Friday, 24 February 2017
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following is extracted from “The Legality of Celebrating the Birth of the Prophet (s.a.w.)” from Shaykh ‘Ali Juma’ah.
Uhud was one of the mountains which the Prophet (s.a.w.) bore witness to its love for him and the believers. The Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “This is a mountain who loves us and we love it.” This is recorded in both Swahih al-Bukhari and Swahih Muslim.
In fact, this very mountain answered with humility and obedience to the command of the Prophet (s.a.w.), who struck it with his blessed foot because Uhud shook when the Prophet (s.a.w.) and his companions were upon it. It is authentically related from Anas (r.a.), that the Prophet (s.a.w.) ascended Uhud with Abu Bakr (r.a.), ‘Umar (r.a.) and ‘Utsman (r.a.). It shook with them upon it. The Prophet (s.a.w.) struck it with his foot and said, “Be firm Uhud, for there is no one upon you but a prophet, a swiddiq, and two martyrs.” Uhud answered immediately with love and in obedience to its master, al-Musthafa (s.a.w.). This is also recorded in both Swahih al-Bukhari and Swahih Muslim.
The pebbles love the Prophet (s.a.w.) and are joyous over him, glorifying Allah (s.w.t.) in his noble hand. They continued to glorify Allah (s.w.t.) in joy and love for the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) even when the pebbles reached the hand of ‘Utsman (r.a.). It is related from Abu Dzar al-Ghifari (r.a.) who said, “I witnessed that the Prophet (s.a.w.) was in a circle of people and in his hand were pebbles. They glorified Allah in his hand. Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Utsman and ‘Ali were with us and all those in the circle heard its glorification. The Prophet (s.a.w.) then passed the pebbles to Abu Bakr and they glorified in his hands, all of those in the circle heard their glorification. The Prophet (s.a.w.) then passed it to ‘Umar and they glorified in his hands, all of those in the circle heard their glorification. The Prophet (s.a.w.) then passed it to ‘Utsman and they glorified in his hands, all of those in the circle heard their glorification. The Prophet (s.a.w.) then passed it to us and they did not glorify in the hands of any of us.” This was recorded by Imam Abu Nu’aym (r.a.).
The trunk of the date palm tree also loved him, clung to him and yearned for closeness to him, crying severely in yearning for the Prophet (s.a.w.). This narration was transmitted by so many companions that certainty in it has become absolute. The majority of the companions of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) related that when the Prophet (s.a.w.) was giving a khuthbah, he would stand and lean upon the trunk of a date palm tree. If he stood for a length of time, he would place his blessed hand upon that trunk. Eventually the number of people who would pray increased and so the companions made, for the Prophet (s.a.w.), a minbar.
One day, when the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) came out of his blessed room on the Day of Jumu’ah, he headed towards the minbar and passed by the trunk of the tree which he used to give sermons from. Suddenly, the tree began wailing severely and began to yearn painfully until the masjid shook and the tree split. It did not calm down until the Prophet (s.a.w.) descended from the minbar and came to the trunk, placing his blessed hand upon it and stroked it. He then embraced the tree to his noble chest until it became calm. The Prophet (s.a.w.) then gave it a choice - and the tree was inanimate and dead - to be a tree in Paradise where its roots would drink from the rivers of Paradise or to return as a fruitful tree in the world. The tree trunk chose to be a tree in Paradise and so the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) said, ‘I will do it, insha’Allah; I will do it, insha’Allah; I will do it, insha’Allah.’
The tree became quiet. The Prophet (s.a.w.) then said, ‘By the One Who Holds my soul in His Hand; if I had not embraced it, it would have cried and ached till the Final Hour yearning for the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.).’”
This is similar to another tree which also yearned to greet the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) and so it sought permission from its Lord. It is related from Ya’la ibn Murrah al-Tsaqafi (r.a.) who said, “Once, we were travelling with the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) when we stopped at a place to rest. The Prophet (s.a.w.) slept when a tree came splitting the earth until it covered him. It then returned to its place.
When the Prophet (s.a.w.) woke up, I mentioned what had happened to him and he said, ‘The tree blossomed. It sought Permission from its Lord to greet me and so it was Granted Permission.’” This is recorded by Imam Ahmad (r.a.), Imam ath-Thabrani (r.a.), Imam Abu Nu’aym (r.a.), and Imam al-Bayhaqi (r.a.).
Stones and trees which the Prophet (s.a.w.) would pass by would prostrate to him. An example was when he was on the journey to Sham with Abu Thalib (r.a.). This prostration was a prostration of greeting and this was allowed before the announcement of prophethood. It is related from Abu Musa al-Ash’ari (r.a.) who said Abu Thalib (r.a.) left for Sham with the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.), and some of the leaders of Quraysh. When they came across a monk’s place of worship, they decided to stop. The monk came out to them whereas before, he would let the caravans pass by and would not bother with them. They were tying their animals and the monk began inspecting them until he came and took the hand of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.). He then said, “This is the master of all of the worlds, this is the Messenger of Allah, the Lord of the worlds. He is the one whom Allah will Send as a Mercy to Creation.”
The leaders of Quraysh then asked, “How do you know this?”
He replied, “When you came over the hill, there was not a single tree or stone except that it was prostrating and they never prostrate to anyone except to a prophet.” This was recorded by Imam ibn Abi Shaybah (r.a.).
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following is extracted from “The Legality of Celebrating the Birth of the Prophet (s.a.w.)” from Shaykh ‘Ali Juma’ah.
The event of the tree prostrating to the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) occurred a number of times. It is related from ibn ‘Abbas (r.a.) that a man from Bani ‘Aamir, who was known for medicine and healing, came to the Prophet (s.a.w.); he said, “O Muhammad, you say things; do you need me to heal you?”
The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) called him and asked, “Would you like me to show you a sign?”
The man had, beside him, a palm tree and another tree. The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) then called a cluster of dates from it and it began to approach. It was prostrating and then standing, prostrating and then raising its head until it was before the Prophet (s.a.w.). The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) then said, “Return back to your place.” It then returned.
The man then said, “I swear, by Allah, I will never deny anything that you say after this.” This hadits was declared swahih by Imam ibn Hibban (r.a.).
The tree expressed its love for the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) by prostrating before him and presenting his salam. Likewise, a plant also expressed its intense love for the Prophet (s.a.w.) through its testification. It is related from ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (r.a.), who said, “We were with the Prophet (s.a.w.) on a journey when a Bedouin approached. When he came close, the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) said to him, ‘Where are you going?’
The Bedouin replied, ‘To my family’
The Prophet (s.a.w.) said to him, ‘Would you like to go towards good?’
He said, ‘And what is that?’
The Prophet (s.a.w.) said, ‘That you bear witness that there is no god but Allah, He is Alone with no partner and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.’
The Bedouin then said, ‘Do you have a witness to that which you say?’
The Prophet (s.a.w.) said, ‘This plant.’ The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) called it. It was on the bank of the valley and it approached drawing a line along the earth until it was before him. It then bore witness three times and then returned to its place. The Bedouin returned back to his people and said, ‘If my people follow me then I will bring them to you otherwise I will return and be with you.’” This was recorded by Imam ibn Hibban (r.a.), Imam ad-Darimi (r.a.), Imam ath-Thabrani (r.a.), Imam Abu Ya’la (r.a.), and Imam al-Bayhaqi (r.a.).
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following is a transcript of discourse given by Mawlana Waffie Mohammed. The video presentation of this discourse can be accessed at The Unique Birth.
Jesus (a.s.) was Sent in this world in a unique way. He did not come through the usual process of conception as a normal human being. Allah (s.w.t.) Sent the soul of Jesus (a.s.) in Maryam (a.s.) and gradually the body was formed. That is why he was formed and fashioned without a male agent. Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) also came into this world in a special way, albeit not like Jesus (a.s.). He came into this world as a normal human being. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why Allah (s.w.t.) Says:
Say: “I am but a man like yourselves ...” (Surah al-Kahf:110)
However, every human being upon conception, the foetus grows and forms, and it is only after four months then Allah (s.w.t.) Unites the soul with the body. Only then will it be regarded as a perfect human being. In the interim, it is not a human being in the true sense of the word; it is a creature. This was not the case with Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.). He was a perfect, complete human being from the time of conception because of the special light that was there on the forehead of ‘Abdullah (r.a.) before he got married to Aminah (r.a.), and after marriage, the light went into Aminah (r.a.).
We find evidence of this of when his father, ‘Abdullah (r.a.) was going to marry Aminah (r.a.). As the record shows, that when the wedding was going to take place a woman by the name of Qutaylah saw him approaching and was struck by the radiance which lit his face and which seemed to her to shine from beyond this world. When he was passing by her she said, “O ‘Abdullah, take me now as your wife and you shalt have as many camels as those that were sacrificed in your stead.”
To this, ‘Abdullah (r.a.) replied, “I am with my father; I cannot act against his wishes, and I cannot leave him.” The marriage eventually took place at the home of Aminah (r.a.).
Sometime after, ‘Abdullah (r.a.) went to fetch something from his own house, and again he met Qutaylah. Her eyes searched his face with such earnestness that he stopped beside her expecting her to speak. When she remained silent, he asked her why she did not say to him what she had said the day before. She answered him, saying, “The light has left you that was with you yesterday.”
I believe that the light spoken about was the soul of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.). And what we gather is that the soul of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) and his blessed body began growing together. We can further substantiate this with the fact that while Aminah (r.a.) was carrying the child in her womb she saw a light issue from her which illuminated even the castles of Basra, in Sham. And even after his birth, and throughout his life, the light never separated from him. For example, when he was young and in the care of Halimah (r.a.), he went missing one day. When they searched for him, they saw a bright light on a tree, unlike any they ever saw. Upon further investigation that light was where young Muhammad (s.a.w.) was.
And we know of the popular narrations where his companions swore that, at times, his personality was brighter and more beautiful than the full moon. This can possibly by why the children of Madinah once sung “Thala’a al-Badru ‘Alayna,” “Oh the Full Moon has Risen over Us.”
We are very fortunate that this perfect person is our guide and model. And not only that, part of his job is to share that light with us; “Siraj al-Munirah “A lamp that gives light.” Perhaps that is why Allah (s.w.t.) Says:
… there hath come to you, from Allah, a (new) Light and a Perspicuous Book. ― (Surah al-Ma’idah:15)
The Prophet’s (s.a.w.) mission can be identified as two dimensions; one is to invite to Allah (s.w.t.) and the next is to share the light. Allah (s.w.t.) is Constantly Sending the light on him. The night of the Mi’raj was the occasion when he was Invited by his Lord to make that connection. And from then onwards, he is distributing the light that Allah (s.w.t.) is Sending on him. And if we connect with him we can also share and benefit from it. Why do we send swalawat upon the Prophet (s.a.w.)? Allah (s.w.t.) has already Blessed him. When we engage in swalawat, we share in the Blessings that Allah (s.w.t.) is Constantly Sending on him. If we want our light to grow, we must connect to him by reciting swalawat abundantly. When we are pure and clean, we can see Allah (s.w.t.). That is why one shaykh once said, “I saw my Lord in my dream.” If we purify ourselves, we can see our Lord. How will we see Him? Allah (s.w.t.) Knows.
Why say this? What is my proof? It is recorded that Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) said that when the people of Paradise enter Paradise, it will be Asked of them, “Do you need something more?”
They will reply, “Have You not Whitened our faces? Have You not Entered us in Paradise and Protected us from Hell?”
Then, Allah (s.w.t.) will Remove the veil. Looking to their Lord will be more lovely to them than anything else given to them. The more we purify ourselves, the nearer we will get to our Lord. That is the recipe for ascent. We must remove all the blemishes from our personality and brighten our countenance. Allah (s.w.t.) Says:
Some faces, that Day, will be beaming. (Surah ‘Abasa:38)
We beg Allah (s.w.t.) to Help us, Guide us and Give us something of His vision in this life so we will be Blessed to get more in the next. May He Take Care of us, Guide us and Take us Closer to Him, insha’Allah.
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following is a transcript of discourse given by Mawlana Waffie Mohammed. The video presentation of this discourse can be accessed at The True Meaning of “an-Nabi al-Ummi”.
One of the descriptions or attribute of Holy Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) is that he is an-Nabi al-Ummi. Normally, the layman may translate it to mean “the illiterate Messenger”. However, this is very far from the truth. Although he did not attend any formal institution of learning, he gave to the universe a Book which cannot be surpassed. Concerning the Holy Qur’an, Allah (s.w.t.) Says:
Say: “If the whole of mankind and jinn were to gather together to produce the like of this Qur'an, they could not produce the like thereof, even if they backed up each other with help and support.” (Surah al-Isra’:88)
Do you then think that he was really “illiterate” as we interpret this word to mean? Therefore, we have to understand what Allah (s.w.t.) Means when He Says;
"Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered prophet, whom they find Mentioned in their own (Scriptures); ― in the Law and the Gospel; ..." (Surah al-A’araf:157)
… “So, believe in Allah and His Messenger, the unlettered Prophet, who believed in Allah and His Words: follow him that (so) ye may be Guided.” (Surah al-A’araf:158)
My understanding and explanation of “the unlettered Prophet” is the one who was “not taught by anyone except Allah (s.w.t.).” He never attended any institution; nor sat at the feet of any scholar. He was never exposed to any academic teaching from any creature. This is one reason why he is referred to as “an-Nabi al-Ummi.”
For example, when Moses (a.s.) was Commanded by Allah (s.w.t.) to go to Pharaoh, to give him the da’wah, Pharaoh rebuked him by listing all the things he did for Moses (a.s.) as an infant. On the other hand, no one can accuse Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) of him being indebted to them. When he was a baby, Halimah (r.a.) took care of him and it was only out of his blessed personality that she began receiving so many blessings. Then, he went to his mother who died shortly after and the same with his grandfather. No one could say that he owed them or anything of such. A few other reasons why Allah (s.w.t.) Refers to him as “Nabi al-Ummi” are as follows below.
He was not taught by any creature yet he gave the Universal Message. The very first Revelation, “‘Iqra”, could be translated as “read” or “recite”. So, when Jibril (a.s.) requested of him the first five verses of Surah al-‘Alaq, what he was possibly asking him to do was to recite that which Allah (s.w.t.) Impressed in his blessed heart. To read would imply a script of which there was not any.
He was never influenced by anyone. And as a matter of emphasis, Jibril (a.s.) washed his heart on two separate occasions. Before him, the Arabs were barbaric. They believed heavily in tribalism. And with his coming, he refined them and cultured them. They did not give anything or teach him anything. It was he, who totally refined their personalities.
He was never sustained by anyone. Allah (s.w.t.) Took Care of him just as He did with Jesus (a.s.) and his mother, Mary (a.s.). As He Says:
Did He not Find thee an orphan and Give thee shelter (and care)? And He Found thee wandering, and He Gave thee Guidance. And He Found thee in need, and Made thee independent. (Surah adh-Dhuha’:6-8)
He had no bias for any tribe or nation. He was fair, clean and clear. Jesus (a.s.), for example, came to the Israelites; as he said, “I came to uphold the Law of Moses.” Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) was Sent to the whole of mankind. And he harboured no doubt. Abraham (a.s.) questioned Allah (s.w.t.) as to how He Brought life to the dead. Our Prophet (s.a.w.) never displayed anything like that.
In the real sense of the word, “an-nabi al-ummi”, is like a mother. When a baby is brought into the world, he is not influenced by anyone and does not know anything. It has inherent or intuitive knowledge that Allah (s.w.t.) Allows such as to cry or make signs. Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.), in this world, was like a young infant. He was not influenced by anyone except Allah (s.w.t.). Allah Guided and Took Care of him.
Because he was like this and because Allah (s.w.t.) Says of him that he never said anything of his own desire, coming from him, we have “Umm al-Qura’”, “The Mother of all Cities”; and “Umm al-Kitab”, “The Mother of all Books”. Would we, then, say he was illiterate as how we understand the word to be? Even today, we hear a’immah attributing illiteracy to him. And really, we should not connect this degrading attribute to him. He Received knowledge from Allah (s.w.t.), and no man could accuse him like how some of the Christian’s fabricate that he borrowed from the Bible. All he gave was clean, pure and comprehensive. Even though he was not formally taught, he is the one who can take us back to our Lord because he went back to Him in this world.
The point we are making is that we need to understand what Allah (s.w.t.) Means when He Calls him “an-Nabi al-Ummi”. Contrary to the literal meaning and what we understand it to mean, it does not truly reflect the meaning contained in the ayat quoted above. “an-Nabi al-Ummi” means he is unique, special and we really cannot comprehend the greatness of his personality. He is not comparable to any other human being with regard to the contributions made intellectually, spiritually, socially and all the other disciplines.
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following is a transcript of discourse given by Mawlana Waffie Mohammed.
Allah (s.w.t.) Says that Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) is a Favour to the believers. He Says, in Surah Ali ‘Imran:
Allah did Confer a Great Favour on the believers when He Sent, among them, a Messenger from among themselves ... (Surah Ali ‘Imran:164)
Allah (s.w.t.) has never described the other Messengers in this manner. Even though He was so favourable to the Israelites that He sent a host of Messengers to them with great signs and miracles, and yet He never Referred to Jesus (a.s.), or any of them as a “Favour”. Allah (s.w.t.) Says that Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) was, is and will always be a Favour for the entire universe, up to and even after the Day of Judgement. He will be the Chief Intercessor on that Day and he will even look for us to take us with him in the garden of Paradise.
It is because Prophet (s.a.w.) is such a special creature in the universe and the Beloved of Allah (s.w.t.), that this book looks at the reasons why Allah (s.w.t.) has Blessed us to be in his companionship. We are not simply talking about our life in this world but he is special in the entire universe. We know that there is the Creator and there are His creatures. No creature can be like the Creator. He Says:
And there is none like unto Him. (Surah al-Ikhlasw:4)
There is a difference between both. No creature can ascend to the status of the Creator; in form, capacity, and so forth. As a matter of fact, the basic difference between the Creator and His creatures is that all creatures have a beginning and an end but the Creator is Eternal. All creatures depend on Him, but He depends on no one. If He so Wishes, He can Replace the entire universe with some other form of Creation. This is why Islam places such importance on tawhid. It is the “password” for entry into Paradise. Muslims recognise these facts about the Majesty of the Creator — Allah (s.w.t.), and they stay firm in their belief, never to ascribe a partner with Him. This belief is tawhid. Tawhid is the declaration and belief that “there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger”. Muslims take all the care to place Allah (s.w.t.) as Supreme in all their beliefs and actions. They know that when the life-span of the universe will come to an end, the Face of the Lord Alone will Remain.
‘Utsman (r.a.) narrated that the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “He who dies knowing ‘Laa ilaha illa Allah’ shall enter Paradise”. This is recorded in Swahih Muslim. We depend on The Creator for everything, even the ability to thank Him. He is not part of the universe but rather He is connected to the universe.
History records that Allah (s.w.t.) Spoke words to His Messengers, before the coming of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.). These Words are Recorded in the Holy Qur’an, such as the conversations between Himself and Moses (a.s.). He Revealed them to the Prophet (s.a.w.) as part of the Holy Qur’an because He Wanted to Preserve them as He Says that He never changes His Words. This is Recorded in the Qur’an in the following verse:
… there is none that can alter the Words (and Decrees) of Allah. … (Surah al-An’am:34)
But the Words of Allah (s.w.t.) are different from the words of ordinary human beings. His Words have unbelievably powerful vibrations; especially as how they are arranged in the Qur’an. So powerful are the vibrations, that nothing in the universe can withstand them if the Words were to be Revealed to any creature in the entire universe. Look at what He Says about whether the mountains could have withstood the vibrations of His Words, were He to have Revealed it on them:
Had We Sent down this Qur'an on a mountain, verily, thou would have seen it humble itself and cleave asunder for fear of Allah ... (Surah al-Hashr:21)
Allah (s.w.t.) has Allowed His Words to come to mankind through Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.), and the heart of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.), was the receptacle that was Selected and capable of receiving those Divine Words. Allah (s.w.t.) Sent Guidance to all nations via His Messengers, but all those Messengers communicated in the languages of the people. Numerous creatures glorify Allah (s.w.t.) in their own languages. Human beings are different because we can glorify Allah (s.w.t.) using the Words He Uttered.
Before Sending Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) to receive His Words on behalf of the entire universe, Allah (s.w.t.) Offered the trust, the responsibility, to accept the Holy Qur’an to the skies and the mountains. But they all refused to accept it. He Records this for our information in the following verse of the Holy Qur’an:
We did indeed Offer the trust to the Heavens and the Earth and the mountains: but they refused to undertake it, being afraid thereof: but man undertook it ― he was indeed unjust and foolish (Surah al-Ahzab:72)
The word “trust” is a philosophical term and my understanding is that the trust, Allah (s.w.t.) is Speaking about, is in fact the Holy Qur’an. The skies, earth and mountains all refused the responsibility of accepting the Holy Qur’an because they did not have the capacity to bear it and to shoulder its responsibilities. Man, on the other hand, was unjust or, for want of a better word; man was stupid, as he did not know what it entailed; and the power of the vibrations contained in the Words of that Great Book. I am not saying Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) was stupid, but rather, the progeny of Adam (a.s.). So, because man accepted this responsibility, Allah (s.w.t.) Created a special human being, as one of His representatives, to receive this “trust” on our behalf; and this was his first important mission.
The entire universe could not contain the Qur’an so Allah (s.w.t.) Created the heart of the Prophet (s.a.w.), to accept, contain and preserve it; and from where it would be known to all in the universe. When Allah (s.w.t.) Decided that it was time to Release the Qur’an from Lawh al-Mahfuzh, and Send it to the Earth, He Sent His Beloved (s.a.w.), who had the capacity to accept it on behalf of all the creatures in the universe, and to transmit it in its purest of forms to man. Jibril (a.s.) impressed this Noble Book in the heart of the Beloved Messenger (s.a.w.), before he was even able to recite one single verse of it. Later on, it was released to the companions through wahy, a special type of Revelation, which came to the Prophet (s.a.w.) over a period of twenty-three years.
The question that can come to mind is: If the Prophet (s.a.w.) had the Qur’an impressed in his heart; why did he not teach the people it, but waited on Divine Instructions for doing so? Allah (s.w.t.) tells us that the Prophet (s.a.w.) never said anything of his own passion, ego or desire. All that he transmitted was on the basis of Divine Inspiration. The Prophet’s (s.a.w.) heart was like a transformer that receives the electricity from the power station and distributes it everywhere.
When Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) was a little more than 3 years old, two angels came and opened his chest and washed his heart; so, his heart was purified. Perhaps, the reason for having this done was to ensure that there were no impurities in his noble heart, as no impurities must touch the Holy Book as Allah (s.w.t.) Says:
That this is indeed a Qur'an Most Honourable, in a Book Well-Guarded, which none shall touch but those who are clean: A Revelation from the Lord of the Worlds. (Surah al-Waqi’ah:77-80)
The Qur’an was Revealed in the strangest of ways. For example, part of Surah al-‘Alaq came first and it is Chapter 96 in the Qur’an. How come the Prophet (s.a.w.) did not mix up the order? Because he had it impressed in his heart, and knew where to put the newly Revealed part of the text, as each verse was already in the “Master Copy” which was impressed in his heart. Allah (s.w.t.) Says:
Verily this is a Revelation from the Lord of the Worlds: With it came down the Spirit of Faith and Truth ― to thy heart and mind, that thou mayest admonish (Surah ash-Shua’ra:192-194)
The transfer of the entire Book, which came from Lawh al-Mahfuzh, the Divine Vault, was done when Jibril (a.s.) squeezed him against his own heart. This was done after Jibril (a.s.) had asked him to read three times, and each time the Prophet (s.a.w.) replied that he could not do so.
Sometimes, when Jibril (a.s.) brought Revelation for Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.), and he began reciting it ahead of Jibril (a.s.), but Allah (s.w.t.) Revealed to him that he should not do so, but follow the recitation of the angel when he recited it. Allah (s.w.t.) Records about this as follows:
Move not thy tongue concerning the (Qur'an) to make haste therewith. It is for Us to Collect it and to Promulgate it: But when We have Promulgated it, follow thou its recital (as Promulgated): Nay more, it is for Us to Explain it (and Make It Clear): (Surah al-Qiyamah:16-19)
Imam al-Ghazali (r.a.) wrote that fifty thousand years before Creation, Allah (s.w.t.) Recited Surah ThaHa and Surah YaSin. It is only because of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) that we have been Blessed to recite the Words of Allah (s.w.t.) as he recited it. Another factor that demonstrates the power of the Qur’an is the word “Be”. Allah (s.w.t.) Says that if He Wants something to come into existence, He Says “Kun,” “Be”; and that thing would come into existence from nothing. He Tells us so in the following verse:
Verily, when He Intends a thing, His Command is “Be” and it is! (Surah YaSin:82)
“Kun” can Cause the entire universe to be destroyed or a new one can come into existence; and look at how many times it has been Mentioned in the Qur’an. Can we now imagine the capacity of this Book? Except for human beings, all the other creatures in the universe were Given their specific formats and languages for praising Allah (s.w.t.). Even the Messengers before the Prophet (s.a.w.) conveyed the Message in the language of the people to whom they were Sent. So that, before Islam, no one was blessed with the opportunity to recite the Holy Words of the Lord in the same language and intonation as He Himself Did.
This is the first Blessing that makes Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) a “Great Favour” to the universe; Allah (s.w.t.) Sent him with the great Book. No other creature has this Blessing. This is why, when the Qur’an is being recited, the angels and jinn gather to listen to it; because they were given it for their own recital; and those who are not reciting should listen. He says:
When the Qur'an is read, listen to it with attention, and hold your peace: that ye may Receive Mercy. (Surah al-A’araf:204)
There is a terminology in jurisprudence called “sunnah”. As it relates to Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.), sunnah is the sayings, actions and those things that were done in his life time, in his presence, and he did not prohibit them. When we talk about sunnah, it is usually attributed to Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.). However, he did not coin this term. It Originated from Allah (s.w.t.), and can be found in many places in the Holy Qur’an. Does Allah (s.w.t.) have Sunnah? And if yes, what constitutes His Sunnah? We know, from the Qur’an, that Allah (s.w.t.) has Divine Attributes. They are referred to as the “Habit of God”. And His Habits will not change. He Says, regarding His Words:
For them are Glad Tidings, in the life of the present and in the Hereafter: no change can there be in the Words of Allah. This is indeed the Supreme Felicity. (Surah Yunus:64)
About His “Habits”, He Says:
… no change (let there be) in the work (wrought) by Allah: that is the standard Religion: but most among mankind understand not. (Surah ar-Rum:30)
So, Allah (s.w.t.) has Allocated something called “His Sunnah” and affirms that it will never change. Confirmation of this can be found in the following verses of the Qur’an:
… But no change wilt thou find in Allah’s Way (of Dealing): no turning off wilt thou find in Allah’s Way (of Dealing). (Surah Fathir:43)
… no change wilt thou find in the Practice (Approved) of Allah. (Surah al-Ahzab:62)
One of Allah’s (s.w.t.) Sunnah was, is, and will always be, the Blessings He Sends to Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.). He Says, in Surah al-Ahzab:
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)
Allah (s.w.t.) and His angels are Sending, and will continue to Send, Swalawat, Blessings, on Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.). Does this practice not constitute a Sunnah of the Divine Being and His angels? And Allah (s.w.t.) does not stop there; He Orders the believers to engage in that which He is Doing so that believers observe the Sunnah of Allah (s.w.t.) as His true khulafah and send swalawat on His Beloved Messenger (s.a.w.), as much as possible; the more the better, as Allah (s.w.t.) and His angels are Doing so continuously.
What is the importance of this? Prophet (s.a.w.) is a Mercy to the universe and Allah (s.w.t.) has Allocated a special blessing that He Wants to Send to His believing servants and He has Chosen Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) as the person to firstly, receive and, thereafter, distribute it, to those who connect themselves to him.
Swalawat upon the Prophet (s.a.w.) is so beneficial, that the Prophet (s.a.w.) is reported to have said, “Whoever, from my followers should send one swalawat sincerely from his heart on me; Allah Returns ten Blessings on him; Elevates him ten stages higher; Writes for him ten good deeds and Erases from him ten sins.” This is recorded in Sunan an-Nasa’i.
Allah (s.w.t.) is Just and He Says that He Sends blessings on all human beings. He Says:
He, It is, Who Sends Blessings on you, as do His angels, that He may Bring you out from the depths of darkness into Light: and He is Full of Mercy to the believers. (Surah al-Ahzab:43)
So, anyone with good intention who sends swalawat upon the Prophet (s.a.w.), as is recorded in the hadits quoted above, will derive Blessings from Allah (s.w.t.). In addition to this, Allah (s.w.t.) is also Sending Blessings to the Prophet (s.a.w.) constantly and continuously. And when we send blessings to the Prophet (s.a.w.), we are connecting with him, and benefitting from the Blessings that are being Sent upon him. Sending swalawat upon the Prophet (s.a.w.) is a blissful act that can be done in any posture, as long as the sender is sincere in so doing. Allah (s.w.t.) Sent His Beloved (s.a.w.) with that special mission of allowing us to connect to our Lord through the chain of Blessings that are being Sent upon Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.). And in so doing, we are fulfilling a Command of Allah (s.w.t.) by Sending Blessings on him, and saluting him with all respect.
Those who argue that we are wrongfully elevating the status of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.), by standing at the end of a function to send swalawat upon him, which is the most honourable ways of doing it, have unfortunately failed to realise his rank and the purpose and the function of his mission. They, instead, get involved in actions and activities that bring about no valuable result; as sending swalawat is a Command of Allah (s.w.t.); and He did not specify the posture in which one should be when doing so.
Allah (s.w.t.) Says, in Surah an-Nur:
Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. ... (Surah an-Nur:35)
Whatever this means, we cannot say, but we know that He Talks about Himself as a kind of Light. He also Describes Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) as a special type of light that He Sent to mankind. He Says:
… there hath come to you, from Allah, a (new) Light and a Perspicuous Book. ― (Surah al-Ma’idah:15)
Some scholars translate “light” to mean the Holy Qur’an. In this verse, the terms “light” and “Book” are both joined by the conjunction “and”. So, they are two separate entities. When Allah (s.w.t.) Says, “There hath come to you, from Allah, a (new) light,” He is Referring to Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.). We find support for making such a statement in what Allah (s.w.t.) Tells us about the Prophet (s.a.w.) in another place in the Qur’an; He Says:
O Prophet! Truly We have Sent thee as a witness, a bearer of glad tidings, and a warner ― And as one who invites to Allah’s (Grace) by His Leave, and as a lamp spreading Light. (Surah al-Ahzab:45-46)
Allah (s.w.t.) is Divine Light and the Prophet (s.a.w.) is a special form of refined light that came to the worlds. Allah (s.w.t.) Wants His Light to spread throughout the universe and, as a result, He Created a mirror, which is the heart of the Prophet (s.a.w.), to which the light goes and from which it spreads; and the Prophet (s.a.w.) is that mirror. The fact that he is sinless means that his entire personality can reflect the light from the Lord, without any limitations in the form of sins which are Described, in the Qur’an, as black spots on the heart.
On the night of Mi’raj, before Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) set out on this sacred journey, his heart was washed for a second time in his lifetime, by appointed angels. Why? In order to understand this, we must keep in mind a simple fact. If one wishes to get the bright sunlight in a dark room, all he has to do is to take a clean mirror and angle it to a point where the light can be precisely reflected into the room. The cleaner the mirror; the brighter will be the reflection of the light. When Allah (s.w.t.) Invited the Prophet (s.a.w.) to the Mi’raj, and after he passed all Creations, he was, as Allah (s.w.t.) Records it:
While he was in the highest part of the horizon: Then he approached and came closer, and was at a distance of but two bow-lengths or (even) nearer; (Surah an-Najm:7-9)
The Prophet (s.a.w.) was there and Allah (s.w.t.) was before him, and there was nothing between Them; and then, Allah (s.w.t.) Revealed what He Wanted to Reveal to him. Allah (s.w.t.) Put something of His Divine Light into the heart of the Prophet (s.a.w.) so that, when he came back to earth, he had the capacity to reflect the Light of Allah (s.w.t.), because of his purified personality. This reflection of the Divine Light, which he Received on that blessed night, was spread all over the worlds; through him. This is possibly one reason why he was given the title “Rahmatan lil ‘Aalamin”, “the Mercy to the Worlds.” Which other creature had this Blessing? Allah (s.w.t.) took up Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.); Showed him what He Wanted to Show him; had Discussion with him; and Revealed to him, at that point in time and place, what He Wanted to reveal to him. I am of the view that part of the Revelation that came from the Lord there, was something of the Divine Light which Allah (s.w.t.) Allowed to shine on his heart; and which he was to pass on to those who elect to connect their spiritual heart, qalb, with his.
While jurisprudence is associated with physical action, it is moral and spiritual issues that impact upon the heart. We are enjoined upon to polish our hearts, if we want to stand on that Day with a brightened countenance. So, a true believer will have to be concerned with actions that are done openly and what is done secretly. In this way, the person can connect with the Prophet (s.a.w.) with the light that is specially being reflected from his heart. That light, he got in the night of the Mi’raj. Due to fact that his heart was specially purified, it had the capacity to absorb all that Allah (s.w.t.) Wanted to Give to him; and it is recorded that his heart did not show any emotional change and he remained looking at what Allah (s.w.t.) Allowed. This is Mentioned in the following verses of the Qur’an:
So, did (Allah) Convey the inspiration to His servant, (Conveyed) what He (Meant) to Convey. The (Prophet’s) (mind and) heart in no way falsified that which he saw. (Surah an-Najm:10-11)
That is why he never told the people what he got in the Mi’raj. How can one explain a religious experience? How can one explain something that falls outside field of science, reason and logic? How can one explain, that even today, there are people who can connect with, and converse with Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.), when they are in a state of meditation, as in that state their hearts are connected directly to his? The Holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.) mission was not only to bring the Book, as some people believe; but also, to help the believers grow spiritually up to the Day of Judgement; to ascend in status; stair upon stair. Perhaps, this is one of the reasons why Allah (s.w.t.) Says to us in the Holy Qur’an the following:
And know, that among you, is Allah’s Messenger: Were he, in many matters, to follow your (wishes), ye would certainly suffer: but Allah has Endeared the faith to you, and has made it beautiful in your … (Surah al-Hujraat:7)
Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) is not only a Messenger for this world. He is special and ranks second to no other creature in the entire Creation. Some of the reasons for saying so, can be as follows,
Firstly, the Prophet (s.a.w.) never once deviated from Allah’s (s.w.t.) Guidance to do things on his own will. Allah (s.w.t.) Says:
Nor does he say (aught) of (his own) desire. (Surah an-Najm:3)
As was mentioned earlier, even though he had the Qur’an Impressed in his heart, he never gave Qur’anic references when questioned, but he waited until Jibril (a.s.) brought the respective Revelation, before giving the answer. The question that can be asked is: If he had the Qur’an in his heart, why did he not respond immediately? It was because he never said anything except on the basis of Divine Command. Allah (s.w.t.) Took him up on the night of the Mi’raj and Gave him religious experience and he did not repeat it to anyone. Even, when he was informed by Jibril (a.s.) that his grandson would be martyred, all he did was ask of Jibril (a.s.) to bring him some of the sand where his grandson’s blood would fall. He never supplicated to Allah (s.w.t.) asking Him to alleviate Husayn’s (r.a.) fate.
The Prophet (s.a.w.) was that one who was Selected to open up the barriers in the sky. Right here in our atmosphere, there are electromagnetic barriers that even some types of radio waves cannot penetrate. And as we move upwards in the stratosphere, we find more and more barriers. Allah (s.w.t.) Caused the Prophet (s.a.w.) to break through these barriers on the night of Mi’raj. The Prophet (s.a.w.) opened up, for us, the path to Allah (s.w.t.). This is path is called “Swirath al-Mustaqim.” And if we follow his way, we will be upon this righteous and straight path; and will be able to penetrate the barriers spiritually in this life, and will be Blessed with visions and experiences of the Unseen, as we progressed.
Another important part of his mission was to make the Book available in the entire cosmos; as he passed through the different galaxies, he had the Book in his heart, thereby carrying it along with him to the entire universe. We know that it is only the believers who have this Book — the unadulterated Word of Allah (s.w.t.), as was said before; no other creature had access to it; but now, even the jinn and angels listen to its recitation.
In what ways are human beings different from the animals? One is that they are not supposed to live by the principles of “might is right and survival of the fittest”. All human beings are different from the rest of the creatures on earth; as they observe a moral conduct, which has been prescribed in Islam; also, Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) came to demonstrate with his very life; what it means to uphold the principles, which Islam defines as the principles of morality. Allah (s.w.t.) Says, in Surah al-Qalam:
And thou (standest) on an exalted standard of character. (Surah al-Qalam:4)
The Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) is reported to have said, “I came to perfect morals”. As amoral being, man is supposed to like for his fellow human beings what he would like for himself. Take for example, when a person is sick, he should be visited and assisted where necessary. We see this manifested in the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) lifetime, on numerous occasions. For example, Abu Lahab and his wife tormented him so much and never once did he retaliate. In addition to non-retaliation, he even visited Abu Lahab’s wife one morning when he realised that she was ill. Allah (s.w.t.) Says to us, in His Holy Words:
“But seek, with the (wealth) which Allah has Bestowed on thee, the Home of the Hereafter, nor forget thy portion in this world: but do thou good, as Allah has been Good to thee, and seek not (occasions for) mischief in the land: for Allah loves not those who do mischief.” (Surah al-Qaswasw:77)
Because of his flawless character, on the Day of Judgement, when everyone will go to Messenger after Messenger, asking them to intercede on their behalf; and each Messenger will turn them away citing their own shortfalls; even though, they never ever deceived their followers, he will step forth. As Allah (s.w.t.) Tells us, about them, in the Holy Qur’an. He Says:
(Namely) those who say, “Our Lord! We have indeed believed: Forgive us, then our sins, and Save us from the agony of the Fire.” ― (Surah Ali ‘Imran:16)
As Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) does not have any mistake or sin against his character and personality, he will be the Chief Intercessor, and, insha’Allah, he will intercede for us all. His morality is unsurpassed; and his lifestyle can be a model for all human beings; as he never discriminated against anyone. Allah (s.w.t.) Says, about him, as an example to mankind at large:
We have not Sent thee but as a (Messenger) to men, giving them Glad tidings, and warning them (against sin), but most men understand not. (Surah Saba:28)
Because his standard of conduct towards other human beings cannot be surpassed, he is the universal model. If we follow his lifestyle, his sunnah, we will be able to manifest perfected morals. Upholding his sunnah means following him as the perfect model. This is not just a matter of choice, but as a Command coming from the Lord Himself. He Says:
... So, take what the Messenger assigns to you, and deny yourselves that which he withholds from you. ... (Surah al-Hashr:7)
When we read from the sirah of the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) life), we see that, at all times, he demonstrated complete humility and unquestioning submission. About this aspect of his character, Allah (s.w.t.) Says:
Say: “Verily, I am Commanded to serve Allah with sincere devotion; and I am Commanded to be the first of those who bow to Allah in Islam.” (Surah az-Zumar:11-12)
No matter what was the situation in which he found himself, submission to Allah (s.w.t.) was his first and only priority. The kuffar tried to humiliate him for so doing; but he always allowed himself to be Guided by his Lord, in every matter. Allah (s.w.t.) Tells us about this in the following verse of the Qur’an. He Says:
Nor does he say (aught) of (his own) desire. (Surah an-Najm:3)
The Prophet (s.a.w.) practiced that which he preached. He never demonstrated haughtiness or belittled anyone, even though he and everyone else knew his status in creation. Another example demonstrating his humility was the interaction he had with an old woman from Madinah who use to go to him and request him to do some of her chores for her. Never once did he refuse her. He accepted the invitations from both the rich and poor. He never retaliated against the Arabs when he conquered Makkah. He forgave them for the harsh actions they demonstrated against him and the early Muslims, before they migrated to Madinah. Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) is Swirath al-Mustaqim. He is that path that can successfully take us back to our Lord. And we can connect consciously with him even today. Allah (s.w.t.) Says:
And know, that among you, is Allah’s Messenger … (Surah al-Hujraat:7)
Some say that this was only relevant when the Prophet (s.a.w.) was physically alive, but the Qur’an is for all time, and the Prophet (s.a.w.) is always with the believers, either as a model by knowing something of his sunnah, or spiritually, for those who are able to culture themselves to make spiritual contact with him. The shuyukh will teach anyone desirous of culturing their heart, qalb, spiritually on how to get in contact and communicate with the Prophet (s.a.w.) spiritually. A believer can connect with him spirituality, and communicate with him. How? By polishing the heart, qalb, and continuously working on its purification. When this is properly done, the traveller on the path connects his/her heart in the direction of Prophet (s.a.w.), through the shuyukh. Because this is a technical and spiritual matter; and because it is outside the realm of reason and logic, it will be a bit difficult to understand. But we must know that we are special in the Sight of Allah (s.w.t.), because we are from the ummah of His Beloved (s.a.w.).
The personality of Prophet (s.a.w.) is special; not only to us; as his mission extends beyond our realm of thoughts and understanding. What we do know is that we are in his companionship and we thank Allah (s.w.t.) for that companionship, for Blessing the believers with this. This is a discipline which is developed through spiritual connection through any of the enlightened spiritual teachers who are spiritually connected to him who is the fountain of spiritual knowledge and enlightenment. May Allah (s.w.t.) Enable us to strengthen our relationship with Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) and Cause us to rise with him on the Day of Accountability.