Prophetic Title "Best of Creation"
by Dr. G. F. Haddad
"`Abd al-Salam ibn Ibrahim al-Laqqani (d. 1078), Sharh Jawharat al-Tawhid (1990 ed. p. 186): "It is obligatory (wâjib) on every legally responsible person to believe that he (SAWS) is the best of all, and one who denies it commits a sin, is guilty of innovation, and deserves to be taught a lesson.""
Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim
One of the names by which the Prophet Muhammad is known - upon him blessings and peace - is Khayru-l-Khalq or "Best of Creation." Other similar names of his with identical meaning are Khayru-l-Bariyya, Khayru Khalqillah, Khayru-l-`Alamina Turra, Khayru-n-Nas, Khayru Hadhihi-l-Umma, and Khîratullah. These titles refers to his high status over all human Prophets and Messengers as well as over the Jinn and angels - upon them peace. The Consensus of Muslims past and present - i.e. Ahl al-Sunna wal-Jama`a - over the matter was indicated in Shaykh Ibrahim al-Laqqani's (d. 1041) words, "steer clear of dissent" in his famous poem Jawharat al-Tawhid ("The Gem of Monotheism"):
65. wa afdalu al-khalqi `ala al-itlâqi
And the best of creatures in absolute terms
(d. 1241), Sharh Jawharat al-Tawhid (1999 ed. p. 295): "This assertion-of-superiority
(tafdîl) is by Consensus (ijmâ`) of the Muslims, both Sunnis
and Mu`tazila, except al-Zamakhshari [in al-Kashshaf (4:712), Surat al-Takwir]
who violated the Consensus."
al-Salam ibn Ibrahim al-Laqqani (d. 1078), Sharh Jawharat al-Tawhid
(1990 ed. p. 186): "It is obligatory (wâjib) on every legally responsible
person to believe that he (SAWS) is the best of all, and one who denies
it commits a sin, is guilty of innovation, and deserves to be taught a
66. wal-anbiyâ yalûnahu fil-fadli
And the Prophets follow him in preferability
(p. 293): "Al-Qadi Abu `Abd Allah al-Halimi [see on him the introduction
to our translation of al-Bayhaqi's al-Asma' wa al-Sifat] together
with others, such as the Mu`tazila, considered that the angels are better
than the Prophets except our Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu `alayhi wa Alihi
wa Sallam. Al-Sa`d [al-Taftazani] said [in Sharh al-`Aqa'id al-Nasafiyya]:
'There is nothing decisive in these issues.' Taj al-Din [ibn] al-Subki
said [in Tabaqat al-Shafi`iyya al-Kubra]: 'Safety lies in refraining
from speech on this question and to enter it in detail without decisive
evidence is to enter into great peril, a ruling over something over which
we are incapable of ruling.'"
67. hâdhâ wa qawmun fassalû idh faddalû
This said, some [i.e. the Maturidis] narrowed its terms
(p. 295): "And this is surely the more correct position (wa hâdhihi
hiya al-tariqa al-râjiha)." Note that he prefers the Maturidi position
here over that of the Jumhûr of the Ash`aris although he is Ash`ari,
while the author's son, Shaykh `Abd al-Salam al-Laqqani, said all angels
were preferable to all human beings other than Prophets - may Allah have
mercy on them and on all Ahl al-Sunna wal-Jama`a.
(p. 186-187): "It is obligatory to believe the preferability of the better
(afdaliyyatu al-afdal) exactly according to whatever ruling was
transmitted (`ala tabqi mâ warada al-hukmu bihi): if in detail
then in detail, if in general then in general (tafsîlan fil-tafsîli
wa ijmâlan fil-ijmâli). And it is not allowed to hasten to specific
designation (al-hujûm `alâ al-ta`yîn) of something which was not
divinely ordained (lam yarid fîhi tawqîf).... Qadi Taj al-Din ibn
al-Subki said: 'The preferability of human beings over the angels is not
among the matters one is obliged to believe nor harm those who ignore
them. If one meets Allah without the least idea about the matter in its
entirety, he would not have committed any sin. For people were not tasked
to know it. And safety lies in refraining from speech on this question,
(p. 297-298), al-Bajuri (p. 296): "Its conclusion being that our Prophet
(SAWS) is the best of creation in absolute terms, then Ibrahim, then Musa,
then `Isa, then Nuh - upon them peace - then the rest of the Messengers,
then the non-Messenger Prophets - some of them being superior to others,
but Allah alone knows in what detail, then Gibril, then Israfil, then
Mika'il, then `Izra'il, then 'common human beings' (`awamm al-bashar)
such as Abu Bakr, `Umar, `Uthman, and `Ali, then the mass of the angels."
Proofs of the Prophet’s Superiority to All Creation
dear Muslim brother sent the following query: “some brothers even question
that the Messenger of Allah was the Best of Creation. Do you have something
handy that I can allude to as 'evidence' in this regard?”
swear by Allah to you (Muslims) to please you [all], but Allah, with His
messenger, hath more right that they should please H/him if they are believers”
Do they know any other Prophet or angel-brought-near with whom Allah Most High shared as many of His own Names in the Qur'an as He did with the Prophet (SAWS)? See the end of this post on this.
respect to his foremost name - Muhammad - sallallahu `alayhi wa Alihi
Sallam, consider the poetic verse of Hassan ibn Thabit (RA):
wa shaqqa lahu min ismihi liyujillahu
And He drew out for him [a name]
The Owner of the Throne is the Glorious [Mahmûd],
they know any other Prophet or angel whom Allah addressed directly and
“And who is better in his discourse
than he who calls unto Allah and does good and says: I am one of the Muslims?”
(41:33) i.e. who is better in speech than the Prophet (SAWS)?
those who believe and do good works are the best of created beings”
(98:7) i.e. the Prophet (SAWS) is the best of created beings;
the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct” (49:13) i.e. the Prophet (SAWS) is the noblest
of those to whom the Qur'an is addressed in the sight of Allah;
lo! thou (Muhammad) art [I swear] of a tremendous nature” (68:4). The reality of this compliment - khuluqin
`azim - can be fathomed only by the Speaker Himself and whoever He
those messengers, some of whom We have caused to excel others, and of
whom there are some unto whom Allah spake, while _some of them He exalted
(above others) in degree_”
(2:253) i.e. the Prophet (SAWS).
we preferred some of the Prophets above others” (17:55) then He said: “It may be that thy
Lord will raise thee to a praised estate” (17:79), a Station which
the Prophet (SAWS) said none but he would receive. and this is the Station
of Intercession at the right of the Glorious Throne as we described at
length in the posting "The Seating of the Prophet (SAWS) on the Throne."
[have We not] exalted thy fame?” (94:4) Mujahid said: "Meaning, every
time I [Allah] am mentioned, you [Muhammad] are mentioned." Ibn Kathir
mentioned it in his Tafsir. Al-Shafi`i narrated the same explanation from
Ibn Abi Najih and so did Ibn `Ata' as cited by al-Nabahani in al-Anwar
al-Muhammadiyya min al-Mawahib al-Laduniyya (p. 379). Al-Baydawi
said in his Tafsir: "And what higher elevation than to have his
name accompany His Name in the two phrases of witnessing, and to have
his obedience equal His obedience??"
My Mercy embraceth all things, therefore I shall ordain It for those who
ward off (evil) and pay the poor due, and those who believe Our revelations”
(7:156); and He said “truly the Mercy of Allah is near those who do good”:
“Inna rahmat Allahi qaribun min al-muhsinin” (7:56) without putting
qaribun in the feminine (qaribatun) although rahma
is feminine, because in reality that rahma is the Prophet (SAWS),
as explicited in the verse: “wa ma arsalnaka illa rahmatan lil-`alamin”:
“And We did not send you (Muhammad) except as a Mercy to the worlds”
In the bounty of Allah and in His mercy: therein [alone] let them rejoice.
It is better than what they hoard” (10:58). Ibn `Abbas said: "The
bounty of Allah is Knowledge [of Tawhid], and His mercy is the Prophet
(SAWS)." Abu al-Shaykh narrated it as stated by al-Suyuti in al-Durr
al-Manthur (4:367). Al-Alusi in Ruh al-Ma`ani (10:141) and
Abu al-Su`ud in his Tafsir (4:156) said that the bounty is general while
the mercy is specific and therefore emphasized. Al-Razi in al-Tafsir
al-Kabir (17:123) said the command is emphatically restrictive, meaning
that a human being should not rejoice in anything else than the mercy.
Allah and His angels send praise and blessings [forever] upon the Prophet.
O ye who believe! Praise and bless the Prophet with utmost laud and blessing”
“That ye (mankind) may believe in Allah and His messenger, and may honor h/Him, and may revere h/Him, and may glorify h/Him at early dawn and at the close of day” (48:9). Al-Nawawi said that the scholars of Qur'anic commentary have given this verse two lines of explanation, one group giving the three personal pronouns "HIM" a single referent, namely, either Allah ("Him") or the Prophet ("him"); the other group distinguishing between two referents, namely, the Prophet (SAWS) for the first two ("honor and revere him"), and Allah for the last ("glorify Him"). Those of the first group that said the pronouns all refer to the Prophet (SAWS) explained "glorify him" (tusabbihuhu) here to mean: "declare him devoid of inappropriate attributes and pray for him."
Allah sufficeth as a witness that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah”
Every Quranic Verse Proof of the Prophet’s Status as ‘Best of Creation’
are, in fact, 6,666 Qur'anic proofs that the Messenger of Allah - Sallallahu
`alayhi wa Alihi wa Sallam - is (not "was") without doubt the Best
of creation, namely, the verses of the Holy Qur'an, since it is the greatest
of all revealed Books and their Seal, the only Book that Allah guaranteed
to preserve, and the universal Revelation for all creation (including
angels, cf. al-Haytami, Fatawa Hadithiyya p. 69, 151-154) as opposed
to previous Revelations which were only for the people among whom they
were revealed. And this Book was revealed to the heart of the Prophet
Muhammad (SAWS): “And lo! it is a revelation of the Lord of the Worlds
which the True Spirit hath brought down upon thy heart” (26:192-194).
might be confused by the narrations forbidding the Companions from boasting
the merits of one Prophet over the others, or preferring him over Musa,
or preferring him over Yunus, Allah bless and greet our Prophet and them.
However, these narrations denote humbleness on the part of the Seal of
Prophets (SAWS). That is what all the Ulema said in reply to the superficial
contradiction between the latter narrations and the verses and narrations
that firmly establish his superior status.
`Abbas (RA) said: "Allah has preferred (faddala) Muhammad over
all Prophets and over the dwellers of the heavens (= the angels)." They
said: "O Ibn `Abbas, how did He prefer him to the dwellers of the heavens?"
He replied: "Allah Most High said: ‘And one of them [the angels] who should
say: Lo! I am a God beside Him, that one We should repay with hell”
(21:29) but He said: ‘Lo! We have given thee (O Muhammad) a signal
victory That Allah may forgive thee of thy sin that which is past and
that which is to come, and may perfect His favor unto thee, and may guide
thee on a right path’ (48:1-2)." They said: "And how did He prefer
him over the Prophets?" He replied: "Allah Most High says: ‘And We
never sent a messenger save with the language of his folk’(14:4) but
He said: ‘And We have not sent thee (O Muhammad) save unto all mankind’
are many other more or less direct textual proofs to that effect, among
them the fact that Allah ordered the angels to learn the names of things
from Adam, but He ordered the universes to learn about Allah Himself from
the Prophet (SAWS): “The Beneficent! Ask any one informed concerning
Him” (25:59); the fact that the Prophet (SAWS) is to witness not only
over his own Community but over all others (2:143 and 4:41); the fact
that the Prophet (SAWS) alone, of all humankind, jinn, and angels, has
been given the Maqam al-Mahmud (17:79) i.e. the Glorious Station
(of intercession with Allah Most High) and, in the Sunna, the fact that
Allah did not give His intimate friendship to any angel, but He gave it
to the Messenger of Allah (SAWS) as well as to Sayyidina Ibrahim (AS),
and He made the Messenger of Allah the Imam of all Prophets and Messengers
when he prayed among them in Masjid al-Aqsa, the intercessor for all the
Communities (in the hadith "People shall surge like waves..."), and the
Master of Humankind (Sayyidu al-Nas) together with the fact that
he was known in the Divine presence as a Prophet while Adam (AS) was still
being created, and that the latter sought his intercession because he
saw his name written on the Throne.
Adam (as) asks sought intercession and forgiveness with the Prophet’s name
asked: "O Messenger of Allah, when were you [first] a Prophet?" He replied:
"When Allah created the earth ‘Then turned He to the heaven, and fashioned
it as seven heavens’(2:29), and created the Throne, He wrote on the
leg of the Throne: "Muhammad the Messenger of Allah is the Seal of Prophets"
(Muhammadun Rasûlullâhi Khâtamu al-Anbiyâ'). Then Allah created
the Garden in which He made Adam and Hawwa' dwell, and He wrote my name
on the gates, its tree-leaves, its domes and tents, at a time when Adam
was still between the spirit and the body. When Allah Most High instilled
life into him he looked at the Throne and saw my name, whereupon Allah
informed him that 'He [Muhammad SAWS] is the liege-lord of all your descendants.'
When Satan deceived them both, they repented and sought intercession to
Allah with my name."
great proof that the Messenger of Allah is the Best of Creation is the
Consensus of the Imams and Ulema of Ahl al-Sunna, violating which
are three scholars on record: the Zahiri Ibn Hazm; the Mu`tazili al-Zamakhshari;
and the Mujassim Ibn Abi al-`Izz who was imprisoned for it as related
by Ibn Hajar in his Inba' al-Ghumr (1:258-260). Shaykh `Abd Allah
al-Talidi said in his Tahdhib al-Shifa' (p. 162): "The dissent
of Ibn Hazm and al-Zamakhshari carries no weight."
Abu al-Fadl `Abd Allah ibn Muhammad al-Siddiq al-Ghumari al-Hasani wrote
a book titled, Dilalat al-Qur'ani al-Mubin `ala anna al-Nabiyya Afdalu
al-`Alamin ("The Indication of the Manifest Qur'an that the Prophet
is the Best of the Universes"), in which he listed the verses to that
effect Sura by Sura and in the introduction of which he mentioned the
in Tabaqat al-Awliya' narrated from [his Shaykh] the Knower of
Allah Abu al-Mawahib al-Shadhili that the latter said: 'A dispute took
place between me and a certain person in the Mosque of al-Azhar over the
statement of the author of al-Burda [Imam al-Busiri]:
Famablaghu al-`ilmi fîhi
The apex of
knowledge concerning him is that he is a human being
is a list of works containing proofs from the Qur'an and Sunna of the
superiority of the Prophet (SAWS) over all creation:
that Allah has bestowed a mark of honor on many of the Prophets by investing
them with some of His names, for instance, when He calls Ishaq and Isma`il
"knowing" (`alim) and "forbearing" (halim), Ibrahim "forbearing",
Nuh "thankful" (shakur), `Isa and Yahya "devoted" (barr),
Musa "noble" (karim) and "strong" (qawi), Yusuf "a knowing
guardian" (hafiz, `alim), Ayyub "patient" (sabur), and Isma`il
"truthful to the promise" (sadiq al-wa`d)... Yet He has preferred
our Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, since He
has adorned him with a wealth of His names in His Mighty Book and on the
tongue of His Prophets. We have gathered them together after reflecting
on the subject and putting our memory to work since we were unable to
locate anyone who had compiled more than two names nor anyone who had
dealt with it to any great extent before. We have recorded some of these
names... There about thirty of them. [He then proceeds to list and explain
them. They are: Ahmad, al-Ra'uf, al-Rahim, al-Haqq, al-Nur, al-Shahid,
al-Karim, al-`Azim, al-Jabbar, al-Khabir, al-Fattah, al-Shakur, al-`Alim,
al-`Allam, al-Awwal, al-Akhir, al-Qawi, al-Sadiq, al-Wali, al-Mawla, `Afw,
al-Hadi, al-Mu'min, al-Quddus/Muqaddas, al-`Aziz, al-Bashir, al-Nadhir,
Ta Ha, Ya Seen.]
Allah send blessings and peace on the Prophet, his Family, and all his
Companions. Even the Christians and Jews of old knew that the Prophet
Muhammad (SAWS) is the best of creation, as evidenced by some of his names
and attributes reportedly found in the Bible, such as "Ikleel =
Crown [of creation]" and "Parakletos = Spirit of Holiness."
 Narrated from `Ikrima by al-Darimi in the Muqaddima to his Musnad with a sound chain according to Shaykh `Abd Allah al-Talidi (Tahdhib al-Shifa' p. 167), al-Bayhaqi in Dala'il al-Nubuwwa, `Abd ibn Humayd in his Musnad, Abu Ya`la in his Musnad, Ibn Abi Hatim in his Tafsir, al-Tabarani in al-Mu`jam al-Kabir (11:240) with a chain of highly trustworthy narrators according to al-Haythami in Majma` al-Zawa'id (8:254), al-Hakim in al-Mustadrak (2:350 = 1990 ed. 2:381) where he declared it sahih and al-Dhahabi concurred, Ibn Marduyah in his Tafsir, al-Qadi `Iyad in al-Shifa' within the "Sahih and Famous Reports on His Tremendous Status and Rank Before His Lord" (Part I ch. 3), and Ibn Kathir in his Tafsir.
 Shaykh `Abd Allah al-Ghumari cited it in Murshid al-Ha'ir li Bayan Wad` Hadith Jabir and said, "its chain is good and strong" while in al-Radd al-Muhkam al-Matin (p. 138-139) he adds: "It is the strongest Companion-corroboration (shâhid) I saw for the hadith of `Abd al-Rahman ibn Zayd" as quoted also by Shaykh Mahmud Mamduh in Raf` al-Minara (p. 248).