Monday, 21 January 2013
Explaining the Vision of the Prophet (s.a.w.) in Daylight
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following is an explanation of the vision of the Prophet (s.a.w.) in daylight, extracted from Section 8 of the Rimah al-Hizb ar-Rahim of Shaykh ‘Umar Futi Thal (q.s.).
This section is concerned with informing the brethren that the saints behold the Prophet (s.a.w.) in a state of wakefulness, and that he is present at every meeting or place he wished, with his body and his spirit. He moves freely and travels wherever he will, and he is in the shape he was in before his death, with no part of him having altered. He is invisible, just as the angels are invisible, despite their being alive in their bodies. If Allah (s.w.t.) Wished to let a servant behold him, He Removes the veil from Him, so he sees him in his physical shape. Success is achieved with the Help of Allah (s.w.t.), for He is the Guide by His Grace to the Straight Path.
In Lawaqih al-Anwar al-Qudsiyyah fi al-Uhud al-Muhammadiyyah, Imam ash-Sha’rani (q.s.) said, “If you make a frequent practice of invoking blessing and peace upon him, perhaps you will attain to the station of witnessing him. That is the practice of Nur ad-Din ash-Shinwani, Ahmad az-Zawawi, Muhammad ibn Dawud al-Manzalani, and a company of the shuyukh of the era. Not one of them ever ceases to invoke blessing upon Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.), to make a frequent practise thereof, and to cleanse himself of all sins, so that he may come together with him in a state of wakefulness at any moment he wishes. If someone does not experience this coming together, he has not yet practised the invocation of blessing upon Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.) with the frequency required in order to attain to this station.
Ahmad az-Zawawi told me that when he had failed to achieve the experience of coming together with the Prophet (s.a.w.), he devoted himself with assiduous perseverance to the invocation of blessing upon the Prophet (s.a.w.) for one whole year, invoking blessing upon him fifty thousand times each and every day. In similar fashion, Nur ad-Din ash-Shinwani informed me that he devoted himself with assiduous perseverance to the invocation of blessing upon the Prophet (s.a.w.) for such and such a period of time, invoking blessing upon him thirty thousand times each and every day.
I heard ‘Ali al-Khawwasw say, ‘A servant does not achieve perfection in the station of mystical knowledge until he experiences communion with Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.) in a state of wakefulness and oral conversation. The following are included among those righteous predecessors who have seen him in a state of wakefulness: Abu Madyan al-Maghribi, the Shaykh of the Sufi community; ‘Abd ar-Rahim al-Qinawi; Musa az-Zawawi; Abu al-Hasan ash-Shadzili; Abu ‘Abbas al-Mursi; Abu Sa’ud ibn Abi Masha’ir; Ibrahim al-Mathbuli and Jalal ad-Din as-Suyuthi.’ He also used to say, ‘I have seen the Prophet (s.a.w.) and I have come together with him in a state of wakefulness no fewer than seventy times.’
As for Ibrahim al-Mathbuli, his communion with his is beyond reckoning, since he would come together with him in all his spiritual states, and he would say, ‘I have no shaykh except Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.).’
Abu ‘Abbas al-Mursi used to say, ‘If Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.) was Veiled from me for a moment, I would not count myself among the Muslims’”
Imam ash-Sha’rani (q.s.) also said in another place, “The wird of Ahmad az-Zawawi used to consist of forty thousand invocations of blessing and he once said to me, ‘Our procedure is to make frequent invocations of blessing upon Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.), to the point where he keeps us company in a state of wakefulness and we associate with him like the companions. We then ask him about the affairs of our worldly life. We also ask him about those Prophetic traditions which the hafizh has reported to us on weak authority, and we act in accordance with what he has to say about them. When that experience does not come about for us, it must mean that we are not among those who make a frequent practise of invocation of blessing upon him’”
Imam Ahmad ibn al-Mubarak (q.s.), the author of al-Ibriz, mentioned that he noticed a man who saw the Prophet (s.a.w.) in the state of wakefulness, and because of him, the fragrant scent of Madina, the City of the Prophet (s.a.w.), was emanating from the city of Fez. He then went on to say, he heard this man say, “I went on the pilgrimage and when I visited the tomb of the Prophet (s.a.w.), a spiritual state came over me and I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, I did not think that I would reach your City and then return to Fez.’
Then I heard a voice from the noble tomb, and it was saying, ‘If I am stored in this tomb, those of you who come must stay here, but if I am with my community, wherever it may be, you must return to your homelands.’ I therefore went back to my homeland.”
The Makkan scholar, Shaykh Abu al-Baqa’ al-‘Ajimi (q.s.) said, “This thariqa’ is founded on an inner submergence accompanied by a visible manifestation when you see the Prophet (s.a.w.) himself. This is the outcome when you try to follow him in your words and deeds, when you busy your tongue with saying the tasliyah and repeating it at every moment in public and private until the glorification of the Prophet (s.a.w.), namely the tasliyah, overwhelms your heart and permeates your deepest self, so that you quiver when you hear him mentioned and the vision of him takes hold of your heart and you see his form before your inner eye. Then Allah will Bestow upon you His Clemency, outwardly and inwardly. Thereafter, you will see a vision of the Prophet (s.a.w.) in many of your dreams while asleep as a first step; secondly you will see him unexpectedly while dozing off. Finally, you will see him awake.” This was quoted from Imam Muhammad ibn ‘Ali as-Sanusi (q.s.). The tasliyah is the asking of Allah (s.w.t.) to Bless and Grant Peace upn the Prophet (s.a.w.).
Among the graces with which Allah (s.w.t.) Honoured Shaykh Ahmad at-Tijani (q.s.) was the waking vision of the Prophet (s.a.w.), continuously and ever, so that it was never absent from him for the twinkling of an eye. And another grace was his questioning of the Prophet (s.a.w.) on everything and asking his counsel in small things and great, and undergoing training at his hands.
The devotee confines himself to this dzikr, the tasliyah, and is patient until the Prophet (s.a.w.) appears to him. Shaykh ‘Umar Futi Thal (q.s.). never met anyone at this rank except an old blacksmith in Ishbiliyyah who was known as Allahumma Swalli ‘ala Muhammad, “Allah Bless Muhammad.” He was not known by any other name. He did not speak to anyone except out of necessity. If anyone came asking him to make something for him from iron, he asked as payment only that the customer give salutation upon the Prophet (s.a.w.). Shaykh ibn ‘Arabi (q.s.) said that whatever Revealed to the one who does this dzikr is true and immune from error, for nothing comes to him except through the Messenger (s.a.w.).
Mawlay ad-Darqawi (q.s.) said he did not believe that a learned man could deny the vision of the Prophet (s.a.w.) in the waking state, until the day he met some learned men in the Qarawiyyin Mosque and had a conversation with them on this matter. They said to him, “However is it possible to see the Prophet when one is awake, since he has been dead for over 1,200 years? It is only possible to see him in a dream, since he himself said, ‘He who sees me, that is to say in a dream, sees me in reality, for the Devil cannot imitate me.’”
He answered, “Of necessity, he can be seen in waking state only by one whose mind- or let us say, whose thoughts - have transported him from this corporeal world into the world of spirits; there will he see the Prophet without the slightest doubt; there he will see all his friends.” They were silent and said not a word when he added, “Indeed he can be seen in the world of spirits.”
But after a while, they asked, “Explain how this is so.”
Mawlay ad-Darqawi (q.s.) answered, “Tell me yourselves where the world of spirits is in relation to the world of bodies.” They did not know what to reply. And then he continued, “There where the world of bodies is, there also is the world of spirits; there where the world of corruption is, there also is the world of purity; there where is the world of the kingdom, there also is the world of kingship; in the very place where the lower worlds are, there are to be found the higher worlds and the totality of worlds. It has been said that there exist ten thousand worlds, each one like this world, and all these are contained in man, without his being conscious of it. Only he whom Allah Sanctifies by Absorbing his qualities into His Own, his attributes into His Own, is conscious of this. Now, Allah Sanctifies many of his servants and does not cease from Sanctifying them until their end.”
Shaykh ‘Abd al-Aziz ad-Dabbagh (q.s.) said, whoever sees the Lord of being, the Prophet (s.a.w.), in a dream can do so in two ways. In the first way the dream is in no need of interpretation because the person sees the Prophet (s.a.w.) in the same state he appeared in the world and as the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) companions beheld him. Should this vision occur to someone who is illuminated, then what he sees is the pure and noble dzat of the Prophet. Dzat here, used to mean a human being as he can be perceived by the senses, man as a unit compounded of body, soul and spirit. If the person is not illuminated, he can experience this as well but that is a rare situation. Usually what is seen is the image of his dzat, swurah dzatihi, not his dzat itself, ‘ayn dzatihi, since the dzat of the Prophet (s.a.w.) can take on various forms and then be seen in numerous places, whether in a dream or in a waking state. This is because the dzat of the Prophet (s.a.w.) possesses light which emanates from it and fills the entire world. There is no place where the noble light of the Prophet (s.a.w.) does not exist.
The dzat of the Prophet (s.a.w.) appears in this light the way the form of the face appears in a mirror. Thus, the light of the Prophet (s.a.w.) is similar to a mirror which fills the entire world, and what is represented in it is the dzat. That is why one person can see the Prophet (s.a.w.) in the east and another person see him in the west, one sees him in the south and another in the north. And innumerable people see him in other places - all at the same time. Each person really sees the Prophet (s.a.w.) before him because the light of the Prophet (s.a.w.), in which his dzat is represented, is with each person. If an illuminated person, al-maftuh 'alayhi, beholds the image, swurah, of the Prophet (s.a.w.) before him, he then follows it with his spiritual deeper sight, baswirah, and penetrates through the light of the image to the dzat of the Prophet (s.a.w.) himself.
Shaykh Ahmad az-Zawawi (q.s.) once said to Imam ‘Abd al-Wahhab ash-Sha'rani (q.s.), “We recite the tasliyah on behalf of the Prophet (s.a.w.) so often that he then sits with us while we are in a waking state and we keep company with him like the swahabah did. Then we question him about matters of our religion and about ahadits which are held to be weak in the opinion of our religious scholars. Subsequently we base our behaviour on his words.”
In terms of meeting with and learning from the Prophet (s.a.w.) after his death, each of the three shuyukh, Shaykh Ahmad ibn Idris (q.s.), Shaykh ‘Abd al-Wahhab at-Tazi (q.s.) and Shaykh ‘Abd al-Aziz ad-Dabbagh (q.s.) had this occur to them, both while asleep and while awake. Even more, in the later part of their lives, each of these shuyukh relied only on the Prophet (s.a.w.) and had recourse to none except him.