Tuesday, 19 June 2012
Of the Prophet's (s.a.w.) Sandals
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
Shaykh Yusuf an-Nabahani (r.a.) recited about the Prophet's (s.a.w.) sandals:
“A sandal to whose majestic nobility we submit
For by submitting to its majesty do we rise:
Therefore place it in the highest spot for it is
In reality a crown, though its image is a sandal.”
Imam al-Qasthalani (r.a.) mentioned the following from one of the greatest tabi’in, Imam Abu Ishaq az-Zuhri (r.a.), who said that Shaykh al-Qasim ibn Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr asw-Swiddiq (r.a.) said, “Of the proven blessing of the likeness of the Prophet’s sandal is that whoever has it in his possession for tabarruk, it will safeguard him from the sedition of rebels and the mastery of enemies, and will be a barrier against every recreant devil and the evil eye of the envious. If the pregnant woman holds it in her right hand at the time of labour, her delivery will be easier by Allah's change and His might.”
Imam al-Qasthalani (r.a.) also said that Imam Abu al-Yaman ibn ‘Asakir (r.a.) wrote a volume on the image of the Prophet's (s.a.w.) sandal, and so did Shaykh ibn al-Hajj al-Andalusi (r.a.). He related the account of a pious shaykh by the name of Shaykh Abu Ja’far Ahmad ibn `Abd al-Majid (q.s.): “I cut the pattern of this sandal for one of my students. He came to me one day and said: ‘I saw a wonder yesterday from the blessing of this sandal. My wife was suffering from a pain which almost took her life. I placed the sandal on the spot of her pain and said, ‘O Allah, show me the Blessing of the owner of this sandal. Allah Cured her on the spot.’”
In classical Arabic, the word used for a sandal is ‘na’al’. The ‘na'alayn’ are the two blessed sandals of Rasulullah (s.a.w.) which were used by him during his life. Over the years, scholars have mentioned the benefits to be gained by keeping and honouring ourselves with a representation of the sacred na’alayn, not the actual or original blessed slipper of our Messenger (s.a.w.) but a cut-out copy or something which is similar. This serves as a symbol for his sandal, which is revered, due to it being worn on the blessed feet of the Greatest of all Creation (s.a.w.). An original pair of the Messenger’s (s.a.w.) na’alayn has been kept in the famous Topkapi Palace Museum in Turkey.
These are numerous blessings to be obtained by keeping the na'alayn. It is not only the na'alayn which are a blessing, but anything which is associated with the Prophet (s.a.w.). For instance, Fathimah az-Zahrah (r.a.) once went to the maqam of her Beloved Father (s.a.w.) and took a handful of dust which she put to her eyes, saying, “One who smells the dust of the grave of the Most Beloved Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) would not need to smell any other perfume in his life. Such calamities have befallen me, that if they had descended upon days they would have fallen into nights.”
It is mentioned in Swahih al-Bukhari that ‘Ali (k.w.) was cured of his eye ailment when Rasulullah (s.a.w.) applied his blessed saliva to his eye. It is also narrated that Bilal (r.a.) used to rub his face on the grave of the Beloved Prophet (s.a.w.). The practice of honouring relics, tabarruk, was common among the companions of the Messenger (s.a.w.). The noble companions gave the utmost respect to his relics and used to seek blessings from the reminders they had of the Messenger (s.a.w.) during his lifetime. They made the relics a wasilah, a means, for cure in this world and the acquisition of Divine Mercy after death.
Love is the strongest of all human emotions. It is love that distinguishes the relationship between the believers and their Prophet (s.a.w.) who said, “None of you truly believes until I am more beloved to him than his very self, wealth and all people.” It was this love as well as by an understanding of the immense importance of the personal example of our Messenger (s.a.w.) that caused the ummah to preserved his entire life in the most exacting detail. His noble sandals have received particular attention because of the utmost love and humility for our Beloved Prophet (s.a.w.) such that we do not see ourselves worthy of even the dust beneath his blessed feet.
The attention given to the na’alayn is not a recent phenomenon or an innovation. The first generation, the companions were known to have given them attention and importance, such that some of them were recorded as having distinguished themselves with serving the noble sandals. It has been reported by Shaykh ibn Sa’ad (r.a.) that Anas ibn Malik (r.a.) was the keeper of the sandals of the Messenger (s.a.w.) and Imam asw-Swalihi (r.a.) reported in his work, Subul al-Huda wa ar-Rashad, that ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (r.a.) used to get up as soon as Rasulullah (s.a.w.) sat down and remove the Beloved Messenger's (s.a.w.) sandals and place them under his arms. When the Prophet (s.a.w.) got up, he would place them on his blessed feet. Many other narrations have been transmitted from the companions giving exact descriptions of the noble sandals of the Messenger (s.a.w.).
The depiction of the na’alayn has had a special place in the hearts of Muslims since it reminds them of their tremendous love for the Prophet (s.a.w.) and inspires in them the utmost humility towards his high rank. Because of this, they took care to record its depiction, to draw it, and they sometimes placed it under their turbans in a display of their love for the Prophet (s.a.w.). They also hung this depiction in their houses, seeking blessings from it. Writers and poets wrote eloquently in praise of the noble sandals and described their ecstatic love for the one who wore them. Imam Abu al-‘Abbas (r.a.) gathered a significant amount of these writings in his works, as well as in his treatise, Azhar ar-Riyadh.
During the caliphate of ‘Umar ibn al-Khaththab (r.a.), whenever a punishment of beating had to be carried out due to transgression of hudud, he would place a small piece of this blessed sandal on the whip. Whosoever was whipped eventually became pious and made true repentance. A piece of sandal that touched a body made that body haram for the fires of Hell. And this is for those who seek to truly understand the reality and greatness of our Prophet (s.a.w.).