Al-Uthaymeen Muhammad ibn Salih
The rights of the Prophet r are the most important, after the rights of Allah. There is no human who has more rights than the Prophet r. Allah said, what translated means: "Verily, We have sent you (O Muhammad) as a witness, as a bearer of glad tidings, and as a warner. In order that you (O mankind) may believe in Allah and His Messenger, and that you assist and honor him (Muhammad)…" [48:8-9]
Therefore, love for the Prophet r should be more than one’s love for himself, his children, family and worldly possessions. The Prophet r said, what translated means: "None of you will reach belief till I become dearer to him than his children, parents and all humans." [Al-Bukhari & Muslim].
The Prophet r has many rights. Respect and appreciation for him should be practised in the best manner. Respecting the Prophet r includes respect of and adherence to his Sunnah after his death. Due rights should be given to the Prophet r without exaggeration. When one reads how the companions used to love and respect the Prophet r, one knows the importance of this matter. When Quraish (the Prophet’s r tribe) sent Orwa Ibn Masud to negotiate with the Prophet r in the Hudaibia area, he was greatly impressed by how the companions treated the Prophet r. He said, "I have visited the kings of Persia, Rome and Abysinia, but I have not seen any leader more revered and respected by his people than Muhammad r. If he ordered them to do anything, they do it without delay. If he performs Wudu` (washing up for prayer) they all seek the remainder of the water he used. They never look at him in the eye, out of respect." This is how the Prophet r was treated by his companions. He was Allah’s Messenger r who possessed great qualities and the best of conduct ever.
The rights of the Prophet r include believing him in matters of religion and the past, present and future happenings he told us about. Adherence and submission to his orders are some of his rights. When a Muslim believes in the Prophet r and wants to follow his religion, he must do so believing that he Prophet’s r way is the best way. Believing in the Prophet r includes the affirmation that his religion is the best religion. Allah said, what translated means: "But no, by your Lord, they can have no faith, until they make you judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept (them) with full submission" [4:65], and, "Say (O Muhammad to mankind): If you love Allah then you follow me, Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." [3:31]
To defend the religion of the Prophet r is one of his rights upon believers. Defending the religion can be done by using arms, the tongue and writings. To ignore attacks on the Prophet r or on his religion is impermissible to Muslims. Muslims must strive to reject, in the best manner, attacks on the Prophet’s r character or on any aspect of his religion, the best religion sent to mankind.
Source: Al-‘Uthaymeen, Muhammad ibn Salih, Rights Basic to the Natural Human Consitution and Affirmed by Divine Laws, The Daar of Islamic Heritage, 1994