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The Prohibition of Excess in Relation to the Prophets

It is stated in the Qur’an in Sura al-Nisā’:

People of the Book, do not go to excess in your religion, (La taghlū fī dīnikum).[1]

The commentators of the Qur’an have said,  “The word ghuluw means to exceed the limit, whether it is in the form of excess or too less.”[2] In Sura Tawba, there is mention of exceeding the limits when the Jews would call Prophet Uzair, peace be upon him, the son of God, and the Christians would call Prophet Īsā, peace be upon him, the son of God. The Jews also exceeded the limits when they criticised him by rejecting his lineage, and the Christians exceeded the limits when they believed that Prophet Īsā was God or the son of God.[3]

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Do not exaggerate in praising me as the Christians praised the son of Maryam, for I am only a slave, so call me the slave of Allah and His Messenger.”[4] 

It is clear that the Christians’ exaggeration was that they called Prophet Īsā, peace be upon him, the son of God. The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, forbade this regarding himself. Considering this Hadith, Mulla Alī Qarī said, “Apart from describing the Prophet as a deity and Godhead, any virtue and honour can be ascribed to him.” As Imam Busiri, may Allah have mercy upon him, said:

Leave what the Christians attribute to their prophet,

And say what you wish in praise of him (Prophet Muhammad)


Amr ibn al-Āṣ, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “There is no one more beloved or honourable to me than the Messenger of Allah. Because of the awe of the majesty and beauty of the Prophet, I could not look directly at him. And I am not able to describe the Messenger of Allah because I have not looked directly at him.”[5]

Hassān bin Thābit, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “When I looked at the lights of the Messenger of Allah, I placed my palms over my eyes, out of fear that I may lose my sight.”

[1] Sura al-Nisā’, 4:171

[2] Tafsīr Mazhari, vol.2

[3] Tafsīr Baydāwī

[4] Bukhari

[5] Qadī Iyād, al-Shifā’. 

- Extract from the book Love of the Righteous is the Key to Sainthood,
by Shaykh Muhammad Sadiq Alawi.

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