The Swalawat & the Shahadah

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following was extracted from “Islam, Spirit & Form”, by Shaykh Osman Nuri Topbas.

Imam al-Ghazali (r.a.) discussed having the love of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) while in the sitting position, tahiyat, in prayer and gave an important example.  In prayer, it is necessary for the heart to be at peace as made clear in the following teaching.  He said, “It is required to imagine the Prophet (s.a.w.) in between the eyes of the heart while saying, ‘O Prophet, may the Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon you!’ in the first and final sitting.”  This particular greeting by Allah (s.w.t.) to His Prophet (s.a.w.) at the time of the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) ascension, mi’raj, to the Heavens with the words, “O Messenger!  May the Peace and Mercy of Allah be upon you both in this world and the Hereafter,” is such an exceptional exaltation for him.

Prayer, is like the ascension of the believer, providing those who think deeply on it with benefits from Divine Grace.  Therefore, one should try to benefit from the spirit of sending blessings on the Prophet (s.a.w.) in prayer.  It means a remembrance for us of the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) ascension to the Heavens.  His ascension is the mysterious transfiguration of the love of Allah (s.w.t.) towards the Prophet (s.a.w.).

The Declaration of Faith that is cited right after sending blessings on the Prophet (s.a.w.) signifies how honourable a gain is the belief in One Allah (s.w.t.) and being a servant to Him, and also signifies the requirement of sending greetings on the Prophet (s.a.w.) whenever his name is mentioned.

So, the prayer with all these contents is like a window shutter opened to us from the true essence of Islam.  Lovers of Allah (s.w.t.) come close to Allah (s.w.t.) through this window shutter, and they watch the High transfigurations and realities as they observe the Divine mystery.  Therefore, one cannot reach perfect faith without realising the mystery in sending blessings on the Prophet (s.a.w.) alongside citing the Name of Allah (s.w.t.) by chanting the formula of the Declaration of Faith.

Thus, Allah (s.w.t.) Enjoins believers to send blessings on the Prophet (s.a.w.) as a reflection of fondness for the Prophet (s.a.w.) in a verse in which it is said that Allah (s.w.t.) and the angels Send Blessings to him as well:

Allah and His angels, Send blessings, on the Prophet: O ye that believe!  Send ye blessings on him and salute him, with all respect. (Surah al-Ahzab:56)

Thus, those who worship and pray get carried away and do not care about worldly concerns.  They take no account of worldly pleasures.

Mawlana Jalal ad-Din ar-Rumi (q.s.) said about those people who can manage to pray in this framework, “Those people go out of this world as soon as they enter prayer as a sacrificial animal does when slaughtered.”  Then Mawlana ar-Rumi (q.s.) called to the praying person, “You pray standing as a candle in the niche of a mosque indicating the direction of Makkah.  Be wise and know the meaning of the first recitation while beginning prayer as it means, ‘O our Lord!  We sacrifice ourselves in Your Presence!  And by putting our hands to our ears we put everything behind us, and we direct ourselves to You!”  He was referring to the takbir al-ihram.


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