Living The Quran
From Issue: 1042 [Read full issue]
Al-Ahzab (The Confederates) Sura 33: Verse 21
This is among a number of verses that establish the importance of obeying the Prophet and following his example, even in matters not addressed directly by the Quran. In the immediate context, the beautiful example that is found in the Prophet refers to being steadfast in combat and holding one's ground, but this verse is also among the most important regarding the position of the Prophet in Islam in general. Although his function as God's messenger is unique and inimitable, the Prophet's words and actions are considered to provide the archetype of a life lived in full submission to God.
Regarding the Prophet's example, Ali ibn Abi Talib is reported to have said, "He was the most generous of people, the most truthful of the people in speech, the gentlest of them in temperament, and the noblest of them in social affability. If someone saw him unexpectedly, he was awestruck by him, and if someone associated with him knowingly, he loved him. ... I have never seen the like of him, either before him or after him."
The example provided by the Prophet is for those who look forward to reward from God or to the meeting with God, thus for those who believe in the Resurrection. In this context, and remember God much can be seen as a reference to the heart of the prophetic example, since to live in accord with the prophetic model is to live in constant remembrance of God.
"The Study Quran: A New Translation and Commentary" - Seyyed Hossein Nasr