A short yet very beneficial excerpt about the status of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam by Shaykh ibn Al-Uthaymeen rahimahullah,
Ibrahim and Muhammad - may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon them both- are the two close friends of Allah (Khaleelaan). Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala said, “And Allah did take Ibrahim as a Khaleel (an intimate friend).” [4:125] The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “Allah has taken me as akhaleel just as He took Ibrahim as a khaleel.”
The meaning of khaleel is a loved one that has gained you who has been utmost love [i.e., a greater and more intense love you have for an intimate friend] and we do not know of anyone who has been described with this attribute except for Muhammad and Ibrahim, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon them both, they are the two close friends (Khaleelaan).
And you may hear some of the people say, “Ibrahim is khaleelullah (the close friend of Allah), Muhammad is the Habeebullah (the one loved by Allah), and Musa is the kaleemullah (the one Allah spoke to).” As for the one who says, “Muhammad is Habeebullah“, he should realize that khullah (being akhaleel) is more intense than mahabbah (love, i.e., being a habeeb). So, if he says, “Muhammad isHabeebullah,” then this is a type of reduction from the rights of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam because the ones loved by Allah are many –the believers (mu’minoon), those who do utmost good (muhsinoon), those who are just (muqsitoon) are all loved by Allah.
But, as for the khullah (being a khaleel), we do not know that it is established for other than Ibrahim and Muhammad, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon them both, so according to this we say the correct statement is:
Ibrahim is Khaleelullah, Muhammad is Khaleelullah and Musa is Kaleemullah.
[Sharh Riyaad As-Saaliheen 1/236-237]
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