You wrote that to say that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was the greatest of all the Prophets is without evidence. The scholars usually cite the evidences that during Mir’aj, Prophet [pbuh] lead the prayer before all the prophets and another hadith which states that when all the Prophets fail to help their people, it is only Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) who would be praying for the intercession. What is your opinion on these Hadeeth.?
The reliability of the above two ahadith (and their consistency with other relevant ahadith) should of course be assessed. Generally speaking, many of the ahadith with regard to the events of Mir’aj (the Prophet’s journey to the heavens) and the events of the hereafter are among the weak ahadith.
Nevertheless, no matter what might be the result of this assessment, the main source of such important information (that our Prophet – PBUH – was the greatest of the prophets) should be the Qur’an. It is very strange to accept the above mentioned superiority of our beloved Prophet (pbuh) based on few ahadith, while not having even a single verse of the Qur’an, indicating this superiority.
The Qur’an refers to the events of the Mir’aj but never says anything about our Prophet leading other Prophets in prayer. In one way of course it is possible to argue that the Qur’an has supported the notion of our Prophet leading other prophets in prayer. This however has nothing to do with superiority. Please let me explain;
The Prophet’s leading of the prayers can be symbolic of two things: firstly, that after his advent, the criterion of what is God’s shari`ah now, will be what the Prophet Muhammad has brought. Now, even all the previous prophets of God – if they were present – would have followed this shari`ah (not implying the greatness of any one prophet over the other, but only implying the decision of the Almighty); and secondly, the personalities of these prophets were symbolic of their respective followers, implying that now all nations and followers of the various prophets of God are required to believe and follow the teachings brought by Muhammad.
In terms of intercession, the Qur’an generally warns us (almost in all the relevant verses) that we should not be too optimistic about intercession. The Qur’an however does not inform us that our Prophet (pbuh) will be the only one who will be granted permission to intercede for people.
It is of course of no harm for an individual that (out of his/her outmost love for the Prophet) consider the Prophet to be the greatest prophet. However, we cannot consider this as part of our obligatory religious belief as Muslims, unless we can provide clear evidences from the Qur’an.