The human intellect is a fascinating creation of God, instilling within us an insatiable curiosity to explore the unknown, propelling us towards the springs of knowledge that can quench our thirst. Curiosity is a virtue that should be nurtured, and its flame should never extinguish. In an article published by Ness Labs, they mention that children possess incredibly inquisitive minds, constantly asking ‘why?’—an astounding 107 questions a day—driven by the simple desire to know. Interestingly, studies reveal that as we mature, most of us fail to sustain the level of curiosity we exhibited as children. While it may seem that as adults, we possess enough knowledge to overcome our childhood curiosity, this perspective merely underscores how little we truly understand.
The Prophet Muhammad and his holy household teach us that genuine knowledge humbles our souls because the more we learn, the more we realize how uneducated we really are. Consider, for instance, the dedicated pursuit of expertise by individuals with PhDs, immersing themselves in a single field, whether it be Islamic Studies, Chemistry, or Accounting. If a lifetime is needed to master the depths of one field of study, one can only imagine the time required to become an expert in multiple fields. This illustrates how, as we age, we tend to focus our curiosity on specific areas of knowledge that align with our careers or interests, while the innate curiosity about life itself slowly wanes.
However, if we were to poll adults about their most profound curiosities, a significant majority would likely respond with variations of the questions, ‘Why were we created?’ or ‘Does God exist?’ As we mature, our curiosity naturally gravitates toward questions that are not easily answered. Even when we do uncover answers, they may not instill us with a sense of conviction. As we previously discussed, curiosity is a pathway to knowledge, but what happens when we fail to find satisfactory answers? Do we simply abandon our curiosity, leaving it unquenched? Could a just and compassionate God bestow upon us such curiosity without also providing the means to find answers that soothe our souls and satisfy our intellects? The resounding answer is ‘no.’ So, what means did God provide to help us unravel the mysteries of our most profound inquiries? The beautiful answer lies in the creation and birth of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
In reference to the Holy Prophet and his mission, Allah (swt) states in the Holy Quran, Chapter 21, Verse 107, “We have sent you (O Prophet) not, but as a Mercy to the worlds / all creatures.” If we reflect on the verse and relate it back to the holy Prophet’s life, there are many ways in which he was a mercy for mankind. For example, he eradicated racism by appointing Bilal to be the caller of Adhan, he freed slaves, he elevated the status of women amongst those who used to bury their daughters out of shame, he revolutionized the idea of morals and ethical standards, he emphasized charity and giving to the less fortunate, and more. In many ways, he was a mercy upon mankind. To me, the most beautiful form of his mercy is the fact that he was chosen by God and given knowledge from God to introduce us to God, the One, the Merciful. The reason why this is so important is because without guidance from God to teach us about Him in the way He wishes to be known, our minds would have never been able to fathom His existence. How can we imagine God when our imagination is limited to our senses and things we have experienced? Rather, it was required that God send guides with knowledge of Him to share with us. Beginning from Prophet Adam to Prophet Abraham to Prophet Moses to Prophet Jesus to Prophet Muhammad, God sent guidance to mankind. However, it was with Prophet Muhammad’s prophecy that God stated in Chapter 3 of the Holy Quran, “Today I have completed your religion for you, and I have perfected My favor on you, and I am satisfied with Islam as a religion for you.” Through Muhammad, we get answers to the complex questions our curiosity conjures up, and no question is off limits, as the spring of knowledge provided by Prophet Muhammad is enough to quench our thirst and fill our hearts with conviction.
To end, I wanted to share an excerpt from the supplication of Nudba, which beautifully describes the importance of Prophet Muhammad’s existence in upholding the true knowledge of God:
“…For each of them (referring to other Prophets such as Noah, Jesus, Abraham, etc.), You gave a code of law, decided a certain course, and finely chose successors; well-trustworthy successors one after another, each for a certain period, in the purpose of establishing Your religion and acting as arguments against Your servants so that the truth should never leave its position and the wrong should never overcome the people of the truth and so that none should claim, saying, ‘If only You had sent to us a warning messenger and established for us a guiding person, we should have followed Your signs before that we met humiliation and disgrace!’ You then ended the matter with Your most-beloved and well-selected one, Muhammad, may Allah bless him and his Household. He was—as exactly as You have chosen—the master of all those whom You created, the best of all those whom You selected, the most favorite of all those whom You pointed out, and the noblest of all those on whom You decided. So, You preferred him to Your prophets, sent him to the two dependents (men and jinn) from Your servants, enabled him to tread on the east and the west of Your lands, made subservient to him the Buraq (the celestial sumpter), raised him to Your heavens, and entrusted him with the knowledge of whatever passed and whatever shall come to pass up to the extinction of Your creatures. You then granted him victory by means of awe & majesty ordered (Archangels) Gabriel and Michael as well as the marked angels to surround him, and promised him to make his faith prevail over all other faiths however much the polytheists may be averse. You did all that after You had settled him in an honest position among his people…””
Zain Jaffery is the author of “Infallible Wisdom: Reflections on how to live a more meaningful life,” a book of relatable daily reflections on the teachings of the Ahlul-Bayt that he documented as a college student. He aims to spread the ethos of the Ahlul-Bayt through the brand Infallible Wisdom, you may learn more about his journey at Infallible-Wisdom.com and follow him on Instagram @Infallible_Wisdom.