahmad (5/108) reported from ‘Abdullāh Ibn Khabbāb Ibn Aratt from his father, Khabbāb, who witnessed the battle of Badr, that he said that he saw the Messenger pray through the whole of the night until the time of Fajr. In a narration he said:

قَالَ صَلَّى رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم صَلاَةً فَأَطَالَهَا قَالُوا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّيْتَ صَلاَةً لَمْ تَكُنْ تُصَلِّيهَا

The Messenger of Allah performed the prayer, making it long. So they said: ‘O Messenger of Allah! You have performed Salāh in a manner which you do not ordinarily perform it.’ Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said:

أَجَلْ إِنَّهَا صَلاَةُ رَغْبَةٍ وَرَهْبَةٍ إِنِّي سَأَلْتُ اللَّهَ فِيهَا ثَلاَثًا فَأَعْطَانِي اثْنَتَيْنِ وَمَنَعَنِي وَاحِدَةً سَأَلْتُهُ أَنْ لاَ يُهْلِكَ أُمَّتِي بِسَنَةٍ فَأَعْطَانِيهَا وَسَأَلْتُهُ أَنْ لاَ يُسَلِّطَ عَلَيْهِمْ عَدُوًّا مِنْ غَيْرِهِمْ فَأَعْطَانِيهَا وَسَأَلْتُهُ أَنْ لاَ يُذِيقَ بَعْضَهُمْ بَأْسَ بَعْضٍ فَمَنَعَنِيهَا

“Yes, It was a prayer of hope and fear. In it, I asked Allah for three things. He granted me two and withheld one from me. I asked him that my Ummah not be destroyed by drought. He granted that. I asked him that they not be overcome by enemies from outside of their ranks. He granted that. And I asked him that some of them not suffer from the harm of others, and He withheld that.” And in a wording there occurs, “I asked my Lord that my nation does not divide into sects and differ, and He withheld from granting that.”

FOUR:

Those from the Ummatud-Da’wah (mankind and jinn) who responded to the call of the Prophet Muhammad(ﷺ) will enter Paradise, and those who rejected his call after hearing of it will enter the Fire. Muslim (1884) reported that Abu Sa’īd Al-Khudri said that Allah’s Messenger said to him:

يَا أَبَا سَعِيدٍ مَنْ رَضِيَ بِاللَّهِ رَبًّا وَبِالإِسْلاَمِ دِينًا وَبِمُحَمَّدٍ نَبِيًّا وَجَبَتْ لَهُ الْجَنَّةُ

“O Abu Sa’īd, whoever is pleased with Allah as his Lord, with Islam as his religion and with Muhammad as his Prophet, then Paradise is obligated for him.” So Abu Sa’īd was amazed at these words and said: “Repeat them to me O Messenger of Allah.” So he did, and then said:

وَأُخْرَى يُرْفَعُ بِهَا الْعَبْدُ مِائَةَ دَرَجَةٍ فِي الْجَنَّةِ مَا بَيْنَ كُلِّ دَرَجَتَيْنِ كَمَا بَيْنَ السَّمَاءِ وَالأَرْضِ قَالَ وَمَا هِيَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ قَالَ الْجِهَادُ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ الْجِهَادُ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ

“There is another deed which elevates a man in Paradise one hundred levels higher. And the distance between one level and the next is the distance between the Heavens and Earth.” Abu Sa’īd said: “What is that deed?” The Messenger responded: “Striving with Jihād in the way of Allah. Striving with Jihād in the way of Allah.”

Muslim (153) reported from Abu Hurayrah that Allah’s Messenger said: “By the One in whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, there is none from this Ummah, whether Jew or Christian, who hears of me and then dies without having believed in what I was sent with except he will be of the dwellers of Hellfire.”

FIVE:

Allah forgives and overlooks this Ummah and pardons them much. An-Nasā’ee reported from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet said:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ تَعَالَى تَجَاوَزَ عَنْ أُمَّتِي كُلَّ شَىْءٍ حَدَّثَتْ بِهِ أَنْفُسَهَا مَا لَمْ تَكَلَّمْ بِهِ أَوْ تَعْمَلْ

“Allah, the Most High, has pardoned my Ummah for everything that enters the mind, so long as it is not spoken of or put into action.” In a narration collected by Al-Bukhāri (41), the Messenger (ﷺ) said:

إِذَا أَسْلَمَ الْعَبْدُ فَحَسُنَ إِسْلاَمُهُ يُكَفِّرُ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ كُلَّ سَيِّئَةٍ كَانَ زَلَفَهَا، وَكَانَ بَعْدَ ذَلِكَ الْقِصَاصُ، الْحَسَنَةُ بِعَشْرِ أَمْثَالِهَا إِلَى سَبْعِمِائَةِ ضِعْفٍ، وَالسَّيِّئَةُ بِمِثْلِهَا إِلاَّ أَنْ يَتَجَاوَزَ اللَّهُ عَنْهَا

“If a person embraces Islam sincerely, then Allah shall forgive all his past sins, and after that, starts the settlement of accounts, the reward of his good deeds will be ten times to seven hundred times for each good deed and one evil deed will be recorded as it is unless Allah forgives it.”

SIX:

This Ummah will constitute the majority of the inhabitants of Paradise. Bukhāri (6528) reported from Abdullah that he said: While we were with Allah’s Messenger in a tent, he said:

أَتَرْضَوْنَ أَنْ تَكُونُوا رُبُعَ أَهْلِ الْجَنَّةِ

“Would it please you to be a quarter of the people of Paradise?” We said: “Yes.” He then said:

تَرْضَوْنَ أَنْ تَكُونُوا ثُلُثَ أَهْلِ الْجَنَّةِ

“Would it please you to be one-third of the people of Paradise?” We replied: “Yes.” Then he said:

أَتَرْضَوْنَ أَنْ تَكُونُوا شَطْرَ أَهْلِ الْجَنَّةِ

“Would it please you to be half of the people of Paradise?” We said: “Yes.” Thereupon he said:

وَالَّذِي نَفْسُ مُحَمَّدٍ بِيَدِهِ إِنِّي لأَرْجُو أَنْ تَكُونُوا نِصْفَ أَهْلِ الْجَنَّةِ، وَذَلِكَ أَنَّ الْجَنَّةَ لاَ يَدْخُلُهَا إِلاَّ نَفْسٌ مُسْلِمَةٌ، وَمَا أَنْتُمْ فِي أَهْلِ الشِّرْكِ إِلاَّ كَالشَّعْرَةِ الْبَيْضَاءِ فِي جِلْدِ الثَّوْرِ الأَسْوَدِ أَوْ كَالشَّعْرَةِ السَّوْدَاءِ فِي جِلْدِ الثَّوْرِ الأَحْمَرِ

“By the One in whose Hand is the life of Muhammad, I hope that you will be one half of the people of Paradise, for none will enter Paradise but a Muslim, and you people, in comparison to the people who associate others in worship with Allah, are like a white hair on the skin of a black ox, or a black hair on the skin of a red ox.”

Tirmidhi (2546) reported from Ibn Buraidah from his father that the Prophet of Allah (ﷺ) said:

أَهْلُ الْجَنَّةِ عِشْرُونَ وَمِائَةُ صَفٍّ ثَمَانُونَ مِنْهَا مِنْ هَذِهِ الأُمَّةِ وَأَرْبَعُونَ مِنْ سَائِرِ الأُمَمِ

“The people of Paradise are a hundred and twenty rows, eighty of them are from this nation, and forty are from the rest of the nations.”

SEVEN:

This Ummah is the last to appear but the first into Jannah. Ibn Mājah (4290) reported from Ibn ‘Abbās that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said:

نَحْنُ آخِرُ الأُمَمِ وَأَوَّلُ مَنْ يُحَاسَبُ يُقَالُ أَيْنَ الأُمَّةُ الأُمِّيَّةُ وَنَبِيُّهَا فَنَحْنُ الآخِرُونَ الأَوَّلُونَ

“We are the last of the nations to appear and the first to be brought to account. It will be said on the Day of Resurrection: ‘Where is the unlettered nation and its Prophet?’ So we are the last and the first.”

EIGHT:

From this Ummah are those who will enter Paradise without reckoning. Ibn Mājah (4285) reported from Rifā’ah Al-Juhani: We returned with Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) from a journey, and he said:

وَالَّذِي نَفْسُ مُحَمَّدٍ بِيَدِهِ مَا مِنْ عَبْدٍ يُؤْمِنُ ثُمَّ يُسَدَّدُ إِلاَّ سُلِكَ بِهِ فِي الْجَنَّةِ وَأَرْجُو أَلاَّ يَدْخُلُوهَا حَتَّى تَبَوَّءُوا أَنْتُمْ وَمَنْ صَلَحَ مِنْ ذَرَارِيِّكُمْ مَسَاكِنَ فِي الْجَنَّةِ وَلَقَدْ وَعَدَنِي رَبِّي عَزَّ وَجَلَّ أَنْ يُدْخِلَ الْجَنَّةَ مِنْ أُمَّتِي سَبْعِينَ أَلْفًا بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ

“By the One in Whose Hand is the soul of Muhammad, there is no person who believes then stands firm and steadfast, but he will be caused to enter Paradise. I hope that they will not enter it until you and those who are righteous among your offspring will enter it, and take up your dwellings therein. And my Lord has promised me that seventy thousand of my nation will enter Paradise without being brought to account.”

Bukhāri reported that Ibn ‘Abbās (radiyallāhu ‘anhumā) narrated to from Allaah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wassallam) that he said: “The nations were displayed before me, and I saw a Prophet with a small group of people (ar-raht: between three and nine), and a Prophet with one or two men, and a Prophet who had nobody with him. Then a large mass of people appeared before me, and I thought they were my nation. So it was said to me: ‘This is Moosaa and his people.’ Then I looked and I saw another great mass of people, and it was said to me: ‘This is your nation, and with them are 70,000 people who will enter Paradise, without reckoning and without punishment.’” Then he stood and entered his home, and the people starting talking about the 70,000. So some of them said: “Perhaps they are those who accompanied Allah’s Messenger.” Others said: “Perhaps they are those who were born into Islam, and did not associate any partners in worship with Allah.” And they mentioned various other possibilities. Then the Messenger of Allah (salallāhu ‘alaihi wassallam) came out to them, and they informed him of their discussion. So he (salallāhu ‘alaihi wassallam) said:

هُمْ الَّذِينَ لا يَسْتَرْقُونَ وَلا يَتَطَيَّرُونَ وَلا يَكْتَوُونَ وَعَلَى رَبِّهِمْ يَتَوَكَّلُون

“They are those who do not seek Ruqyah, and they do not get themselves cauterised or branded, they do not follow evil (and are not concerned about) omens, and they put their trust in their Lord.” So ‘Ukkāshah b. Mihsan stood up and said: “O Allah’s Messenger! Supplicate to Allaah that He makes me from them.” So Allaah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wassallam) said: “You are from them.” Then another man stood up and said: “O Allah’s Messenger! Supplicate to Allaah that He makes me from them.” So he replied: “‘Ukkāshah has beaten you to it!”

There occurs in another narration collected by Ahmad, Ibn Mājah and Tirmidhi, from Abu Umāmah (radiyallahu ‘anhu) that the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wassallam) said:

وَعَدَنِي رَبِّي عَزَّ وَجَلَّ أَنْ يُدْخِلَ الْجَنَّةَ مِنْ أُمَّتِي سَبْعِينَ أَلْفًا بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ وَلا عَذَابٍ مَعَ كُلِّ أَلْفٍ سَبْعُونَ أَلْفًا وَثَلاثَ حَثَيَاتٍ مِنْ حَثَيَاتِ رَبِّي عَزَّ وَجَلَّ

“My Lord has promised me that 70,000 of my Ummah will enter Paradise without accounting and without being punished. Along with each thousand, another 70,000 will enter and then three Handfuls of my Lord.”

That makes 4 million, 900 thousand, then another three Handfuls from our Lord’s Mercy! This is for those who do not seek Ruqyah, and they do not get themselves cauterised or branded, they do not follow evil (and are not concerned about) omens, and they put their trust in their Lord.

NINE:

The Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) was given five things that no Prophet before him was given. A unique favour upon this Ummah. Bukhāri (335) reported from Jābir Ibn Abdullah that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said:

عْطِيتُ خَمْسًا لَمْ يُعْطَهُنَّ أَحَدٌ قَبْلِي نُصِرْتُ بِالرُّعْبِ مَسِيرَةَ شَهْرٍ، وَجُعِلَتْ لِيَ الأَرْضُ مَسْجِدًا وَطَهُورًا، فَأَيُّمَا رَجُلٍ مِنْ أُمَّتِي أَدْرَكَتْهُ الصَّلاَةُ فَلْيُصَلِّ، وَأُحِلَّتْ لِيَ الْمَغَانِمُ وَلَمْ تَحِلَّ لأَحَدٍ قَبْلِي، وَأُعْطِيتُ الشَّفَاعَةَ، وَكَانَ النَّبِيُّ يُبْعَثُ إِلَى قَوْمِهِ خَاصَّةً، وَبُعِثْتُ إِلَى النَّاسِ عَامَّةً

“I have been given five things which were not given to anyone else before me:

  • Allah made me victorious by awe, from a distance of one month’s journey.
  • The earth has been made for me (and this Ummah) a place for prayer and a place to perform Tayammum (dry ablution), therefore anyone of my Ummah can pray whenever and wherever the prayer is due.
  • The booty has been made lawful for me yet it was not lawful for anyone else before me.
  • I have been given the right of [major] intercession on the Day of Resurrection.
  • Every Prophet used to be sent to his nation only but I have been sent to all mankind.”

This Ummah has an immense amount to be thankful for to the Lord and Creator, Allah. May Allah make us from the grateful worshippers and enter us into Paradise without reckoning and without punishment.

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