In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy
Indeed, one of the greatest bestowals on a believing slave of Allaah – which leads to guidance and righteous deeds -is that Allaah [The Mighty and Majestic] facilitates for him the path to seeking knowledge, grants him an ardent zeal and eagerness for knowledge. Seeking knowledge is something one never feels that he has acquired enough, rather whenever a path to knowledge is made available, he pursues it.
Allaah protects the student of knowledge, guides and aids him, therefore it is obligated on a student of knowledge to exalt the affair of turning to Allaah [in submission, obedience etc] and that what he learns should be a proof for him and not against him; and that Allaah increases him in knowledge, facilitates him with the path to good and guidance. “Whoever follows a path in search of knowledge Allaah will make easy for a him a path to paradise”.
One of the noblest aspects of knowledge – an affair that occupies a mighty station- is to pay close attention to the characteristics of the Prophet, his specific qualities and deeds by way of which Allaah distinguished him from everyone amongst mankind, his manners, etiquettes and biography. That is because he is the greatest Imaam [leader] and the perfect example. Indeed, Allaah [The Mighty and Majestic] commanded us to follow his example, made him an Imaam [leader] and example for us. Allaah [The Mighty and Majestic] said:
لَّقَدۡ كَانَ لَكُمۡ فِى رَسُولِ ٱللَّهِ أُسۡوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ۬ لِّمَن كَانَ يَرۡجُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَٱلۡيَوۡمَ ٱلۡأَخِرَ وَذَكَرَ ٱللَّهَ كَثِيرً۬ا
Indeed in the Messenger of Allah (Muhammad) you have a good example to follow for him who hopes in (the Meeting with) Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah much. [Surah Al-Ahzaab. Aayah 21]
This noble Aayah – as the people of knowledge have stated – is a basis to established the fact that the Prophet [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] is to be emulated; [but] emulating him cannot be actualized except by way of acquainting oneself with his characteristics, his qualities in general, his specific qualities and deeds by way of which Allaah distinguished him from everyone amongst humankind, his manners and etiquettes. The one who is unacquainted with the Prophet’s [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] characteristics and manners will not be able to emulate him, and that is why the scholars [of Islaam] have written beneficial books regarding his characteristics and qualities.
The manners and qualities of the Prophet [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] are a means of inviting [mankind] to this mighty religion [of Islaam]. Indeed, many people- during his era and thereafter – have been guided through their acquaintance with his manners and qualities. One used to come to him whilst harbouring the severest hatred towards him, but after meeting him and [observing] his great [unmatched noble] etiquettes, noble manners, lofty dealings and benevolence, the person would depart whilst loving him more than everyone else on the face of the earth. Therefore, his characteristics are a means to calling to this religion- a weapon for the one inviting the people in the path of Allaah.
Speaking about his qualities, emulating him and calling others to emulate him strengthens the religion of Islaam, because he was the one whom Allaah appointed to convey and explain the religion to humankind. Allaah chose him and he is the best of all the slaves of Allaah- the greatest in his servitude to Allaah. Calling the people to emulate his qualities is a means to calling people to believe in the religion ordained by Allaah and a means to strengthening the belief of the one who has already believed in his Messenger-ship. This is why turning away from his Seerah has been the cause of people’s inclination towards the path of losers amongst men and women [i.e. those upon a path other than the path of Allaah]. As for the biographies of the Imaams of Guidance- the greatest of them being the Messenger, they are a means of rectifying the person and a means to safety from corruption and evil. On the other hand, the biography of the losers is a path that will lead to evil, ruin and corruption. Allaah [The Mighty and Majestic] said:
قَدۡ كَانَتۡ ءَايَـٰتِى تُتۡلَىٰ عَلَيۡكُمۡ فَكُنتُمۡ عَلَىٰٓ أَعۡقَـٰبِكُمۡ تَنكِصُونَ
مُسۡتَكۡبِرِينَ بِهِۦ سَـٰمِرً۬ا تَهۡجُرُونَ
أَفَلَمْ يَدَّبَّرُوا الْقَوْلَ أَمْ جَاءَهُم مَّا لَمْ يَأْتِ آبَاءَهُمُ الْأَوَّلِينَ
أَمْ لَمْ يَعْرِفُوا رَسُولَهُمْ فَهُمْ لَهُ مُنكِرُونَ
Indeed My Verses used to be recited to you, but you used to turn back on your heels [denying them, and with hatred to listen to them]. In pride [they Quraish pagans and polytheists of Makkah used to feel proud that they are the dwellers of Makkah sanctuary Haram], talking evil about it [the Qur’an] by night. Have they not pondered over the Word [of Allaah, i.e. what is sent down to the Prophet], or has there come to them what had not come to their fathers of old? Or is it that they did not recognize their Messenger [Muhammad] so they deny him? [i.e. this is a rebuke against them because all of them – young and old – knew his lineage, truthfulness and trustworthiness, yet they turned away from his message]. [Surah Al-Muminoon. Aayaat 66-69]
This shows that contemplating on the Qur’aan and acquainting oneself with the Messenger’s guidance and biography is a path leading to safety, and a safeguard against turning back on one’s heels [i.e. a safeguard against turning away from the guidance he was sent with]. On the other hand, abandoning the Seerah of the Prophet and inclining towards the Seerah of the losers [i.e. those men and women upon other than the guidance of the Messenger] will lead to ruin. The people became corrupted – in this era – after being put to trial through movies and films; but had they turned to the biographies of the Prophets and the noble companions of the Prophet Muhammad, they would have found guidance and a path leading to steadfastness.
Source: An Excerpt from: [شرح المختصر في صفات النبي ﷺ وأخلاقه] Lesson 1. slightly paraphrased