In the name of God, most gracious, most merciful. That which most satisfies the human spirit is a graceful and fine sentiment, a supreme and divine fondness, a deep and metaphysical affection, and love which springs forth from the Supreme Creator. Queen Mother Pertevniyal has expressed this so beautifully: “Muhammad came to be from love / Without Muhammad, what is left of love?” Our Prophet is the lover of lovers, he is the beloved of God. He is made from love, because he is the product of divine love. Thus, without Muhammad, love is of no importance, nor of any value. And nothing will come of such love.

As a nation, our conception of the Prophet is centered on love. The respect accorded by our nation to the name “Muhammad,” the fact that we give our male children the names of our Prophet Muhammad, the Chosen One, that we append or prepend the name Gül (rose) to the names of our female children, or that we name them Gül... These are all manifestations of the indescribable love and affection we feel for our master the Prophet (p.b.u.h.), the sultan of our hearts.

Love of the Prophet constitutes the foundation of our history, of our culture and civilization. In our sense of art and aesthetics, our conception of elegance and beauty, in our cities, architecture, literature, poetry, encomia, hymns, eulogies, folk songs, music, chants, and descriptions of the Prophet, it is always Love of the Prophet that takes center stage.

The great poet Fuzûlî has explained the constitution of the land of Anatolia through love of the Prophet. In his famous encomium on the word “su” (water), he describes the furious flow of the rivers Euphrates and Tigris as “Ceaselessly striving for many lifetimes to reach the soil touched by [the Prophet’s] foot / The water wanders and rambles, crashing into one stone after another.”

In his Mevlid-i Şerif (Birth of the Prophet), Süleyman Çelebi wrote “I felt thirsty from the extreme heat / They served me a glass full of sherbet,” describing the birth of our beloved Prophet (p.b.u.h.) as if it were that of a child in an ordinary village of Bursa.

As a nation, we have added elegance and beauty to love and affection for the Prophet. For centuries, we sent rose oil from Isparta to Medina for burning in the lamps of the Mosque of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) (al-Masjid al-Nabawi), out of concern that his spirit might be disturbed by the odor of any other fuel. During the construction of the Hejaz Railroad, we sent an imperial edict stating that “rails should covered with felt” for the last 30 kilometers approaching Medina, “so that the good souls of the Prophet resting in the Garden of the Pure (al-Rawda al-Mutahhara) and his distinguished companions resting in the Baqi’ Cemetery (Maqbara al-Baqi’) would not be disturbed.”

As a civilization, we have developed a conception of art that is transcendent, one that refrains from reducing the sublime, sacred, and abstract to mere corporeality. We have had a conception of art that does not imprison the hearts and minds in the purely concrete. It is for this reason that, through the centuries, we have transformed the texts that describe our Prophet’s (p.b.u.h.) physical as well as moral beauty in the best manner possible into superb works of art as the most beautiful examples of the arts of calligraphy and illumination. And we have made it a tradition to hang these works in the most beautiful locations in our houses. Thus we have made every effort to keep love of the Prophet alive in our hearts and souls. In short, we have never deprived our hearts and souls of that gracious and fine sentiment, that sublime and sacred affection, that divine love which springs forth from the Creator himself.

We extend our gratitude to all those who have contributed to the various stages of this work based on the theme “Love of the Prophet,” from initial preparations to final publication, and pray to the Almighty that He will always keep our hearts and souls filled with love of the Prophet.