A brother has asked for some evidence from the Quran that the beloved Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) is the greatest and best of all mankind. Please could you help give some references and commentary?
Allah’s name I begin with and blessings and salutations on the best of all creation, Muhammad, May Allah bless him and grant him peace.
Allama Sharafudeen Muhammad bin Hasan Al-Busairi (Imam Busairi), may Allah have Mercy upon him, writes in his world famous Qasida, (Qasida Burda):
“Mowla Ya Salli Wa Sallim Daiman Abadan
‘Ala Habibika Khayri Khalqi Kulli Himi”
O my Lord! Send peace and blessings continuously
Upon Your beloved, the best of all creations.
Do they know any other Prophet or angel whom Allah (The Exalted) addressed directly and by whose life He swore?
1. “O beloved (O Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace)’ by your life, verily they are wandering about in their intoxication.” (Surah Al-Hijr; Surah No:15; Verse: 72)
2. “And who is better in speech than him who invites towards Allah (The Exalted) and does good and says: ‘I am a Muslim?” (Surah Al-Sajdah; Surah No:41; Verse: 33) i.e. who is better in speech than the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace?
3. “Undoubtedly, those who believed and did good deeds, they are the best of creatures.” (Surah Al- Bayyinah; Surah No: 98; Verse: 7) i.e. the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, is the best of created beings.
4. “Undoubtedly the most respected among you in the sight of Allah (The Exalted) is he who is more pious, verily, Allah (The Exalted) is knowing. Aware.” (Surah Al-Hujurat; Surah No: 49; Verse: 13) i.e. the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, is the noblest of those to whom the Qur`an is addressed in the sight of Allah (the Exalted).
5. “And undoubtedly, you possess excellent manners.” (Surah Al-Qalam; Surah No: 68; Verse: 4). The reality of this compliment – khuluqin ‘adheem – can be fathomed only by the Speaker Himself and whoever He wills.
6. “These are messengers! That in them We caused one to excel upon the other: to some of them Allah (The Exalted) spoke: and some is he who was raised high in degrees over-all…” (2:252) i.e. the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.
Every Qur’anic Verse is Proof of the Prophet`s Status as ‘Best of Creation’. There are, in fact, 6,666 Qur`anic proofs that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, is (not “was”) without doubt the Best of creation, namely, the verses of the Qur`an, since it is the greatest of all revealed Books and their Seal, the only Book that Allah (The Exalted) guaranteed to preserve, and the universal Revelation for all creation as opposed to previous Revelations which were only for the people among whom they were revealed.
Al-Qadi ‘Iyad said in al-Shifa’, in the section entitled: “On Allah honouring the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, with some of His own Beautiful Names and describing him with some of His own sublime qualities”: Know that Allah has bestowed a mark of honour 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)… (upon them all be peace). 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.
• The fact that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, is to witness not only over his own Community but over all others (2:143 and 4:41).
• The fact that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, 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, The Exalted ) and, in the Sunna.
• The fact that Allah (The Exalted) did not give His intimate friendship to any angel, but He gave it to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, as well as to Sayyidina Ibrahim (upon whom be peace), and He made the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, the Imam of all Prophets and Messengers when he prayed among them in Masjid al-Aqsa.
• The intercessor for all the Communities, 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 (upon whom be peace) was still being created, and that the latter sought his intercession because he saw his name written on the Throne.
• Adam (upon whom be peace) asks sought intercession and forgiveness with the Prophet`s, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, name.
Another great proof that the Messenger of Allah is the Best of Creation is the Consensus of the Imams and Ulama of Ahl al-Sunnah. Even the Christians and Jews of old knew that the Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, 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.”
May Allah (The Exalted) send blessings and peace on the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, his Family, and all his Companions.
Allah, The Exalted, and the Messenger, May Allah bless him and grant him peace, know best.
[Answer provided by: Abd al Mannan]